Christianity has failed to…

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by coberst, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. coberst

    coberst Registered Member

    Christianity has failed to…


    I claim that the Christian religion has failed to teach empathy; one of the most important moral concepts we have.

    There are various definitions of empathy given by various individuals but almost all of them point to the same meaning. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs of another person. Empathy is often characterized as the ability to “walk in the shoes of another”, i.e. to acquire an emotional resonance with another.

    In his classic work about modern art, “Abstraction and Empathy”, Wilhelm Worringer provides us with a theory of empathy derived from Theodor Lipps that can be usefully applied to objects of art as well as all objects including persons.

    “The presupposition of the act of empathy is the general apperceptive activity. Every sensuous object, in so far as it exists for me, is always the product of two components, that which is sensuously given and of my apperceptive activity.”

    Apperception—the process of understanding something perceived in terms of previous experience.

    What does in so far as it exists for me mean. I would say that something exists for me when I comprehend that something. Comprehension is a hierarchical concept and can be usefully considered as in the shape of a pyramid. At the base of the comprehension pyramid is awareness that is followed by consciousness. We are aware of many things but we are conscious of much less. Consciousness is awareness plus our focused attention.

    Continuing with the pyramid analogy, knowing follows consciousness and understanding is at the pinnacle of the pyramid. We know less than we are conscious of and we understand less than we know. Understanding is about meaning whereas knowing is about knowledge. To move from knowing something to a point when that something is meaningful to me, i.e. understood by me, is a big step for man and a giant step for mankind.

    My very best friend is meaningful to me and my very worst enemy must, for security reasons, also be meaningful to me. The American failures in Vietnam and Iraq are greatly the result of the fact that our government and our citizens never understood these ‘foreigners’. We failed at the very important relationship—we did not empathesize with the people and thus failed to understand our enemy. It is quite possible that if we had understood them we would never have gone to war with them.

    If we had empathy with Germany in the 1930s would we have stopped Hitler before he forced us into war?

    If we had empathy with Germany before August 1914 would we have prevented WWI?

    Do you agree that we understand our best friend and that we must also understand our worst enemy?

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    Religion speaks constantly about love. What actions does one take in order to love someone? I claim that empathy is a necessary step toward loving someone. Religion has a problem with intellection; religion wants to focus on emotion. Reason is necessary for empathy; if so, it is necessary for love and thus religion fails when reason fails. Therein lay the paradox of religion.
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    Religion speaks constantly about love. What actions does one take in order to love someone? I claim that empathy is a necessary step toward loving someone. Religion has a problem with intellection; religion wants to focus on emotion. Reason is necessary for empathy; if so, it is necessary for love and thus religion fails when reason fails. Therein lay the paradox of religion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2008

  2. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    "Keep your friends close, and you're enemies closer"

    This is hibbity jibbity doodah. Religion shouldn't try to impose its will on people - that's its problem, people will always have free will, and have a natural affinity for chaos (no pun intended) and anarchy. It's in our nature.

    The problem with religious writings (the bible, for example) is that they more often than not contradict themselves. This is why I don't follow the bible - it's supposedly a work of God, but instead is a work by Man to control Man.

    I believe in the miracle that is life, and if this is 'God', then thats just fine - however, I also take into account the limitless ends of space, and how that allows the billions-to-one chance of life on this planet to be a possibility.

    Faith is a tool created by Mankind to serve as a shield from the fear of death. As a race, we're amzingly good at creating things to block our minds from reality - for example, no other living creature on this planet has the concept of boredom; this may not seem like a particularly amazing feat, but it is - if it weren't for boredom, we'd never find something to do, and instead would dwell on the fact that our lives are, basically, pointless.

    Not that I'm trying to sound pessimistic, or anything. I'm actually quite a jolly, happy person - I'm just also something of a theorist, as well as being an occasional realist.
     
  3. coberst

    coberst Registered Member

    I think that it is important to be able to distinguish among the words empathy, sympathy, and compassion.

    Webster says empathy—the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it—the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiencing of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner

    Webster says sympathy—an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly the other.

    Webster says compassion--sympathetic consciousness of other's distress together with a desire to alleviate it.



