Russell why i am not a christian essay

Why does this happen? How can smart people take up positions that defy any reasonable logic? So if nothing else this essay serves as a kind of personal therapy session.

Russell why i am not a christian essay

Graham Oppy [A somewhat different version of this paper is forthcoming in Theism and Naturalism: On his account, a Christian is at least committed to belief in God, in immortality, and that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and the wisest of men.

Given this characterization, Russell goes on to say that if he is to explain why he is not a Christian, he must explain both why he does not believe in God and immortality, and why he does not believe that Christ was the greatest and wisest of men.

Russell why i am not a christian essay

There is a quite uncharacteristic logical slip here: However, even though it would suffice for Russell to explain why he rejects one of the stated conditions, it is not in the least bit surprising to find that he rejects each of them, and it is worth paying attention to the reasons that he gives in each case.

Russell groups the beliefs in God and immortality together as a single belief: In the subsequent discussion, he focuses entirely on belief in God, allowing belief in immortality to slip from the picture. There is no logical error here--belief in God and immortality lapses if belief in God lapses.

But it is worth noting that there is much to be said against belief in immortality. Of course, there are systems of religious belief in which there is commitment to immortality and yet no commitment to God, so it should not be thought that belief in immortality automatically lapses if belief in God lapses.

Thus Russell implicitly commits himself to the claim that if there are no good arguments for belief in God, then one ought not to believe in God. Though this seems defensible, it is also worth looking for positive reasons for denying that God exists. There is no shortage of arguments that there is no God; a full discussion of belief in God surely ought to give consideration to those arguments.

By his own admission, Russell does not canvass all of the arguments that might be advanced for belief in God; but it seems reasonable to suppose that his intent is to canvass a representative selection of the best such arguments.

Nonetheless, I do think that the point of view defended in this part of his paper is correct: For stronger defenses of this position, taking account of the best formulations of the best arguments that have been mounted for belief in God, see, for example: Mackie [], Martin [], Sobel [], Everitt [], and Oppy [].

Apart from identifying failings in some theistic arguments, Russell also makes some observations about the true wellsprings of belief in God.

On his view, the main reason why people believe in God is simply because this belief is inculcated in them from early infancy. Furthermore, according to Russell, the other important motives for belief in God are fear of the unknown including, in particular, fear of deathand a desire for safety including, especially, a desire for a big brother who will look after your interests and guarantee the satisfaction of your most deeply held wants.

Jan 12,  · One of the most common images in Western and Eastern religions alike is of God as a parent and of human beings as God’s children. Billions pray to God as their parent, invoke the brotherhood and sisterhood of all people to promote peace, and reach out to the weary and troubled out of deep conviction that each of God’s children has great worth. By Lt Daniel Furseth. Today, I stopped caring about my fellow man. I stopped caring about my community, my neighbors, and those I serve. I stopped caring today because a once noble profession has become despised, hated, distrusted, and mostly unwanted. Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects [Bertrand Russell, Paul Edwards] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. “Devastating in its use of cold logic, ” (The Independent), the classic essay collection that expresses the freethinker’s views to religion and challenges set notions in today’s society from one of the most influential.

While I agree with Russell that nonbelievers are committed to merely causal stories about the prevalence and strength of belief in God, I think that any such story will be much more complicated than Russell or Freud, Marx, Engels, or Durkheim allows.

There has been some interesting recent work in this area--see, for example, Lawson and McCauleyand Atran --but I do not think that we are yet close to a fully satisfying account. As I noted earlier, Russell provides various objections to the claim that Christ was the best and wisest of men.

One obvious objection that Russell considers, only to immediately set it aside, is that it is controversial whether the historical record supports the claim that Christ so much as existed.

According to Russell, even if we suppose that we can take the Gospel narrative as a reliable historical record, there are reasons for thinking that Christ was neither especially wise nor especially good.

However, before he lists some of these reasons, Russell makes some observations about the teachings of Christ that seem admirable to him though they are rarely lived out by self-professed Christians --viz.

As Russell correctly notes, the latter have been the cause of enormous suffering and mental torment across the succeeding centuries. He next remarks on the curious story in which Christ curses a fig tree because it is not bearing fruit, even though it is the wrong season for figs, and on the story of the Gadarene swine, in which the pigs seem to be quite unfairly mistreated.

Finally, Russell makes the inflammatory claim that organized Christianity "has been, and still is, the principal enemy of moral progress in the world" While I think that there is some truth in each of these observations, there is also a considerable amount of overstatement.

For example, that organized Christian churches have often been enemies of moral progress is uncontroversial, but it is unclear that they have been worse than other religious and social institutions in this regard.

As we all know, it is very easy to mistake mere correlations for causal relations; we should not be too quick to suppose that widespread correlation of Christian belief with ignorance, misery, and suffering is evidence that Christian belief has been a major causal agent in the production of that ignorance, misery, and suffering.

II My parents were Methodists, and I grew up with quite conventional Christian beliefs in God, immortality, and the goodness and wisdom of Christ.

In my early teenage years, I came to have doubts about these Christian beliefs. As I recall, there was no external impetus for these doubts; rather, I simply began to examine the beliefs as I lay awake at nights, and found them wanting.

Over a period of about six months, prior to my fourteenth birthday, I moved from being a quite conventional Christian to being a firmly convinced atheist, without once discussing any of the relevant considerations with other people, and without reading anything on these matters.

After my conversion, I engaged in heated discussions with fellow students and teachers about belief in God, and was encouraged to read relevant materials. For my sixteenth birthday, I was given a copy of The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, which I read with great interest.

After I completed high school, I enrolled in an undergraduate medical program at the University of Melbourne. However, apart from a second year subject in philosophy of religion taught by Bruce Langtry, I had no further opportunities to pursue philosophy of religion until I completed my graduate studies in philosophy.

Throughout that time I gave little attention to questions about belief in God:As your Chairman has told you, the subject about which I am going to speak to you tonight is "Why I Am Not a Christian." Perhaps it would be as well, first of all, to try to.

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The aspects of Bertrand Russell's views on philosophy cover the changing viewpoints of philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell (–), from . Freud is generally considered the father of psychology, and he certainly did not engage in rigorous science.

Psychology has long been the domain of wild speculation and Saying Things In An Authoritative Voice rather than actual science.

Why Bertrand Russell Was Not A Christian by Rev.

Russell why i am not a christian essay

Ralph Allan Smith. Table of Contents Preface 2 Introduction 3 thought it worthwhile to provide a Christian critique of Russell’s essay “Why I Am Not a Christian,” even though it is based upon a speech given in Some time after writing the first draft of this essay, while searching.

Sir Bertrand is not just a good philosopher, but a great writer. He won the Nobel Prize for literature, so that tells you. This book has several essays on the general subject of religion and its evils, the best being the first one, "Why I Am Not a Christian".

In the present essay, I propose to give an overview of the content of Russell's lecture, an indication of the ways in which my thinking has been influenced by it, and a brief description of the ways in which my own account of why I am not a Christian would differ from the account that Russell gives.

Why I Am Not a Christian - Wikipedia