RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149C Sir Bertrand Russell “I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas…” Well, Bertie, here is some evidence from archaeology!!! Plus a review of “Why I am not a Christian”

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Image result for bertrand russell

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

Bertrand Russell – Biographical

Bertrand Arthur William Russell was born at Trelleck on 18th May, 1872. His parents were Viscount Amberley and Katherine, daughter of 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley. At the age of three he was left an orphan. His father had wished him to be brought up as an agnostic; to avoid this he was made a ward of Court, and brought up by his grandmother. Instead of being sent to school he was taught by governesses and tutors, and thus acquired a perfect knowledge of French and German. In 1890 he went into residence at Trinity College, Cambridge, and after being a very high Wrangler and obtaining a First Class with distinction in philosophy he was elected a fellow of his college in 1895. But he had already left Cambridge in the summer of 1894 and for some months was attaché at the British embassy at Paris.

In December 1894 he married Miss Alys Pearsall Smith. After spending some months in Berlin studying social democracy, they went to live near Haslemere, where he devoted his time to the study of philosophy. In 1900 he visited the Mathematical Congress at Paris. He was impressed with the ability of the Italian mathematician Peano and his pupils, and immediately studied Peano’s works. In 1903 he wrote his first important book, The Principles of Mathematics, and with his friend Dr. Alfred Whitehead proceeded to develop and extend the mathematical logic of Peano and Frege. From time to time he abandoned philosophy for politics. In 1910 he was appointed lecturer at Trinity College. After the first World War broke out, he took an active part in the No Conscription fellowship and was fined £ 100 as the author of a leaflet criticizing a sentence of two years on a conscientious objector. His college deprived him of his lectureship in 1916. He was offered a post at Harvard university, but was refused a passport. He intended to give a course of lectures (afterwards published in America as Political Ideals, 1918) but was prevented by the military authorities. In 1918 he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for a pacifistic article he had written in the Tribunal. His Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919) was written in prison. His Analysis of Mind (1921) was the outcome of some lectures he gave in London, which were organized by a few friends who got up a subscription for the purpose.

In 1920 Russell had paid a short visit to Russia to study the conditions of Bolshevism on the spot. In the autumn of the same year he went to China to lecture on philosophy at the Peking university. On his return in Sept. 1921, having been divorced by his first wife, he married Miss Dora Black. They lived for six years in Chelsea during the winter months and spent the summers near Lands End. In 1927 he and his wife started a school for young children, which they carried on until 1932. He succeeded to the earldom in 1931. He was divorced by his second wife in 1935 and the following year married Patricia Helen Spence. In 1938 he went to the United States and during the next years taught at many of the country’s leading universities. In 1940 he was involved in legal proceedings when his right to teach philosophy at the College of the City of New York was questioned because of his views on morality. When his appointment to the college faculty was cancelled, he accepted a five-year contract as a lecturer for the Barnes foundation, Merion, Pa., but the cancellation of this contract was announced in Jan. 1943 by Albert C. Barnes, director of the foundation.

Russell was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1908, and re-elected a fellow of Trinity College in 1944. He was awarded the Sylvester medal of the Royal Society, 1934, the de Morgan medal of the London Mathematical Society in the same year, the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1950.

In a paper “Logical Atomism” (Contemporary British Philosophy. Personal Statements, First series. Lond. 1924) Russell exposed his views on his philosophy, preceded by a few words on historical development.1

In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?

Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.

Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?

Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true.

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Why I Am Not Convinced
A Critical Review Of Bertrand Russell’s “Why I Am Not A Christian.”
When the lecture, “Why I Am Not A Christian”1
by Bertrand Russell, was first presented on March 6,
1927, to the National Secular Society, it was a bomb
that was felt across the globe and for generations to
come. Bertrand Russell was one of the greatest
philosophical minds of the twentieth century and one
of the most notorious atheists of his day. Even in the
twenty first century, many arguments used by the
“New Atheists” are merely recycled arguments from
Russell, but with a little more foam at the mouth. His
books, essays, and lectures helped to shaped an entire
world’s views of many issues, including philosophy,
mathematics, cosmology, language, and computer
science. In 1950, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for
Literature.
In his essay, Russell targeted arguments for
belief in God and to support Christianity specifically.
This essay has been a flagship writing for atheism for
almost 90 years. But does it deserve that reputation?
This article will be a critique of the reasons Russell
gives for rejecting Christianity to provide
encouragement for Christians and to challenge the
reasons many atheists have rejected the faith.
What Is A Christian?
Definitions are important so Russell preempts his
critique by listing two traits that he sees as essential
to a Christian: “you must believe in God and
immortality…you must have some kind of belief
about Christ.”
2
For Russell, those beliefs about Christ
must minimally include believing that “Christ was, if
not divine, at least the best and wisest of men.”3 But
the Bible itself describes many times that being a
Christian means more than believing in God, because
James points out that “the demons also believe, and
shudder.”4
It is also more than believing that Jesus is
a great person. To be a Christian is to “confess with
your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart
that God raised Him from the dead.”5
True Christians
not only believe in God and believe that Jesus was a
“great man,” but believe Jesus died for our sins and
rose again6
, proving divinity, defeating death and
hell, and calling those who trust Him to obey.

