“The Dignity of Difference” written by Jonathan Sacks is the book of numerous controversies. The subtitle of a book sounds “How to avoid the Clash of Civilizations”. This clearly underlines the author’s weighing in with Fukuyama and Huntington. The subjects are as follows: the End of History, the clash of Civilizations and the evolving world order. It was first published in 2002 and well-examined in Great Britain. Some of Sacks’ comments on theology were objected through his Jewish community.
Jonathan Sacks is a fertile author. The very subjects of his book are religion and theology, thus these gave him a chance to work in media as a commentator. He is very good in writing and as he is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, Sacks is considered to be talented sermonizer and teacher.
The Dignity of Difference
The gist of “The Dignity of Difference” is theologically focused. It is full of usual priest’s notes and comments on the situation in the world that is bad turn for the author and for the book. Some passages of the book are dedicated to the discussion of the Jewish orthodox vision on religious diversity and altruism. Students of religion and Bible may find these views entertaining. But the vision we were talking about is kind of secondary because the main interest is based on the question how the purity and religion affect the world market economy. Economics, philosophy and politics are enlightened in his thinkings. He is well-read and educated person. By all means he is not a dilettante.
He is against the Fukuyama’s idea that communism have defeated capitalist west. He also doesn’t agree that the conflicts and struggle would be finished because of the world economy arrival. That concept was brought to naught by 9/11. Although scientists made a discovery that every human on the Earth is totally religious. The author doesn’t agree with the thought that the religion is a problem today.
The book gives us the exact information that religion is very important part of human life, because religion is something where we can find the answers on many questions. Religion ground our morality. He is against the vision of the Rationalists that religion will die when the nation will become well developed and with vision that the nation is developing on its own. People need argue and the point. The author is disagree that great number of abuses and crimes in modern history have appeared when political and economic ideas were considered as close religious arrangement of cardinal profits. The concept of the Nationalism has transformed into Nazi racism. Although identity and socialism transformed into the communism.
He disputes in the name of tolerance and diversity. He disputes that Plato and his followers were mistaken in their beliefs that there is single hypothetic perfect reality, and belief that happiness and perfection may be just the result of ideal social and economic order. The authenticity of life is blooming. From the theological and Biblical points of view he tries to prove that one God created the universe of dissimilarity and made an agreement with all people that everybody must be faithful. But everyone should have different faith.
He leads the discussion about the importance of religious values in person’s life, but his position is far from supporting the influence of solving the direct political and economic important questions. Government and economy are the main mechanisms for supporting security and justice. So the state should use it for the sake of the society. He also agrees that ruling the state is not simple and delicate affair. And for example states like modern Iran or Afghanistan under the Taliban are ruled by totally incompetent politicians.
In addition he is copying the fundamentals of the classical liberalism paying much more attention to church. To some measure he writes making the accent on altruism and diversity.
One of the most important things that he cannot solve and even propose the proper variant of solving the problems of fraud, emotionalism, fanaticism and mental instability when these questions are occurred in the context of religion. He affirms that religions should treat each other in a proper way, with no quarreling or for instance some of wrong deeds of people or some rambling situations are worthy of appropriate treatment. Some of these views are beside the point, but the question of the encounter with the fundamentalism is definitely not.
The list of instructions is written in the book in order to ease deficiency and to develop the education. It is sounded like some kind of usual liberal formula for a flourishing polity and economy. He is willing to put into words that wrongdoings and negative actions of opposing fundamentalists should be accepted and absolved in the name of putting the end of castigating violence.
In the beginning of the elections in 2004, Americans of different political directions should consider his ideas useful. His reaction on a free market is positive, but he denies the primacy of market. It is a thought based on the religious idea that the market is divine. As belief system, humanism and liberalism is nothing for him, he declines these notions. He is ready to work basing on the pluralistic basements.
Thus, the Chief Rabbi of the orthodox synagogues has written the book that teaches us how we should combine the religion and politics, solve the problematic questions concerning religion and politics. His controversial ideas enlighten us into the world problematic discussions and eternal problems. Jonathan Sacks provides a critical perspective of globalization of the economy and how it has impacted the local community on a global scale, and offers an alternative to the conflicts experienced in our everyday life.
Sacks J. The Dignity of Difference
Fukuyama F. The End of History