The Righteous Mind

Collin Hansen | October 8, 2012

Christianity is inherently persuasive. In our view of the world's origins, problems, and solution, followers of Jesus Christ think we know best for everyone else. We're not necessarily arrogant, though sometimes we sound that way. Rather, we want to love our neighbors in a way that's consistent with what we believe to be God's intent for this world. We're asking others to trust us and ultimately trust God. But what we believe brings liberation, many others perceive as intolerable restraints. So we can benefit by learning from others who offer insight into the human mind and motivations.

A new book by Jonathan Haidt called The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion helped me consider how I seek to persuade others and why I react so strongly to certain arguments. Haidt, a social psychologist at the NYU-Sterm School of Business, certainly doesn't research or write from a Christian perspective, and I don't expect evangelical readers to agree with everything he says (I certainly did not). Still, especially at this time when we can't even agree with our neighbors about the basics of morality, we need to grow in our understanding of forces shaping human behavior. As…

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