“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we
love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death".
I John, III, 14.
“But whoso hath the world’s goods, and beholdeth his brother in
need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the
love of God abid in him?
My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the
tongue, but in deed and truth."
I John, III, 17-18.
“Love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God and
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
I John, IV, 7-8.
“No man hath beheld God at any time; if we love one another
God abideth in us."
I John , IV, 12.
“God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God
abideth in him."
I John, IV, 16.
“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar for
he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen cannot love
God whom he has not seen."
I John, IV, 20.
The above lines precede a story by Leo Tolstoy 1 called, “What Men Live By”. To me they emphasize the hypocrisy that religions all show by not being able to unite into a single union, which is what God intended. The last quote, 2 shows what I have said all along that love of neighbor brings us to love of God. And that is why I precede this essay on Hate with these lines.
As surely as love exists as the universal gravity in man that unites him with his brothers and sisters, and finally with God; so hate is that which separates and divides man, not only from his neighbors but also from God. And conversely, separation and divisions between men are the breeding ground of hate.
I grew up in the inner part of a large city, and I know all too well how separation breeds hate. And as Saint John shows above, 3 poverty brings about separation, and consequently fear and hate. And all of this further underlines the failure of religions to bring about union and to eliminate the bane of poverty. As long as poverty exists in this world there will be hate and all the consequences of hate.
Man is not born with hate; he learns it. Man learns it through hurt and the fear that goes with hurt. Man is a dependent creature; he must learn to trust others for his sustenance from the very beginning of his life. The family and society are the two places he goes for all his sustenance. Poverty often causes the injury to man that sets off the reaction of fear. The greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown pervades man when he cannot assure for himself or his family the satisfaction of the needs of survival. Man then gravitates toward those who are like himself, and separates himself from all others.
Man’s world is a world of total uniqueness. There are no classes or groups that exist as things in the mortal world; there are only individuals, and no two are alike. Man creates the groups and classes through further division and abstraction. This allows him to order his world, by handling these groups or “objects” instead of the infinite multitude he finds. He does the same with his own kind; he takes himself and his family and society as his groups, and separates out all others. Thus his search for unity in creating objects also has the unwanted side effect of dividing man from his fellow men. Here we see how the separation of man proceeds; the results of this we see in the inner cities of the world, in what we call ghettos. As long as man feels this fear of not belonging; of not being able to trust those around him for one reason or another, he will separate himself into small groups, that are isolated and the breeding ground of hate.
Once man has separated himself from others, he views all other groups as threats. They become enemies that compete for the means of survival, and if man becomes infected with greed then he also sees them as the barriers to his welfare in all things. Greed damages the understanding in a way. It blocks the thinking process, and replaces logic with feelings. Hate in a way, satisfies the need in man to explain the cause of his frustration or failures or hurts; hatred focuses that cause on the group hated. Man cannot rationalize his hatred; he merely feels it. Hate is a type of satisfaction. It is easy to hate; but much harder is it to love, for love entails giving, and the duties the psyche binds to it. From hate emerges the vicious cycle of hurt. In this man has lost his reason, he is no longer a thinking animal, or Homo Sapiens, but an animal like all the lower creatures of the earth. Reason has been replaced by feeling, justice with retribution and revenge.
Man must learn to live with hate, for it is inevitably a part of all of us. It lives unconsciously in us, so much so that it causes us to hate even things we have never experienced, by association. Hate is not obvious or even conscious much of the time. It lives in those little biases and prejudices we feel but can’t explain. But when a hurt occurs, then that hurt is immediately associated with those subconscious feelings, if its cause is not immediately made apparent. Man looks for causes instinctively, and the causes of hurt must be focused, therefore he immediately goes to the causes that are buried in his psyche. So hate crystallizes, bypassing all reason or thought. Man must come to recognize his hatreds, and realize that hatred is futility. He must realize that unreasoning hatred is a detriment not a benefit. Even justifiable hatred of true enemies is in the long run, a futile course that will only cause more hurt to himself than his enemies. He must also realize that hatred of groups have no foundation in reality, and is unreasonable. Groups are artificial things, an invention of the mind if you will. Individuals cause hurt not groups. But even beyond this it must be seen that the return of hurt with hurt accomplishes nothing, except continuing a cycle that only makes man less of a man.
Societies cannot exist with hate; this was learned very early on by man. He created laws to allow his society to replace hate with a system to protect the members of society from hate and retribution, and create a deterrent to antisocial behavior. Society had replaced individual hate with societal justice based on reason. Of course, the problems that society has continued to see show that societies still do not realize the true causes and perpetrators of hate in society. Societies have allowed greed the worse perpetrator of hate, to continue to rule its societies through the economy, and have allowed the misery of poverty to continue to create the bulk of all hatreds.
Groups that hate, like the Nazis, and other regimentation groups that substitute hate for reason, thrive on these very defects of society. They prey on the poor and disenfranchised; the alienated and the troubled, and offer them hope through the solidarity of hate. Thus have the terrorist groups found a bountiful windfall in recruiting the casualties of war and the vicious economy that impoverishes so haphazardly.
We must also realize that true freedom will always offer a vulnerable haven for hate and its minions. We cannot give in to them. In hating those same groups we only further their cause.
