Lamar on Life

From a Christian living in a Gulf country. The Middle East, Arabic, understanding Muslims, outreach to Muslims are to be addressed. In addition, thoughts, reflections, and book reviews will be posted.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Roots of Rage - Part 1

My father-in-law sent me a book called, Why the Rest Hates the West: Understanding the Roots of Global Rage, by Meic Pearse. I ended up liking the book, but it wasn't at all what I expected. On the cover is a picture of shouting demonstrating Palestinians. On the back in large bold print, "WHY DO THEY HATE US SO MUCH?" But I will tell you now that this is the worst case of "bait and switch" that I have ever seen in marketing a book, Christian or otherwise.

It is a book that is badly in need of a different title, but first it should have had a theme. The work was an adaptation of a series of lectures the author gave which he never intended to be the core of a book. So I imagine when an editor suggested, "Why don't we have a title that will make people think of the current conflict between the Muslim world and the West?" The author must have said, "Why not?"

However, if they followed truth in labeling laws, the book should have been called something like, "Why Western Societies are in Deep Doo Doo." But admittedly, that title is not going to sell many copies. Over 90% (my quite subjective estimate) of the book talks about Western society, which, in it's current form, is gravely ill and is infecting the rest of the world with it's barbaric disease. (In a subsequent post I may give more details on the his diagnosis, symptoms, and prognosis of the West's illness, which is actually the most interesting and beneficial aspect of the book.)

But to be fair (if that is possible at this point), perhaps the author really thought this work may give people a better idea about the differences between our modern/postmodern western world view and eastern/traditional societies, which must be the cause of this hatred. After all, it must be something more than propaganda and miscommunication that is at the root of the rage. So, he set out to describe the object of the hatred (the West) and to show that it is based on the haters' (the Rest) quite rational fears of what Western cultural imperialism is foisting upon them.

And now I come to my point for your consideration. Can we understand the phenomenon of hatred by looking at the object of the hatred? Can we understand why some people hate cheerleaders, or homosexuals, or certain Presidents, or 'uppity negroes', or women, or mimes or anyone at all, by focussing on them -- those who are the objects of the hatred? Jesus makes it clear that things like hatred come "out of the abundance of the heart." And "the evil man out of his evil treasure brings out evil things." I know that it is natural for humans to repay evil with evil, but that evil is not something tossed back and forth by the two sides like a hot potato. No, hatred is an act of projectile vomiting that comes from within the hater and is often directed at anyone standing nearby who is a visible representation of blame. (Sorry for such a graphic image.)

Hatred can not be understood as a rational response to mistreatment. It is an emotional expression of a spiritual condition. Furthermore, any theory of hatred which is based on understanding the object of hatred is backwards and fatally flawed. A book should be written to answer the question, "Why is the West the Target of the Hatred of the Rest?" But that's not the question this book answers, and that title wouldn't sell many copies either.


Anonymous Jessy said...

Amen. ~ Jessy

4:25 PM  

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