March 23rd, 2013
09:38 AM ET
My Take: The Empathy President gives an empathy speech
Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
(CNN) - In religious studies courses, professors often try to get their students to see the world through Hindu eyes or to walk a few miles in the shoes of a Confucian. Anthropologists refer to this as cultivating an emic (or insider) perspective. The less fancy name for it is empathy.
Barack Obama is, for better or worse, an empathetic man who has tried for years to see the world through Republican eyes even as he has pleaded for Republicans to walk a few miles in Democratic shoes. As a former community organizer, he knows that you need a little empathy all around to get anything done among people with different world views. Alas, his efforts have met with little success in gridlocked D.C.
This week, Obama took his toolbox of hope, change, trust and empathy to Israel. Addressing a group of Israeli students in Jerusalem on Thursday, he spoke of Iran and of America’s unwavering support for Israel. He even fended off a heckler, joking, “We actually arranged for that, because it made me feel at home.”
But the heart of the speech, which was interrupted repeatedly by hearty applause, came when our Empathy President spoke — twice — of empathy.
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After referring to the necessity of a just and secure peace, and conceding that “Israel has faced Palestinian factions who turn to terror, leaders who missed historic opportunities,” he challenged his Israeli listeners to experience the world as Palestinians do. "Put yourself in their shoes,” he said. “Look at the world through their eyes”:
Turning away from his script, Obama then spoke of Palestinian youth he had met earlier that day. “They weren’t that different from my daughters,” he said. “They weren’t that different from your daughters or sons.”
Later in the one-hour speech, Obama harked back to his famous 2009 Cairo address to the Muslim world:
"That is where peace begins,” he continued, “not just in the plans of leaders but in the hearts of people.”
Obama has been praised for taking his message directly to the Israeli people, much like he has been trying to take his domestic message in recent weeks directly to the American people. And while some have described this Jerusalem speech as one of his best ever, others have demurred, arguing that, abroad as well as home, Obama has to deliver more than mere rhetoric.
Nonetheless, the president should be praised for getting to the heart of the matter on Thursday in Jerusalem. What he said will fully please neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. And it is unlikely that any of his well-chosen words brought us any closer to peace in the Middle East.
But Obama is correct to point out that, as long as both sides continue to see things merely from their own parochial perspectives, neither real peace nor real security will be possible.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Secretary of State John Kerry is now being charged with jump-starting, yet again, the peace process by attending to growing settlements, the fate of Jerusalem and other hot-button issues. But what is really needed here is a shift of perspective that recognizes antagonists (on both sides) as human beings with aspirations for their children and their children's children.
Is it too much to hope that this is what the Israeli students who listened to this speech were applauding?
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
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Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !
Where do morals come from?
By Kelly Murray, CNN
Gravity is not up for debate !
BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !
Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet
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Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.
The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?
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And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !
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the wrong path is Adam and Eve !
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No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US
Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.
No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !
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For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !
Where do morals come from?
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Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.
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Star Dust we are
The premise of this blog is not correct. Obamba is a democrat and an activist... And I pray to god that he sees life through democrat eyes only.
To demonstrate and show empathy one does not have to become an accomplice of wrong doings.
Abetting and becoming an accomplice of wrong doing, de-lin-quen-cy, va-gran-cy and peoples sins is NOT a show of Love or empathy. Instead is a clear sign and demonstration of ones own lack of character, moral strength and co-rrup-tion.
"Let me force you to follow what MY interpretation of my religion is because I "Love" you. You know, like god, only I can't torture you forever so you know I don't love you as much as he does".
That's not a translation, that's your own stupid ideology and understanding!
Really? Are you saying that you wouldn't legislate your religion out of some twisted version of "love"? That's pretty much what you said. If you have a problem with it, you might want to look at your own thought process rather than lashing out.
How cute. Don't actually answer anything. Just as expected from a self-loathing troll. Continue to make the case for not blindly accepting religion. Your stupidity makes a good case for the mental damage religion causes.
What caused your mental damage?
Hawaian don't even know what a troll is. Therefore he goes around the blog, accusing anyone of troll left and right. He thinks everyone owes him an explanation for anything his damaged mind can't figure out. You freak!
Actually, I call you a troll because that's what you are. I call Chad a dishonest little shit because that's what he is. You have still not actually addressed my original point. Why is that? Are you scared of actually looking at what you're saying without the fluffy cop-out language?
