November 11, 2014
Good intentions aside, the Samaritans Radar suicide prevention app may create a larger sphere of obligation than we can actually take responsibility for.
Thanks for your thoughts, Amy. You made me think of this passage from "On Christian Doctrine," by Augustine: "All people are to be loved equally; but since you cannot be of service to everyone, you have to take greater care of those who are more closely joined to you by a turn, so to say, of fortune's wheel, whether by occasion of place of time, or any other such circumstance." (1.28.29) This makes me reflect further on the parable of the Good Samaritan: is Jesus' point that EVERYONE is my neighbor? Or is it that the injured man deserved help from those who were in close proximity to him?
This is where social media, I think, can deceive us, for the question of "proximity" is collapsed by the speed of communication, as you note. So are all my Facebook friends REALLY my neighbors? I can't help but feeling guilty when I see someone's life falling apart on social media; but should I? Thanks for helping us think through these issues.
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