David Anders: How people justify sinful actions by finding those who support their passions — “Pure subjectivity is not an adequate guide to moral life”

Transcribed by me from from: CALLED TO COMMUNION – Dr. David Anders – November 13 , 2019 [I attended evangelical seminary with Dave. I never finished. He did, and became a Catholic, and now has his own show on TV.]

At minute-20:00, a question is asked how people justify immoral life choices based on feelings. Dave explains that most people decide what they want to do, and then find those who will support their way of thinking.

..what most people do. We decide in advance, maybe unconsciously, what outcome we would like, and then we go to consult the authorities of our experience in order to justify those conclusions. … This has actually been demonstrated by social science research.

..Jonathan Haidt… a social psychologist wrote a book a couple of years ago called ‘The Righteous Mind’ that demonstrates in laboratory conditions that this is the way most people do moral reasoning. They have some passion, some inclination that they would like to follow, and then they do their moral philosophy in retrospect to justify the thing they’ve already decided implicitly that they want to do.

Obviously, that’s not going to give you a pass. That’s not making a good faith effort to find out what the right thing to do is. It’s just a way of trying to palliate [alleviate] my own cognitive dissonance when I live in a way that contradicts the good of nature.

That’s what most people do, and it’s not going to give you a pass. And of course, it can justify the most horrific evils. All the ideological tyrants of the 20th century had very good reasons why they needed to slaughter 20 million people. And they may have been convinced in their own minds. That’s why pure subjectivity is not an adequate guide to moral life, because conscience untutored can lead a man to do the most atrocious things.

 

Leave a Reply