“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
Like the Buddha, Jesus tailored his message depending on who he was talking to. Remember, he wasn't trying to write a book, he was trying to get communicate with specific people and specific groups. In this case Jesus was being followed by a large crowd so he was trying to shock them, to challenge them. Jesus was not like some two bit tele-evangelist, trying to get as big an audience as possible. Instead he tried to drive people away, for their own good. So he gave them a teaching that is easy to misunderstand.
What does hate mean here? The hate is directed at specific relationships, that were embedded in tradition. Mother is role and a position, so is father and brother, and this is what must be hated. Not people, but roles. The roles are in you, it does not refer to other people. It is about how we think about other people, our attachments and preconceptions that put other people into roles. We are to love other people but we should hate and despise our own tendency to place people into roles, because this prevents us from truly loving them. When someone is in a role they are not themselves, they are the role. You cannot truly love someone who plays a role for you, because you see them through the role you have placed on them.