Why is there such a vicious cycle of hatred in the world? To know the reason, we need to understand what hatred is, why people start to hate, and how it spreads.
What Is Hatred?
Hatred is an extremely strong dislike for or intense hostility toward another person or group of people. It is an ongoing feeling of ill will.
WHY PEOPLE START TO HATE
People begin to hate for many reasons. Hatred is often directed toward others, not necessarily because of what they do, but because of who they are. Those hated may be perceived as evil, intent on doing harm, or unable to change for the better. They may be viewed as inferior, as a threat, or as the cause of problems. Those who feel hatred toward others may have suffered violence, injustice, or some other event that caused hostile feelings to take root.
HOW IT SPREADS
A person can hate others without ever having had direct contact with them. For example, an individual may unconsciously adopt the biased views of those whom he respects and feels close to. Thus, hatred can easily spread and become the shared view of an entire group.
When we understand the pervasive nature of hatred, we can see why it has a hold on so many people. However, to break the cycle of hatred that grips our world, we must get to the very roots of hatred. Those roots are exposed in the Bible.
THE BIBLE REVEALS THE ROOTS OF HATRED
MALICIOUS HATRED DID NOT ORIGINATE WITH HUMANS. It started when an angel in heaven, who came to be called Satan the Devil, rebelled against God. The Devil “was a murderer when he began” his rebellion. As “a liar and the father of the lie,” he has continued to instigate hatred and aggression. (John 8:44; 1 John 3:11, 12) The Bible describes him as malicious, angry, and aggressive.—Job 2:7; Revelation 12:9, 12, 17.
IMPERFECT HUMANS ARE INHERENTLY PRONE TO HATE. The first man, Adam, followed Satan’s sinful course. As a result, all humans have inherited sin and imperfection. (Romans 5:12) Adam’s first son, Cain, hatefully murdered his own brother Abel. (1 John 3:12) True, many humans display love and compassion. But because of inherited sin, multitudes are prone to show selfishness, envy, and pride—qualities that fuel hate.—2 Timothy 3:1-5.
HATRED THRIVES IN INTOLERANCE. The world we live in feeds hatred by promoting merciless and harmful attitudes and behavior. Intolerance, prejudice, insulting speech, bullying, and vandalism thrive because “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,” Satan the Devil.—1 John 5:19.
However, the Bible does more than merely expose the roots of hatred. It also points to the solution.