Thursday, November 25, 2004

Polemic against Singer

Peter Singer is a highly controversial ethicist whose views have been widely disseminated and hotly debated. The conservative World Magazine Online has an article by Marvin Olasky that pointedly critiques Singer's approach to ethics. I have seen a documentary on ABC TV here in Australia on Peter Singer and his work at Princeton University. He comes across as very rational and, when allowed to speak for himself, I am not convinced that some of the criticisms of him are fair. But, from a Christian point of view, leaving God completely out of the equation of ethics is most certainly a step backward. However, keeping God in the ethics equation doesn't always make everything black and white. I think the value of people like Singer is that they manage to convey the "messiness" of so much everyday life. Sometimes Christians can have very simplistic answers to ethical dilemmas and we need, at the very least, to dialogue with people like Peter Singer to sharpen our views and face the challenges that non-Christian perspectives provide us. If you'd like to read more about Peter Singer's views you can check out the following websites:
  • The World Magazine article can be read here.
  • Peter Singer's own website can be found here.
  • The Wikipedia has an article on Peter Singer including links to anti-Singer sites here.
  • You can find the transcript of a conversation with Peter Singer here.
  • Julian Baggini, one of the editors of The Philosopher's Magazine reports on an interview with Peter Singer here.

Please note that, by providing these resources to Peter Singer, I am not condoning his beliefs or approach to ethics. I believe, however, that Christians need to know about one of the most influential ethicists of our time.

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