Why does a disagreement in perception lead people to seek solace in hate?

I've been on almost every conceivable side of the religion argument at some point throughout my lifetime. Currently I have come to the conclusion that 99% of religions have the same basic premise at heart. That being said, why is it that almost every person who has claimed belief in some higher power gets so angry when they come into contact with some one who doesn't believe in one?

Religions are supposed to be about bringing people together who have similar values, and creating a community around those beliefs. They are supposed to love their fellow man, and help to end other peoples suffering for the good of humankind. Again, these are the beliefs almost EVERY religion holds dear (and I would assume most any sane Atheist as well)... yet when you express to them that your beliefs differ greatly from their own, at least in my own experience, they treat you like you have a disease. If suspension of belief is contagious, then I surely hope I can pass it on (as long as it works for the person who is infected).

My main problem is this... I don't care what someone believes or chooses to do as long as I am allowed the same courtesy, and as long as it doesn't hurt or suppress another individuals will. What is so difficult about that? Why MUST these people with their beliefs be so militant (Atheists can be guilty of it too) and attempt to replace another persons ideals, beliefs, and morals for their own. What makes us want to either through coercion or force, cause some body to have a perception shift whether or not they are prepared for it?

I look forward to your responses.

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"...why is it that almost every person who has claimed belief in some higher power gets so angry when they come into contact with some one who doesn't believe in one?

My main problem is this... I don't care what someone believes or chooses to do as long as I am allowed the same courtesy, and as long as it doesn't hurt or suppress another individuals will. What is so difficult about that?"


A lot of them are scared by you and what you represent, and anger is how they react. More than few times I have found myself regarding believers with less than total respect, and this has come across to them when we're interacting. And, they have done that, too. Once the chain reaction begins it's hard to stop.

I do care what someone chooses to believe in and do, but I am likely to ignore them until they get in my way. A lot of religious believers don't feel the same way, though. Many think they have a duty to rid the world of atheists.
I think it isn't so much ridding the world of atheists, or even saving a persons soul that drives them. More of the attitude I have witnessed from people who feel obligated to "helping" only want to appear to be RIGHT, and in making that assertion they have shown you your own "wrongness". Very few of them even have a very deep understanding of their own religion, and that is the main reason I get angry in return. If you are going to profess a belief in something, and attempt to convert others, do us all a favor and at the very least educate yourself.

Thanks so much for your comment.
Part of it may be fear,a common emotion behind anger. I think it may even be biological.

My perceptions is that most cultures seem to have a level of xenophobia. To survive humans have needed to be a part of a cohesive group ( in the sense of say our ancestors,small groups of hunters and gathers) Part of that cohesion included a shared world view,which meant shared religious/spiritual beliefs. Dissent could destroy a group and could not be tolerated. Tribal societies remain Xenophobic and paranoid to this day:THAT,imo,is perhaps THE problem in the Middle East, not Islam.


This is also the the function of witch hunts,found in most societies, ,including our own. (US: Salem Witch Trials in the C17th CE, The McCarthyism in the 1950's.
Most tribal cultures were ruled by superstition, and you are right in saying that to this day they are still very wary of outsiders or anything that would threaten their community. I suppose if anything heretical is viewed as a "threat" then you would tend to view all other opposing viewpoints that way as well, instead of trying to see the truth that ties it all together.

Thanks!
What anthropological explanation are you looking at? ;)

The easiest way to explain it can be used by Mary Douglas' theory of the body. The body itself can constitute any group of people who identify themselves with each other for various reasons, may they be religious, ethnical or otherwise. So, what happens is that this body is incredibly afraid of getting something inside it that may cause illness or disease, and it's very much contagious.

So when this body meets something unknown, it is deemed as dangerous by default, simply because it is not part of the actual body, it's something from the outside. Since the body is afraid it might be contaminated and no longer stay pure and as it is right now, it resents the outside source by vehemence, controlling it as much as possible.

You see this happen towards immigrants, Christians against atheists, etc, etc. There are numerous examples. The theory is quite applicable on a lot of things, you'd be surprised.
@Leat:

I was not consciously thinking of any model. It's over 25 years since I left university. I've never been too attracted to the purity/ pollution dichotomy except as a partial explanation. I did however use Dumont's approach in a final year paper on the caste system.


I've seen the vilification of immigrants here all of my life, which included the appalling way my my Canadian mother was treated by the Aussie wives of my dad's friends. In the 1950's,it was the Italians and the Greeks,in the 1960's the Brits,in the 1980's the Vietnamese.Today it's the Muslims. There was a shameful race riot in Cronulla,Sydney,in 2005. Anglos vs mainly Lebanese Muslims.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Cronulla_riots
Tarquin, my reply was not directly related to you, though :) And I don't claim that anyone should agree.
What then explains societies, cultures, or people who embrace "outsiders"?
"What then explains societies, cultures, or people who embrace "outsiders"?

Two broad answers:

(1) No model provides all the answers.That's probably why there are so many models when it comes to understanding human beings,as individuals or collectively..

(2) I actually can't think of any society which EMBRACES outsiders as welcome additions,.

I'm aware of many cultures [including my own) which ACCEPTS outsiders,for reasons of self interest and under strict guidelines.BUT the implicit assumption is that the newcomers will assimilate into the dominant culture or become marginalised.

In smaller, more traditional cultures,such as say some tribal societies,outsiders have tradionally been adopted into the tribe.That process entailed the outsider becoming an insider, adopting the life, custom and language of his/her adopted people
What Tarquin said. I have never in my studies so far encountered any culture or group of people who openly embrace outsiders. Often, what happens is that the group of people ultimatley become controlled through insitutions, such as the caste situation in India. Rules are made up based on the same irrational belief of taint, that way the group become controllable. Over time, the outside group adapts to its situation, and the power abuse shown by the first group is accepted as normal and it becomes internalized.
KJ:Why MUST these people with their beliefs be so militant (Atheists can be guilty of it too) and attempt to replace another persons ideals, beliefs, and morals for their own. What makes us want to either through coercion or force, cause some body to have a perception shift whether or not they are prepared for it?

Hi kj. I think many people don't allow themselves to differentiate between themselves, their community and others who are different and situated outside of this community. This translates into the idea that any one different from 1st person singular must be killed or dis-appeared. Social taboos, fear of being shunned, ethnocentrism and as Frank Zappa once said the most abundant element in the universe, stupidity. Few have navigated to the pull down menu and most have to be managed on chemicals and or propaganda instead of charting their own course. Such a mentality requires trade offs some of us are not disposed to make while others would readily kill their fellow human being for the most fleeting of gains. Ultimately it is necessary to distance ones self from harms vectors. Life is too grand, and too short to spend it among your enemies.

Thanks for the topic.
Thank you for the reply!

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