Sign of Sociopathy: Taking Pleasure in the Pain of Others; I’ve Seen It Many Times; Why It’s Okay to Be Angry About Bullying

I have witnessed people taking pleasure in the pain of others.  For example, my blog stalkers sending me a message saying that they “had a good laugh” at my pain, anguish and anger over their many abuses of my husband and me, then threatening me if I tell about it (proving that they knew they did something wrong, or it wouldn’t bother them for the truth to be told).

Or one of those blog stalkers, Tracy, posting on Facebook right after ripping me to shreds over a misunderstanding complete with cussing and aspersions on my character, “I’m having a GREAT day!”

(And this after all the kindnesses I had shown her over the years, because she could not accept that introverts are different from extroverts, that I am quiet and that she is too scary and mean to draw out a person like me.)

My own brother (who I suspect is a narcissist) turning to me and laughing every time a villain did something horrible on TV.  My brother burning ants with a magnifying glass.  My brother ridiculing everything I did, said or liked, even if he himself liked it first.  Hearing from my mother that my brother tried to kill me once when I was a baby.

Bullies making fun of me on the playground.  My ex Phil passive-aggressively embarrassing me in front of my friends more than once, for doing something he didn’t like.  Richard, the other blog stalker, laughing about turning his former best friend, Todd’s, Internet forum into a Hello Kitty theme, out of vengeance.

Tracy ripping Todd to shreds and smearing him on the Internet, making people think he was crazy, because he did something to help her, and she interpreted it as an attack.

My 18-or-so-year-old Marine brother choking me (I was about 11 or so) and saying, “I’ve been trained to kill.”

A guy who called himself a light bringer, who openly admitted to being “on a campaign against Christianity,” turning a disagreement over my SCA group’s website, into a campaign against that SCA group, posting our names online and claiming he was being religiously persecuted by us–when we just wanted our group site to load quickly, be easy to navigate, and not make the non-religious, educational SCA look like a Pagan religious group.

A girl cyberbullying all sorts of different people on a little BBS, and bringing her friends along to help.

Being sexually harassed day after day my freshman year of high school, by one of my teachers, one of the guys in the cafeteria (who even put his penis on the table next to me), and two guys in the row behind me in Biology class.

Being sexually harassed in filthy words again by a couple of Creeps in an IRC chat room, while Richard and Tracy did nothing, while Tracy in fact egged them on, and later being told by Richard that I was “being ridiculous,” that I needed to get over it, that it wasn’t real sexual harassment.

My aunt constantly ridiculing and scolding her mother during visits.  My aunt, as my mother put it, “destroying” my grandmother, who is very old and losing her faculties.  My aunt alienating everyone in the family.  My aunt scolding me for everything I did or said, and accusing my innocent dad and brothers of sexually molesting me, because of the “way” I was (selective mutism, shyness).

I take no pleasure in writing about these things, only pain that’s being dredged up in order to release mine and help others.  But someone who enjoys the pain of others, would giggle while posting real names and/or pictures and clicking “post.”

Some sites I look at say that narcissists/psychpaths/sociopaths lack conscience and empathy.  But the blogger of Narcissists Suck puts it another way, that they do have conscience and empathy, but it’s malfunctioning:

How do we know the narcissist still has an operational conscience? Let’s ask the question another way. How do we know the narcissist is aware of the difference between right and wrong? Because of the multiplied and extensive efforts they make to hide their bad acts.

The truly insane person is defined as an individual who is unable to distinguish right from wrong and will therefore commit their crimes regardless of who is looking on.

Their lack of any attempt to hide their crimes is how we determine they are insane, i.e. they lack rational ability and conscience. (By this definition, psychopaths are not insane. Rarely will our justice system allow a psychopath to claim insanity when the evidence shows the psychopath’s many efforts to hide his crimes.)

We don’t see true insanity in the narcissist. We see them presenting an image of perfection to outsiders then going home to beat the wife and sexually abuse the kid.

