Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and

Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and


Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects [EPUB] ✿ Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects ❄ Bertrand Russell – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Dedicated as few men have been to the life of reason, Bertrand Russell has always been concerned with the basic questions to which religion also addresses itself questions about man s place in the uni Dedicated Am Not a Christian ePUB ´ as Am Not PDF/EPUB ¾ few men have been to the life of reason, Bertrand Russell has always been concerned with the basic questions to which religion also addresses itself questions about man s place in the universe and the nature of the good life, questions that involve life after death, morality, freedom, education, and sexual ethics He brings to his treatment of these questions the same courage, scrupulous logic, and lofty wisdom for which his other work as philosopher, writer, and teacher has been famous These qualities make the essays included in this book Why I PDF/EPUB ² perhaps the most graceful and moving presentation of the freethinker s position since the days of Hume and VoltaireI am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue, Russell declares in his Preface, and his reasoned opposition to any system or dogma which he feels may shackle man s mind runs through all the essays in this book, whether they were written as early asor as late as The book has been edited, with Lord Russell s full approval and cooperation, by Professor Paul Edwards of the I Am Not PDF/EPUB Á Philosophy Department of New York University In an Appendix, Professor Edwards contributes a full account of the highly controversial Bertrand Russell Case of , in which Russell was judicially declared unfit to teach philosophy at the College of the City of New YorkWhether the reader shares or rejects Bertrand Russell s views, he will find this book an invigorating challenge to set notions, a masterly statement of a philosophical position, and a pure joy to read.

    Load results Apple Footer Apple Support lofty wisdom for which his other work as philosopher, writer, and teacher has been famous These qualities make the essays included in this book Why I PDF/EPUB ² perhaps the most graceful and moving presentation of the freethinker s position since the days of Hume and VoltaireI am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue, Russell declares in his Preface, and his reasoned opposition to any system or dogma which he feels may shackle man s mind runs through all the essays in this book, whether they were written as early asor as late as The book has been edited, with Lord Russell s full approval and cooperation, by Professor Paul Edwards of the I Am Not PDF/EPUB Á Philosophy Department of New York University In an Appendix, Professor Edwards contributes a full account of the highly controversial Bertrand Russell Case of , in which Russell was judicially declared unfit to teach philosophy at the College of the City of New YorkWhether the reader shares or rejects Bertrand Russell s views, he will find this book an invigorating challenge to set notions, a masterly statement of a philosophical position, and a pure joy to read."/>
  • Paperback
  • 266 pages
  • Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
  • Bertrand Russell
  • English
  • 08 April 2019
  • 0671203231

About the Author: Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Am Not a Christian ePUB ´ Arthur Am Not PDF/EPUB ¾ William Russell, rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, was a Welsh philosopher, historian, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, pacifist, and prominent rationalist Although he was usually regarded as English, as he spent the majority of his life in England, he was born in Wales, where he also diedHe was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.



10 thoughts on “Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

  1. Lisa Lisa says:

    Why I Am Not A Christian If I ask myself that question, the answer will be I am not a Christian because I read the Bible, both Old and New Testament, from cover to cover, and consider it complete nonsense to believe that to be literal, figurative or symbolical truth Why do I not believe Christianity is good Because I read Bertrand Russell As a young, impressionable person, I used to lament the fact that I was not given the gift of belief, as it seemed to come with confidence in the be Why I Am Not A Christian If I ask myself that question, the answer will be I am not a Christian because I read the Bible, both Old and New Testament, from cover to cover, and consider it complete nonsense to believe that to be literal, figurative or symbolical truth Why do I not believe Christianity is good Because I read Bertrand Russell As a young, impressionable person, I used to lament the fact that I was not given the gift of belief, as it seemed to come with confidence in the believer s goodness Who doesn t want to be good Who doesn t want to feel sure about themselves Who doesn t want to have a superior guideline to stick to Me, apparently As much as I wanted to believe in the religion that happened to be the predominant one in my environment, it all just seemed ridiculous I remember sitting in a church as a 15 year old, praying to a god I did not believe in to give me faith in him It took me many years to get over the feeling of guilt over my lack or misfortune I felt left out by the non existent god in a society that apparently unquestioningly accepted what didn t make sense to me I said over and over again to believers who reprimanded me for my atheism Oh, I respect your faith in Jesus, and I am truly sorry for not finding faith myself I admire the morality of Christianity and wish I could be part of it And I received condescending, pitying smiles in return.Then I left my small town and moved to a university city, and started reading, reading, and reading Philosophy, literary fiction, history, art history, religion, pedagogy In the huge pile Russell And finally, finally, I was able to break away from the Lutheran guilt trap that catches believers and nonbelievers alike in the social environment where it is dominant Finally I could distance myself from the unthinking group pressure of Christian morality There is no such thing Religion is not moral Atheists are not likelier to kill or rape or steal than Christians, despite the fact that they do not feel the threat of eternal punishment Moral behaviour is completely independent from supernatural belief Russell helped me get the definitions straight Once I had read Russell, I could embrace my sense that the evil force god, the killer of anything that opposes him that appears in the Bible does not exist, and should not exist it would be horrible I learned that I was not alone in seeing that religion is a human invention to simulate immortality for those who are afraid to let go of their egos when they die and to enforce patriarchal power structures for those who can t convince people to follow them by choice and free will It is a way for people to define themselves through exclusion and protectionism, not through individual merit.Russell followed me when I moved into the field of education, and today, almost a century after he wrote his essay, I would like people to read out loud his words against groupthink and crimestop newspeak for protective stupidity The world that I should wish to see would be one freed from the virulence of group hostilities and capable of realizing that happiness for all is to be derived rather from co operation than from strife I should wish to see a world in which education aimed at mental freedom rather than imprisoning the minds of the young in rigid armor of dogma calculated to protect them through life against the shafts of impartial evidence Why am I not a Christian I don t believe in the myth Why do I not want to be a Christian It supports evil practices and holds people hostage in an ancient worldview It discriminates and divides and takes advantage of weaknesses to spread power It stimulates fear in order to control It plays Big Brother and forces people to love him.Recommended to the world Reposted in support of the victims of grand scale child abuse, covered up and ignored by the Catholic Church for too long to be bearable Reposted in support of those who suffer discrimination at the hands of evangelical preachers of hate and division and intolerance Reposted in support of those who feel the grip of their churches tightening in fear of the modern world of freedom of choice

