The wellknown scientist Professor Stephen Hawking has been very much in the news in recent days. A film based on his university life recently netted an Oscar for its star Eddie Redmayne and the Professor himself had important things to say at the London Science Museum.
Despite what Prof. Hawking has had to contend with in his own life, he has contributed a huge amount to our knowledge and understanding of science.
Recently when asked what human quality he would most like to see magnified in the future he said ‘Empathy.’ Empathy is the ability to try and understand and appreciate other people’s points of view. The reality is that none of us can really fully comprehend the problems and difficulties that other people have to contend with. It is also much easier to judge someone for their perceived shortcomings rather than trying to make the effort to understand them.
At the very heart of the Christian faith is the belief that God decided that in order to try and help humankind deal with the various problems that they had to face on a daily basis, he had to come to Earth and live the kind of life that his people had to. You could say Jesus was able to empathise with human beings because as well as being fully God he was also fully human. God understands us because he lived here long before us and suffered far more than any of us ever will. Jesus suffered at the hands of intolerant and uncaring people. We would all do better if we tried to understand each other better and celebrate each other’s qualities and talents.