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Secularization more dangerous than climate change: UK Chief Rabbi

The advance of secularization is a far greater risk to Europe these days than climate change, the UK’s chief rabbi told a think tank gathering this month.

Lord Jonathan Sacks tied Europes shrinking population to its increasing secularization.

The Times of London reported:

He argued that civil society needed religion because it sanctifies the family and parenthood, and safeguards against relativism and protects the moral principles on which western freedom is based. The emphasis on consumerism and instant gratification has left little room for the sacrifice involved in parenthood, he said.

Like the people of ancient Greece, Europeans are unwilling to marry or to bring up children.

“That is where Europe is today. That is one of the unsayable truths of our time. We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no one is talking about it.”

He argued that neo-Darwinian attacks on religion — typified by Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion — were leading to a population crisis in Europe.

He said: “Wherever you turn today — Jewish, Christian or Muslim — the more religious the community, the larger on average are their families.

“The major assault on religion today comes from the neo-Darwinians.”

The Chief Rabbi said that being a parent involved a massive sacrifice of money, attention, time and emotional energy.

(snip)

“That is where Europe is today. That is one of the unsayable truths of our time. We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no one is talking about it.”

Link: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6904463.ece?token=null&offset=12&page=2

It is education which is the bedrock of a society, he said recently in his first speech to the British House of Lords:

If there is one insight above all others to be gained from Jewish history it is that freedom depends on education,” he said. “To defend a country you need an army but to defend a civilization you need schools. Abraham was chosen, says the Bible, so that he would teach his children to practice righteousness and justice.

“Moses commanded, in what has become the most famous of our prayers, ‘You shall teach these things diligently to your children.’ In ancient times the Egyptians built pyramids, the Greeks built temples, the Romans built amphitheaters. Jews built schools. And because of that, alone among ancient civilizations, Judaism survived.”

Link: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1259243026904&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Lord Sacks also had words of warning re the creep of fundamentalism.  As The Times reported:

The Chief Rabbi was delivering the annual lecture to the think-tank Theos in London to an audience of politicians, journalists, academics, businessmen and faith representatives.

He warned that Europe’s loss of a tolerant religious culture made it vulnerable to the advance of fundamentalism.

Tolerant religion was “the only strong enough defence with some of the religiosity that is coming our way with the force of a hurricane,” the Chief Rabbi said.

“Let me be blunt. Either we win or the fundamentalists win and that is the challenge. If the fundamentalists win, I wouldn’t hang around too long.”

In a startling example of political correctness, JPost.com adds

Meanwhile, the government is allegedly preparing to give a peerage to the head of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to “balance” the peerage given to the chief rabbi according to The Jewish Chronicle.

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