PBS film critic and columnist, Michael Medved, has shared this anecdote out of his Jewish heritage:

A few years ago, Rabbi Jacob Karmenetzky made a trip to Israel accompanied by his teenage grandson.  Ironically, these two deeply religious people were seated in the airplane next to a prominent Israeli socialist leader and outspoken atheist.

On the flight, the cynical atheist traveler couldn't help noticing the way the teenage boy attended to the needs of his aged, bearded grandfather.  He got up to get the old man a glass of water, helped him remove his shoes and put on some slippers, and otherwise demonstrated that the rabbi's comfort represented his primary concern.

At one point, as the boy got up for yet another errand on behalf of the old man, the atheist could contain himself no longer.  "Tell me something," he asked the rabbi.  "Why does your grandson treat you like some kind of a king?  I have a grandson, too, but he wouldn't give me the time of day."

"It's very simple," the old man replied.  "My grandson and I both believe in a God who rules the universe and created all things, including the first man.  That means that in the boy's eyes, I'm two generations closer to the hand of God Himself.  But in the eyes of your grandson, you're just two generations closer to a monkey."

What you believe about the origin of man really does make a difference, and it will manifest itself in how you act toward others.  If we see our origin as a matter of chance from that which is purely physical, then we have no basis on which to assign value to others.  On the other hand, if we understand that we were created by a loving God, that gives us all the reason in the world to hold others in high regard, and gives us incentive to treat them with respect.

"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,' ..." (Genesis 1:26).

--Alan Smith, Fayetteville, NC, Sept. 8, 2006, "Thought for the Day," http://tftd.faithsite.com

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