Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Hatred or hormones?

What drives people to malice? What makes a man fighting for his country go into a village and kill people he doesn't know?
What turns people into persecutors?
Usually we can say they are disturbed people, if its a woman reaching a certain age we can say she's approaching the menopause...hormones can be blamed for many sorts of daft acts ...but there must be something more in the makeup of anyone who hates enough to try to destroy people...or their beliefs..
St Paul admits quite cheerfully that before his conversion he persecuted Christians...nothing wishy washy about St Paul...his beliefs were clear cut and he died in order to propagate them..
I get cross from time to time....I'm certainly no saint.  Sometimes turning the other cheek is very hard  but I try and mostly succeed.
What motivated the soldier into turning his hatred upon the people of Afganistan  even to its children cannot easily be imagined....and it is too easy to just say, "Well he was obviously disturbed"
That's what we say when someone we know behaves out of character and does something that damages themselves more than the object of their spite. 
No one can be sure how we would react in extreme circumstances but most Christians would defend their faith if called upon to do so.
I have now witnessed a small taste of persecution  and  I do wonder what makes a person hate and more, act on that hatred
 Its got to be more than  just rogue hormones....
The need to punish, to make someone else pay for either real or imagined hurts is quite literally a means of self destructing....the only person in the end to get hurt is the persecutor.
The American soldier may well spend the rest of his life regretting his actions..
Anyone else inclined to persecute should realise that its a negative,  self destructive impulse and fight it!
Hormones can't always take the blame!


  1. I know it is not a fashionable belief, but I firmly believe in intrinsic evil, as well as intrinsic good. Not in equal proportions, but I do think there is a vein of evil in even the best of us, and a vein of good in even the very worst.
    Often, it seems, it requires only a small trigger for an extreme reaction to occur, but I think it is more likely that a volcano has been smouldering away unrecognised for a long time and some incident becomes the last straw and the indidvidual snaps.
    It is one thing to preach tolerance love and patience, quite another to try to live up to it all the time.
    Sadly those who suffer the fall-out of the volcano are almost always totally innocent.

  2. Ray has a point. I to believe that Evil will flourish in the absence of good. Although, the case in point for the US Sgt seems a little off course.

    He was in a relatively safe base in Kandahar. The fact that he was able to leave his base and walk unmolested to the village where he committed his crimes speaks for itself. If he had tried that in Helmand Province, Phe would have suffered the face of the British serviceman who left his base and was killed by the Taliban.

    Pure speculation about his possibly suffering from some breakdown, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) formerly known as 'shell shock' is a possibility, but if you suffer it on active service, the symptoms are much more likely to be a withdrawal into one self, introspection and literally, wanting to be out of harms way.

    Speculation may be that he has completed cumulative tours of Iraq and Afghanistan (American troops serve much longer continuous tours than our troops) up to 18 months at a time, might have contributed to his state of mind. Revenge for something that happened, might be connected, but is again, pure speculation.

    I found when serving, that most problems suffered by soldiers, were pre-existing, they could include worries about relationships, financial worries and the whole host of others that afflict us as humans. There might have even been an undiagnosed mental disorder such as Bi-Polar, where mood swings can be attributed too stress, when in fact, they are symptomatic of the underlying problems Individuals with Bi-Polar can be perfectly calm one moment, and enraged the next. It is a highly treatable disorder, but having it would debar you from serving in operational roles in our Armed Forces, and I assume it would be the same for the USA.

    A strong mix of them all might have lain behind his behaviour. No doubt we will know in time. What I am concerned about is that President Obama has announced that he will be treated to the full rigour of the law, which could include the death penalty.

    Many might say that he would deserve it, after what he has done, but that is an inhumane response to his actions. Sure he deserves punishment, but within the context of his actions and his medical and psychiatric condition at the time of them.

    Praying for those effected is perhaps the only thing we can offer in this situation. And hope that the USA puts measure in place to prevent such a thing ever happening again.

  3. Thank you Earnie and Ray....I appreciate the comments..from people who have a greater depth of experience than me. I too believe that evil does exist...I have encountered it myself but mostly I still believe that peoples actions are fired by all sorts of extraneous events they have no control over and that its the only way to try to get some sort of control, no matter how drastic.