Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Foundations of the Moral Mind?

In light of the cultural divide we are seeing deepen right before our eyes, I found this TED video fascinating and thought-provoking. . .

A few personal reactions:

  • I thought it interesting that Haidt is arguing that morality is in-born and that we are not moral "blank slates". This aligns with the Scriptures. Haidt would say these moral foundations are in-born through evolution. A Biblical Christian would say these are in-born because God has placed eternity and a conscience in us.
  • I couldn't help but think of our Galatians categories and how the Gospel is neither moralism/legalism/religion or relativism/hedonism/irreligion. In fact, the Gospel challenges both. Though based on the TED site comments, not everyone saw it this way, I saw Haidt critiquing both conservatives and liberals. It made me laugh (I hope you're able to laugh, too, no matter where you place yourself.) In fact, he argues we all tend toward self-rightesouness. All of this was refreshing. This, too, is Biblical.
  • I loved his insight that both conservatives and liberals are concerned about purity, but in different ways. Conservatives value sexual purity, but liberals esteem food purity. Brilliant and bold to say these things in that context!

  • Lastly, I thought his last appeal to "pursue truth" was intriguing, since he clearly presents himself as a evolutionary naturalist and, at one point states his view that God is a social construct for control and organization. How can he even speak of and appeal to truth if he believes these other things? There is no basis for truth apart from God. Apart from God, truth is defined by the majority, or by the powerful, or by the individual. And yet, Haidt can't help it.

Whether he knows it or not, I believe that Haidt has stumbled on to many True things.

What do you think?

(HT: Steve Rein)


Travis Thompson said...

Pastor Tim

I have really enjoyed some of these talks and I am grateful that you have introduced me to them. Some bother me a little just by the tone of superiority of some of the speakers, but I guess that's the nature of the TED conference. The thing that bugs me the most is the microphones they use, I think they look terrible and I really can't stand hearing the lip smacking that the mic's pick up.

Anyway, great thoughts on this one. I think he's definitely hitting on a lot of truth, but obviously missing THE truth. It always amazes me how much non-spiritual people can come up with that, for me, screams of the divine and yet they completely miss it.

By the way have you seen the Billy Graham TED talk? Or the Richard Dawkins one? I think it's great that they have guys like Billy Graham even when it's much more of a Dawkins type format.

Sheila said...

Happy Thanksgiving Pastor Tim!

I have been encouraged by your blog and sermon pod casts. Thanks for adding me to the blog role.

Sheila Casey

Jacquelyn said...

I'm waiting patiently for some Holiday Blogging!!

Melany said...

I know you don't know me, but thank you for keeping your congregation updated on things, and being commited to writing, even though you are so busy, and have lots on your mind. I thought your point about the two different "purities" was interesting... Both are pure, but in very different perspectives. It amazes me that people have such twisted beliefs in what purity is, what truth is, and how they live these out. Makes me think. Have a great week, and God Bless!