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Jonathan Sacks: Religion in Twenty–first century Britain

Jonathan Sacks: Religion in Twenty–first century Britain

Jonathan Sacks, Baron Sacks of Aldgate, the Chief Rabbi, delivered the second annual Theos lecture on 4th November 2009.

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Jonathan Sacks, Baron Sacks of Aldgate, the Chief Rabbi, delivered the 2009 Theos Annual Lecture at the Lewis Media Centre. 

He asked three questions: 

Why has religion survived?

What is its place in the liberal democratic state?

What are the opportunities and imperatives for the future?

To answer them, he drew on sources as varied as Alexis de Toqueville, Amos Oz and Stephen Hawking.

In contrast to the popular narrative, Lord Sacks claimed that it is not religion that is in danger of dying out, but “liberal democratic Europe” which is in danger both “demographically and in its ability to defend its own values”

The future of religion in twenty–first century Britain, Lord Sacks suggests, lays in three directions: a new dialogue between religion and science, the unparalleled power of religious groups to confront the big global issues of the day, including climate change; and respectful conversations between religious groups and secular humanists.

“Religious groups in the liberal democratic state must be prepared to enter into serious respectful conversations with secular humanists, with charities, with other groups in civil society about the nature of the common good.”

The lecture was chaired by writer and broadcaster Libby Purves.

Jonathan Sacks

Jonathan Sacks

Baron Sacks of Aldgate is an Orthodox rabbi, philosopher, theologian, and politician. He was the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1991 to 2013. He has contributed extensively to Jewish philosophy through his writings. 

Watch, listen to or read more from Jonathan Sacks

Lewis Media Centre
Ground Floor
Millbank Tower
London SW1P 4RS


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