You don't have to share the New Atheists' beliefs to treat their culture with some respect – and be interested in why people are drawn to itJonathan Haidt's recent book on morality aims to explain "why good people are divided by politics and religion". In The Righteous Mind he says, yes, moral decisions are influenced by our intentional decision-making processes – the rational weighing up of alternatives, the assessment of right and wrong – but that this decision-making is really driven by underlying intuitions. This intuitive thinking does not involve rational thought but follows the logics of – and what would be advantages for – the social group or groups we happen to be a member of. In fact, we are less rational creatures than we are rationalising creatures, and the groups we participate in matter hugely and demand our attention.Haidt uses religion as the exemplary social grouping, emphasising that...
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