New technology marks turning point in civilisation but so far the voices of ‘anger and violence and hate’ are making best use of it, warns former Chief Rabbi
The internet will transform civilisation as much as the invention of writing or the printing press – even ushering in new types of religion in the world, the former Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, has suggested.
But so far religious extremists and terrorists have been quicker to realise the potential of the “revolution” we are living through – leaving moderate voices far behind, he warned.
The prediction came as he was announced as this year’s winner of the £1.1 million Templeton Prize, the world’s biggest annual award, for his work promoting religious understanding.
He follows in the footsteps of the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa andArchbishop Desmond Tutu as the latest recipient of the prize, which recognises efforts to promote “life’s spiritual dimension”.
Speaking in London he pledged to use the money, from a fund set up by the philanthropist Sir John Templeton more than 40 years ago, to expand his efforts to spread a message of tolerance and forgiveness.
He insisted that, far from religion being in inevitable decline amid scientific progress and social change, most of the world is rapidly being “de-secularised” – something he said “nobody expected”.
Technology, he argued, will itself help transform people’s beliefs in a way that only a handful of breakthroughs in the past – from the development of the first hieroglyphics to the introduction of the printing press – have done.
He said: “I think we’re at a turning point in the history of civilisation.
“Turning points happen when there’s a revolution in information technology.
“This has happened four times in human history and we’re living through the fifth.
“Each time there was a revolution in information technology there was a spiritual revolution.”
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