Then they will pull your face close to theirs and through snarling lips and gritted teeth tell you that if you try to expose their bad deed they will destroy you. This person knows what they are doing is wrong.

They are careful as to when and where they commit their base acts. Only the helpless and the vulnerable get to see the fully unmasked narcissist. This is all the proof we need that they do indeed possess a conscience. Albeit, a perverted, abused and malfunctioning one.

The narcissist still has a conscience, as evidenced by their multiplied efforts to hide their bad acts. We have clear proof they know the difference between right and wrong. –Anna Valerious, Narcissist or Psychopath, Narcissists Suck

This writer would agree, then, that Richard knew that how he and Tracy were treating me was wrong, by the way he spit, hissed, threatened, yelled at, got into the face of and towered over, and tried to intimidate my husband for sticking up for me.

Psychopaths, sociopaths and malignant narcissists are not just high-profile criminals, SS officers, cult leaders, or colorful fictional villains.  They also can be otherwise ordinary people living next to us in the suburbs or apartment building.  The damage they do is mostly psychological or emotional rather than criminal, though many of them commit physical or sexual abuse as well.

From the two-part article “Who Does That?”:

But being able to spot pathology in less overt and even frequently hid, yet equally as damaging acts, is where most of us fall short-even professionals in the criminal justice and mental health systems.

It’s also where survivors of PLR’s are likely to trip up yet again since the ‘types’ of behaviors pathologicals perpetrate can vary causing confusion to the unsuspecting, highly tolerant and emotionally understanding survivor.

Low empathy is at the core of a cluster of pathological disorders that correlates to ‘inevitable harm’ when it crosses the paths of others. Low empathy has its roots in reduced conscience, remorse, and guilt. Without empathy pathologicals find pleasure in harming others.

While they might not cackle aloud in public when a dog is hit by a car, they no less live in the shadows of enjoying the physical or emotional destruction of others. –Sandra Brown MA, Who Does That?

 

The sociopath does not accept the blame for any of the harm and hurt they cause other people. In fact the sociopath is convinced that the blame for what happened belongs with someone other than themselves, even when this clearly is not the case.

They don’t care that they damage and destroy other people’s lives. Their only concerns are winning the game and getting what they want. —How to recognize a sociopath

A sociopath can do hideously cruel and immoral things to other people without feeling any guilt.How to recognize a sociopath

The victim of a sociopath may feel physical and/or emotional pain as a result of what has been done to them. The sociopath cannot identify with the misery they are causing for the other person. Instead they are derisive of the pain of their victims, and they may use the upset they cause to their own advantage. —How to recognize a sociopath

Bancroft’s PROFILE of the TYPICAL ABUSER (actually, of a malignant narcissist):

“The batterer is controlling; he insists on having the last word in arguments and decision-making, he may control how the family’s money is spent, and he may make rules for the victim about her movements and personal contacts, such as forbidding her to use the telephone or to see certain friends.

He is manipulative; he misleads people inside and outside of the family about his abusiveness, he twists arguments around to make other people feel at fault, and he turns into a sweet, sensitive person for extended periods of time when he feels that it is in his best interest to do so. His public image usually contrasts sharply with the private reality.

He is entitled; he considers himself to have special rights and privileges not applicable to other family members. He believes that his needs should be at the center of the family’s agenda, and that everyone should focus on keeping him happy.

He typically believes that it is his sole prerogative to determine when and how sexual relations will take place, and denies his partner the right to refuse (or to initiate) sex.

He usually believes that housework and childcare should be done for him, and that any contributions he makes to those efforts should earn him special appreciation and deference. He is highly demanding.

He is disrespectful; he considers his partner less competent, sensitive, and intelligent than he is, often treating her as though she were an inanimate object. He communicates his sense of superiority around the house in various ways.

The unifying principle is his attitude of ownership. The batterer believes that once you are in a committed relationship with him, you belong to him.

