Night Owl Mk. II

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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) What do you think of compassion? Is it evolutionarily viable? Is it a true required tenant of Christianity? Is it even good for those considered to be needful of it? Do we promote diseases, inferior species and such by practicing it?
(MB) Excellent questions. Hopefully, I can offer some answers that will do them justice. I consider compassion to be an admirable and very viable behavior. Most mammals seem to be able to recognize and respond to it. Humans tend to respond in kind to how they are treated by others. If they are abused, they are more likely to become abusive themselves. On the other hand, if they are treated compassionately, they tend to respond in kind. It is certainly a basic tenet of Christianity and is found in almost all other belief systems, as well.
    Is it "good"? I guess that depends on what one chooses to define as "compassionate". Certainly, treating the sick or injured or offering assistance to someone in need are compassionate things to do and there is little to quibble with about that. But, is artificially maintaining the life of a terminally-ill or mortally-wounded person being "compassionate"? Are welfare or government giveaway programs "compassionate" if they don't also help the recipients eventually break the cycle of dependence? It's hard to figure how the objects of such "compassion" are receiving anything really "good".
    For the most part, compassion is a good thing so long as it is given honestly and is intended for the true benefit of the recipient.

(R) By the way, I take your comments seriously and try to answer in kind. It seems as if some of your replies did not or were either #@%$?.
(MB) I try to answer all comments as if they were serious. Even if they aren't, the issues raised will give me the opportunity to make a few additional salient points on the subject in question. My original essays aren't meant to be the sum total of my opinions on the individual subjects. They are meant to invite comment so that more detailed discussion can follow.

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