Almost all of Britain’s social problems are caused by a loss of religion, the Chief Rabbi told Anglican bishops last night.
Societies without religion disintegrated and people succumbed to depression, stress, eating disorders and alcohol and drug abuse, Sir Jonathan Sacks told 650 bishops and their spouses in Canterbury.
Sir Jonathan, the first Chief Rabbi to address the Lambeth Conference, said that a society that lost its religion lost “graciousness”. “Relationships break down. Marriage grows weak. Families become fragile. Communities atrophy. And the result is that people feel vulnerable and alone.”
He continued: “That is where we are.” He said that mankind was “living through one of the most fateful ages of change since Homo sapiens first set foot on Earth”.
Globalisation and the new information technologies were fragmenting the world “into ever smaller sects of the like-minded”. At the same time, the fast flow of information was forcing people together as never before.
The conference is struggling to find a way to prevent the fragmentation of the worldwide Anglican Communion over such issues as biblical authority and the place of gay people in society.