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Moral Rebels and Christian Courage

When someone stands up for his/her beliefs in the face of adversity, they are called a “moral rebel.” A prominent example is the case of the sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. He seemed too big to fall until actors Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan courageously came forward, risking their careers if unsuccessful. Moral rebels also confront a bully or correct a friend who uses a racist slur.

Secular psychologists say moral rebels have high self-esteem and are confident of their own “judgment, values and ability and thus that they have a social responsibility to share those beliefs.” The Christian outlook says “Exactly!”

The moral rebel isn’t afraid of occasional embarrassment or a lack of social harmony. They are far less concerned about conforming to the crowd. So, when they have to choose between fitting in and doing the right thing, they will probably choose to do what they see as right. The Christian outlook says “Exactly!”

A moral rebel needs to have grown up seeing moral courage in action, from parents but also peers and community leaders. He or she also needs to feel genuine empathy. Spending time with and really getting to know people from different backgrounds helps. White high school students who had more contact with people from different ethnic groups have higher levels of empathy and see people from different minority groups in more positive ways.

Those who have experienced the pain of rejection are less likely to be moral rebels. They need to fit in. For the Christian a close relationship with God and good fellowship mitigates against this.


Catherine A. Sanderson, “Here’s why some people are willing to challenge bullying, corruption and bad behavior, even at personal risk” The Conversation (6-18-20)

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