Book

The end of empathy (2020)

why white protestants stopped loving their neighbors

in: Oxford scholarship online

Checking availability at your location

Abstract

The End of Empathy develops a theoretical framework to explain both the rise of white Protestant social concern in the latter part of the 19th century and its sudden demise at the end of the 20th. The theory proceeds from the premise that religious conviction by itself is rarely sufficient to motivate empathetic political behaviour. When believers do act empathetically - for example, by championing reforms that transfer resources or political influence to less privileged groups within society - it is typically because strong religious institutions have compelled them to do so. However, the churches that flourished in the age of personal autonomy were those that preached against attempts by government to promote a more equitable distribution of wealth and political authority.