Speaking at the Annual Theos Lecture in London on November 4, Britain's Chief Rabbi Johnathan Sacks, warned that Europe was bound to meet the same fate as ancient Greece due to its abysmal failure to inspire larger families.
"Parenthood involves massive sacrifice: of money, attention, time and emotional energy," he said. "Where today, in European culture with its consumerism and its instant gratification 'because you're worth it,' in that culture, where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for the sake of generations not yet born?"
He observed that sincere religious belief is able to overcome the cultural impediments to having children. "Wherever you turn today anywhere in the world, and whether you look at the Jewish or Christian or Muslim communities, you will find the more religious the community, the larger, on average, are its families," he said.
Rabbi Sacks cited the alarming demographics in Europe, stating: "Europe today is the only region in the world which is experiencing population decline. As you know, zero population growth - a stable population - requires an average of 2.1 children for every woman of child-bearing age in the population. Not one European country has anything like that rate today. Here are the 2004 figures: In the United Kingdom: 1.74, in the Netherlands: 1.73, Germany: 1.37, Italy: 1.33, Spain: 1.32 and Greece: 1.29."
He added: "Europe, at least the indigenous population of Europe, is dying, exactly as Polybius said about ancient Greece in the third pre-Christian century. The century that is intellectually the closest to our own - the century of the sceptics and the epicureans and the cynics."
Quoting Polybius he stated: "The fact is, that the people of Hellas had entered upon the false path of ostentation, avarice and laziness, and were therefore becoming unwilling to marry, or if they did marry, to bring up the children born to them; the majority were only willing to bring up at most one or two."
Rabbi Sacks, who was recently admitted to the House of Lords, concluded, "That is why Greece died. That is where Europe is today."
He called this "one of the un-sayable truths of our time."
ALAN FRANKLIN adds: I think the above article is excellent and thought provoking. However,we should always do our own research and check claimed
figures. I was sent a link to a You Tube film on Muslim demographics. It was doom-laden and said, in respect to birth rates,
much the same as the Chief Rabbi. However, the figures it quoted about Islamic birthrates in Europe were all wrong. This was my response to this film clip and NOT to the story above:
I checked the figures on the clip
and they are inaccurate and basically made up
on the spot. This is the problem when people without journalistic training
send out information. It's usually wrong and unchecked. Example: America
does NOT have nine million Muslims. The Pew Research Center, a reliable
source, estimates 2.35 million.
One of the "scary" quotes in the film, from Walter Radermacher, now the
Chief Statistician of the European Union, is just a lie. He is quoted, on a
video, as saying he is very angry as he said no such thing about Islamic
numbers in Germany. The German Government does NOT believe Islamic numbers
in Germany will double in 40 years.
France does not collect data on religious affiliation so no numbers reported
from there could possibly be verified.
Fertility numbers in Europe are rising and are not accurately reported in
the video. In the UK the number of children per couple was 1.92 in 2007.
There is no source given for the claim that Muslim women in France have 8.1
children, so the figure is meaningless. However, in Algeria and Morocco the
average per woman is 2.38 - and these two countries account for the bulk oif
the Islamic immigration to France. So it is highly unlikely to be anywhere
near the truth.
British Muslims numbered 1.6 million when the last census was taken, in
2001. It is unlikely that they number as many as 2.5 million eight years
Worse, the starting figure for the claim that numbers in 1981 were 82,000 is
another lie. I was a reporter at the time, in a part- Muslim area as it
happens, and there were no statistics taken for religious affiliation in the
1981 census. A better estimate, however, taken from those whose origin was
countries that were Islamic, like Pakistan, is 300,000.
The Dutch say their Muslim population is five per cent, while in 2008 the
percentage in Belgium was six per cent.
I could go on, but you get the point.
I have just finished a speaking tour of Canada and North America and talked
quite a lot about false faiths, including Islam - we have just written a
book on it.
I would agree that it is a mistake to have allowed so many Muslims into
However, the case is not helped when a ridiculous pack of lies is made up
and circulated as if it were fact. This is especially true when it is not
difficult to find out the true figures, from sources like the CIA world
factbook and so on.
I would urge you to be circumspect about circulating the sort of
material that gets onto the internet. If you can't check it, assume it is
wrong and don't send it round. Otherwise a good case will be lost by using
demonstrably wrong figures. I have personally found that most things sent to
me by non-journalistic sources are just fantasy. This is why editors and
reporters check their facts. The problem with the web is that any fool can
post material- and a lot of fools do.