Love Can Conquer Hate

It is easy to feel that the world is being engulfed by chaos. War has erupted in Israel and Palestine. In Europe, the first full-scale war between two countries since World War II has entered its third year as a bloody and destructive stalemate. Other conflicts from the Congo to Myanmar may get less international press but they are no less deadly.

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Meanwhile, in countries not at war, political discourse has become a lost art. Different factions shout past each other rather than working out reasonable solutions to society’s problems. And that only applies to countries where free expression is allowed; we can only imagine what seethes in the minds of people who are repressed by authoritarian governments.

Think about it. How many countries right now are at peace with each other? Far more than are at war. 

Hatred and bigotry are also rearing their ugly heads. In particular, since the start of the current war between Israel and Palestine, both Europe and the United States report a spike in antisemitism and Islamophobia.

It is easy to despair and ask: Is this just the normal way that human beings treat each other? Is there no hope that it will ever change?

While I may be accused of over-simplifying interpersonal and international relations, I’m going to give a very short answer: No, it’s not.

Think about it. How many countries right now are at peace with each other? Far more than are at war. Consider also the large majority of people who, on an individual basis, are at peace with family and friends, and are living productive and meaningful lives—many more than are trying to kill or otherwise destroy each other right now.

And the human race has come through a major pandemic ready to go forward again.

Still it is not enough to simply hope that the hatred that is alive and well in the world will just go away. Many of the issues that keep conflicts alive are complex, and it will take a lot of very intelligent work and persistence to resolve them. But it should give us hope that people have been able to do so in the past and we should allow their actions to guide us toward a better future.

Consider two Christian clergymen, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, both of whom pointed the way toward a brighter future for the human race. Both confronted the oppression of Black people that had gone on for many generations in their respective nations. It would have been easy to return hatred and bigotry in kind. Yet they chose a different route. Without compromising their demands for freedom and equality for their people—and while also standing up to those attempting to enforce the status quo—they stayed above the intolerance they worked to overcome, and stood up to evil using nonviolent means. Dr. King famously said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

As someone who has been a practicing Scientologist for over half a century, I have seen many people use its spiritual technology to become more tolerant, disinclined to hate and capable of far more love. I am also inspired by having observed many people in their own way rise above the turmoil of daily existence to overcome hatred and spread tolerance and peace.

Love can conquer hate. We, the human race, can win.

We must, and we will.