1 Russell, Bertrand. Why I Am Not A Christian. Touchstone
Publishers, 1967.
2 Russell, Bertrand. Why I Am Not A Christian.
http://www.users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html. Pg. 1.
3
Ibid. Pg. 1.
4
James 2:19. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN
STANDARD BIBLE, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation
1960,1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, 1995.
Used by permission.
5 Romans 10:9
6
1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
Arguments Against Theism
1. The First Cause Argument
Russell begins by attacking the idea that the
universe requires a Cause. As he states the argument,
“everything we see in this world has a cause, and as
you go back in the chain of causes further and further
you must come to a First Cause, and to that First
Cause you give the name God.”7 What is his point?
“…the fallacy in the argument of the first
cause (is) if everything must have a cause,
then God must have a cause. If there be
anything without a cause, it may just as well
be the world as God, so that there cannot be
any validity in that argument.”8
If God made everything, who made God? He
then follows up his main point by making two
possible explanations for the existence of the
universe. He states, with no support or evidence:
“There is no reason why the world could not
have come into being without a cause; nor,
on the other hand, is there any reason why it
should not have always existed. There is no
reason to suppose that the world had a
beginning at all.”9
However, the flaws in Russell’s fatal flaw begin
with him misrepresenting the argument itself. The
argument is not that everything must have a cause. If
so, there would be an infinite number of causes and
the universe would have never begun! No one is
claiming that God began to exist. Instead, the
argument is that everything that begins to exist must
have a cause and that to begin the process of
causation and avoid the infinite regress, there must be
some uncaused thing. But this thing cannot be just
any type of thing. Rather, because the effect is a time
bound, energy driven, material universe that does not
have to exist, the cause must be eternal, powerful,
immaterial, and personal. Therefore, because this is
the same description as the Bible gives for God,
Christians call this cause “God.” Christianity, long
before the questions of modern science and
philosophy, has always taught that God was eternally
self-existent.10
A second problem is that the idea of something
beginning to exist without a cause is irrational.
Everything in our experience is based on a

7 Why I Am Not A Christian.
8
Ibid.
9
Ibid.
10 Deuteronomy 33:27.
February, 2016
The Song Of The Redeemed
Rev. Jeriah D. Shank, M.Div.; M.A.; M.A.
foundational belief in causation. If right, Russell has
undermined science itself because science is a search
for causes! If a universe can begin without a cause,
why can’t other things like rocks, people, or cash? It
was the atheist philosopher David Hume who saw
this two hundred years earlier when he wrote:
“But allow me to tell you that I never
asserted so absurd a proposition as that
anything might arise without a cause: I only
maintained that our certainty of the
falsehood of that proposition proceeded
neither from intuition nor demonstration; but
from another source.”11
Even at a time when quantum theory is touted as
evidence that particles can “pop” into existence
uncaused, quantum theorist David Albert points out:
“The fact that particles can pop in and out
of existence, over time, as those fields
rearrange themselves, is not a whit more
mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in
and out of existence, over time, as my
fingers rearrange themselves. And none of
these poppings…amount to anything even
remotely in the neighborhood of a creation
from nothing.”12
A third problem is that the past century has
shown that the universe had a beginning. The second
law of thermodynamics states the amount of usable
energy in a closed system will always run down. This
means that the universe has been slowly using up its
available energy. But if the universe is running out of
energy that means this process has not gone on
forever because there would be no energy left.
Evidence such as this and the evidence for the
expanding universe discovered by Edwin Hubble in
1929 has led cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin to
write, “With the proof now in place, cosmologists
can no longer hide a past-eternal universe. They have
to face the problem of cosmic beginning.”13
Cosmologist Robert Jastrow also writes:
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith
in the power of reason, the story ends like a
bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of
ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest
peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock,

11 David Hume to John Stewart, Feb. 1754, in The Letters Of David
Hume, 2 Vol. ed. J.Y.T. Grieg, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932.
1:187.
12 Albert, David. On The Origin Of Everything: ‘A Universe From
Nothing,” By Lawrence M. Krauss. The New York Times, March
23, 2012.
13 Vilenkin, Alexander. Many Worlds In One: The Search For
Other Universes. Hill And Wang, 2007. Pg. 176.
he is greeted by a band of theologians who
have been sitting there for centuries.”14
2. The Natural Law Argument
Russell next moves to the argument that nature
runs itself according to physical laws, such as
gravity, and laws require a lawgiver, thus God exists.
Russell’s main argument against this idea is that,
“We now find that a great many things we thought
were natural laws are really human conventions.”15
Does this mean, for Russell, that two plus two could
equal four in another part of the universe because
these are simply human conventions? Russell
acknowledges:
“even in the remotest depths of stellar space
there are still three feet to a yard… but you
would hardly call that a law of nature. And a
great many things …are of that kind.”16
So what would Russell call mathematical laws?
What else is a human convention and not a
cosmological necessity? He doesn’t say. He does,
however, make the point:
“The whole idea that natural laws imply a
lawgiver is due to confusion between natural
and human laws. Human laws are behests
commanding you to behave a certain
way…but natural laws are a description of
how things do in fact behave.”17
Theists have argued that the cosmological
constants are too finely tuned to be an accident or to
have been brought about by natural selection. But to
illustrate his point, Russell uses dice as an analogy:
“There is, as we all know, a law that if you
throw dice you will get double sixes only
about once in thirty-six times, and we do not
regard that as evidence that the fall of dice is
regulated by design.”18
The argument of the theist, however, is not
simply that there are natural laws. This is an
important argument because why should a random
universe be expected to be so finely regulated by
uniform descriptions? But the real argument is that
the precise combination of all these natural laws
gives the greatest evidence of design. It isn’t simply
that one gets double sixes every thirty-sixth roll. It is
that someone at the table just got double-sixes 1,000
times in a row! At that point, one would have to
believe that more than chance is at work!

