Whether you're a believer or an atheist, you can't escape your ethical duty to do something for those in need around the world. The issue is not whether but how to help.
That's the premise being discussed on Thursday in Cambridge by a leading bioethicist (and atheist), Princeton Professor Peter Singer, and the head of the international aid agency, World Vision, Richard Stearns.
The two will hold a panel discussion from 4:00–5:30 p.m. at First Parish Church, 3 Church Street (corner of Mass Ave and Church St), in Cambridge. The free event is being sponsored by the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. The moderator will be the center's executive director, Aviva Argote.
The forum's title is daunting: "Finding Common Ground: Perspectives on Ethics and Extreme Poverty from an Atheist and a Christian." The announcement says Singer and Stearns will "discuss what ethics, morality and God expect of us in an age of hunger, AIDS and extreme poverty."
They are each authors of recent books. The Hauser Center says Singer "argues in The Life You Can Save that the industrialized world’s response to poverty is ethically indefensible and that living an ethical life must involve giving one’s resources to the cause of fighting poverty," while Stearns "argues in The Hole in Our Gospel that living a Christian life involves living out one’s faith by taking action to care for the poor and fight the systemic causes of poverty."
Not much wiggle room there for those looking for a way to opt out.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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