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Source: (consider it) Thread: If Hatred Isn't Acceptable, Then What Do We Do About Hateful People?
LutheranChik
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Most of us have been taught from childhood that it is,wrong to say that we hate someone -- that it's wrong to even think about hating anyone. Yet there are certainly hateworthy human beings: genocidal maniacs; people who seem to delight in cruelty to others; people who, when all is,said and done, will slither off this mortal coil leaving the planet and humanity worse for their having lived.

My question: What are we to do about this, if hate is not a permitted feeling for Christians or others with similar moral codes? And before someone says, " Pray about it, " or " Love the dinner, hate the sin," I would suggest that those are facile, cliched answers to a serious and question -- at least as they are commonly expressed.

So...how does one process the rage that one feels toward cruel/dangerous/toxic people without becoming a mirror image of that person? Is it acceptable to feel those feelings but to act on them in a, for lack of a better word, righteous way?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:

So...how does one process the rage that one feels toward cruel/dangerous/toxic people without becoming a mirror image of that person?

When you figure it out, let me know. I struggle with this, but the beginnings are first acknowledging that holding the negative feelings is allowing them to continue to hurt me. This is the grip I need to being to let go the anger and pain.
quote:

Is it acceptable to feel those feelings but to act on them in a, for lack of a better word, righteous way?

This does not compute for me. Those feelings must fade, negative is negative. Cannot see any righteous use for it.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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We seem to be capable of both wonderful loving dreams and horrid hate-filled nightmares as human beings. I certainly am full of both capacities. Perhaps we should just be careful to not express our hatred in actions, but to acknowledge that we have the innate capacity to have hatred for others as real human emotions. And to reject the guilt about who we actually are: beings capable of both love and hate. Acknowledge and don't do. And be careful about the notion that if you have hatred in your heart that you've sinned; I don't think you've sinned with hatred in your heart and mind if you don't act on it, and control it like a civilized person, like a Christian. So, I propose acknowledging the real, genuine hatred you have, and ensure that it doesn't control you, govern your behaviour, and more than that, that it should trigger or cue you to do the other, to be kind. I'm not saying to cause you to feel love, but to behave as you would if you did, which is why I say "to be kind".
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MaryLouise
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I was thinking this last week that in various workplaces, church organisations and academia, I've probably encountered more Anthony Weiners than Harvey Weinsteins, although all of us know and have to deal with abusive predators and coercive types over and over again in our lives.

The Anthony Weiners are those who are truly horrified by their own poor impulse control and inappropriate behaviours. They apologise profusely, make promises, get therapy or rehab, start over; and then do the same fetishist abusive things all over again and again. These are the men who act out destructive patterns, who offer a younger work colleague or the teen daughter of a friend a lift home and suddenly blurt out how much they need someone to confide in, how they can't stop thinking about wanting to kiss her, how they just can't help themselves from sexting a woman they met in the gym, how much they love their wife but she doesn't understand, how they just looked up child porn every night for a year or two because they couldn't stop themselves, but they know it is wrong and they want a second chance.

The Harvey Weinsteins are what many of us consider sociopaths in that they are more calculating and know what they can get away with, how to make those around them too indebted or intimidated to speak up, how to take advantage of naive or troubled women or young men, how to get women alone after parties or on supposed work trips, how to bribe or blackmail or threaten women who don't comply, how and when physical force works, how to pay off witnesses and victims. How to create smokescreens and plausible alibis and destroy paper trails.

And then there are all those pleasant caring men and women in the workplace or community who know quite well what is going on but cover up for or defend the AWs and HWs, who lie for them, who form pressure lobbies to deter whistle blowers, who make excuses, who minimise the behaviour, who turn a blind eye, who simply don't want to know, who won't divorce them, who are gatekeepers for them. Who think it is all about protecting the good name and reputation and traditions of the company or university or church. Who think most victims are at fault and asked for it.

Most men (and women) have some idea what is happening when their boss keeps asking a young PA to stay late, when a new employee suddenly leaves the company without any warning and the boss looks sheepish, when your employer's wife keeps breaking her arm in unexplained falls and when business trips involve escort agencies and hotel rooms, charges laid and then withdrawn, jokey admissions of stalking behaviours that are 'really harmless'. For these bystanders, it might be none of their business, not illegal, not worth losing a job about for intervening, but they do know what is going on.