  2. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, Bertrand RussellWhy I Am Not a Christian is an essay by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell Originally a talk given 6 March 1927 at Battersea Town Hall, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society, it was published that year as a pamphlet and has been republished several times in English and in translation 1975 Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, Bertrand RussellWhy I Am Not a Christian is an essay by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell Originally a talk given 6 March 1927 at Battersea Town Hall, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society, it was published that year as a pamphlet and has been republished several times in English and in translation 1975 134 108 1351 311 1927

  3. Manny Manny says:

    Original review, Mar 1 2016 _____________________Update, Dec 21 2019 In the interests of balance, here s the editorial from this week s edition of Christianity Today Trump Should Be Removed from OfficeIt s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president s character was revealed for what it was.MARK GALLI DECEMBER 19, 2019In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith TheOriginal review, Mar 1 2016 _____________________Update, Dec 21 2019 In the interests of balance, here s the editorial from this week s edition of Christianity Today Trump Should Be Removed from OfficeIt s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president s character was revealed for what it was.MARK GALLI DECEMBER 19, 2019In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic It requires comment.The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders as well as ordinary citizens on both sides of the political aisle.Let s grant this to the president The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings And, no, Mr Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.But the facts in this instance are unambiguous The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president s political opponents That is not only a violation of the Constitutionimportantly, it is profoundly immoral.The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud His Twitter feed alone with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.Trump s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president s moral deficiencies for all to see This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people None of the president s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT In 1998, we wrote this The President s failure to tell the truth even when cornered rips at the fabric of the nation This is not a private affair For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.And this Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president Whether Mr Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election that is a matter of prudential judgment That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this Remember who you are and whom you serve Consider how your justification of Mr Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr Trump s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency If we don t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation s leader doesn t really matter in the end We have reserved judgment on Mr Trump for years now Some have criticized us for our reserve But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr Trump To use an old clich , it s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence And just when we think it s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that s when the whole game will come crashing down It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world s understanding of the gospel And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern Mark Galli is editor in chief of Christianity Today

  4. -uht! -uht! says:

    By the time I read this book, I was already not a Christian, but it was still hard for me to read It was kinda like accidentally figuring out a magician s trick You knew he wasn t really doing magic, but seeing how he did it somehow made the world less fun.That said, this is a great book It s not without bite, but it s also not bitter Having been a big fan of Russell s epistemological books, I was impressed that this book displayed the same clarity of thought and communication His logical By the time I read this book, I was already not a Christian, but it was still hard for me to read It was kinda like accidentally figuring out a magician s trick You knew he wasn t really doing magic, but seeing how he did it somehow made the world less fun.That said, this is a great book It s not without bite, but it s also not bitter Having been a big fan of Russell s epistemological books, I was impressed that this book displayed the same clarity of thought and communication His logical proofs against God were a great review for me I d heard those in different forms for many years and the section about religion and its benefit or lack thereof to humankind was something I hadn t considered to that depth I think this is a must read

