Hate: A Social Disease

I’m going to tell you something about hate. Hate is one of those emotions that not only blinds but it does so sometimes by masking itself in a shroud of good intentions, love and fervor among other things.

It is a disease like alcoholism. People who hate often do so for what they believe is a good reason, do not see the symptoms of their disease (or become accepting of it) and have no desire to change.

Hate is seen often in even well meaning good people of all religions and philosophies.  Some common motivators of hatred comes when people group together and separate themselves from others, for example in groups of Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Atheists, Capitalists, Communists, Republicans, Democrats.  Group inspired hatred is a degree worse than hatred by an individual in that though both kinds of hate have their base in something tangible these groups create validation and even justification for individuals to hate.  They are an individuals support base.

Group hate is much harder to counter even with rational thinking and facts.  It reduces the most intelligent and rational people down to humanities base primal incivility and causes them to act unintelligible, irrational and callous.  I would even argue that group hate creates a sort of group sociopathy towards the “others” who are the recipient of this hate.

I’d like to say that this sort of hate is rife among followers of religion, since that is an easy target in history.  I mean, we have ancient stories of ethnic cleansing in the Jewish scriptures (Deuteronomy 32:25), 10 waves of Crusades and Da’ish (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant).  However, religion does not have a monopoly on group hate.  Articles by atheist or Gnostic types of people, not to mention the history of world leaders who have had the power and executed campaigns rooted in hatred reveal anything but a religious motive.

A tell tale sign that one is dealing with a hater is when a person replaces anything good or constructive to say with arguments designed to disparage, undermine or slander another group of people. Of course people will disagree a lot on a wide range of issues, but when the discussion turns to the snide or vile not just a few times but becomes a recurring theme it is a big red flag that you are dealing with a hater.

One situation that strikes me personally is a group of fundamentalist Christians I know, some have remained friends after my conversion to Islam while others firmly believe I am so guided by Satan that they must consider me an enemy not to associate with. Once in a while I come across a Facebook post from my former friends just to read the vile hatred and misinformation on Islam that is to a such low standard that if I viewed Christianity in the same way they would think I read it on the wall of a public toilet and be sorely disappointed in me and my ability to discover factual information.

Another example that really struck home was a CNN post on Youtube that I came across about current events about the United Kingdom finally identifying “Jihadi John”.  I was elated that they finally identified this guy!  Not so the comments by posters on CNN by people calling themselves names like “Jesus theDestroyer“, “Coyote Ganja” and other choice names.  They seemed to ignore the news item and went on tirades against Islam that were vile, appalling and far from based in fact.

Its not only fundie Christians or unqualified people with personality disorders on the anonymous internet that engage in this diatribe.  I’ve played a constructive part in 3 religions during my journey to Islam and I am here to tell you from personal experience that regardless if how more or less religious these people are, Christians, Jews and Muslims are equally as guilty of group hate despite their self righteous piety, rituals and teachings of their Scriptures.  I can’t count the number of times that in the mosque I have listened to the identical arguments, misinformation and stereotypes in reverse that justify hatred.  The same arguments that I heard made by Christians and Jews in churches and synagogues before.

There comes a time when humanity needs an intervention and I don’t know how to give it one.  What will it take?  A major war, asteroid, alien invasion?

Hate never has done anyone any good. If one thinks that it displays their higher intelligence, superior lifestyle or religious piety they are sorely mistaken.

Hate displays a serious social disease, lack of intelligence or intellectual apathy, and generally makes the most beautiful of us very ugly.  It creates mistrust and a climate of fear that sometimes can lead to violence and retaliation.

My hope is that people will look past their prejudice, and set it aside if only for a moment, to see that other people are human beings with the same hopes, dreams and basic values.  We may have a different religion, nationality, race or politics but we must find a way to respect each other and part of that is learning from each other, not from diatribe.

We can be different, be productive citizens and still live in a society in peace with each other.  All it takes is for us to cut a little slack for the next person to prove him/herself and judge everyone on their own merit.

“I helped Jews. We’re all brothers,” Bathily told BFM TV. “It’s not a question of Jews, Christians or Muslims, we’re all in the same boat,” he said. ~Reported by Haaretz News

Lassana Bathily was the religious Malian Muslim who saved shoppers from a terrorist during an attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris.