We tend to do that. To hate what we don’t understand.
It starts with fear.
We fear what we don’t understand. So…
We criticize it.
Or we dismiss it.
Sometimes, we smash it.
We see it in history:
After the last Amtrak accident, people may be a bit skittish about riding a train, but it’s nothing compared to how people felt in the 1820s with the invention of the steam locomotive. Anti-train propaganda warned that the human body would disintegrate under the stress of traveling at the unfathomable speed of 20mph. It was feared that men would asphyxiate, and women would suffer a more violent death due to their more fragile assembly. Stay away!
We see it literature:
In Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Jem, Scout, and Dill don’t know Arthur Radley (Boo). They only know what people say about him. They believe what they hear and in their minds, they make it reality. A scary reality.
“Inside the house lived a malevolent phantom. People said he existed, but Jem and I had never seen him.” Page 10
“People said he went out at night when the moon was down, and peeped in windows.” Page 10
“Boo was about six-and-a –half feet tall, judging from his tracks, he dined on raw squirrels and any cats he could catch, that’s why his hands were blood stained.” Page 16
By the end of the story, Boo is no longer a man to fear, but a man who is a friend.
We see it in TV:
Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone” aired “The Gift” April 27, 1962. In the story, a space alien, who calls himself Williams, crash lands his rocket in Mexico. He has come to earth to give humanity the formula for a cancer-curing vaccine. He should be getting the red carpet! Right?
But before presenting his gift, he’s killed by some local soldiers. Led by fear and hate, they not only kill the visitor but also burn the document that contains the cancer curing formula.
The closing line from the episode: “We’ve not just killed a man. We killed a dream.”
Rod Serling, in that bewitching voice, offers this epilogue:
“The subject: fear. The cure: a little more faith.”
What is the cure for our fear of the unknown?
For Rod Serling, the cure is faith.
For Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the award in two different fields (physics and chemistry), the cure is understanding: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
For Roman historian, Livy, the cure is knowledge: “We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.”
From John the Apostle, not the Beatle, the cure is love: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear for fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”
The chief troll had it right when he told Elsa, in the movie “Frozen”, “Fear will be your enemy.” The fear that froze Elsa and everyone around her was thawed by the sacrificial love of her sister, Anna.
Do you think the sacrificial love of Jesus will do the same for our fears and us?