Do you have any point here other than trying to fix your own self-loathing through spouting whatever stupidity happens to come into your head?
Poltergeist, Richard did not deny that a religious experience could not cause changes in brain patterns complete with chemical reactions. We know they can as well as a lot of other "experiences" that we all share. He said god is not measurable. There is a big difference between the two and that is part of the reason folks believe in the unsupported claims of the divine. If a fuzzy warm feeling is all you need as evidence of something being manifest then you could prove just about any mythology you wanted. Richard was correct to put that apple to orange comparison out of its misery before it went to far. Love is product of our brain chemicals reacting that we chose to define as such, we understand it well. god on the other hand is just what our primitve relatives invented out of fear and ignorance because they were living in a place in history where they didn't have the means to explain the world they were living in.
There is no such thing as love. There is, however, biology. Trust me, I'm the devil.
Empathy:= understanding, sympathy, compassion, responsiveness, identification, fellow feeling.
Obama lost in Alabama because in college he smoked marihuana.
And you think this is important because . . . . .
Really, the reefer? That's why you think Obama did not win Alabama?
I'm ent-ti-tled to my opinion. If you don't like the right that I have to my opinion you're uneducated, uncultured, xenophobic, trailer park reject. Move to another country, to another website or blog. I think he's still smoking and there's nothing you can do about that!
I'm his Panic! Which means he panics at my opinion.
Opinion = view, estimation, belief, judgment, atti-tude, outlook
Panic = fright, terror, anxiety, fear, dread, alarm, horror
OK, Moby, if you think that Americans are like "palestinians," let's go ahead and give the land back to the indians. I really don't mind because I am of Cherokee ancestry. Palestinians hate Israel, Americans of any color, race, shape or form, Hindus, Chinese, and everyone else who is not of their beliefs. The problem is that palestinians want Israel, as a nation, out of the picture. Period.
Putting Stevie P. out of job in 10 seconds:
Only for the new members of this blog:
Putting the kibosh/”google” on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Added details available upon written request.
A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.
"The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.
Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
As far as anyone knows you dont exist either.
To be posted outside all of Stevie P's classrooms:
SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.
SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.
SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
ABRAHAM AND MOSES NEVER EXISTED.
Added details upon request.
Presidents come and go. It is good to look beyond the temporal to that which remains. All that we see around us is passing away, except for people. We are eternal beings, having been made in the image of God. The animals were not made in his image and are passing away. Our spirits will live forever, either with God in heaven, or apart from Him in hell. God sent Jesus to reconcile the world to Himself. Those who trust in Jesus as their personal Savior will be with God for eternity Those who reject God's gift will be judged, and have to pay the penalty for their sins. This is the way it is. God makes the rules not us. Receive the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord and you will know God's forgiveness and peace. God bless
Provide some evidence for that.
Yeah, Bush was very good for that, I agree, breath deep.
obama is still just a community organizer. he just does it from the oval office nowadays. all he does is campaign, golf, and lie.
Speaking of your lies, here's a few other things he did:
1. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental measures to cut health care cost growth, the number one cause of America’s long-term fiscal problems.
2. Passed the Stimulus: Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for twenty-three straight months, creating a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs.
3. Passed Wall Street Reform: Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) to re-regulate the financial sector after its practices caused the Great Recession. The new law tightens capital requirements on large banks and other financial instîtutions, requires derivatives to be sold on clearinghouses and exchanges, mandates that large banks provide “living wills” to avoid chaotic bankruptcies, limits their ability to trade with customers’ money for their own profit, and creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (now headed by Richard Cordray) to crack down on abusive lending products and companies.
4. Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.
5. Began Drawdown of War in Afghanistan: From a peak of 101,000 troops in June 2011, U.S. forces are now down to 91,000, with 23,000 slated to leave by the end of summer 2012. According to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the combat mission there will be over by next year.
6. Eliminated Osama bin laden: In 2011, ordered special forces raid of secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed and a trove of al-Qaeda docüments was discovered.
7. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry: In 2009, injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades. The government expects to lose $16 billion of its investment, less if the price of the GM stock it still owns increases.