    ------
    Religion speaks constantly about love. What actions does one take in order to love someone? I claim that empathy is a necessary step toward loving someone. Religion has a problem with intellection; religion wants to focus on emotion. Reason is necessary for empathy; if so, it is necessary for love and thus religion fails when reason fails. Therein lay the paradox of religion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2008
  4. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    Well, Webster can say what he wants - the truth of the matter is, Humans Do as Humans Are. Religion just takes that a step further - a 'white collar' act, if you will, of basic Human action; the Beast Within Wants Out.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2008
  5. soot

    soot Registered Member

    That's just so much ridiculous nonsense.

    If humanity had such a natural affinity toward chaos and anarchy we wouldn't have spent the last several thousand years developing social systems that minimize anarchy and chaos.

    You're grasping at straws, and coming up empty handed.
     
  6. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    I'll agree with you there :lol:

    So what, you're just going to deny every War and pointless feud in Mankinds history? Will you deny that we are the sole race on this planet that is willing to fight and kill both its own kind, and other beings for no reason??

    You can try and justify War with some half baked sentimental crap about "peace on earth", but the be all and end all of it is that Mankind, as a race, is violent, extreme, and willing to kill and exterminate any other being if they 'get in our way'.

    If thats an 'empty hand', I'd hate to see what you think is a viable example of anarchy.
     
  7. soot

    soot Registered Member

    "War" is an entirely different concept than either "chaos" or "anarchy".

    Your original statement was that "people have a natural affinity toward chaos and anarchy".

    That is the statement I bolded and that was the statement I was directly addressing in my response. It's an incorrect statement and it has absolutely no basis in reality or the history of human civilization and social development.

    Be that as it may.

    Wars are occasional and intermittent they are not a natural state of chaos toward which men permenantly strive.

    What happens immediately after a brief period of warfare?

    The combatants return to a period of peace (generaly) and normalacy (as best as they can) and and make every concievable effort to put the uncertainty of war behind them in exchange for a predictability and regularity that is the furthest thing from chaos and anarchy.

    War is a condition to which humanity has resigned itself - like it has resigned itself to poverty. Neither is a condition that any normal cross-section of humanity would consider ideal, but both are conditions that we accept are likely to affect a segment of the global population for a given period of time.

    If humanity naturally aspired toward chaos we wouldn't be having this discussion right now because the socio-economic conditions that allow for the development of advanced leisure technologies would be impossible - people would be too busy ripping each other's heads off to sit down and develop a website for the peaceful exchange of ideas.
     
  8. juha82

    juha82 Registered Member

    You have a life, solid/smart view.
    I praises of your things.
    We have to praises of all the humans what they thinks.
    No dooming.
     
  9. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    I can see what you're trying to say, generally speaking, but still: I disagree. War is not a natural state at all - it is a point contributing to the natural state of anarchy of Humans. The peace-thing is just an example of the other side of humanity - fear. Fear is the part of our nature which, in fact, contributes to the anarchy and chaos that humans lean to. It is fear that drives us (except in cases of abnormal circumstances) to commit crimes of War, and anarchy - fear for our own survival which drives us to kill and destroy 'threats'.

    Yes, Mankind now embellishes himself with technology, and we tell ourselves that "We only want peace", but the fact of the matter is, we still desire destruction and anarchy - we still have an inner core of rage and anger, except now, we've covered it over with delusions of grandeur, and 'ideas of peace', which just barely blanket the surface. Everyone feels it, deep inside, a raging torrent of rage waiting for a chance to escape. This is our 'inner beast', if you will; it is the voice in your head, and the urge beneath your fingertips to throttle the person who took your parking space, or to hit someone who bumps into you in the street, etc.
     
  10. soot

    soot Registered Member

    I get angry at folks, sure.

    But I can't remember the last time I wanted to throttle someone in a blind, primeval rage.

    I don't refrain from violently attacking people because I have to - I refrain because I have much more important things to do with my time than roll around in the street with some jacka.ss who "looked at me the wrong way".

    I don't place much credibility in anything you've said here. You may have a good point which you're making poorly, but based on what you've said I see no reason to throw hundreds of thousands of years of human social development out the window.

    Maybe you want destruction and anarchy. The rest of society will gladdy throw you in jail for acting on such desires as we go on about our mostly peaceful lives.

    No. You have no idea what you're talking about. You're trying to justify some personal abnormality by projecting your distorted view of the world onto society as a whole.

    Take it easy there Mr. "Chaos", you bad man you.
     

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