The Sacking of Secularism: Chief Rabbi Denounces Secularism as Threat to Western Civilization

200px-SirjonathansacksSecularists are often blamed by religious figures for everything from hurricanes to teen pregnancies. Now, it appears that secularists are also responsible for religious extremism and, oh yes, the demise of Western Civilization and Europe as we know it. No, this is not the latest religious tirade from Tony Blair. It is Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks of Aldgate, who clearly pinned the blame for the demise of Europe on those who hold secularist views. Lord Sacks, 61, is Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth since 1991.

Lord Sacks insists that the rise of secularism has diminished the influence of “tolerant religion” which he compares to the rise of fundamentalism — an apparent reference to Islam. In an annual lecture to the think-tank Theos in London, he noted that Europe was the world’s most secular region and the only one experiencing population decline. This, he suggested, is due to the fact that religion pushes family and parenthood. The result of the rise of secularism, he explained, is a drop in population which is being overwhelmed by fundamentalist immigrants. It also has created dangerous “relativism” due to people who are no longer following the direction of religious leaders like himself.

SiegeofAntiochHowever, he is most concerned about production of Judeo-Christian babies. Religion, he insists, means bigger families which means more people to resist the threat of fundamentalism: “Wherever you turn today – Jewish, Christian or Muslim – the more religious the community, the larger on average are their families.”

He also accused secularists of having no sense of sacrifice and duty — for that, it appears, you need God: “In that [secular] culture, where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for the sake of generations not yet born? Europe is dying, exactly as Polybius said about ancient Greece in the third pre-Christian century.”

He added: “Albert Camus once said, ’The only serious philosophical question is why should I not commit suicide? I think he was wrong. The only serious philosophical question is, why should I have a child? Our culture is not giving an easy answer to that question.”

Lord Sacks holds to a rather old saw: that Western Civilization is doomed without a religious foundation. He ties that view to a more concrete notion that it all comes down to the population numbers — whoever has the most kids wins. It is not really the size of your population but the size of your ideas that ultimately prevails in history. The Mongols had a large population and a successful army but left little cultural or political influence on history despite actual conquests. The Visigoths and other cultures left an equally light historical footprint. Was it for lack of faith or the lack of civilizing values?

Our principles will prevail because they are right and tied to basic human needs for free speech, association, and, yes, religion. Ironically, those who advocate faith-based politics like Blair and Obama are threatening those values by aligning themselves with the force of intolerance like Egypt, here. The Chief Rabbi should be more concerned about the growing sacrifice of free speech on the altar of religion than how we need to drop our secular values if we want to survive.

He ends with this dire warning:

“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.”

Secularists might not be too aggrieved if Lord Sacks did not hand around too long.

For the full story, click here.h

35 thoughts on “The Sacking of Secularism: Chief Rabbi Denounces Secularism as Threat to Western Civilization”

  1. Malik Nadal Hasan, who has been identified as one of the shooters at Fort Hood, was upset about his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. He knew that he could not get out of his deployment by becoming a plantiff with Orly Taitz. Proof birthers are crazy.

  2. MORE OT:

    In Re Fort Hood

    From the NYT:

    Update | 6:04 p.m. According to a post on The Austin American-Statesman’s Blotter blog:

    Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, said the senator had been told that Malik Nadal Hasan, who has been identified as a the shooting suspect at Fort Hood, was upset about his upcoming deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.
    ____

    Well imagine that? Someone doesn’t want to fight for Bush and Cheney’s checkbook and went nuts. Who woulda thunk it?

    Read the whole article here:

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/05/reports-of-mass-shooting-at-fort-hood/?hp

  3. Wha? Secular folks aren’t willing to sacrifice for future generations, but religious folks are? It seems Lord Sacks is totally unfamiliar with the environmental debate here in the US…

  4. BobEsq:

    good read thanks. Madison was a remarkable man. I learned more in that short passage than all the press on this from both sides in the last 20 years.

  5. Maybe Judeo-Christians aren’t as prolific at procreating because they’re not as “sacksy” as the fundamentalists. And maybe the Chief Rabbi would like to change that “c” in secularists to an “x.”

  6. First they came for the secularists and I said nothing. That’s because I am a secularist and they gagged me.

  7. Better a doomed free-thinking civilization than one cowed by the fears and fantasies of fundamentalists religious fanatics of any denominations.

  8. That’s Madison’s story and I’m sticking to it; see?

    Voice of Edward G. Robinson: “Myeah see? Myeah.”

  9. He’s got a point, itt’s not like producing children is built into our genetics and social structures.

  10. I would like to know how many children Chief Rabbi Sacks has sired. At least it would be an indication of whether or not he practices what he preaches.

  11. yes because the 60’s and 70’s were bastions of both religious fanaticism and intolerance.
    i am increasingly coming over to the side that sees conservatism as a mental desease.

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