Thursday, May 19, 2011

Out of Character???

The other day while driving I heard a very good interview on NPR Talk of the Nation about a new book by David DeSteno called Out of Character. It was one of those "driveway moments" when I just wanted to finish listening to the guest speaker. The book is about why we as humans do things that are not usually "normal" or "standard" for us. For example if you are a very financially conservative person and usually save money why is it that if one day you are feeling sad or gloomy you'll go out and splurge on a new suit or tie even though you don't need one? The author also gave an example of bad people doing good things. There was a bad accident somewhere in a big US city and a bunch of drug dealers on a corner went over and rescued several people from a building. We usually don't think of drug dealers as being good upright citizens with a moral compass yet when push came to shove these young men felt compassion and helped someone else. Amazing!!!

The rest of the interview talked about how our moral development is shaped when we are young but at the same time how we easily fall trap to temptations either good or bad at times, which is out of our character.

Anyway, this is not a full blown book review, I just wanted to share this with all of you because I found it very applicable to the Christian walk of faith. After all St. Paul himself said that the good that he wants to do he doesn't and the bad things that he doesn't want to do he finds that he does them anyway. There is a constant battle going on in our hearts between making good choices every moment of the day.

I commend Dr. Desteno's social research. I am not sure whether or not he is a Christian, but his research reveals some deep human realities which is certainly applicable to Christians everywhere.