This Advent, the season leading up to Christmas, has been a season of hope. During the month of December, in spite of the slaughter of  20 innocents and 2 fire fighters, I learned several facts that lightened my journey through this vale of tears.  One fact is that across the globe, the middle class is becoming larger, i.e., fewer people are living in dire poverty; child obesity in the United States is on the decline; one that I cannot at the moment recall. Most importantly, in an age when nearly everyone can at least name one person in his/her own family who now proclaims to be an atheist, Rabbi, and member of the House of Lords, Jonathan Sacks’ research concludes that religion “reconfigures our neural pathways, turning altruism into instinct, through the rituals we perform, the texts we read and the prayers we pray.  It remains the most powerful community builder the world has known.” Later Rabbi Sacks states, “Religion is the best antidote to the individualism of the consumer age.  The idea that society can do without it flies in the face of history…”

God must smile when smart people of faith make snide, “scientific” unbelievers look like petulant school boys, or girls.  I do.

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