***Max is author of The Empathy Imperative***
I believe two of the greatest hallmarks of a good and (almost) complete person are the attributes of empathy and understanding. By “almost,” I mean that although empathy is a mark of a good person, universal empathy does not exist. That would make a person, “complete.” I don’t think, however, that the attainment universal empathy is quite possible yet, but it should be our goal.
Why can’t an individual have universal empathy? Because of our attributes gained through evolution, such as the impulse to xenophobia and aggression. Therefore, I think universal empathy is something that can be achieved only by a few thousand years more of social evolution based on reason.
Far back on our evolutionary path, xenophobia (fear or suspicion of strangers, foreigners, and people who are “different”) and aggression were survival instincts we had no choice but to follow, but now they are impulses controlled by reason, more or less, in each individual.
Regarding homosexuality. empathy will dictate to a good person of understanding that:
1) No one would choose a lifestyle that a large segment of society hates and taunts, and some want to kill,
2) Homosexuality is far more prevalent than most people think,
3) Intellectual honesty would dictate that, for heterosexuals, their sexual preference is not a choice, therefore, neither is that of homosexuals,
4) Understanding that some babies are born with ambiguous genitalia, it is quite logical that many babies are born with a heterosexual predisposition, some are born with a homosexual predisposition, and there are babies born at every predisposition in between,
5) Homosexuality hurts no one, and even though some homosexuals are promiscuous, so are heterosexuals,
6) Even though some homosexuals are pedophiles, so are some heterosexuals,
7) From a religious standpoint; “Judge not that ye may be judged”),
8) For the establishment of a just society, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
9) Homosexual marriage does not “redefine” marriage, because marriage is supposed to be the religious and civil bonding of two individuals who love each other, and homosexuals are just as capable of love as any heterosexual,
10) If a heterosexual does not want government intruding into his personal social life dictating whom he may marry and whom he may not, then he should not want the government intruding into the personal lives of anyone else,
11) No one should dictate to others how they may or may not be happy, and no one should strive to deny others the right to seek happiness according to the dictates of their own conscience.