Tag Archives: Lewis Wolpert

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 UU Sir Bertrand Russell, Lenin’s meeting with Russell and WHY Communism fails EVERYTIME!!!!!

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

Image result for 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,

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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Today I am not going to attack this quote above from Russell. I have done that enough in the past. Today I am going to look at Russell’s notes on communism and also examine his personal meeting with Lenin. Lenin just laughed when Lenin said that it was the plan for the poor peasants to hang the peasants that were a little better well off. This comment caught Russell off guard. Russell had already noted that Lenin was a “great man.” However, this embracing of violence caught Russell by surprise.

Then I will look at an examination of communism by Francis Schaeffer who will tell us why Communism ALWAYS fails to give the freedoms that it says it will and why so many young people are caught up in its idealistic promises.

“Why I am Not a Communist”
by Betrand Russell

“I am completely at a loss to understand how it came about that some people who are both humane and intelligent could find something to admire in the vast slave camp produced by Stalin.”

      I n relation to any political doctrine there are two questions to be asked: (1) Are its theoretical tenets true? (2) Is its practical policy likely to increase human happiness? For my part, I think the theoretical tenets of Communism are false, and I think its practical maxims are such as to produce an immeasurable increase of human misery.

      The theoretical doctrines of Communism are for the most part derived from Marx. My objections to Marx are of two sorts: one, that he was muddle-headed; and the other, that his thinking was almost entirely inspired by hatred. The doctrine of surplus value, which is supposed to demonstrate the exploitation of wage-earners under capitalism, is arrived at: (a) by surreptitiously accepting Malthus’s doctrine of population, which Marx and all his disciples explicitly repudiate; (b) by applying Ricardo’s theory of value to wages, but not to the prices of manufactured articles. He is entirely satisfied with the result, not because it is in accordance with the facts or because it is logically coherent, but because it is calculated to rouse fury in wage-earners. Marx’s doctrine that all historical events have been motivated by class conflicts is a rash and untrue extension to world history of certain features prominent in England and France a hundred years ago. His belief that there is a cosmic force called Dialectical Materialism which governs human history independently of human volitions, is mere mythology. His theoretical errors, however, would not have mattered so much but for the fact that, like Tertullian and Carlyle, his chief desire was to see his enemies punished, and he cared little what happened to his friends in the process.

      Marx’s doctrine was bad enough, but the developments which it underwent under Lenin and Stalin made it much worse. Marx had taught that there would be a revolutionary transitional period following the victory of the proletariat in a civil war and that during this period the proletariat, in accordance with the usual practice after a civil war, would deprive its vanquished enemies of political power. This period was to be that of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It should not be forgotten that in Marx’s prophetic vision the victory of the proletariat was to come after it had grown to be the vast majority of the population. The dictatorship of the proletariat therefore as conceived by Marx was not essentially anti-democratic. In the Russia of 1917, however, the proletariat was a small percentage of the population, the great majority being peasants. it was decreed that the Bolshevik party was the class-conscious part of the proletariat, and that a small committee of its leaders was the class-conscious part of the Bolshevik party. The dictatorship of the proletariat thus came to be the dictatorship of a small committee, and ultimately of one man – Stalin. As the sole class-conscious proletarian, Stalin condemned millions of peasants to death by starvation and millions of others to forced labour in concentration camps. He even went so far as to decree that the laws of heredity are henceforth to be different from what they used to be, and that the germ-plasm is to obey Soviet decrees but that that reactionary priest Mendel. I am completely at a loss to understand how it came about that some people who are both humane and intelligent could find something to admire in the vast slave camp produced by Stalin.

      I have always disagreed with Marx. My first hostile criticism of him was published in 1896. But my objections to modern Communism go deeper than my objections to Marx. It is the abandonment of democracy that I find particularly disastrous. A minority resting its powers upon the activities of secret police is bound to be cruel, oppressive and obscuarantist. The dangers of the irresponsible power cane to be generally recognized during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but those who have forgotten all that was painfully learnt during the days of absolute monarchy, and have gone back to what was worst in the middle ages under the curious delusion that they were in the vanguard of progress.

      There are signs that in course of time the Russian régime will become more liberal. But, although this is possible, it is very far from certain. In the meantime, all those who value not only art and science but a sufficiency of bread and freedom from the fear that a careless word by their children to a schoolteacher may condemn them to forced labour in a Siberian wilderness, must do what lies in their power to preserve in their own countries a less servile and more prosperous manner of life.

      There are those who, oppressed by the evils of Communism, are led to the conclusion that the only effective way to combat these evils is by means of a world war. I think this a mistake. At one time such a policy might have been possible, but now war has become so terrible and Communism has become so powerful that no one can tell what would be left after a world war, and whatever might be left would probably be at least as bad as present -day Communism. This forecast does not depend upon the inevitable effects of mass destruction by means of hydrogen and cobalt bombs and perhaps of ingeniously propagated plagues. The way to combat Communism is not war. What is needed in addition to such armaments as will deter Communists from attacking the West, is a diminution of the grounds for discontent in the less prosperous parts of the non-communist world. In most of the countries of Asia, there is abject poverty which the West ought to alleviate as far as it lies in its power to do so. There is also a great bitterness which was caused by the centuries of European insolent domination in Asia. This ought to be dealt with by a combination of patient tact with dramatic announcements renouncing such relics of white domination as survive in Asia. Communism is a doctrine bred of poverty, hatred and strife. Its spread can only be arrested by diminishing the area of poverty and hatred.

from Portraits from Memory published in 1956

http://skepticva.org/excerpt-Lenin.html

Bertrand Russell on Lenin

excerpted from
LENIN, TROTSKY AND GORKY

itself an excerpt from
“The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism” By Bertrand Russell.

Webmaster’s note

The last paragraph (especially) shows that Russell’s atheism has nothing in common with Marxist-Leninism. It refutes the idea that the USSR is a lesson against the rejection of religion, because it had exactly the faults that mar any dogmatic belief.

Soon after my arrival in Moscow I had an hour’s conversation with Lenin in English, which he speaks fairly well. An interpreter was present, but his services were scarcely required. Lenin’s room is very bare; it contains a big desk, some maps on the walls, two book-cases, and one comfortable chair for visitors in addition to two or three hard chairs. It is obvious that he has no love of luxury or even comfort. He is very friendly, and apparently simple, entirely without a trace of hauteur.

If one met him without knowing who he was, one would not guess that he is possessed of great power or even that he is in any way eminent. I have never met a personage so destitute of self-importance. He looks at his visitors very closely, and screws up one eye, which seems to increase alarmingly the penetrating power of the other. He laughs a great deal; at first his laugh seems merely friendly and jolly, but gradually I came to feel it rather grim. He is dictatorial, calm, incapable of fear, extraordinarily devoid of self-seeking, an embodied theory.

The MATERIALIST conception of history, one feels, is his life-blood. He resembles a professor in his desire to have the theory understood and in his fury with those who misunderstand or disagree, as also in his love of expounding, I got the impression that he despises a great many people and is an intellectual aristocrat.

When I suggested that whatever is possible in England can be achieved without bloodshed, he waved aside the suggestion as fantastic. I got little impression of knowledge or psychological imagination as regards Great Britain. Indeed the whole tendency of Marxianism is against psychological imagination, since it attributes everything in politics to purely  MATERIAL causes.

I asked him next whether he thought it possible to establish Communism firmly and fully in a country containing such a large majority of peasants. He admitted that it was difficult, and laughed over the exchange the peasant is compelled to make, of food for paper; the worthlessness of Russian paper struck him as comic. But he said—what is no doubt true—that things will right themselves when there are goods to offer to the peasant. For this he looks partly to electrification in industry, which, he says, is a technical necessity in Russia, but will take ten years to complete. He spoke with enthusiasm, as they all do, of the great scheme for generating electrical power by means of peat. Of course he looks to the raising of the blockade as the only radical cure; but he was not very hopeful of this being achieved thoroughly or permanently except through revolutions in other countries. Peace between Bolshevik Russia and capitalist countries, he said, must always be insecure; the Entente might be led by weariness and mutual dissensions to conclude peace, but he felt convinced that the peace would be of brief duration. I found in him, as in almost all leading Communists, much less eagerness than existed in our delegation for peace and the raising of the blockade. He believes that nothing of real value can be achieved except through world revolution and the abolition of capitalism; I felt that he regarded the resumption of trade with capitalist countries as a mere palliative of doubtful value.

He described the division between rich and poor peasants, and the Government propaganda among the latter against the former, leading to acts of violence which he seemed to find amusing. He spoke as though the dictatorship over the peasant would have to continue a long time, because of the peasant’s desire for free trade. He said he knew from statistics (what I can well believe) that the peasants have had more to eat these last two years than they ever had before, “and yet they are against us,” he added a little wistfully. I asked him what to reply to critics who say that in the country he has merely created peasant proprietorship, not Communism; he replied that that is not quite the truth, but he did not say what the truth is.

 

The last question I asked him was whether resumption of trade with capitalist countries, if it took place, would not create centres of capitalist influence, and make the preservation of Communism more difficult? It had seemed to me that the more ardent Communists might well dread commercial intercourse with the outer world, as leading to an infiltration of heresy, and making the rigidity of the present system almost impossible. I wished to know whether he had such a feeling. He admitted that trade would create difficulties, but said they would be less than those of the war. He said that two years ago neither he nor his colleagues thought they could survive against the hostility of the world. He attributes their survival to the jealousies and divergent interests of the different capitalist nations; also to the power of Bolshevik propaganda. He said the Germans had laughed when the Bolsheviks proposed to combat guns with leaflets, but that the event had proved the leaflets quite as powerful. I do not think he recognizes that the Labour and Socialist parties have had any part in the matter. He does not seem to know that the attitude of British Labour has done a great deal to make a first-class war against Russia impossible, since it has confined the Government to what could be done in a hole-and-corner way, and denied without a too blatant mendacity.

I think if I had met him without knowing who he was, I should not have guessed that he was a great man; he struck me as too opinionated and narrowly orthodox. His strength comes, I imagine, from his honesty, courage, and unwavering faith—religious faith in the Marxian gospel, which takes the place of the Christian martyr’s hopes of Paradise, except that it is less egotistical. He has as little love of liberty as the Christians who suffered under Diocletian, and retaliated when they acquired power. Perhaps love of liberty is incompatible with whole-hearted belief in a panacea for all human ills. If so, I cannot but rejoice in the sceptical temper of the Western world.

I went to Russia a Communist; but contact with those who have no doubts has intensified a thousandfold my own doubts, not as to Communism in itself, but as to the wisdom of holding a creed so firmly that for its sake men are willing to inflict widespread misery.

Almanac: Bertrand Russell on Lenin’s sense of humor

INK BOTTLE“When I met Lenin, I had much less impression of a great man than I had expected; my most vivid impressions were of Mongolian cruelty and bigotry. When I put a question to him about socialism in agriculture, he explained with glee how he had incited the poorer peasants against the richer ones, ‘and they soon hanged them from the nearest tree—ha! ha! ha!’ His guffaw at the thought of those massacred made my blood run cold.”

Bertrand Russell, “Eminent Men I Have Known” (courtesy of Richard Brookhiser)

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Communism catches the attention of the young at heart but it has always brought repression wherever it is tried. “True Communism has never been tried” is something I was told just a few months ago by a well meaning young person who was impressed with the ideas of Karl Marx. I responded that there are only 5 communist countries in the world today and they lack political, economic and religious freedom.
Tony Bartolucci noted that Schaeffer has correctly pointed out:
Hope in Marxism-Leninism is a leap in the area of nonreason. From the Russian Revolution until 1959 a total of 66 million prisoners died. This was deemed acceptable to the leaders because internal security was to be gained at any cost. The ends justified the means. The materialism of Marxism gives no basis for human dignity or rights. These hold to their philosophy against all reason and close their eyes to the oppression of the system.

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

WHY DOES COMMUNISM FAIL?
Communism has always failed because of its materialist base.  Francis Schaeffer does a great job of showing that in this clip below. Also Schaeffer shows that there were lots of similar things about the basis for both the French and Russia revolutions and he exposes the materialist and humanist basis of both revolutions.

Schaeffer compares communism with French Revolution and Napoleon.

1. Lenin took charge in Russia much as Napoleon took charge in France – when people get desperate enough, they’ll take a dictator.

Other examples: Hitler, Julius Caesar. It could happen again.

2. Communism is very repressive, stifling political and artistic freedom. Even allies have to be coerced. (Poland).

Communists say repression is temporary until utopia can be reached – yet there is no evidence of progress in that direction. Dictatorship appears to be permanent.

3. No ultimate basis for morality (right and wrong) – materialist base of communism is just as humanistic as French. Only have “arbitrary absolutes” no final basis for right and wrong.

How is Christianity different from both French Revolution and Communism?

Contrast N.T. Christianity – very positive government reform and great strides against injustice. (especially under Wesleyan revival).

Bible gives absolutes – standards of right and wrong. It shows the problems and why they exist (man’s fall and rebellion against God).

WHY DOES THE IDEA OF COMMUNISM CATCH THE ATTENTION OF SO MANY IDEALISTIC YOUNG PEOPLE? The reason is very simple. 

In HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, the late Francis A. Schaeffer wrote:

Materialism, the philosophic base for Marxist-Leninism, gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Where Marxist-Leninism is not in power it attracts and converts by talking much of dignity and rights, but its materialistic base gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Yet is attracts by its constant talk of idealism.

To understand this phenomenon we must understand that Marx reached over to that for which Christianity does give a base–the dignity of man–and took the words as words of his own.  The only understanding of idealistic sounding Marxist-Leninism is that it is (in this sense) a Christian heresy.  Not having the Christian base, until it comes to power it uses the words for which Christianity does give a base.  But wherever Marxist-Leninism has had power, it has at no place in history shown where it has not brought forth oppression.  As soon as they have had the power, the desire of the majority has become a concept without meaning.

Is Christianity at all like Communism?

Sometimes Communism sounds very “Christian” – desirable goals of equality, justice, etc but these terms are just borrowed from the New Testament. Schaeffer elsewhere explains by saying Marxism is a Christian heresy.

Below is a great article. Free-lance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

This article was published January 30, 2011 at 2:28 a.m. Here is a portion of that article below:
A final advantage is the mutation of socialism into so many variants over the past century or so. Precisely because Karl Marx was unclear as to how it would work in practice, socialism has always been something of an empty vessel into which would be revolutionaries seeking personal meaning and utopian causes to support can pour pretty much anything.
A desire to increase state power, soak the rich and expand the welfare state is about all that is left of the original vision. Socialism for young lefties these days means “social justice” and compassion for the poor, not the gulag and the NKVD.
In the end, the one argument that will never wash is that communismcan’t be said to have failed because it was never actually tried. This is a transparent intellectual dodge that ignores the fact that “people’s democracies” were established all over the place in the first three decades after World War II.
Such sophistry is resorted to only because communism in all of those places produced hell on earth rather than heaven.
That the attempts to build communism in a remarkable variety of different geographical regions led to only tyranny and mass bloodshed tells us only that it was never feasible in the first place, and that societies built on the socialist principle ironically suffer from the kind of “inner contradictions” that Marx mistakenly predicted would destroy capitalism.
Yes, all economies are mixed in nature, and one could plausibly argue that the socialist impulse took the rough edges off of capitalism by sponsoring the creation of welfare-state programs that command considerable public support.
But the fact remains that no society in history has been able to achieve sustained prosperity without respect for private property and market forces of supply and demand. Nations, therefore, retain their economic dynamism only to the extent that they resist the temptation to travel too far down the socialist road.

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer notes:

At Berkeley the Free Speech Movement arose simultaneously with the hippie world of drugs. At first it was politically neither left nor right, but rather a call for the freedom to express any political views on Sproul Plaza. Then soon the Free Speech Movement became the Dirty Speech Movement, in which freedom was seen as shouting four-letter words into a mike.  Soon after, it became the platform for the political New Left which followed the teaching of Herbert Marcuse. Marcuse was a German professor of philosophy related to the neo-Marxist teaching of the “Frankfurt School,” along with...Jurgen Habermas (1929-). 

Herbert Marcuse, “Liberation from the Affluent Society” (1967)

Brannon Howse talks some about the Frankfurt School in some of his publications too. 

During the 1960’s many young people were turning to the New Left fueled by Marcuse and Habermas but something happened to slow many young people’s enthusiasm for that movement.

1970 bombing took away righteous standing of Anti-War movement

Francis Schaeffer mentioned the 1970 bombing in his film series “How should we then live?” and I wanted to give some more history on it. Schaeffer asserted:

In the United States the New Left also slowly ground down,losing favor because of the excesses of the bombings, especially in the bombing of the University of Wisconsin lab in 1970, where a graduate student was killed. This was not the last bomb that was or will be planted in the United States. Hard-core groups of radicals still remain and are active, and could become more active, but the violence which the New Left produced as its natural heritage (as it also had in Europe) caused the majority of young people in the United States no longer to see it as a hope. So some young people began in 1964 to challenge the false values of personal peace and affluence, and we must admire them for this. Humanism, man beginning only from himself, had destroyed the old basis of values, and could find no way to generate with certainty any new values.  In the resulting vacuum the impoverished values of personal peace and affluence had comes to stand supreme. And now, for the majority of the young people, after the passing of the false hopes of drugs as an ideology and the fading of the New Left, what remained? Only apathy was left. In the United States by the beginning of the seventies, apathy was almost complete. In contrast to the political activists of the sixties, not many of the young even went to the polls to vote, even though the national voting age was lowered to eighteen. Hope was gone.

After the turmoil of the sixties, many people thought that it was so much the better when the universities quieted down in the early seventies. I could have wept. The young people had been right in their analysis, though wrong in their solutions. How much worse when many gave up hope and simply accepted the same values as their parents–personal peace and affluence. (How Should We Then Live, pp. 209-210

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Sunday, August 28th, 2011, 11:11pm

Aug. 24 marked the 41st anniversary of the Sterling Hall bombing on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Four men planned the bomb at the height of the student protests over the Vietnam War. Back then, current Madison Mayor Paul Soglin was one of the leaders of those student protests in the capitol city. This weekend, Soglin recalled the unrest felt by UW-Madison students.

“The anti-war movement adopted a lot of its tactics and strategies from the civil rights movement which was about ten years older,” said Soglin. “It was one of picketing, demonstration, and passive resistance.”

The four men who planned the bombing focused on the Army Mathematics Research Center housed in Sterling Hall because it was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and therefore, worked on weapons technology. Karl Armstrong was one of the four men and he recently spoke with CBS News in his first television interview detailing the moments right before the bomb was set off.

“He asked me, he says, ‘Should we go ahead? Are we gonna do this?’ I think I made a comment to him about something like, ‘Now, I know what war is about,'” remembered Armstrong. “And I told him to light it.”

