Why Peter Singer Hates on Guide Dogs & the “Make-a-Wish” Foundation: Reflections on “The Most Good You Can Do”

Recent new stories have ranged from the absurd to the inane, and most recently, to horror. The famed neurosurgeon and current presidential candidate Ben Carson confirmed that he continues to believe — despite all evidence to the contrary — that the Egyptian pyramids were not built as graves for pharaohs, but instead were built to store grain by Joseph, a character in the biblical book of Genesis. That’s absurd. There has also been a lot of inane hubbub about Starbuck’s plain red holiday coffee c … [Read more...]

“Unsanctifying Human Life”: Wrestling with Peter Singer’s Ethics

Our human population has septupled (increased sevenfold) in a mere two centuries — from approximately 1 billion in 1800 to more than 7 billion today. The resulting environmental impact of our species is jeopardizing the entire planet’s climate. We have not, however, always been aware of our potential to have a cataclysmic effect on Earth. As Elizabeth Kolbert wrote about in her Pulitzer Prize winning book The Sixth Extinction, prior to fossil discoveries in the 1700s, we humans didn’t know that a … [Read more...]

Betting on Earth’s Future

Before the 16th-century Scientific Revolution, it used to be more reasonable to hold the worldview that we humans were at the center of “life, the universe, and everything.” According to the ancient Ptolemaic model of the universe, our planet was stationary, and the sun, moon, and stars revolved around us. But after Copernicus’s 1543 book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, our planet was shown to be merely the “third rock from the sun.”  And we have come to see in the centuries since — … [Read more...]

What Do We Mean We When Say, “Building the Beloved Community”?

In progressive religious circles, you will often hear calls to “build the Beloved Community,” but I’m not sure we always appreciate the full historic resonance of that phrase. The term “Beloved Community” was coined by the early twentieth-century American philosopher Josiah Royce (1855-1916). But most of us learned it not from Royce but from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who often spoke of the “Beloved Community” as his ultimate goal. As an early example, after the Montgomery Bus Boycott … [Read more...]

Building Your Own Ethics

I have posted previously about “Building Your Own Theology.” And this idea that you can “build your own theology” — as opposed to ascribing to a pre-existing theological system designed in the past or by someone else — is connected to what is meant when Unitarian Universalism is described as a theologically liberal religion. I should add that when we talk about Unitarian Universalism as a theologically liberal religion, that does not necessitate political liberalism. Irrespective of one’s politi … [Read more...]

“What You Say Next Will Change Your World”: Practicing Nonviolent Communication

Each year at the annual Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, one of highlights is always the Ware Lecture, which has been given since 1922. Past Ware Lecturers include Reinhold Niebuhr, Howard Thurman, Saul Alinsky, Kurt Vonnegut, Elaine Pagels, Mary Oliver, Karen Armstrong, and many other luminaries. If you are interested, you can read most of the archived transcripts online on the UUA’s website. In 1966, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a Ware Lecture titled “Don't Sleep Thr … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X