July 13, 2022

#11 - Fractures in Our Moral Foundation | Applying Haidt to Sexual Ethic Divides

#11 - Fractures in Our Moral Foundation | Applying Haidt to Sexual Ethic Divides
The player is loading ...

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/

Share feedback or questions by sending us a voice message at anchor.fm/communion-shalom or emailing us at davidfrank.mn@gmail.com

This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit communionshalom.substack.com