The collapse of religion leads to a breakdown of social structure, Britain’s chief rabbi told 670 Anglican bishops.
Sir Jonathan Sacks, 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 has led to the spread of depression, stress, eating disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Sacks is the first Orthodox Jewish leader to be invited to speak to the Anglican conference in Canterbury in southern England, which 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.”