14 Jastrow, Robert. God And The Astronomers. New York: Norton,
2000. Pg. 107.
15 Why I Am Not A Christian
16 Ibid.
17 Ibid.
18 Ibid.
February, 2016
The Song Of The Redeemed
Rev. Jeriah D. Shank, M.Div.; M.A.; M.A.
The laws of nature, such as gravity,
electromagnetism, and at least 17 other such
cosmological constants,
19 are tuned just right for life,
balanced to 1 part in 1040
. That’s
100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0
00,000, in case you are wondering!
20 This fact has led
many scientists to describe earth as being located in
the “Goldilocks Zone.” These laws have led Nobel
laureate Arno Penzias to state:
“Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a
universe which was created out of nothing
and delicately balanced to provide exactly
the conditions required to support life. In the
absence of an absurdly improbable accident,
the observations of modern science seem to
suggest an underlying, one might say,
supernatural plan.”21
For the Christian, natural law is a description of
the way God structures and orders the universe. God
and gravity are not opposites but are complimentary
descriptions of the sovereign hand of the Creator.
3. The Design Argument
Moving from cosmology to biology, Russell
turns to one of the most ancient arguments for God.
The Bible itself declares that God can be known
through what He has made.22 For Russell, the
argument from design is that:
“everything in the world is made just so that
we can manage to live in the world, and if
the world was ever so different, we could
not manage to live in it. That is the argument
for design.”23
It is clear that he has no respect for this
argument. He even states, “It sometimes takes a
rather curious form; for instance, it is argued that
rabbits have white tails in order to be easy to
shoot.”24 He also paraphrases Voltaire’s comment
that noses were designed for the purpose of being
able to hold up one’s glasses.25
Why does Russell show so little regard for this
argument? For him, it boils down to Darwin. “Since
the time of Darwin,” he writes, “we understand much
better why living creatures are adapted to their

19 Bradley, Walter. The ‘Just So’ Universe, in Signs Of
Intelligence, ed. By William A, Dembski and James M. Kushiner.
Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2001. Pg. 169.
20 Davies, Paul. Superforce: The Search For A Grand Unified
Theory Of Nature. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984. Pg. 242.
21 Penzias, Arno. Quoted in Henry Margenau and Roy Varghese,
eds. Cosmos, Bios, and Theos. LaSalle, Il: Open Court, 1992. Pg.
118.
22 Romans 1:20.
23 Why I Am Not A Christian.
24 Ibid.
25 Ibid.
environment.”26 With Darwin’s idea that natural
selection acting on random variation can explain how
creatures not only diversify but actually change into
other kinds of creatures resulting in the common
descent of all living things, the idea of God specially
creating creatures for their environment became
obsolete in the mind of the intellectual elite. Even
today, almost ninety years after Russell first gave this
lecture, it is a cultural axiom that Darwin eliminated
a need for a creator.
Yet, despite all our efforts to explain away
design, it is still there. In his book, The Blind
Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins wrote, “Biology is
the study of complicated things that give the
appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”27
Francis Crick, a discoverer of DNA, has also written,
“biologists must constantly keep in mind that what
they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”28
The problem with this dismissal of the argument
from design is that, once again, he misrepresents it.
The argument is not that everything was designed for
humans. There are many things that have nothing to
do with humans. His illustrations about rabbits and
glasses are caricatures of the argument. The argument
is that, in the words of intelligent design thinker
William Dembski, “Nature exhibits patterns that are
best explained as the products of an intelligent cause
(design) rather than an undirected material process
(chance and necessity).”29
The argument is based on two ideas. First, all our
experience points to a designer. If we see a structure
that shows complex and specific features, we infer
design. Or if a person were to say to another person,
“I want to eat barbeque for supper,” the other person
would never question whether that sentence was the
product of design or random fluctuations in the vocal
chords acting on spikes in brain activity because we
understand complex and specified information to be
the product of design.
The DNA in the cells of the human body is
incredibly more complex and specified than that! Bill
Gates, the founder of Microsoft, has written, “Human
DNA is like a computer program but far, far more
advanced than any software ever created.”
30 DNA is
incredibly specific and complex. The Human
Genome Project, which proposes to map out the
DNA of humans, has described the situation this way:

