December 4, 2020

A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt and Tim Keller

Note from CM: I realize that this is a long presentation, but believe me, it is worth your while. Perhaps you can break it down into segments and watch them throughout the week. I would be happy to receive comments today, Tuesday, or Wednesday on this video.

Here is a prime example of civil conversation and the possibilities of productive, peace-enhancing discourse between two people with radically different faith positions. I chose to show it today because we are talking about Jonathan Haidt’s book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, and here he is, attempting to apply his own teaching by engaging in a conversation and Q&A session with Pastor Timothy Keller at NYU, who also demonstrates a spirit of kindness and cordiality that is most attractive.

I found it extremely encouraging, and I hope you will too. And that you’ll pass the word along that this kind of respectful interaction is possible, even in our polarized moment of history.

• • •


  1. Adam Tauno Williams says

    Great talk, just finished it.

    It is encouraging, this kind of conversation is happening, in many places.

  2. Hi Chaplain Mike

    Thank you for pointing me to this YouTube.

    I love to learn from Tim Keller. He has an approach to the Gospel and how to share it in a modern context that I’ve learned so much from.

    I watched the video. It’s long, yes, but it didn’t bother me. I felt I learned a lot from it. I’m not familiar with Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.

    But it sounds like it’s worth reading, so I’ll put it on my reading list.

    My favourite part of the YouTube was the Q & A because some of the questions got me to think of personal episodes in my life that changed after I read Tim’s The Reason for God first time.

    God bless,
    Edna Davidsen

  3. It’s amazing that with this discussion nobody has posted. Where are the usual lame jokester s and people who like to be so superior in thought. Where are you ? It’s nice to see that one can have a nice dialogue without the noise of most imonk commentators

    • Stbndct, no need for that. Especially with regard to a post about respectful discourse.

    • Some of us work office jobs that currently don’t let us listen with enough attention to a long video.

      A transcription would be nice, but I don’t expect CM or anyone to post it. This may be a long burn video that should be tagged at the top of every post for a while until enough people are reminded and have the time to watch it fully.

    • Also, bless your heart.

      • If this were not a post about respectful discourse, I would point out that Christian comedienne Chonda Pierce says that “bless your heart” is Southern for “you’re so stupid.”

    • Patriciamc says

      Bless your heart.

    • Some of us work warehouse jobs that prevent us watching/listening to video segments during the day, and don’t have large blocks of time to do so in the evening.

      And some of us were away on vacation until late yesterday, during which we did not tune into iMonk.

    • So, Stbndct, you think respectful discourse is only valuable when it occurs between two conservatives (albeit one religious and the other not), as does this one? But any liberal/progressive is nothing but a “know-it-all” who should be dismissed, and insulted, at the outset? If that’s all you get from the Haidt series, then you are getting nothing.

  4. Good stuff. Still haven’t finished it.

  5. I have appreciated Jonathan Haidt (sort of from a distance) for a while. Heterodox Academy, shorter essays, etc. I never dug into one of his books. I never realized in all that time that he is an atheist.

    I did not finish the video but what I watched good. Thanks for posting.

  6. Dana Ames says

    Watched to the end, in sessions. Have respected Haidt since first reading quotes of his around the Internet. I have to give Keller props for his attitude, demeanor, and wide reading. Reformed theology appeals to good thinkers like Keller. It was a good exchange.

    I wonder what made moderating the talk so scary for the female professor?


    • My guess would be simply bringing in a speaker who is openly attempting to frame his whole argument based on faith in Jesus. That sort of thing can be a little dicey in universities because people assume a lot about a person once they take that position. Very similar situation when Haidt said he was reluctant to even name controversial topics on what would become a Youtube video. Campus dynamics are interesting these days.