In organisations where a senior staff member is a predator, women often warn one another, confide stories of the abuse, ask others to help them get home safely or get out of the company fast. But often those who do know and even have proof of what is happening don't feel able to speak up. This in turn means years of complicit silence, internalised helplessness and guilt. Self-hate.

Because when it all comes out, almost everyone knew about it, they kept receipts and phone texts and images, they noted bruises, they helped with the cover-up, they denied anything was going on when asked. They aren't the hateful ones, they'll do the right thing when it is safe enough to do the right thing.

Abusive, predatory behaviour and sexual assault is hateful. Those who go unstopped are 'hateful'.

I do wonder though if talk of hate isn't beside the point. Because the behaviours, violence and the abusive person have to be stopped. Only then can we talk about moving on beyond hating. Not to a place of forgiveness perhaps, but to know that the hateful stuff has been stopped and is over, the person is no longer a threat. We have a clean-enough conscience. For now anyway.

[ 13. October 2017, 06:20: Message edited by: MaryLouise ]

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
Most of us have been taught from childhood that it is,wrong to say that we hate someone -- that it's wrong to even think about hating anyone. Yet there are certainly hateworthy human beings: genocidal maniacs; people who seem to delight in cruelty to others; people who, when all is,said and done, will slither off this mortal coil leaving the planet and humanity worse for their having lived.

My question: What are we to do about this, if hate is not a permitted feeling for Christians or others with similar moral codes? And before someone says, " Pray about it, " or " Love the dinner, hate the sin," I would suggest that those are facile, cliched answers to a serious and question -- at least as they are commonly expressed.

So...how does one process the rage that one feels toward cruel/dangerous/toxic people without becoming a mirror image of that person? Is it acceptable to feel those feelings but to act on them in a, for lack of a better word, righteous way?

hatred is bad enough but at least someone is bothered enough to get going at you.

Is indifference worse? It sort of says that you don't matter or don't appear on the radar

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mr cheesy
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I think the loving thing to do is everything possible to protect the people who are the objects of their wrath.

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arse

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LutheranChik
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Mr. Cheesy: I would agree.

But that still leaves one with the precipitating hateful feelings.

Sometimes I feel as if Christianity does not provide a realistic or healthy way to deal with them. " Anyone who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar, and the truth is not in him." So...I can't love God and hate Hitler or Stalin or terrorists who behead hostages on video?

IMHO, not giving people a way to honestly process their feelings in the face of hateful human behavior winds up encouraging the sort of treacly piety that says things like, "Remember that Hitler was once someone's little boy." Well, most little boys don't grow up to be monsters who murder millions of people.

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simontoad
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I will read more of the thread later, but the OP is alien to my experience, and I am therefore triggered. I was taught that the world was full of people who wanted to harm you or interfere in the way you wanted to live your life. The way to live was to prosecute your interests, and seek to sideline those who got in your way.

In their business dealings my parents always did this, and if they were opposed they would hate the person or people who opposed them actively and vociferously. There was no way either of my parents would concede any legitimacy at all to the point of view of those 'against' them. They repeated this pattern in all types of disputes all their lives, and my mother continues to do this.

Mum and Dad's approach to the world worked for them materially, and they were happy with each other. Mum lived on her nerves, moving from crisis to crisis, and it is only in the wake of Dad's dementia and death that she has really reached the bottom of her capacity to cope. But she remains a hater and loves to fight. She just lacks the capacity to fight these days, and is therefore forced to somewhat relax.

Outside of business, she is a good and loyal lifelong friend to many, and has a very active social life. I could not maintain her level of social engagement.

For my part, I was taught to fight, to hate when necessary and to win. However, I lack the fire in my parents and fell apart in my early 30's. I still hate particular people personally, I react negatively to criticism, and in certain moods hate everyone who disturbs me. However, my abiding hatreds are very destructive, because I direct them inwards. They play out in my mind in idle moments.

