2021 Living Accountably
Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture
October 27-29, 2021
The notion of accountability is pervasive in contemporary life. In the political sphere, for instance, we often speak of failures of accountability or demand that elected officials be held accountable. Yet little attention has been paid to how accountability might be a positive force in all aspects of life.
People are frequently accountable to those who have the authority to ask for an account—students to teachers, children to parents, employees to employers. It seems plausible, however, that accountability exists even outside of hierarchical relationships. Friends, for example, often hold one another accountable. Some philosophers and theologians also have claimed that all humans are accountable to each other as members of a moral community.
What might it mean to embrace being accountable? Could it be that an important trait of virtuous persons is that they “live accountably?”
And to whom are humans accountable? The Christian tradition holds that human persons are accountable to God, living their whole lives before God as a gift. Indeed the “fear of the Lord” is a central Biblical virtue, the beginning of wisdom. What might accountability to God mean not simply as an ideal but as a lived reality?
The 2021 Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture, “Living Accountably,” will explore what it might mean to live accountably, in relation both to God and to other persons. Is accountability a virtue? If so, how is it related to other virtues? How might this virtue make a difference in our understanding of family, friendship, and community? How might accountability be realized in diverse spheres like business, medicine, education, politics, and the church?