In, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, Jonathan Haidt lays out a case for why moral judgments stem from emotional feelings rather than rational reasoning. In reviewing the book, Margery Lucas, a Professor of Psychology and Cognitive and
Linguistic Sciences at Wellesley College, states, “this book remains an ingenious and eloquent work that provocatively addresses the origins and psychological underpinnings of the most basic human values.
Haidt provides ample research and personal stories that invite the reader to consider where they fall in the plot of politics and religion. His central three principles in the book are wrap around three metaphors. Principle one, intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second and he uses the metaphor of an elephant (intuitions/emotions) and rider (reasoning). Principle two, morality consists of more than harm and fairness, and the metaphor equals a tongue and six taste buds. Finally, principle three, morality binds and blinds, and the metaphor he employees is humans are 90% chimp and 10% bee.
Haidt leans more into the evolutionary understanding of natural selection than I would agree, but I do agree that we are bent toward selfish desires over love and putting others above ourselves. The key differences for me would be the theological understanding of sin that drives (or can drive) us towards this bias. Miller’s work reminds us that we can reach a point even in faith where desire becomes the ultimate goal and not Christ.
Our previous readings of, Polanyi in The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time and Max Weber’s, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, point out how if our bias (good intention or not) goes unchecked the unintended consequences can lead to systematic issues, not just personal ones. One remedy is to take the posture that life is complicated and hed Berger and Johnston advice to, 1. ask different questions (instead of having the answers), 2. take multiple perspectives (even when we disagree), and 3. see the systems (including emergence), but in reality are hard to implement because often as leaders we are more focused on what we think is right versus bringing others into the conversation.
Research is showing that next generation is more open-minded because of the creation of trigger warnings and safe spaces but at the consequence of not knowing how to have dialogue or hearing an opposing view as something that can be helpful and not just harmful. Alan Levinovitz writes:
There is a very real danger that these efforts [to institute trigger warnings and safe spaces] will become overzealous and render opposing opinions taboo. Instead of dialogues in which everyone is fairly represented, campus conversations about race, gender, and religion will devolve into monologues about the virtues of tolerance and diversity. Even though academic debate takes place in a community, it is also combat. Combat can hurt. It is literally offensive. Without offense there is no antagonistic dialogue, no competitive marketplace, and no chance to change your mind.
In researching a Spirit-led model for leadership that engages the next generation, Jesus continues to show up as one who does not shy allows dialogue or a challenge. As a leader, the job is not to challenge one’s thinking or reasoning to harm them or belittle them but to invite them into a narrative that challenges their status quo and gives them an opportunity to change the script of their lives.
” Lucas, Margery. “Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.” Society 50, no. 1 (February 2013): 88. http://search.ebscohost.com.georgefox.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=84935903&scope=site.
 Vincent J. Miller, Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture (New York: Continuum International, 2003), 105.
 Berger, Jennifer Garvey. Simple Habits for Complex Times (p. 8). Stanford University Press. Kindle Edition.
 Alan Levinovitz, “How Trigger Warnings Silence Religious Students,” The Atlantic, Aug. 30, 2016. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/silencing-religious-students-on-campus/497951/ (accessed April 2019).