Tag Archives: Ronald de Sousa

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149K Sir 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

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

Bertrand Russell was an intellectual giant of the 20th century who bore witness to his generation’s painful transition from Victorian optimism to postwar trauma. He always believed that ideas could change the world. He was closely involved in many of the events that shaped world politics during the first two-thirds of the 20th century. Controversially, he opposed the first world war, and was a prominent peace activist.

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

Bertrand Russell as a 4 year old above.

Is it better to affirm a truth for the wrong reasons than to deny it for the right ones?

Another golden oldie from my 2009 CP blog:

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An acquaintance of mine, Stephen M. Wagner, sent me the following question: “is it better to believe something true through indoctrination and rhetoric or to believe something false through reflection and argument?”

While it is a great question, let me put it in my own words, in part because I want to make it my own, and in part because I’m uncomfortable linking rhetoric with indoctrination. So here’s my question:

Is it better to affirm a truth for the wrong reasons than to deny it for the right ones?

Take the proposition “The Christian God exists”. I believe that this is true, but I also think there are many Christians who believe this for the wrong reasons. For instance, I know a guy who runs the sound board at church, has a couple small kids, and has always gone to church because … well because he’s always gone to church. He would affirm that the Christian God exists … with a lackadasical shrug. It is inertia more than conviction that keeps him going. I find that a pretty distressing, if all too common scenario.

Nor is it necessarily better when you light a fire under Christians. That is what the Focus on the Family curriculum “The Truth Project” does, but I have done a close analysis of this curriculum (the results of which are to be published in “Christian Scholar’s Review shortly) and there I argue that the curriculum is more indoctrinational than educational. Sadly, yet more wrong reasons.

And then I have met others — Muslims, atheists, Buddhists — who seem to be as serious about knowing the truth as Mr. Sound Board is not serious about it. They reflect, argue, ponder, and at the end of what certainly looks to any unbiased person to be a good faith attempt to weigh the evidence, conclude that “The Christian God exists” is not true. What should I think about Mr. Sound Board vs. Ms. Conscientious Objector?

This prompts me to think of Bertrand Russell’s famous quip (as retold by John Searle who claimed to have been there). At an Oxford dinner Russell was apparently asked what he would say to God after his death if it turned out that he was wrong about his atheism. Russell’s quick reply (no doubt stated with the bravado and slight slur of a few glasses of after dinner port) was “Not enough evidence God.”

Russell’s answer may have been stated in a rather flip manner, but what about the possibility? At this point some voices in the crowd might raise Romans 1 to settle the issue. But these issues strike me as much more complex and deserving of nuance than a simple proof-text.

Anyway, however we address that issue, Wagner’s question remains for all of us. Is it better to stumble on the truth than to miss it after a frantic search? The answer, I suppose, is that it is better yet to find the truth after an earnest and admirable search.

Francis Schaeffer below:

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Image result for francis schaeffer

Related posts:

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

Consider, too, the threat in the entire Middle East from the power of Assyria. In 853 B.C. King Shalmaneser III of Assyria came west from the region of the Euphrates River, only to be successfully repulsed by a determined alliance of all the states in that area of the Battle of Qarqar. Shalmaneser’s record gives details of the alliance. In these he includes Ahab, who he tells us put 2000 chariots and 10,000 infantry into the battle. However, after Ahab’s death, Samaria was no longer strong enough to retain control, and Moab under King Mesha declared its independence, as II Kings 3:4,5 makes clear:

Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

Image result for Moabite (Mesha) Stone

The famous Moabite (Mesha) Stone, now in the Louvre, bears an inscription which testifies to Mesha’s reality and of his success in throwing off the yoke of Israel. This is an inscribed black basalt stela, about four feet high, two feet wide, and several inches thick.

Ahab’s line did not last long and was brutally overthrown by a man called Jehu. As one walks toward the Assyrian section in the British Museum, one of the first exhibits to be seen is the famous Black Obelisk. This stands about six feet high and was discovered at Nimrud (Calah) near the Assyrian capital at Nineveh. It describes how King Shalmeneser III compelled Jehu to submit to his authority and to pay him tribute. Here one can see a representation of the kneeling figure of either Jehu or his envoy before the Assyrian king. The inscription tells of Jehu’s submission: “The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king and purukhti fruits.”

Jehu is referred to by the Assyrian records as a son of Omri, not because he was literally his son, but because he was on the throne which had been occupied previously by the house of Omri. This event took place about 841 B.C.

Putting them all together, these archaeological records show not only the existence historically of the people and events recorded in the Bible but the great accuracy of the details involved.

