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Posted by on Dec 9, 2012 in Uncategorized | 9 comments

Don’t Hate

Sometimes it’s hard not to. Sometimes I struggle with myself. Sometimes I fail, and then I remember that when I do, I become part of the problem too. Just like everyone else, I have things I believe in: democracy, tolerance, equality, freedom of expression, and so forth. I have a political agenda: I feel that every human being is entitled to education, housing, food, and healthcare as basic human rights; and I believe in heavy regulation of private entities. But at the same time, I see potential problems with unchecked government power. Because of this, it’s easy for me to allow for different views and to consider other alternatives. So politics are not a barrier to friendship, unless your politics are grounded in bigotry and hate.

As a lifelong agnostic/atheist, I realize that religion fulfills a basic emotional need, so I can’t hate the religious. I’m certain that almost all of us are deluded in some way and are merely unaware of our own particular delusions. Thus making fun of others for what appears to be an adaptive human characteristic isn’t something I want to do. However, I do want to eliminate the harms perpetuated by religion(s), sociopathic behavior, and any ideologies that stand as barriers to peaceful human coexistence and rational thought. But I’m imperfect. I know this and I’m fine with it.

I strongly oppose dogma and demagoguery. If you disagree with my ideas, feel free to express why. Persuade me with reasoned argument, and not with snark, abusive behavior, and hate. That’s the only way you’ll ever change my mind or earn my respect, for what little it’s worth.

Here’s John Lennon. He was imperfect too.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com/ vjack

    This was a good reminder we can all use at times. Sometimes it is tough for me to distinguish between hate and feeling passionate about something important to me.

  • BethAnnErickson

    Yes, the situation sometimes seems insurmountable. That’s when I log off the computer, take the dogs for a walk and realize the online problems aren’t always as big as they seem. Your voice is an important one and I, for one, am glad you’re a part of the choir. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.cunningham.399 David Cunningham

    I personally find that empathy is an antidote to hate. As hackneyed as it sounds, I try to structure my rhetoric in arguments as if I was on the receiving end of it. However, it can be so very hard to maintain and when I find I am losing my temper I turn off the computer.

    • bluharmony

      I agree completely. But some people are incapable of empathy, and that’s not their fault, either.

  • http://BitchSpot.JadeDragonOnline.com Cephus

    The problem is, most of it isn’t hatred, it’s just identified that way by people who want to shift the burden to the other side. Believers won’t acknowledge that they believe something for which there is no objective evidence, therefore they flip it around and accuse those who point that undeniable fact out of hatred and bigotry. There’s very rarely ever any actual hatred involved. I don’t hate the religious unless, like the Phelps family, they go out of their way to earn it. For most, I pity them. I find them sad people, buried in a pathetic religious tradition, who desperately need education, not hate. Religion, for most of us that have overcome it, is something that can be cured through an infusion of information and a willingness to embrace reality as it actually is. I don’t hate people who haven’t done that, I just find the ones who have been given the time and opportunity to do it and refuse to utterly ridiculous.

    • bluharmony

      It’s an emotional — not an intellectual — barrier that they have to overcome. Same with the Pharyngula crowd, actually. I have no idea what it’s like to believe in something that strongly. But clearly, it’s blinding.

      • http://twitter.com/Eshto Ryan Grant Long

        I used to be much more lefty radical than I am now. Being self righteous about a cause can feel very cathartic or empowering.

  • ThePrussian

    Nah, sorry, but a sensible and mature relationship with hate is very valuable.

    As regards “Imagine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zP0xYv0sZk

    • bluharmony

      I love the song — it’s far more realistic and helpful.