26 Ibid.
27 Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker. W.W. Norton &
Company, New York, USA, 1986. Pg. 1.
28 Quoted in Philip E. Johnson. The Wedge Of Truth. Downers
Grove, Il., InterVarsity Press, 2000. Pg. 153.
29 Dembski, William. , McDowell, Sean. Understanding Intelligent
Design. Harvest House Publishers, 2008. Pg. 26.
30 Gates, Bill. The Road Ahead, Penguin: London, Revised, 1996.
Pg.. 228
February, 2016
The Song Of The Redeemed
Rev. Jeriah D. Shank, M.Div.; M.A.; M.A.
“The human genome contains approximately
3 billion of these base pairs, which reside in
the 23 pairs of chromosomes within the
nucleus of all our cells. Each chromosome
contains hundreds to thousands of genes,
which carry the instructions for making
proteins. Each of the estimated 30,000 genes
in the human genome makes an average of
three proteins.”31
DNA becomes the informational code to govern
the organism. But where does information come
from? All our experience points to intelligence
behind information, leading philosophers and
apologists Norman Geisler and Frank Turek to write:
“When we conclude that intelligence
created the first cell of the human brain, it’s
not simply because we lack evidence of a
natural explanation; it’s also because we
have positive, empirically detectable
evidence for an intelligent cause.”32
Second, the engines of natural selection and
random mutation (variation) cannot bear the load
they are asked to carry. In other words, they cannot
produce the changes that are required to move from
molecules to man and produce the specified
complexity we see in the city of the cell or the
interconnectivity of the various systems of the body.
Because many of these systems require other
systems, they could not have developed slowly, one
organ at a time, over billions of years. How would an
organism function with a heart that could pump
blood, but not a system to create blood, a brain to
control the system, lungs to oxygenate the blood, etc?
Natural selection cannot power the work because
it only selects to preserve what already exists.
Random mutations (errors in the copying of the
genetic code) are also incapable of driving evolution
because they may produce change but, by being
random, they cannot create new information for an
organism. They can destroy it and they can copy it,
but they cannot write new code. The result is that
almost all the changes are harmful to the organism
and the few changes that convey an evolutionary
advantage are actually an example of the loss of
information, such as bacteria adaptation or the loss of
eyes in cave dwelling fish. James Shapiro, a bacterial
geneticist at the University of Chicago, writes:
“The argument that random variation and
Darwinian gradualism may not be adequate
to explain complex biological systems is
hardly new… in fact, there are no detailed

31 The Human Genome Project.
https://www.genome.gov/11006943.
32 Geisler, Norman L.; Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith
To Be An Atheist. Crossway Books, 2004. Pg. 157.
Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any
fundamental biochemical or cellular system,
only a variety of wishful speculations. It is
remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a
satisfactory explanation for such a vast
subject — evolution — with so little
rigorous examination of how well its basic
theses works in illuminating specific
instances of biological adaptation or
diversity.”33
Yet, Russell also rejects design on the basis of
the apparent bad design in the world. He reasons:
“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 or the Fascists? Moreover, if you
accept the ordinary laws of science, you
have to suppose that human life and life in
general on this planet will die out in due
course.”34
Russell reasons that because creatures do bad
things and die, they could not have been designed by
a good designer. But the law of decay does not mean
there was no design. Henry Ford did an amazing job
designing his Model-T, but it broke down in time
too! Further, Genesis 3 tells us that, because man
sinned, separating himself from the goodness of his
Creator, physical death and suffering followed.
Finally, wasn’t it Russell who argued against natural
laws because the laws of nature were only human
conventions anyway?
These kinds of evidences led Antony Flew, an
equally prolific and philosophically minded atheist as
Russell, to abandon his atheism. “It now seems to
me,” said Flew, “that the findings of more than fifty
years of DNA research have provided materials for a
new and enormously powerful argument to design.”35
For Flew, there is really only one explanation: a
designer. He also writes, “The only satisfactory
explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, selfreplicating’
life as we see on earth is an infinitely
intelligent Mind.”36

33 Shapiro, James. In the Details…What? National Review, 19
September 1996. Pg. 64.
http://shapiro.bsd.uchicago.ed…..Review.pdf
34 Why I Am Not A Christian.
35 Flew, Antony and Habermas, Gary. My Pilgramage From
Atheism To Theism: A Discussion Between Antony Flew And Gary
Habermas. Philosophia Christi, Vol. 6. No. 2, 2004. Pg. 201.
36 Flew, Antony and Varghese, Roy Abraham. There is a God:
How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.
Harper One Publishers, New York, NY, 2007. Pg 132.
February, 2016
The Song Of The Redeemed
Rev. Jeriah D. Shank, M.Div.; M.A.; M.A.
4. The Moral Argument
Traditionally, the moral argument for God has
been one of the most powerful arguments for theism.
Russell rightly points at that Immanuel Kant was a
leading proponent of this argument, though he was
wrong that it was Kant who “invented it.”37
The Bible itself argues that morality is a
testimony to our Creator in that we all, being made in
the image of God, regardless of whether or not we
believe it, have a conscience that teaches that some
things, such as killing children for fun, are really
wrong and are not simply arbitrary.
38 But the only
way for such things to be really right or wrong is for
there to be such a thing as right or wrong. There must
be a standard that all people are obligated to obey.
That is why a person can be thrown into prison for
breaking a law they were obligated to keep. C.S.
Lewis himself wrote:
“(As an atheist) my argument against God
was that the universe seemed so cruel and
unjust. But how had I got this idea of just
and unjust? A man does not call a line
crooked unless he has some idea of a
straight line.”
39
But if God does not exist, where do real moral
laws come from? Do they come from culture? If so,
we are faced with the problem that might equals
right. Does biology determine morality? Is the
slogan “I was born this way” the ultimate trump card
when it comes to morality? If so, then the person who
is born with a propensity to kill others would be
morally justified in doing so. Is morality a matter of
preference? One person has one ethic and another has
theirs. As long as a person’s morality doesn’t harm
anyone, must it be ok? But even that is an appeal to a
standard. Whose gets to decide that a person’s
morality must not harm someone else? Is that just a
preference? Without a fixed reference point, all
morality is meaningless. It was Russell himself who
later wrote, “I cannot live as if ethical values are
simply a matter of personal taste. I do not know the
solution.”40
But Russell sidesteps all of that by writing, “I am
not for the moment concerned with whether there is a
difference between right and wrong, or whether there
is not: that is another question.”41 Russell doesn’t try
to ground his morality in reality. Rather, he points out
that if a Christian assumes there is a difference, he

