Part 1: You’ve most likely seen, heard or been a part of a lesson on how to share the Gospel with someone, but there is something severely lacking in all of these methods and approaches; they have no clue about where the other person actually is in life and what they value. Sharing about God’s sovereignty with someone who doesn’t value authority is not only pointless but likely damaging. Sharing about God’s love with someone who highly values justice is equally worthless. I propose that we try to understand what the other person values before we evangelize. This introduction to a new series will lay the foundation for combining the work of modern psychologists, namely Jonathan Haidt, and use this understanding to modify our apologetics.
Part 3: Let’s set the foundation for the coming videos by looking at how two different people see spanking, labor and a Proverb. My premise is this, that both people care deeply about the child, want to ensure fairness in work, and understand why someone might steal when they are starving. But how this care manifests itself, and how each person defines fairness or decides what to do about the stealing are radically different even when they both profess the same (or apparently same) values.
Part 5: Even when authority is the pre-eminent attribute in a Biblical passage, it doesn’t operate without the influence of other values. And this is important to remember in evangelism, you need to understand the other person and where they are on the authority/tyranny/anarchy/subversive scale. Let’s look at three passages to see how authority is expressed and how the liberal, moderate or conservative mind would view it. From the woman caught in adultery to Sodom’s destruction, there’s a lot at work in these passages. It’s easy to see care and fairness at work with the adulteress woman, but these same values are at work in how God acts toward Sodom as well.
Part 7: Loyalty is one of the six moral foundations identified by Jonathan Haidt, and as we’ve seen before, liberals, moderates and conservatives view this virtue differently. But this is perhaps the least controversial of all the virtues, at least it seems that way.
Part 9: Sanctity of Life, that’s easy; what about the sanctity of living? Haidt, the secular psychologists talks about sanctity in your own life as being important, an upright spirit. Jordan Peterson talks about treating yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. And of course God says “Be holy for I am holy.” But still, there is something more.
Part 11: Much like Cru’s ‘The Four Spiritual Laws’, do Billy Graham’s tools reach out to all people, whether liberal or conservative? Now that we understand the moral foundations of Care, Authority, Liberty, Loyalty, Fairness and Sanctity, does the prayer on the website work for all people or is it likely to turn off a person leaning toward God?
Part 13: A point by point rebuttal of absolutely everything Huffpo said! No, not really, quite the opposite actually. You see it’s not about each logical argument, it’s more about the persons individual inclination and leaning, and how to respond to That!
Part 15: Suffering, for whose name? Your share the gospel, trying to convince others of God’s reality, His plan and His purpose for their life? But are you doing this for your own name or His?
Part 2: Our culture and personal morality absolutely impacts our apologetics, how we share our faith with others. We are starting our journey of personality based Apologetics by looking at community and individualism. In the west we value individual autonomy and rights, in the east they value community and relationships, at least that is the evidence from psychology and research by Jonathan Haidt and others. So how does this impact us? We need to understand our own mindset, biases and perspectives so that we can be aware of how we are reacting to what others are saying. We also need to seek to understand where the other person is at so we can speak in a manner that they not only understand, but can also agree with and see how it aligns with their morality and values. This isn’t an injunction to lie or distort, but to present the full truth while emphasizing the aspects the other person can easily accept.
Part 4: A photo of a migrant train heading for the southern border; what’s your first reaction? A homeless person sitting quietly on the street; how do you react? A photo of a child looking slightly uncomfortable; what’s your first thought? In each of these your primary form of caring comes through, this represents the core portion of your caring values. But how is this at all useful in evangelism or exhortation?
Paft 6: Liberty is nearly universally valued, so the question is what of the other six key values are superior or subservient to it? Jonathan Haidt points out in The Righteous Mind that liberty is valued and shared by liberal, moderate and conservative people. But there are differences about the equality of the value compared to others. Let’s look into this and discover how each of these mindsets approach liberty and putting limits on such liberty.
Part 8: Is it fair of God to send people to hell? The flip side would be, is it fair for God to reward a bad person with life in heaven? The liberal mind values fairness but is more concerned about outcome; whereas the conservative mind values fairness but leans to equality of opportunity. Let’s not judge each other so harshly, let’s instead look at how God views this and then receive each other charitably.
Part 10: Cru’s ‘The Four Spiritual Laws’, are they still valid and useful? Now that we understand the moral foundations of Care, Authority, Liberty, Loyalty, Fairness and Sanctity, is there a better way to present these laws to the person we are talking with? I think these four laws hit heavily upon the care, fairness and liberty virtues very positively for all people; it is authority where some may stumble and we need to be ready to help them.
Part 12: Is the foundation to any successful evangelistic effort, first of foremost the living out of faith on the part of the apologist? If you’re not walking the walk, dare you even talk the talk? Ravi argues for something much like this, let’s take a look.
Part 14: And to your faith add …
Our personality informs and guides our inclinations. Strong value of authority leans us to making Christ Lord and living under his authority. A strong value of liberty leans us to rejoicing in being set free from sin. A strong value of sanctity might lead us to studying what God thinks is good and bad. But the Holy Spirit by the Apostle Peter has laid out a framework for growth.
Part 16: Which Tool is Best? Wrong Question
One size doesn’t fit all nor does one tool work for all. If it’s a tool, it could easily become plastic and fake. A rehearsed mantra isn’t what’s needed, especially since, as we discussed before, everyone has very different virtues they value and will hear messages quite differently.