Monday, May 9, 2011

Empathy

A rabbi once said, “If you don’t know what hurts me, how can you say you love me?”

This video calls for the sort of radical empathy required by True Love. You cannot say you love someone different than you - even someone like an Arab terrorist - until you have truly empathized with where they are coming from. This, to me, is an obvious aspect of what love really is. Let me say it one more time: If you do not empathize with someone different than you, the love you say you have for them is a delusion... probably even a LIE.



If you make someone else out to be "other" than you - if you see them as somehow inferior, or sub-human (if, for example, you have no emotion of grief at the thought of killing them) - while at the same time claiming to love them, then you, my friend, are a liar. Liar, liar, pants on fire. Please stop. And double pretty please with a cherry on top... stop going around bragging to everyone about how you're a "Christian." You're embarrassing me. "Christian" is supposed to be something other people call you when they see you doing ridiculous things, like loving your enemies and doing good to people who persecute you.

3 comments:

  1. As I sit here mentally congratulating you on a simple, well-written diatribe that will knock those darn fundies down a peg or two, I'm haunted by the thought that the very "christians" who raised me are now more my enemies, in the sense that I find it harder to empathize with them, than Arab terrorists.

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  2. It is sad, don't you think, that you would immediately jump from this post to thinking "that will knock those darn fundies down a peg or two"? It's sad that fundamentalist "Christians" have become so widely associated with "a stubborn unwillingness to love people who are different than them."

    But as I grow away from my fundamentalist roots, I find myself feeling a deep sadness for them, because they, too, are victims of their inability to love. My writing comes out of that sadness, usually, more than anger. I don't know if it shows. I don't know if it makes a difference.

    I feel for you in this, TomS. For me, what works is to look in a mirror and remember all the people I hurt when I was one of them, and all the people I hurt now that I am not. It helps me to remember the fear that controlled me, and the sad, sad tiny little life I lived.

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  3. Addendum: It has been pointed out to me that maybe people don't WANT to love terrorists.

    I can understand that. It certainly makes it harder to kill people when you love them. But perhaps it shouldn't ever be easy to kill people.

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