The bomb killed one researcher and father of three, 33-year-old Robert Fassnacht, although Armstrong maintains they planned the attack thinking no one would get hurt. The four men heard about the death as they were in their getaway car after the bomb went off.

“I felt good about doing the bombing, the bombing per se, but not taking someone’s life,” recalled Armstrong.

The researcher’s wife told CBS News that she harbors no ill will toward Armstrong and the other bombers. Three of the four men were captured and served time in prison. Armstrong served eight years of a 23-year sentence.

The fourth man, Leo Burt, was last seen in the fall of 1970 in Ontario and is to this day, still wanted by the FBI, with a $150,000 reward for his capture.

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 TT Bertrand Russell’s View of Jesus Christ

 

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Image result for bertrand russell

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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

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Harold W. Kroto (left) receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, in 1996.

Soren Andersson/AP

Image result for harry kroto nobel prize

 

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Image result for 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,

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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._

Below is article I found on internet:

Bertrand Russell’s View of Jesus Christ

From the first century up to the present day, the Sonship and divinity of Jesus have been attacked with amazingly and seemingly unending vigor and venom. One of the modern-day leaders in this attack against Christianity would certainly be Bertrand Russell, who was one of the most influential, and often outspoken, philosophers of the twentieth century. He was born in England in 1872 and continued to write and lecture in both Europe and the United States until not long before his death in 1970. His parents were freethinkers and close friends with John Stuart Mill, a pioneer in modern scientific thinking who devised rules for inductive scientific reasoning and was a leader of ethical utilitarianism (“Russell” 235). For the purposes of this article, Russell and his criticisms will be used as a model for skeptics in general. First, it will be succinctly shown that this discussion is still relevant and important as popular culture continues to disseminate false information concerning Christ and Christianity. Second, Russell’s arguments presented in Why I Am Not A Christian will be examined and then exposed as being untenable and false. Third, some basic proofs and evidences will be given in support of the claim that Jesus is divine.

Even while Jesus walked this Earth, many of His contemporaries refused to acknowledge the fact that He was divine. Consider, for example, the account of the blind man who was given his sight by Jesus (cf. John 9). The attitude displayed by the Pharisees is quite remarkable. For some, their first reaction upon hearing about the miracle was disbelief (John 9:16, 18). They had reached agreement that anyone confessing Jesus to be the Christ would be put out of the synagogue (John 9:22). Even after the man’s parents confirmed the fact that he was indeed born blind they still refused to believe. They even went so far at to attack his character as they claimed to “know” that Jesus was a sinner (John 9:24, 29).

The attitudes displayed by the Pharisees in the first century can be easily seen and readily recognized as attitudes that are popular today. Take for example the commotion stirred up by the book by Simcha Jacobovici and the subsequent film on the Discovery Channel by James Cameron. In The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence that Could Change History, the claim is made that a tomb in Jerusalem has been found that not only contains the bones of Jesus, but also proves that He was married and had children. If such were to be the case, Christianity would be a sham to be avoided. As evidence to the contrary is presented, showing the tomb to be a hoax, the scholars who appeared in the film are backing off of the strong comments they made (Habermas). Then there is Dan Brown and his best-seller The DaVinci Code. Among other claims, such as Christ being married to Mary Magdalene, it is asserted that the Council of Nicea in AD 325 was used to invent the reality that Jesus was divine. It is further stated that everyone knew Jesus was just a “great and powerful man” at this point and it took a vote by contemporaries of Constantine to “make” Jesus the Son of God (Brown 253). Though damage has been done, scores of books and papers have been written which clearly refute the erroneous claims made by Brown (cf. “Truth”).

Skeptics such as Brown and Jacobovici stand in a long line of those seeking to discredit the claims that Jesus was divine. Eighty years ago, Bertrand Russell mounted a head-on attack of the existence of God and the divinity of Jesus in his speech that was later published under the title, Why I Am Not A Christian. This lecture was delivered on March 6, 1927, at Battersea Town Hall, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society (Egner 585). This particular work has been highly influential since the day it was presented and continues to be so. Proof of its continued influence is found in the numerous websites that persist in lauding the efforts of Russell as they discuss the merits of his work. Typing, “Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian” on any internet search engine will literally return hundreds of thousands of hits. From research papers to personal blogs, this important work remains a serious topic for discussion and consideration.

The lecture/essay by the famous skeptic is divided into two parts: first, an attack against God and second, an attack against Jesus. Russell begins by giving his own definition of a Christian. He contends that to be a Christian one must believe in God and immortality and then also have some kind of belief about Christ (Egner 585). This two-part definition for a Christian leads Russell to say, “Therefore I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian I have to tell you two different things; first, why I do not believe in God and in immortality; and, secondly, why I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant Him a very high degree of moral goodness” (586).

Discussion about the traditional arguments for the existence of God (cosmological, teleological, et. al.) and Russell’s attack on them is outside the scope of this article. Our task is limited to Jesus being the Christ. Specifically concerning Jesus, Russell attacks two things: His teaching and His moral character. It is easy to see how Russell, just like the Pharisees of John 9, has chosen to be blind to the evidence and available information. For example:

. . . I do not believe that one can grant either the superlative wisdom or the superlative goodness of Christ as depicted in the Gospels; and here I may say that one is not concerned with the historical question. Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him, so that I am not concerned with the historical question, which is a very difficult one. I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospels, taking the Gospel narrative as it stands, and there one does find some things that do not seem to be very wise. (qtd. in Egner 592)

It seems hard to believe that a man as intelligent as Russell, with all of his academic credentials and obvious ability to do research, would choose to be blind to the overwhelming facts. He believes the “historical question” is difficult to answer and that Christ probably never existed. What about the testimony of ancient writers who were antagonistic to the Christian faith such as Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, Cerinthus, Celsus, Porphyry, Thallaus, and Josephus (just to name a few)? Each of these men, in different ways and for different reasons, all offer proof that Jesus was a real man and an historical figure. Often they were attempting to prove that Christ was not divine, but in so doing, proved that He was historical. How could Russell have missed such compelling evidence? Obviously, if he can be wrong about the historicity of Christ, he can be wrong about the divinity of Christ.

First, Russell attacks the wisdom and teaching of Christ. Russell contends that Jesus taught that the Second Coming would “occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time” (593). In fact, Jesus explicitly said that no one knew the time of His coming back (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7). Thus, it is contrary to His very teaching to understand Him as telling an audience when He would return.

By saying Jesus predicted He would return within forty years (one generation) indicates at least two major problems. One, Jesus was ignorant (not superlatively wise). Two, Jesus was a false teacher. Neither one of these ideas is compatible with the idea that Jesus was God on Earth (John 1:1, 14; Matthew 1:23; etc.). On the contrary, the Bible portrays Jesus as one who was omniscient by such statements as He, “needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man” (John 2:25). Even the Samaritan woman recognized His amazing knowledge when she proclaimed, “Come, see a man, who told me all things that ever I did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29). And, being God on Earth, it would be impossible for Jesus to tell a lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18).

One major factor contributing to the misunderstanding is that Russell confuses the coming of  the kingdom (the church) with the second coming and judgment. Only a basic understanding of the Bible is needed to clearly see Russell’s blunder. Just prior to His death on the cross, Jesus stated that His kingdom, the church, would be established very soon. “And I also say to you that you art Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). To which He further stated, “And He said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God present with power’” (Mark 9:1). These statements are completely and perfectly fulfilled on the first Pentecost after the ascension of Jesus into heaven, “[P]raising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Thus Christ was predicting that the church would be established in the very near future, not when He would return.

To claim the Christ had a “defect” in his teaching is quite disturbing. Some Bible scholars have studied the available evidence and come to the conclusion that Jesus was unmatched and should be considered the greatest teacher of all time. Consider the thoughts of Thomas B. Warren who wrote that Jesus was the incomparable teacher because:
1. The circumstances of His teaching.
2. His perfect knowledge of the subject matter He taught.
3. He had perfect knowledge of the people whom He taught.
4. His methods were clear and concrete.
5. The overall purpose of His mission to the Earth.
6. He practiced perfectly what He taught.
7. His attitude toward truth.
8. The breadth of His vision.
9. No teacher could ever compare with Jesus in the moral standard He set out.
10. No teacher ever taught a message which could have as far-reaching effects for good as that taught by Jesus.
11. No one ever loved his students as Jesus loved His.
12. He spoke with incomparable authority. (108-13)

Warren concludes the section of Jesus as a teacher by saying, “Jesus was the incomparable teacher. This fact is compelling evidence in favor of the conclusion that He is the Son of the only true God. He was so marvelously unique as a teacher that He simply could not have been merely a human being. We are driven to the conclusion that He was Divine” (114).

Second, Russell attacks the morality and character of Christ. He says, “There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell” (Egner 593). Does belief in hell constitute a moral defect? Note the comparison between Hell and the Jewish holocaust by Norman Geisler who said, “The fact that Jesus believed in hell does not make him any more inhumane than someone who believes in the Jewish holocaust. Certainly, if the holocaust happened, then it is not inhumane to believe in it. Likewise, if hell is real, then one is not inhumane for believing it is real. The question is one of truth, not of humanity” (679).

Russell feels that no humane individual can believe in everlasting punishment, but how can one who advocates moral relativity make such a claim? When the standard of authority is subjective in nature (feelings, emotions, majority, situations, et. al.) it is very easy to say, “I don’t see how such a thing as hell could be possible.” Subjectivity leads to inconsistency and Russell had an inconsistent view of sin. He denied its validity, reducing everything to the desirable or undesirable. Yet he seemed to have no doubt that belief in hell was really and truly cruel, unmerciful, and inhumane. Such are moral absolutist positions. If morality is merely the desirable or undesirable, then there are no real moral grounds to say anything is cruel or wrong. It is counter intuitive to say that God is unjust in punishing the unjust. Thus one can see that when the standard of authority comes from outside of your personal beliefs or feelings, the situation is much different. The basis for religious knowledge is stated as such: (1) If God exists, (2) The Bible is the inspired word of God, (3) The Bible teaches that there is a place of eternal life as well as a place of eternal punishment, then (4) I can know that there is a place of eternal punishment (cf. Matthew 25:46; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3; John 8:31-32; et al.).

R. C. Oliver has made note of the fact that both friends and enemies alike attested to the perfect moral character of Jesus: “The character of Jesus is revealed in the first four books of the New Testament by: (1) what he did, (2) what he said, and (3) what others said about him. And in all of this evidence not the least flaw can be found against him. Even the testimony by his enemies, by which they were hoping to show a fault, revealed instead a virtue, one example of which is their accusation that Jesus was ‘a friend of publicans and sinners’ (Luke 7:34)” (5).

A logical inconsistency arises from one saying about Jesus on the one hand, “I grant Him a very high degree of moral goodness,” but on the other hand, “There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character.” Can both statements be rationally made? It would appear to be illogical to say someone held a high degree of moral goodness if they claimed to be the Son of God when, in fact, they were not the Son of God. Jesus certainly made such claims (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:61-2). As Josh McDowell has written, “You cannot put him on the shelf as a great moral teacher. That is not a valid option. He is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God. You must make a choice” (34). Echoing the thoughts of McDowell, Peter Kreeft has written:

Nearly every non-Christian who ever lived has believed that Jesus was neither God nor a bad man but just a good man. But just a good man is the one thing he could not possibly have been. If he was the God he claimed to be, then he was not just a good man but more than a man. And if he was not the God he claimed to be, then he was not a good man at all but a bad man. A man who claims to be God and is not cannot be called “a good man.” He is either insane (if he believes that he is God) or a blasphemous liar (if he does not believe he is God but claims that he is). (229)

Russell also accuses Jesus of being vindictive and intolerant (Egner 593). Did Christ simply wish for the punishment and destruction of any and all who would not listen to Him and accept His teaching? Yes, according to Russell. No, according to the Bible. “. ..God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:3-6). Jesus specifically taught His followers not to be vindictive (Matthew 5:39, 44). What objective student of the Bible could describe the attitude displayed on the cross as vindictive? After a brutal beating and cruel mocking, Jesus still displayed amazing love and mercy from the cross. Notice the Scriptures say, “And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ And they divided His garments and cast lots” (Luke 23:33-34). It broke Jesus’ heart when His audiences would refuse to hear the truth (Matthew 23:37; Mark 6:34). He wanted their loving obedience. He drew no pleasure from the punishment of others.

Russell further accuses Jesus of using fear tactics to force people into following him. Referring to Hell and the sin against the Holy Spirit, he said, “I really do not think that a person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world” (qtd. in Egner 594). Is the person who warns the residents of a seacoast town that a hurricane is coming guilty of using fear tactics? The key lies in the truth of the statement. Fear can be perfectly rational if the thing to be feared is real. If hell is real, as Jesus says that it is
(Matthew 25:41), then the only loving and kind thing to do would be to warn others of its existence so that all who listen might avoid such a destination.

Almost in passing, Russell mentions the account of demons being cast into swine and that of Jesus cursing the fig tree as further evidence of character flaws (594). These biblical accounts are found in Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-17; Luke 8:27-34 and Matthew 21:18-20; Mark 11:12-22,
respectively. What is significant about these stories? Was Jesus unkind to animals? Was Jesus unkind to the tree and the environment? Of course not. As God, Jesus was sovereign over all life. He created it, and He had the right to take it (Deuteronomy 32:39; Job 1:21). The key is to look for the lesson being taught. The fig tree illustrates the fact that Israel’s rejection of the Messiah will lead to disaster. Casting the demons into the swine proved that Jesus was more powerful than Satan and his angels.

Finally, some basic proofs and evidences will be given in support of the claim that Jesus is Divine. If the particular characteristics of the person and work of Jesus Christ are such as to be beyond those of mere men, then Jesus is the Son of God and those like Russell will have been defeated. Such will be proven when it is shown that Jesus fulfilled prophecy, performed miracles, and was raised from the dead (Gardner 55-70).

First, Jesus uniquely fulfilled Old Testament prophecy.

From Genesis through Malachi, the history of Jesus is foretold in minute detail. Bible critics who wish to disprove Christ’s deity must refute fulfilled prophecy. To accomplish this, one would have to contend that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies genuinely; rather, He only appeared to fulfill them. Yet with over 300 prophecies relating to Christ–none of which can be dismissed flippantly–this is an impossible task. (Thompson 254-55)

Just a few of the more notable fulfilled prophecies would be: the Messiah would be conceived of a virgin and called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-23); He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2.1); would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60); would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15); and His side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34, 37).

Second, Jesus proved He was the Son of God by the miracles He performed. This is exactly the point Peter was driving home to the Jewish audience in Acts 2:22, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.” The evidence that Jesus authenticated His claim to being God by performing miracles can be demonstrated through six points: (1) the reliability of the New Testament, (2) the inclusion of historical details lends credibility, (3) Jewish leaders and Jesus’ opponents admitted He performed miracles, (4) antagonistic sources outside the Bible confirm Jesus’ miracles, (5) the miraculous resurrection is one of the best-attested events in the ancient world, and (6) alternative explanations fall short (Zacharias 89-93). Jim McGuiggan has suggested three positive reasons for holding that the miracles of Jesus Christ really happened: 1) the reputation of Jesus Christ, 2) the powerful testimony of history, and 3) the subsequent miracles of the apostolic group (63-73).

Third, Jesus proved He was the Son of God when He walked out of the tomb on the third day after He was nailed to the cross. John Stott points out that this event was both dateable and physical (46-8). In other words, it was testable. It was a dateable historical event and actually
involved the body of Jesus. In The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel records Craig’s affirmative case for the empty tomb:
1. The empty tomb is definitely implicit in the early tradition that is passed along by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, which is a very old and reliable source of historical information about Jesus.
2. The site of Jesus’ tomb was known to Christian and Jew alike.
3. We can tell from the language, grammar, and style that Mark got His empty tomb story from an earlier source.
4. The simplicity of the empty tomb story in Mark.
5. The unanimous testimony that the empty tomb was discovered by women argues for the authenticity of the story, because this would have been embarrassing for the disciples to admit and most certainly would have been covered up if this were a legend.
6. The earliest Jewish polemic presupposes the historicity of the empty tomb. (220-21)

Thus it has been shown that Jesus fulfilled prophecy, performed miracles, and was raised from the dead. Based upon the evidence, it is therefore clear that the particular characteristics of the person and work of Jesus Christ are such as to be beyond those of mere men. Therefore, Jesus is the Son of God.

Whether it be the Pharisees, Dan Brown, or Bertrand Russell, one can see that from AD 30 to the present day, the divinity of Jesus has been attacked repeatedly. However, time and time again the biblical claims are vindicated. Jesus is always proven to be the Divine Son of God. Such is the case because we have the evidence upon which to build our faith and can be assured that Jesus is who He claimed to be (Hebrews 11:1; Titus 2:11-12; 1 Timothy 2:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Peter 3:15). Shall we choose to be blind or shall we choose to see clearly (cf. John 9:35-39)?

 

Works Cited

Brown, Dan. The DaVinci Code. New York: Anchor, 2003.

Egner, Robert E. and Lester E. Denonn, eds. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell. New York: Touchstone, 1961.

Gardner, Lynn. Christianity Stands True: A Common Sense Look at the Evidence. Joplin: College, 1994.

Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1999.

Habermas, Gary. “12 Major Problems for the ‘Jesus Tomb’ Theory.” GaryHabermas.com 20 June 207. Web. 19 April 2010.

Jacobovici, Simcha and Charles Pellegrino. The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence that Could Change History. San Francisco: Harper, 2007.

Kreeft, Peter. “Why I Believe Jesus is the Son of God.” Why I Am A Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe. Eds. Norman L. Geisler and Paul K. Hoffman. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001.

McDowell, Josh. More Than A Carpenter. Wheaton: Living, 1985.

McDowell, Josh and Bart Larson. Jesus: A Biblical Defense of His Deity. San Bernardino: Here’s Life, 1983.

McGuiggan, Jim. If God Came. Lubbock: Montex, 1980.

Oliver, R. C. “The Perfect Character of Christ.” The Spiritual Sword 1.3 (1970): 4-8.

“Russell, Bertrand Arthur William.” The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 7. New York: Macmillan, 1972.

Stott, John R. W. The Authentic Jesus: The Certainty of Christ in a Skeptical World. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1985.

Strobel, Lee. The Case For Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.

Thompson, Bert. Rock-Solid Faith: How to Build it. Montgomery: Apologetics Press, 2000.

Truth About DaVinci.com. 20 June 2007 < http://www.thetruthaboutdavinci.com/resources/&gt;.

Warren, Thomas B. Jesus: The Lamb Who Is a Lion. Jonesboro: National Christian, 1988.

Zacharias, Ravi and Norman Geisler, eds. Who Made God? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.

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. 

We all know deep down that God exists and even atheists have to grapple with that knowledge.

Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”

Take a look at this 7th episode from Schaeffer’s series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Age of Nonreason”:

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

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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.

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible in Chapter 5 of the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

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Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 QQ Sir Bertrand Russell is critical of the view that Jesus was Moral Paragon

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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

Image result for 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,

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.

Nathan Ketsdever

Defining Terms:

Russell’s definition of Christian is helpful because its an improvement from one which only looks at people who label themselves Christian. Unfortunately, the second component of the definition deals with the issue of religiousity or adherence to creeds.

Even if Russell is Nearly 100% Correct–Christianity is True:

Russell really doesn’t answer the core two arguments for faith, and as such doesn’t do what He sets out to do:

  1. Historical Jesus http://www.garyhabermas.com/
  2. Sin and Redemption and Heaven

His answer to Thomas Aquinas doesn’t recognize the definition of God, so basically strawpersons his argument (ergo not refuting it).

Moreover, most people find evidence in their own lives, the lives of their friends. And faith is experiential and relational in nature–not a math problem or a spreadsheet.

Neglecting these four arguments is a T.K.O. to his argument.

Jesus as Moral Paragon:

He contradicts himself on the ethics of Jesus, at the beginning saying he was a good person and then later saying he wasn’t. In fact at one place Russell claims to be a Christ follower in terms of his behavior, so this would seem to be the acid test on this question.

Skepticism as Methodology vs True Critical Thinking:

This is not critical thinking….this is skeptical thinking. Skeptical thinking doesn’t help us to act or lead. It helps us justify our inaction.

True critical thinking takes place by:
1) precision and specificity
2) representivieness
3) comparison and context
Comparison and context are almost always lacking in his arguments. And there is no evidence to suggest his examples are representative. Merely asserting examples is not enough. So on both of these accounts as well as that skepticism will never lead to action, but paralysis, the Russellian case falls and falls hard.

Abuse of Ideology/Abuse of Christian Values

People abusing “religion” in pursuit of their own personal idols is an argument for faith and humility. This captures the vast majority of Russell’s true criticisms of Christianity. However, again…this would (often) get back to a question of what is Christian behavior. All ideologies in the history of men and women have had to deal with this issue (security, human rights, democracy…the list goes on). Why should ideologies have to justify themselves in the face of people abusing their texts and ideas to do the exact opposite of intended.

Christianity, Fear, and Grace

Russell’s other problem with religion deals with fear, but fails to take into account actual credible arguments for the Christian faith which mean those fears are rational. For instance, denying all fears, denial of sin, denial of death–all seem to be bad denials. Second, I think the notion of grace and forgiveness–something I’m not sure Russell is entirely acquainted with is a way in which his argument about fear falls apart. Third, atheists play both sides of this coin (ie Christianity is comforting), so I’m not sure of these arguments it true. The real scientific evidence, however, says that Christians are more mentally fulfilled and balanced than atheists. [sorry there are multiple citations here from meta-studies of peer reviewed science]

The Rest of Russell’s Mixed Bag of Arguments:

Russell’s attempted refutation of natural law seems stressed given he runs up against the laws of science. But attempts to deny causality undermine science as much as they do Christianity. Plus, even Quantum Mechanics didn’t end the laws in various disciplines of science or change causality in social science. We live in a world of cause and effect, although not a perfect one. If you want more nuggets to chew on in this regard, you might check out Penrose on the failure of physics: Discover Interview: Roger Penrose Says Physics Is Wrong, From String Theory to Quantum Mechanics [note: I’m suggesting here a criticism of physicalism or perhaps rather the limits of physicalism]

Russell plays to the issue of bad design with rabbits tails being an easy target, but this is a question of mutualism, food chains, and much bigger systems than Russell analyzing.

Russell also makes an argument for steady state, but given his time of speaking, I’m going to assume he didn’t know the Big Bang would win out–which further suggested the Universe needed a cause or prime mover.

Russell at one point inserts “its all just probabilities” (not exact quote) for an argument that needs much more development. At best this seems like a weak application of perhaps Quantum Mechanics (although I think his speech predates its discovery and popularity I believe). Fred Hoyle’s (and others) mathematical analysis of probabilities stands as mathematical evidence. And there are a number of these probabilities in terms of fine tuning in the universe, the Penrose number, the evolution information, and not to mention scientific laws themselves as well as math, geometry, and the periodic chart.

Finally, many of Russell’s arguments amount to name-calling and assertions rather than arguments that have both claims and warrants. For instance, Russell mentions dogma, but never defines it or contrasts it versus principle or explains why dogma is a bad thing.

At the end of the day….when you miss the message of Christ…..you miss the message of Christianity. By failing to do so…..Russell ends up criticizing a straw-person of Christianity rather than the Risen Savior from Nazareth.

Source:
Evidence for Its Fine Tuning

Sorry I don’t have a link for the Penrose number or the peer reviewed literature link soon hopefully. Here is one of those mega-studies however:

A 2012 review of more than 326 peer-reviewed studies of mainly adult populations found that out of those 326 studies, 256 (79%) found only significant positive associations between religiosity/spirituality and well-being. The author postulated that the positive influence of religion or spirituality on well-being can be explained through a few key mechanisms, such as religion’s role as a coping strategy and as a support system for prosocial behaviors. In addition, religious beliefs can potentially alter the way individuals cognitively react to stressors, and often, the regulations of most faiths decrease the likelihood of individuals experiencing particularly stressful life events (such as divorce or incarceration) (2).

Source: Spiritual Engagement and Meaning

We need a transcendent ontic point of reference which only God can provide. Naturalism doesn’t provide a transcendent ontic point of reference.

Nietzshce proves atheism to be wrong, not the other way around.

This is Ravi Zachrias, who is an amazing thinker explaining, “Why I’m Not an Atheist” Zacharias has an acute and on-point understanding of the human experience, history, and philosophy. He is simply an intellectual force to be listened to and experienced. He weaves quite a case for Christianity:

Ravi at Princeton University – Why I’m Not an Atheist

Published on Apr 17, 2013

SUBSCRIBE 213K
Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale spoke an overflow crowd at Princeton University titled, “Why I’m Not An Atheist.”

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Francis Schaeffer below:

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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. 

We all know deep down that God exists and even atheists have to grapple with that knowledge.

Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”

Take a look at this 7th episode from Schaeffer’s series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Age of Nonreason”:

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

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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.

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible in Chapter 5 of the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

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Related posts:

 

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part C (Kroto’s admiration of Bertrand Russell examined)

Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell. (Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 52 The views of Hegel and Bertrand Russell influenced Gareth Stedman Jones of Cambridge!!

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

Top 10 Woody Allen Movies __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were  atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 (More On) Woody Allen’s Atheism As I wrote in a previous post, I like Woody Allen. I have long admired his […]

John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

______ Top 10 Woody Allen Movies PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 01 PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 02 __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 NN Bertrand Russell and Carl Sagan discussed by Peter Singer!!!

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British philosopher and social activist Bertrand Russell talking to actress Vanessa Redgrave at a literary luncheon Image result for bertrand russell Bertrand Russell as a child.Image result for bertrand russellOn November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry Kroto

Image result for 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,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.__ Image result for bertrand russell__

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 LL Bertrand Russell and the idea of God as a moral lawgiver (Woody Allen weighs in!!)

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Image result for bertrand russell
1405 × 984Images may be subject to copyright

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry Kroto__

Harold W. Kroto (left) receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, in 1996.

Soren Andersson/APImage result for harry kroto nobel prize __Image result for harry krotoI 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,_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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Bertrand Russell sobre Dios (1959) subtitulado

Link:

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 favour 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.Q: I was thinking of those people who find that some kind of religious code helps them to live their lives. It gives them a very strict set of rules, the rights and the wrongs.Russell: Yes, but those rules are generally quite mistaken. A great many of them do more harm than good. And they would probably be able to find arational morality that they could live by if they dropped this irrational traditional taboo morality that comes down from savage ages.Q: But are we, perhaps the ordinary person perhaps isn’t strong enough to find this own personal ethic. They have to have something imposed upon them from outside.Russell: Oh, I don’t think that’s true, and what is imposed on you from outside is of no value whatever. It doesn’t count.Q: Well, you were brought up, of course, as a Christian. When did you first decide that you did not want to remain a believer in the Christian ethic?Russell: I never decided that I didn’t want to remain a believer. I decided… between the ages of 15 and 18, I spent almost all my spare time thinking about Christian dogmas, and trying to find out whether there was any reason to believe them. And by the time I was 18, I’d discarded the last of them.Q: Do you think that that gave you an extra strength in your life?Russell: Oh, I don’t… no, I should’t have said so, neither extra strength nor the opposite. I mean, I was just engaged in the pursuit of knowledge.Q: As you approach the end of life, do you have any fear of some kind of afterlife, or do you feel that that is just…Russell: Oh, no, I think that’s nonsense.Q: There is no afterlife?Russell: None whatever.Q: Do you have any fear of something that is common amongst atheists and agnostics, who have been atheists or agnostics all their lives, who are converted just before they die, to a form of religion?Russell: Well, you know, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as religious people think it does. Because religious people, most of them, think that it’s a virtuous act to tell lies about the death beds of agnostics and such. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t happen very often. ____________ SUMMER 2011

Can We Be Good Without God?

By Craig J. Hazen

It’s been fascinating to watch the very vocal and prolific new atheists, such as Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins, make a case for objective morality. The phrase “objective morality” is a way of indicating that some behaviors are right (truth telling, kindness, tolerance) and some behaviors are wrong (rape, murder, racism) — for real. Morality is not just a matter of personal preference and choice (akin to liking peanuts better than almonds), but rather laws that are real and true and binding no matter what one thinks about them or whether one chooses to follow them.

The reason it has been fun to watch the new atheists defend this idea is because atheists of an earlier generation (such as J.L. Mackie and Bertrand Russell) thought it folly to do so. Classic atheists from the mid-20th century were very reluctant to grant that there was an objective moral law because they saw that it was just too compelling for believers to take the easy step from the moral law to God who was the “moral law giver.” Accepting a real objective moral law would be giving far, far too much ground to the Christians and other theists.

In my view, this shift in attitude toward moral values among the new atheists is an indicator that our work in Christian apologetics and philosophy has had an impact. I can’t count the times when in forums on various college campuses more traditional atheists and agnostics have had to squirm under the questioning from me or my colleagues about basic moral questions.

“Is it wrong to torture babies for fun?” “Is it wrong to treat a person as subhuman because she has darker skin?” As you can imagine, if an atheist were to answer “no,” or “well, it depends,” or “I prefer not to do these things, but how can I judge others,” to these questions he would be running into some real trouble with the audience. Whether the audience is filled with conservative Christians or radical unbelievers, people in our culture have an aversion to those who waffle or dodge on such fundamental and obvious moral values.

I think the new atheists got tired of being in such a public relations conundrum, so they began embracing basic morality as some sort of natural feature of the physical universe. They now tend to maintain that there are objective morals, but that these morals did not come from God. Is it wrong to torture babies for fun? Of course it’s wrong, says the new atheist. Goal accomplished. No more looking like an uncaring monster on stage in debates with Christians.

On the one hand, I think the new atheists have been helped in public discourse by their recent adoption of rudimentary moral values. One rarely feels now like one is being addressed by an amoral scoundrel when a new atheist is speaking in public. On the other hand, the new atheist now suffers from a problem that the old atheists would have quickly warned them about: How in the world are we going to explain where these objective moral values came from?

The primary technique the new atheists have adopted for dealing with the issue of the origin or grounding of the moral law is obfuscation. The new atheists are very fond of saying, “We don’t need God to be good.” Indeed, they often say that atheists, agnostics and skeptics often lead more wholesome lives than lifelong professing Christians. Now, theists should not be fooled by this. Our response should be, “Of course you don’t need God to be good — we’ve never claimed that you do.” You see, it is not knowledge (epistemology) of the moral law that is a problem — after all, the Bible teaches that this law is written on every human heart. Rather, the daunting problem for the new atheist is the nature and source (ontology) of the moral law. Here are some questions you can ask Richard Dawkins the next time you sit next to him on a bus:

• If everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, help me understand what a moral value is (does it have mass, occupy space, hold a charge, have wavelength)?

• How did matter, energy, time and chance result in a set of objective moral values? Did the big bang really spew forth “love your enemy?” If so, you have to help me understand that.

• What makes your moral standard more than a subjective opinion or personal preference? What makes it truly binding or obligatory? Why can’t I just ignore it? Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?

The old atheists did not want to have to face questions like these, so they simply denied the reality of objective moral values. The new atheists have thrown the door open. Let’s not make it easy for them. Let’s ask the hard questions in a winsome and engaging way.

Craig J. Hazen is the director of Biola’s M.A. in Christian apologetics and M.A. in science and religion programs. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Francis Schaeffer once wrote, “If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.”_______________Let me challenge these NEW atheists to watch the film CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS by Woody Allen.

DISCUSSING FILMS AND SPIRITUAL MATTERS
By Everette Hatcher III

“Existential subjects to me are still the only subjects worth dealing with. I don’t think that one can aim more deeply than at the so-called existential themes, the spiritual themes.” WOODY ALLENEvangelical Chuck Colson has observed that it used to be true that most Americans knew the Bible. Evangelists could simply call on them to repent and return. But today, most people lack understanding of biblical terms or concepts. Colson recommends that we first attempt to find common ground to engage people’s attention. That then may open a door to discuss spiritual matters.Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS , is an excellent icebreaker concerning the need of God while making decisions in the area of personal morality. In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality. Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah ‘s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie. He continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt MaySol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life.The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)The secularist can only give incomplete answers to these questions: How could you have convinced Judah not to kill? On what basis could you convince Judah it was wrong for him to murder?As Christians, we would agree with Judah ‘s father that “The eyes of God are always upon us.” Proverbs 5:21 asserts, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Revelation 20:12 states, “…And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done (their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors) in accordance with what was recorded in the books” (Amplified Version). The Bible is revealed truth from God. It is the basis for our morality. Judah inherited the Jewish ethical values of the Ten Commandments from his father, but, through years of life as a skeptic, his standards had been lowered. Finally, we discover that Judah ‘s secular version of morality does not resemble his father’s biblically-based morality.Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS forces unbelievers to grapple with the logical conclusions of a purely secular morality. It opens a door for Christians to find common ground with those whom they attempt to share Christ; we all have to deal with personal morality issues. However, the secularist has no basis for asserting that Judah is wrong.Larry King actually mentioned on his show, LARRY KING LIVE, that Chuck Colson had discussed the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with him. Colson asked King if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice? Either live tormented by guilt, or else kill our conscience and live like beasts?” (BREAKPOINT COMMENTARY, “Finding Common Ground,” September 14, 1993)Later, Colson noted that discussing the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with King presented the perfect opportunity to tell him about Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Colson believes the Lord is working on Larry King. How about your neighbors? Is there a way you can use a movie to find common ground with your lost friends and then talk to them about spiritual matters?

(Caution: CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is rated PG-13. It does include some adult themes.)

Access this on the web at www.excelstillmore.com/html/beinformed/article1.shtml .(Originally published in December 2003 edition of Excel Magazine)______________[From a letter dated August 11, 1918 to Miss Rinder when Russell was 46]It is quite true what you say, that you have never expressed yourself—but who has, that has anything to express? The things one says are all unsuccessful attempts to say something else—something that perhaps by its very nature cannot be said. I know that I have struggled all my life to say something that I never shall learn how to say. And it is the same with you. It is so with all who spend their lives in the quest of something elusive, and yet omnipresent, and at once subtle and infinite. One seeks it in music, and the sea, and sunsets; at times I have seemed very near it in crowds when I have been feeling strongly what they were feeling; one seeks it in love above all. But if one lets oneself imagine one has found it, some cruel irony is sure to come and show one that it is not really found.
The outcome is that one is a ghost, floating through the world without any real contact. Even when one feels nearest to other people, something in one seems obstinately to belong to God and to refuse to enter into any earthly communion—at least that is how I should express it if I thought there was a God. It is odd isn’t it? I care passionately for this world, and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted—some ghost, from some extra-mundane region, seems always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand the message. But it is from listening to the ghost that one comes to feel oneself a ghost. I feel I shall find the truth on my deathbed and be surrounded by people too stupid to understand—fussing about medicines instead of searching for wisdom. Love and imagination mingled; that seems the main thing so far._________________

Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:Image result for francis schaefferFrancis 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. We all know deep down that God exists and even atheists have to grapple with that knowledge.Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”Take a look at this 7th episode from Schaeffer’s series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Age of Nonreason”:

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

_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.

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible in Chapter 5 of the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism), 4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites, 6.Shishak Smiting His Captives, 7. Moabite Stone, 8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

____ Related posts:

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part C (Kroto’s admiration of Bertrand Russell examined)

Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell. (Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 52 The views of Hegel and Bertrand Russell influenced Gareth Stedman Jones of Cambridge!!

