Instant communication – from the internet to social media – could be used to spread love instead of hate, according to former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.
Rabbi Sacks, the man described by the Prince of Wales as “a light to this nation”, will deliver his message of hope at a special event in St Andrews this weekend (9 May).
Rabbi Sacks has spent the last three decades bringing spiritual insight into the public domain via the mass media. Recently named as winner of the £1.1m 2016 Templeton Prize, he will deliver a public lecture at the University of St Andrews on the rise of religious fundamentalism and the question of how to respond to terrorism, the subject of his most recent book Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence.
Rabbi Sacks, who believes that civilisation is at a turning point, says that the message of love needs to be as strong as the message of hate if we are to eradicate extremism.
Speaking in advance of the St Andrews event, he said: “We have yet to turn instant communication into a spiritual blessing – the best uses of the web right now are by people of anger and hate.
“The most important spiritual message of the 21st century is to be free: you have to let go of hate. There is no other way. That is what we as a global community should be urging in the education of all the world’s children: not to hate those with whom we must one day learn to live.”
Central to Rabbi Sacks’ message is the appreciation and respect of all faiths, as he says that “recognising the values of each other is the only path to combat effectively the global rise of violence and terrorism”.
As the former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Rabbi Sacks has written more than two dozen books and is the longest serving contributor to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’.
During his service as Chief Rabbi from 1991 to 2013, he led a revitalisation of Britain’s Jewish community in the face of growing secularisation across Europe. He also catalysed a network of organisations that introduced a Jewish focus in business, women’s issues and education.
Eric Priest, Emeritus Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of St Andrews, is a Trustee of the John Templeton Foundation, which awards the Prize. He said: “Rabbi Sacks’ books are highly insightful and his message of reconciliation, especially between Christians, Jews and Muslims, is sorely needed right now. Let us hope his fresh ideas for bringing people together can foster hope in our troubled world.”
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks will deliver the 2016 Templeton Prize St Andrews Lecture ‘Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence’ on Monday 9 May at 5.15pm in the main Physics Lecture Theatre, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews.
Note to Editors
The Templeton Prize honours a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. It focuses on discoveries relating to human purpose and ultimate reality.
Rabbi Sacks joins a distinguished group of former recipients, including Mother Teresa, who received the inaugural Prize in 1973, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1983), Martin Rees (2011), the Dalai Lama (2012), Desmond Tutu (2014) and, last year, Jean Vanier.
Note to picture editors
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