2020_010_A
Support the Café
Search our site

What is the true measure of faithful generosity?

What is the true measure of faithful generosity?

You may have seen this meme making the rounds on Facebook, Reddit or Imgur in the last couple of days. It’s a photo of a bearded man sitting cross-legged on a sidewalk, holding a cardboard sign reading: “Which religion cares the most about the homeless?” He’s surrounded by eight small bowls and a hat, each labelled with different religions. Which bowl has the most spare change? Turns out “atheists” and “agnostic” appear to be winning this competition.


What difference does this make? Is one’s willingness to give money to someone with a cardboard sign a fair measure of Christian (or Jewish or Muslim or Pagan) generosity? Meredith Bennett-Smith writes at Huffington Post:

While this experiment is an amusing one, the question of whether or not to give money to homeless people is a complicated one that transcends religious affiliations.

The question became a national discussion, however, when Officer Larry DePrimo of the New York City Police Department was photographed buying a pair of boots for a barefoot man in New York City last winter. The picture went viral, but reporters later discovered the barefoot man was neither homeless nor particularly gracious about the publicity.

Religious experts were themselves unable to come to a consensus on the homeless question when asked by The Huffington Post’s own Senior Religion Editor Paul Raushenbush. Eric Gregory, a religion professor at Princeton University, noted that the Bible’s parable of the “The Good Samaritan” doesn’t account for a person who is poor but not necessarily deserving of charity.

“The Good Samaritan didn’t stop and ask the man on the side of the road ‘how did this happen,'” Gregory told HuffPost at the time. “He responded to an immediate need.”

Read her commentary here. What do you think? And (assuming this actually happened, which is not always a safe bet in a case like this) why do you think atheists and agnostics might outpace religious practitioners when it comes to this particular act of street-level charity?

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

1 Comment
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
tgflux

Assuming this picture is (at all) real, I suspect the supplicant is Christian: he’s got the “wise as serpents” part down! ;-/

JC Fisher

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café