“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “No one is good except God alone.
Social psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt, in his book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion works through the secular psychological research that propels each person towards the defense of personal goodness. In a series of interviews with people from differently stratified class, gender, and ethnic categories, Haidt and his assistants discovered that the internalized moral compass that guides human behavior first and foremost works to justify the behavior of the individual. Both intuitive “feeling” moral judgments, and the rationalizing efforts of the mind together work overtime to preserve the virtue of the individual. But something has changed in the last couple of years. To demonstrate that change, it is necessary to stress the reality that virtue is a crucial ingredient in an ordered society, but more than that, seeing that virtue is of the essence. Signaling virtue, or goodness, is the very core of human community. The good must be sorted out from the bad. The bad must conceal their vice. This deep-rooted common grace keeps most of us trudging along in basically a good direction, trying to, in the same moment, advance our own interests and win the approval of others. This episode is a conversation about the need for both Christians and non-Christians alike to point out our virtue to others.
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Anne Kennedy about her online-exclusive article, “Why Do I Call Myself Good? A Look at Virtue Signaling.”
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