Original Research - Special Collection: Ignatius van Wyk Dedication

Empathy as resistance in an age of protest: Turning the other cheek

Yolanda Dreyer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 4 | a5264 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i4.5264 | © 2018 Yolanda Dreyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 September 2018 | Published: 15 November 2018

About the author(s)

Yolanda Dreyer, Department of Practical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

In today’s ‘age of protest’, people have the right to publically resist what they perceive to be unjust and abusive. Sometimes, public protest is non-violent, but often it becomes destructive. People get hurt and property is damaged. Those who have the least are often affected most. This article explores the potential of the centuries old ethics of the Jesus tradition coupled with recent insights from psychology on empathy, for effective and necessary resistance against injustice and power abuse, but without the futility of the violence and destruction. This way of love resists all evil, oppression and injustice, and has the power to break the spiral of violence.

Keywords

Resistance; protest; empathy; pastoral care; Jesus’ ethics

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