37 Why I Am Not A Christian.
38 Romans 2:15.
39 Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity. Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.,
New York,1952. Pg. 45
40 Russell, Bertrand. Letter to the Observer. 1957.
41 Why I Am Not A Christian.
asks, “Is that difference due to God’s fiat or not?”42
In other words, is something good because God says
it is good, or does God say it is good because it really
is good?
The challenge is a difficult one. If one says that
God decides morality, then morality is an arbitrary
choice of God. He could have chosen one thing, but
He chose another. Murder, rape, and lying aren’t
really wrong; God just decided that they are. If, on
the other hand, one argued that God calls these things
wrong because they are truly wrong, then God is
subject to the laws of morality and thus morality is
not an argument for God because they are right or
wrong independently of Him.
This argument is not new. Theologians for years
have understood this struggle and have called it the
Euthyphro Dilemma. Unfortunately for Russell, there
is a third alternative. In the words of Scott Rae,
“Morality is not grounded ultimately in God’s
commands, but in His character, which then
expresses itself in His commands.”43 Something is
good, not because God said it and not because there
is a greater standard than God that He is obligated to,
but because it is a reflection of God Himself. God
created the world and a creation will always, in some
way, reflect the personality of its creator. God
Himself is the standard of goodness.
For example, lying is wrong. But it is not wrong
simply because God says not to and it isn’t wrong
because God has a standard against lying that He
must keep. Lying is wrong because God is, by His
very nature, truthful. The Bible teaches that God
“cannot lie”44 because He cannot violate His own
nature. For God to lie would be like a square circle.
Thus, Russell’s argument false prey to the false
dichotomy fallacy.
5. The Argument For The Remedying Of
Injustice.
Russell’s final critique involves a rather strange
argument. He states that theists believe “that there
must be a God, and there must be a Heaven and Hell
in order that in the long run there may be justice.”45
The idea that Russell seems to be getting at is that
many theists hope that God will, in the life to come,
remedy the hurts and pains of this life, as the Bible
promises.46 But people do not generally use this as an
argument for God’s existence. Rather, it is a
statement of hope in the character of God.

42 Ibid.
43 Scott Rae, Moral Choices–An Introduction to Ethics.
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1995. Pg. 32.
44 Titus 1:2.
45 Why I Am Not A Christian.
46 Revelation 21.
February, 2016
The Song Of The Redeemed
Rev. Jeriah D. Shank, M.Div.; M.A.; M.A.
Perhaps Russell is arguing against C.S. Lewis’
argument from desire. Lewis states:
“A man’s physical hunger does not prove
that man will get any bread; he may die of
starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But
surely a man’s hunger does prove that he
comes of a race which repairs its body by
eating and inhabits a world where eatable
substances exist. In the same way, though I
do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire
for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I
think it a pretty good indication that such a
thing exists and that some men will.”47
The point C.S. Lewis makes is that, if a person
longs for something, there is a high probably that
they long for it because it exists. This is not to say, as
Lewis points out, that such a desire proves the person
will get what they long for, but only that such a thing
is real. When a person longs for justice, peace, God,
etc., Lewis argues that this longing is rooted in the
ontological existence of such things.
While this is not an exceedingly convincing
argument, it should be pointed out, in Lewis’ defense,
that not one other thing that humans long for does not
exist. Everything that we need in the physical world
has a referential point in reality. Lewis then makes
the case that those things that are not physical must
then have a reality in the life to come.
For Russell, however, this argument tips his
hands as to what he believes is really the issue with
theistic belief:
“What really moves people to believe in
God is not any intellectual argument at all.
Most people believe in God because they
have been taught from early infancy to do it,
and that is the main reason.”48
For Russell, people believe in God because they
were taught to. This is a disappointing point because
a master philosopher should know that this is called
the genetic fallacy. The fallacy judges the rightness
or wrongness of a belief based upon the way a person
came to believe it. This is called a fallacy because a
person can hold a belief for any number of reasons,
but those reasons do not make or break the rightness
or wrongness of the belief itself. I may believe that
Christopher Columbus founded America because my
school teacher told me and because I was brought up
believing it, but that doesn’t mean he did or did not
found America. The issue must be settled by the
arguments for the thing, not by attacking the way a
person came to believe the thing.

