There is a common idea that love is more important than hate. When given an option, we should choose love over hate every time. But that’s easier said than done.
Are you familiar with the aphorism, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? Or how about “Hate cannot be stopped with more hate. Only love can do that”? These are noble sentiments, but can you actually manage that in real life?
That means everyone, no matter what they do, or say, or how they treat you. The driver that cut you off in traffic. The partner who cheats on you with someone else. The rich jerk who refuses to leave a tip.
Republicans have to love Nancy Pelosi and Hilary Clinton. Democrats have to love Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. Pro-lifers must love women who get abortions; people who favor gun control have to love the guy who takes an assault rifle to get his morning coffee.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where we discuss the questions ‘How can we encourage debate?’ and ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’
Now it is true that loving someone doesn’t mean you have to love everything they do, or everything they stand for. But you can’t say you love someone and then hope that they die.
Sometimes it seems like there is an epidemic of hate in the U.S. (and throughout the world), hate based on differences between individuals. That might include gender, religious beliefs, skin color or ethnic origin, sexual preferences, and on and on.
It is easy to say that we should all love each other rather than hate each other, but how can that be accomplished? How do you love someone who is different from you? Or worse, how do you love someone who actually does something you hate?