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.
Welcome to TA!
I am curious how you conclude that the religious and/or Christianity are in any way empathetic, especially to non believers? Is hell-fire, commanded sacrifice and genocide, or turning people to stone equivalent to the golden rule? Would you kill an out-of-season fig tree? I feel many atheists exhibit empathy at a much higher level just because he or she is not expecting supernatural forgiveness. Righteousness and empathy seem to be in opposition.Worship me, or suffer. Sounds like slavery.
I rekon forget that hardine approach .... Mainstream churchgoers dont have a clue about that stuff. They just hear it as 'noisy chatter' and go deaf on you.
Most mainstream godbots want to save you from hellfire .... Thats empathy.
The intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.
Nothing to do with wanting to "save" anyone.The fact that they will continue to pester you to accept their imaginary friend, and that they will threaten you with hell because your feelings, beliefs and ideas do not go hand in hand with theirs is not empathy. If they understood how you feel, and accepted you for it regardless of how it makes them feel, then the would be empathic.
Trying to force you into "salvation" is their way of sucking up to Yahweh and Jesus and making themselves seem pious and righteous. Nothing to do with understanding and relating to the emotions of others.
Very good point Milos. One that I can not only second but could augment with more of the same and worse about the behavior of god-botherers. They are not empathetic at all; they are members of a ruthless, power-mad mob.
Oh, by the way, I had to highlight your post to read it. I don't know if that is the purpose of your font choices, but they do make your posts harder to read.
Hi Angela, welcome to TA. I love your picture. I'm interested in the subject of empathy too. It seems to be a fundamental requirement of morality - understanding the point of view, experience and emotional/mental state of another. Here are some books and associated links I have found useful, I don't know if you've seen these.
“Born for Love – why empathy is essential – and endangered", by Maia Szalavitz and Bruce D Perry MD PhD
“Transforming the Mind – Eight verses on generating compassion and transforming your life”, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
“Wild Justice – The Moral Lives of Animals”, by Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce
“Super cooperators – Altruism, evolution, and why we need each other to succeed”, by Martin A Nowak
It's said that empathy can't be learned, but it can be "caught", ie. learned by example. I agree with this, as the thing you are trying to learn, is the other person. It's a skill rather than a set of facts. What do you think? How can an unempathic person learn to have empathy? This is important I think. A little knowledge goes a long way, that's for sure. There are a few certain key skills required.
Hi Simon .. Thanks for your reply.
Empathy is a tricky thing isnt it? It requires that you become "other person centred".
Another interesting thing about it is that, you dont even really have to care ... you just need to know how to do it.
I'm happy that you are interested in it too Simon and I can see that you understand the concept of it.
I'll have a look at the links you provided and get back to this subject because its a very important one.
Jesus is marketed on the empathy model ...
"I'll pray for you" is an empathic response ..
The religious are way ahead on this one ...
"... you dont even really have to care ... you just need to know how to do it."
I have a friend who's an expert in it (manager-guru in Tesco's); for him it's a professional skill. He does care, and that's probably part of his secret. He always just tells me to "have more empathy" which isn't very helpful. From watching him, I've learned it comes down to asking questions and really looking at and listening to the other person and trying to put yourself in their shoes. And guess what? I've got much better at it. "People" becomes a subject of learning like any other.
Try the Baron-Cohen Empathy Quotient Test and let me now how you go ....
Thanks, I'll look into it.
If you think that everyone would like it, maybe you could post the tests on the board. Might be fun ...
Lets see how many Narcissists are lurking ... lol
It's one thing to "act empathic", and another to actually BE empathic.
The religious are way ahead on this one ...
You would expect empathy to reduce your propensity to commit crimes against other people. The number of atheists in jail very disproportional to the general population. According to the US Bureau of Prison Statistics, 0.2% of the prison population were atheists, while ~76% were Christians.
You would also expect that at the very least an empathic priest of jesus would not commit child abuse, but we know that is not the case. Even the Pope is not beyond suspicion. Religious are "God's Chosen People". Religion is all about exclusion. They empathy they preach is false.
Empathy does reduce the propensity for crime and cruelty if its used.
Not all people know what it is. That goes for the religious and non-religious.
Many people would call themselves empathic but if questioned, they would have trouble defining it.
"What would Jesus Do" is a good catch phrase .. lol
Dont Be an Asshole is another one ...