WHEN CONVERSATIONS BECOME HATE SPEECH

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Over the years I have experienced many times individuals who like to attack me for my beliefs.  They claim that some of my beliefs are hate speech and non inclusive.  They attack my God, my Savior, my church leaders with insults and mockery.  They engage in very clear hate speech and then accuse my beliefs of being hateful.

This has led me to ponder the reasons why anyone would choose this method to attack another person’s beliefs.  By engaging in hate speech it creates a great divide that will oftentimes destroy friendships, family ties and sometimes erupt into violence.  So I ask myself,  When I express my beliefs, is it  presented to others as hate speech?

To some it may seem that way.  If we were to look deeper into the issues that create this conflict then we might discover one simple analysis as to why people engage in this method of dispute over ideals, whether they be religious, political or social.  We all cling to our deeply held convictions of what is right and what is wrong, we also try to influence others to believe our side is correct. 

I have learned that truth is truth and when we share truth with others, that’s all we need to do, share it.  We do not need to put down another’s beliefs in an attempt to share what we know or feel to be true.

Those who firmly believe that they are right and that the issues they support are true, then they can express WHY they believe something is true without the need to attack or explain why the other person is wrong.

Conversely, I have found that those who stand on shaky ground with their own beliefs typically engage in the combative attacks on others beliefs.  They try to tear down others beliefs because they have no basis with which to firmly stand in their own. They are not converted to their professed beliefs.

I deeply respect the differences in others and in their convictions. I ask myself often am I expressing why I believe something without the need to tear down others beliefs?  I know at times I may fail at this and I will try to rectify the situation.  I try to recognize that others may be trying to share why they believe something else to be true and that it may come across as an attack on my beliefs, then I revisit that belief to see why I am on shaky ground, I either strengthen my belief with knowledge or adjust my belief system.  If things are true, then I am on solid footing and will know it when the attacks come.

I also recognize that lately more often than not I find more individuals who engage in tearing down the convictions of other’s while making no attempt to express why they believe differently.  This indeed is hate speech.  Regardless of what you believe, when you tear down others, make inappropriate comments about what they believe, it is simply hate speech.  It occurs from individuals in all races, religions, genders, gender orientation, political parties and nations.  Hate speech is meant to destroy others, not enlighten.

When engaging in the difficult conversations, state why you believe what you believe. Stop telling others why what they believe is wrong.   If what you believe is true, those willing to find truth will see it, those unwilling will not. There is no need to convince someone they are wrong and you are right.  Show them why you believe your’ beliefs are right and stop.  We as a community and nation will move forward with understanding instead of hate.

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