This article is SO relevant for me because I recently cut someone out of my life because I no longer wanted to hold my tongue on my Facebook and Twitter page for fear of offending her AND because I didn't want to hear her mouth whenever I criticized religion and theism.
I'll try my best to respect people but respecting religion...nah.
My former friend just couldn't get this through her head and unfortunately, I had to cut her off.
With the greatest respect, I must point out that "Knowing" something is wrong and being mentally ill, are not incompatible. Surely the person who is suffering the mental illness of severe depression very often "knows that something is wrong". In the days when depression was thought to be merely malingering and socially frowned upon because it was not recognized as a mental illness few people sought professional help for that illness.
The same is true for people who have the sexual deviance form of mental illness. It is not generally recognized as a mental illness and is seriously frowned upon by society (no kidding!). This means that those who have these leanings do not, themselves, see it as a mental aberration and do not seek psychological help for dealing with it.
While it IS true that psychologists tell us that such aberrations CANNOT be cured, they ALSO tell us that it can often be CONTROLLED if the person so afflicted gets proper psychological training in doing so. BUT they are NOT going to seek that training if they do not recognize that they need it. Far from "absolving" an individual from responsibility for his actions, such recognition puts the full responsibility on him for getting help at the first opportunity, provided that our society makes such help available.
A psychologist friend, who deals with this a lot, tells me that these people, in some cases, believe that everyone has the same desires as them. They just think that "others don't have the guts to do it". They see themselves as entirely normal and average. Needless to say they see no reason why they, as "normal and average" people ought to seek psychiatric help.
Others of them, the majority I'm told, who recognize that they have a mental health problem, often don't seek help because of the huge stigma associated with such a problem. They are absolutely terrified that someone might find out that they have this difficulty. This does not help matters at all. No help means that the problem stays and continues to cause them to "act out". Not good for them and certainly not good for society and their victims.
To sum up. Yes they do often know that according to the laws, it is wrong. But knowing that it is wrong and preventing themselves from doing it anyway needs special psychological help. For a couple of serious reasons, this help is most often unavailable to them. This is very, very bad for our society and especially for the victims of their aberration. Demands for them to be harshly punished, while satisfying our human inclination for revenge, will cure them or stop them from acting out, about as much as harsh punishment will stop people from getting cancer.
I see it as a matter of relativety ,,, I think that we were all once religious and some of us didn't even respect others who didn't share the same religion or were atheists ? I read ''On the Origin of Species'' when I was still a muslim and I didn't like it and considered it stupid because I always related it to religion !! I read it for a second time when I became atheist and I liked it and laughed at religion and the person i had been under religion .
In my case I cannot disrespect neither religion nor religious people beacuse I live in a comunity where Islam is taken for granted ?!!
All in all, repecting people' beliefs is a must ... they are brainwashed , they are victims but i have to say that when I am alone and by myself , I laugh aloud at what religious people say.