Question of Atheist Scruples – Walk on by?

Late for an important engagement, you spy an old acquaintance who is down on his luck and often drunk. Do you cross the street to avoid being detained?

Yes.

Next question?

Am I heartless?

Maybe a little.

What kind of acquaintance is this? Someone I used to be really close to until we drifted, or just someone I’d see around and chat with in that small talk kind of way when running into each other at a bus stop or the park?

Okay, yes, I could drop everything I was doing, contact whoever I was supposed to meet, apologize for having to reschedule and then spend the rest of my afternoon coaxing an old friend off the street and into a coffee shop for a long talk or into a shelter to sleep it off. Maybe that one intervention, one person giving a damn, would mean the difference between a suicide attempt today and motivational speaking engagements 10 years from now.

But I’ve got shit to do and I don’t really want to get involved…

And then I feel some level of guilt for not getting involved, even in this hypothetical situation.

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