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How to Be Reverent. Reverence is Not Blind Obedience.

Updated on May 30, 2014

Perhaps we revere the Water Buffalo if it provides for our farm.

We are not saying right or wrong here just that perhaps revering a beast of burden might be justified.
We are not saying right or wrong here just that perhaps revering a beast of burden might be justified. | Source

What really is this idea called reverence?

Let us start out by remembering just how much we have to be grateful for in this area. Clearly if we hold people in high regard that is better than holding them in low regard. Except when it is not better. Let us examine that concept.

There should be no reverence toward any corporation. No organization should be revered. Things should not evoke a reverent emotion. Reverence should not be demanded. Reverence toward a boss can be good as it can be good toward a job. But there should be no reverence toward a company.

Here is one that will be tough for some to swallow: There should be no reverence towards a church. There should be no reverence towards a position, though the person occupying a position may gain our reverence.

For this article reverence is used in all its’ forms in order to find a full meaning. (Reverent, reverence, revere and revered and reverently) The word covers everything from emotions to nouns to verbs to adjectives to adverbs.

We use it generally in the sense of great awe and respect from one or many to something else. The fact that it is mostly used in religiously oriented speech is instructive but not restrictive. In short about the only thing really worthy of reverence is a deity or several deities. Note here that if there are several it kind of dilutes the concept to absurdity as to where do you stop. It would be strange to hear that “he was reverent toward his many masters”. Yes this could cause confusion for those interested in a Trinity God.

Reverence is good. But we have to think about where and when to give this thing called Reverence. Too much and it means nothing. Too little and we miss the boat

A healthy reverence toward nature is not missplaced.

You try climbing that and you will get reverential for sure.
You try climbing that and you will get reverential for sure. | Source

Reverence or worship or just respect?

Outward signs of respect do not make reverence. Even traditions and rites and formalities do not make for reverence. Here are two good examples. The offices of the Pope and the President of the United States. We nearly hold the offices in reverence but not necessarily the office holder whom we may even hold in contempt. But the examples should show us that we too often elevate a position to a lofty place we hold in awe. We really should not do that as it stifles critical thinking. The Vatican and the White House are to be deeply respected, but leave out all the rest of reverence. For if we hold them in reverence what elevation is there for Gods or even pure science which some elevate and perhaps rightly so.

Reverence for “stars” is also misplaced. Because someone looks better or can run faster is no reason to hold them up to the level of being revered. Again respect and adoration are warranted but not an unquestioning belief that they are to be held above the least of us.

So reverence should be given with much reservation. Reverend is a strange historic term. Does it mean we hold someone in reverence or that they are reverent? The latter should be favored while the former should be questioned.

You might call this irreverent, I do, and I like it.

When and When Not to Revere.

We must use the gifts we are given and hopefully good judgment and discernment are two of those gifts. Someone recently sent me some fan mail and mentioned my irreverence toward HubPages. It was done in both jest and respect. Darn right on the money though as I cannot cotton revering a corporation. It is just wrong to hold them up above people or God. Think of this: You hold a corporation in high esteem, like HP. And you revere the mission statement and editing as it exalts driving traffic and making money. Now a corporate SNAFU happens and you are injured. Who then takes responsibility? This same problem is with the government of any sort. Who is responsible to you – no one that is who. And so what could you revere in such institutions.

Now take a man. You revere him. And something bad happens because of him, but he comes to you and admits his mistake and vows and does make things right with you. Now that man may be revered.

And now the skeptic tells us that a deity is just like a corporation. They do not take responsibility upon themselves. Things go well we give them credit, things go bad and they are nowhere to be found. And that is very true. But in such a case we have to ask who distanced themselves and failed to revere first? Probably we first denied reverence toward our God and so instead of saying “well this must be how things should be” we say “man this is all messed up and I don’t like it”. Kipling wrote “If we can face triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same”. So in this we can see that placing reverence upon a being is more a matter of trust than of deserved respect.

Small children should be reverent toward parents

Parental reverence can be lost.
Parental reverence can be lost. | Source

Bringing it back to real.

Let us use this humble writer as an example for this next notion. He has blind faith. He just does. So he holds his deity in high reverence. Now just assume that things go badly as far as the world is concerned. But the blind faith kind of reverence cannot see this for it is blind. He only sees that things are not like he would prefer. But because of his reverence and blind faith he has to belief that there is a grand plan to the wrongness that he witnesses. In that case there is not good or bad in that sense there is only reverence for the plan of the master. (do not confuse this with fatalism for in reverence we must also obey and contribute to the outcome as we are part of the grand scheme also.

Let us wrap this back around to the beginning. It would be easy to say not to hold anything in reverence for a violation of that trust could be heartbreaking and devastating. However as we say: “nothing ventured and nothing gained” or like Bill Shakespeare loved to say “to be or not to be --- suffer those arrows baby” It is our hope that by looking at this piece on reverence it breaks it down a bit not so much that you follow the author’s opinion but that you break it down for you. So you own you reverence and don’t just give it away to where it does not belong. Please do not hold something up high just because everyone else does that. Do not kiss a ring until you believe in the wearer thereof. You can always revere something later.

What do you think.

After reading this do you think you are reverent?

See results

Please have some reverence.

This article was written by Eric Dierker. I reserve all rights to this article and desire no duplication without attribution. On the other hand feel free to share the content just let folks know where it came from. Copying it and claiming it as your own would be stupid and subject you to my legal harassment of you. Besides if someone asked you what it meant you would not know so yes it is copyright protected as original work by me.

To read more by this fascinating author visit www.thedierkerblog.com, Eric Dierker on Facebook and Pinterest and my sweet blog resipsaloquitor on google blogs

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    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Grand old Lady, I thank you so much for that thought. Yes the purity of the child just asking for some little thing and totally expecting it is just a wonderful treat and reminder of beauty.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      The idea to be able to revere something like nature or someone like God is a true gift. I fail to give due thought to the concept of reverence and how fortunate one is to be able to experience it. And yes, the Janet Joplin song is irreverent, but in its sheer simplicity, I really love it and can compare it to a child's reverence when they ask God for a special toy or a home for their family.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Sundeep, thank you, it was hard to keep it real and transcend all structures of awareness.

      I am still contemplating your great article which applies to priests also: https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/How-to-ch...

      Thank you

    • Sundeep Kataria profile image

      Sundeep Kataria 3 years ago

      Very deep, thought provoking hub. Even in India, where reverence is a part of culture and daily life, this article acts as a reminder and reinforces the importance of reverence.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wonderful synopsis, thank you much.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 3 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Balance, balance, and balance...the key we lose many times. Great article!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I have to ponder on this also. I think I revere my wife. :-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's an interesting topic, Eric, and one I'll have to give some thought to. I revere few people because they are, after all, just human beings, no better or worse than me. Thanks for the food for thought, and have a great weekend.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We have half of our tradition steeped in the Vietnamese culture of ancestor worship in our home. It exists quite healthily with our Christian beliefs. My childhood spent with Navajo and Hopi taught a worship of all things of nature.

      For us these things are well thought out and studied so that we can show a proper level of "reverence" to all of God's creations.

      Thank you for sharing with us here.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice thoughts!

      I do believe in Reverence towards Nature and my Parents. In India, there is a practice to worship the rivers, the trees and the Sun.

      Parents must be revered, as they bring us to this world.

      Beautiful thoughts in this hub!