This possessiveness in batterers is the reason why killings of battered women so commonly happen when victims are attempting to leave the relationship; a batterer does not believe that his partner has the right to end a relationship until he is ready to end it.

Because of the distorted perceptions that the abuser has of rights and responsibilities in relationships, he considers himself to be the victim.

Acts of self-defense on the part of the battered woman or the children, or efforts they make to stand up for their rights, he defines as aggression against him.

He is often highly skilled at twisting his descriptions of events to create the convincing impression that he has been victimized.

He thus accumulates grievances over the course of the relationship to the same extent that the victim does, which can lead professionals to decide that the members of the couple “abuse each other” and that the relationship has been ‘mutually hurtful.”

It seems that CONTROL is the problem – not VIOLENCE.

Bancroft writes:

“A significant proportion of batterers required to attend counseling because of a criminal conviction have been violent only one to five times in the history of their relationship, even by the victim’s account.

Nonetheless, the victims in these cases report that the violence has had serious effects on them and on their children, and that the accompanying pattern of controlling and disrespectful behaviors are serving to deny the rights of family members and are causing trauma.

Thus the nature of the pattern of cruelty, intimidation, and manipulation is the crucial factor in evaluating the level of abuse, not just the intensity and frequency of physical violence.

In my decade of working with abusers, involving over a thousand cases, I have almost never encountered a client whose violence was not accompanied by a pattern of psychological abusiveness.”

“An abuser’s desire for control often intensifies as he senses the relationship slipping away from him. He tends to focus on the debt he feels his victim owes him, and his outrage at her growing independence.” —The Mind of the Abuser, Sam Vaknin

My blog stalkers can read these posts and enjoy all the attention, which I’m sure they’re doing, since they show such avid interest in my thoughts and life that they’ve been here several times this week.  But I don’t care.  And I’m certainly not talking “behind their backs,” because they’re reading everything and I’m well aware of it.

Because they are so interested and I have no other safe means of communication with them, they have made this blog into a vehicle for me to confront them with what they have done and how their behavior affects people, to show them how their actions fit in with the established behaviors of abusers, to show them that their salvation is at risk as long as they do not own what they’ve done, and change how they treat people.

I do this rather than sneak silently into the shadows as if I were doing something wrong, as if I were telling lies instead of the truth I have witnessed and can document.

These posts are for other victims of narcissists and sociopaths who need to understand that it’s not their fault these things have happened, that they’re not crazy, that it’s okay to speak out about what’s been done to them.

These posts are to help you understand what these behaviors look like, not just some clinical traits in an abuse list or the DSM.

Take courage.  There really are people who do these things, and quite a lot of them, from the keyword searches I see.

“Evil Is Taking Pleasure From Causing Pain or Harm”Happiness and Evil.

“He thrived on intimidating me.  He derived pleasure from causing me pain” —Taking Pleasure From Pain.

The next red flag is, “Hated for Mysterious Reason by People Close to Them”:

In fact, another red flag is being hated — I mean really hated — for mysterious reasons. And by people that hating is uncharacteristic of.

If, say, a person’s adult son or daughter doesn’t even visit him in the hospital or go to his funeral,* there is a heavy-duty reason for that. Fortunately, it’s not our responsibility to judge.

But we do need to appreciate the weight of such a startling fact. People do things for reasons. They are not always good reasons or just reasons, but people do things for reasons.

*Good examples: Abraham Lincoln did not go to his father’s funeral, and Barbara Bush did not go to her mother’s funeral. “What Makes Narcissist Tick”, pg. 79

This red flag is well understood by those of us who have been through hell with a narcissist and found ourselves loathing them and forcing no contact for our protection.

We would be very unlikely to judge someone else harshly if we found out they had inordinate hatred for a particular person even a parent or sibling. So this red flag is one most of us would readily understand.

Unfortunately, most people out there in the world do not have any of this understanding. They are far too quick to judge what they don’t know.

They are quick to condemn our hatred of a malignant narcissist as being wrong. They are naive to a fault about people who are capable of earning such hatred — so they condemn us.