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

Top 10 Woody Allen Movies __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were  atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 (More On) Woody Allen’s Atheism As I wrote in a previous post, I like Woody Allen. I have long admired his […]

John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

______ Top 10 Woody Allen Movies PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 01 PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 02 __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 KK Sir Bertrand Russell on the Existence of God

Sir Bertrand Russell

Image result for bertrand russell
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Image result for bertrand russellOn November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry KrotoImage result for harry krotoI 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,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)

__

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.Review below I got off the internet:“Why I am not a Christian”
A little background
Bertrand Russell died on the 2nd February, 1970, aged 97. He led a long and active life, often controversial
in his attachments and commitments, and he has had a profound effect on the way we think about truth. He
is famous for his work on mathematics and philosophy, and was a pioneer of ‘logical positivism’. He was a
man who was certainly consistent in the outworkings of his beliefs – he argued that human beings are not
monogamous, opposed the laws against homosexuality (at the time) as well as endorsing sexual relations
between unmarried people. He was married four times, and engaged in several extra-marital liaisons, including
one with T. S. Eliot’s wife Vivien Haigh-Wood. It is perhaps not altogether surprising that Eliot
wrote so critically of Russell’s famous 1927 public lecture, “Why I am not a Christian”.
So why critique what is, after all, a rather old and dated public lecture?
The first reason for this paper is that there has been a resurgence of reprints of such material in recent times.
The version I am referring to here was reprinted under Routledge Classics in 2005, and has a preface by
Simon Blackburn, dated 2003 – it is very clear that as you read Blackburn’s introductory comments, and indeed
his attempted refutation of T. S. Eliot’s early criticism, that the atheist lobby regard this work as a significant
one.
The second reason occurred to me only as read through the lecture, having already become acquainted with
the writings of the ‘new atheists’ such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Dan Dennett.
These guys have clearly drunk deeply at the fountain of Bertrand Russell’s output – indeed one encounters
in their writings most of the ideas expressed in the 1927 lecture, albeit tweaked for a more modern
audience. Richard Dawkins’ insistence that religion is only perpetuated by beating it into the young minds
of children is a direct throwback to Russell who says, “Most people believe in God because they have been
taught from infancy to do it, and that is the main reason.”
So there is good reason for another look at Russell’s keynote speech. Because the ‘new atheists’ are running
out of new ideas, they are increasingly having recourse to the old ones – and you don’t get much more
trenchant than this example. And because the (flawed) new rhetoric for the new atheism is built upon the
(equally flawed) foundations laid by Russell, it surely is time for a fresh look.
And there is a third key reason for Christians to look at “Why I am not a Christian”. Many of us have lived
in awe of the great philosophers such as Bertrand Russell. Our default behaviour has often been to avoid
their writings, on the basis that these are going to be arguments that are too clever for us to engage with.
Our fear of these intellectuals probably does not go so far as to suspect that reading their writings might
damage our faith – but we certainly pull back from engaging with them on the assumption that we have little
to say in response. The reality is quite different. In Russell’s case, the brain capable of writing “Principia
Mathematica” is a daunting adversary to take on, but as you dig into his writings on faith and spirituality,
you suddenly realise that he is just like anyone else. Russell exhibits the same capacity for non-sequiturs, for
the substitution of sentiment or prejudice for logic, for fallacious argument as any other protagonist of a
keenly-held viewpoint.Methodology
It is impossible to reference page numbers in this critique – as it is quite likely that readers may not recognise
them, depending upon the reprint you may have access to. I have therefore taken steps to attach the complete
text of Russell’s public lecture, reproduced verbatim, at the rear of these notes. My intention is to reference
the relevant sections in my comment, and recommend that readers consult the original text. At the
very least you will be able to see that I am not treating Russell as he does the Bible – by wresting verses for
mistreatment out of their context, in order to present to us a parody of Christian truth that most of us would
rightly reject. You will therefore find my critique following the exact subject headings that appear in the
original lecture – hopefully this will help you marry up my comment with the original text. For any thoughtful
Christian, our engagement with this kind of material should be an absolute revelation – it opens the door
to understanding the thought-world and methodology of the writer, and this in turn lays bare his motivations
and intellectual honesty. Enjoy!
What is a Christian?
Russell’s comments here reveal quite a specific social context. Note his introductory phrase: “We have to be
a little more vague in our meaning of Christianity “ – he is writing at a time when the depredations of liberal
theology are beginning to exert their maximum critical effect on the public’s perception of Christianity. He
cannot bring himself to define his subject with the kind of objectivity that we might regard as essential – and
so he presents for our delectation a kind of watered-down, minimum requirement version of what it means
to be a Christian. Such ‘vagueness’ is a symptom of cultural conditioning.
There are two things we might say about this. Firstly, that Russell (like all of us) is to an extent a product of
his circumstances – it is not his fault that the established Christian church has succumbed to the ravages of
higher criticism, and clearly he cannot see into the future when more robust scholarship seeks to undo the
damage. It is therefore unfair to judge him too harshly on this point. But, more importantly (and secondly),
it is essential to understand that this famous speech of Bertrand Russell’s commences with his own, personal,
definition of what a Christian is. True Christians, who both know their Bibles, and also have a living
experience of Christ will be able to easily unpick Russell’s preliminary definition and find it lacking.
And, of course, it is worth pointing out the obvious: this is Russell’s starting point. If he manages to present
us with such a dodgy definition, upon which to base his successive arguments – then we can quite reasonably
question the validity of what follows.
The Existence of God
This is a brief section in the original, and merely prefaces Russell’s attempt to deal with the various arguments
for the existence of God. He starts by accepting that this is “a large and serious question, and if I were
to attempt to deal with it in any adequate manner I should have to keep you here until Kingdom Come…”
All well and good, but note the mental envelope which frames his consideration – “…the Catholic Church has
laid it down as a dogma that the existence of God can be proved by unaided reason.” It is clear that his pespective is that of the Catholic Church, which presupposes that human reason is adequate to this task on its
own. Catholicism has long endorsed the a priori beliefs of humanism, namely that the human intellect is free
and capable on its own to reason its way to a position of truth – and whilst I appreciate that this is likely to
raise as many questions as it solves, this is not what the Bible teaches.
It is not central to our consideration here to go off into what is a secondary issue, namely the natural ability
of the non-christian mind to reason accurately when it comes to the abiding truths about God. A quick review
of world religious views ought to encourage us away from such a belief – and, indeed, the Bible is entirely
clear and specific about the matter.
What is critical here is Russell’s assumption that human reason is enough. It is because of this that he now
engages in this brief review of a series of arguments which do, admittedly, often work in two directions at
once. And because it is all about unaided human reason, then he considers himself perfectly positioned to
trump these arguments – faith in God thereby becomes a casualty of the kinds of sleight of hand that subtle
words and rhetoric inflict upon us. Indeed, this is a common theme with the new atheists such as Hitchens –
where the clever sound-bite is designed to emasculate a more thoughtful consideration of the subject.
Again, as in the previous section, what is clear is that Russell’s target in this address is not that of biblical
Christianity. Readers would do well to recognise a straw man when it presented to us at the beginning of
this treatment.
The First-Cause Argument
Firstly, let it be said that I’ve never been entirely persuaded by this argument, and certainly don’t think it
should be placed central stage. Neverless, it does feel here as if Russell is dispensing just a little to casually
with the idea that things or events have causes. Not so long ago, popularist scientific publications were full
of concepts such as ‘chaos theory’ – where seemingly random events in one part of the world have their primary
or secondary causes elsewhere. More recently, there have been reputable attempts to establish ‘cause’
for human behaviour or morbidity within the genome – but of course a working model is never going to be
that simplistic. It does seem here as if Russell is falling into the trap of attempting a simplistic demolition of
the argument he purports to be addressing – “There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning
at all”.
Is the ‘first cause’ argument to be disposed of on the basis that there are, in fact, no causes? That would be
childish, but Russell’s argument is hinting at it here. What, however, is more to the core of the issue is to be
found in “If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause.” Is this, I wonder, where unaided
philosophy gets us? Of course, the Bible states quite clearly that not only was God the ‘first cause’, but also
that he Himself had no cause. The proposition is advanced, not to prove the existence of God, but merely to
state the dogmatic nature of the facts. Russell’s phrase “everything must have a cause” implies that God is,
somehow, made of the same stuff as the universe He created. He is, according to this viewpoint, part of
“everything” – and yet biblical revelation makes it quite clear that he is ‘other’ from created things. He is
defined as the creator, rather than as a function or part of the created order. Thus the ‘first cause’ argument
does not entirely succumb to Russell’s attack here.It is not too difficult to anticipate the atheist response to what I have just said – it appears repeatedly in the
writings of Dawkins, Hitchens et al. They express varying degrees of protestation against this argument –
the statement that “God is” (and therefore has no beginning) is an ‘unfair’ trump argument. Interestingly,
the more convolutedly cerebral members of their fraternity have in recent years attempted a similar kind of
solution of their own – the multiverse, or megaverse, or ‘landscape’ posits a myriad of parallel universes
which constantly recycle into each other, thus avoiding the need for any kind of first cause (or at least deferring
the problem to some remote, invisible point). This, of course, involves a step of faith that makes Christian
belief look positively pedestrian in comparison. So, atheists are capable of the profoundest leaps of faith,
when needs must.
The Natural Law Argument
This is an intriguing section, as it is not at all clear whether Russell is simply engaging in a little humour,
simply to keep his audience entertained, rather than seriously engage with the subject. Again, this is not
that different to the ‘new atheists’ who frequently appear to be playing to the gallery (just watch Richard
Dawkins addressing the faithful). Sir Isaac Newton’s perspective on gravity is dispensed with somewhat
frivolously – “That was, of course, a convenient and simple explanation that saved them the trouble of looking
any further for explanations of the law of gravitation”. So trivially do we toy with past insights.
And indeed, the refutation of these ‘natural laws’ helps us to ignore that there are universal laws (such as
gravity), although our understanding of their complexity has altered over the years. Indeed, Russell in his
refutation takes us in a direction that I suspect would be shouted down by many modern neo-darwinists –
“…the laws at which you arrive are statistical averages of just the sort that would emerge from chance.” In
fact, he is so smitten by this exact phrase that he repeats it again for emphasis. Having participated in many
atheist forums over the years, I can only imagine the howls of outrage that would greet my interpretation of
natural selection (the new unquestionable mantra) that life evolved by chance. Many new atheists would
identify a high degree of determinism within the whole process of the evolution of life, which could not possibly
admit to ‘chance’. That is to say, they would argue that processes are deterministic and are governed,
effectively, by the very natural laws that Russell would deprecate. Just read the sneering reviews of Prof.
Stephen Meyer’s book “Signature in the cell” on Amazon or on atheist forums if you require further proof.
Russell’s approach with the ‘natural law argument’ is to seek to dig away at it, rather than demolish it entirely.
He raises a set of subsidiary quibbles (such as “Why did God issue just those natural laws and no
others?”), none of which are conclusive on their own, but when taken in the aggregate appear to negate the
argument. I would contend that this is dishonest strategy, as the implication is that he is well-aware that
each of these little digs are inadequate. Indeed, from a Christian perspective the one just cited in parentheses
is just such an argument. If God is creator and lawgiver, why should we deny Him the prerogative of
establishing only those laws that He wishes to? Why, as created beings, do we think we have the right to
suggest other laws that we think He should have included in the package? This is somewhat akin to a passenger
on a Boeing 747 criticising the designers for not including a nuclear-powered bidet in the washroom
(although this might be more capable of refreshing the mind than Russell’s rhetoric).Indeed, Russell’s migration towards this kind of bit-by-bit undermining strategy is persuasive proof of an
underlying intention to deceive, for we have already perceived, via his other writings, that he is clevererthan that. The critical reader would do well to read this section quite carefully, as it reveals a somewhat
fragmentary and intermittent use of logic – wherein the individual elements are far from naturally dependent
upon the preceding statements or arguments. We arrive at the astonishing conclusion that “…God Himself
was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary.”
One is left wondering, ‘Is this really the best that atheists can muster?” Perhaps it is, if one’s view of a Creator-God
is that he is small and insignificant enough to be entirely susceptible to finite human reason.
To Russell’s credit, it may be that he has become so used to dealing with the woolly liberalism of the established
church (at that time) that he has become lazy when constructing his arguments – “As we come to
modern times, they (intellectual arguments) become less respectable intellectually and more and more affected
by a kind of moralising vagueness.” What C. H. Spurgeon had described in the late 19th Century as
the ‘downgrade’ of Christian theology had led to an establishment that Russell could play with in this manner,
and convince himself that he was winning the argument.
The Argument from Design
As he addresses this issue, Russell says “It is an easy argument to parody”. And so he does. After all, it is
easy to do.
This section engages in a profound dishonesty with his listeners. His fundamental, underlying principle, is
that if something (in the natural world) looks designed, then it cannot be. The assumption is that the appearance
of design is merely that, an appearance. The argument against design presupposes that there cannot be
an intelligence behind it: it rests wholly on the a priori assumption of naturalism.
There is much we could say about this. We could say that, wherever else we look in the world, if something
looks designed, then it generally is. We could say that evolutionary theory does not yet provide us with a
scientific model of how organisms could evolve in the absolute sense to fit their (many, varied) environments
– merely that there is sufficient redundancy in our DNA to allow micro-adaptation to changes. We
could say that, at the molecular level, there is profound and convincing evidence of intelligent design (which
Russell did not have access to). What we can say, without much fear of contradiction, is that Russell’s confident
assertions are not justified by the state of the science at that time. This has been a constant theme with
the secularist establishment ever since Darwin – the public have the optimistic assumptions of future research
foisted on them as current fact.
And, we could say that Russell’s sneering view of the world (“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?”) works both ways – given natural selection’s pseudointelligent
control of organisms’ adaptation, plus millions and millions of years, is that the best it can do? Of
course my response is as much a non-argument as Russell’s – there are better things than the Ku Klux Klan or
Fascists, and many of them are denied by atheists! And, of course, Russell is neatly sidestepping the Christian
contention that the ‘best’ of this world is far from being what it ought to be, by reason of human sin.
This section highlights Russell’s use of unsupported assumptions – that the moon, for instance, is an example
of what the earth will end up like (does he believe that the moon once supported life?), and it also lays bare
his ultimate nihilism. For his view is that intelligent life is, ultimately, a transient thing. He sees a futureuniverse where the products of human civilisation lay cold and lifeless with mankind in its permanent
grave. But none of this matters, he says, because it will be so far into the future that nobody will care, no-one
will worry about it. Business as usual. As long as the buses keep running, that’s OK then.
Apparently, none of us will concern ourselves about this. Apparently, the certainty of oblivion will not
change our behaviour, and we will carry on regardless. Well, clearly, Russell had not at that stage anticipated
Global Warming – this is something which motivates people enormously, regardless of the robustness
of the science. Indeed, belief in Global Warming is, to all intents and purposes, the new religion of the early
21st Century: disagreeing with the whole concept is becoming the modern equivalent of holocaust-denial.
There is, incidentally, another aspect to this argument. We could contend that Russell’s nihilism has affected
us. We live in an age of greater futility and powerlessness than ever before. An increasing proportion of our
western population lives as if there were no real purpose for their lives. The obsession with entertainment
and with instant gratification, fed by the mushrooming of personal debt prove that, in a secular world, our
response to Russell’s pointless existence is to simply ignore the future and pretend that we don’t have one.
Why, otherwise, would we mortgage our futures for shiny trinkets?
The Moral Arguments for Deity
To my mind this is a relatively brief and insignificant section in the lecture. Certainly, Russell appears to
dispense with the issue with brevity and also with quite a bit of ambiguity. At root, this argument is about
our perception of ‘right and wrong’ – is there a difference between the two concepts? Russell keeps his own
counsel here, and goes on to consider the basis for discerning between right and wrong – but one is left with
the suspicion that, in practice, his solution was to either ignore such minor issues, or alternatively redefine
the concepts to suit whatever situation applied at the time.
And if there is a difference between right and wrong, then “..is that difference due to God’s fiat or not?” At
this point, the question forms the pivot between the two worldviews of the atheist and the theist. For the
former, if there is a difference, then it is of an entirely humanistic or situational nature. For the latter, such
concepts are rooted in the very being of a Creator God – and therefore at this juncture, Russell’s logic appears
to go hopelessly awry: “If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God Himself there is no difference between right
and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good.” Why on earth should that
be?
How can Russell actually argue that if God defines what is right or wrong, then He Himself must somehow
be indifferent to, or independent of the concepts? I suppose that this is only possible if one regards God as a
bit like us – a limited being, who decides on a moral issue either by reference to some external benchmark or
by reference to His own arbitrary preferences at the time. In fact, from a biblical perspective, neither is true.
The standards of moral behaviour, which He expects from us, flow out of his own moral nature. If God is, as
the Bible posits, an infinite and sovereign being, why should He not erect standards for His creation which
reflect His own being – why should not He be the ultimate benchmark? There is a difference between us being
subject to God’s moral laws, and for Him to act consistently with His own moral nature. The issue of
morality, in part, flows out of the concept of us, as created beings, bearing the ‘image’ of God – and the moral
laws are a restatement of what it means to share that image.The Argument for the Remedying of Injustice
It is not easy to discern in this section where Russell’s logic is taking him. One has to admit the possibility
that it is because his line of reasoning simply escapes me, although it is not inappropriate to interrogate his
position when it appears to crystallise into something that is malleable to critique. Hence, towards the end
of this (brief) section, Russell begins to wrap up with, “…that is really what a scientific person would argue
about the universe. He would say, ‘Here we find in this world a great deal of injustice and so far as that
goes that is a reason for supposing that justice does not rule in the world; and therefore so far as it goes it
affords a moral argument against deity and not in favour of one’.”
This is an intriguingly perverse line of argument. He commences with the observation that injustice is widespread,
and that in fact, justice is not the prevailing principle. This in fact is precisely what the Bible tells us
about a world where men choose their own versions of ‘justice’ rather than abiding by God’s standards of
integrity and uprightness. But rather than conclude that his observation is consistent with the biblical
proposition, Russell then apparently turns the argument on its head.
What Russell therefore appears to be saying is that a ‘scientific person’ would choose to ignore the precise
corroboration between the (biblical) data and the real world, and somewhat arbitrarily arrive at an alternative
conclusion. He ignores the fact that justice (and indeed injustice) is important to us, and yet despite the
priority we apparently assign to it, that there is still a predominance of injustice around us. Instead he prefers
to resolve the issue, from a religious perspective, in some kind of forlorn hope in an afterlife to remediate the
injustice experienced during this life – yet that is not (again) a representation of the Christian hope, where we
seek to establish similar standards of uprightness in this world to what God has declared in the Bible. And
of course, in Russell’s worldview, there is no ultimate arbiter of justice – the Hitlers and Pol Pots of this
world receive, in his eyes, exactly the same ultimate recompense as Mother Theresa or Thomas Barnardo.
The writer of Ecclesiastes would rightly declare this position as ‘futile’.
However, before he leads us into more crass conclusions consistent with a blind, pitiless universe where the
cries for justice are ignored, Russell is careful to terminate his argument by reminding us that most people
are not, in any case, motivated by intellectual argument (presumably, he means when they adopt a faith position),
but rather believe in God because they’ve been brainwashed from childhood. He sees that as the
“main reason” for religious belief.
It is difficult to determine whether this is a culturally-influenced perspective, rather than a considered reason.
Perhaps people back in 1927 were generally rather more ‘churchy’ than they are now? Judging by the
statistics relating to church attendance in the West, that certainly appears likely – but how then are we to
treat with the more modern regurgitations of this contention, in the writings of the ‘new atheists’ such as
Richard Dawkins. The latter makes a big deal of this argument in his polemic, ‘The God Delusion’. Apparently,
whilst children are quite capable of unlearning fictions such as Father Christmas, they do not possess
the capacity to repeat the exercise when it comes to God. And, of course, the whole argument depends upon
the notion that myriads of youngsters in the West are having faith beaten into them from a very early age –
and this, we know, is far from being true (if it ever was). The argument seems to me to be a convenient,
dismissive and entirely simplistic explanation for why people choose to believe what they do.
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Indeed, this brief paragraph towards the end of this section does raise as big a question for Russell. If people
choose to believe in (or not believe in) God for emotional, or reasons other than intellectual conviction,
would that principle apply equally well to the devout secularist? Presumably, in his thought-world, the
only people capable of intellectual argument are atheists.
The Character of Christ
Thus far we have seen that Russell’s rhetoric is very far from living up to all the hype. It is, predictably,
when he comes to more directly engage with the biblical data, that his treatment slips more ignominiously
into the mire. Firstly, he commits the vanity of concluding that he is more in agreement with Christ than
many Christians, and seeks to prove his point by mis-citing two sayings of Christ, using the a kind of preDawkinsian
disdain for context. Most Christians, who know their New Testaments will be able to interpret
Christ’s meaning simply by referencing the immediate context – and arrive at quite a different conclusion to
Russell.
A little later, he seizes on the encounter between Christ and the ‘rich young ruler’ where our Lord encourages
the latter to sell all that he has, give it to the poor…and follow Him. Except, of course, Russell completely
excises the last little bit, showing that he has utterly and completely failed to understand the passage in context
– I wonder if he has picked this example in order to remind his audience of the fact that he gave away
his own inheritance? Is Russell suggesting to us that he was able to do the one thing which the rich young
ruler could not, and therefore is more deserving of merit? For a man whose antics were subject to considerable
moral comment, this might well have been an important motivation.
This, of course, is merely a brief preliminary in order to educate his audience in…
Defects in Christ’s Teaching
Here we experience more of the same. There’s the odd little gem, such as “Historically, it’s quite doubtful
whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him…” Russell is something
of a victim of early higher criticism, which so confidently and with so little intellectual basis, excised
the significance of the historical content of the biblical narratives. Thankfully, we know a great deal more
now than we did in 1927, not that this prevents modern-day atheists from referencing the likes of Russell
when it suits them.
From this inauspicious start, he embarks on an exercise in obfuscation, seeking to interpret texts that Christ
uses of His resurrection, to apply to His second coming. Nobody denies how important it is to exegete such
passages carefully, but there’s not even a token effort here – thus Russell leaps to the conclusion that Christ is
simply wrong, or lacking in wisdom – if, of course, He even existed. Which He probably didn’t, because of
course there is no historical validity to the Gospel narratives…so why, then, is Russell even discussing the
wisdom of Christ’s teaching?
Yep, it beggars belief, doesn’t it? The very same sources which Russell would decry as being non-valid, are
the sources he uses to prove that there were defects in Christ’s teaching. This is the ‘penny and the bun’ method of argument, and one finds significant similarities between this and the writings of Christopher
Hitchens.
And, so we come to…
The Moral Problem
Interesting, isn’t it, that Russell is happy to raise the issue of the ‘moral problem’ in relation to the person of
Christ, when in the earlier section dealing with moral issues, he seems to affect more than a slight degree of
ambivalence about the topic? Somehow, all becomes black and white when it comes to pronouncing largely
baseless verdicts on the incarnate Son of God!
This is probably not the place to get embroiled in a lengthy treatment of the nature of hell, or its moral validity.
It is worth starting by understanding where Russell is coming from – note the following statement: “I do
not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in eternal punishment.” There
is a magic word in there which I want to underscore – “feel”. Whilst our ‘feelings’ are no doubt valid, hitherto
Russell appears to have been at great pains to emphasise the superiority of intellectual argument over
emotion or other bases for belief. Here, however, when he comes to treat with what is admittedly a very
challenging topic, what appears to be important is what he ‘feels’ about it.
I am not seeking to diminish the importance of whatever Russell did or did not ‘feel’ about the subject, but
in the context of this discourse, it is important to understand what he is saying. I do not, for instance, ‘feel’
that the speeding ticket I received on a straight stretch of road, where there has never been an accident, is
‘fair’ – but my ‘feelings’ on the matter are unlikely to alter the end result. I will receive a fixed penalty and
see three points on my licence: my ‘feelings’ have absolutely no relevance to the ultimate truth of the matter.
But let’s move on. Because we pass from the debatable issue of Russell’s ‘feelings’ to his treatment of
Christ’s words about hell in the Gospels. He (correctly) acknowledges that our Lord does, in several places,
issue warnings to His listeners about hell, but then (quite incorrectly) gives us the following gloss: “ ..and
one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to His preaching.”
Russell does not like the fact that Christ’s utterances about this subject are passionate, heartfelt, earnest and
brimming with conviction – he prefers the model of Socrates (who might not have existed by Russell’s own
standards) who is more “…bland and urbane towards the people who would not listen to him…”. He really
does not like the fact that Christ “…takes the line of indignation…”
This is really too much. If hell is real (and after all, if anyone would know the truth of the matter, it would
probably be the Son of God), then surely it needs to be spoken about with conviction and passion – not with
the kind of mealy-mouthed urbanity that Russell appears to applaud. He says, “I really do not think that a
person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would have put fears and terrors of that sort into the
world.” No, such a person, would presumably avoid warning people of their danger. Such a person, if he
was even aware of the existence of hell, would present the matter in the most neutral or non-alarmist way
possible. He would paint the moral options in pastel colours. And, of course, he would apply exactly the
same logic to every other danger that humanity might face – so no more road warnings, no more danger
signs on the railways or at electricity substations, no more government health warnings on ciggies – after all,
they might just engender fear and anxiety. And that would be wrong, right?
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Russell continues relentlessly with this kind of misrepresentation: “…and He goes on about the wailing and
gnashing of teeth. It comes in one verse after another, and it is quite manifest to the reader that there is a
certain pleasure in contemplating wailing and gnashing of teeth…” Well, it doesn’t occur to this reader! In
fact, when you read about Christ weeping over Jerusalem, the message is quite clear: Christ evinces no
pleasure in contemplating the end results of the moral choices we make for ourselves. Quite the reverse.
The repeated warnings are indeed a sign of great heartfelt concern and love towards a generation which
consistently, absolutely and irrevocably will not listen to Him.
Towards the end of this tortuous section, Russell parodies for us Christ’s encounter with the Gadarene
swine, when He sends the demons into the sea, and tops this feat with the judgment of the non-fruiting figtree.
Both parodies are heavily dependent upon a wholehearted disavowal of the role of either context of
cultural background. Just a little enquiry into the matter would have provided an entirely different insight
into the significance of the passages in question – I strongly suspect that Russell would be loathe to display
the same cavalier approach towards any other kind of literary source.
The Emotional Factor
This is a brief section within the whole, and is largely dependent upon the argument previously advanced,
which is reiterated here: “…I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion has anything to do
with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds…”
This is altogether too simplistic a view to treat with much respect. As we have already seen, Russell himself
is as prone to deciding issues of religious truth based upon what he feels, and the canon of atheist literature
is littered with similar examples. Indeed a number of modern-day atheists have actually been remarkably
open about the matter – they acknowledge that the stance they take on science is entirely influenced by what
they feel about the nature of reality and purpose.
It is this aspect of the simplistic diagnosis that is perhaps the most frustrating when, as a Christian, one seeks
to engage effectively with the proponents of Russell’s style of atheism – for he continues the trend towards
the end of this brief section where he attributes all barriers to improvement or progress as deriving from organised
Christianity. One does not, for one moment, minimise the significance of nominal religion as a hindrance
to progress, but the reality is that our hospitals, hospices, schools, colleges, orphanages etc owe a
fundamental debt to principled and convinced Christians. Thomas Barnado set up his orphanages despite
the opposition of secular authorities – and the same is true in respect of those engaged in the abolition of
slavery or child exploitation. No, the picture is not absolutely black and white – but we live in a messy
world where people’s motives and actions are at times confused and counterproductive. Unfortunately, Bertrand
Russell appears to wish to live in a world of simplistic caricatures.
How Churches Have Retarded Progress
Russell’s explanation of how Christian belief may (or may not) have been an obstacle to progress again centres
on the Roman Catholic church. I really have no basis for determining the matter one way or another,
since my purpose here is not to defend the actions or inactions of the Roman Catholic approach to religion -as Russell would have been aware, culturally Protestantism is an entirely different animal, having formed
the intellectual basis for democracy in the West.
Of course, whether or not we wish to interpret Christianity solely from the perspective of Roman Catholic
dogma, is immaterial. What is more significant is the fact that Russell’s approach is to take an absolutely
