How much should Christian EAs care about the far future? (Part II)


by Dominic Roser

In part I of this blogpost I stated my belief that Christians – just like secular EAs – should agree with the claim that the far future is a neglected cause. However, I then presented three arguments for the conclusion that the case for this claim is comparatively less strong on Christian premises than on secular premises. In part II of this blogpost, I now mention two further arguments for this conclusion. Continue reading “How much should Christian EAs care about the far future? (Part II)”

How much should Christian EAs care about the far future? (Part I)


by Dominic Roser

Long-termism has emerged as a prominent view among effective altruists. This is the view that in making the world a better place we should give more consideration to the far future effects of our present-day decisions than we’re naturally inclined to. In other words, the far future is a neglected cause. The premises on which the call for long-termism is based are commonly underappreciated. But they are as compelling from a Christian perspective as they are from a secular worldview. They include ideas such as cause neutrality, the insight that many more future than present people might be affected by our current actions simply because there might be so many more future than present people, the claim that we should take even very small probabilities seriously when they are about very bad outcomes, etc. Most of these premises are common to a secular or a Christian worldview. Continue reading “How much should Christian EAs care about the far future? (Part I)”

Donating a kidney

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by Thomas Kelly

On Easter Day of 2014, I was confirmed as a Christian, and later that year I donated my kidney through the National Kidney Registry. When people ask about the relationship between the two are, I’m not always sure how to answer. On the one hand, I had been interested in both organ donation and Christianity for a really long time, for reasons that felt completely independent of each other. Most Christians I know have both kidneys, and most kidney donors I know are not religious. On the other hand, it is unlikely to be a coincidence that these two major decisions in my life happened more or less at the same time. It also seems kind of churlish to say that belief in God didn’t affect my decision, after all, Christianity has a lot to say about doing good. Continue reading “Donating a kidney”

Demandingness, Grace, and Excited Altruism

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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”

Frugal Living: A Win-Win?

Frugal Living

by Dominic Roser

Living frugally has two benefits: it’s good for me and it’s good for others. It’s good for me because it’s liberating — greedy materialism is an obstacle for a happy and spiritually deep life. And it’s good for others because frugality frees up resources for donations. Frugality thus has a double dividend.

I think two groups of people haven’t grasped just how strong this win-win really is. First, secular effective altruists underemphasize the first win. Second, Christians underemphasize the second win.

Continue reading “Frugal Living: A Win-Win?”

John Wesley: The Use of Money (2/2)

Stained glass window

by Dominic Roser

John Wesley preached an amazing sermon on “The Use of Money”. I posted the sermon here. In it, Wesley anticipates a lot of EA thinking 200 years ahead of time. Even the name of the first EA organization – Giving What We Can – corresponds almost literally to the sermon’s slogan.

In case anyone would like to dig deeper: the below blogpost analyzes the sermon in detail and lists seven points of overlap (or, occasionally, tension) between Wesley and Effective Altruism. At the end of the post, I also add a quote which sheds some light on how Wesley put his words into practice.

Continue reading “John Wesley: The Use of Money (2/2)”

John Wesley: The Use of Money (1/2)

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by Dominic Roser

My favourite sermon is the 18th century sermon on “The Use of Money” by John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church. His words are passionate, radical, simple, and practical. Upon reading it again, I even had wet eyes. The core message of Wesley’s sermon is: Earn all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can. This sermon might possibly be the most EA kind of thing that has been written before Peter Singer came along.

Continue reading “John Wesley: The Use of Money (1/2)”