Why Religion Matters: The Salt of Society

“Religion is the great creator of communities.” — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

In cultures throughout the ancient world, salt was a symbol of friendship, compassion and generosity. The people of Israel revered it as a sign of a covenant. Persians honored it as an emblem of virtue and grace. Arab culture cherished it is a gesture of goodwill. Jesus likened his followers to “the salt of the earth" and told them to “have peace one with another.” Christians understood these words as a call to support the societies in which they lived. We have always been relational creatures, and today this metaphor still has spiritual resonance. Religion, like salt, seasons the interactions between strangers, adds flavor to our civic relations and preserves the dear things of our common existence. To be the salt of society means to savor its success.

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