My capacity to hate comes from my upbringing. I don't think its natural to me, although surliness is. I think its natural to my parents. I think its their way of dealing with the challenges of life. I think its natural for them and (I reckon) lots and lots of people to look for enemies and hate them.

That's why I reckon that the Christian injunction to love is a gift of the Spirit, and one that is not universally given. Hate still has a legitimate place in our broken, hateful world and if you are a hater, hate away.

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

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Kwesi
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I wouldn't get too introspective about your feelings, Lutheranchik. The real issue is what we are to do about bad behaviour, which requires the exercise of rational, sensible reason. Hatred, wrath, and sentimentality and other emotional responses aren't much of a help.
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Callan
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Originally posted by Lutheranchik:

quote:
Sometimes I feel as if Christianity does not provide a realistic or healthy way to deal with them. " Anyone who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar, and the truth is not in him." So...I can't love God and hate Hitler or Stalin or terrorists who behead hostages on video?
There's a good line in Red Dragon where Will Graham says of the killer they are hunting "As a child my heart bleeds for him, as an adult someone should blow the sick fuck out of his socks". It's an effort but it's always possible to recognise someone's fellow humanity and to hold in balance the knowledge that they need to be brought down HARD for the good of everyone else.

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Brenda Clough
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This is what the state is for: to do what we cannot. We, you and I, can love the sinner and hate the sin. The state's job is to prosecute that swine and get his sorry molesting ass behind bars where he won't hurt anybody else. Andrea Dworkin is on record advocating the death penalty for rapists. You can see her point.

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LutheranChik
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Simontoad, I'm trying to understand what you're trying to say. Are you suggesting that feeling hatred of any kind is a function of growing up in a dysfunctional family? If so, I disagree.

And I'm not talking about a misanthrope. I am talking about a decent person, someone who has never had much of an occasion to feel real rage at anyone, who is confronted by a monstrous, dangerous, evil human being and suddenly feels genuine hatred for that person and what that person doing -- perhaps even feels frightened of those strong feelings. Are there valid Christian/ethical responses to that person other than, " You really shouldn't feel that way"?

[ 13. October 2017, 13:59: Message edited by: LutheranChik ]

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Brenda Clough
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I take it you do not feel that the response of the crusader is OK. Smiting evil, that kind of thing.(Where is that emoticon of Joan of Arc when you need it?)

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cliffdweller
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Like everyone else, I'm struggling with this, especially since the Nov. election.

One thing that guides me at times is to think of this similarly to how we think of forgiveness-- that not giving in to hate is not about any benefit for the "hated" one. Most of the people that really raise any degree of "hatred" or rage in me would neither know nor care how a "libtard" (hateful term-- and not because of what it says about liberals) like me would feel about them.

Rather, the reason we are urged not to give in to hate is for our own benefit. I am acutely aware of how my slide into hate is eroding my soul, my spirit, and even my relationships with the "non-hated" ones. So it's essential to my own spiritual and relational well-being that I don't allow the hatred to calcify, that I don't devolve into bitterness and cynicism.

I'm not sure I'm doing all that well at that right now.

Avoiding that involves a lot of personal spiritual disciplines that may differ from person to person-- so far I'm trying things like limiting facebook, the Ignatian Examen, journalling, etc. Things that help me be more aware of God's presence. Coming to terms with the truth that I am not a very powerful person. I can only control/make a difference in a very small aspect of this bigger reality that is going down-- but I CAN make a difference in that one very small piece. So do it.

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quetzalcoatl
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Doesn't it help to distinguish the emotions from actions? Well, that's the standard advice for people who get them intertwined. You might hate someone, but you don't have to act it out, except symbolically. In other words, channel it into a safe vehicle.

I don't see what you can do about emotions, since they are not controlled by us, are they?

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no path

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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What do you mean by hate? Do you mean you would like to be able to hurt them, so that you could enjoy their pain? That's not something I can identify with, never having felt that. Or do you mean your are revolted by their actions and struggle to feel any connection with a person who could do such a thing?

