Hating a religion usually means hating the belief system behind it. That the person thinks the beliefs are not only wrong, but dangerous. It doesn't mean hating the people who believe it.

Hate for an ethnic group is inherently different, because there is no belief system to hate, just a few minor variations in the bodies of those people. It is a hatred of the people beloning to that group. Hating someone for something they have no control over is illogical.

I have to disagree here.

Race is, of course, something at the core of one's being, as you described. It's inborn, is generally immutable (though here you run into the question: is race really a state of mind, rather than an inborn trait), and tends to provide a strong component of one's sense of identity.

However, is religion really so different? Generally, it is chosen (as opposed to inborn), and can be changed (though this is never an easy thing). But among religious persons, it plays at least as strong a part of that person's sense of identity as race does, and may in fact be stronger in some cases. It certainly tends to form another aspect at the core of one's being.

So by hating one thing at the core of one's being (in the case of race), you automatically hate the person, but hatred of a different thing (in the case of religion) does not make you automatically hate the person? Tread very carefully when you get to that line, because you're stepping dangerously close to hypocrisy. Those statements can't both be true, anymore than the statement "2 equals 3" can. My point: hating a thing which comprises the very core of many peoples' identity is just as bad, no matter what that thing is, be it race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or whatever. Or, more simply put, hate is hate.

Elwood: Judging from what you're saying, though, you don't seem to actually hate the religions you describe. You may find certain aspects of them distasteful, but you don't seem to posess the desire to eradicate that religion from the face of the planet. Certain other noders, by contrast, have shown this desire in their posting histories, with rationalization only slightly more grounded than that of your average racist.

'Religion' is a hierarchy of values that someone chooses to observe, respect, and follow. it guides thought, action, and belief, for better or worse.

I can run into a religion that I find distasteful. This is possible. Perhaps it calls homosexuality a perversion, or condones a caste system. These are things that I disagree with, ideas that my value structure cannot line up with.
I still take each member of that religion on a case by case basis, because I've lived long enough to know that people are hardly ever defined by the religion they subscribe to, and I've found plenty of good, caring, reasonable individuals who happen to be Catholic or Baptist or Jewish. But I can still say that the religion itself is horribly twisted in many aspects. And when I'm in a room with a Catholic, it makes sense for me to be a little more cynical than otherwise. I know that this person probably has many beliefs that are in stark conflict with mine. I'll give them a fighting chance, but I won't be terribly surprised if they don't surprise me.

This is entirely different from racial hatred.

Racial hatred is based in xenophobia, the fear (and, in three easy steps, hatred) of anything that is different. 'Dark skin? That's different! I don't know what to make of that; I'm afraid of it. I hate things that make me afraid!' It's never quite that cut-and-dry, but it almost always follows that template. You have no idea what philosophies or ideas that person might subscribe to, none whatsoever. And yet you judge them. On the tone of their skin, or the shape of their face, or the size of their nose. It's all the same.

I judge people by the quality of their character, the actions they choose to take, and the ideas and beliefs and morals they subscribe to. Religion is part of this. This is how I judge people, and I find no shame in it.

Other people judge people by the firmness of their handshake. I think that's just silly.

And others judge people by the shade of their skin, or their accent. I think that's just as silly, but it usually takes a much more horrid form.

Hating religion is different from hating an ethnic group. One makes sense. The other does not. Some may say it is more complex than that. Well, I think that sometimes it is just that simple.

I think it's more than a little depressing that this idea can even be argued.

I'd like to add (although, I'm not sure if Saige's article is about the religious/racial wars in Bosnia, et. al, and thus a different topic) that many of the people I've run into who are, say, rather hostile toward Christianity, are so not, in fact, because of actual problems, per se, with the actual religion, but in fact, because of experiences they've had with self-claimed supporters of that religion.

People generally make stereotypes about various religious groups based not only one movies they've seen (hah!) but also, most likely, on people they've encountered (even their own parents) who's actions give lie to the words they speak about what their religion is about.

In spite of this, trying to tell people that they actually need to pay attention to what a religion is really about, in spite of what it's practitioners may actuall do, usually falls on deaf ears.

Ideas are powerful...but often not quite as powerful as the actions of the followers of that idea.

I must vehemently disagree with the title of this node. As Millennium stated aptly in an above writeup, Hate is hate.

Do you really believe that hate-mongers care whether it is a religion or a race problem they are dealing with? I certainly hope not, because history has proven otherwise.

