Why do we hate?

A UK study found romantic love and hate are intimately linked within the human brain.
Scientists studying the physical nature of hate found that some of the nervous circuits in the brain responsible for it are the same as those that are used during the feeling of romantic love – although love and hate appear to be polar opposites.
The subjects were volunteers who all professed a deep sense of hatred for at least one individual.
Eli Siegel, the great American poet and historian, defined hatred and contempt of people different to ourselves as the “false importance or glory people get from the lessening of people not like themselves.”
We are encouraged to show contempt for those who are different to us by talkshow hosts, politicians, thousands of websites and even some church leaders.
Leo Tolstoy once said: “There is only one way to put an end to evil, and that is to do good for evil.”
It’s the same uncomplicated message echoed down the ages by the major religions, and specifically by Jesus – love God and love your neighbour. Anyone can hate. It takes a bit more effort to love.


22 thoughts on “Why do we hate?


    HENRY DRUMMOND entitled his famous book of a century ago The Greatest Thing in the World. It was all about love. Now look what has happened! The world around us has tried to reduce love to mere biology. Some writers say love is simply a decision to care and that romance is a mirage.

    I respond, “Let them speak for themselves, but not for me.” Nor for many millions who down through history have recognised love to be a ‘many splendoured thing’ not to be reduced or explained away. Think of the literature, the works of art, the songs, the epics of heroism and tragedy that have revolved around this powerful subject, so difficult to define.

    It is fundamental to understand that love exists in the plural. There are at least four definitions of love and we must discern the differences because, otherwise, there is confusion.

    This commonest of loves surrounds us every day. It is the affection shown by members of families; parents for children; children for parents and for each other. It reaches the extended family and household pets.

    This love occurs naturally but it cannot solve all problems.

    Much of what we know as friendship could not be described as love. But there are examples of enjoyable bonding that is recognisable as love. Two people see the same truths and become attached. Nothing physical is implied. It seems simply to happen rather than being caused.

    This love is the famous one and has had a more powerful influence over human experience than almost anything else. Yet we can’t say whether it has caused more happiness than unhappiness. Who knows? It is about two persons being drawn to each other, with all the mystery of personhood being involved. It can be a glorious intertwining of two souls in the wonders of life.

    The first three loves are natural. This one is so very different because it is God’s. Our love is always tainted with our selfishness. God’s love is pure. We see worth and merit in the objects of our love. God loves the unattractive and unlovely – even those who hate Him. This is the love that brought Jesus to earth to identify with our sufferings and to die on the cross in our place. Then, for those who receive Him as Saviour, there is blessing and joy to follow which will never end. This eternal love is ‘The Greatest Thing in the World’.

    CALLENGE —The Good News Paper—August 2014 issue

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course the techonolgy to study those brain circuits has also been found to produce meaningful results when applied to the brain of a dead salmon.

    See the ignoble winning
    “Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon:
    An argument for multiple comparisons correction”


      • HI Monica,

        I always thought I was unique 😦 But nice to know that I’ve relatively a nice person at least thanks 🙂

        Hi Bryan,

        Let me guess there’s no such thing as coincidence right ? Every single apparent coincidence is all really part of a grand intelligent plan ?

        “People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be. ”


      • Ahh Patrick not Alex. Yeah it was Austin. Came back with a vengeance then mellowed out and left. He was a good guy. Hated people who assumed things.


    • no Dom, it was Austin3.16 a perpetual in your face mocking of Christianity. Nothing ever mellowed. Childlike Christian faith in John3.16 was something that Austin wanted to mock all the way to his grave. It could be etched into the granite – there lies a man who mocked the “only begotten Son” verse famous in the apostle John’s gospel.

      That’s the crux. I can handle atheists and satanists hating Christianity and Christians. I can handle Muslims/ ISIS beheading them. I can handle Darwinians conspiring to persecute creationist academics

      Its luke warm Christians’ lazy tolerance of the fundamental blasphemy of Islam that causes me pause. See Dom, I think the core of your being now is built on a blasphemy. I don’t hate you for that.

      So here is Austin3.16 remembered for defending fatherless homes and gay unholy matrimony:

      Ah yes, we love him, but has that changed his condition at all?


      • Freemason’s/ mystery religion/ Islam have been playing this “ineffable” god line for all its worth – which isn’t much. Freemasons say “ineffable” – Muhammadans “can’t compare allah to anything” i.e ineffable. ”
        non-pronouncable, unsayable, incomparable –

        Jesus was specific. It’s the specifics satan tried to undermine “did god really say” “that rock, hewn without hands, that smashes everything”
        well you pitched your tent, made your bed – oh the company you keep.

        cheeky little possums/ dabbles/ austin/ lovable rascals. hi fives and group hugs. but I’m not catching your or their bus. the multi cultic thing doesn’t run.

        not that anyone else under the sun will read this – but its obviously for them.


      • George, I see the persecution complex that you have against everyone that doesn’t agree with your paradigm has not waned. Just because atheists, other religious people, and fellow Christians don’t see eye to eye with you doesn’t mean that they hate you.


  3. Why do we hate?
    Have a belief you are right and justified no matter what action you take .

    How about this for contempt .
    My grandmother and her daughter and son traveled by ship via the Suez just after the war ended .
    The ship stopped in BOMBAY .Being British they were spat upon by the locals .
    My grandfather was a highly decorated WW1 he came out separately .
    He had no trouble in BOMBAY for the same reason he was not traveling with his wife of thirty five years and children .
    He was not BRITISH and that stopped him traveling on a BRITISH ship.
    Even having the Croix de guerre (Belgium) .