  5. Florencia Florencia says:

    You just have to read this Even if you are a Christian, you should read about every point of view, to form or change or not your own Russell explains complicated things which such clarity, a little of humor It doesn t get tedious, at all Take The argument of design , for instance I really cannot believe it Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan, the You just have to read this Even if you are a Christian, you should read about every point of view, to form or change or not your own Russell explains complicated things which such clarity, a little of humor It doesn t get tedious, at all Take The argument of design , for instance I really cannot believe it Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan, the Fascisti, and Mr Winston Churchill Really I am not much impressed with the people who say Look at me I am such a splendid product that there must have been design in the universe Therefore, although it is of course a gloomy view to suppose that life will die out at least I suppose we may say so, although sometimes when I contemplate the things that people do with their lives I think it is almost a consolation it is not such as to render life miserable Funny You could then talk about free will and that is acceptable we could discuss it until we reach the point of uncomfortable silence because we both know we are not going to change our minds, and then we ll have a cup of coffee, a piece of pie and never leave the safe weather conversation zone, again Or, at least, for a couple of days Because, if I am one of the products on which design in the universe is based That is something only my mom would say.Anyway, my point is, he is that clear His thoughts are written with the wit and simplicity of great philosophers The moral and emotional questions are a key ingredient in this brilliant essay that tries to explain a religion based primarily and mainly upon fear You can like it or not, but it is still a memorable work Jun 12, 14 Also on my blog

  6. Craig Craig says:

    After reading most of the new Atheist books I read the ones by Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens this old one by Betrand Russell is still miles better than they To be sure, I disagree with most of what he says, but his writing is muchclear headed and articulate than the new ones There really aren t many new arguments the new generation of atheists bring to the table, therefore I think it is reasonably fair to use Russell s as the standard bearer for them all.Th After reading most of the new Atheist books I read the ones by Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens this old one by Betrand Russell is still miles better than they To be sure, I disagree with most of what he says, but his writing is muchclear headed and articulate than the new ones There really aren t many new arguments the new generation of atheists bring to the table, therefore I think it is reasonably fair to use Russell s as the standard bearer for them all.The basic thesis is that religion with particular emphasis on Christianity has caused great harm throughout civilization, and that if we could collectively only cast aside our flimsy superstitions and vain hope for eternal life, we could propel society to new heights of happiness His whole argument rests on the premise that man is basically good, and were it not for the at the time universal brainwashing of innocent children with hurtful religious ideas, we could better engineer society to bepeaceful, and less worried about taboos like sex To Russell, the main barriers to creatingcommon interests between communities, societies, and nations are religious in nature, and if we could somehow erode those false beliefs, we could all get along better and be happier in our individual lives as well.Here are some quotes in his book which I think illustrate his main points Religion is basedprimarily and mainly upon fearfear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder.cruelty and religion go hand in handScience can help us to get over this craven fear pg 22 We should c onquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the Oriental despotisms It is a conception quite unworthy of free men pg 23 The churches, as everyone knows, opposed the abolition of slavery as long as they dared, and with a few well advertised exceptions they oppose at the present day every movement toward economic justice The Pope has officially condemned Socialism pg 26 Before God created the world He foresaw all the pain and misery that it would contain He is therefore responsible for all of it pg 29 in regards to his position on free will and personal responsibility When a man acts in ways that annoy us we wish to think him wicked, and we refuse to face the fact that his annoying behavior is a result of antecedent causes which, if you follow them long enough, will take you beyond the moment of his birth and therefore to events for which he cannot be held responsible by any stretch of the imagination pg 40 It would seem, therefore, that the three human impulses embodied in religion are fear, conceit, and hatred The purpose of religionis to give an air of respectability to these passions pg 44 hatred and fear can, with our present psychological knowledge and our present industrial technique, be eliminated altogether from human life pg 45 these emotions fear and hatred can now be almost wholly eliminated from human nature by educational, economic, and political reforms These educational reforms must be the basis, since men who feel hate and fear will also admire these emotions and wish to perpetuate them, although this admiration and wish will probably be unconscious, as it is in the ordinary Christian An education designed to eliminate fear is by no means difficult to create It is only necessary to treat a child with kindness, to put him in an environment where initiative is possible without disastrous results, and to save him from contact with adults who have irrational terrors, whether of the dark, of mice, or of social revolution pg 46 It annoys me to have him treat psychology and social sciences as if they were physical sciences, with simple laws governing all of human behavior Perhaps his view that man has no free will leads him to think man can be entirely governed by the social forces and coercion He fails to understand that no matter how much we may train ourselves or our children to be good and responsible, man s primal instinct is always to further his own self interest The idea that fear and hatred can be eliminated by some scientific method is ludicrous, and besides, is it always good not to fear or hate Were he in Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, would he not be outraged at the government and terrified for the safety of his family Frankly, his vision for human utopia in THIS life is muchakin to childish wishful thinking than any religious teaching about utopias AFTER this life I know it may seem unfair to judge his writing in the present day when he didn t have as much historical data to draw upon to see the effect Communism and Facism has on society, but even in his time, there was much historical data to suggest that non religious movements hoping to build such utopias ended up being some of the most evil campaigns in history The reason why such atheists have been hiding for so long is the recent string of such godless movements, led by overtly secular leaders who were responsible for the deaths of literally hundreds of millions of their own citizens It seems clear that while Christianity does not have a perfect track record, overall it has had a muchpositive than negative effect Religious teachings provide effective restraints on our natural tendency to harm others and to act selfishly While it is true that the Church Authority may have condoned slavery for a long time, was it not Christian teachings that inspired the original abolitionists in America and England Slavery was not unique to Christian nations, but was and is a pervasive institution in most human societies Can the cause of slavery then be fairly cast at the feet of religious teachings, or would it be fair to suggest that humans in power tend to subject others as their subordinates or slaves I think the answer is clear.I am not trying to suggest some absurd conclusion that religious people are good and atheist people are bad Humans are free to make decisions on their own, and many atheists choose to live honorable and admirable lives, while many Christians choose to act very poorly However, on the whole, I do believe that Christianity has a net positive benefit on society, and were someone to wave a magic wand and make Christianity go away, the world would be in much worse shape than it already is

