Like many people I’m kind of observing the world’s chaos and wondering why the insane clowns now seem to be running the asylum. It often seems as if all the bad things are now out having a play date, a field day, and it’s hard to sort it all out.
So rhetoric, also known as hate speech, is something that transcends politics, it is bigger than the left or right. It’s a concept really led by the media, also known as mediated reality, and Hollywood, also known as the politics of personal destruction.
It’s hyperbole, hysteria, fake news, all this rhetoric and propaganda designed to hype people up, to get your panic on, to convince you to choose sides in a battle and go to war. The language is the language of war too, people are naming the enemy along tribal lines, dehumanizing whole groups of people, declaring war on things and ideas, and projecting hatred and contempt on people they perceive as symbolic of those ideas.
Personal responsibility has certainly gone out the window, as in it has become quite easy to point fingers at something and declare, those people have incited my hatred. In truth however, we are totally responsible for our own thoughts and feelings. No body has the power to incite us to hatred. Not one. That is a total deception, that is how we rationalize our own wrong-headedness.
As Christians I really believe we’re called to preserve the sanity, to point to Christ, to light the path and lead people out of all the confusion and chaos. So hatred, contempt, toxic rhetoric, are NOT Christian values. They never have been. We serve a Lord of order, not of chaos, one who calls us to love our enemies, to forgive those who offend us.
I mention this because I’ve actually been engaged in some pretty heated debates with people who insist hatred is a Christian value, that we are actually called to hate what God hates, and all sorts of rationalizations and foolishness, as if hatred is just a valid way of naming evil. I’m putting my foot down and declaring that to be total nonsense.
There’s an interesting word in the bible, pharmakeia, it means witchcraft, the same word we get pharmaceuticals from. It is what happens when your thoughts, beliefs, and will are not your own. You have been enchanted, bedazzled, or drugged into a line of thinking and emotion that is not really your own. We are living in the midst of a culture characterized by two things, a constant onslaught of excessive drugs and excessive propaganda. Pharmakeia. Brainwashing. Mindlessness rather than mindfullness.
Hatred can be a very seductive thing, it’s often cloaked in perceived virtue, it makes us feel powerful and righteous, it can bring clarity and draw a line in the sand, so it often “feels” right, especially of we are simply hating on all the “bad” people. I put “bad” in quotes because we always label people “bad” before we proceed to hate them. Whether they are actually “bad” or not is irrelevant, “bad” is simply what we use to justify our own hatred. The more broken among us are really vulnerable, because they can cloak their hatred in perceived virtue and heroism, as if they are going to single-handedly rid the world of evil.
That is the kind of faulty thinking that recently led a man to shoot an innocent father and baseball lover at a softball practice before being shot himself. That is the kind of thinking that led Kathy Griffin to believe that parading around with a severed head was a good idea. That is the kind of thinking that recently led a man to punch a young girl in the face at a protest. That is what has caused riots in some of our cities. Pharmakeia, it makes us loose our darn minds and if you haven’t got much of a hold on your own mind in the first place, you’re vulnerable.
Toxic rhetoric is a form of pharmakeia, it is propaganda designed to incite you to lose your darn mind. It may be confusing and chaotic in the midst of the world’s mess where everyone is accusing one another of hate speech for simply breathing heavy, but again I put my foot down. Everybody knows what hatred and contempt feel like, everyone knows when their words are unkind and dehumanizing.
Hatred is not a Christian value because it flies in the face of what God has established, that we are made in His image. Hating on groups of people is hating on what He has made and contradicting what He has declared to be true. None of this “I hate the sin, but not the sinner stuff,” because our brains are often unable to compartmentalize such concepts in a tidy way. I ain’t buying it. In one blink the person themselves becomes the very thing we hate.
Name evil for what it is, speak the truth, but the moment you try to pour hatred over evil, it owns you. Hatred is it’s very language, its sole purpose, the very tool it uses. You can’t out evil- evil, it’s way better at it than you are.
So stomping my feet here, insisting hatred is not a Christian value, and praying for some more eyes to open up and see the deception for what it really is.