    Why do we hate? :- The british had more than their portion even past the 1970,s


  4. A baby learns to express emotion through various behaviours. Hunger or any discomfort is expressed by crying, and this is good for the development of the lungs, but if feeling happy and satisfied, the baby soon learns that a smile brings rewards. Feelings of happiness and gratitude enhance the bond, and baby learns to love.

    If there is too much dissatisfaction, baby learns to hate whatever is interfering with that source of comfort.

    Pathways in the brain are established, and perhaps love and hate are learned at a very early age. But, as I know from personal experience, love and trust can work wonders over some years, in gradually altering those pathways.


    • Why do we hate???
      Because some things are hateful.
      ……like bombing children and hospitals and refugee camps.

      There IS no excuse ~ ever.
      Even the mantra (true or false) that ‘hammas is using human shields’ isn’t an excuse. It’s israeli shrapnel that shredding them, and israeli bombs that are burying them alive.

      Only a bigoted ideologue would find it possible NOT to hate.
      ….anyone here know any?


      • Only bigoted ideologues hate….
        Global anger can spur positive change — for example, the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and protests that led to the fall of Marcos in the Philippines and the end of Cold War communism.
        Anybody can become angry.
        But, as Aristotle said, to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right reason, and in the right way is not that easy. Using hatred against hatred is a nonsense.


    • Y’better define ‘hate’ before you go too far here Strewth.
      ….and, though phalanxes of philosophers have failed to do so, ‘love’.

      Otherwise comments about either subject are a waste of time.


  5. Considering how much cause there is for hatred from both sides of the Israeli/Palestine conflict, I feel amazed at the expression on both sides of a shared humanity, brotherhood, and desire for mutual well being.

    The outcry from both sides to stop the extremists is loud – may it be heard by them.


      • I like the last paragraph.

        Rabbi Toba Spitzer is the rabbi of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in West Newton, MA and a member of the board of T’ruah. In this Letter from Jerusalem, T’ruah’s fourth in a series of firsthand accounts of Israel’s current crisis, she reflects on the Torah of brokenness.

        July 23, 2014/25 Tammuz, 5774

        Fragments. Fragments of shrapnel, falling from the sky, shreds of rockets stopped by Iron Dome. Fragments of homes, of bodies, of lives, filling the streets of Gaza. Hearts torn apart in Israel, children mourning fathers, parents grieving for sons. The brokenness of war, of violence, of hate and aggression.

        I have been in Israel for the past 10 days, touring the country with a group of rabbis, meeting with journalists, activists, members of Knesset, settlers, Palestinians, artists and rabbis. The news is never good. At Shacharit one morning we hear news of an impending ceasefire and our hopes rise–only to be dashed by the resumption of fighting. Lighting candles for Shabbat on Friday afternoon, preparing to walk to services, the siren sounds, and we scurry to the safe area of the hotel. We check our Facebook pages, our emails, the TV and on-line reports, we listen to the radio on the bus, and the news gets only worse. The son of a couple in our group, doing his army service, is called into Gaza; his parents have heard nothing for the past 3 days.

        Last week, on the 17th of Tammuz, a number of us joined Jews and Muslims and others around the world in a fast for peace. In the evening, we gathered with a group of Jews and Palestinians in a garden in the old city of Jerusalem to break the fast together. There, Rabbi Raz Hartman spoke about the tradition linking the fast day to that moment when, upon seeing the Israelites rejoicing with the Golden Calf, Moses smashed the tablets of the covenant. In that moment, Moses realized that there is also Torah in brokenness. We need to attend to the brokenness, engage with it, and ultimately lift it up and restore it to its wholeness.

        Here in Israel, I feel oddly blessed to be this close to the brokenness of this moment. Everywhere we go, I and my colleagues are thanked for being here, for bearing witness to all that is happening. In the brokenness, we have been privileged to meet extraordinary people working for human rights, struggling to bring the best of Jewish and humanist values into the public square, teaching children about eco-systems and the natural interconnections of all life on this planet, shining light on the glaring inequalities of wealth in Israeli society, teaching both Palestinians and Jewish settlers the way of nonviolence as the only path forward. True tzaddikim, each one shining like a star in a dark, dark night.

        In the difficulty of this moment, there is an overwhelming sense of how complicated it all is, how complex the search for a just and lasting solution to this never-ending conflict. It is easy to feel stymied by the accrued layers of trauma and grief and pain that bring out the very worst in too many.

        But perhaps it’s rather simple. At a rally for peace this past Saturday night in Tel Aviv, the crowd chanted “B’Gaza b’Sderot, yeladim rotzim lichyot,” “in Gaza, in Sderot, children want to live.” What could be more straightforward than that? In East Jerusalem this evening, I heard a remarkable Palestinian peace activist from the West Bank tell us that “the key is understanding that it’s not about sides,” it’s not about being “pro-Israel” or “pro-Palestinian,” but rather “pro-solution.” May those in power, those controlling the rockets and the guns and the bombs, see through the complexity and the brokenness to a real solution, to a way forward for every child, every human being, in this region. May the fragments be joined together in a Torah of life, a Torah that honors the value of every human being.


    • Statements by two grieving families.

      When asked about the death of Muhammed Hussein Abu Khdair, Naftali Fraenkel’s family responded, “There’s no difference between blood and blood. Murder is murder, whatever the nationality and age. There is no justification, no forgiving, and no atonement for murder.”

      And, from Muhammed’s father: “I am against kidnapping and killing. Whether Jew or Arab, who can accept the kidnapping and killing of his son or daughter? I call on both sides to stop the bloodshed.”’


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