"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
Sacks argues that faiths must remain open to criticism, keep alive their separate communities and still contribute far more to national debates on moral issues. they m, ust also learn to get along better. His thesis is that we still live under a Biblical canopy and that a cohesive morality needs the uniting bonds of faith. Confidence in a faith is a subtle quality and lack of it shows in many ways, some contradictory. Dr Sacks has that confidence and the quiet charisma to communicate it. The subject of this book - religions and ethics- is good ground for him to build on: The Jewish contribution to ethics is distinctly rational and has a long and illustrious tradition. Moral philosophy is after all a Jewish preoccupation. In recent years, he writes, religion has taken us unawares. The rise of the Moral Majority in the USA, the Islamic Revolution, the growth of religious parties in Israel, the power of Catholicism in Poland and the African continent all run contrary to the basic thesis that modernity and secularization went hand in hand and could almost be regarded as synonyms. Instead and against all prediction religion has resurfaced in the public domain. In this book Sacks argues the case for a broadly based return to tradition within the context of religious pluralism and tolerance. Religious values remain a strong force within our culture to be renewed. For our society to be viable indeed they must be renewed.