San Francisco’s Jewish Temple (Emmanu-El)
October 12, 1912
The first bestowal of God to the world of humanity is religion because religion consists of divine teachings. Certainly divine teachings are preferable to all other sources of instructions.
Religion confers upon man life everlasting. Religion is a service to the world of morality. Religion guides humanity to eternal happiness. Religion is the cause of everlasting honor to the world of man. Religion has ever helped humanity towards progress.
But the proof must be established. To achieve this end, we should investigate religion as seekers of truth. When we do so, we find that religion is the cause of progress and development. Let us see, then, whether or not religion is the cause of illumination; whether or not religion is the impetus which enables man to make extraordinary strides.
Let us investigate in search of truth, without being bound by blind imitations or dogmas. If we are bound by blind imitations, some will believe that religion is the cause of happiness and others will say that religion has been the cause of degradation. Hence, we must investigate whether religion is the cause of human advancement or of retrogression, so that no doubt shall linger in our minds.
We shall therefore investigate the Prophets and review the episodes of their lives. We shall avoid traditions that some will find it possible to repudiate and shall cite historical facts provable to all and which are irrefutable. They are these:
Among the Prophets was Abraham, who prohibited idolatry and was a herald of the oneness of God, consequently He was banished by the people from His native land.