Monday, January 22, 2018

Christian Moral Foundations- Liberal Conservative Divide

Preliminary data anayses of American Christians identified as Republican or Democrat were consistent with predictions based on Moral Foundations Theory.

According to Haidt and his colleagues, liberals (usually Democrats in the USA) emphasize care and fairness in their moral arguments.

In contrast, conservatives (e.g., Republicans) tend to draw from up to five moral foundations but stand out as higher than liberals on Authority, Loyalty, and Purity.

The findings are part of a study I worked on with Heather Kelly, and Marin Marsi of Evangel University. The bars in the chart represent rounded marginal means from a MANCOVA where sex was the covariate.

You can look for the pattern when you read arguments over various social issues. Take the example of illegal immigration. Liberals will emphasize care for the families being separated and the treatment of children. Conservative arguments will emphasize respect for the authority of the law and loyalty.

Consider the case of an effective leader who has been hit with credible allegations of sexual misconduct. What would you predict? Liberals will focus on care for the vicitm and fair treatment. Thus liberals may often condemn their own candidate if the person is a man who harmed a woman.

Conservatives will likely argue about authority concerns e.g., innocent until proven guilty. They can be expected to be loyal to their "family member" longer than will liberals.  But purity concerns will be strong among most Christian members producing real tension. One way to reduce purity concerns is to argue the problem is in the past-- "sins are washed away."

Note: The data analysis has not yet been vetted by peer review. We present our findings at an international meeting in April.

If you are interested in moral psychology, see Haidt's book, The Righteous Mind.

If you are interested in the application to Christian cultures, see A House Divided: Sexuality, Morality, and Christian Cultures.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Mennonites Divide Over Sexuality

Many Christians are divided over matters of sexuality. At times the differences are too large to permit a sustainable "bridge." The Lancaster Mennonite Conference with 179 churches in the US states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York have split from the Larger Mennonite Church USA as of January 1, 2018.

The LMC is opposed to same-sex marriage, which appears to be the primary concern.

"Although Lancaster Mennonite Conference’s opposition to same-sex marriage has been cited as the principal cause for the separation, conference moderator L. Keith Weaver said vision, church polity and governance within MC USA also played a role." (Lancaster Online)

"Although Lancaster Mennonite Conference’s withdrawal is significant — according to published reports, it will reduce the size of MC USA by 14 percent — both Weaver and Stoltzfus said the split has been amicable." (Lancaster online)

This blog and the book, A House Divided, focus on issues of morality and sexuality in Christian Cultures. Same-sex relationships are not the only issue of concern to Christians. Additional information about biblical sexuality and morality can help think through the issues. Understandably, even a civil discussion does not lead to reconciliation when specific behavior is viewed as sinful by one party and not the other.

Learn more about A House Divided: Sexuality, Morality, and Christian Cultures 
available from the publisher PICKWICK and other stores e.g.,  AMAZON    GOOGLE

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