November 24, 2004

The Temptation to Hate

Jeff Jacoby has a pro-hate column out extolling the virtue of hating evil. I can't say that I agree with him there. He recognizes the dangers though.

Hatred is dangerous even when justified, Soloveichik cautions, and must be directed only at the truly vicious and depraved. "We who hate must be wary," he writes, "lest we . . . become like those we are taught to despise."

The problem is that hate is a powerful emotion. It encourages carelessness in its further use. It is a simple solution to problems that are not always simple. Is somebody doing something bad? Just hate them and you need not give any further thought to the hard work of rehabilitation for the next world.

This is a very old jewish/christian fault line. I don't think that I'm going to resolve it here. The muslims, I believe, come down on the jewish side of this one and absolutely do suffer spiritually for it. That spiritual disfiguration comes out in some of their most egregious practices, like honor killing. Your very own child, the fruit of your highest dreams and aspirations, does something wrong and you hate them enough to kill them. You give them no chance to make things right with God. You just go out (or worse, send out their siblings) to their hiding place (they justifiably fear you already) and kill them.

When to hate is a potent question that even the tolerant nonreligious must face. A democracy that wanted to eliminate honor killings on the basis of the rule of law would be forced to make capital crimes out of the actions that provoke honor killings. Anything else would be religious oppression.

Posted by TMLutas at November 24, 2004 06:36 AM