  7. Alex Alex says:

    I love these essays Russell never argues that faith is impossible, but makes it clear why he doesn t have it I cannot believe in a god who, given an infinite universe and millions of years in which to perfect it, can come up with nothing better than the nazis and the KKK paraphrase

  8. Kevin Shepherd Kevin Shepherd says:

    One of the works of literature for which Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize is a widely read essay first delivered as a lecture in 1927 entitled, Why I Am Not a Christian I haven t forgotten it yet, and I have promised myself that I never will If you were to read his essay, and in the interest of open mindedness I would urge you to do so, you would find that Bertrand Russell, who is one of the world s foremost logicians as well as a philosopher and mathematician, undoes with logic One of the works of literature for which Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize is a widely read essay first delivered as a lecture in 1927 entitled, Why I Am Not a Christian I haven t forgotten it yet, and I have promised myself that I never will If you were to read his essay, and in the interest of open mindedness I would urge you to do so, you would find that Bertrand Russell, who is one of the world s foremost logicians as well as a philosopher and mathematician, undoes with logic that is beyond dispute the first cause arguement, the natural law arguement, the arguement from design, the moral arguements for a diety, and the arguement for the remedying of injustice Philip Roth, Indignation It is of some importance to note that this is a collection of essays spanning, in my edition, some 267 pages The title piece, Why I Am Not a Christian, is just 20 pages, leaving roughly 92.5% of the volume for other engrossing bits such as Life in the Middle Ages, The Fate of Thomas Paine, and Our Sexual Ethics All of which I found fascinating Russell s assertions on religion and related topics aren t necessarily earth shattering, at least not any I think that only goes to show what an enormous influence he has had on modern secularism and free thought You can hear his words, rephrased and reiterated, in the works of Christopher Hitchens, Jerry Coyne, and Victor Stenger just to name a few The attitude that one ought to believe a proposition, independently of the question whether there is evidence in its favor, is an attitude which produces hostility to evidence and causes us to close our minds to every fact that does not suit our prejudices B.R.Speaking for myself, I made my break with religious dogma years before I had ever heard of Bertrand Russell, so it should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I find his wisdom and scrupulous logic life affirming His reputation for brilliant and intelligent heresy is justly deserved and his work is as relevant now as it was when it was written almost a century ago In fact, in this era of American oligarchy and the increasing politicalization of faith, it is possible that Russell isrelevant now than ever One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous So I am told I have not noticed it B.R

  9. Matthew Matthew says:

    I probably would have liked this book a lotif I had read it when I was younger, but now I find Russell s critique of religion profoundly disappointing For a logician and philosopher of his caliber, his proofs on the reasons why the basis of religious belief is existential terror, for example are unconvincing and sometimes shockingly sloppy They tend to rely on a straw man caricatures that he sets up and knocks down, rather than actually engaging with the roots of faith or the complexit I probably would have liked this book a lotif I had read it when I was younger, but now I find Russell s critique of religion profoundly disappointing For a logician and philosopher of his caliber, his proofs on the reasons why the basis of religious belief is existential terror, for example are unconvincing and sometimes shockingly sloppy They tend to rely on a straw man caricatures that he sets up and knocks down, rather than actually engaging with the roots of faith or the complexities of metaphysics Moreover, his critique of social s is superficial, his proposed solutions naive at best, and his grasp of history so insultingly bad that he actually blames the outbreak of World War I on Christianity p 203 I expectedfrom such a legendary intellectual figure