It all boils down to xenophobia. Historically, people have had a tendency to fear what they do not understand (or more to the point, what they do not want to understand).


Another point I should take issue with is that people, in general, choose their religion. Perhaps for those of us that think about existence and its implications, sure, but that is not the vast majority of the world population. Most people belong to their religions because they were raised into them and haven't given any thought to the alternatives. In highly religious areas of the world, it is even a crime to be anything but the State religion. Afghanistan under the Taleban is a good example of such religious extremism. People who live in "modern" Afghanistan are as Muslim as they are light brown. There is no separation.

In summary, there is no hate but hate itself. I could have cited dozens of obvious examples, but I think the three above are widely known and strong enough to make my point.

Thanks to wharfinger for providing a couple of corrections regarding the Nazis and the Klan that I have integrated into the article.

I agree with the node's title, but I think that some of this discussion involves emphasizing different aspects of the situation in ways that change the subject of the argument subtly. Some contentions:
  • Whether or not one has the option of choosing to be a member of a particular religion is dependent on one's situation (as gitm points out). In contrast, there is no situation in which all beliefs are voluntarily chosen. It is not within my power to believe that I have seven tentacles, even if I wanted to do so. However, there is some degree of belief-revision available. How to do this is a point of contention (in that most people want to accuse someone of believing contradictory propositions, which is bad, but most people will also admit to believing contradictory propositions if asked appropriately--whether they're right or not is a difficult question to answer, or even really understand).
  • In response to Millennium, there is a logical leap in your argument. You claim: religion and race share a quality (being at the core of one's being). Therefore, what is possible of one is possible of the other. It seems to me to be entirely possible to hate something which is very important to someone, without hating them--your conclusion is not well-supported. In fact, the centrality of something seems to be essentially irrelevant.
  • Props to elwoodblues for this sentence, "'Religion' is a hierarchy of values that someone chooses to observe, respect, and follow. it guides thought, action, and belief, for better or worse." I like this description a lot, because it shows that there's a connection, but not an identity, between religion and belief.
  • In the actual world, those who claim to hate a religion seem to act essentially similarly, and from similar motives, to those who hate on the basis of race, at least most of the time. This is not inconsistent with the title of the node, though it may have been Saige's intent to suggest that these groups are very different; so I don't think I disagree fundamentally with gitm, I just think s/he's generalizing from the way things tend to be to the way they must be.

Here's the difference that I see: religion (almost) necessarily guides actions in some important ways--otherwise, there's no point. Race need not. Since race isn't created by humans (except possibly in the social constructivist sense, but don't worry about that for now), it doesn't need to have a point--we are perfectly free to assume that it's the result of a bunch of nondirected deterministic processes to which it is inappropriate to apply teleology. Religions aren't like that--people created them, so they MUST have a purpose, a way they change the actions of their adherents. If one doesn't like those changes, one probably doesn't like the religion. It's possible to hate those actions, but still approve of at least some of the people who do them.

With race, it doesn't work that way. There's nothing substantive to dislike, so hatred gets targeted at the person as a whole. To be fair, this is completely theoretical--in actuality, I suspect that a lot of what racists object to involves the culture they associate with the race they hate; that sort of hate is much better than hating the race for its inherent qualities (which are generally minor physical differences), but the thinking of racists is often unclear enough to confuse the two.

For contrast, consider two people. Jack hates blacks. All of them. For no reason other than their skin tone. If a black person grows up and acts just like Jack, the hate will remain unabated. Jill, on the other hand, hates predominantly black culture. She believes that most black people lack values she considers important, including education and hard work, and she thinks that this culture encourages racism and lack of responsibility. Were she to meet someone who was black, but shared the values Jill holds dear, the hatred would be absent.

I have a problem with judging other cultures by one's own standards, and with assuming that someone of a certain race must be influenced by a particular culture, but these are surely kinder forms of racism than Jack's. If Jill were to take the further step of making no assumptions about the values of all people she meets until they demonstrate their values, I would have difficulty finding her to be racist, even if it happens that all of the black people she meets fail to gain her approval. The outcome is the same--Jill hates all of the black people she meets, but it's clearly not as bad, because it's an escapable hatred. I'm not saying she isn't doing SOMETHING wrong, but even if it IS racism, it's not the worst sort, as exemplified by Jack. There are those who will claim that we should not make these distinctions lest we become tolerant of Jill's form of racism, and I can understand that argument and support it as a guide for action towards real people, but so long as I'm just sitting at my computer thinking about the nature of hate, I'm okay with it.

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