Empathy and the Drive to Belong
Alan Hirsch first brought the following video clip from bestselling author and political adviser Jeremy Rifkin to my attention. In it, Rifkin investigates the development of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our society.
One of the most powerful concepts that Rifkin highlights is that the drive to belong is a more primary drive than the drive toward self-protection.
Secondly, Rifkin emphasizes the development of the concept of empathy over time. Empathy brings previously separate groups of people together. Whereas humanity was previously divided by tribal groups, religion brought tribes together through an empathic solidarity (think even of the twelve tribes of Israel). Later on in time, where humanity was divided by religion, empathic solidarity developed the concept of nation states where previously divided people-groups experienced a sense of unity. Rifkin wonders what would happen if we could develop our empathic solidarity beyond the current divisions into a world-wide empathic solidarity (incidentally, Rifkin notes current science that validates the concept of ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ ancestors from whom we derive a basic biological unity as a family of humanity).
What do you think? We are driven to belong, few would argue about that, but how does Rifkin’s account deal with basic biblical understanding of human fallenness? How does this validate – or not – Jesus’ introduction of the kingdom of God and the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount?
Watch this thought-provoking video below:
I am a husband to Kelly, father of three boys, a pastor, musician, avid hiker, disciple of Christ. Currently, I am employed as the Senior Pastor at Eastbrook Church in Milwaukee, WI. Before that I was the Associate Pastor at Brooklife Church in Mukwonago, WI, which I helped to plant a few years ago after serving for five years as the Collegiate Ministries Pastor at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WI. I graduated with a Masters in Divinity from Northern Theological Seminary and a Bachelors in English and Christian Education from Wheaton College (IL).