  10. LJ LJ says:

    WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN ExRussell, BertrandDedicated as few men have been to the life of reason, Bertrand Russell has always been concerned with the basic questions to which religion also addresses itself questions about man s place in the universe and the nature of the good life, questions that involve life after death, morality, freedom, education, and sexual ethics He brings to his treatment of these questions the same courage, scrupulous logic, and lofty wisdom for which his other w WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN ExRussell, BertrandDedicated as few men have been to the life of reason, Bertrand Russell has always been concerned with the basic questions to which religion also addresses itself questions about man s place in the universe and the nature of the good life, questions that involve life after death, morality, freedom, education, and sexual ethics He brings to his treatment of these questions the same courage, scrupulous logic, and lofty wisdom for which his other work as philosopher, writer, and teacher has been famous These qualities make the essays included in this book perhaps the most graceful and moving presentation of the freethinker s position since the days of Hume and Voltaire I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue, Russell declares in his Preface, and his reasoned opposition to any system or dogma which he feels may shackle man s mind runs through all the essays in this book, whether they were written as early as 1899 or as late as 1954.I read this in 1982 during a year long period of self questioning and evaluation of my faith and beliefs This, among other books, was one which made me realize that I could have a strong faith without being constrained by the boundaries of, and historic crimes committed in the name of, religion My God is the one who exists apart from all of men s agendas from The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, 2006

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10 thoughts on “Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

  1. Lisa Lisa says:

    Why I Am Not A Christian If I ask myself that question, the answer will be I am not a Christian because I read the Bible, both Old and New Testament, from cover to cover, and consider it complete nonsense to believe that to be literal, figurative or symbolical truth Why do I not believe Christianity is good Because I read Bertrand Russell As a young, impressionable person, I used to lament the fact that I was not given the gift of belief, as it seemed to come with confidence in the be Why I Am Not A Christian If I ask myself that question, the answer will be I am not a Christian because I read the Bible, both Old and New Testament, from cover to cover, and consider it complete nonsense to believe that to be literal, figurative or symbolical truth Why do I not believe Christianity is good Because I read Bertrand Russell As a young, impressionable person, I used to lament the fact that I was not given the gift of belief, as it seemed to come with confidence in the believer s goodness Who doesn t want to be good Who doesn t want to feel sure about themselves Who doesn t want to have a superior guideline to stick to Me, apparently As much as I wanted to believe in the religion that happened to be the predominant one in my environment, it all just seemed ridiculous I remember sitting in a church as a 15 year old, praying to a god I did not believe in to give me faith in him It took me many years to get over the feeling of guilt over my lack or misfortune I felt left out by the non existent god in a society that apparently unquestioningly accepted what didn t make sense to me I said over and over again to believers who reprimanded me for my atheism Oh, I respect your faith in Jesus, and I am truly sorry for not finding faith myself I admire the morality of Christianity and wish I could be part of it And I received condescending, pitying smiles in return.Then I left my small town and moved to a university city, and started reading, reading, and reading Philosophy, literary fiction, history, art history, religion, pedagogy In the huge pile Russell And finally, finally, I was able to break away from the Lutheran guilt trap that catches believers and nonbelievers alike in the social environment where it is dominant Finally I could distance myself from the unthinking group pressure of Christian morality There is no such thing Religion is not moral Atheists are not likelier to kill or rape or steal than Christians, despite the fact that they do not feel the threat of eternal punishment Moral behaviour is completely independent from supernatural belief Russell helped me get the definitions straight Once I had read Russell, I could embrace my sense that the evil force god, the killer of anything that opposes him that appears in the Bible does not exist, and should not exist it would be horrible I learned that I was not alone in seeing that religion is a human invention to simulate immortality for those who are afraid to let go of their egos when they die and to enforce patriarchal power structures for those who can t convince people to follow them by choice and free will It is a way for people to define themselves through exclusion and protectionism, not through individual merit.Russell followed me when I moved into the field of education, and today, almost a century after he wrote his essay, I would like people to read out loud his words against groupthink and crimestop newspeak for protective stupidity The world that I should wish to see would be one freed from the virulence of group hostilities and capable of realizing that happiness for all is to be derived rather from co operation than from strife I should wish to see a world in which education aimed at mental freedom rather than imprisoning the minds of the young in rigid armor of dogma calculated to protect them through life against the shafts of impartial evidence Why am I not a Christian I don t believe in the myth Why do I not want to be a Christian It supports evil practices and holds people hostage in an ancient worldview It discriminates and divides and takes advantage of weaknesses to spread power It stimulates fear in order to control It plays Big Brother and forces people to love him.Recommended to the world Reposted in support of the victims of grand scale child abuse, covered up and ignored by the Catholic Church for too long to be bearable Reposted in support of those who suffer discrimination at the hands of evangelical preachers of hate and division and intolerance Reposted in support of those who feel the grip of their churches tightening in fear of the modern world of freedom of choice

  2. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, Bertrand RussellWhy I Am Not a Christian is an essay by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell Originally a talk given 6 March 1927 at Battersea Town Hall, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society, it was published that year as a pamphlet and has been republished several times in English and in translation 1975 Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, Bertrand RussellWhy I Am Not a Christian is an essay by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell Originally a talk given 6 March 1927 at Battersea Town Hall, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society, it was published that year as a pamphlet and has been republished several times in English and in translation 1975 134 108 1351 311 1927

