I’ve been an atheist in one form or another for a long time. 'I’m a lot mellower now than I used to be and I’ve become more accepting of religion.
I’m interested in the topic of empathy. Empathy is something that the religious display very well. Jesus is the perfect model for empathy. He loves you no matter what,
I wonder about empathy in the secular community and how well we model it...
Anyway ... I'm looking forward to joining in.
See ... This is just what I think ... Call me out on anything .. I dont mind.
Take the Pope for example. He is the Pope chosen supposedly by God himself. Right?
But the Pope has severe fucking depression. Depression means very low empathy. Low empathy means that he really cant give a shit about anyone or anything. So how does he remain compassionate????
Millions of people have depression ... How can they have empathy without a model?
I always thought of empathy as being innate to all social animals. Someone is abnormal, if lacking empathy? It does take time to develop a finer sense of it, but even little kids have it. Depression, Yeah I guess I can see that. The religious model is still an illusion, and the Pope should be depressed.
Apparently, depression erodes empathy.
So then I try to imagine what it might have been like living in a Bronze Aged world, or a Medieval World or Nazi occupation etc, then I imagine that depression would have been rife amongst the populations.
I don’t think that empathy is innate because we see what happens to orphans in places like Romania. I think that if it was innate then I think that the older orphans would start to care for the younger ones ... maybe.
Babies can begin life depressed.
I still think that empathy has to be learned.
For something to be innate, it does not have to be expressed at all times and in all situations. What is innate is for humans to be empathetic when they are in comfortable, non-abusive circumstances and to retreat into self-preservation mode when they are not. I think the Romanian orphans are in unnatural circumstances and are reacting accordingly.
"I think the Romanian orphans are in unnatural circumstances and are reacting accordingly."
I dont agree ... Even as late as the 1950s, people thought that babies just grew themselves and all they needed was to be fed and washed.
There is nothing un natural about those orphans. Those orphans are what exposed this truth to us.
"Suffer the little children for they know not what they do"
To me, this is not a made up passage in the bible ... its an acurate observation.
Hi Robert ...
A lot of people see animals helping each other out. Its usually team work, You scratch my back and Ill scratch yours kind of thing ...
But true empathy has only been observed once - it was a Rhesus monkey. This monkey gave up its own food so that another monkey would not get hurt.
I saw a minor bird helping its injured mate off a road once.
We don't need some kind of central figure like Jesus to be the model for empathy. Our parents are the first ones that teach us empathy or not. If they have failed to do that by the time their children are adults, then there is probably something wrong with their brains or their children's brains for various reasons.
People with healthy brains have natural empathy no matter what religious or non-religious background they were raised with or influenced by.
Nate ... How do you define empathy?
I don't define words. I use the definitions in the dictionary. :P
"Our parents are the first ones that teach us empathy or not"
but what about abandoned children in 3rd world countries. Not all babies born have their parents ...
Obviously, they will learn empathy from surrogate or alternative parents that are not their biological ones. You can imagine on your own all those possible types of parents/ other humans they will or will not learn empathy from.
Or, they'll be handed a gun and converted into child soldiers.