Can you hate a fictional character?

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Can you hate a fictional character?

Postby Mr.Blahface » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:39 am

On the last show Tracie argued that atheists can't hate god because you cannot hate a character you believe doesn't exist. I disagree with this. I don't believe Jar Jar Binks is a real, but I really hate him. I wish he were real so I could strangle him.
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Re: Can you hate a fictional character?

Postby Cephus » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:48 pm

Mr.Blahface wrote:On the last show Tracie argued that atheists can't hate god because you cannot hate a character you believe doesn't exist. I disagree with this. I don't believe Jar Jar Binks is a real, but I really hate him. I wish he were real so I could strangle him.


You don't hate him, you hate the concept of him. I'd rather just throttle George Lucas for coming up with that concept and putting it on film.
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Postby Mythman » Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:40 pm

My feeling is that it's either subjective or dependent on context, but I can't decide which. Maybe it's both.

In the context of a religious debate, the whole "hating God" thing is a red herring to try and direct the conversation away from what is demonstrably real, or whatever point you're driving at. So you'd say that you can't hate something you don't think is real because you want to avoid going off on that tangent.

In fiction, I suppose it's best to say that you hate the character, real or not. You might hate the character "God" or the character "Jar Jar," but in the end it is just the character. And then I think it would have to come down to where you choose to direct that hatred. Clearly Jar Jar is George Lucas' fault, but if you don't think about it in those terms I don't see why it would be any more or less accurate to say that you hate Jar Jar, because that's how you perceive it.

This is where words begin to fail me, so I hope this makes sense. If I see the character as an idea, and an idea is a real thing even though the thing it represents isn't, then I can say that I hate the character and refer to it by name. That doesn't mean that I believe the character actually exists, which I suppose makes it somewhat hypothetical hatred.

But to the believer, God is a real person, not a character, so they aren't talking about hatred in the same way that you are. So it would make sense to say that you don't hate God because you don't believe in him, because the context is different. And I think that the ambiguity of where hatred is directed when you talk to a believer would give a false impression of what you actually think unless you take the time to explain it, which is exactly what you don't want to do when it's irrelevant to the conversation.
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Re: Can you hate a fictional character?

Postby Xelnaga » Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:38 am

You can also love hating him.. meh xD
Or hate loving him? that sounds bad.
Im leading nowhere with this tho lol
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Re: Can you hate a fictional character?

Postby sepia » Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:47 pm

I think yes. You also can identify yourself with a fictional character, understand them or think, they are stupid. For example some fictional characters in movies can be hated and I think in propaganda movies some characters have the purpose to be hated.
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Re: Can you hate a fictional character?

Postby Lausten » Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:21 pm

This is a semantic argument, which I usually avoid, but I think this one is important. As I lost my religion, I still used the word "Jesus" as if I was referring to a person who lived and maybe did or said at least some of the things in the Bible. This usually ended up confusing the conversation. It would take off on tangents about Jesus not existing and seem, to me at the time, that things had gotten off track. I just started getting into the habit of saying "the character Jesus" or "the historical Jesus" or just avoid that and say "Christians" or otherwise refer to religion instead of its gods. I did it at first just to avoid the tangents, but now I think it is better for everybody. If you don't believe in God, don't talk about him like he exists. When you say, "I hate Jar Jar Binks", we know you mean a movie character. When you say, "I hate God", that can mean very different things to different people. Say what you mean.
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