  3. Manny Manny says:

    Original review, Mar 1 2016 _____________________Update, Dec 21 2019 In the interests of balance, here s the editorial from this week s edition of Christianity Today Trump Should Be Removed from OfficeIt s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president s character was revealed for what it was.MARK GALLI DECEMBER 19, 2019In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith TheOriginal review, Mar 1 2016 _____________________Update, Dec 21 2019 In the interests of balance, here s the editorial from this week s edition of Christianity Today Trump Should Be Removed from OfficeIt s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president s character was revealed for what it was.MARK GALLI DECEMBER 19, 2019In our founding documents, Billy Graham explains that Christianity Today will help evangelical Christians interpret the news in a manner that reflects their faith The impeachment of Donald Trump is a significant event in the story of our republic It requires comment.The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum, and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage.That said, we do feel it necessary from time to time to make our own opinions on political matters clear always, as Graham encouraged us, doing so with both conviction and love We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders as well as ordinary citizens on both sides of the political aisle.Let s grant this to the president The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings And, no, Mr Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment.But the facts in this instance are unambiguous The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president s political opponents That is not only a violation of the Constitutionimportantly, it is profoundly immoral.The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud His Twitter feed alone with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.Trump s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president s moral deficiencies for all to see This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people None of the president s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT In 1998, we wrote this The President s failure to tell the truth even when cornered rips at the fabric of the nation This is not a private affair For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.And this Unsavory dealings and immoral acts by the President and those close to him have rendered this administration morally unable to lead.Unfortunately, the words that we applied to Mr Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president Whether Mr Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election that is a matter of prudential judgment That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this Remember who you are and whom you serve Consider how your justification of Mr Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr Trump s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency If we don t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation s leader doesn t really matter in the end We have reserved judgment on Mr Trump for years now Some have criticized us for our reserve But when it comes to condemning the behavior of another, patient charity must come first So we have done our best to give evangelical Trump supporters their due, to try to understand their point of view, to see the prudential nature of so many political decisions they have made regarding Mr Trump To use an old clich , it s time to call a spade a spade, to say that no matter how many hands we win in this political poker game, we are playing with a stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence And just when we think it s time to push all our chips to the center of the table, that s when the whole game will come crashing down It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world s understanding of the gospel And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern Mark Galli is editor in chief of Christianity Today

  4. -uht! -uht! says:

    By the time I read this book, I was already not a Christian, but it was still hard for me to read It was kinda like accidentally figuring out a magician s trick You knew he wasn t really doing magic, but seeing how he did it somehow made the world less fun.That said, this is a great book It s not without bite, but it s also not bitter Having been a big fan of Russell s epistemological books, I was impressed that this book displayed the same clarity of thought and communication His logical By the time I read this book, I was already not a Christian, but it was still hard for me to read It was kinda like accidentally figuring out a magician s trick You knew he wasn t really doing magic, but seeing how he did it somehow made the world less fun.That said, this is a great book It s not without bite, but it s also not bitter Having been a big fan of Russell s epistemological books, I was impressed that this book displayed the same clarity of thought and communication His logical proofs against God were a great review for me I d heard those in different forms for many years and the section about religion and its benefit or lack thereof to humankind was something I hadn t considered to that depth I think this is a must read

  5. Florencia Florencia says:

    You just have to read this Even if you are a Christian, you should read about every point of view, to form or change or not your own Russell explains complicated things which such clarity, a little of humor It doesn t get tedious, at all Take The argument of design , for instance I really cannot believe it Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan, the You just have to read this Even if you are a Christian, you should read about every point of view, to form or change or not your own Russell explains complicated things which such clarity, a little of humor It doesn t get tedious, at all Take The argument of design , for instance I really cannot believe it Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan, the Fascisti, and Mr Winston Churchill Really I am not much impressed with the people who say Look at me I am such a splendid product that there must have been design in the universe Therefore, although it is of course a gloomy view to suppose that life will die out at least I suppose we may say so, although sometimes when I contemplate the things that people do with their lives I think it is almost a consolation it is not such as to render life miserable Funny You could then talk about free will and that is acceptable we could discuss it until we reach the point of uncomfortable silence because we both know we are not going to change our minds, and then we ll have a cup of coffee, a piece of pie and never leave the safe weather conversation zone, again Or, at least, for a couple of days Because, if I am one of the products on which design in the universe is based That is something only my mom would say.Anyway, my point is, he is that clear His thoughts are written with the wit and simplicity of great philosophers The moral and emotional questions are a key ingredient in this brilliant essay that tries to explain a religion based primarily and mainly upon fear You can like it or not, but it is still a memorable work Jun 12, 14 Also on my blog

