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← Highly Religious People Are Less Motivated by Compassion Than Are Non-Believers

Kurt Unwise's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Kurt Unwise

Comment 1 by Roedy :

In my experience Christians are far more interested in enumerating and punishing other people's sins than in compassion. This is not new.

In the early 70s I met a Greek Orthodox monk. He told me a story which I think was based on Anton Chekhov’s The Murder. It goes roughly like this:

Matvey Terekhov lived in Russia with his cousin Yakov, who ran an inn. Matvey was once extremely religious and ascetic, but left asceticism behind. Yakov, on the other hand, was obsessively religious. During Lent they both fasted eating nothing but boiled potatoes. Yakov discovered that Matvey was secretly pouring some oil on his potatoes. Yakov was horrified. Yakov was overcome with anger and Aglaya, Yakov’s wife, hit Matvey over the head with a bottle, and killed him.

That is a great metaphor for what goes wrong when you base your life on endless petty thou-shalt-nots. You lose your sense of proportion. This story applies even more to Muslims that Kristians. They are driven nuts by fear of eternal roasting for violating trivial rules.

Wow! What an anecdote! It hits the nail on the head!

Comment 32 by btheist :

Interesting speculation!

I believe most people are born intrinsically to be compassionate, but that it is their life experience and education they get that dictates how they react in these situations. The insidious part of religion is the overwhelming messages of only true believers will be rewarded and that others in need are "getting what they deserved"

Religious or just plain lazy thinkers, most people rationalize their own selfish behaviour by assuming that people get what they deserve.

The unconsidered life is not worth living - Socrates

Tue, 01 May 2012 19:15:26 UTC | #938774