I'm not sure Christianity can provide a way for you to indulge the former; it seems to me to be based on the idea of God subjecting himself to all the worst that humanity can do and still refusing to give in to hatred. Indeed, the nearest I come to substitutionary atonement is the idea that God is simultaneously moved by anger at what a person's evil does to other people, and at the same time absolute love for the perpetrator, that his conflict is turned on himself.

Perhaps our response to great evil is a starting point. Forgiveness, love for enemies, universal love for all mankind made in the beautiful image of God - these are just touchy-feely warmy fuzzy nicy-wicy feelings unless they are considered challenges in the face of the real, unforgivable, unlovable, ugliness of the reality of human evil.

The anger ends up on the cross. And not in a touchy-feely "let it go to Jesus while we play a cheesy tune" way, but in a "nail the bastard up. But I'll be the bastard" way.

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quetzalcoatl
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I don't really get what the 'reality of human evil' means, but then that is an interminable discussion, so let's not.

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no path

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Gramps49
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A powerful video.
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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I don't really get what the 'reality of human evil' means, but then that is an interminable discussion, so let's not.

Oh, you can if you like. Here's a nice starter - https://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/images/w88-image10.jpg

The evil can get realler if you like, just need to actually launch one of them.

[ 13. October 2017, 15:38: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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Russ
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

I don't see what you can do about emotions, since they are not controlled by us, are they?

That's the first step - recognising that we don't choose what we feel, and therefore not trying to feel guilty about what we feel (or worse, pretending that we're not feeling it).

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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simontoad
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quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
Simontoad, I'm trying to understand what you're trying to say. Are you suggesting that feeling hatred of any kind is a function of growing up in a dysfunctional family? If so, I disagree.

And I'm not talking about a misanthrope. I am talking about a decent person, someone who has never had much of an occasion to feel real rage at anyone, who is confronted by a monstrous, dangerous, evil human being and suddenly feels genuine hatred for that person and what that person doing -- perhaps even feels frightened of those strong feelings. Are there valid Christian/ethical responses to that person other than, " You really shouldn't feel that way"?

I'm never entirely sure what it is I am trying to say, but that has never stopped me saying it.

I had a loving and protected childhood and my parents tried to do their very best for me all the time. This is consistent with rational parents who believe on good grounds that most people will try to hurt you or your interests if given the chance. I don't believe that anyone could think that this world is a good world. There is just so much evidence pointing the other way.

So I think I'm saying that hatred is a rational and sensible response to the fact that the world is full of bastards, just not a Christian response.

I know I've been a hateful bastard in the past, and my most horrible acts kind of happened by mistake, and that there were reasons (not justifications) for what I did. When I hate others, and I do, there usually comes a time when I remember what I am capable of, in the wrong circumstances. If my hatred of someone I encounter is a judgement of them, then my judgement is a condemnation of myself, either the things that I have done in the past, or the things I am capable of doing in the future. These thoughts help me move away from hate and toward forgiveness.

I've never been a victim of a truly evil act, such as a physical or sexual assault or the murder of someone close to me. I don't think I can talk about the level of hate that a victim of a serious crime against their person might feel, or how to handle that as a Christian. I reckon that someone who has been a victim of that sort of crime may well feel hatred towards somebody else who is accused of a similar crime too.

I don't hate historical figures like Stalin or Hitler or Pol Pot. It's more an intellectual identification of evil. I don't hate criminals I hear about on the telly. They are too far removed from me to provoke hatred. I'm far more likely to hate politicians, but then its really only their ideas I hate. No, my true hatreds are personal and specific, which makes the class of people who are hateful rather large, and Pol Pot or the priest convicted of sexually abusing a large number of boys in Ballaarat actually aren't in that class.

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

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Twilight

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:



I still hate particular people personally, I react negatively to criticism, and in certain moods hate everyone who disturbs me. However, my abiding hatreds are very destructive, because I direct them inwards. They play out in my mind in idle moments.


I thought I was the only one. I never feel hatred for the big bad guys just disdain and maybe a little anger. With someone like the Las Vegas shooter, I can't feel anything about him at all, he doesn't seem real to me.

