Hatred (or hate) is a deep and emotional extreme dislike that can be directed against individuals, entities, objects, or ideas. Hatred is often associated with feelings of anger and a disposition towards hostility.

The Bible

Both the Old and the New Testaments deal with hatred. Ecclesiastes 3:8 teaches that there is a “time to love, and a time to hate;”. However, the Old Testament (also known as the Jewish bible, the Tanakh) also contains condemnations of hatred. For example, ” thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart”.The New Testament emphasizes that evil intentions can be as serious as evil actions. Thus John counted hatred as serious as murder: “whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in himself”. All people are though, according to the gospels, sinners, and only have to look inside of themselves in order to find sin. Loving good means hating sin and turning from vice. Love, as Aquinas[citation needed] teaches, must be divided into love of good things, the healthy movement of the soul true to itself, and love of inappropriate objects, the desire to have and use what may be bad for the soul.

It is popularly assumed that one can’t “hate” and “love” the same person at the same time. But Psalm 139 says there is a kind of “perfect hatred” which is consistent with love, and is different from the “cruel hatred” shown by God’s enemies. The Hebrew word describing David’s “perfect hatred” (KJV) means that it “brings a process to completion”. In other words, goal oriented opposition. The ultimate opposition to those who oppose God would be to get them to love God. Or, failing that, to at least stop them from destroying others. The New Testament describes a similar, if not the same, process: “to deliver…unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved….” 

Today’s popular characterization of good hatred is to “hate the sin, but love the sinner”. (David’s “goal oriented opposition” would add that one “loves the sinner” by reforming the sinner, or at least neutralizing his sin.) This is confirmed by the actions of the man who coined “perfect hatred”. It is not recorded that David ever physically punished or fought anybody for merely hating or denying God, but only for acts of aggression. He responded to evil proportionately. He defended himself and his nation from violence, but when people merely turned from God in their hearts, without physical violence, he composed Psalms. Presumably this was the kind of “hatred” in David’s mind when he and his son wrote the only five verses in the Old Testament that suggest God “hates” not just the sin but the sinner. Further evidence that even in these verses what God actually hates is the sin, and that God’s “hatred” is a love-inspired focus on correcting us, is that the people God is said to hate are identified by their sins, of which we are all at least somewhat guilty. No one would have hope if God’s “hatred” meant a sentence to Hell, but the whole Bible is a book of hope for everyone.

The New Testament is unambiguous: it never says God or Jesus hates any person, or that anyone else should. Accordingly, Jesus hated the “doctrines” and “deeds”  of the Nicolaitans, but not the Nicolaitans themselves. While Jesus hates sin, He inspires us to love our enemies by pointing out that God equally blesses “the evil and the good”.

Leviticus 19:17 provides one illustration of how popular concepts of love and hate today have departed from biblical concepts. The verse says “thou shalt not hate”, but the rest of the verse explains what that means: “thou shalt…rebuke thy brother, and not [tolerate] sin upon him.” Today’s culture often agrees, calling that “tough love”. While contemporary culture and the bible agree on this notion, they are in conflict over the definition of which behaviors deserve admonishment. At the most extreme points of difference, contemporary culture may consider the rebuking endorsed by the bible to be hatred, especially if the behavior is permissible in secular society. For example, disparaging someone based on their choice of an occupation that the Bible states is sinful could be considered Hate speech, which may be treated as a criminal offence.


James W. Underhill, in his Ethnolinguistics and Cultural Concepts: truth, love, hate & war, (2012) discusses the origin and the metaphoric representations of hate in various languages. He stresses that love and hate are social, and culturally constructed. For this reason, hate is historically situated. Although it is fair to say that one single emotion exists in English, French (haine), and German (Hass), hate varies in the forms in which it is manifested. A certain relationless hatred is expressed in the French expression J’ai la haine, which has no equivalent in English. While for English-speakers, loving and hating invariably involve an object, or a person, and therefore, a relationship with something or someone, J’ai la haine (literally, I have hate) precludes the idea of an emotion directed at a person. This is a form of frustration, apathy and animosity which churns within the subject but establishes no relationship with the world, other than an aimless desire for destruction. Underhill (following Philippe Roger) also considers French forms of anti-americanism as a specific form of cultural resentment. At the same time, he analyses the hatred promoted by Reagan in his rhetoric directed against the “Evil-Empire”. In addition, Underhill suggests it is worrying that foreign languages (French, German, Spanish, Czech) are uncritically assimilating forms of hatred exported by neo-conservative discourse which permeate these languages via the translation of political journalism and the rhetoric of the “War-on-Terror” and the promotion of “Security”.

Psychoanalytic views

In psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud defined hate as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness. More recently, the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines hate as a “deep, enduring, intense emotion expressing animosity, anger, and hostility towards a person, group, or object.”Because hatred is believed to be long-lasting, many psychologists consider it to be more of an attitude or disposition than a temporary emotional state.

Neurological research

The neural correlates of hate have been investigated with an fMRI procedure. In this experiment, people had their brains scanned while viewing pictures of people they hated. The results showed increased activity in the middle frontal gyrus, right putamen, bilaterally in the premotor cortex, in the frontal pole, and bilaterally in the medial insular cortex of the human brain.

Legal issues

In the English language, a hate crime (also known as a “bias-motivated crime”) generally refers to criminal acts which are seen to have been motivated by hate. Those who commit hate crimes target victims because of their perceived membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racegenderreligion,sexual orientationdisabilityclassethnicitynationalityagegender identity, or political affiliation. Incidents may involve physical assaultdestruction of propertybullyingharassmentverbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail).

Hate speech is speech perceived to disparage a person or group of people based on their social or ethnic group, such as racesexageethnicity,nationalityreligionsexual orientationgender identitydisabilitylanguage ability, ideologysocial class, occupation, appearance (height, weight, skin color, etc.), mental capacity, and any other distinction that might be considered by some as a liability. The term covers written as well as oral communication and some forms of behaviors in a public setting. It is also sometimes called antilocution and is the first point on Allport’s scale which measures prejudice in a society. In many countries, deliberate use of hate speech is a criminal offence prohibited under incitement to hatred legislation. It is often alleged that the criminalization of hate speech is sometimes used to discourage legitimate discussion of negative aspects of voluntary behavior (such as political persuasion, religious adherence and philosophical allegiance). There is also some question as to whether or not hate speech falls under the protection of freedom of speech in some countries.

Both of these classifications have sparked debate, with counter-arguments such as, but not limited to, a difficulty in distinguishing motive and intent for crimes, as well as philosophical debate on the validity of valuing targeted hatred as a greater crime than general misanthropy and contempt for humanity being a potentially equal crime in and of itself.



By ochiengxavier Posted in Bloggs

One comment on “Hatred

  1. Pingback: A fleck of subconscious. | Solitary Gleaner

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