- (Photo: Reddit/Ventachinkway)
An apparent homeless man in Austin, Texas, has recently garnered the attention of the Internet community for conducting what appears to be a social experiment to determine "which religion cares the most about the homeless."
A photo, which has gone viral on the sharing websites Reddit and Imgur, shows what appears to be a homeless man, who has been identified by one Reddit user as James of Austin sitting cross-legged in front of a store and holding a cardboard sign which reads "which religion cares the most about the homeless."
Those who have reportedly met the man claim that he said both atheists and Christians have donated the most money.
At James' feet there sits eight bowls and one hat. Each vessel is accompanied by the label of a religion, including Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, Jewish, Spiritual, Buddhist, Agnostic, Pagan, and Christian.
Varying amounts of change and small bill donations sit in each bowl, meant to represent the amount of money people of that religion have donated to James.
Reddit user "Ventachinkway" posted the viral photo on Reddit in the "Atheists" comments section of the website two days ago with the tagline: "When I passed him, [James] proudly announced 'The atheists are winning!'"
Since its posting, the photo has gained nearly 2,000 comments and over a 2,000 point score, an indication of the photo's popularity among viewers.
Another Reddit user, "Reddit_Fiend," claimed to have passed James on his way to class at the University of Texas at Austin, and asked the man which religion had given the most money.
"I then asked him who were the most giving of the religions and he pointed out that the atheists won yesterday but the Christians were winning today," username Reddit_Fiend wrote two days ago.
"When I asked why he thought atheists were winning he simply said the 'Atheist[s] seem very competitive,'" the commenter continued.
"For them," James reportedly told Reddit_Fiend, "it's all about the competition."
Other commenters on Reddit claimed to have seen James, who is known to hold creative signs on a daily basis, in other areas of the city. He has reportedly been seen using electronic devices such as a laptop or iPod, which has led some to question whether he truly is homeless.
Reddit commenters were also quick to note that although, as seen in the photo, the Christian and atheist dishes hold the most coins, it is important to note that the population of atheists and Christians in Austin, Texas, most likely exceeds the population of pagans and Buddhists.
The recent posting of this man's plea for change reminds many viewers of the photo which went viral on Facebook last November and featured NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo giving shoes and socks to a homeless man on a cold, frigid night in New York.
Many of those who commented on the NYPD photo said it served as an ideal Christmas story and embodied Jesus' teaching to help those who are least among you (NIV Luke: 9:48).