It's the people in my life who have hurt me personally who I have so much trouble forgiving. Even after I truly believe I've forgiven them, something will remind me of what they did or said to me and the whole thing will play out again like a record that's dropped in my brain. I think of it as "nursing the hurt," and I really, really wish I knew how to stop it.

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
There's a good line in Red Dragon where Will Graham says of the killer they are hunting "As a child my heart bleeds for him, as an adult someone should blow the sick fuck out of his socks". It's an effort but it's always possible to recognise someone's fellow humanity and to hold in balance the knowledge that they need to be brought down HARD for the good of everyone else.

Good line there. In reality it is often the other way around. Children can be very hateful. As a child I played war games and suchlike. As an adult these things have come back to haunt me somewhat, though not without relapse.

The problem with hatred is that as human animals we have been 'equipped' with it. Possibly as a part of our survival mechanism? I don’t know. Total suppression of it may not be healthy or even possible.
It would be nice to escape hate by opening a Bible. However most readers know that, even at a casual glance, Holy Scripture it riddled with with this hard to defeat and twisted concept.

[ 15. October 2017, 12:36: Message edited by: rolyn ]

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Boogie

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I can’t think of a single person that I hate.

I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve never been badly treated, except once. I didn’t/don’t hate her either. I felt pity for her at the time as she’s a sociopath and has lost all friends and family.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

I don't see what you can do about emotions, since they are not controlled by us, are they?

That's the first step - recognising that we don't choose what we feel, and therefore not trying to feel guilty about what we feel (or worse, pretending that we're not feeling it).
There's a distinction that needs to be made between fleeting thoughts and attitudes. Jesus seems to be very very concerned with our thoughts/attitudes. The entire sermon on the mount is pretty much that-- that our attitudes (hate, lust, greed) are the source of our actions (violence, sexual immorality, dishonesty)

So I don't think it's quite right to say we shouldn't worry about thoughts. Rather, I'd say what we do with our thoughts is of prime importance. We can't control our fleeting thoughts, but we can control what we do with them-- do we feed them, nurture them, ruminate on them, infulge them on Facebook? Or do we counter them, replace them with life-giving words from Scripture?

I'm not very adept at living this one out, especially since last Nov.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10951 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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"What do we do?" presupposes there is something you can do to or for hateful people that will change them.

The only thing in my experience you can do for hateful people is to show them the benefits of a better way. Condemning them, judging them, does not change anything except for perhaps the worse.

"I'll show him to hate people like me by hating him right back" seems to me to be playing right into the hater's delusional thinking and helping the hater "justify" their own actions.

It is better, in my experience to let go of your resentment against that person. First, it may (or may not - it doesn't matter) show that person you are better than they think. Second, it helps you.

It has been said that a resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. I have found that to be true for me.

Practice compassion. It may not help "them." It will help you.

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Martin60
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# 368

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As Theo Padnos said on BBC's first class HARDtalk, send ISIS chocolate.

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Love wins

Posts: 16673 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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I found myself thinking about this while up at the Cathedral for Evensong. Once again, one of the nasty Psalm verses was left out, because we cannot condone asking God to be vengeful. But then what are we supposed to do in the face of unimaginative evil? Luvvy duvvy Christianity is all very well when things are going well, but sometimes the strong arm approach simply has to be invoked.

Or are we all to become the modern version of Neville Chamberlain?

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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rolyn
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# 16840

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Once war had been declared chamberlain said that it would be waged until the nazi Party and it’s minions were completely destroyed.
That snowflake turned into a hailstone when the climate turned. The same is true now.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
I found myself thinking about this while up at the Cathedral for Evensong. Once again, one of the nasty Psalm verses was left out, because we cannot condone asking God to be vengeful. But then what are we supposed to do in the face of unimaginative evil? Luvvy duvvy Christianity is all very well when things are going well, but sometimes the strong arm approach simply has to be invoked.

Or are we all to become the modern version of Neville Chamberlain?

But there is a huge difference between passive accommodation of evil and organized, sustained, non violent resistance. Pacifism ≠ passivity.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10951 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
It's an effort but it's always possible to recognise someone's fellow humanity and to hold in balance the knowledge that they need to be brought down HARD for the good of everyone else.

