Hard Questions About the Bible

Does the Bible teach Christians to hate others, especially those who are not Christians?

In the Old Testament, it does seem that God instructed the Israelites to hate their enemies.  Deuteronomy 12: 29-31 (edited) says:

The Lord your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess. But when you have driven them out and settled in their land, and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods.  You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods.

In the Old Testament, God’s purpose was to keep the Israelites from the influence of pagan gods, so he had them destroy their enemies.  In the New Testament, the situation was different.

When Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, he took care of all the sins of the people who accepted his sacrifice.  The Israelites/Jews had to continually offer sacrifices in the temple to atone for their sins.  But now, once a person accepted Jesus, all sins were forgiven.  This meant that people no longer had to destroy the pagans and offer sacrifices, they just had to follow Jesus.

Once people accepted Jesus, the focus of the teaching turned to having relationship with God, loving others (even enemies), and spreading the word of salvation.

Salvation is meant to be a message of God’s love, so in spreading the message, Christians should communicate it with love, not hate.

Next: Why Are Christians So Judgmental?

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