Questions That Haunt – The Book

Happy Holy Week and Passover, everyone. I have collected the first six months of the series Questions That Haunt Christianity, organized and edited them, and published them as an ebook for the Amazon Kindle.

And for just $2.99!!!

This series has been a great joy and a great challenge to me. It’s definitely sharpened my theological mind, and for that I thank you.

If you’re unfamiliar with ebooks, they’re quite easy to read — for instance, you can download a FREE Kindle reading app to your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone. Or, you could buy a Kindle for as little as $69 — I was given one as a gift, and I love it! Then, with a couple clicks, you’ll be reading the book!

Now it’s time for you to submit a question, and you might show up in Volume 2!

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  • Thanks Tony, looking forward to reading this.

  • Is it (or will it be) available for Nook as well?

  • Back to the “moral foundations” discussion and answer. It was an interesting discussion and the answer was one I tend to agree with – but unfortunately off the subject I was trying to raise because of the unfortunate polyvalence of the word “foundation” and especially its use in “foundationalism”. I was using Jonathan Haidt’s use of the term by which he means “criteria.” So, just as our tongues have the ability to discern exactly and only five tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory) so Haidt’s team has concluded (via social science research) that there are 5 (possibly 6) criteria by which people assess moral questions. It’s not a question of having reasons (or foundations, as in logical or theoretical bases) but rather criteria which we use (NOT consciously) when evaluating moral questions (like: is it OK to eat a recently-killed dead house pet or clean the toilet with a flag). He believes that people assess moral questions using these 5 primary criteria: 1) Will the action cause Harm?; 2) Is it fair?; 3) is it a violation of an authority’s position; 4) Is it in keeping with my loyalty to my group?; and 5) is it a violation of purity or misuse of what is to be kept sacred?
    These are my approximate summaries of Haidt’s five criteria. So, clearly the bible has long been thought to be an authority on moral questions – but post-abolition of slavery and post-women’s movement, there are serious questions with how this ancient document should function in our community as an authority. What about what it says about homosexuality? And loyalty to the group has bee thoroughly undermined in the minds of people who have been exposed to the post-modern critique of power, meta-narratives, totalism and totalitarianism. The group demanding my loyalty may not be worthy of it. In fact, they may be cynically using my loyalty for their own power-interestes. Sanctity or Purity (of sacred objects, like the flag or religious symbols – even language) is undermined in the minds of people who are more likely to take a utilitarian or consequentialist view rather than a deontological view of moral questions. The big-deal is that people who are WEIRD (from the West, Educated, from Industrialized, Rich – by world’s standards – and from Democratic countries – most progressives in the US) tend to isolate only the first two criteria: Harm and Fairness, and neglect the other three criteria. This is hugely interesting – but quite a different discussion than one about foundationalism.