Just wanted to mention here, as someone who has spend way too much time studying pagan religions and philosophies before I became a Christian (not for the purpose of study, but as seeking and even adherence):
Every single pagan religion and philosophy condemns empathy as a vice. Platonism, stoicism, cynicism, buddhism, Zen, taoism, the tribal religions and mythologies of all small and great nations in history, they all condemn empathy. Some even have special practices to kill any instinct to it (parents sacrificing their own children to Molech by throwing them alive in a furnace, anyone?) Of the modern philosophies, Nietzscheanism is the most overt about it, but certainly not an exception. Even Ayn Rand has written against empathy. The war against empathy is an integral part of the war against God, and thus, of all paganism.
Thus, I am not surprised that certain alleged “preachers” can’t help but join that war. I have always said that what they preach is nothing more than baptized paganism. That’s epistemological consistency for ya, if you’ve ever seen one.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.” (Rom. 12:15-16)Bojidar Marinov, from Facebook
…and also (same post)…
I had to learn empathy when I became a Christian. And I am still not there; I am afraid, I still have much of the heartless monster I was before. Why any real Christian would want to be such a monster, and even consider it a virtue, is beyond me.
In regard to Ayn Rand, Marinov quotes:
“Compassion is a wonderful thing. It’s what one feels when one looks at a squashed caterpillar. An elevating experience. One can let oneself go and spread–you know, like taking a girdle off. You don’t have to hold your stomach, your heart or your spirit up–when you feel compassion. All you have to do is look down. It’s much easier. When you look up, you get a pain in the neck. Compassion is the greatest virtue. It justifies suffering. There’s got to be suffering in the world, else how would we be virtuous and feel compassion?… Oh, it has an antithesis–but such a hard, demanding one… Admiration, Mrs. Jones, admiration. But that takes more than a girdle… So I say that anyone for whom we can’t feel sorry is a vicious person. Like Howard Roark.”
From The Fountainhead
Christians would be wise, to extend empathy to other, including the poor and the weak and the ill.
Gary North recently provided a post demonstrating useful, God-honouring action:
Liberia was created by Americans.
“Liberia is a country in West Africa which was founded by free people of color from the United States. The emigration of African Americans both free and recently emancipated, was funded and organized by the American Colonization Society (ACS). The mortality rate of these settlers was the highest in accurately recorded human history. Of the 4,571 emigrants who arrived in Liberia between 1820 and 1843, only 1,819 survived.”
Liberians were still dying in 2009 . . . of water-borne diseases.
Then a pastor got an idea. It was a big idea. Sink water wells across the entire country — clean water for every village.
He set a public deadline: December 31, 2020.
They did itVideos: On Finishing What You Start
Let it be noted that this team of Christian pastors provided wells of clean water to every village: Christian villages, Islamic villages, and Pagan villages.
They did good.
But, they would haven’t lifted a finger without empathy.
[Partly duplicated from the sci-fi blog.)