47 Lewis, C.S. Weight Of Glory. HarperOne; HarperCollins REV
ed.2001. Pg. 32-33.
48 Why I Am Not A Christian.
When Russell’s arguments against the arguments
for theism are analyzed, they fall woefully short of
making a dent. It is interesting to note that the best
Russell can do is critique theistic arguments. Yet he
makes no positive arguments for atheism.
Responding To Specific Arguments Against
Christianity
1. The Character Of Christ
Russell now moves to attacking Christianity
itself. He begins with an off-handed comment that
Christians do not really follow what Jesus said to do,
like turning the other cheek.49 To Russell, it sounds
good, but try hitting a government official that claims
to be a Christian and see if they turn the other cheek!
But of course, the fact that people do not follow what
they claim to believe is hardly grounds for rejecting
the belief. Surely, Russell believes things that he has
not consistently lived as well.
2. Defects In Christ’s Teaching
In responding to specific Christian beliefs,
Russell’s most glaring weakness is that he expresses
doubt over the existence of a historical Jesus.
“Historically,” declares Russell, “it is quite doubtful
whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we
do not know anything about him.”50 Russell presents
this statement so causally that it is easy to gloss over
it. But this is actually a shocking admission! No
serious historian doubts the existence of the historical
Jesus. While there are always those on the fringe of
scholarship who insist on holding to the Christ Myth
theory, New Testament and historical scholars,
sacred and secular, vastly agree that Jesus existed and
that this is one of the most assured facts of all of
history. For example, leading New Testament critic
Bart Ehrman, who is well known for criticizing the
reliability of the Gospels and is himself an atheist,
writes of Jesus, “He certainly existed, as virtually
every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or
non-Christian, agrees.”51 He goes on to say, in an
interview:
“I don’t think there’s any serious historian
who doubts the existence of Jesus …. We
have more evidence for Jesus than we have
for almost anybody from his time period.”52
Marcus Borg, another leading Bible critic and
skeptic, has also written:
“Some judgments are so probable as to be
certain; for example, Jesus really existed,

49 Ibid.
50 Ibid.
51 Ehrman, Bart. Forged: Writing In The Name Of God.
HarperCollins, 2011. Pg 285.
52 Ehrman, Bart. Did Jesus Exist. An Interview By The Infidel
Guy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdqJyk-dtLs
February, 2016
The Song Of The Redeemed
Rev. Jeriah D. Shank, M.Div.; M.A.; M.A.
and he really was crucified, just as Julius
Caesar really existed and was assassinated.
…. We can in fact know as much about Jesus
as we can about any figure in the ancient
world.”53
This doubt places Russell well outside the camp
of serious work on the person of Jesus.
But this is not all he has to say on the matter. For
Russell, the bigger problem is that Jesus was
obviously wrong about several things He taught. The
prime example that Russell uses is that “he certainly
thought that His second coming would occur in
clouds of glory before the death of all the people who
were living at that time.”
54 He then quotes several
passages that show Jesus predicting His return before
the death of those listening. After all, if Jesus is
wrongly predicting the future, how can He be God?
Once again, Russell brings up an issue that
Christians have known about for centuries and he
brings it up as if it were new. But in response to these
so-called “failed prophecies,” several things need to
be understood. First, there are several passages which
indicate that Jesus believed the second coming was
still far in the future. His Great Commission, which
instructs His followers to “make disciples of all
nations,”55 would hardly have been possible in one
lifetime.
Second, there were passages that only seemed to
indicate His quick return, but were quickly clarified.
When Peter asks what will happen to John, Jesus’
response, “If I want him to remain until I come, what
is that to you,”
56 was immediately misunderstood to
teach that Jesus would return before John died, but
John himself clarifies that this did not mean that he
wouldn’t die, but that it was Jesus’ business what
would happen, not Peter’s.
Third, while some passages, such as Jesus
prediction that those who He was speaking to would
not die until they see the Son of Man coming in
glory,
57 seem to clearly indicate that Jesus believed
He would come in that generation, this is not an
accurate way of understanding these texts. The word
“generation” is from a common Greek word meaning
generation, but it can also mean race or family.58 It is
very plausible and probable that Jesus is saying that
the race of people He is addressing, the Jews, will not
pass away until His coming.

53 Borg, Marcus. The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions. HarperOne,
1999. Chapter 5.
54 Why I Am Not A Christian.
55 Matthew 28:19.
56 John 21:22-23.
57 Matthew 24:34.
58 Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. Ryrie Study Bible: Note On Matthew
24:34. Moody Press, Chicago, Il, 1995, Pg. 1561.
3. The Moral Problem
Unlike many who see Jesus as a moral teacher,
Russell takes issue which the content of His teaching.
Of all Jesus’ teachings, the one that is most offensive
to Russell is that Jesus believed in Hell. He writes:
“There is one very serious defect to my
mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is
that He believed in Hell. I do not myself feel
that any person who is really profoundly
humane can believe in everlasting
punishment.”59
To Russell, a person who believes others will
suffer for their sins eternally does not deserve our
adoration, but disdain. Yet, just earlier, he was
criticizing the idea that certain things are morally
right or wrong. If there is not real right and wrong,
why is it wrong to believe someone will suffer?
Russell stated that it was his “personal belief” that it
was wrong. My personal belief is that the Denver
Broncos are the greatest football team in history. Are
these beliefs equal? If not, what makes one belief
greater than another in a universe where 2.8 billion
years from now the sun will die out completely and
all living sacks of protoplasm will cease to exist?
Second, if someone were to rob Russell of his
car or were to murder someone he loved, he would
feel that such a person deserves to be punished. Why,
if people sin against God, does God not deserve
justice? One might suspect that it is because guilty
parties always want to deny the innocent party of
justice!
Third, if one were to ask why an eternal
punishment is necessary, the response would be that
the punishment has to fit the crime and there is a
greater degree of punishment based upon what one
does AND upon who one does it against. Punching a
co-worker in the nose will have fewer consequences
than punching the president. What kind of a
punishment for sin should exist for creatures who
have rebelled and pushed away an eternally good,
loving, holy, and just God? It turns out that Russell
denies to God the basic principles of justice that he
himself would afford himself if he were wronged.
4. The Emotional Factor, How Churches Have
Retarded Progress, And Fear, The Foundation Of
Religion.
Russell here begins a sustained argument that
begins under one heading but continues through two
others. For Russell, Christians accept Christianity,
not on the ground of evidence, but on the ground of
emotion. He goes back to an earlier theme but does
so at a new angle, stating, “As I said before, I do not

