by Josh Pairkh
The best way to change the world is often by picking the right job and doing it well. This is true for many of the most effective people in history, whether the philanthropy of Bill Gates, William Wilberforce’s political campaigning, or Alan Turing laying the foundations for modern computing. Biblically, we see Paul making tents to fund his evangelism, Esther using her royal position to save the Jewish people, and Nehemiah’s place as cupbearer to the King allowing his restoration of Jerusalem. It is also true that many people alive today have a disproportionate ability to improve the world through their career, whether in today’s unparalleled wealth distribution or through the opportunity to make progress by researching the big issues facing humanity – such as climate change. This means that many more of us can change the world beyond those lucky enough to be in positions of extraordinary influence.
Continue reading “Using our careers wisely”
by Mike Morell
One way to go about measuring the size of the population of Christian EA’s is the direct route. The Christians and Effective Altruism Facebook Group is one place where this community gathers online. As of September 2018, the group has 427 members.
Since April 2018, we have been running a survey of group members to get a sense of the community demographics. If you’re a member of the Facebook group and have yet to complete the survey, we’d really appreciate your participation; the link is here. And if you have yet to join the Facebook group, we’d welcome you to join here. Continue reading “How large is the community of Christians involved in effective altruism?”
by Dominic Roser
Effective altruism is often accused of being too demanding. Critics say that effective altruism requires us to give up all kinds of expenses, such as fancy meals out, unnecessary-but-nice pairs of shoes or even expensive birthday presents. Furthermore, effective altruism makes demands on our time and relationships: hobbies like gardening and important decisions like starting a family may not be the most effective use of our lives.
Critics say that this is asking too much of people. They argue that no serious ethical theory could have such radical implications for our spending, time or relationships – and therefore we should reject effective altruism. This ‘demandingness objection’ comes in many forms, and I will discuss some Christian responses to two of these which aim to rescue effective altruism from this attack. Continue reading “Demandingness, Grace, and Excited Altruism”
by Josh Parikh
A common criticism of effective altruism is that it is too “cold and calculating”. Part of this comes from its emphasis on reason and evidence when making moral decisions. This is sometimes seen as downplaying important values such as empathy and care; or separately, as a failure to trust in God’s control, by trying to work out how to do more good, rather than leaving all the results to God.
This criticism of effective altruism is understandable, but ultimately unfair. Continue reading “Is effective altruism too cold and calculating?”
by Jakub Synowiec
To many, effective altruism and Christianity seem to be at odds. For example, effective altruism might encourage people to make their charitable activity public, in order to encourage similar actions and ultimately more impact. This might seem morally questionable for many Christians. There is also a tradition within Christianity which supports the idea that giving in secret is the right approach. In this post, I will explore this tradition and, in the final part, present two answers to the “sounding a trumpet” critique. Continue reading “Should we sound a trumpet when we give to the poor?”
by Alex Rattee
For Christians, Jesus is the ultimate example of the virtuous life and so it is appropriate for us to look to him when contemplating how to live morally. A natural question then for Christians interested in effective altruism is to ask whether the way Jesus lived provides evidence for or against the importance of applying the principles of effectiveness to how we think about doing good. Although Jesus spent much of his time doing good, it does seem at first glance that he did not attempt to be maximally effective in doing so and as a result we might think that we needn’t either. In a coming series of posts I will explore some reasons to be wary of this argument. In this first post I present two reasons to show that our initial impression of Jesus’s ineffectiveness may be misleading.
Continue reading “Was Jesus an Effective Altruist?”
by Dominic Roser
Is tithing a duty? Many Christians don’t think so. Rather, they view the tithe as a powerful guide to help us when we’re tempted to give much less than we ought. It points us in the right direction even if we’re unsure of what the ideal percentage to give actually is. Giving What We Can uses similar reasons to justify why they use 10% for their giving pledge.
In contrast, other Christians think that giving 10% is a genuine duty. Often, the flip-side of this view is the claim that there is no duty to give more than 10%. Furthermore, it often goes along with this belief that the tithe should go fully to one’s church. It’s these beliefs that I would like to challenge in this blogpost. If our giving is capped at 10% and if it goes fully to our church, then this contradicts ideas prevalent within the effective altruism movement of using a potentially much larger fraction of our income (say, 70%) to make the world a better place. Continue reading “Should I tithe?”