Altruism: What is it?

While holding a still-sleeping baby in my arms this morning, I heard an interesting discussion on (the problematically named) public radio show, The Infinite Mind.  The show was about altruism, and involved a panel discussion of religious leaders (Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian), an interview with the editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and a good commentary by John Hockenberry.  Unfortunately, no free transcript or audio file of the show is available – rather, it is available only for purchase for $8.

The show examines various questions related to altruism including, Is altruism possible?  What motivates us to give or serve our neighbor?  What is the difference between how the wealthy give and how lower income people give?  And what about the "feel-good" factor of giving – is that the reason we give?  What do different religions teach about the possibility and nature of altruism?

For all you church leaders still working on your annual stewardship campaign, this program might offer helpful insights from perspectives not always shared in churchy circles.  Enjoy.

Published by Lutheran Zephyr

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. National Guardsman. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.

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