Basic Foundation · Logic and Debate

Hate vs Disagreement, Love vs Acceptance

The Problem

When discussing extremely personal topics, such as who you fall in love with, what gender you feel you are, what religion you believe to be true, etc., it is not uncommon for a discussion about what position represents the true/right/natural position to devolve into accusations of hatred or appeals to the value of love. Further confusing the issue, the verbiage used can be things like “homophobia”, “Islamophobia”, “intolerance”, etc. which have a variety of definitions depending on the context.

Frequently, the unstated assumption is that if you disagree with X, you must hate X. If you love person Y, then you must accept person Y. When stated that way, it becomes obvious that the position is silly, but when left unstated, it can be an effective tactic to put one person on the defensive.


All definitions are being taken from Merriam Webster’s online dictionary.


a:  intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury
b:  extreme dislike or disgust



1a (1):  strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
(2):  attraction based on sexual desire :  affection and tenderness felt by lovers
(3):  affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
b:  an assurance of affection
2:  warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion

4a:  unselfish loyal and benevolent (see benevolent 1a) concern for the good of another: such as (1): the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2): brotherly concern for others




1:  to fail to agree
2:  to differ in opinion



2:  to give admittance or approval to
3a:  to endure without protest or reaction
b:  to regard as proper, normal, or inevitable
c:  to recognize as true

Reading through these definitions, it should become obvious that disagreeing with, or not accepting someone’s position can be based on love, hatred, or neither. Having a difference in opinion (disagreement) can be based on emotional reasons or intellectual ones. Accepting a person or position can be based on either love or apathy, depending on whether the position is actively embraced or simply not resisted.

The Takeaway

The reality is that a person’s motives for taking a position is irrelevant to the correctness of that position. Any accusation that a person loves, hates, fears, etc. another person, and that is the motivation for taking a given position is actually an Ad Hominem.

It is also fairly trivial to construct ridiculous counter-examples. For example, if loving a person means accepting every decision they make, then loving parents should never reprimand children for playing in the street. Similarly, if disagreement is a sign of hatred, then when a married couple ever has a fight, it is an obvious sign they hate each other. The reality is that disagreements are based on having different foundational beliefs, information on a topic, or different values and priorities. To resolve a disagreement, it is necessary to delve into those areas.


One thought on “Hate vs Disagreement, Love vs Acceptance

  1. Nice little article, very good points. Just to add a bit more to it. During Aurangzeb’s time, when the Sikhs fought the Mughal , they were taught to not hate them, and reminded that the war was over principal and not hate. This way of thinking has advantages as it lets you think about the problem without clouding your judgement.

    Liked by 2 people

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