worse-case scenario (the dilemma of an “inexperienced girl married to a syphilitic man”) in order to score
another one of his rather simplistic points. He justifies this in the following way: “It is not a pleasant fact,
but the churches compel one to mention facts that are not pleasant”. This is specious. No-one is compelling
him to mention anything, least of all a transparently-concocted case-study, warped in such a way to influence
a non-discriminating audience.
There are plenty of ‘difficult questions’ in life – for believers, atheists and agnostics – but these kinds of mindgames,
where the extreme severity of the example is clearly intended to ‘prove’ a somewhat debatable point,
are not a serious contribution. This simply smacks of the desire to ‘win’ the argument, irrespective of the
significance of the issue, and is in many ways simply symptomatic of a strategy which trivialises serious dilemmas
in order to rubbish the opposition.
Fear, the Foundation of Religion
Russell believes that “Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear”. To emphasise the point,
he repeats the word ‘fear’ time and time again in the next few sentences. In Russell’s mind, ‘fear’ is a bad
thing. He sees it as inappropriate that people should be motivated by it, so lets explore this concept for a
moment.
Why do I avoid changing lightbulbs with wet hands whilst the electricity is switched on? Probably a perfectly
justifiable fear of getting electrocuted may have something to do with it. Why do I not smoke, when
actually in the past I’ve quite enjoyed the odd cigar? Perhaps fear of the health consequences may have
something to do with it. You see, there are things about which it is perfectly reasonable and healthy to exercise
a degree of fear. Do I fear the oncoming juggernaut? I should do. Do I deliberately wind up the sevenfoot
thug employed as a bouncer at the local night-club? No, I have a healthy respect – or fear – of this person.The issue then is not fear itself, but rather whether or not it is misplaced. If God is the sovereign Creator of
the universe, who holds my puny life in His hands, should I at least respect Him? You bet!
Of course, for the Christian, his relationship with his God is based primarily on love not fear – so again, Russell’s
argument almost completely misses the mark.
What We Must Do
And so we reach our conclusion. Where Russell ends up has been determined by (a) his opening gambit and
(b) his assumptions. He exhorts us to look at the world as it is – which is precisely the hard realism that the
Bible encourages us to adopt, but this is not the way he sees it at all. He comments upon people debasing
themselves in Church, reflecting some version of Christianity that thankfully I’ve never experienced. He
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suggests that “We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face.” as if this is something that only
atheists can do, and which Christians are incapable of. On the ground, the reality is far from conforming to
his viewpoint – we see Christians giving up well-paid, high-profile jobs in order to serve the homeless, or
work in leprosy missions and AIDS hospitals, rather than devote their lives to the somewhat arid and futile
arguments about God’s existence, or parroting Dawkins, which appear to swallow up disproportionate
amounts of time and space on the atheist webforums. Of course, it’s important to avoid the same kinds of
stereotypes that rejoice the hearts of Russell and his cohorts – we need to recognise that it’s not just Christians
who behave selflessly in the most challenging circumstances.
I do, however, want to close exactly where Russell does: “It needs hope for the future, not looking back all
the time towards a past that is dead…” Which is precisely where the New Testament leaves us. Paul exhorts
Christians not to be constantly looking behind them, but to focus on the future goal of the life of faith. John
anticipates a beautiful, remade world where the consequences of human sin and rebellion are finally dealt
with – one which fulfils the ultimate purpose of its Creator. Russell, by contrast (see earlier) shows us a future
which is cold and lifeless, where the products of intelligent life wither and decay, ultimately without
any lasting purpose. Christians believe in a bigger, better future, whereas Russell, for all his fine rhetoric,
can actually supply us with no real basis for optimism – in his future, the traffic lights continue to switch,
automatically, between green, amber and red, long after the cars have ceased to drive on the roads, as a dying
sun consigns our world to permafrost.
In Closing
This speech is not the only item Bertrand Russell produced on the subject, but it is certainly the best known – and without
doubt it continues to be a core text that the modern atheist camp relies on and looks back to. You will, for instance,
find the text of the speech as a free download on the Secularist Society and other atheist websites. So many of Russell’s
themes and assumptions emerge later on in the writings of Richard Dawkins and his happy band.
In his recourse to the misuse and misrepresentation of Scripture, Russell demonstrates clearly that his dogma determines
the way he will treat the data and sets a standard that others will emulate.
In his use of fallacies and simplistic arguments, Russell demonstrates that purely humanistic philosophy does not necessarily
result in intellectually honest or dependable conclusions.
And, with his recourse to his own feelings as a basis for argument, Russell shows us that philosophy is ultimately dependent
upon the fickleness of our whims and emotions – and that therefore even the most strident declarations of intellectual
objectivity should be taken within context.
Kevin Moss
January 2010 Why I Am Not A Christian
by Bertrand Russell
Introductory note: Russell delivered this lecture on March 6, 1927 to the National Secular Society,
South London Branch, at Battersea Town Hall. Published in pamphlet form in that same year, the
essay subsequently achieved new fame with Paul Edwards’ edition of Russell’s book, Why I Am Not a
Christian and Other Essays … (1957).
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 make out what one means by
the word Christian. It is used these days in a very loose sense by a great many people. Some people
mean no more by it than a person who attempts to live a good life. In that sense I suppose there would
be Christians in all sects and creeds; but I do not think that that is the proper sense of the word, if only
because it would imply that all the people who are not Christians — all the Buddhists, Confucians,
Mohammedans, and so on — are not trying to live a good life. I do not mean by a Christian any person
who tries to live decently according to his lights. I think that you must have a certain amount of
definite belief before you have a right to call yourself a Christian. The word does not have quite such
a full-blooded meaning now as it had in the times of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. In those
days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant. You accepted a whole
collection of creeds which were set out with great precision, and every single syllable of those creeds
you believed with the whole strength of your convictions.
What Is a Christian?
Nowadays it is not quite that. We have to be a little more vague in our meaning of Christianity. I
think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anybody calling himself
a Christian. The first is one of a dogmatic nature — namely, that you must believe in God and
immortality. If you do not believe in those two things, I do not think that you can properly call
yourself a Christian. Then, further than that, as the name implies, you must have some kind of belief
about Christ. The Mohammedans, for instance, also believe in God and in immortality, and yet they
would not call themselves Christians. I think you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ
was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men. If you are not going to believe that much about
Christ, I do not think you have any right to call yourself a Christian. Of course, there is another sense,
which you find in Whitaker’s Almanack and in geography books, where the population of the world is
said to be divided into Christians, Mohammedans, Buddhists, fetish worshipers, and so on; and in that
sense we are all Christians. The geography books count us all in, but that is a purely geographical
sense, which I suppose we can ignore.Therefore I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian
I have to tell you two different things: first, why I do not believe in God and in immortality; and,
secondly, why I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant him a very
high degree of moral goodness.
But for the successful efforts of unbelievers in the past, I could not take so elastic a definition of
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Christianity as that. As I said before, in olden days it had a much more full-blooded sense. For
instance, it included he belief in hell. Belief in eternal hell-fire was an essential item of Christian
belief until pretty recent times. In this country, as you know, it ceased to be an essential item because
of a decision of the Privy Council, and from that decision the Archbishop of Canterbury and the
Archbishop of York dissented; but in this country our religion is settled by Act of Parliament, and
therefore the Privy Council was able to override their Graces and hell was no longer necessary to a
Christian. Consequently I shall not insist that a Christian must believe in hell.
The Existence of God
To come to this question of the existence of God: it is a large and serious question, and if I were to
attempt to deal with it in any adequate manner I should have to keep you here until Kingdom Come,
so that you will have to excuse me if I deal with it in a somewhat summary fashion. You know, of
course, that the Catholic Church has laid it down as a dogma that the existence of God can be proved
by the unaided reason. That is a somewhat curious dogma, but it is one of their dogmas. They had to
introduce it because at one time the freethinkers adopted the habit of saying that there were such and
such arguments which mere reason might urge against the existence of God, but of course they knew
as a matter of faith that God did exist. The arguments and the reasons were set out at great length, and
the Catholic Church felt that they must stop it. Therefore they laid it down that the existence of God
can be proved by the unaided reason and they had to set up what they considered were arguments to
prove it. There are, of course, a number of them, but I shall take only a few.
The First-cause Argument
Perhaps the simplest and easiest to understand is the argument of the First Cause. (It is maintained
that 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 of God.) That
argument, I suppose, does not carry very much weight nowadays, because, in the first place, cause is
not quite what it used to be. The philosophers and the men of science have got going on cause, and it
has not anything like the vitality it used to have; but, apart from that, you can see that the argument
that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity. I may say that when I was a
young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the
argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill’s
Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: “My father taught me that the question ‘Who made
me?’ cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?'” That
very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If
everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can 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. It is
exactly of the same nature as the Hindu’s view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the
elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, “How about the tortoise?” the Indian said,
“Suppose we change the subject.” The argument is really no better than that. 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
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all. The idea that things must have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our imagination.
Therefore, perhaps, I need not waste any more time upon the argument about the First Cause.
The Natural-law Argument
Then there is a very common argument from natural law. That was a favorite argument all through the
eighteenth century, especially under the influence of Sir Isaac Newton and his cosmogony. People
observed the planets going around the sun according to the law of gravitation, and they thought that
God had given a behest to these planets to move in that particular fashion, and that was why they did
so. That was, of course, a convenient and simple explanation that saved them the trouble of looking
any further for explanations of the law of gravitation. Nowadays we explain the law of gravitation in a
somewhat complicated fashion that Einstein has introduced. I do not propose to give you a lecture on
the law of gravitation, as interpreted by Einstein, because that again would take some time; at any
rate, you no longer have the sort of natural law that you had in the Newtonian system, where, for
some reason that nobody could understand, nature behaved in a uniform fashion. We now find that a
great many things we thought were natural laws are really human conventions. You know that even in
the remotest depths of stellar space there are still three feet to a yard. That is, no doubt, a very
remarkable fact, but you would hardly call it a law of nature. And a great many things that have been
regarded as laws of nature are of that kind. On the other hand, where you can get down to any
knowledge of what atoms actually do, you will find they are much less subject to law than people
thought, and that the laws at which you arrive are statistical averages of just the sort that would
emerge from chance. 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 the dice is
regulated by design; on the contrary, if the double sixes came every time we should think that there
was design. The laws of nature are of that sort as regards a great many of them. They are statistical
averages such as would emerge from the laws of chance; and that makes this whole business of
natural law much less impressive than it formerly was. Quite apart from that, which represents the
momentary state of science that may change tomorrow, the whole idea that natural laws imply a
lawgiver is due to a confusion between natural and human laws. Human laws are behests
commanding you to behave a certain way, in which you may choose to behave, or you may choose
not to behave; but natural laws are a description of how things do in fact behave, and being a mere
description of what they in fact do, you cannot argue that there must be somebody who told them to
do that, because even supposing that there were, you are then faced with the question “Why did God
issue just those natural laws and no others?” If you say that he did it simply from his own good
pleasure, and without any reason, you then find that there is something which is not subject to law,
and so your train of natural law is interrupted. If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all
the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others — the reason, of
course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it — if there
were a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you
do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary. You really have a law outside and
anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve your purpose, because he is not the ultimate
lawgiver. In short, this whole argument about natural law no longer has anything like the strength that
it used to have. I am traveling on in time in my review of the arguments. The arguments that are used
for the existence of God change their character as time goes on. They were at first hard intellectual
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arguments embodying certain quite definite fallacies. As we come to modern times they become less
respectable intellectually and more and more affected by a kind of moralizing vagueness.
The Argument from Design
The next step in the process brings us to the argument from design. You all know the argument from
design: everything in the world is made just so that we can manage to live in the world, and if the
world was ever so little different, we could not manage to live in it. That is the argument from design.
It sometimes takes a rather curious form; for instance, it is argued that rabbits have white tails in order
to be easy to shoot. I do not know how rabbits would view that application. It is an easy argument to
parody. You all know Voltaire’s remark, that obviously the nose was designed to be such as to fit
spectacles. That sort of parody has turned out to be not nearly so wide of the mark as it might have
seemed in the eighteenth century, because since the time of Darwin we understand much better why
living creatures are adapted to their environment. It is not that their environment was made to be
suitable to them but that they grew to be suitable to it, and that is the basis of adaptation. There is no
evidence of design about it.
When you come to look into this argument from design, it is a most astonishing thing that people can
believe that this world, with all the things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best that
omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years. 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 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: it is a stage in the decay of the solar system; at a
certain stage of decay you get the sort of conditions of temperature and so forth which are suitable to
protoplasm, and there is life for a short time in the life of the whole solar system. You see in the moon
the sort of thing to which the earth is tending — something dead, cold, and lifeless.
I am told that that sort of view is depressing, and people will sometimes tell you that if they believed
that, they would not be able to go on living. Do not believe it; it is all nonsense. Nobody really
worries about much about what is going to happen millions of years hence. Even if they think they are
worrying much about that, they are really deceiving themselves. They are worried about something
much more mundane, or it may merely be a bad digestion; but nobody is really seriously rendered
unhappy by the thought of something that is going to happen to this world millions and millions of
years hence. 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. It merely makes
you turn your attention to other things.
The Moral Arguments for Deity
Now we reach one stage further in what I shall call the intellectual descent that the Theists have made
in their argumentations, and we come to what are called the moral arguments for the existence of God.
You all know, of course, that there used to be in the old days three intellectual arguments for the
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existence of God, all of which were disposed of by Immanuel Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason;
but no sooner had he disposed of those arguments than he invented a new one, a moral argument, and
that quite convinced him. He was like many people: in intellectual matters he was skeptical, but in
moral matters he believed implicitly in the maxims that he had imbibed at his mother’s knee. That
illustrates what the psychoanalysts so much emphasize — the immensely stronger hold upon us that
our very early associations have than those of later times.
Kant, as I say, invented a new moral argument for the existence of God, and that in varying forms
was extremely popular during the nineteenth century. It has all sorts of forms. One form is to say there
would be no right or wrong unless God existed. 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. The
point I am concerned with is that, if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong,
then you are in this situation: Is that difference due to God’s fiat or is it not? If it is due to God’s fiat,
then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant
statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you
must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God’s fiat, because
God’s fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to
say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into
being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God. You could, of course, if you liked,
say that there was a superior deity who gave orders to the God that made this world, or could take up
the line that some of the gnostics took up — a line which I often thought was a very plausible one —
that as a matter of fact this world that we know was made by the devil at a moment when God was not
looking. There is a good deal to be said for that, and I am not concerned to refute it.
The Argument for the Remedying of Injustice
Then there is another very curious form of moral argument, which is this: they say that the existence
of God is required in order to bring justice into the world. In the part of this universe that we know
there is great injustice, and often the good suffer, and often the wicked prosper, and one hardly knows
which of those is the more annoying; but if you are going to have justice in the universe as a whole
you have to suppose a future life to redress the balance of life here on earth. So they say that there
must be a God, and there must be Heaven and Hell in order that in the long run there may be justice.
That is a very curious argument. If you looked at the matter from a scientific point of view, you would
say, “After all, I only know this world. I do not know about the rest of the universe, but so far as one
can argue at all on probabilities one would say that probably this world is a fair sample, and if there is
injustice here the odds are that there is injustice elsewhere also.” Supposing you got a crate of oranges
that you opened, and you found all the top layer of oranges bad, you would not argue, “The
underneath ones must be good, so as to redress the balance.” You would say, “Probably the whole lot
is a bad consignment”; and that is really what a scientific person would argue about the universe. He
would say, “Here we find in this world a great deal of injustice, and so far as that goes that is a reason
for supposing that justice does not rule in the world; and therefore so far as it goes it affords a moral
argument against deity and not in favor of one.” Of course I know that the sort of intellectual
arguments that I have been talking to you about are not what really moves people. 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.
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Then I think that the next most powerful reason is the wish for safety, a sort of feeling that there is a
big brother who will look after you. That plays a very profound part in influencing people’s desire for
a belief in God.
The Character of Christ
I now want to say a few words upon a topic which I often think is not quite sufficiently dealt with by
Rationalists, and that is the question whether Christ was the best and the wisest of men. It is generally
taken for granted that we should all agree that that was so. I do not myself. I think that there are a
good many points upon which I agree with Christ a great deal more than the professing Christians do.
I do not know that I could go with Him all the way, but I could go with Him much further than most
professing Christians can. You will remember that He said, “Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite
thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” That is not a new precept or a new principle. It
was used by Lao-tse and Buddha some 500 or 600 years before Christ, but it is not a principle which
as a matter of fact Christians accept. I have no doubt that the present prime minister [Stanley
Baldwin], for instance, is a most sincere Christian, but I should not advise any of you to go and smite
him on one cheek. I think you might find that he thought this text was intended in a figurative sense.
Then there is another point which I consider excellent. You will remember that Christ said, “Judge
not lest ye be judged.” That principle I do not think you would find was popular in the law courts of
Christian countries. I have known in my time quite a number of judges who were very earnest
Christians, and none of them felt that they were acting contrary to Christian principles in what they
did. Then Christ says, “Give to him that asketh of thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn
not thou away.” That is a very good principle. Your Chairman has reminded you that we are not here
to talk politics, but I cannot help observing that the last general election was fought on the question of
how desirable it was to turn away from him that would borrow of thee, so that one must assume that
the Liberals and Conservatives of this country are composed of people who do not agree with the
teaching of Christ, because they certainly did very emphatically turn away on that occasion.
Then there is one other maxim of Christ which I think has a great deal in it, but I do not find that it is
very popular among some of our Christian friends. He says, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that
which thou hast, and give to the poor.” That is a very excellent maxim, but, as I say, it is not much
practised. All these, I think, are good maxims, although they are a little difficult to live up to. I do not
profess to live up to them myself; but then, after all, it is not quite the same thing as for a Christian.
Defects in Christ’s Teaching
Having granted the excellence of these maxims, I come to certain points in which I do not believe that
one can grant either the superlative wisdom or the superlative goodness of Christ as depicted in the
Gospels; and here I may say that one is not concerned with the historical question. Historically it is
quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about him, so
that I am not concerned with the historical question, which is a very difficult one. I am concerned with
Christ as He appears in the Gospels, taking the Gospel narrative as it stands, and there one does find
some things that do not seem to be very wise. For one thing, he certainly thought that His second
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coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time.
There are a great many texts that prove that. He says, for instance, “Ye shall not have gone over the
cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come.” Then he says, “There are some standing here which shall
not taste death till the Son of Man comes into His kingdom”; and there are a lot of places where it is
quite clear that He believed that His second coming would happen during the lifetime of many then
living. That was the belief of His earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of His moral
teaching. When He said, “Take no thought for the morrow,” and things of that sort, it was very largely
because He thought that the second coming was going to be very soon, and that all ordinary mundane
affairs did not count. I have, as a matter of fact, known some Christians who did believe that the
second coming was imminent. I knew a parson who frightened his congregation terribly by telling
them that the second coming was very imminent indeed, but they were much consoled when they
found that he was planting trees in his garden. The early Christians did really believe it, and they did
abstain from such things as planting trees in their gardens, because they did accept from Christ the
belief that the second coming was imminent. In that respect, clearly He was not so wise as some other
people have been, and He was certainly not superlatively wise.
The Moral Problem
Then you come to moral questions. 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. Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels
did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those
people who would not listen to His preaching — an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers,
but which does somewhat detract from superlative excellence. You do not, for instance find that
attitude in Socrates. You find him quite bland and urbane toward the people who would not listen to
him; and it is, to my mind, far more worthy of a sage to take that line than to take the line of
indignation. You probably all remember the sorts of things that Socrates was saying when he was
dying, and the sort of things that he generally did say to people who did not agree with him.
You will find that in the Gospels Christ said, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape
the damnation of Hell.” That was said to people who did not like His preaching. It is not really to my
mind quite the best tone, and there are a great many of these things about Hell. There is, of course, the
familiar text about the sin against the Holy Ghost: “Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it
shall not be forgiven him neither in this World nor in the world to come.” That text has caused an
unspeakable amount of misery in the world, for all sorts of people have imagined that they have
committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, and thought that it would not be forgiven them either in
this world or in the world to come. I really do not think that a person with a proper degree of
kindliness in his nature would have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world.
Then Christ says, “The Son of Man shall send forth his His angels, and they shall gather out of His
kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire;
there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth”; and He goes on about the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
It comes in one verse after another, and it is quite manifest to the reader that there is a certain pleasure
in contemplating wailing and gnashing of teeth, or else it would not occur so often. Then you all, of
course, remember about the sheep and the goats; how at the second coming He is going to divide the
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sheep from the goats, and He is going to say to the goats, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting
fire.” He continues, “And these shall go away into everlasting fire.” Then He says again, “If thy hand
offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into
Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where the worm dieth not and the fire is not
quenched.” He repeats that again and again also. I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire
is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave
the world generations of cruel torture; and the Christ of the Gospels, if you could take Him asHis
chroniclers represent Him, would certainly have to be considered partly responsible for that.
There are other things of less importance. There is the instance of the Gadarene swine, where it
certainly was not very kind to the pigs to put the devils into them and make them rush down the hill
into the sea. You must remember that He was omnipotent, and He could have made the devils simply
go away; but He chose to send them into the pigs. Then there is the curious story of the fig tree, which
always rather puzzled me. You remember what happened about the fig tree. “He was hungry; and
seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came if haply He might find anything thereon; and when
He came to it He found nothing but leaves, for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and
said unto it: ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever’ . . . and Peter . . . saith unto Him: ‘Master,
behold the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.'” This is a very curious story, because it was
not the right time of year for figs, and you really could not blame the tree. I cannot myself feel that
either in the matter of wisdom or in the matter of virtue Christ stands quite as high as some other
people known to history. I think I should put Buddha and Socrates above Him in those respects. The Emotional Factor
As I said before, I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion has anything to do with
argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds. 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. You
know, of course, the parody of that argument in Samuel Butler’s book, Erewhon Revisited. You will
remember that in Erewhon there is a certain Higgs who arrives in a remote country, and after spending
some time there he escapes from that country in a balloon. Twenty years later he comes back to that
country and finds a new religion in which he is worshiped under the name of the “Sun Child,” and it is
said that he ascended into heaven. He finds that the Feast of the Ascension is about to be celebrated,
and he hears Professors Hanky and Panky say to each other that they never set eyes on the man Higgs,
and they hope they never will; but they are the high priests of the religion of the Sun Child. He is very
indignant, and he comes up to them, and he says, “I am going to expose all this humbug and tell the
people of Erewhon that it was only I, the man Higgs, and I went up in a balloon.” He was told, “You
must not do that, because all the morals of this country are bound round this myth, and if they once
know that you did not ascend into Heaven they will all become wicked”; and so he is persuaded of
that and he goes quietly away.
That is the idea — that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to
me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this
curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been
the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the
so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there
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was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches;
and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.
You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every
improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better
treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been
in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite
deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal
enemy of moral progress in the world.
How the Churches Have Retarded Progress
You may think that I am going too far when I say that that is still so. I do not think that I am. Take one
fact. You will bear with me if I mention it. It is not a pleasant fact, but the churches compel one to
mention facts that are not pleasant. Supposing that in this world that we live in today 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.
That is only an example. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church,
by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and
unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress
and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world, because it has chosen to label as
morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness; and
when you say that this or that ought to be done because it would make for human happiness, they
think that has nothing to do with the matter at all. “What has human happiness to do with morals? The
object of morals is not to make people happy.”
Fear, the Foundation of Religion
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 elder 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. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion
have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now
begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its
way step by step against the Christian religion, against the churches, and against the opposition of all
the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so
many generations. 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.
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What We Must Do
We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world — its good facts, its bad
facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. Conquer 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 ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception
quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that
they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of
self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought
to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better
than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness,
and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence
by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It
needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will
be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.
Electronic colophon: This electronic edition of “Why I Am Not a Christian” was first made available
by Bruce MacLeod on his “Watchful Eye Russell Page.” It was newly corrected (from Edwards, NY
1957) in July 1996 by John R. Lenz for the Bertrand Russell Society.__Schaeffer noted: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. _Related posts:

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part C (Kroto’s admiration of Bertrand Russell examined)

Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell. (Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 52 The views of Hegel and Bertrand Russell influenced Gareth Stedman Jones of Cambridge!!

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

Top 10 Woody Allen Movies __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were  atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 (More On) Woody Allen’s Atheism As I wrote in a previous post, I like Woody Allen. I have long admired his […]

John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

______ Top 10 Woody Allen Movies PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 01 PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 02 __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 II Sir Bertrand Russell from his book “The Problems of Philosophy”

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 II Sir Bertrand RussellBertrand Russell as a child.Image result for bertrand russellOn November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry KrotoImage result for harry krotoI 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,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)

__

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.__When I read this article below it reminded me of this scripture from Ecclesiastes and then this quote from Bertrand Russell.Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”Image result for bertrand russell__

“When God opens our eyes (2 Cor. 4:6) and grants us the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2:25), through the Scriptures (1 Sam. 3:21), we know that we have met ultimate reality. – John Piper (A Peculiar Glory, 19)What is reality?That’s a question many would feel belongs in a classroom instead of the pew. It might be seen as redundant because everyone knows what reality is, right? It consists of what is right in front of us. It’s self-evident and doesn’t need abstraction or a lengthy explanation, or questions in order to be discovered. However, based on Scripture, we see this is not the case. According to 2 Corinthians 4:4, the world is “blinded” by Satan; people are kept from seeing the light of the gospel.If the gospel is about a historical Jesus, who was both God and man, and who died a death for sin that a real Adam brought into the world (Rom. 5:12), and people are not believing or receiving that message…well, think about it. It means they are not seeing themselves for who they are as sinners, and God for who He is for us as Savior and Lord.  We by nature are out of touch with reality. We are missing a piece of the story of the world- the most important piece, the most important news ever.Now, let’s go back to this first question:The answer to the opening question is not as simple as you might think. Consider these words from the philosopher P.F. Strawson in his book Analysis and Metaphysicsstrawson

So what is involved in the notion of sense perception yielding true judgements about an objective spatio-temporal world? Of course, in asking this question, it is not implied that sense-perception always yields true judgements. We can, and do, misperceive, make mistakes. But it is certainly a feature of our ordinary scheme of thought that sense perception is taken to yield judgements which are generally or usually true. Remember that in thinking of the world as objective, we are thinking of it as being the way it is independently of any particular judgement about it; the truth of the judgement, if it is true, consists in its conformity to the way things are in the world. (60, emphasis added)

What Strawson is getting at here is that although your senses can help you understand true things about the world you are observing- although you are at the same time in the world and having an experience of it- that does not guarantee that everything you perceive is true. Your senses, like your heart (Jer. 17:9), can deceive you. It is important at this point to mention that you are a fallen human being observing a fallen world. There is beauty in it still, just as you are made in God’s image while still being a sinner, but that beauty is tainted and your Image is distorted. You are not guaranteed that what you observe is what is there- whether that’s through intuition, sight, smelling, or any of your other senses. The mind and heart that processes those senses is imperfect, and the ship is guided by a small rudder that loves sin instead of God.Taking things a step further, Bertrand Russell in his book The Problems of Philosophy speaks of two types of knowledge: knowledge by acquaintance, and knowledge by description.Betrand RussellBy knowledge of acquaintance he means, “anything of which we are directly aware, without the intermediary of any process of interference or knowledge of truths. (46).” So, you can see light and the sun and know that you are seeing the sun giving out light to see what is around you. You do not need any description of how light works in order to see it with your eyes. There is no truth needing to be explained for you to see this light. But, as you are acquainted with this light, you can from there learn things about it. On the other hand, knowledge by description here refers to statements that involve more details to help us understand specific realities. His example is, “‘ a man’ is an ambiguous description, and ‘the man with the iron mask’ is a definite description. (52)”When it comes to who God is, we in one sense are acquainted with Him through nature, and in seeing His power and beauty displayed, but are not acquainted with Him as Savior and Lord until we are given His description in Christ. We can see the works of God displayed with our senses. But, when it comes to the truths of Scripture and the meaning of the gospel, we are not by ourselves capable of becoming acquainted with it, and seeing it for all that it is, without God first giving us the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Until we come to believe the gospel, we are only acquainted with God in a general sense; we only know Him as Creator, but we do not know Him truly until He is described to us in Christ. We are out of alignment with reality until this happens. Our thinking is out of sync with where everything is. The Fall affects everything, and we often try and shield ourselves from it.As Christians, we understand that we live in a created universe where everything in existence has a meaning and a purpose directed under the sovereignty of God (Prov. 16:1-4). We are able to understand that our suffering cannot be fully explained in this life (Job 38-40), but as Christians we also know that nothing can enter our lives that will destroy us, or keep us from the love of Christ and all of the good purposes intended for us (Rom: 8:28ff). We do not have a house on the sand, but a house on the rock (Matt. 7:24-27)- we have security in our Shepherd (John 10), an anchor for the soul (Heb. 6).In your thinking you can relate things back to God and Scripture- you know the “ultimate” reality, the ultimate truth, and are not left to wallow in despair to be taken by the wind of varying beliefs (Col. 2), or be deceived by plausible philosophies. But, consider this Christian: what does your neighbor have to stand on? What can they do with their guilt? How can they know what a right decision is? Where do they go when they desire knowledge? What roof is over their heads?Francis Schaeffer in his book The God Who Is There writesimages

The more logical a man who holds a non-Christian position is to his own presuppositions, the further he is from the real world; and the nearer he is to the real world, the more illogical he is to his presuppositions (The God Who Is There, 133-134).