This red flag should be put on billboards and written with sky-writing: Respect the fact that people do things for reasons therefore don’t be willing to judge what you know nothing of.

Remember, Kathy is talking about a mysterious, intense hatred for a particular person in someone whom you know doesn’t go around routinely hating people.

Narcissists, on the other hand, have a very long “enemies list” so it can’t be said it is uncharacteristic of them to hate others. It is their default and normal setting.

But when you meet someone who typically gets along well with most people then know for sure that if they hate someone there is a reason for it. It isn’t for you to judge whether or not the reason is “good.” Frankly, it isn’t anyone’s damn business. –Anna Valerious, More Red Flags, Narcissists Suck

 

The sensitive, tender little feelings that the narcissist has for themselves is an extension of the empathy they have for themselves. They refuse to feel your pain, but they expect you to feel theirs!

I use the word ‘refuse’ advisedly. It is a willful act on their part to unacknowledge the pain they inflict upon you. They know what they’re doing. Their empathy allows them to know how you feel. They simply refuse to feel anything for your sake.

I’m going to cast the net a bit wider than just narcissists here. Anyone who is in a relationship with an abusive person has seen how sensitive the abuser’s feelings are.

People who stay in abusive relationships seem to be those who can’t see the huge disconnect in their own thinking.

The disconnect is this wide gulf between the abuser’s lack of empathy for you at the time they’re abusing you and yet how carefully you have to step around the abuser’s feelings at all times! The common refrain among those caught in abusive relationships is “walking on eggshells”.

The abuser’s feelings rein supreme at all times. Everyone else is expected to cowtow to, step around, coddle, soothe, and respect the feelings of the abuser at all times.

Yet, when the abuser needs to unload, he or she reserves all rights to decimating and destroying your feelings and self-respect until they feel better.

It is a sick, sick dynamic. And it is perpetuated by largely by the victim’s non-recognition of the absolute unfairness of this system….

Every psychopath has feelings for himself. The same psychopath gets a total thrill from hurting your feelings.

Even if we’re only talking about someone who emotionally abuses you on occasion so they can feel better it is the same principle. Someone who ignores your pain but has all kinds of compassion for their own pain is a sick sonafabitch. Steer clear. —Do They Have Feelings?, Narcissists Suck

No matter the appearance of a mild-mannered nature — if a person excuses abusers it is because there is some space in their minds which accedes to the notion that in at least some cases abuse can be justified.

In the case of my father there was some evidence of aptitude for abuse, but it was rare enough that I could easily forget and thereby resume my opinion of him that he was not abusive.

His unmitigated support of my mother, his lack of having ever protected myself or my daughter from my mother’s abuses, his absolute demand I be the one to apologize, move on and forgive my mother in the absence of any sincere effort on her part to make things right, his unsubtle reminders of the sins of my youth to try to prove I had no right to hold my mother to any account…all these things proved to me once and for all that he is an abuser himself.

Only abusers are willing to grant other abusers the right to abuse! It is at its very root a pass they are giving to themselves. Excusing abuse is abuse in itself. It is a red flag that the person has themselves a propensity for abuse.

Granting absolution to abusers is always an extremely selfish thing to do; it ignores the humanity of the person abused and preserves compassion for the one doing the abusing and by doing so gives the person excusing the abuse a pass for the abuse they may decide to dish out themselves….

Allow yourself to really think about the selfishly evil use of empathy of the narcissist. They use it to know (and enjoy) exactly how they are making you feel as they use and abuse you. That is what we call sadistic.

They use it to manipulate you to their own ends. Or else they will use it to feel for their sorry-assed selves. These uses of their ability to empathize are profoundly selfish and often cruel.

There is no merit whatsoever for the fact that the narcissist is indeed fully in possession of the ability to empathize. In fact it is a solid basis for our condemnation of them.

