May 18, 2009

Recognizing the 'pale blue dot' is to revere it

MELBOURNE — The 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote: “Two things fill the heart with ever renewed and increasing awe and reverence, the more often and more steadily we meditate upon them: the starry firmament above and the moral law within.” This year, the ...

Apr 19, 2009

Freedom of religion or freedom of speech?

PRINCETON N.J. — Last month, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning “defamation of religion” as a human rights violation. According to the text of the resolution, “Defamation of religion is a serious affront to human dignity” that leads to “a ...

Mar 19, 2009

A place for charity even in these tough times

PRINCETON, New Jersey — As I tour America promoting my new book, “The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty,” I am often asked if this isn’t the wrong time to call on affluent people to increase their effort to end ...

Feb 18, 2009

Are we ready for a new form of capitalism?

MELBOURNE — Is the global financial crisis an opportunity to forge a new form of capitalism based on sound values? So French President Nicholas Sarkozy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair appear to think. At a symposium in Paris last month titled “New ...

Jan 19, 2009

In vitro fertilization stands test of 30 years

MELBOURNE, Australia — Louise Brown, the first person to be conceived outside a human body, turned 30 last year. The birth of a “test-tube baby,” as the headlines described in vitro fertilization, was highly controversial at the time. Leon Kass, who subsequently served as ...

Oct 29, 2008

Obama, McCain all but ignore poverty issue

PRINCETON — Barack Obama worked for three years as a community organizer on Chicago’s blighted South Side, so he knows all about the real poverty that exists in America. He knows that in one of the world’s richest nations, 37 million people live in ...

Aug 19, 2008

The hidden costs of thinking about money

PRINCETON, N.J. — When people say “Money is the root of all evil,” they usually don’t mean that money itself is the root of evil. Like St. Paul of the New Testament, from whom the quote comes, they have in mind the love of ...

Jul 22, 2008

Rights of rational beings who are not human

MELBOURNE — On June 25, in a historic vote, the Spanish parliament’s Commission for the Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries declared its support for The Great Ape Project, a proposal to grant rights to life, liberty and protection from torture to our closest nonhuman relatives: ...

Jun 18, 2008

Neither blatant benevolence nor silent giving

PRINCETON, New Jersey — Jesus said that we should give alms in private rather than when others are watching. That fits with the common-sense idea that if people only do good in public, they may be motivated by a desire to gain a reputation ...

May 19, 2008

If there is a god, then why is there suffering?

PRINCETON, New Jersey — Do we live in a world that was created by a god who is all-powerful, all-knowing and all good? Christians think we do. Yet a powerful reason for doubting this confronts us every day: the world contains a vast amount ...