I'm an empath. In fact, I register rather high on the empathy spectrum. That means that I was born with the capacity to not only sympathize with the pain of others but to FEEL the pain and suffering of complete strangers in my own body. It's a mixed blessing. Often, even as a child, I was confounded, perplexed and infuriated by the apparent lack of empathy and compassion that many people of faith seemed in desperate need of, especially if they were to follow in the path of their mentor and moral model, Jesus Christ. 

This morning as I await the message on the decision about DACA ...

I feel the pain of 800,000 young people who I know are suffering mental anguish and uncertainly. I feel sad today. I feel sad today because I know that these young people are waiting for someone, some god, some inspired resolution to intercede on their behalf. I'm sad today because over and over and over again, human inflicted suffering is our story. I'm sad today because as an empath, I woke up feeling the pain in my body of thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands .... of children down through the ages, across the entire planet who were brought into this world where adults can't be trusted to do the right thing.

Furthermore, I am once again disturbed at the number of believers, people of some sort of faith, who can close their hearts to the suffering of others.

I'm not surprised but forever disappointed that some of the most devout choose to take a stand on the wrong side of history. I have to remind myself that according to recent research it may be possible that humans are either born with the empathy gene or not, making it impossible for them to ever feel much empathy. Maybe they can be taught to sympathize but not empathize.

Those that live in that gray area as largely apathetic humans are only able to feel their own suffering.

They constitute a good portion of any population, Christian or not. They tend to either not care about issues that don't directly affect them or if push comes to shove will often take the wrong side because they fear the sociopaths who are in power. Historical outcomes are clearly influenced by this large group of people that sit on the moral fence waiting to see which side of their bread gets buttered before they'll take a stand.  

I know all of this but it still bothers me to see such outright hypocrisy coming from those who claim to have a moral compass that is divinely inspired.

I'm a myth buster. My recent published book -  Have We Been Screwed? Trading Freedom for Fairy Tales - can be purchased on Amazon. 


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Comment by Jerry Wesner on September 11, 2017 at 12:26pm

Let's not forget in all this totally accurate criticism of nominal Christians who care nothing for others that there are Christians who do care, try to help others (both personally and through their votes), and live . . .  very much like humanists.  There aren't enough, but there are still some out there.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 6, 2017 at 12:01pm

Teresa, the "moral compass" which believers claim is less compass than it is rulebook.  As to just WHICH rulebook is, shall we say, intuitively obvious.  The problem is that while it was written by men, it is apparently not revisable in any meaningful fashion, which makes it as one person has said, "frozen in time."  Meantime, humankind advances, changes, and evolves (dirty word, I know! [grin!]) and outgrows a reference which was never all that great to begin with ... and the quote-monger in me is at it again:

When has justice ever been as simple as a rulebook?
-- Cmdr. William T. Riker

Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 6, 2017 at 10:20am

The modern understanding of empathy is broader than the popular understanding of it. Popularly it is limited to emotional empathy in which the empath feels the emotions of the other. The linked article gives three forms of empathy: emotional, cognitive and compassionate.


Comment by Michael Penn on September 6, 2017 at 8:44am

Resist! Let's set up some "Trump-Free" zones and start some protests that say it's time for Donnie Johnny to go. He's erasing everything as far back as FDR and doing his best to "Make America White Again." Just a Fascist racist in the White House that thinks you can be a proud Nazi and a proud American at the same time.

It's time to go, Donnie. The majority of us do not want you.

Comment by Teresa Roberts on September 6, 2017 at 7:43am

The study of empathy is an evolving field, but people may fall on a spectrum when it comes to empathy from very high to low and in the case of a sociopaths none at all. Sympathy is a different thing altogether. 


Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 5, 2017 at 11:02pm

John, I am not including psychopaths in the subset of humans who can learn empathy. Neither can dead people, delusional people, or those who are in a coma. It was a generalization. 

It is easier to break through psychopathology that is superimposed, i suppose, although it is not a day at the circus with peanuts and circus peanuts. (aren't those orange things good and bad all at once?)

Not that i have specific knowledge of how bystanders react to car crashes but i would bet dollars to bags of green tea with sugar packets and a fortune that the sight of a victim of a car crash evokes strong empathy and results in action. Helping the victims...yaya

Comment by John Dumaker on September 5, 2017 at 10:49pm

Tom Cruise claims that Scientologists are willing to aide someone at the scene of a car crash where as most people would not.

Comment by John Dumaker on September 5, 2017 at 10:47pm

@ Glen: I'm not sure that empathy can be learned. True psychopaths do not possess empathy. They are incapable of imagining someone's suffering. That is how famous serial killers such as Dahmer can do what they do. Ive never heard of a true psychopath learning sympathy, although there are interesting methods psychologists are attempting to implement in children diagnosed with psychopathy.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 5, 2017 at 7:55pm

you show me where a man gets his corn pone and i will show you where he gets his pinions.

Empathy is not simply a biological gift or curse.  It can be learned. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33287727

It would be interesting to find out how indoctrination into religious and political ideology affects empathy...not that i dont think the answer is suggested by the question...

Comment by Loren Miller on September 5, 2017 at 8:42am

Teresa, the second I see crap like this going on, and ESPECIALLY when putative Christians are taking such action, I am reminded of the following:

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
-- Matthew 25:40

It amazes me how selective some Christians can be with their references to the bible and how badly they fail at being their brother's keeper.

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