Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, has been awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize, which is awarded annually to an individual for “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension”.

Prize winners in the past include Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama, and Sacks was said to have been absolutely delighted with the award.

In this article on Reuters, Rabbi Sacks explains his reaction to the award:

“It just felt very thrilling and so my wife and I did a little dance together,” he told Reuters Television in an interview earlier this week. “Not something we do that often, but it was lovely.”…

The Templeton Foundation praised his work tackling the spread of religious violence which he argued had been sparked by Western secularisation that had failed to address young people’s search for meaning, belonging and identity.

“Today the most powerful religious voices are coming from the extremes and I think that is terribly dangerous. They are speaking to young idealistic kids and turning them really into murderers and we can’t sit still and just let that happen,” Sacks told Reuters.

“I think religious leaders have to give the same power and passion to the forces of reconciliation, compassion, forgiveness, love, friendship across the boundaries between faiths.

“We really need to connect young people to the sources of positive idealism and I am afraid those voices have tended to be screened out by what I see as quite a self-indulgent secular culture of the west right now.”

Rabbi Sacks subsequently released this video where he tackles the question: ‘Why has religious fundamentalism and religious violence become one of the defining and devastating aspects of the 21st century to date?’

Watch Rabbi Sacks below:

 

Why has religious fundamentalism and religious violence become…Here is the first of Rabbi Sacks’ ‘Big Questions’ series, recorded to mark his winning The Templeton Prize: ‘Why has religious fundamentalism and religious violence become one of the defining and devastating aspects of the 21st century to date?’

Posted by Rabbi Sacks on Wednesday, 2 March 2016

 

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