UK chief rabbi says religion important for society


archbishop & chief-rabbi
The Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams during their visit to Auschwitz

The collapse of religion could lead to a breakdown of social structure, Britain’s chief rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has told 670 Anglican bishops gathered in Canterbury, England. Sir Jonathan, speaking to the bishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion meeting, appealed to Christians, Jews and people of other faiths to work together.

He said the decline of religious belief had led to the spread of depression, stress, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse. Sacks was the first Orthodox Jewish leader to be invited to speak to the Anglican conference in Canterbury, which only takes place once in a decade.

“Relationships break down, marriage grows weak, families become fragile, communities atrophy,” the chief rabbi said, “and the result is that people feel vulnerable and alone.” Sacks said that since the foundation of the Council of Christians and Jews by the Church of England and the chief rabbi in the 1940s, members of the two faiths met as “beloved friends.”

He called for the extension of the same friendship to Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims. “Though we do not share a faith, we surely share a fate,” he said. “Religions should not fight each other but work together to face the challenges of poverty, hunger, disease and environmental disaster.”

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