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 […]

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149J Sir Bertrand Russell

____

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,

Bertrand Arthur William Russell (3rd Earl Russell) (AKA Sir Bertrand Russell) (1872 – 1970) was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician and historian.

He is generally credited with being one of the founders of Analytic Philosophy, and almost all the various Analytic movements throughout the 20th Century (particularly LogicismLogical Positivism and Ordinary Language Philosophy) owe something to Russell. His major works, such as his essay “On Denoting” and the huge “Principia Mathematica” (co-author with Alfred North Whitehead), have had a considerable influence on mathematics (especially set theory), linguistics and all areas of philosophy.

He was a prominent atheistpacifist and anti-war activist, and championed free trade between nations and anti-imperialism. He was a prolific writer on many subjects (from his adolescent years, he wrote about 3,000 words a day, with relatively few corrections), and was a great popularizer of philosophy.

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

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Bertrand Russell – Faith Bully

Every generation has its favorite faith bullies and mine was Bertrand Russell. Russell was a British philosopher and logician. He was also one of the leading social critics of his time. He was born in 1872 and died in 1970 – my last full year as an atheist.

I read many of Russell’s books, articles and essays in the 1960s and early 70s. Some of my favorites were “Why I Am Not A Christian,” “Free Thought and Official Propaganda,” “A Free Man’s Worship,” and “Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?” I say “were” because I stopped agreeing with Russell 40 years ago. Mr. Russell was wrong and my goal as a free-thinking person is to be right.

Bertrand Russell used to say, “No one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God.” I understand the argument because I used it, but how does sitting at the bedside of a dying child prove there is no God? It doesn’t. What the question does is cause some people of faith to question God. Why would my God let an innocent child suffer and die? For people who do not believe, the question confirms what they think about faith in God. They view faith as silly, childish, infantile.

Faith bullies say things like that to attack the minds and hearts of people. Most people love children and the thought of a child dying is difficult to accept. We look at children with hope for their future. When a child dies, their future is cut short. So, if there is a God, why would He let a child die?

Why indeed! It was never God’s intention that children should die. It was never God’s intention that anyone would die. He Created the human race to live forever. So, who is to blame for the sad affairs of humanity that could see the death of a child? Let’s place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the living beings who caused this terrible thing – Satan, Adam and Eve. Satan deceived the first woman and her husband stood by and watched it happen. That’s who is to blame for the death of a child.

I realize that Russell would not agree with my defense because I believe in the God of the Bible. He didn’t believe in God. He didn’t believe in the Words of the Bible. Russell was an unbeliever. But that does not change the facts about the existence of God and the reliability of Scripture. If one person sees a burning building and another says there is no building so there could be no fire, it doesn’t change the fact that a building is on fire and people’s lives are in danger. I am not deterred from Truth just because some people don’t believe it. Who is the fool? The person saying the building is on fire or the person standing in front of the burning building saying there is no building and no fire? The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.

Bertrand Russell said and wrote many other things during his lifetime to bully people of faith. He had a profound effect on people of my generation and the generation before, and he continues to impact the thinking of atheists and agnostics today. Because of that, we will revisit Russell’s words again, along with those who are following in his bullying footsteps.

Russell may be dead, but his lies are still being told. And whose lies are they? They come from the first liar – the father of lies – Satan. Remember what we learned about how Satan attacks. Bertrand Russell was just a man. It is the spiritual power behind Russell and those like him that we need to guard against.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

Faith Defense

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Image result for francis schaeffer

Above Bertrand Russell said he rejected Christianity “Because I see no evidence whatsoever” indicating that Christianity is true. I wish he had considered the following:
Francis Schaeffer noted in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE:
Firstly, these are space-time
proofs in written form, and consequently
capable of careful consideration. Then,
secondly, these proofs are of such a
nature as to give good· and sufficient
evidence that Christ is the Messiah as
prophesied in the Old Testament, and
also that he is the Son of God. So that,
thirdly, we are not asked to believe until
we have faced the question as to whether
this is true on the basis of the space-time evidence. 
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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.

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 149I Sir Bertrand Russell “flying spaghetti monster”

____

 

Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

Bertrand Arthur William Russell


Born: 18 May 1872 in Ravenscroft, Trelleck, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: 2 February 1970 in Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth, Wales

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Bertrand Russell published a large number of books on logic, the theory of knowledge, and many other topics. He is one of the most important logicians of the 20th Century.Russell’s Mathematical Contributions

Over a long and varied career, Bertrand Russell made ground-breaking contributions to the foundations of mathematics and to the development of contemporary formal logic, as well as to analytic philosophy. His contributions relating to mathematics include his discovery of Russell’s paradox, his defence of logicism (the view that mathematics is, in some significant sense, reducible to formal logic), his introduction of the theory of types, and his refining and popularizing of the first-order predicate calculus. Along with Kurt Gödel, he is usually credited with being one of the two most important logicians of the twentieth century.