The OP and many of the responses on this thread assume a distinction between "decent" people and "evil" people, a distinction that isn't well justified. I think a lot of us, including me, would do well to consider the possibility that under the right circumstances, we could do some pretty terrible things.
Posts: 24384 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Erroneous Monk
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# 10858

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
I think a lot of us, including me, would do well to consider the possibility that under the right circumstances, we could do some pretty terrible things.

I think that's right. I'm wondering too if we're most likely to react with hatred towards people committing acts we think we would never do, or people committing acts we fear we could do?

I'm aware in my case that I have a particularly visceral reaction when I read about parents who have abused and/or neglected their own children to death. This became much more pronounced after I became a mother (more than 11 years ago), when I would find myself reading case coverage in the news and really burning with anger. But I'm not sure if this is because I'm convinced I never could be capable of this or because I fear that I could, in different circumstances.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

Posts: 2822 | From: I cannot tell you, for you are not a friar | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
"What do we do?" presupposes there is something you can do to or for hateful people that will change them.

Maybe there are two different cases here. There are the people you know - family, work colleagues, fellow members of your sports club, music society, whatever. And then there are the people you only read about / hear about in the media.

The people who you only read/hear about - you don't know them. You may hate what they've reportedly said or some, you may not be able to imagine how a decent person could possibly say or do that, but you don't know them. Your imagination is inadequate. The tempting conclusion that they must be twisted evil hateful horrible people is based on inadequate data. Go ahead and hate what they've reportedly done, but keep an open mind to the possibility that they're not quite as black as they're painted. That is the sin/sinner distinction.

On the other hand, there are the people you do really know. And maybe they really are rotten to the core. You know them; I don't. But you have some small level of influence over them & whether they improve or not...

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

Posts: 2989 | From: rural Ireland | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
LutheranChik
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# 9826

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Actually, when I wrote the OP I was not thinking at all about reforming the hateful person. I'm working under the assumption that the people in question are beyond reform by any mortal means. The first of the question is, what do we do internally with our rage.

Also: I know that it's the pious and theologically correct thing to say, "All have dinner and,fallen short of the glory of God," and also an observable psychological/ sociological fact that, given certain sets of circumstances, most of us can be led to do terrible things -- but the fact is that most of us don't do horrific things. And the people I am thinking of right now as being absolutely despicable people, aren't doing their evil deeds under any kind of physical or psychological duress. They are doing them gratuitously and happily.

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Simul iustus et peccator
http://www.lutheranchiklworddiary.blogspot.com

Posts: 6281 | From: rural Michigan, USA | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Erroneous Monk
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# 10858

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quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
"All have dinner and,fallen short of the glory of God," ...

I assume this was unintentional, but it's superb.

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And I shot a man in Tesco, just to watch him die.

Posts: 2822 | From: I cannot tell you, for you are not a friar | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
# 120

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quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
I'm working under the assumption that the people in question are beyond reform by any mortal means...

...the people I am thinking of right now as being absolutely despicable people, aren't doing their evil deeds under any kind of physical or psychological duress. They are doing them gratuitously and happily.

You're probably right not to be specific about who they are, so as to focus on your reaction to the evil you perceive in them. The downside is that some of the comments I or others may make may relate to different situations.

I guess what I'm wondering is where the boundary lies between being a despicable person, and being an ordinary person in the grip of a despicable idea.

On the basis that all I can offer is the cliche that it's OK to hate the idea...

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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Callan
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# 525

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by Callan:
It's an effort but it's always possible to recognise someone's fellow humanity and to hold in balance the knowledge that they need to be brought down HARD for the good of everyone else.

The OP and many of the responses on this thread assume a distinction between "decent" people and "evil" people, a distinction that isn't well justified. I think a lot of us, including me, would do well to consider the possibility that under the right circumstances, we could do some pretty terrible things.
Ultimately only God can judge. But, from a practical point of view, if people are doing bad things someone has to stop them. The fact that we might be in a "there but for the grace of God scenario" doesn't alter the fact that it might be our responsibility to do something about it.

