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Posts tagged "Justification"


How Do I Love Jonathan Haidt? Let Me Count the Ways…

1. The main premise of his new book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, is that the human mind is wired for “righteousness.” Need I say more?! He talks at length about “inner lawyers” and our primal drive to justify ourselves (and all the trouble it creates), which jives […]

The Law and Gospel (of Lent) according to Chocolat

Much like the nation of Greece, the season of Lent is characterized by “austerity measures.” And while such devotion can be beautiful, Lenten observance can also border on piety for piety’s sake, or what we might call works righteousness. Please do not misunderstand me: I enjoy and value the season. Who of us wouldn’t benefit […]

Righteous Minds, Moral Matrices, and the Real (Non-)Difference Between Liberals and Conservatives

Are our brains fundamentally wired to experience and filter reality according to standards of moral righteousness? And if so, what’s the emotional and relational cost? We know how the Apostle Paul would respond, and we now know how cutting-edge UVA social psychologist Jonathan Haidt would. In an interview over at The Scientific American, Haidt talks […]

You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory (Esp a False One)

Another worthy addendum to our series on self-justification, and the role that memory plays, from Wired, “How Friends Ruin Memory: The Social Conformity Effect.” Where Tavris and Aronson chalk false memories primarily up to internal factors – the reducing of cognitive dissonance and reinforcing of our pre-existing self-image – the article highlights a few recent […]

Getting What You Want By Revising What You Had: Justifying Our Lives Away, Pt 3

Continuing with our series on Self-Justification (part one, part two), we come to a subject of particular relevance this week: memory. Our text, as you’ll recall, is the excellent Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris. Have you ever reminisced with a friend or family member about an event, […]

Tom Waits Invites You to the Party

I first ran across Tom Waits’ song “Come on Up to the House” not long after it was released, on the Grammy-award winning album Mule Variations. Occasionally an atheist friend would get a kick out of the jarring line “Come down off that Cross, we could use the wood.” The implication of course was that […]

Noisy Apartments, Cognitive Dissonance, and the Cost of Self-Justification

Four years ago, my wife and I moved into an apartment on what is commonly considered the busiest block in Manhattan, 60th St between 2nd and 3rd Ave, also known as the off-ramp of Queensboro bridge. It is the main entrance point into New York for commercial traffic, as well as one of its prime […]

Justification, Imputation and Self-Esteem

So how does the doctrine of justification by faith relate to self-esteem? The key linking concept is that of righteousness. For the Christian, it may be helpful to think of positive self-esteem as a psychological sign of having comprehended that one is counted as right with God, and thus with oneself. Earlier, we noted a […]

Brennan Manning on the Central Affirmation of the Reformation

For some reason (i.e. the Holy Spirit) I felt like re-reading Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel this weekend. I guess I’ve been a little desperate and needy, and as is always said on this blog, “We need to hear the gospel again every day.” Few people have been able to write about the gospel like […]

Fathers, Sons, and the Reformation, Part I

In November of 2003, I was attending the Cathedral of the Advent in Birmingham, AL and just beginning to understand the Gospel and its implications. During one service, it was announced that the Rev. Dr. Rod Rosenbladt was flying in from California to give a seminar on how the theology of the Protestant Reformation interacts […]