I feel very strongly about a lot of things: it often makes me think I hate people and things I actually know very little about. I then either vent in the privacy of my own home or, if I think I can do so for productive or comedic effect, I will write a blog and get it out in the open. The latter approach will usually make me realise how silly I have been, and serve to diffuse my feelings of anger and hate.
Other people put their ill-thought ragings in to missives to share with the world on Facebook and the like, whether to offend or garner support. They are ready to pounce on criticism with ‘fun’ rejoinders referring to the whole thing as a joke, and referring to the offended parties as “Snowflakes”. These people find themselves falling out of my friendship groups with graceful ease, never ever to return.
The worst perpetrators of this are the hypocrites. I abhor hypocrisy in all forms but my own; I’m not saying that I’m special, precisely the opposite in fact; I just grudgingly accept my own self-benefitting behaviour because, well, I benefit from it. The hypocrisy I hate most is outpourings of unbrotherly hatred from people who are full of the joys of the lord: Christians have no earthly right to hate.
The people of faith I have most respect for are the ones who don’t talk much about it; they act upon it: they live by the morality set out by their creator. Faith is a very personal thing; it helps to define how one views the world; it guides people in how they continue to interact with the world. As far as I am concerned, this is practising precisely what you would preach, if you were a preachy person.
It’s not that I don’t think that people of faith should speak about it – we should all always be free to tell the world about the things we love. And that is the most important word of the sentence: Love. Being unable to contain your love for something is infectious, and a joy to behold; the internet of today is full of people who cannot contain their hate for things. Sharing hate is deeply unpleasant.
My favourite Christians are the ones who treat people with respect, with the lessons of Christ, rather than with contempt: The people who want nothing in return, rather than those who take everything. The sad thing is that these people don’t tend to be heard from as often as the people who think that their faith means that they have the right to preach and proselytise about the inadequacy of others.
I know people who are not afraid to let the world know all about their relationship with the divine; I have no qualms about that. I don’t share their feelings, but I can’t condemn them. What I condemn is when they choose to spout hatred: about Muslims, about immigrants, about people with different views to theirs – usually right wing bigotry, including the need for the hardest of all possible Brexits.
Christianity is a religion based entirely on peace, togetherness and love. And, if you’re Catholic, men in frocks, singing in Latin. If these racist ‘Christians’ were spreading messages of love and peace, then we’d still be friends, in person or on Facebook. Hell, I may even continue to regard them as members of the human race. As it stands, they spread only hate and aggression, so I can’t know them.
I understand that their views come from fear, but I tend to take the view that if you’re that scared of something you must face it, if only to rid yourself of the emotional burden. If a racist ‘Christian’ were to have a cuppa and a chat with a Muslim, I have no doubt whatsoever that they would come out of the conversation fearing a lot less, and understanding a lot more. Faith unites, not divides, them.
Most people of faith don’t do any of this. Most people of faith don’t tell me all about it. Most people of faith keep it pretty much to themselves: faith is a personal thing. On one hand it is your personal relationship with / to the divine, and so it is none of my business. On a less generous hand it is all in your head, and I honestly think you should seek medical help. That’s my hypocrisy at work again.
The crux of all of this is the choice of what we share with the world. If you choose to share only hate and abuse, I have no interest in anything you have to say. If what you are sharing is your love of that which makes you happy, in a genuine attempt to improve the lives of those around you, then I can likely get on board. I won’t necessarily join you, but I will support you in your worthy endeavours.
A too frequent example of hate is the world of Twitter. Stories abound of people receiving endless barrages of abuse for being and expressing themselves. The abused are almost always women and / or from ethnic minorities. Or both. They are attacked in the most vulgar and inhuman language for simply existing in a world where white men think they are somehow in charge. (We are not.)
The hypocritical purveyors of hate often sarcastically quip about their free speech when faced with criticism of their attacks. The theory being that the sub human object of their hate has been granted free speech with which to pollute the world with their freedom loving filth, so the hater should have their own freedom to hate. Only to a knuckle-dragging moron could this be a funny come-back.
The abusive trolls of Twitter have their own faith: the faith that they are in the right, regardless of how far from the path of decent human behaviour they have strayed. Like all purveyors of race hate, they live in an echo chamber of support where all hatred of difference is supported, and all support of difference is hated. This is a mirror world to me, and I am all too scared of understanding it.
Hate is the last bastion of fear. Regardless of its source, we need it to stop. We need to realise that by sharing hate we are polluting the world. We need to realise that our hypocrisies show the world what is really important to us. We need to follow the example of the good people out there by living according to our actual values, and keeping our mouths shut. Sometimes less is very much more.