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9686 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Agree! Silence and inaction is not an option; we have to stand up to evil.
For example, here's an action plan for an issue that is currently getting a lot of attention.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
The OP and many of the responses on this thread assume a distinction between "decent" people and "evil" people, a distinction that isn't well justified. I think a lot of us, including me, would do well to consider the possibility that under the right circumstances, we could do some pretty terrible things.

I expect most people have heard about the Milgram and Zimbardo experiments. A quick Google search will explain for anyone who hasn't come across these notorious pieces of research and their results.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34563 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
LutheranChik
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# 9826

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"I can't be too angry at the thief who ransacked my house because I occasionally have covetous feelings I don't act on, and if I were desperate or in a controlled experiment about deference to authority I might steal things too"?

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Simul iustus et peccator
http://www.lutheranchiklworddiary.blogspot.com

Posts: 6281 | From: rural Michigan, USA | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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Is there an issue of definition here? Passing anger isn't what I think of as hate, but I accept that it could be described that way. I think of hate as a deep seated and abiding anger, an intense and overwhelming feeling that ebbs and flows in intensity but is always there.

I really really disagree with the idea that there are people in the world who meet this criteria:

quote:
And the people I am thinking of right now as being absolutely despicable people, aren't doing their evil deeds under any kind of physical or psychological duress. They are doing them gratuitously and happily. (said LutheranChk)
The only people I can think of who are like this are Dick Darstardly and Mutley from the cartoon Whacky Racers, and Mutley isn't even human. Are there really and truly people like this? Can you give a real-life example like maybe the guards at Abu Ghraib? (I don't reckon they fit, but are there others?)

I reckon thinking that people are like this makes it easier to hate them. It might be that hating a person makes it easier to believe that they are doing what they are doing gratuitously and happily.

HOWEVER I have not been a victim of a serious crime, I have not seen the pain of a loved one who has been the victim of a serious crime, and I have not suffered in war. I might think differently if I had.

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

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LutheranChik
Shipmate
# 9826

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Hitler. Stalin. I can list a lot more.

If you can't imagine feeling sustained hatred for an evil individual -- if you can't even define an evil individual -- then you must exist on a far more enlightened plane than I do.

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Simul iustus et peccator
http://www.lutheranchiklworddiary.blogspot.com

Posts: 6281 | From: rural Michigan, USA | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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You are not a citizen of the US, I take it, Simontoad. We have a nice example for you.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

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Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, all the dead bogeymen, how can any of us know what went on in their heads? How can any of us know whether they committed their evil acts gratuitously and happily?

Also, we only see their characters through the lens of history. Surely our hatred, unless we lived through the horrors they initiated, can only be intellectual hatred of their deeds.

I thought you'd hit me with one of those men who kidnapped and imprisoned girls over many years. There's an Austrian one and an American one I can recall. But that's just it for me. What they did was despicable, but I don't brood over it.

Brenda, which American nightmare are you talking about? Weinstein? Trump? David Duke? that bloke who runs the NRA? Roger Ailes? Rupert Murdoch? (yes, he's yours now), the executives who direct their organisations to rape the planet for profit? oh there are so many... but trust me. America does not have a monopoly on these people. They are everywhere.

These are all political hatreds, intellectual hatreds. They are not like hating your torturer.

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The opinions expressed above are transitory emotional responses and do not necessarily reflect the considered views of the author.

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, all the dead bogeymen, how can any of us know what went on in their heads? How can any of us know whether they committed their evil acts gratuitously and happily?

They didn't kick puppies, it isn't "mummy didn't love me enough, so now I shall be a bit of a dick at work". Mass murder, torture; evil. Who gives a fuck if Hitler might not have felt a thrill when directing the slaughter of millions?
quote:

Also, we only see their characters through the lens of history. Surely our hatred, unless we lived through the horrors they initiated, can only be intellectual hatred of their deeds.

When one can still speak to their victims, one's vision must be truly myopic for the lens of history to be very dim.
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:

HOWEVER I have not been a victim of a serious crime, I have not seen the pain of a loved one who has been the victim of a serious crime, and I have not suffered in war. I might think differently if I had.

I think I hated more before any experience became personal. Empathy and all that.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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MaryLouise
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# 18697

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There have been quite a few attempts to understand the thinking and emotional make-up of Ian Brady who considered it an 'amusing philosophical exercise' to torture and murder small children on the Moors in the 1960s. And there are some fairly sophisticated studies on the development and self-understanding of sociopathic personalities and psychopathy. I've read through a number of essays -- not just pathologising -- that have perceptive insights into the character and behaviours of Trump and his supporters.

None of which helps some of us deal with the painful and frustrating feelings of anger, hatred, revulsion, helplessness we feel when we read through those overwhelming numbers of #MeToo posts about the prevalence of abuse, or wake up to find another gross and offensive outburst from Trump.

These fierce visceral feelings of outrage and hatred may be appropriate in some ways, whether or not I call myself Christian. But they are hard to deal with day after day and faith doesn't offer much of an immediate answer, not in the short term. This reminds me of how long it takes after war for horror and grief to abate.

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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Are we perhaps confusing anger and revulsion, and indeed defence and protection, with actual hatred?

When I speak of hatred, I'm thinking of the sort of hatefests where people talk about how much they hope some criminal will suffer in prison, how they hope he'll get beaten up ever day; a vindictive desire to see the person suffer as much as possible.

That is something I've never resonated with, and actually find very disturbing when people talk that way.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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MaryLouise
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# 18697

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Not the easiest word to pin down. Looking at the OED online:

verb
[with object]

1 Feel intense dislike for.
‘the boys hate each other’
‘he was particularly hated by the extreme right’

1.1 Have a strong aversion to (something)
‘he hates flying’
with infinitive ‘I'd hate to live there’

1.2 with infinitive Used politely to express one's regret or embarrassment at doing something.
‘I hate to bother you’
1.3 hate on informal no object Express strong dislike for; criticize or abuse.
‘I can't hate on them for trying something new’

noun
mass noun

1Intense dislike.
‘feelings of hate and revenge’

1.1 as modifier Denoting hostile actions motivated by intense dislike or prejudice.
‘a hate campaign’

1.2 informal count noun An intensely disliked person or thing.
‘Richard's pet hate is filling in his tax returns’

Origin

Old English hatian (verb), hete (noun), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch haten (verb) and German hassen (verb), Hass ‘hatred’.

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“As regards plots I find real life no help at all. Real life seems to have no plots.”

-- Ivy Compton-Burnett

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LutheranChik
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# 9826

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Karl: Perhaps not the current Internet aggression du jour, " I hope you die in a fire" (which at least I wouldn't wish on anyone), but "The world is worse off for you being in it," definitely. And I actually believe that about the selected persons I'm thinking of.

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Simul iustus et peccator
http://www.lutheranchiklworddiary.blogspot.com

Posts: 6281 | From: rural Michigan, USA | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
Karl: Perhaps not the current Internet aggression du jour, " I hope you die in a fire" (which at least I wouldn't wish on anyone), but "The world is worse off for you being in it," definitely. And I actually believe that about the selected persons I'm thinking of.

Oh, aye, there's no doubt it's a simple objective fact that the world doesn't benefit from some people's presence. The question I suppose is whether we'd ultimately hope that they suffer, painfully, or would come to a form of redemption. I think that the sort of hatred we're meant to shun is the "I hope you die in a fire" type; it's declaring (contra the Gospel, which is perhaps the point) that that person is beyond redemption, or should be denied access to it, whilst we somehow "deserve" it, although "deserving" grace and forgiveness is by definition a contradiction in terms.

I don't think the "he who hates his brother is a murderer" prohibition on hatred is an arbitrary or simply challenging dictum. I think it's rooted in the NT idea of our need for redemption, and the idea that some people can uniquely not deserve it. By definition no-one does. It's offered because God's nice like that, if you'll excuse the phrasing. That's not to say that everyone's equally bad; I think that's a misunderstanding of the concept. If we give into hatred, we have to deny our own need of redemption, because we are in essence saying "I deserve God's favour, you do not."

[ 18. October 2017, 13:40: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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