Apparently, evangelical twitter has been having a back-and-forth on the subject of empathy vs. sympathy. The skirmish is between Bible-competent Christians, led by James White of Phoenix, and other folks who need to learn to separate 21st Century cultural values from Biblical virtues.
Just to give you an example of the back-and-forth, take, for example, the complaint of former theonomist and born-again social justice convert, Joel McDurmon (below).
Much of Cultural Marxism, from “story-telling” to the soft bigotry of lowered expectations, is enabled by the misguided 21st century cultural value of “empathy.”
However, as would surprise Social Religionists like Joel McDurmon who have traded in their Bible for James Cone essays, a cultural value is not the same thing as Biblical virtue.
So much of the debate on Social Religion in the Public Marketplace of Ideas centers on the subtlety to speech, and the debate between empathy and sympathy is no different. While we have taken issue with James White, chiefly his association with constant evolutions in doctrine more fitting for a young seminarian than an aged apologist, he’s quite right on this topic.
Those treating empathy and sympathy as synonyms, when they are clearly not, need to humble themselves and be availed of their ignorance.
Pastor JD Hall preached this message last October, highlighting the difference between sympathy and empathy. Those castigating Dr. White or anyone else for callousness on account of making clear distinctions between the two are ill-informed.
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