We need to reach people with the truth by listening to them and discovering where their own presuppositions go; we should gently push them to seeing that what they believe does not align with the way the world is. We could demonstrate this by showing there is an explanation for their guilt, and the Bible says this is the conscience and God’s law at work in us (Rom. 2). We could point to the order and form of the universe to show that it is being held together by a Personal Creator, and Scripture mentions God sustaining everything by the word of His power (Col. 1; Heb. 1).  The unbeliever lives in a Christian universe- the only universe that exists. This means they are on our playground, and we need only to describe the playground to them that they are observing each day.Further on, Schaeffer writes,

At the point of tension the person is not in a place of consistency in his system, and the roof is built as a protection against the blows of the real world, both internal and external…Taking the roof off involves showing man his need. His need is addressed in the Scriptures which show his lostness and the answer found in the person of Jesus Christ…but we must allow the person to undergo this experience so that he may realize his system has no answer to the crucial questions of life.  He must come to know that his roof is a false protection from the storm of what is; and then we can talk to him about the storm of God’s judgment. (The God Who Is There, 140-141).

Perhaps I will write more another day. If you’d like a related post, feel free to check this out.Go out- listen well, struggle well, and describe to others the Savior you are now acquainted with.Austin Thompson__Could it be that when Bertrand Russell was spending time with his children, he was driven to make this statement below?“It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”Check out this related post.Related posts:

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Pausing to take a look at the life of HARRY KROTO Part C (Kroto’s admiration of Bertrand Russell examined)

Today we look at the 3rd letter in the Kroto correspondence and his admiration of Bertrand Russell. (Below The Nobel chemistry laureates Harold Kroto, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley) It is with sadness that I write this post having learned of the death of Sir Harold Kroto on April 30, 2016 at the age of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 52 The views of Hegel and Bertrand Russell influenced Gareth Stedman Jones of Cambridge!!

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 _________________ Below you have picture of Dr. Harry Kroto:   Gareth Stedman […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

Top 10 Woody Allen Movies __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were  atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 (More On) Woody Allen’s Atheism As I wrote in a previous post, I like Woody Allen. I have long admired his […]

John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

______ Top 10 Woody Allen Movies PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 01 PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 02 __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 HH Sir Bertrand Russell’s paper A FREE MAN’S WORSHIP reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

Image result for bertrand russellOn November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry KrotoImage result for harry krotoI 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,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)

__

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.__

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

Principal publications
German Social Democracy, 1896
Foundations of Geometry, 1897
A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz, 1900
Principles of Mathematics, vol. 1, 1903
Philosophical Essays, 1910
(with Dr. A. N. Whitehead) Principia mathematica, 3 vols, 1910-13
The Problems of Philosophy, 1912
Our Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy, 1944
Principles of Social Reconstruction, 1916
Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, 1918
Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism and Syndicalism, 1918
Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, 1919
The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, 1920
The Analysis of Mind, 1921
The Problem of China, 1922
The ABC of Atoms, 1923
(with Dora Russell) The Prospects of Industrial Civilisation, 1923
Logical Atomism, 1924
The ABC of Relativity, 1925
On Education, 1926
The Analysis of Matter, 1927
An Outline of Philosophy, 1927
Sceptical Essays, 1928
Marriage and Morals, 1929
The Conquest of Happiness, 1930
The Freedom and Organisation 1814-1914, 1934
In Praise of Idleness, 1935
Which Way to Peace?, 1936
(with Patricia Russell editor of) The Amberley Papers, 2 vols, 1937
Power: a new Social Introduction to its Study, 1938
An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, 1941
History of Western Philosophy, 1946
Human Knowledge, its Scope and Limits, 1948
Authority and the Individual, 1949
Unpopular Essays, 1950

1) The matter for this sketch is taken from general English reference books.From Les Prix Nobel en 1950, Editor Arne Holmberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1951This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/ Nobel Lectures/The Nobel Prizes. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.For more updated biographical information, see:
Russell, Bertrand, The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. (3 vols.) Allen & Unwin: London, 1967-1969.

Image result for Douglas Groothuis,

Douglas Groothuis

01.24.13 | Denver Journal, Apologetics and Ethics, Douglas Groothuis | by Alain de Botton

A Denver Journal Review by Denver Seminary Professor Douglas Groothuis.

Alain de Botton Religion for Atheists: A Nonbelievers Guide to the Uses of Religion. New York: Pantheon Books, 2012. Hardback. $26.95. 320 pages. ISBN-10: 0307379108; ISBN-13: 978-0307379108.

ReligionforAtheistsCultural critic and popular atheistic philosopher, Alain de Botton, has a new angle on religion. Instead of denouncing religion as having no objective value (the modus operandi of “the new atheists”), de Botton scavenges for atheist blessings among the institutions, practices, and history of the (philosophically benighted) believers. No, there is no God. That, he thinks, is settled—although he gives no arguments to that effect. But why be so hostile to man’s religiosity—his sense of wonder, mystery, fellow-feeling, and the sacred? After all, a lot of religious things are pretty interesting and even inspiring (although there is no Spirit behind any of it). And even though the cognoscenti have outgrown any religious metaphysics (“God is dead,” as Nietzsche pontificated), there may be cultural and psychological gems mixed into the metaphysical manure of empty concepts such as God, angels, providence, prayer, prophets, miracles, saints, salvation, and final judgment.

This ambitious (or quixotic) endeavor has exposed de Botton some savage criticism from fellow God-bashers. Although he didn’t live long enough to excoriate Religion for Atheists, it is certain that Christopher Hitchens, the author of the vitriolic God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, would have denounced it as sentimental, unreasonable, and finally absurd. The entire new atheist movement distinguishes itself precisely by not tolerating religion (and particularly Christianity, which is routinely treated with enormous scorn) and for wanting to exorcise all things religious from culture. Instead of saying that religion is false, but we have to put up with superstition in a free society, the New Atheists claim that religion is the source of all manner of evil. It must be expunged from any rational society. No pats on the head for religion; rather, bring the hammer.

But de Botton who has several popular books under his belt, including Proust Can Change Your Life, attempts to articulate a kinder, gentler atheism. He even proposes a religious atheism. This is not new. The founder of sociology, August Comte (1798–1857), proposed an atheist “religion of humanity” in the nineteenth century, and de Botton draws some secular inspiration from his fatuous and failed endeavor. Moreover, The Secular Humanist Manifesto I, (1933), spoke of secular humanism as a religious endeavor—sans God, however. In The Secular Humanist Manifesto, II (1973), any positive reference to religion was fumigated. In the famous Torcaso vs. Watkins Supreme Court decision of 1963, “Secular Humanism,” was declared to be a “religion.” Sadly, this ruling was never applied to mandatory state education, which is dominated by this secular humanism in every subject and which will not even allow scientific evidence to be brought against aspects of Darwinism. (On this, see Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto [Crossway, 1981].)

There is no need to describe much of de Bottons project (as witty as some of it may be; he is British, after all), since it rests on an abject absurdity—or more than one, as we will see. On this, I side with the new atheists (“take no prisoners”), and with their grand and eloquent precursor, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). Consider this soliloquy from “The Madman” parable in The Gay Science (“gay” is taken in the older sense).

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

“How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us—for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.”

Atheism, or philosophical materialism, bequeaths to us a “world without windows” (Peter Berger), a closed system of cause and effect (Francis Schaeffer), which is all reducible to brute natural laws, matter and energy, chance, and a heck of a lot of (meaningless) time. Death is the end of the individual and of the entire cosmos eventually. That is the implacable narrative of naturalism, like it or not.

We cannot “comfort ourselves” by appropriating from religion what only religion can provide: divine revelation, a supernatural kingdom and worldview, providential history, real redemption from a source outside ourselves, and the life everlasting, either in the New Creation or in hell.

One may put the argument against de Bottons’s daft idea formally:

  1. X (religious meaning) requires Y (the truth of religion) for its existence.
  2. Y does not exist.
  3. Therefore: X does not exist.

Or it can be put thus:

  1. If and only if Y, then X.
  2. Not X.
  3. Therefore: not Y.

Or:

  1. If there is no religious truth, there is no religious meaning.
  2. There is no religious truth, since atheism is true.
  3. Therefore, there is no religious meaning.

Or, to put it yet another way for hardheaded atheists who wants to steal from religion what atheism itself can never provide:

  1. The truth of religion is a necessary condition for religious meaning.
  2. Religion is factually false (atheism).
  3. Therefore, there is no religious meaning.
  4. Therefore, all is meaningless (nihilism), whatever pseudo-religious games we play.

(This argument restates the first one given, but with a different form.)

I need not go on with this logical theme, lest I suffer the charge of pedantry. But another absurdity needs a tongue-lashing. While de Botton’s illicit existential booty largely comes from Christianity, he samples and mixes in bits from other religions as well. Thus, Buddhism can teach us about tranquility through meditation, and so on. But the problem mentioned above, with respect to Christianity, arises here as well. One cannot find Buddhist meaning without Buddhist truth. If “The Four Noble Truths” are not true, why meditate? But that is not all. Buddhism and Christianity affirm different and antithetical worldviews at their very core. They both cannot be true, since they disagree on minor things like the existence of the soul, the afterlife, and the ultimate reality (God or Nirvana). So, the absurdities multiply for de Botton who obliviously marches from chapter to chapter cherry- picking likeable aspects of false religions—whose meaning depends on their mutually-exclusive truths. Oh, my! How bad can it get? One must invoke the Apostle here:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:21-22).

In looting from the biblical ideal of fellowship, de Bottom imagines an “Agape Restaurant, a secular descendent of the Eucharist and of the tradition of Christian communal dining” (45). But later in the chapter, he invokes the debauched tradition of “the feast of fools,” in which normal social relations are skewed to let off the steam built up through good behavior. This means a lot of debauchery.  Of course, there is nothing like a “feast of fools” in the Bible, but no matter. For de Botton the “feast of fools” turns into a sexual orgy, which is pornographically depicted on page 67. Stunned, I ripped it out and disposed of it immediately after briefly seeing it. So, in the irresponsibly eclectic and illogical mind of Alain de Botton one can equally draw from the practice of Holy Communion and from the unholy pagan bacchanalia, the likes of which the Apostle Paul explicitly condemns.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).

But mixing communion with “acts of the flesh” for his atheist religion is quite convenient for de Botton and entirely unjustified by any consistent set of godless principles.

Not only is de Botton’s program for religious atheism absurd on several levels, it also testifies to the paucity of atheism qua atheism to deliver any objective or lasting human meaning based on transcendent truths. As astronomer Carl Sagan asserted without argument in Cosmos in 1980: “The universe is all that is, was, or ever will be.” As such atheism fails a necessary test for the truthfulness of a worldview. This is how I articulated it in Christian Apologetics (InterVarsity, 2011) when discussing the rational tests for a worldview.

Criterion 5a: For a worldview to be a likely candidate for truth, its essential propositions must be existentially viable.

Criterion 5b: If a worldview leads habitually to philosophical hypocrisy, it is rationally disqualified, since this indicates that it does not correspond to reality.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Atheism is not existentially viable (or livable), since we are meaning-seeking beings supposedly lost in a meaningless world. As Francis Schaeffer said in The God Who is There, this would be like a fish developing lungs in a world without an oxygen atmosphere. It is beyond pointless. This reality leads atheists such as de Botton to commit philosophical hypocrisy by vainly trying to purloin ideas from antithetical religious worldviews to give some meaning to an ultimately meaningless world. It melts down to these two logically incompatible propositions:

  1. There is no objective meaning in the world, because there is no God to bestow it.
  2. Religion, while false, gives us objective meaning.

But obviously, if (1) is true, then (2) must be false. One must engage in vicious mystification to try to think otherwise. A logically consistent set of two propositions for the atheist is as follows:

  1. There is no objective meaning in the world, because there is no God to bestow it.
  2. Therefore: all religious practices based on the idea of God’s existence lose their meaning and should be shunned, since God does not exist.

Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), perhaps the leading philosophical atheist of the twentieth century, put it unforgettably in his often anthologized essay, “A Free Man’s Worship.”

That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.

Russell, who drank the cup of atheism to the dregs, realized his godless fate. The “worship” of which he speaks later in the essay is simply the refusal to engage in the worship of power. It has nothing to do with de Bottom’s hopeless program of ontologically empty activities.

Image result for bertrand russell

However, the Christian can offer a “religion for atheists” — Christianity itself. But that, of course, requires the abandonment of atheism, the embrace of theism and the Incarnation, and the end of pretending otherwise. Only then, will religious meaning become a reality for the thirsty soul. As Jesus put it at the beginning of his world-changing ministry, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
Denver Seminary
January 2013

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

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Why I Am Not a Christian

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Why I Am Not a Christianbook cover

Why 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.[1]Contents

Contents[edit]

Russell begins by defining what he means by the term Christian and sets out to explain why he does not “believe in God and in immortality” and why he does not “think that Christ was the best and wisest of men”, the two things he identifies as “essential to anybody calling himself a Christian”. He considers a number of logicalarguments for the existence of God and goes into specifics about Christian theology. He argues ad absurdum against the “argument from design“, and favors Darwin’s theories.

Russell also expresses doubt over the historical existence of Jesus and questions the morality of religion, which is, in his view, predominantly based on fear.

History[edit]

The first German edition was published in 1932 by Kreis der Freunde monistischen Schrifttums, a monist association in Dresden inspired by Ernst Haeckel. In 1957 Paul Edwardspreferred Russell over the then more trendy Ludwig Wittgenstein and published the essay and further texts referring to the background of The Bertrand Russell Case. Russell had been denied a professorship in New York for his political and secular views and his tolerance for the gay till graduation version of homosexuality. Some countries banned the book, including South Africa.[2] The enhanced version has been republished in various editions since the 1960s. The New York Public Library listed it among the most influential books of the 20th century.[3]The title has inspired other books in a snowclone fashion. William E. Connolly‘s Why I Am Not a Secularist (2000) deals directly with various aspects of Russell’s argument. He sees Russell’s approach as an attempt to exchange a previous center of gravity in public life, based on a Jewish-Christian heritage, with another that is secular-minded. Connolly doubts this exchange of one one-fits-all authoritative approach to public ethics and public reason for a new one that all “reasonable” citizens should abide by.[4] He asks instead for new forms of public engagement that allow for more and more varied perspectives to interact (and restrain) each other. He counts on various important philosophers, from NietzscheFreud, and Judith Butler to Michael J. Shapiro and Michel Foucault to have provided such views. Connolly argues that Russell-style secularism, although admirable in its values, may undercut its own goals of freedom and diversity as a result of a narrow and intolerant understanding of the public sphere and reason.[4]Bertrand Russell died on February 2, 1970.

FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE
by
David L. Lipe, Ph.D.
INTRODUCTION
The topics of faith and knowledge, and their relationship to each other, often present considerable
difficulties to serious Bible students. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss a number of matters relating
to both faith and knowledge, in an effort to increase our understanding of these two important, and related,
concepts.
FAITH AND BELIEF
The relationship of faith to belief is a very complex study and, admittedly, it is not likely that the exact
relationship between the two will be settled, to the reader’s satisfaction, in a paper as brief as this one.
The word “faith” is used in various ways that make it even more difficult to arrive at a clear understanding
of it. We must concede that words can have different meanings, and that each of the different meanings
may be legitimate. For example, one might say, “It is better to be red than dead.” Here, “red” obviously
does not refer to a particular color in a scheme of colors, but is intended to convey notions of communism.
It would be improper to say that “red” cannot be used in such a way.
The same kind of thing is true with the word “faith.” Often people say of some belief that cannot be
established as true, “After all, it is just a matter of faith.” Again, someone who is uncertain of taking a
particular course of action might be advised, “Just launch out on faith.” I do not suggest that “faith” cannot
be used this way for, obviously it is so used; however, I do contend that such is not a biblical usage of
“faith.”
The complexity of the matter is even greater when one considers the ambiguity of the notion of “belief.”
Consider the difference in the meaning of “believe” in the following propositions: “I believe it will
rain tomorrow” and “I believe 2 + 2 = 4.” Most would agree that the word “think” could be substituted for
“believe” in the first proposition, but few would say “I think 2 + 2 = 4.”
– 2 –
Faith is a kind of belief. There is no distinction in the Greek between faith and belief. Perhaps faith’s
relationship to belief can be better ascertained by considering the noun “faith” (pistis), and the verb “believe”
(pisteuo). W.E. Vine has defined faith as “primarily firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing…used
in the New Testament always of faith in God or Christ, or things spiritual” (1940). He defined
the word “believe” as “to believe, also to be persuaded of, and hence, to place confidence in, to
trust…reliance upon, not mere credence” (1940). Both include elements of reliance and trust.
The definitions do not help a great deal in getting at the distinction between faith and belief. Perhaps
we can understand the true significance of faith by attempting to unfold the nature of belief. “Belief” refers
primarily to a judgment that something is true. If I say “I believe that all nuclear weapons one day
will be destroyed,” I am speaking about myself—not the state of the world. I am giving information about
my judgment concerning nuclear weapons. The only way in which my judgment might be false is that I
am lying—i.e., I do not believe what I say I believe. If I say “All nuclear weapons one day will be destroyed,”
then I state a belief. But the truth or falsity of my belief in no way depends upon what I believe
or disbelieve. Whether the belief is true or false depends upon the course of history.*
Our beliefs may be weak or strong. Suppose I am asked, “Will it rain tomorrow?” If I say, “I believe
it will rain tomorrow,” I am emphasizing that I merely believe it will rain since I do not know with certainty
that it will. I could have said just as easily, “I think it will rain tomorrow.” If it did not rain the next
day, I would not be devastated to find that my belief was a false belief. If someone afterward said they
relied on my judgment and subsequently cancelled a picnic, I would say, “Don’t blame me, I only said I
believe it will rain tomorrow.” This sort of belief is one in which I merely hold an opinion about something.
I hope that it is true and thus believe it to be true, but I cannot prove it—I merely accept it. Belief in
this sense has little to do with biblical faith.
Belief in a strong sense refers to a belief for which we are prepared to give good reasons. Thus, I
might say, “I believe it will rain tomorrow” and be prepared to give reasons for my belief. Note that the
difference in these two types of belief turns on the causes of the beliefs. Walter Kaufmann, in Critique of
– 3 –
Religion and Philosophy (1958, pp. 132-34), listed what he perceived to be the seven causes of belief. A
statement may be believed because:
1. Arguments have been offered in its support.
2. It was encountered (in a book, paper, etc.) and nothing was spoken against it.
3. Numerous factors may be working in its behalf. (It may be a common belief in one’s environment and
hence accepted by “osmosis.”)
4. The new belief fits well by our prior beliefs.
5. There may be penalties for not accepting a belief (ostracism, disappointing our parents, torture).
6. There may be positive rewards for accepting a belief.
7. The belief may be accepted because it gratifies us or answers a psychological need.
The first item in the above list is the kind of thing that makes a belief strong, whereas items 2-7
would be “grounds” for considering a belief weak. The weak and strong sense of belief that I have suggested
corresponds generally to Frye and Levi’s irrational and rational belief (1941, p. 216). Rational
belief is “reasoned belief based upon adequate evidence” (1941, p. 323). Irrational beliefs are: (a) beliefs
not produced by a “reason” per se, but instead by some non-rational cause such as emotion, prejudice,
vested interest, authority, habit, and the tendency to accept what one has been told; and (b) beliefs that are
produced by inadequate or insufficient reasons.
Biblical faith shares the basic element of strong (rational) belief in that one is prepared to give reasons
for his faith. 1 Peter 3:15 makes it clear that biblical faith must be based on good reasoning. Biblical
faith, however, includes more than just being prepared to give reasons. Faith includes the notion of trust,
which evidences itself in acting upon that which we believe. Faith requires belief (in the sense of intellectual
assent); thus faith could include weak belief (where mere intellectual assent is offered) and strong
belief (where one is prepared to give reasons for his intellectual assent). Yet faith is more than this. Samuel
Thompson wrote:
The distinctive feature of faith, in contrast with mere belief, is the element in it of will to action. Belief is
an act of the intellect, and faith has been described as “an act of the intellect commanded by the will.” But
faith is more than an act of the intellect, and the will does more than command. Faith is not merely the as
*
See Samuel Thompson’s, A Modern Philosophy of Religion, 1955, p. 44 for this kind of reasoning.
– 4 –
sent that something is true, it is our readiness to act on what we believe true. Faith is will lured by value
into action. Faith is decision (1955, p. 74).
Faith, then, includes what might be referred to as a “belief that,” but it also includes action (putting trust
in or believing in).
We should not conclude from this that the concept of trust may be substituted in every case for the
concept of belief. In many cases such a substitution may be made. Thus, when Jesus said in Mark 5:36,
“Be not afraid, only believe,” we could say “Be not afraid, only have faith,” or “Be not afraid, only trust.”
Again, when Jesus said in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God,” we could say “Believe in God,” or “Trust in
God.” Some occurrences of belief will not allow such a substitution. In John 12:42-43, many of the chief
rulers believed on Jesus but because they loved the praise of men and did not want to be put out of the
synagogue they did not confess Him. These chief rulers had belief (an act of the intellect), but we would
not say they had a biblical faith since they were unwilling to act on what they believed. Thus, we would
not say they trusted in Jesus (cf. James 2:18-19).
The clearest example of both elements of faith in the same context is Hebrews 11. Verse 6 says, “he
that cometh to God must believe that he is…” (emp. added). Beginning with verse 7, the writer observed
that a number of notable Old Testament characters trusted in that about which they believed. They acted
on their belief. Note the words indicating action—e.g., “prepared” (vs. 7) and “obeyed” (vs. 8).
FAITH AND EVIDENCE
It is false to say that faith means the absence of evidence. God does not want us to accept anything as
true for which there is not sufficient evidence. This claim is disputed by Christian and non-Christian alike.
Some have suggested that if a claim rests on sufficient evidence, then such a claim is a matter of knowledge,
while faith has to do with considerations lacking evidence of their claim. According to this, knowledge
begins where evidence begins, and ends where evidence ends. Faith begins after the evidence ends.
Thus, if one wishes to hold to doctrine X, and the evidence is such that the doctrine may or may not be
true, one may take a “leap of faith” (i.e., a leap beyond the evidence) and espouse doctrine X even though
– 5 –
there is not sufficient evidence for the doctrine. Richard Robinson, an atheistic thinker, charged that the
above picture of faith is representative of Christian faith. According to him, such faith is
…believing that there is a god no matter what the evidence on the question may be. “Have faith,” in the
Christian sense, means “make yourself believe that there is a god without regard to evidence.” Christian
faith is a habit of flouting reason in forming and maintaining one’s answer to the question whether there
is a god (1964, p. 121).
This may be the view of faith for some, but it is not biblical faith. Biblical faith is a reasonable faith.
Nothing in the Bible teaches that faith is unreasonable. On the contrary, everything concerning faith is
reasonable. Thus, if biblical faith is to be reasonable, one must recognize the Law of Rationality, which
demands that we draw only such conclusions as are warranted by adequate evidence. Bertrand Russell
stated it this way: “Give to any hypothesis that is worth your while to consider just that degree of confidence
which the evidence warrants” (1945, p. 816).
By “evidence” I mean a statement (or statements) used in an effort to support the view that a given
conclusion is true. Thompson wrote: “By evidence we mean what the term literally suggests, that which
‘shows’ or ‘exhibits’ or ‘brings into view.’ The evidence shows or brings into view the basis upon which
the claim of truth rests” (1955, p. 44). On the same page, Thompson further pointed out that evidence includes
statements which imply the statement(s) in question: If a conclusion is implied by a statement, and
this statement is true, then the implied statement also must be true. Evidence may be said to be “adequate
when it is as good or convincing as it can be, when further investigation into the truth of the proposition
in question is pointless” (Davis, 1978, p. 19).
The Bible (a body of factual information about God and His will for man) constitutes adequate evidence.
Since God cannot lie, the integrity of the Scriptures cannot be disputed successfully. Faith comes
after knowledge of the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Thus, faith is based on evidence. Nowhere in the
Scriptures is anyone called upon to have faith without evidence. John said that the signs in his Gospel
were in order “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might
have life through his name” (John 20:30-31). Furthermore, John wrote: “These things have I written unto
you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye
– 6 –
may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13). In the first recorded sermon following the
resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:22-40), Peter appealed to four kinds of evidence: (1) miracles (22); (2)
prophecy (25-28); (3) the resurrection (27-32); and (4) the events of the day (33). Peter continued by saying,
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye
have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).
Our supreme example, Jesus, documented the necessity of gathering evidence. In every instance, He
met the temptations of the devil with an “it is written.” The second temptation is particularly interesting.
Satan quoted Psalm 91:11 in challenging Jesus to throw Himself from the pinnacle of the temple. Jesus
responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, thus emphasizing that the totality of biblical teaching on a particular
subject should be considered.
If biblical faith is to be reasonable, one not only must gather the evidence on a particular question,
but must handle that evidence correctly. To be rational is to draw only warranted conclusions, which
means that we must use principles of valid reasoning. To do otherwise is to espouse the view that biblical
faith may “out run” the evidence, which is to say that faith is a “leap into the dark.” This is a false view of
the Christian faith. Examine and study carefully 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, and 1 John 4:1.
Someone might object that there are occasions when Jesus appealed to people to believe without sufficient
evidence. Jesus said to one disciple in John 20:29: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast
believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” The claim could be made that Jesus
is pronouncing a blessing on those who believe without evidence since “seeing” is a means by which to
gather evidence; yet, in the passage Jesus commended those who believe without seeing. Though Jesus
commended people for believing without seeing, it does not follow that He commended people for believing
without sufficient evidence. Thomas should have had reason enough to believe the resurrection of
Jesus from the dead based on Christ’s own statements and the testimony of the rest of the apostles; however,
he would not believe without seeing firsthand (John 20:25). The Samaritans believed (without hearing
or seeing for themselves) because of the evidence of the Samaritan woman’s testimony (John 4:39).
– 7 –
After hearing Jesus firsthand, they believed, not because of the woman’s testimony, but because they
heard Him with their own ears.
FAITH AND DOUBT
It is false to say that doubt is an integral part of the nature of faith. Much evidence in the Bible attests
to the false nature of such a claim. Paul noted in Romans 14:23: “And he that doubteth (diakrinomenos) is
damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Further, James
wrote: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (diakrinomenos). For he that wavereth (diakrinomenos)
is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (1:6). The RSV makes the matter even clearer:
“But let him ask in faith with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and
tossed by the wind.” Concerning Abraham’s faith, Paul stated: “He staggered (diekrithe) not at the promise
of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that,
what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:20-21). The word “staggered” is from the
same root word as that expressed by the KJV’s “wavereth” (James 1:6) or the RSV’s “doubting.” Further
evidence that Abraham’s faith was not one of doubt is seen in the expression “being fully persuaded”
(from plerophoretheis, which describes the reason for his trust in God). Abraham was fully convinced,
(i.e., certain) that God would do what He had promised.
Someone might object that Abraham’s faith contained an element of doubt (based on Hebrews 11:8
where it is said of Abraham, “By faith, Abraham…went out, not knowing [emp. added] whither he
went”). That Abraham was not “fully persuaded” as to his destination in no way argues against Abraham’s
faith. It is consistent to say that Abraham’s faith contained no element of doubt insofar as he was
convinced that God would keep His promise, although he did not know other things—namely, where
God intended him to go. Obviously, since Abraham did not know where he was going, he had doubt as to
where he was going; however, concerning what God would do, Abraham’s faith was unshakable. He believed
God and acted on what God said.
It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with one raising doubts about his faith. Thompson
observed that “doubt does not destroy faith; doubt tests faith…. Faith has its own response to doubt, for
– 8 –
doubt is the occasion for faith to examine itself and its cause” (1955, p. 78). Sometimes we find that our
faith is unfounded. For example, a child may be taught by his parents that baptism is essential to salvation.
The child believes what the parents say and perhaps acts on the parents’ teaching. Only later does
the child (now older) begin to question his belief and the action that followed. There is nothing improper
about this, since it is the case that human testimony many times can be called into question. Thus, the
young adult begins to raise questions about a certain belief and action. He discovers that what he has been
taught is in harmony with the Word of God and thus he still has the right to hold onto his faith. After this
doubting process, he can be certain of his faith since that faith now is not based merely on the testimony
of his parents but on certain propositions from the Word of God. Since God exists and is perfect in integrity,
then the Word of God must be true. Thus, any faith based upon the Word of God must be true and
reliable and no longer a matter of doubt.
This concept of biblical faith is the antithesis of the teachings of some who hold that faith is just a
step removed from certainty—i.e., that faith involves a kind of “leap” into the uncertain. Such a concept
can be avoided if we will keep in mind that faith must be preceded by knowledge. Admittedly this is not a
popular view in contemporary society.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer noted: “Knowledge precedes faith, this is crucial
in understanding the Bible. To say, as a Christian should, that only faith which believes God on the basis
of knowledge is true faith, is to say something which causes an explosion in the Twentieth Century
world” (1968, p. 142).

Image result for francis schaeffer
FAITH AND TESTIMONY
Faith may be based on the testimony of others. Although some have failed to recognize this fact, the
Bible teaches that one may have faith (and knowledge) based on the testimony of another. It simply is not
the case that one cannot be sure of something unless one experiences it firsthand. Thomas Paine, in The
Age of Reason, wrote that something revealed to one person and “revealed to any other person is a revelation
to that person only.” That which is revealed ceases to be a revelation when it is told to other individuals,
and thus others are not under obligation to believe it. A careful study of the Bible shows that this
is not the case.
– 9 –
After the Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene, she related her experience to the others who had been
with the Lord, but they “believed not” (Mark 16:9-11). Later the Lord appeared to two of the disciples
and they then told the rest, but “neither believed they them” (Mark 16:12-13). When the Lord appeared
later to the eleven He, “upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed
not them which had seen him after he was risen” (Mark 16:14).
Thus, Jesus rejected the view that one can know only what one witnesses personally and established
as a general principle that knowledge can be attained based on credible testimony. This raises the issue as
to when testimony is credible. Obviously, there is such a thing as false testimony. Any belief based on
false testimony would necessarily be a false belief, and in no way can such a belief be likened to biblical
faith. As surely as God cannot lie (1 Samuel 15:29; Hebrews 6:18), and as surely as God has spoken
through holy men of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), then we can accept the testimony of the
Bible as unfaltering. If we can do this, then we can both believe and know the truth.
FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE
Men have long taken sides on the issue of faith and knowledge. This is inevitable as long as they are
set in contrast to one another. Tertullian made this bifurcation clear when he asked, “What has Athens to
do with Jerusalem?” Philosophy for him was antagonistic to Christianity. Augustine and Anselm followed
this tradition in their plea to believe in order to understand. Faith in this sense was regarded as the initial
(and perhaps only) way of arriving at truth. Interestingly enough, in the Islamic religion, reason reigned
supreme. Avicenna and Averroes, in the Middle Ages, insisted that reason led to absolute truth and that
faith was but a shortcut for the mentally inept. Aquinas attempted a kind of harmony between these extremes
by arguing that faith and knowledge are both avenues to truth; however, he contended that the
same truth could not be both believed and known via natural reason by the same person at the same time.
Thus, even in Aquinas’ thinking there was a gap between faith and knowledge. The Thomist does not
wish to believe what he can know and does not pretend to know what can only be believed.
Efforts to take sides with faith or knowledge still (and likely will) continue—with unfortunate consequences.
Thompson observed:
– 10 –
Those who align themselves with knowledge, in opposition to faith, are inclined to assume that when
faith comes in conflict with what they themselves take to be knowledge, the error lies with claims of
faith. Those who side with faith, in opposition to knowledge, tend to regard as spurious any claim of
knowledge which does not fit their own scheme of faith (1955, pp. 76-77).
The problem with all attempts to set faith and knowledge in contrast stems from a failure to understand
proper biblical teaching. The Bible teaches that faith and knowledge are complementary and wherever
they appear to be antagonistic, something is wrong either with what is taken to be as faith, or with what is
alleged to be knowledge, or with both. This is the case because both are concerned with truth (though not
in the same way), and truth is absolute in its self-consistency. If knowledge and faith are not to be separated,
it must be because they are relevant in some way. The intellect (knowledge) and will (faith) are
complementary. Knowledge without faith leads to speculation.*
The Bible clearly teaches in different ways that faith and knowledge are not to be set in contradistinction.
(1) Faith and knowledge never are contrasted in the New Testament. Faith is contrasted with
sight—not knowledge or reason. In Hebrews 11:1 we read: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen.” Further, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not
by sight.” These verses make it clear that faith is set in contrast to “walking by sight.” Sight is a type of
sense perception, and therefore a means of attaining knowledge. Thus, faith, instead of being contrasted
with knowledge, is contrasted with a means of attaining knowledge. This does not mean faith and sight
cannot function together. Jesus said: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed” (John
20:29). Thomas’ faith was based on the evidence of his senses—namely, his sense of sight. Again, Jesus
said to Thomas: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29, emp. added).
This shows that there can be faith where there is no sight, but note that the verse does not say there can be
faith where there is no knowledge.
Some believed in Jesus not because they saw Him but because of other evidence. A case in point is
the Samaritans who “believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, he told me all that
ever I did” (John 4:39). The Samaritan woman believed because she saw Jesus herself and thus she would

*
see Thompson, 1955, pp. 76-79 for further remarks on this.
– 11 –
fall into the same category as Thomas (who believed based on his sight). However, the Samaritans believed
based on the testimony of the woman and thus would fall into the category of those who believed
and yet who had not seen. These Samaritans, along with “many more,” after believing based on the
woman’s testimony, “believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not
because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour
of the world” (John 4:41-42).
These examples show that walking by faith and walking by sight are two different things. One may
believe and know things that cannot be seen, as did the Samaritans who believed at first without seeing.
Their belief was based on personal testimony. Walking by sight means accepting only those truths that
can be seen or demonstrated (perhaps even by some other sense). It is, in short, to be guided by that which
can be seen directly. There are many things that may be known which are not seen directly, e.g. the existence
of God (Romans 1:20-21). Further, I may know and believe Noah built an ark, that Jonah was swallowed
by a great fish, etc., even though I never have “seen” any of these events. But, since faith comes by
hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), I can walk by faith—i.e., take God at His word
and believe what the Scriptures teach.
(2) Faith and knowledge may have the same object. Consider, for example, the following:
(a) God can be both known and believed. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant
whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before
me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Isaiah 43:10).
(b) The truth can be both known and believed. “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain
from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which
believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3).
(c) The deity of Christ can be both known and believed. “And we believe and are sure that thou
art that Christ, the Son of the living (John 6:69; cf. 4:42).
(d) Jesus said one could know and believe the same thing. “But if I do, though ye believe not
me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him”
(John 10:38).
(e) Paul said, “I know whom I have believed” (2 Timothy 1:12).
– 12 –
(3) Knowledge precedes faith. Faith never precedes knowledge but instead is a commitment to
knowledge. According to Romans 10:17, faith comes after men have a knowledge of the Word of God.
For biblical faith, where there is no word, there can be no faith. Where there is no evidence, there can be
no faith.
The Bereans were more noble than the Thessalonians in that they: (a) received the word with readiness
of mind; and (b) searched the Scriptures daily to determine whether what was being taught was, in
fact, the case (Acts 17:11). The result of their attitude and action was belief (Acts 17:12). Note that they
believed only after they had knowledge of the Word of God. The Jews on Pentecost believed they had
killed the very Messiah for whom they looked, and knew they were guilty of such actions based on
“knowing assuredly” that Jesus was both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:22-36).
Someone might object that the view of faith and knowledge I have presented is erroneous, since to
maintain that if S knows P, S must have justified true belief of P. Thus, if S knows P, S believes P but it
does not follow necessarily that if S believes P, S knows P. Most philosophers, including myself, would
accept this view of knowledge. Does this not then contradict the view I have outlined—that knowledge
precedes faith?
The issue turns on the difference in “belief ” and “faith” as discussed earlier. To hold a belief means
to give assent to the truthfulness of some proposition that may, in fact, be false; thus, some beliefs do not
amount to knowledge. However, to have faith means not only to have a “belief ” in the sense of a “belief
that” (which must be true), but also in the sense of a “belief in” (which is trust). As far as biblical faith is
concerned, this can only be had based upon the testimony of the Word of God. Where there is no testimony,
there can be no faith. One can walk by faith only when one knows the Word of God. If one can
know that God exists, that He is perfect in integrity, that the Bible is the Word of God, and that the Bible
teaches a particular truth, then one can know that truth. Knowing this, one can give himself over to that
truth—i.e., trust one’s life to that truth. This is to say, he can walk by faith and live a life of taking God at
His word.
– 13 –
REFERENCES
Davis, Stephen T. (1978), Faith, Skepticism, and Evidence (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University).
Frye and Levi (1941), Rational Belief (New York: Harcourt and Brace).
Kaufmann, Walter (1958), Critique of Religion and Philosophy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).
Robinson, Richard (1964), An Atheist’s Values (Oxford: Basil Blackwell).
Russell, Bertrand (1945), A History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon & Schuster).
Schaeffer, Francis (1968), The God Who Is There (Downer’s Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press).
Thompson, Samuel (1955), A Modern Philosophy of Religion (Chicago, IL: Regnery).
Vine, W.E. (1940), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).

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Image result for bertrand russell

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Harry Kroto

Image result for harry kroto

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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,