Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hating sin/sinner

Hate the sin, not the sinner; this is a  phrase common among groups that seek to disassociate themselves from the onus of prejudice and bigotry while retaining the right to discriminate against a selected enemy.  On the surface, is seems to be extending acceptance to an individual while keeping the right to oppose a particular behavior they deem troublesome; a way of expressing reservations concerning about a person's actions while affirming their worth as human.

There is, however, a problem with such expressions; despite the seemingly benign wording, this phrasing easily lends itself to a much more ominous emotional state of unmitigated malice.  For hatred is a complex emotional relationship; a configuration of fear, cowardice, and wrath that involves much more than a simple antipathy towards an unpleasant aspect of a person's demeanor.

Although common usage leads us to forget this fact, both love and hate are relational mode of behavior we experience with other beings, primarily humans.  No one would deny the special bond between we share with the other animals that populate our lives, but the range and depth of emotion that humans share is unique unto itself.

We talk about the foods we "love" or the shows we "hate"; but in reality, these things are merely pleasing or displeasing; true love and true hate are emotions that require a level of interaction and intertwining that surpasses any other, and carry with them an emotional responsibility that surpasses all other states of being.  Thus, when we commit ourselves to love or hate, we impose obligations and consequences that extend far past ourselves, and resonate through society as a whole.

Therefore, when one pontificates about their "love" for a person, while simultaneously abhorring the  individual's proclivities, the real message comes through clearly; hatred, poorly cloaked by moral cowardice, defines the true relationship.

No comments: