In order to help you make the most of this #TrendingQuestions event, we are offering some additional self-study material to give you the opportunity to engage more deeply with the content before, during, and after the event.
Listed below are additional resources, book recommendations, and questions for you to reflect on (both prior to and during the event) as you seek to better understand this topic. Our hope is that some of the resources we have highlighted will help provide context for how this conversation is progressing outside of the Church, and that the rest will help equip you to understand and engage in the conversation with grace, love, and truth.
This material is entirely optional, but we do hope that you find it useful as you seek to understand values and ethics more deeply, in order love your neighbors well.
Grace and Peace,
The ZI Team
Where Do Our Values Come From?
#TrendingQuestions: Ravi Zacharias
Resources to engage with prior to the event
Topic Primer: Crash Course Ethics
Watch this engaging series of short videos for a helpful background primer on the major ethical schools of thought offering an answer to the question, ‘Where do our values come from?’
- Metaethics (How do we ‘ground’ our ethics?)
- Divine Command Theory
- Natural Law Theory
- Immanuel Kant- Categorical Imperative
- Contractarianism (Social Contract Theory)
- Virtue Ethics
For a look at some of the ways this conversation is playing out in society at large, through the lens of mainstream publications, see:
- “Science Can Answer Moral Questions” (TED Talk, March 2010)
- “Toward a Science of Morality” (Huffington Post, May 2011)
“The Moral Roots of Liberal and Conservatives” (TED Talk, September 2008)
(Haidt presents an argument for our moral intuitions rooted in evolutionary psychology, which is one of the dominant contemporary metanarratives for the source of our ethics. Haidt developed these thoughts into his 2012 book The Righteous Mind , linked to in the resource section below).
Ravi Zacharias Preview
Pre-event Reflection Questions
What are my ‘gut-level’ reactions when I think about ethics? Do I know where my values come from? Do I think it’s silly to think that we could derive values apart from God? Can I put myself in someone else’s position and see where they believe values come from? Could I explain their ethical beliefs in a way that they would recognize and agree with?
What are some of the ways different people have suggested we determine morality outside of the Christian worldview? (The “Crash Course” videos above will be helpful here)
Watch this video on Justice. What are some key Biblical texts for our ethical obligations toward each other?
What are some potential implications of metaethical debates for society (not just the values themselves, but where they come from)? For the church? For me?
Where in my life is there a tension between the values I affirm as God-given and the values I live by on a day-to-day basis?
Event Reflection Questions
Where are we as a society on this question? What does Ravi suggest are some ways that secular society is currently answering this question?
How would you explain the difference between “is” and “ought”? Why does this difference matter? How does it create a problem for secular ethical systems?
How would you explain ethical ‘grounding’ to someone? How can you respond with grace and truth to those who deny that any transcendent ‘grounding’ exists? What are some questions you could ask to spark further dialogue?
Has your thinking changed at all on this topic? Solidified in any way?
What could you still use further clarification on? (Q&A session)
Resources For Further Examination
- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (Book)
- Conversations with John Anderson: Featuring Jonathan Haidt (Video Interview)
- The Moral Landscape (Book)
- See also Harris’ wide-ranging discussion with Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, in which Peterson pushes him at points on the necessity of grounding our morality in something firmer than “well-being”: Harris/Weinstein/Peterson Discussion: Vancouver
Is Goodness without God Good Enough? (Book)- A debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics
William Lane Craig vs. Erik Wielenberg: God & Morality- A debate at NC State, 2018
Emily Esfahani Smith- “Is Human Morality a Product of Evolution?” (The Atlantic, Dec. 2015)
Richard Garner- “Morality: The Final Delusion” (Philosophy Now , 2011).