Question of the day: hate and love

25 09 2010

Consider the relatively ubiquitous phrase, oft deployed by religious folk to describe their approach to queer folk and their sexuality:

‘Hate the sin, love the sinner.’

Yeah, it grits in my teeth, and not just for those who deploy it who clearly don’t mean it, but even for those who are sincere, it misses the point.

Consider: ‘Hate the belief, love the believer.’

Again, a variation of this is offered with regard to Christian outreach to/evangelization of Muslims and other heretics, apostates, and unbelievers. Again, too glib.

How would those who (sincerely) use this sentiment react if such a sentiment were deployed against expressed to them?

Seriously, I’m askin’.

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7 responses

25 09 2010
dmf

they would take it about as i imagine that you react to the original and check you off their christ-mas list, there are huge swaths of america (esp down south and in the midwest) where they still believe that you can’t be a good/trustworthy person if you aren’t a believer. as one woman from a methodist church in urban upstate ny told me the other day “at least the muslims believe in a god.” i’m always amazed how even many coastal “liberal” christians hold such views, so much for my presidential ambitions.
not sure tho what you mean by “misses the point” from an orthodox view seems pretty central, no?

25 09 2010
absurdbeats

‘Misses the point’ because it presumes that sexuality and belief can be separated from the very being of the person herself—as if these aren’t constitutive of who we are. As such, the notion that one could hate something so central to your being and yet love you makes no sense, indeed, misses the point of love itself.

Which is why I would ask that Methodist woman how she would respond if someone said he hated her beliefs in Christ but loved her; would she, in fact, feel loved?

25 09 2010
dmf

ah i see but sadly they don’t see this as being about one’s God-given sexuality but about perversion and choice or if they are being relatively generous like an addiction to say drugs or gambling, so you (not you but someone) might take part in an intervention and tell your friend that she is an alcoholic and needs to make better choices out of tuff love, for her sake if you see what i’m saying. this is where wittgenstein is quite right that sometimes we may have such fundamentally differing starting points (matters of faith, religious or otherwise) on subjects that we cannot come together to discuss the matter but will be talking past each other.
as for the methodist lady she had some tasty blackberry crumble for me to eat after sitting thru a really crummy sermon so i just smiled and thanked her for the treat. very christlike of her to serve a godless-heathen even if she didn’t know it.

25 09 2010
absurdbeats

I understand that—both the courtesy in response to pastry and the notion of the irreconcilable.

And I guess that’s also what I’m pushing against: that these different worldviews or Weltanschauung or Wittgensteinian starting points have to be the end.

No, I don’t believe that all can be reconciled, but maybe, maybe, all can crumbled (if not in blackberry), i.e., that maybe, maybe, we can see what we cannot see.

I get angry—so angry, too angry—at those who can’t see that we are not all reconciled (and instead, somehow purposely hiding from one another), so my question about ‘hate the belief, love the believer’ is, admittedly, an attack. And yes, because I am angry, meant to harm.

But it also works when I’m not angry, and as an attack not to harm but to traverse, an attack on defenses merely to expose vulnerability, not to exploit it.

26 09 2010
dmf

oh i’m with you on the anger i have tmj from jaw clenching (and biting my tongue so to speak) and the permanent marks in my face from my often furrowed brow, but as i understand the wittgenstein (and here he differs from freud and all the later continental post-freudians like derrida et al) and agree with him is that ” those who can’t see that we are not all reconciled” are not “instead, somehow purposely hiding from one another”. Seeing As is not a kind of denial but literally/immediately seeing as (like you see red, the color) and the neuro-phenomenology is backing this up, which is why bias in psych is so insidious. so the question for education/amelioraton is really one of con-version, which is more like seeing anew than seeing what we don’t see which as St.Fish pointed out is impossible. Now learning to accept some ethical limits on acting on our given certainties, out of an understanding/commitment to our fallible natures would be an interesting venture in education/civics. for a slighty more Romantic take see: http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/jcertain.html

26 09 2010
absurdbeats

Or perhaps de-conversion.

Oh, and Stanley Fish. . . grrr: altogether too pleased with himself in his [political or practical-philosophical] writings. This doesn’t make him wrong, of course, but does lead me at times to pass by his work.

As for limiting [acting on] our certainties, well, that seems as difficult as asking folk to limit their certainties. I’m afraid ethics won’t help here: we are in the land of Hobbes. . . .

27 09 2010
dmf

well moving from one faith-stance to another, but yes we are in the land of calvin and hobbes and rorty was right that in the public realm there is no other to politics and that our liberal democracy, with all of its all-too-human limits/faults, is our best collective bet.
but on the personal level and perhaps even in some rare circumstances with coworkers one can do better some days with effort and feedback.

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