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Russell why i am not a christian essay

Posted on 14 September by Mark R.

I first read the book containing this essay inwhen I was 23; I was thrilled to find someone so eminent unapologetically spell out the problems with faith and religion that had already becoming obvious to me. I happened to pick it up again today, and thought the essay worth recording and responding to, with some understanding of intellectual advances since this lecture was delivered in These arguments about the existence of God, and the mixed record of religion as a positive or negative force in the world, are not new.

My comments are in [[ dark red brackets ]]. Page references are to the Touchstone paperback edition of the book, https: First, about belief in God. Traditional arguments claim proof of God through mere reason.

Bertrand Russell: Why I Am Not a Christian: Summary and Comments

But these arguments are easily refuted. First, why must the universe have a beginning? And if it did and God got things going, where did God come from?

  • It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time towards a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create;
  • That was the belief of His earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of His moral teaching;
  • It is because fear is at the basis of those two things;
  • It is generally taken for granted that we shall all agree that that was so;
  • It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create;
  • Russell had been denied a professorship in New York for his political and secular views and his tolerance for the gay till graduation version of homosexuality.

It used to be thought that, e. Now via Darwin we know why living creatures are adapted to their environment. Further, is this world really the best an omnipotent god could do? With its fascists and Ku Klux Klan? Kant dismissed the earlier arguments, but decided God had to exist for right and wrong or good and evil to exist. Since there is injustice in the world, a latter world is necessary to balance it out.

Why must this be so? Most people believe in God because they have been taught from early infancy to do it, and that is the main reason. Author actually agrees with Christ on some points more than most Christians do: And most Christians would hardly do so anyway.

Christ believed in Hell, everlasting torment, which author cannot respect. Still, author understands that people accept religion on emotional grounds. When he insists he is not, they urge him to remain quiet, lest the country turn wicked without its worship of him. Thus the Inquisitions, the burning of witches, and so on.

Religious morality, it seems, has nothing to do with human health or happiness. Overcome the rival tribes. And nothing to do with individual human happiness or health, or self-determination.

It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes.

Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look round for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a fit place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the churches in all these centuries have made it. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face.

We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages.

A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past, or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time towards a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.