Updated: Mar 19, 2020
By: Mary Ann Spears, Mountaineer News Contributor
Posted: February 26, 2020 | 09:40 EST
Hate and/or Hatred is an emotion defined by most dictionaries as intense hostility and aversion, usually derived from fear and anger or a sense of injury. More recent evaluations include the formula that hate is caused by ignorance plus fear. Hate is not necessarily innate; it is almost always learned…and therefore, taught. Traditionally, the sense of hate is linked with religious teachings or cultural practices. Nationalities seem to mistrust and despise each other, especially if citizens are out of the safety zone of their own group. But cultural differences and ethnic backgrounds are not enough to produce violent feelings of hatred and hostility naturally.
Does religion teach hate? Without a doubt, some religions do foster a sense of hate and never-ending retribution. There has been more blood spilled in the name of God or Allah, (or other religious titles) than for all other reasons put together. There have been more wars fought for religious reasons than for any other cause. In many religions, children are taught in the cradle to hate their enemies and to vow eternal vengeance upon specific people, ethnic groups, disciples of religious leaders, and even the rituals of worship. Two main combatants, Muslims and Christians, are active participants in hating each other, even though the practice is in direct opposition to their own Scriptures.
Is hate an inborn emotion in the human psyche? Hate is not a constructive emotion, meant to insure safety and preservation of life, certainly. Once taught, it lies dormant within the mind until it it is stirred and fanned into flames, many times with no explanation of the cause or the intensity. The emotion of hate is often confused with anger. Actually, anger serves a purpose – it is an emotion within the self-defense arsenal of the mind, meant to propel the being into acting. In other words, anger is meant to spur you into an action of defense of yourself or others, or to lead you into a significant change of lifestyle and behavior. In contrast, hate is a living, breathing, indwelling destructive emotion with no purpose of life saving.
At the heart of learned hatred is blame. This condition can be aroused with no sense of invasion or attack. People can be trained to hate and blame entire races automatically, with no rational thinking involved. Human beings strive for superiority, especially in matters of culture, heritage, and religion. We want to feel right – the only right – and we may be taught to hate those who are not like us. It is mystifying, but organized religions do not always speak out against hate and animosity; in truth, some actually preach hatred. Christianity, which is founded upon the bedrock of Forgiveness, strays from the point again and again. Consider the slogan following the attacks of 911: “Never Forget”. That is in direct opposition with the instruction of Christ: “Forgive Your Enemies”; and yet decades later, the nation continues to voice it, see it printed, and hear it preached. This is religious and political hatred, fostered, preserved, encouraged, intensified, and sanctioned by organized religion.
Hatred is a ruinous emotion, dangerous and ugly. It has no resolution. One may hate forever and destroy one’s own mind and body – but achieve no victory. Hate is quiet and insidious. It destroys the brain’s valuable system of executive decisions. Hostility engages the psyche in a constant battle, one that the hater can never hope to win. Blame and fear lead to constant agitation and unrest within the being. The body, responding to the commands of the brain, becomes prepared for actual physical combat. Heart rate and blood pressure are on alert. The organs cannot calm down and take nourishment in a healthy way. The being, thus being prepared for fighting, cannot relax in a positive way; cannot rest; cannot stop its own vigilance. Physicians see this slow disintegration of the body and mind every day, as they continue to diagnose a complete breakdown of bodily systems. Hatred leads to deadly illness and premature death.
Can learned hatred be changed? Yes, absolutely. It involves learning to think rationally, rather than emotionally. Can a person change his/her own lifetime destructive responses? Yes, absolutely. It involves taking responsibility for one’s own thinking and process of evaluation. The emotions then have no choice but to follow. If there is interest, instructions may be printed on this source soon.