  6. Craig Craig says:

    After reading most of the new Atheist books I read the ones by Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens this old one by Betrand Russell is still miles better than they To be sure, I disagree with most of what he says, but his writing is muchclear headed and articulate than the new ones There really aren t many new arguments the new generation of atheists bring to the table, therefore I think it is reasonably fair to use Russell s as the standard bearer for them all.Th After reading most of the new Atheist books I read the ones by Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens this old one by Betrand Russell is still miles better than they To be sure, I disagree with most of what he says, but his writing is muchclear headed and articulate than the new ones There really aren t many new arguments the new generation of atheists bring to the table, therefore I think it is reasonably fair to use Russell s as the standard bearer for them all.The basic thesis is that religion with particular emphasis on Christianity has caused great harm throughout civilization, and that if we could collectively only cast aside our flimsy superstitions and vain hope for eternal life, we could propel society to new heights of happiness His whole argument rests on the premise that man is basically good, and were it not for the at the time universal brainwashing of innocent children with hurtful religious ideas, we could better engineer society to bepeaceful, and less worried about taboos like sex To Russell, the main barriers to creatingcommon interests between communities, societies, and nations are religious in nature, and if we could somehow erode those false beliefs, we could all get along better and be happier in our individual lives as well.Here are some quotes in his book which I think illustrate his main points Religion is basedprimarily and mainly upon fearfear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder.cruelty and religion go hand in handScience can help us to get over this craven fear pg 22 We should c onquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the Oriental despotisms It is a conception quite unworthy of free men pg 23 The churches, as everyone knows, opposed the abolition of slavery as long as they dared, and with a few well advertised exceptions they oppose at the present day every movement toward economic justice The Pope has officially condemned Socialism pg 26 Before God created the world He foresaw all the pain and misery that it would contain He is therefore responsible for all of it pg 29 in regards to his position on free will and personal responsibility When a man acts in ways that annoy us we wish to think him wicked, and we refuse to face the fact that his annoying behavior is a result of antecedent causes which, if you follow them long enough, will take you beyond the moment of his birth and therefore to events for which he cannot be held responsible by any stretch of the imagination pg 40 It would seem, therefore, that the three human impulses embodied in religion are fear, conceit, and hatred The purpose of religionis to give an air of respectability to these passions pg 44 hatred and fear can, with our present psychological knowledge and our present industrial technique, be eliminated altogether from human life pg 45 these emotions fear and hatred can now be almost wholly eliminated from human nature by educational, economic, and political reforms These educational reforms must be the basis, since men who feel hate and fear will also admire these emotions and wish to perpetuate them, although this admiration and wish will probably be unconscious, as it is in the ordinary Christian An education designed to eliminate fear is by no means difficult to create It is only necessary to treat a child with kindness, to put him in an environment where initiative is possible without disastrous results, and to save him from contact with adults who have irrational terrors, whether of the dark, of mice, or of social revolution pg 46 It annoys me to have him treat psychology and social sciences as if they were physical sciences, with simple laws governing all of human behavior Perhaps his view that man has no free will leads him to think man can be entirely governed by the social forces and coercion He fails to understand that no matter how much we may train ourselves or our children to be good and responsible, man s primal instinct is always to further his own self interest The idea that fear and hatred can be eliminated by some scientific method is ludicrous, and besides, is it always good not to fear or hate Were he in Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia, would he not be outraged at the government and terrified for the safety of his family Frankly, his vision for human utopia in THIS life is muchakin to childish wishful thinking than any religious teaching about utopias AFTER this life I know it may seem unfair to judge his writing in the present day when he didn t have as much historical data to draw upon to see the effect Communism and Facism has on society, but even in his time, there was much historical data to suggest that non religious movements hoping to build such utopias ended up being some of the most evil campaigns in history The reason why such atheists have been hiding for so long is the recent string of such godless movements, led by overtly secular leaders who were responsible for the deaths of literally hundreds of millions of their own citizens It seems clear that while Christianity does not have a perfect track record, overall it has had a muchpositive than negative effect Religious teachings provide effective restraints on our natural tendency to harm others and to act selfishly While it is true that the Church Authority may have condoned slavery for a long time, was it not Christian teachings that inspired the original abolitionists in America and England Slavery was not unique to Christian nations, but was and is a pervasive institution in most human societies Can the cause of slavery then be fairly cast at the feet of religious teachings, or would it be fair to suggest that humans in power tend to subject others as their subordinates or slaves I think the answer is clear.I am not trying to suggest some absurd conclusion that religious people are good and atheist people are bad Humans are free to make decisions on their own, and many atheists choose to live honorable and admirable lives, while many Christians choose to act very poorly However, on the whole, I do believe that Christianity has a net positive benefit on society, and were someone to wave a magic wand and make Christianity go away, the world would be in much worse shape than it already is