They pervert their ability to empathize and use it to selfishly exploit others to their own ends, to find pleasure in the pain they inflict, as well as to grant themselves pity when they least deserve it.

If the narcissist was incapable of empathy we could grant them a pass for having some sort of disability.

We must acknowledge the reality that the narcissist is all the more evil because they do possess this ability but choose to use it for their own selfish ends against you. They have managed to completely pervert their ability to empathize. –Anna Valerious, They DO Have Empathy–Just Not For You

ProzacBlogger gets it, writing about his stepmother, who scolded him for cutting off contact with his father, and defended his father.  Heck, what he says about her is just what I want to say to Richard for sticking up for how Tracy treated me:

My father was a monster and she sticks up for him. I know she doesn’t know him that way, which is fine. But respect another person’s experiences, I DON’T CARE IF HE’S YOUR HUSBAND. —Writing to Exhale, Because F*CK! I Need It

From the same writer:

The world is filled with bullies such as the busdriver I ran into yesterday. Your abuser was one of them, bullies at schools are the same trash, my father is one of those idiots; pathetic people compiled of a bunch of failures and insecurities wrapped in a shiny box and coated with a bunch of wild fantasies and lies.

Understand this, these people NEED to do what they do in order to stay alive. Do you think they can look at themselves in the mirror and think: I’m such a nice, good looking person!

Or do you even think they can honestly say to themselves: I didn’t do anything wrong right after they beat the shit out of you or someone else? No.

Instead of that they don’t look in the mirror at all, but instead go with what any other person (besides you) says about them.

They will never look at themselves after they ruined someones life, instead of that they will come up with millions of reasons (lies) why YOU DESERVED IT! –Prozacblogger, How to Prevent Bullies and Abusers From Getting to You

Like ProzacBlogger and Anna Valerious, the writer of Narcissists Suck, I’m not concerned with hearts and flowers and how we should try to “understand” our bullies and sociopaths.

They don’t care about our feelings, so why should we care about theirs?  Trying to “understand” the bully and get the victim to “let go” is just defending the bully and letting him get away with what he did.

Stick up for the victim instead, acknowledge his pain and that he has a right to it, and hold the bully accountable.  As Anna Valerious writes,

You have the psychobabblers and do-gooder Christian types clucking their tongues if you happen to show a flash of anger when talking about the narcissist.

They immediately assume that you are not progressed yet to a place of ‘healing’ if, when talking about the evil narcissist and her evil acts perpetrated on your own life (which likely has ongoing effects on your life and is therefore a crime in progress), you dare display your outrage.

People are afraid of our anger. Why? One reason is because they are sloppy thinkers. They think that our anger is the problem when the real problem is the monster who inflicts pain every chance they get.

Our anger is an appropriate response to their inappropriate behavior. If the tongue-cluckers insist we should not let ourselves feel an appropriate emotion then they are, in reality, insisting we become like the narcissist–pretending our way through life and denying what we feel. I’m not going there for anyone….

I have always been aware that by expressing my anger and hatred toward people with ‘evil personality disorder’ I would be condemning myself in the eyes of those who choose to think that reaching a zen-like space is proof of having healed. I am willing to be seen as not having progressed to perfect equanimity with evil people. I’ll explain why as I go.

It would have been such a simple thing for me to talk about malignant narcissists completely dispassionately. Kind of like the droning of the boring professor in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” where, regardless of the subject matter, I would speak in one tone endlessly.

I’m sure many would be impressed with how strong I am to have gotten to where nothing rattles me. I could receive much praise for having perfectly ‘healed’ from my past.

I’m not going for any silly little awards like that because I don’t believe perfect calm in the face of evil is a goal to strive for. No matter how many people may praise me for it…

I’m all about being real here. Here’s how I see it. If I were to be completely dispassionate in the discussion of destructive narcissism it would send the message to you that I would not be provoked into defending you if I were to witness the injustices of the narcissist you’ve endured.

