Jonathan Haidt’s “Harm”free questions

A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a chicken. But before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks it and eats it.

Once again, no harm, nobody else knows, and, like the dog-eating family, it involves a kind of recycling that is— as some of my research subjects pointed out— an efficient use of natural resources. But now the disgust is so much stronger, and the action just seems so … degrading. Does that make it wrong? If you’re an educated and politically liberal Westerner, you’ll probably give another nuanced answer, one that acknowledges the man’s right to do what he wants, as long as he doesn’t hurt anyone. But if you are not a liberal or libertarian Westerner , you probably think it’s wrong— morally wrong —for someone to have sex with a chicken carcass and then eat it. For you, as for most people on the planet, morality is broad. Some actions are wrong even though they don’t hurt anyone.

Understanding the simple fact that morality differs around the world, and even within societies, is the first step toward understanding your righteous mind. The next step is to understand where these many moralities came from in the first place.

Haidt, Jonathan (2012-03-13). The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (p. 4). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Julie and Mark, who are sister and brother, are traveling together in France. They are both on summer vacation from college. One night they are staying alone in a cabin near the beach. They decide that it would be interesting and fun if they tried making love. At the very least it would be a new experience for each of them. Julie is already taking birth control pills, but Mark uses a condom too, just to be safe. They both enjoy it, but they decide not to do it again. They keep that night as a special secret between them, which makes them feel even closer to each other. So what do you think about this? Was it wrong for them to have sex?

Haidt, Jonathan (2012-03-13). The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion (p. 45). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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1 Response to Jonathan Haidt’s “Harm”free questions

  1. Pingback: Atheists and Porn | Leadingchurch.com

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