The Telegraph: Europe is “dying’’ because its secular residents are too selfish to have children, according to Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi.
The leader of Britain’s Jewish community claimed the continent’s population is in decline because people care more about shopping than the sacrifice involved in parenthood.
He blamed atheist “neo-Darwinians” for Europe’s low birth rate and said religious people of all denominations are more likely to have large families.
The Chief Rabbi, who entered the House of Lords last week, made his comments in a lecture on religion in the 21st century hosted by Theos, the public theology think-tank, on Wednesday night. Lord Sacks said that faith had survived so far because it could provide answers to mankind’s eternal search for meaning in life – unlike the market, the state, science or philosophy, which underpin modern liberal democracies.
He claimed religion could continue to play an important role worldwide in the future, by engaging in debate with scientists, by campaigning on issues such as global poverty or the environment, and by discussing the nature of the common good with humanists.
The Chief Rabbi warned that secular Europe is at risk, however, because its moral relativism can easily be defeated by fundamentalists.
And he claimed that its population is also in decline, compared with every other part of the world, because non-believers lack shared values of family and community that religions have.
Lord Sacks said: “Parenthood involves massive sacrifice of money, attention, time and emotional energy.
“Where today in European culture with its consumerism and instant gratification – because you’re worth it – where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for the sake of generations not yet born?
“Europe, at least the indigenous population of Europe, is dying.”
“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.
“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.”
He added: “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.’’
Discussing the popular secular idea that there are no absolute moral values, he said: “You cannot defend a civilisation on the basis of moral relativism.
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