8. Recapitalized Banks: In the midst of financial crisis, approved controversial Treasury Department plan to lure private capital into the country’s largest banks via “stress tests” of their balance sheets and a public-private fund to buy their “toxic” assets. Got banks back on their feet at essentially zero cost to the government.
9. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.
10. Toppled Moammar Gaddafi: In March 2011, joined a coalition of European and Arab governments in military action, including air power and naval blockade, against Gaddafi regime to defend Libyan civilians and support rebel troops. Gaddafi’s forty-two-year rule ended when the dictator was overthrown and killed by rebels on October 20, 2011. No American lives were lost.
11. Told Mubarak to Go: On February 1, 2011, publicly called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to accept reform or step down, thus weakening the dictator’s position and putting America on the right side of the Arab Spring. Mubarak ended thirty-year rule when overthrown on February 11.
12. Reversed Bush Torture Policies: Two days after taking office, nullified Bush-era rulings that had allowed detainees in U.S. custody to undergo certain “enhanced” interrogation techniques considered inhumane under the Geneva Conventions. Also released the secret Bush legal rulings supporting the use of these techniques.
13. Improved America’s Image Abroad: With new policies, diplomacy, and rhetoric, reversed a sharp decline in world opinion toward the U.S. (and the corresponding loss of “soft power”) during the Bush years. From 2008 to 2011, favorable opinion toward the United States rose in ten of fifteen countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attîtudes Project, with an average increase of 26 percent.
14. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending: As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decades-old practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over ten years, $36 billion of which will go to expanding Pell Grants to lower-income students.
15. Created Race to the Top: With funds from stimulus, started $4.35 billion program of competîtive grants to encourage and reward states for education reform.
16. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards: Released new fuel efficiency standards in 2011 that will nearly double the fuel economy for cars and trucks by 2025.
17. Coordinated International Response to Financial Crisis: To keep world economy out of recession in 2009 and 2010, helped secure from G-20 nations more than $500 billion for the IMF to provide lines of credit and other support to emerging market countries, which kept them liquid and avoided crises with their currencies.
18. Passed Mini Stimuli: To help families hurt by the recession and spur the economy as stimulus spending declined, signed series of measures (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011) to extend unemployment insurance and cut payroll taxes.
19. Began Asia “Pivot”: In 2011, reoriented American military and diplomatic priorities and focus from the Middle East and Europe to the Asian-Pacific region. Executed multipronged strategy of positively engaging China while reasserting U.S. leadership in the region by increasing American military presence and crafting new commercial, diplomatic, and military alliances with neighboring countries made uncomfortable by recent Chinese behavior.
20. Increased Support for Veterans: With so many soldiers coming home from Iraq and Iran with serious physical and mental health problems, yet facing long waits for services, increased 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 16 percent and 2011 budget by 10 percent. Also signed new GI bill offering $78 billion in tuition assistance over a decade, and provided multiple tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans.
Isn't it amazing that a president that spends so much time schmoozing can find the time to destroy our country so much?
mark – you forgot whine and blame everyone with a pulse for HIS mistakes.
He should go back to community organizing because as a leader of a huge country like the USA he's a much use as a chocolate teapot!
The Tin Foil Hat Brigade Is Here says:
March 24, 2013 at 10:51 pm
Yeah, Bush was very good for that, I agree, breath deep.
Denying the gigantic mess that Obama inherited is the first sign of the denial goddites employ to rationalize their ridiculous beliefs. Supspension of reality, and I don't mean the poster Reality.
Hey you religious freaks...
How did you become so hateful of yourself in the first place? Who told you that you had to hate yourself first in order to find 'love' through your jeebus? What cir-c-u-mstances broke you – to make you the dirt s-c-u-m bag that you have to be in order to follow religion?
What a juvenile, angst-ridden comment. Go away Muppet.
Hey Answer...you have no idea what you are talking about. Easy for an I d i o t like yourself to just bash everyone who follows a religious belief but offer no ideas or anything constructive. Shows you lack any real intelligence to begin with...have a nice day.
Hey presto88...you have no idea what you are talking about. Easy for an I d i o t like yourself to just bash everyone who doesn't follow a religious belief but offer no ideas or anything constructive. Shows you lack any real intelligence to begin with...have a nice day.
"bash everyone who follows a religious belief but offer no ideas or anything constructive"
You've been offered reality but you refuse it. What do you want?
