In this audio talk, Bill Smith argues that hatred is a personal and societal issue. How do we understand the role of culture in our understanding of anger and hatred? Where does seeking justice leave off and revenge pick up? We cannot analyze anger and violence in society apart from the larger narratives we see in movies, books, and stories. The process by which the conscience is seared involves: 1.) Your standard of comparison becomes twisted and 2.) You justify your own impulses to hate – you learn that evil anger is not only ok, but at times it is deserved and necessary. Our culture is full of images of vigilantism and the idea that redemption is not the most ultimate dynamic in the universe. In video games, hatred comes out as violence. When we dehumanize another, we divinize ourselves. Smith also examines the role of hatred in politics.
Smith examines ways that political and religious hatred impact us. He maintains that hate rhetoric always distorts, segregates and isolates. People quickly lose their humanity and fairness is abandoned. Smith maintains that hatred in a religious context impacts our ability to be humble, our ability to grow and our ability to see weaknesses in our own belief. Smith ends with a vision for three ways we can move from hate and revenge in our culture: 1.) Be expert at actively living out confidence in the sovereignty of God; 2.) Grow in humility and 3.) Develop the courage to say ‘no’ to evil.
Key Scriptures: Matthew 5:21-22; Romans 12:17-19