It was a quiet weekend. I found myself browsing the archives of British newspapers for interesting items missed first time around. The Daily Telegraph supplied one from November 2009. An article about this man.
His name is Jonathan Henry Sacks, or Lord Sacks, since his buddies upped him to the British House of Lords. He just happens to be Britain’s Chief Rabbi – headman of the Jewish religion in the UK.
Apparently, Jonathon Henry believes European secularism is to blame for the population decline in Europe of late. In fact, to quote the Telegraph:
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.
Presumably, by ‘atheist neo-Darwinians’ he means those who prefer to accept the evidence of independent scientific research, rather than trust their lives to a load of heavily-altered and oft-retranslated balderdash spewed forth from musty old pages by egocentric Lords and bishops in fancy robes and silly hats?
It may have escaped Jonathon Henry’s notice, but the sharply escalating population increase in the world today is one very good reason for the acceleration of climate change.
It’s just possible the ‘atheist neo-Darwinian’ Europeans have shifted the responsibility for their existence away from a mythical father-figure in the clouds and placed it firmly on their own shoulders. History has proved over and over that responsibility for our future cannot be left to a god who takes an extended vacation whenever the human race is in dire need of his assistance.
The shallowness and ignorance of those who choose the easy road of religious belief is typified so well by Jonathon Henry and his ilk. The speech from which these quotes were taken is just the sort of religious hypocrisy spouted by older churchmen of high rank.
After all, at 62 Jonathon Henry is well down the great conveyor belt of life. Already it’s speeding up, and he must be realizing it won’t be too much longer before he drops off the end altogether. It’s around his time of life that mortality – not immortality – insidiously beckons.
Reading from Jonathon Henry’s speech, it’s easy to realize his words and thoughts are just concrete poured into gaping holes of doubt in his belief system; plaster desperately troweled into ever-widening cracks in his faith. Attacking others for daring to be what you are not, is a frequent human failing.
The Telegraph again –
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.
“In a head-to-head contest between a moral relativist and a fundamentalist, who wins? The fundamentalist must win because he is sure he’s right, and you are not sure he’s wrong.”
Presumably, that statement makes Jonathon Henry a fundamentalist?
In just two sentences the whole egocentric view of the religious is laid bare.
To have religious faith requires a false surety. It demands no doubt. The belief system must be watertight. This is true whether fundamentalist, or Church of England, or Jew. Yet that so-called ‘faith’ is based on not one shred of evidence.
Can there be any greater catalyst of egocentricity than the belief one is the pinnacle of Creation, destined to live forever in some glorious afterlife with one’s ‘God’?
Jonathon Henry’s ‘atheist neo-Darwinian’, however, has a whole load of scientific evidence to prove the falsehood of religious dogma, and can be absolutely certain the religious, whether fundamentalist, Jew, or Church of England, are wrong.
Of course, that evidence won’t help convince the religious of their error. Religious faith denies that happening. So Jonathon Henry is partly right. In a head-to-head contest between a moral relativist and a fundamentalist, no-one wins, even if the fundamentalist triggers his explosive belt.
It would seem this is Jonathon Henry’s main fear: the rise of secularism in Europe opening the door to Islamic terrorists gaining a foothold. We must presume he believes a strong Christian/Jewish population would prevent that?
He said that although the war on terror had been portrayed by Western politicians as a “battle of ideas”, there is little hope that Islamists who believe they owe allegiance to God would be swayed by talk of freedom or democracy.
“The place for religion is in civil society, where it achieves many things essential to liberal democratic freedom. It sanctifies marriage and the family and the obligations of parenthood, and it safeguards the non-relativist moral principles on which Western freedom is based.
“It may not be religion that is dying, it may be liberal democratic Europe that is in danger, demographically and in its ability to defend its own values.”
Yet again we hear the oft-repeated argument, the mistaken idea it is religion that sets our moral values, and without it we will decline into slobbering debauchery.
I would question why marriage, the family, and obligations of parenthood need be sanctified? The very word is drawn from the latin: sanctus, from which ‘saint’ is derived. One has only to research some of the rapscallions recently beatified by Rome to realize the truth behind yet another religious myth.
If Jonathon Henry requires proof that religion has little to do with sanctifying any of these things, he should visit America, a land heavy with the hypocrisy of religion, and see how the lower classes treat marriage and parental obligation. Many families have three or four children, all with different surnames, frequently living with grandparents or other relatives because Mom or Pops has taken off with someone else. Yet they all attend their churches every Sunday.
European ‘atheistic neo-Darwinians’ are no more selfish than their religious counterparts in America, or Pakistan, or Israel. They simply prefer to shoulder their own responsibilities, rather than wander through life, heads in the clouds, hoping for a glimpse of some non-existent deity.
 “Europeans too selfish to have children, says Chief Rabbi” Daily telegraph, November 5th 2009
Filed under: Myths of religion