When you read my justified anger at the bad acts of the narcissist as it has affected me it gives you good reason to believe I would be just as outraged at what you’ve endured. You sense my empathy when you read my outrage.

To display only perfect calmness in the face of overt evil would not convince you that I give a rat’s ass about you.

I do give a rat’s ass. Which most of you ‘get’ when you read what I have to say. You sense I am one of your champions. You believe I would defend you against the indefensible acts of the narcissist if I were witness to them.

You believe that I would not condemn your own justifiable anger at the total injustice of the evil acts of the narcissist. If I give myself permission to express my anger at injustice…surely I would give you the same latitude. –Anna Valerious, An Accurate Measure of Mental Health ISN’T Lack of Anger

 

This blogger describes a sociopath as a child bully ganging up on anyone who disagrees with him or her, and giggling at them–but this is emotionally stunted behavior, not normal:  Healing from Complex Trauma and PTSD

 

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ReBlog: Bloggers’ Rights

Bloggers are entitled to free speech. We’re working to shield you from frivolous or abusive threats and lawsuits. Internet bullies shouldn’t use copyright libel or other claims to chill your legitimate speech.”

“One of EFF’s goals is to give you a basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger to let you know you have rights and to encourage you to blog freely with the knowledge that your legitimate speech is protected.”

Blogger’s Rights, Electronic Frontier Foundation

 

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How I can vote pro-choice without changing my mind about abortions

This blog post by Libby Anne explains why it’s madness to assume that only one way of voting will prevent abortions, that only the Republican vote will save life and is moral.

And yes, my goal is to save the lives of those unborn babies by making abortion stop happening.  But how can you be against abortions, and also against birth control, and expect to end abortions?

The Catholic/traditionalist Orthodox teaching against birth control, makes no sense: Birth control does not destroy a person!  It shows no understanding for the various issues women have to deal with during their childbearing years, even if they’re married, having many children.

And down through the centuries, even the Catholic Church has argued over when the soul goes into a baby.  Since we now know that the body naturally rejects 50% of fertilized eggs, you’ve got to wonder if God really would waste so many souls, since He’s known this fact long before science figured it out.

And do we really have any hard evidence of when ensoulment occurs?  The Bible is silent about this.

I don’t support abortion, but I’m a realist as well.  Making it illegal will not end abortions, merely make it more dangerous for women who get them. 

The above blog post shows that women/scared young girls will get abortions whether it’s legal or not, that changing the law does not affect rates, so more women will die along with the unborn baby–and the rates of abortion go down when birth control is widely used. 

What we need is easy access to birth control, sex education, help for poor and unwed mothers, and a removal of the stigma of unwed mothers. 

I think back to a couple of times in college when I thought I was pregnant, not from promiscuity but from someone I loved.  One did not love me, and the other was an abuser who had broken up with me.  Should I have had to marry the guy to avoid condemnation?

And there are so many young people putting themselves at risk of STDs and pregnancy because they do not realize that there are other ways this can happen besides vaginal intercourse.

Make no mistake: Even the “good Christian kids” are putting themselves at risk by doing everything but “going all the way,” and not preparing themselves in case they do go too far.  Sex ed is necessary.

And mounting evidence says that the Pill/morning-after pill does NOT cause abortions, not even by the standards of conservative Christians:

The notion that morning-after pills prevent eggs from implanting stems from the Food and Drug Administration’s decision during the drug-approval process to mention that possibility on the label — despite lack of scientific proof, scientists say, and objections by the manufacturer of Plan B, the pill on the market the longest.

Leading scientists say studies since then provide strong evidence that Plan B does not prevent implantation, and no proof that a newer type of pill, Ella, does. Some abortion opponents said they remain unconvinced.

…Experts say implantation was likely placed on the label partly because daily birth control pills, some of which contain Plan B’s active ingredient, appear to alter the endometrium, the lining of the uterus into which fertilized eggs implant.

Altering the endometrium has not been proven to interfere with implantation. But in any case, scientists say that unlike the accumulating doses of daily birth control pills, the one-shot dose in morning-after pills does not have time to affect the uterine lining.