59 Why I Am Not A Christian.
February, 2016
The Song Of The Redeemed
Rev. Jeriah D. Shank, M.Div.; M.A.; M.A.
think that the real reason why people accept religion
has anything to do with argumentation. They accept
religion on emotional grounds.”
60 Again, he argues
toward the end of the paper that:
“Religion is based, I think, primarily and
mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the
unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish
to feel that you have a kind of older brother
who will stand by you in all your troubles
and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole
thing- fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat,
fear of death.”61
Yet, once more, what does that have to do with
the truth or false reality of Christianity? Russell’s
broken record refuses to stop playing. Even if fear
were the motivation for belief, it does not follow that
the belief is wrong. I love my wife for emotional
reasons, not because I weighed the pros and cons of
loving. This argument against Christianity does
nothing to argue against the validity of its claims.
But taking this a step farther, Russell must
believe that he himself is God. After all, how else
would Russell be able to judge the heart and intent of
those who believe in Christianity? Does he have
some way to know why every person has come to
believe? Russell goes too far in assigning this motive
to all religious faith. What of the testimonies of men
like Lee Strobel, Simon Greenleaf, Alister McGrath,
John Warrick Montgomery, or C.S. Lewis, all of
whom were convinced against their will that theism
was true? Lewis himself writes:
“You must picture me alone in that room at
Magdalen, night after night, feeling,
whenever my mind lifted even for a second
from my work, the steady, unrelenting
approach of Him whom I so earnestly
desired not to meet. That which I greatly
feared had at last come upon me. In the
Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted
that God was God, and knelt and prayed:
perhaps, that night, the most dejected and
reluctant convert in all England.”62
After this brief argument, He writes, “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.” 63 For the rest of the
essay, Russell complains about the way Christians
have impeded human progress by its “insistence upon
what it calls morality,” and have inflicted “upon all

60 Ibid.
61 Ibid.
62 Lewis, C.S. The Beloved Works Of C.S. Lewis: Surprised By Joy.
Inspirational Press, New York, NY. Pg. 125.
63 Why I Am Not A Christian.
sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary
suffering.”64 Russell includes one particular example:
“Supposing that…an inexperienced girl is
married to a syphilitic man; in that case the
Catholic Church says, ‘this is an
indissoluble sacrament. You must endure
celibacy or stay together. And if you stay
together, you must not use birth control to
prevent the birth of syphilitic children.’
Nobody whose natural sympathies have not
been warped by dogma, or whose moral
nature was not absolutely dead to all sense
of suffering, could maintain that it is right
and proper that that state of things should
continue.”65
Once again, it must be asked how Russell can
argue that such a thing is immoral when he does not
seem to believe in objective right and wrong? In
truth, he is insisting on what he calls morality to
condemn others for insisting on what they call
morality! He later writes:
“Science can teach us, and I think our own
hearts can teach us, no longer to look around
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
better place to live in, instead of the sort of
place that the churches in all these centuries
have made it.”66
Of course, science can do no such thing. Science
can tell us that by stabbing someone in the heart, their
body will die. But science cannot tell whether or not
one ought to stab someone in the heart.
But this is not where the issue stops. While some
groups, such as the Catholics and various Christians,
have insisted that all forms of birth control are
against biblical law, this is simply not the case and
thus cannot be reason to condemn Christian morality.
Further, the insistence upon not divorcing by
Christians is not about what is being denied but about
what is being encouraged. Christians believe that
God works through suffering and so, while escape is
not always wrong, it is far more important to be an
instrument of God in suffering than it is to escape
from it.67
In spite of Russell’s protests against Christian
morality, Christians have done much good. They
have started hospitals and soup kitchens, working
within systems to alleviate suffering in many ways.
One struggles to think of a any endeavor, done in the

64 Ibid.
65 Ibid.
66 Ibid.
67 See Romans 8:28-29; 1 Corinthians 7:12-16; Philippians 1-2
February, 2016
The Song Of The Redeemed
Rev. Jeriah D. Shank, M.Div.; M.A.; M.A.
name of atheism, aimed at alleviating suffering. It is
much easier to think of regimes that were overtly
atheistic that killed millions of people.
The Real Issue For Russell
When all is said and done, Russell’s critique of
the Christian arguments fails to cast any doubt upon
the validity of such arguments. But, for Russell, there
is a greater problem. Imagine a debate in which one
of the debaters is arguing that air does not exist. With
every scientific argument for air proposed, the a-airist
counters with a rebuttal. With every personal
testimony of air proposed, the a-airist suggests a
reason to doubt the credibility of the testifier. And
with every book detailing the nature of air proposed,
the a-airist gives a book supporting his view. Finally,
someone in the crowd yells, “But you’re breathing air
right now to make your case!”
Russell is arguing that God does not exist but he
cannot do so on the basis of his own principles. In his
materialistic universe where all things are matter,
there is no reason to believe that we as humans even
have the ability to think rationally or to trust the
thoughts of our mind. C.S. Lewis states:
“If the solar system was brought about by an
accidental collision, then the appearance of
organic life on this planet was also an
accident, and the whole evolution of Man
was an accident too. If so, then all our
present thoughts are mere accidents – the
accidental by-product of the movement of
atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the
materialists and astronomers as well as for
anyone else’s. But if their thoughts – i.e.,
Materialism and Astronomy – are mere
accidental by-products, why should we
believe them to be true? I see no reason for
believing that one accident should be able to
give me a correct account of all the other
accidents. It’s like expecting the accidental
shape taken by the splash when you upset a
milk-jug should give you a correct account
of how the jug was made and why it was
upset.”68
Lest someone object because Lewis was a
Christian and biased against evolution, Charles
Darwin himself understood the dilemma:
“With me the horrid doubt always arises
whether the convictions of man’s mind,
which has been developed from the mind of
the lower animals, are of any value or at all
trustworthy. Would anyone trust in the

