Why Do We Hate?

The Internet brings out the worst in some people. There seems to be an increased level of hate that is spread online, from vicious comments, to cyber-bullying, to harassment.

While the Internet is making it easy for people to give voice to their hatred, the negative emotion is not new. It has existed from the dawn of humanity.

In the real world, we see it across the globe. Wars rage on. Oppression of a group, whether it is ethnic, religious, or racial, is rampant.

But why should hatred be as common as it is? Much of the world’s population follows some religion, and most religions preach love. But people who claim they are religious can be — and sometimes are —  filled with hate.

“Hate” is a strong word, indicating a strong emotion. As with any strong emotion, thinking about and discussing it can be difficult. Have you ever hated someone or something? If so, what triggered it?

Of course, it is possible to experience hatred without realizing it. What you recognize as hatred in someone else they might deny or call a different emotion or expression. And the same is true in reverse: what you think is acceptable behavior, someone else might call hate.

Hate makes us behave in unpredictable or irrational ways, and it can cause a person to behave very cruelly to another. It would behoove us to love more and hate less in all aspects of our life. A good way to start is to understand what the roots are of this destructive emotion.

Why do we hate? And how can we stop?

Related questions: Why do we like what we like? How does your vocabulary influence how you think? What do you do that you shouldn’t? How can we encourage debate? What words have the most power?


2 thoughts on “Why Do We Hate?”

  1. Christians are encouraged to “hate what is bad”-Psalm 97:10. In this regard, hatred is actually a good thing. Hate does not mean the absence of love, in fact, they can go hand in hand.
    Example: My love of honesty moves me to hate lies.

    Of course, there is hatred that has nothing to do with love. It is often it is motivated by ignorance and fear. The way to avoid this kind of hatred is to listen. Listen to and try to understand people, giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    Finally, the bible foretold the way people would act during the time in which we live.

    “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power; and from these turn away.” 2 Tim. 3:1-5

    This is an apt description of how the majority of people behave today.

  2. As with most examples of human behavior, I think it probably goes back to evolution. I can easily imagine that when human beings first appeared on the scene, it was an evolutionary advantage to be suspicious of things that were out of the ordinary. The more distrustful of things that are different, the less likely you are to die, and the more likely you are to pass on your genes to the next generation.

    That would seem to explain fear or suspicion, but how does that grow to actual hate? That I’m less sure of, but perhaps hatred was motivation to destroy rivals or enemies before the same could be done to you.

    A more meaningful question, perhaps, is how can we reduce the amount of hate that surrounds us every day? I think its probably through empathy. If you truly understand, or even love, someone else, you can’t also hate them.

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