In a December 24 New York Times op-ed, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, writes about the positive influence faith communities can have on its members and, through the positive actions of its members (volunteerism, altruism, etc.), on its community.
Rabbi Sacks mentions that faith communities are still a powerful source for social capital, an assertion which Robert Parham, Executive Director of the Baptist Center for Ethics (EthicsDaily.com), made in a recent column.
Responses to Rabbi Sacks’ op-ed, posted today on the NY Times website, are available here. Both the op-ed and the responses are worth the time as they offer interesting perspectives on the positive role and function faith communities have played and can continue to play.
Most educated people of faith are well-aware of the negative expressions of religion–and these should be acknowledged, grieved and repented of. When this has been done, it is helpful and encouraging to remember the positive expressions of religion as well.
People of faith should seek to avoid prior mistakes and negative faith expressions and should seek to imitate the correct and positive faith expressions in the future.
The full-text of Rabbi Sacks’ op-ed can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/opinion/the-moral-animal.html