68 Lewis, C.S. The Business of Heaven, Fount Paperbacks, U.K..,
1984. Pg. 97.
convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are
any convictions in such a mind?”69
But Russell still believes that he is capable of
rational thought, and he is! He is because, whether he
likes it or not, Christianity is true. He is made in the
image of God and is capable of understanding the
world around him because his Creator is a rational
and intelligent Being. Yet his own worldview is
incapable of accounting for his ability to argue
rationally. Thus, before Russell can even begin to
argue, he has lost. Russell’s position of atheism is not
a position of intellectual superiority, but of a man
rebelling against his nature as a creature of God in
the hopes to free himself from obligation to his
Creator.70

69 Darwin, Charles. Darwin Correspondence Project — Letter
13230 — Darwin, C. R. to Graham, William, 3 July 1881.
70 Romans 1:16-32

Other papers from Christian perspective:

Why I Am Not Convinced
A Critical Review Of Bertrand Russell’s “Why I Am Not A Christian.”

What are critiques or responses to Bertrand Russell’s “Why I Am Not a Christian? “

__

Image result for bertrand russell

 

Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer noted in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (p. 182 in Vol 5 of Complete Works) in the chapter The Breakdown in Philosophy and Science:

In his lecture at Acapulco, George Wald finished with only one final value. It was the same one with which English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was left. For Wald and Russell and for many other modern thinkers, the final value is the biological continuity of the human race. If this is the only final value, one is left wondering why this then has importance. 

Now having traveled from the pride of man in the High Renaissance and the Enlightenment down to the present despair, we can understand where modern people are. They have no place for a personal God. But equally they have no place for man as man, or for love, or for freedom, or for significance. This brings a crucial problem. Beginning only from man himself, people affirm that man is only a machine. But those who hold this position cannot live like machines! If they could, there would have been no tensions in their intellectual position or in their lives. But even people who believe they are machines cannot live like machines, and thus they must “leap upstairs” against their reason and try to find something which gives meaning to life, even though to do so they have to deny their reason. 

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?)

A much more dramatic story surrounds the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the present century. The Dead Sea Scrolls, some of which relate to the text of the Bible, were found at Qumran, about fifteen miles from Jerusalem.

Image result for dead sea scrolls

Most of the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek. Many people have been troubled  by the length of time that has elapsed between the original writing of the documents and the present translations. How could the originals be copied from generation to generation and not be grossly distorted in the process? There is, however, much to reassure confidence in the text we have.

In the case of the New Testament, there are codes of the whole New Testament (that is, manuscripts in book form, like the Codes Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus, dated around the fourth and fifth centuries respectively) and also thousands of fragments, some of them dating back to the second century. The earliest known so far is kept in the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England. It is only a small fragment, containing on one side John 18:31-33 and on the reverse, verses 37 and 38. It is important, however, both for its early date (about A.D.125) and for the place where it was discovered, namely Egypt. This shows that John’s Gospel was known and read in Egypt at that early time. There are thousands of such New Testament texts in Greek from the early centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection.

In the case of the Old Testament, however, there was once a problem. There were no copies of the Hebrew Old Testament in existence which dated from before the ninth century after Christ. This did not mean that there was no way to check the Old Testament, for there were other translations in existence, such as the Syriac and the Septuagint (a translation into Greek from several centuries before Christ). However, there was no Hebrew version of the Old Testament from earlier than the ninth century after Christ–because to the Jews the Scripture was so holy it was the common practice to destroy the copies of the Old Testament when they wore out, so that they would not fall into disrespectful use.

Then in 1947, a Bedouin Arab made a discovery not far from Qumran, which changed everything. While looking for sheep, he came across a cave in which he discovered some earthenware jars containing a number of scrolls. (There jars are now in the Israeli Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.) Since that time at least ten other caves in the same vicinity have yielded up other scrolls and fragments. Copies of all the Old Testament books except Esther have been discovered (in part or complete) among these remains. One of the most dramatic single pieces was a copy of the Book of Isaiah dated approximately a hundred years before Christ. What was particularly striking about this is the great closeness of the discovered text tothe Hebrew text, whicch we previously had, a text written about a thousand years later!

On the issue of text, the Bible is unique as ancient documents go. No other book from that long ago exists in even a small percentage of the copies we have of the Greek and Hebrew texts which make up the Bible. We can be satisfied that we have a copy in our hands which closely approximates the original. Of course, there have been some mistakes in copying, and all translation lose something of the original language. That is inevitable. But the fact that most of us use translations into French, German, Chinise, English, and so on does not mean that we have an inadequate idea of what was written originally. We lose some of the nuances of the language, even when the translation is good, but we do not lose the essential content and communication.

Image result for dead sea scrolls

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