There’s only one answer to hate

12

To the Editor:

I couldn’t help seeing the ongoing discussion concerning the Civil War monument next to Ocean Park. I find it very peculiar that in these latter days so much attention would be given to such things when we should be so well-educated and wise to understand where racism truly originates. I want to be respectful to my fellow Americans who find a part of the statue to be an affront to their conscience.

My focus is not on who dedicated it, Civil War political theories, or the rampant historical revisionism of our time. My point is to look at the overarching thoughts, the “why” of this whole situation, and whether or not there is any ground to be gained from a simple removal or relocation of a piece of stone.

A question everyone should be asking is, “Is a human being intrinsically bound to his or her circumstances?” or in other words, “Does what happens to us make us who we are?” There are many cases where this may be true. To the man raised in the violent home, he will more than likely without a conscious effort to correct his inherited habits be a violent man himself. The woman who has been belittled and abused seems to always look for someone or something that affirms that influence, unless she or someone intervenes. Although we have seen or may be one of these people — I myself was — we also have life experiences of the opposite outcome, someone overcoming these influences and breaking the seemingly endless chain of destruction from life to life.

I disagree entirely with the notion that we are only our environments, chained to our circumstances. However, racism or in its broader sense, hatred, does not have its roots in outward influence. There may be situations that cultivate it or instill it deeply into a person, but if we are honest with ourselves, we have all felt hatred for another human being and not just a righteous hatred for evil actions, but less warranted hatred for someone or some group of people that we find very inconvenient to our life. “Those [expletive] Republicans!” “Those [deleted] Democrats!” Whether it be up, right, left, neo-this, liberal-that, those who do this, or those who adhere to that, we have all been found guilty.

This leads me to the final point. The issue at hand isn’t a simple inconvenient historical reminder in the form of a flag or statue, which are mere objects. The harder reality is that prejudices of all stripes are inextricably bound to the human experience. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a time when some man or woman didn’t look down upon another man or woman for whatever reason, and felt better for doing so. Hatred has its root and its being within the human heart, and no destruction of any or every single statue in all the world that could be vaguely associated with an act of hatred will eradicate that fact.

In closing, as I said before, I do not for one second believe we are doomed to this fate, and many would agree. However, the solution cannot come from us who are the problem. It would take a force greater than any that could be possessed on earth, and at the same time something that would be accessible to any and all. I said before, I was someone who was bound to my circumstances, almost reliving the mistakes imposed upon my life as if reading it from a script. The answer is old and familiar, and yet is our eternal contemporary which continues to change lives from now until the end of time. That answer is only to be found in the person and relationship of Jesus Christ, whose life and indwelt power have been the source of every major push against hatred from pagan Rome to 18th century England to mid-19th century America.

His solution has changed the hearts of men and women, which is the only cure for every form of hate. Without that living cure, we will be left to the shallow tearing down of stone and tearing up of pages in desperation to cure the symptoms, while never once touching the source of the problem — the human heart.

 

Myles Goodwin
West Tisbury

12 COMMENTS

  1. Mr Goodwin. Man is totally depraved and in need of a savior as you have rightly suggested. You will now incur the wrath of the usual suspects who think Jesus is a fairy tale believed only by simpletons and that man is basically good except for a few bad apples. You will also hear that anyone who has accepted Jesus as savior cannot be a Republican, must accept climate alarmism,unbridled immigration and higher taxes. Just wait.

    • Doesn’t matter whether there’s an omnipotent being or not if humanity doesn’t listen. But if you believe there must be a God for people to have a sense of rightness, we’ll go with it. Multiple choice: were people wrong to support slavery, right to fight against it? Picking neither effectively supports slavery because it means not fighting against.

      • Far be it from me to detract from such obvious passion and loftiness, but irresponsible dog owners have allowed their dogs to poop in Ocean Park, defacing the public ground we all walk on near the statue, impacting all of us, today, right now, whether Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist or Spaghettist or Republican or Democrat or Independent. Not everyone shares in the message of Mr Goodwin, but for heaven’s sake, we all gotta walk and should be able to do so in public without worrying about what we’re stepping in. Clean it up, people. What’s important for only some people– who believe in whatever they want to believe in– does not affect all of us the way dog poop does. To quote Andrew, “Dog poop unattended spoils things for all of us”. Besides, unless you’re Christian, this letter is not important to the rest of us. Am I right or what, Andrew? We already know dog poop also trumps racist graffiti because it only affects some, according to you. I just want to be clear on what’s important that happens to affect all of us. Your personal religion is irrelevant, but I will admit, I look down on people who do not pick up after their dogs. I judge them. You might even say that I hate them. Obviously, there is no hope for me.

    • Andrew, I can support the argument that one need not believe in an omnipotent to be saved and I can do it using the Gospel, maybe annoy some southern evangelicals. It might help/simplify if you can separate people being good from people being religious.

  2. “That answer is only to be found in the person and relationship of Jesus Christ, whose life and indwelt power have been the source of every major push against hatred from pagan Rome to 18th century England to mid-19th century America.” I notice you’ve left out all the hate perpetrated in his name from the crusades to conversion therapy, to name a few.

  3. One of the really great things about believing in fairy tales is that you can embellish them all you want, and twist them to justify any argument. I wonder, Myles, if you thought there was any possibility of hatred in the hearts of the good christian soldiers during the crusades ? Perhaps you do not know that in 1933 , 99 % of the population of Germany identified as christian.
    https://www.facinghistory.org/holocaust-and-human-behavior/chapter-5/protestant-churches-and-nazi-state
    Unfortunately, the teachings of Jesus have been distorted by some of his willfully ignorant “followers” to justify racial hatred on a level that is unprecedented and abhorrent.
    Do you really think the skinheads in Charlottesville carrying their swastika flags and chanting “Jews will not replace us ” were Buddhist or Muslims ? No — they were christians.. You defile the teachings of Jesus with your blasphemy that “He” alone can change our hearts concerning racism.
    No– it takes an understanding that we are all here together. I am not a follower of Jesus, I am not a racist. But i really have to say, i know more christians that are racist then any other religiously affiliated people I know.

  4. I guess none of the “founding fathers” — you know, the guys who wrote the constitution — were slave owners… if they were they were certainly not christians . But wait, the conservatives today tell us we are a “christian country” founded on christian principles (such as slavery , I guess.) But perhaps , Mr. Goodwin, you somehow surmise that the the christian slave owners must have loved their slaves.. And all is right …

  5. “That answer is only to be found in the person and relationship of Jesus Christ” So true Myles! You did not say the answer was to be found in the Christian. The answer is only in Jesus. And only as we have a true and spiritual relationship with him do we have any chance of changing our hearts to truly love others as he would have us do.
    Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
    It is not religion that changes us. It is only Jesus.
    All the arguments above that bring up the Crusades, the Germans, etc. all substantiate that verse.
    What you say is true, “Hatred has its root and its being within the human heart” We must look deep into our own hearts and when we truly do, we will see our need.

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