  7. Alex Alex says:

    I love these essays Russell never argues that faith is impossible, but makes it clear why he doesn t have it I cannot believe in a god who, given an infinite universe and millions of years in which to perfect it, can come up with nothing better than the nazis and the KKK paraphrase

  8. Kevin Shepherd Kevin Shepherd says:

    One of the works of literature for which Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize is a widely read essay first delivered as a lecture in 1927 entitled, Why I Am Not a Christian I haven t forgotten it yet, and I have promised myself that I never will If you were to read his essay, and in the interest of open mindedness I would urge you to do so, you would find that Bertrand Russell, who is one of the world s foremost logicians as well as a philosopher and mathematician, undoes with logic One of the works of literature for which Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize is a widely read essay first delivered as a lecture in 1927 entitled, Why I Am Not a Christian I haven t forgotten it yet, and I have promised myself that I never will If you were to read his essay, and in the interest of open mindedness I would urge you to do so, you would find that Bertrand Russell, who is one of the world s foremost logicians as well as a philosopher and mathematician, undoes with logic that is beyond dispute the first cause arguement, the natural law arguement, the arguement from design, the moral arguements for a diety, and the arguement for the remedying of injustice Philip Roth, Indignation It is of some importance to note that this is a collection of essays spanning, in my edition, some 267 pages The title piece, Why I Am Not a Christian, is just 20 pages, leaving roughly 92.5% of the volume for other engrossing bits such as Life in the Middle Ages, The Fate of Thomas Paine, and Our Sexual Ethics All of which I found fascinating Russell s assertions on religion and related topics aren t necessarily earth shattering, at least not any I think that only goes to show what an enormous influence he has had on modern secularism and free thought You can hear his words, rephrased and reiterated, in the works of Christopher Hitchens, Jerry Coyne, and Victor Stenger just to name a few The attitude that one ought to believe a proposition, independently of the question whether there is evidence in its favor, is an attitude which produces hostility to evidence and causes us to close our minds to every fact that does not suit our prejudices B.R.Speaking for myself, I made my break with religious dogma years before I had ever heard of Bertrand Russell, so it should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I find his wisdom and scrupulous logic life affirming His reputation for brilliant and intelligent heresy is justly deserved and his work is as relevant now as it was when it was written almost a century ago In fact, in this era of American oligarchy and the increasing politicalization of faith, it is possible that Russell isrelevant now than ever One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous So I am told I have not noticed it B.R

  9. Matthew Matthew says:

    I probably would have liked this book a lotif I had read it when I was younger, but now I find Russell s critique of religion profoundly disappointing For a logician and philosopher of his caliber, his proofs on the reasons why the basis of religious belief is existential terror, for example are unconvincing and sometimes shockingly sloppy They tend to rely on a straw man caricatures that he sets up and knocks down, rather than actually engaging with the roots of faith or the complexit I probably would have liked this book a lotif I had read it when I was younger, but now I find Russell s critique of religion profoundly disappointing For a logician and philosopher of his caliber, his proofs on the reasons why the basis of religious belief is existential terror, for example are unconvincing and sometimes shockingly sloppy They tend to rely on a straw man caricatures that he sets up and knocks down, rather than actually engaging with the roots of faith or the complexities of metaphysics Moreover, his critique of social s is superficial, his proposed solutions naive at best, and his grasp of history so insultingly bad that he actually blames the outbreak of World War I on Christianity p 203 I expectedfrom such a legendary intellectual figure

  10. LJ LJ says:

    WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN ExRussell, BertrandDedicated as few men have been to the life of reason, Bertrand Russell has always been concerned with the basic questions to which religion also addresses itself questions about man s place in the universe and the nature of the good life, questions that involve life after death, morality, freedom, education, and sexual ethics He brings to his treatment of these questions the same courage, scrupulous logic, and lofty wisdom for which his other w WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN ExRussell, BertrandDedicated as few men have been to the life of reason, Bertrand Russell has always been concerned with the basic questions to which religion also addresses itself questions about man s place in the universe and the nature of the good life, questions that involve life after death, morality, freedom, education, and sexual ethics He brings to his treatment of these questions the same courage, scrupulous logic, and lofty wisdom for which his other work as philosopher, writer, and teacher has been famous These qualities make the essays included in this book perhaps the most graceful and moving presentation of the freethinker s position since the days of Hume and Voltaire I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue, Russell declares in his Preface, and his reasoned opposition to any system or dogma which he feels may shackle man s mind runs through all the essays in this book, whether they were written as early as 1899 or as late as 1954.I read this in 1982 during a year long period of self questioning and evaluation of my faith and beliefs This, among other books, was one which made me realize that I could have a strong faith without being constrained by the boundaries of, and historic crimes committed in the name of, religion My God is the one who exists apart from all of men s agendas from The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, 2006

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