Compassion vs. Codependency

2013-07-08 Faith on the Couch

The adversarial tone religion vs. atheism comparison is a detriment in this Patheos blog post, and I’m not convinced that “co-dependency” is the right term, but there’s still an insight here worth sharing:

Compassion is intentional and, sometimes, it is hard.  Co-dependency is simply an unsophisticated, primal urge that employs pity as a means of self-preservation.

At a minimum, it’s another perspective on an argument that often separates heartless conservatives from bleeding-heart liberals.

3 thoughts on “Compassion vs. Codependency”

  1. So, the study cited by the article you cited is frequently misquoted and misinterpreted, and the author at patheos seems to have done so, too.

    The study did not find that irreligious people gave more money, nor that they were more compassionate. Irreligious people have been using this study to say that. Every survey done ever has proven that religious people donate far more of their money than the non-religious to the point of embarrassment (at least every study I’ve seen). What this does prove is that when irreligious people give to charity it is almost exclusively due to emotional considerations, whereas when religious people give to charity it is more likely due to moral and doctrinal considerations. It identified different motivating factors, not different levels. Considering that atheists do objectively donate way less than religious people, if anything the study suggests that atheists don’t feel compassion very often.

    Which, by the way, I don’t really care about who’s holier than who, I just dislike the lack of critical thought in the interpretation, and I dislike seeing how even a year later it is impacting the noosphere. That’s all from me.

  2. And to piggyback on Reece’s comment, anyone interested in religious vs. non-religious charitable givings should consult the following:

    Arthur C. Brooks, ‘Who Really Cares?’ (Basic Books, 2006).

    Robert Putnam, David Campbell, ‘American Grace’ (Simon & Schuster, 2010).

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