home | FAQ |

Hatred: Us and Them

In a disturbing NYT piece yesterday, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explores a popular website that promotes the kind of strong-hostile identity I described in Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?

It seems that certain parts of the human psyche - and human society - are like petri dishes waiting for anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, and other forms of scapegoating and hostile-identity-formation to "culture" and infect. If there isn't something even stronger present - an identity strongly and passionately dedicated to reconciliation, understanding, solidarity, and peace-making - then hostility will dominate.

And we know where that leads.

This line of thinking was intensified for me over the weekend while watching the new Planet of the Apes film. "I used to think," one of the main characters mused, "that all of 'us' were good, and only 'they' were evil. Now I see there are both good and bad among 'us' and 'them'" (loosely paraphrased).

That's the beginning of a new way of living … the way, I believe, that Jesus came to teach. Maybe we're almost desperate enough to actually consider that he was right?