The cures for hate are the cures for all the ills of humanity. Nations must not alienate any of their charges. Social and economic injustice must be stopped. Competition between citizens of a Nation must end. We must bring back camaraderie and cooperation between citizens and restore trust between all members of society. This cannot be done through regimentation and the suppression of a police state, but only through the elimination of hardship and social and economic injustice. Nations made of citizens who feel pride in their unity, and promote the rights and duties toward each other that make them respect each other, will provide all the protection we need from the in roads of hate and the organizations which promote hate. Separation breeds hate, so we must eliminate separation. The best defense against hate is love and only through love can hate finally be defeated. Here we see why the strength and leadership of religious beliefs is vital to man, and its division through the stupidities of dogma and doctrines the very thing that God never wanted. Separations in religion are a contradiction in the very meaning of religion itself, for religion exists for all without exception, just as God loves all without exception. As Saint John delineates above, love is the method of God, for God is Love. Only through unlimited and unquestioning love of all does religion perform God’s work. And only through love of man will man find God. Religion is the solace and comfort for all mankind; no matter what we call Him, God will always answer love with His Love, which knows none of the petty divisions of this world.
We all must live with hate for mortality will always bring us the separations which will ensure its growth. But we can minimize its occurrence through working together to create a world that is free of the hardships which allow hate to grow.
We have spoken of the haters above, but there is also the matter of those hated. Just as separation causes hate, separation also causes people to be hated. Isolation and alienation cause hate because people fear what they do not understand or see as hidden or mysterious. Fear of the unknown is the anxieties that people feel from repressed or hidden fears they experience. Ghettos come into being because of the solidarity felt to ward off hate by the majority; but the creation of closed ghettos also generates hate by the majority for the very reason that they are foreign and unknown – they become an unknown threat or menace through their very nature of isolation and difference from the majority. It is all the more incumbent on those discriminated against to become not further removed from society, but further dispersed into society.
The major example of this throughout history has been the continual anti-Semitism experienced by the Jews. Why have these people who have always exhibited the highest intellectual ideals and scholarship, and have even created the basis for many of the religions of the world, through the Bible, been so continually discriminated against and hated?
At least part of this answer lies in the extreme dogmatism which has tended to make them think of themselves as Jews first and citizens of other countries as second. This caused continual isolation and alienation into ghettos or communities where the majority populations saw this as a threat to their nationalism. The proof of this lies in the interspersed American Jews who are seen just as another type of American who believes in just another religion. Granted the forces of prejudice and hate will become compelling forces to weld these “foreigners” together; but this segregation must be resisted and not given into. Dispersal of any minority must become the rule of all societies, otherwise the risk of hatred grows in the majority.
Similarly, the problem of sexual preference discrimination and hatred, can only be worsened by segregation of homosexuals and bisexuals into separate gay communities. There is an inherent uneasiness and fear of gays in the average heterosexual 4 . This is often reinforced and turned into outright hatred, through lack of associations of heterosexuals with gays. People tend to hate what they don’t understand or fear. Homosexuals must show the straight world that they are not really a threat; that they are good honest people that merely have made a different consensual choice in partnership. Here again religions must see that even if they do not endorse the gay life style, they must condemn hatred against gays in their members. For God is love, and hatred even against supposed lawbreakers is an even worse sin.
Lastly there is the segregation of the poor, which is the abomination of the civilized world. To segregate people because of economic factors is the terrible cause of most of the hatred existing in this world today. If we would grow trust in our societies then we must not segregate large sections of our societies because of the economy. Poverty is not the fault of the poor, but the fault of our greedy economy.
Finally, as I have said above, separation breeds hate, and also those hated. As long as mankind chooses to divide its populations into various types there will always be the threat of hate; as long as competition both intra and inter societal exists there will be a reason to create a cause for any loss into a form of hate against those with more. As long as we have haves and have-nots there will be fuel for the fires of hate.
A society that lives according to the spin of the roulette wheel, yet continues to tout the Horatio Alger myth that hard work will overcome, is a society that is fueling the fires of hate and perhaps even worse. When all become winners and no one loses, then and only then, will hate become a word without substance; till that time let us all take solace in Saint John’s words as stated above, for they are alone, the things that men live by!
1 Count Leo Tolstoy was born (1828) into the landed aristocracy of Russia. He lived most of his life on his estate Yasnaya Polyanna, where he wrote his novels and stories. He underwent a religious conversion around 1880 and from then on changed his life style to that of living as a serf on his own property, which he gave over to his family. He spent the rest of his life working and living as the poor did, and teaching them through the later simple stories he wrote like “What men live by”.
2 I John, IV, 20
3 I John, III, 17-18,
4 This outright “fear” or “uneasy feeling” (really an anxiety or “unknown fear”) that many heterosexuals feel when they have contact with gays, can be explained as the emergence of repressed sexual desires which they themselves cannot come to grips with, because they have come to repress many of their thoughts about sexuality. Many heterosexuals cannot come to grips with the homosexual feelings (however slight) that all heterosexuals feel. They fear that they themselves may be latent homosexuals. In many the hate against gays is fueled by this very feeling of latent homosexuality that they themselves have repressed. When heterosexuals finally come to grips with their own sexuality, and finally become secure in their own sexual preferences, they will realize that homosexuality is a preference that genetics has chosen for certain people. There is no good or bad about it, as there is no good or bad about some people having children and others not. We all have sexual tendencies that drive us in both directions; genetics determines which will be the stronger in us, and which will be the type we choose. Much worse is the denial of sexuality as a vital force in humanity, with the result being the abusers we have seen and heard so much about these days. Sexuality is a vital and irresistible force in a human that must be tied to love and not hate. Sexuality must be seen as something beautiful because of the love it engenders, and because it brings humans together through an intimate loving relationship.
Originally Published:June 9, 2008
Revised:June 29, 2014