TJ and David dig into Dr. Jonathan Haidt’s social, cultural, and psychological research on the universal moral foundations, based on Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, i.e. we explore how these foundations inform our “intuitive ethics,” which give key insights to how we approach sexual ethics. We also talk through how this theory relates to different perspectives (”Sides” A, B, Y, and X) in the conversation around sexual ethics. We hope that this conversation builds up wisdom for all of us to engage better in being morally reflective, virtuous persons embedded in our larger communities, structures, and lands.
We apologize for some audio quality issues.
Trigger warning: When we are reading the first paragraphs of Jonathan Haidt’s A Righteous Mind, we mention a sex act in the first few minutes of the podcast which may make listeners uncomfortable.
0:00 - The Righteous Mind's intro to universal moral foundations
4:47 - Quick refresher: “Side A”, “Side Y”, “Side X”, and “Side B”
9:30 - Intro to the 6 moral foundations
12:40 - Elephant and the rider (who’s steering?)
20:30 - Side A foundations for moral thinking
40:13 - The church handling polygamy in an African context
44:25 - The Bible’s emphasis on different moral foundations
49:32 - Wrapping up
For reference, the 6 values/foundations from the Moral Foundations research team:
Care/Harm: related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturing.
Fairness/Cheating: related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy.
Loyalty/Betrayal: related to our long history as tribal persons that form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group (e.g. “one for all, and all for one”).
Authority/Subversion: shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
Sanctity/Degradation: shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).
Liberty/Oppression (a potential foundation): reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together to oppose the oppressor.
Jonathan Haidt: jonathanhaidt.com
Moral Foundation Theory: moralfoundations.org + Quiz yourmorals.org
The Righteous Mind Book and Resources: righteousmind.com
Russell Moore Interview with Haidt: https://www.russellmoore.com/2018/09/21/russell-moore-jonathan-haidt-a-conversation/
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