Professor Hans Kung has said, “Until there is peace between religions there can be no peace in the world.” It is not exclusive to religion because masses of people are murdered because of their “nonreligious” ideology too. We need to understand when we believe our faith or ideas are the absolute truth and when we hold on to or cling to those beliefs they have the power to cause violence, suffering and the taking of human life with those who disagree with us. (The Deception of Spiritual Pride) Humanity to survive must overcome the addictive power of hatred.
The tragic reality is in our minds and thoughts we are hard-wired to see everything from our perspective and what we believe is best for our survival and those we love. Our brains are constantly evaluating every experience and judging every thought against the expectations and standards we think are right for us and everyone else. Fear is the driving force behind our expectations of whether something is good for me or bad for me. There are strong emotions that question whether a person or specific group might hurt me, and it motivates me to protect myself from them.
Christ gives us the command not to judge and that happens best when we learn to evaluate others and ourselves by being more balanced in our thinking and understand the power and control our fears have over us. Every time you like something or dislike something you’re making a judgment based on whether it impacts your life positively or negatively.
It carries over into our political views and the belief that the side we take will preserve our freedoms and protect us from the perceived evil of another group. As the tension escalates over the opposing views of each political party division and chaos is inevitable. The inward anxiety created in us trouble us where our fears about our future begin to overwhelm us. It does not take long for our concern to turn to anger at those who we perceive would destroy our way of life. When that happens, our worries begin to consume us, and before long we justify hating those who do not believe like us.
There is a practice within Zen Buddhism about letting go of our views, realizing we must be open to the viewpoints of others if we are to survive. Humanity is doomed if we continue with our dualistic thinking and looking at the world where one group is right, and the other group is wrong.
We must learn to detach ourselves from our fearful thoughts, beliefs and honestly look at why we believe what we believe. There is little hope for humanity until we can be contemplative and reflective, to be honest first with ourselves and to see the value of contemplating why people view life the way they do. Judging is unavoidable, but we need to be mindful not to get caught up and realize our judging clouds all of our thinking. We need to understand that our thoughts are far from being accurate and are influenced by our prejudices and different backgrounds.
It is essential to understand that being non-judging and living in peace with those we consider our enemies does not mean that you cannot act and behave responsibly within society. There is a time to respond a time to speak but the greatest leaders in recent times such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela brought lasting change in people who were oppressed and led those movements not with vitriol but with the patience and determination to let peace and love overcome hate, anger, and prejudice.
May we have an awareness of our addiction to hatred and get in touch with our hostility and deep seeded fears so that we can become part of the solution and not become a victim of choosing which side I’m on. You and I should not be taking a side but learning how to be transformed to love, forgive and live out the command Jesus declared, in Mathew 22:38 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ That is the only hope that can change us by letting go and releasing the addictive power of hatred which can destroy us all.
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