I wonder if empathy is a refuge for people who don't believe in god but find utilitarianism too cold as a basis for morality. Or maybe people who have an excess of empathy find it abhorrent to be utilitarian, because it's somehow dehumanizing (ie, being utilitarian means you make an impersonal calculation about the greatest good for the greatest number, as opposed to treating everyone like as individuals)?
I'll share a story with you, which you're also welcome to publish on your blog: I was flying home from Africa a few years ago, and was seated beside a Moroccan woman and her son, on their way to visit family in Montreal. At one point, she asked me about my religion. I told her that I didn't believe in god, which immediately distressed her. I recall her almost frantically reassuring me that I was probably a good person anyway, and that I looked like I loved my family, and so on. I think she was, in her own way, trying to be nice to me and not make me feel bad about my atheism!
Her apprehension of me makes sense, I think. Her morality derives from God. She doesn't kill, steal, or eat pork because Allah forbids it. Then she meets me, and not only don't I believe in Allah, I don't believe in any god at all. If I don't believe in god, then what stops me from killing and stealing? In her eyes, nothing! And yet I don't look like a monster. How is that possible? What prevents people from being monsters if not god? I think some empaths feel the same way about sociopaths and empathy.
I'm guessing that some empaths think about someone like you, who doesn't experience any emotional empathy, and freak out like the woman beside me on the plane did. Their morality is based on empathy/god. You have no empathy/don't believe in god. Therefore you have no morality. You now become completely unpredictable to them, hence the fear. You eat pork and don't pray, so maybe you also murder? You don't cry when others are in pain, so maybe you can kill someone and not feel badly about it?
This last part of the story reminds me a lot of this.