….European medical authorities have not mentioned an effect on implantation on Ella’s label, and after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it could be considered to induce abortion, said Erin Gainer, chief executive of Ella’s manufacturer, Paris-based HRA Pharma.

…Dr. Trussell of Princeton said that if morning-after pills worked after eggs were fertilized, they would prevent pregnancy better than they do. The pregnancy prevention rates are probably lower than scientists and pill makers originally thought, he said — in some studies as low as 52 percent for Plan B and 62 percent for Ella.

By contrast, scientists say, research suggests that the only other officially approved form of emergency contraception, the copper intrauterine device (also a daily birth control method), can work to prevent pregnancy after an egg has been fertilized. –Pam Belluck, Abortion Qualms on Morning-After Pill May Be Unfounded

(Note: This is not RU-486, the pill which does indeed cause abortions.)

I used to have a hormonal imbalance which made the Pill necessary.  This was before anybody started talking about the Pill causing abortions.  It has since been cured, whether through use of the Pill or by a miracle, and I want to have another baby, so I haven’t used it since late 2006.

But many women still desperately need to take the Pill for medical reasons.  And my priest even told me the Orthodox Church is not against birth control, that I can use the Pill if I wish–though many traditionalists insist otherwise.

And you can also very easily say that Obama is a pro-life hero because of Obamacare making birth control easily obtained, and therefore cutting abortion rates by 75%:

As most observers surely know, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) requires insurance coverage for birth control, a provision staunchly opposed by most of the same religious conservatives who oppose legalized abortion.

If Peipert is correct, however, the ACA may prove the single most effective piece of “pro-life” legislation in the past forty years.

And from the first link, at the beginning of this blog post:

I realized, then, that if the goal is to cut the abortion rate, the pro-life movement should be working to make sure that women can afford to have and care for children.  After all, a full three quarters of women who have abortions say they could not afford a child.

If we found a way to offer more aid to parents, if we mandated things like paid maternity leave, subsidized childcare, and universal health insurance for pregnant women and for children, some women who would otherwise abort would almost certainly decide to carry their pregnancies to term.

But the odd thing is, those who identify as “pro-life” are most adamant in opposing these kind of reforms.

I knew this back in 2007, because I grew up in one of those families. I grew up believing that welfare should be abolished, that Head Start needed to be eliminated, that medicaid just enabled people to be lazy.

I grew up in a family that wanted to abolish some of the very programs with the potential to decrease the number of abortions.

When I shifted my position on this issue, I was in many ways simply becoming consistent.

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Foreshadowing Orthodox and Calvinist Doctrines: Philosophical and Religious Background of the Birth of Christianity: Reading “Early Christian Doctrines” by JND Kelly

I just started reading “Early Christian Doctrines” by JND Kelly.  I bought it about 6 years ago while researching Orthodoxy, but only now have I gotten around to reading it….

So far it’s fascinating.  It starts off with the religious and philosophical background of the centuries surrounding the birth of Christianity.  Judaism was forming concepts of hypostases of God, of God’s traits becoming personified: Wisdom, glory, etc.

People were getting tired of the usual paganism and beginning to see the various gods as different manifestations of one God: monotheism.  The “mystery religions” claimed to bring you to unity with God.

There was an afterlife and ghosts, but it was a very dark, depressing existence; ghosts were feared because they were jealous of the living.  But there was also a concept of rewards and punishments.

In philosophy, there were concepts of the logos (before it was defined as Christ), fate and Providence, and a concept of ethereal fire which sounds very much like energies and the River of Fire.  There is also the division of man into such parts as soul, body, intelligence, and a discussion of material vs. immaterial.

There are, of course, two different ways people seem to take this information: 1) As evidence that Christianity was a product of its age.  2) As evidence that, as the Church Fathers would have it, God was revealing Himself even before Christianity and outside of Judaism, through the pagan philosophers.

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