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In the last several years, many humanists who had never hated anyone before were taught to hate. They were taught to hate a particular man. And they were taught to hate this particular man by the man himself.

It was as if the man looked humanists in the eyes and said, “I was chosen to prove to you humanists that you are not above the moral sinkhole of human hatred, and to that end, over the next few years, I will give you a thousand and one reasons to hate me. I will mar your days and deck your nights with a frenzy of worry. I will utter as many lies as words. I will drive you to distraction. I will make you crazy. You will think of me and talk of me every day of the world. I will be your constant companion. I will be the subject of your doom scroll. I will be your dirge, your moan, your lamentation.”

Suffice it to say, the man was skilled at engendering hatred toward himself. Over the years, his daily fulminations and abominations, even the mildest of them, aimed a steady stream of gasoline on a fire he ignited long before. He was able to fuel the flames constantly for 1460 days. In the end he achieved what he set out to do. He turned love-abiding humanists into haters. But remember, humanists had cause to hate this man. Let us recall the data:

  • The man’s egoism could not be measured or contained.
  • The man darkened the nation’s mirth.
  • Psychics on three continents had every reason to suspect that the man spent his nights hanging upside down on one of the lower ledges of Hades.
  • Virtuosos from two world religions had credible evidence that the man might even be the divinity of hell.
  • One half of the globe said the man was an actual wolf wrapped in a human hide.
  • The other half was sure the man had gravel in his chest where a heart should be.
  • There were reports the man placed a colorful tattoo in an arc above his left breast. The delicate, medieval, filigreed calligraphy read, “The Very Fangs Of Malice.”
  • Rumors leaked that the man sat for a day and a half in a hall of mirrors to consult his multiple egos.
  • Several honest insiders said the man had targets made from pictures of his enemies and pasted them on a bedroom wall to throw steel-tipped darts at.
  • Innumerable theories emerged about how the man occupied his daily sinful hours.

He beat the humanists. He won. And humanists cannot forget that he stained them by making them haters.

After devolving into such hatred for several long years, can humanists become lovers again? Yes, humanists may return to the source of their ethic of love, which was within them all along. Values that natural selection bestowed on our sociable species will always actuate the human ability to love, values like empathy, cooperation, altruism. Humanists won’t let a mere bad man arrest their march to a higher morality. And yet, the man was exceedingly odious, abhorrent, execrable, wretched, even accursed.

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J. H. McKenna (Ph.D.) has taught the history of religion since 1999 at the University of California, where he has won teaching awards. He has published in academic journals and the LA Times, Huffington...