For 2000 years your god has been pushed further and further into the gaps of our ignorance, and still you cling to it. Evolution should destroy your belief because it shows you we as humans are not special, still you push god further back. We can only offer you civil conversation for so long. But that's through.
I won't coddle you any longer. You're deluded idiots. Your religions are dying. Enough already, it's time to grow up.
Answer, you are illustrating in a clever fashion what Obama was trying to show: when all you do is hurl hostility at the a group of people, they will ultimately hurl hostility back.
If you are actually trying to get information, not demonstrate irony, then try asking politely. You might be rebuffed or ridiculed, but if you actually want resolution then realize it is on you, first, to be the decent person. Treat religious people with respect and they *might* treat you the same way.
Of course, if all you want is to bash your enemies, like Palestine and Israel want to do to each other, then you will meet with as much success as they have had.
" like Palestine and Israel want to do to each other,"
Here is the proper use of the Alfred E Neuman quote "Why me worry?"
If their god wants them to resolve their differences then their god will. So why worry?
And so the other question is why are you a freak to bring up those ME dirt bags in reference to an all loving god that they're supposed to have?
To "End Religion"
I'm so afraid!
afraid of what, reality?
Next set of religious approach..
They will try: "you hate"
Follow it up with: "you deny"
Then when all else fails... "you'll burn."
Go for it christians.. it's your play.
Hey, Leroy, are you the poster 'Erasmus' from yesterday? He couldn't find the reply button either, and started new threads constantly with "to: _______"
And are you the Leroy Scharfenberg from Arkansas?
Or one of the two from Edmondton? Granted, there may be more Leroy Scharfenbergs around, but.....~
See how naïve you are?
Billions of people around the world are applying logic and reasoning every time they fall in love? What has science got to do with it? aren't we are talking philosophy.
we are talking about philosophy when it comes to faith.
that which you present as evidence is nothing of the kind
If it is good for the goose it is good for the gander!
all point to Jesus Christ.
faith hope and love do not "point to" anything.
True, if you don't know Him.
Which him do you mean...there are thousands of "him"
Why do you not believe in the norse gods, the greek gods, the native american gods?
You dismiss 99.99% of all gods, so you are 99.99% atheist. I have just gone one more god than you.
I'm afraid you're quite correct, Richard. The expression "Faith, Hope & Love...all point to Jesus Christ" is not even suitable for an Evangelical Fortune Cookie fortune.
There is only one, He is the Great I AM. There is none other. He demonstrated his love for mankind 2000 years ago..and he continues to do so every single day.
You just wish it.
Religious t-w-a-t-s who can't love themselves have to rely on a fairy tale that says some thing out there "loves you."
I will never be able to convince you with my words. I will say a prayer for each one of you that God will open your eyes to see Him.
the great I AIN'T is more appropriate
"I'll never convince you" <<– because you have emotional problems.
Religious idiots all over need to convey that their emotions are a great asset to convince others. Try logic and evidence instead.
Nice cop-out, Richard Cranium.
So you are a coward. The first Christians would be so proud!
No kidding...the reply button is right there!
What cop out...the fact that I wish to remian anonymous is not a cop out.
Tell you what...why don't you give me your full name, ssn, bank account numbers address, DOB etc.
Cop out my a$$.
and by the way....to be christian requires faith. In order to have faith, one must be able to turn off the logic and reasoning functions of the brain( otherwise faith would not be required), and I cannot do that.
I do not care how proud christians might or might not be.
Have you ever been in love? Can you explain the logical reasoning behind your love?
Try googling "Neuroscience". Let's start there.
i am not going to go into that tired argument because your argument is flawed. Love is a a biological reaction, complete with chemical interactions and can be measured in brain wave patterns.
You are trying to start the argument and then apply it to god, but it does not apply because love is measurable and testible...god is not.
You are attempting to draw me into an argument where you will then compare an apple to an orange and it is you who will not be able to see the difference.
Love is measurable. For instance, getting nekid and driving your truck thru some churches for the love of someone else that you felt were wronged. Whole lotta love there – misdirected perhaps, but still measurable.
Prayer and meditation cause similarly measurable changes in brain patterns and chemical reactions as well. Religious experience is quite measurable. You aren't required to love anymore than you are to pray/meditate, so to follow such illogical tendencies suggest you might be less sane than you put on.