by Vishal Mangalwade
Genuine compassion calls us to confront social structures and cultural practices that make people miserable. Atheism destroys compassion by making human beings accidental products of ran¬dom chance in an impersonal universe. This deprives compassion of all moral significance. If nature does not care for a creature too weak and powerless to care for itself, why should we, especially if he or she is of no use to us? Human beings are special only if they are seen as created beings, special to their Creator. If humans are created as image-bearers of the Creator himself, then they are even more special. And if individuals are to relate to the Creator in an intimate, personal relationship and carry out the Creator's will in this world, then they are very special indeed. That is how Jesus saw this blind beggar. "Neither this man nor his parents sinned ... but this happened that the work of God might be dis¬played in his life" (John 9:3).
Because an "unknown" blind beggar is special to God, we must have compassion for him individually. This compassion must be visible in specific acts of mercy, but our compassion for him must go deep enough to create a society that can see that a blind man is a special person. He should not have to live a hand¬-to-mouth, insecure existence until one day he falls sick, becomes too weak to beg, and rots by the roadside to be eaten by beasts, birds, and worms.
A society that cannot see the intrinsic value of a blind beggar is blind to truth. Its blindness needs to be exposed so that it can be transformed into a humane and compassionate community.