Russell discovered the paradox which bears his name in May 1901, while working on his Principles of Mathematics (1903). The paradox arose in connection with the set of all sets which are not members of themselves. Such a set, if it exists, will be a member of itself if and only if it is not a member of itself. The significance of the paradox follows since, in classical logic, all sentences are entailed by a contradiction. In the eyes of many mathematicians (including David Hilbert and Luitzen Brouwer) it therefore appeared that no proof could be trusted once it was discovered that the logic apparently underlying all of mathematics was contradictory. A large amount of work throughout the early part of this century in logic, set theory, and the philosophy and foundations of mathematics was thus prompted.

Russell’s paradox arises as a result of naive set theory’s so-called unrestricted comprehension (or abstraction) axiom. Originally introduced by Georg Cantor, the axiom states that any predicate expression, P(x), which contains x as a free variable, will determine a set whose members are exactly those objects which satisfy P(x). The axiom gives form to the intuition that any coherent condition may be used to determine a set (or class). Most attempts at resolving Russell’s paradox have therefore concentrated on various ways of restricting or abandoning this axiom.

Russell’s own response to the paradox came with the introduction of his theory of types. His basic idea was that reference to troublesome sets (such as the set of all sets which are not members of themselves) could be avoided by arranging all sentences into a hierarchy (beginning with sentences about individuals at the lowest level, sentences about sets of individuals at the next lowest level, sentences about sets of sets of individuals at the next lowest level, etc.). Using the vicious circle principle also adopted by Henri Poincaré, together with his so-called “no class” theory of classes, Russell was then able to explain why the unrestricted comprehension axiom fails: propositional functions, such as the function “x is a set”, should not be applied to themselves since self-application would involve a vicious circle. On this view, it follows that it is possible to refer to a collection of objects for which a given condition (or predicate) holds only if they are all at the same level or of the same “type”.

Although first introduced by Russell in 1903 in the Principles, his theory of types finds its mature expression in his 1908 article Mathematical Logic as Based on the Theory of Types and in the monumental work he co-authored with Alfred North WhiteheadPrincipia Mathematica (1910, 1912, 1913). Thus, in its details, the theory admits of two versions, the “simple theory” and the “ramified theory”. Both versions of the theory later came under attack. For some, they were too weak since they failed to resolve all of the known paradoxes. For others, they were too strong since they disallowed many mathematical definitions which, although consistent, violated the vicious circle principle. Russell’s response to the second of these objections was to introduce, within the ramified theory, the axiom of reducibility. Although the axiom successfully lessened the vicious circle principle’s scope of application, many claimed that it was simply too ad hoc to be justified philosophically.

Of equal significance during this same period was Russell’s defence of logicism, the theory that mathematics was in some important sense reducible to logic. First defended in his Principles, and later in more detail in Principia Mathematica, Russell’s logicism consisted of two main theses. The first is that all mathematical truths can be translated into logical truths or, in other words, that the vocabulary of mathematics constitutes a proper subset of that of logic. The second is that all mathematical proofs can be recast as logical proofs or, in other words, that the theorems of mathematics constitute a proper subset of those of logic.

Like Gottlob Frege, Russell’s basic idea for defending logicism was that numbers may be identified with classes of classes and that number-theoretic statements may be explained in terms of quantifiers and identity. Thus the number 1 would be identified with the class of all unit classes, the number 2 with the class of all two-membered classes, and so on. Statements such as “there are two books” would be recast as “there is a book, x, and there is a book, y, and xis not identical to y“. It followed that number-theoretic operations could be explained in terms of set-theoretic operations such as intersection, union, and the like. In Principia MathematicaWhitehead and Russell were able to provide detailed derivations of many major theorems in set theory, finite and transfinite arithmetic, and elementary measure theory. A fourth volume on geometry was planned but never completed.

In much the same way that Russell wanted to use logic to clarify issues in the foundations of mathematics, he also wanted to use logic to clarify issues in philosophy. As one of the founders of “analytic philosophy”, Russell is remembered for his work using first-order logic to show how a broad range of denoting phrases could be recast in terms of predicates and quantified variables. Thus, he is also remembered for his emphasis upon the importance of logical form for the resolution of many related philosophical problems. Here, as in mathematics, it was Russell’s hope that by applying logical machinery and insights one would be able to resolve otherwise intractable difficulties.

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

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God vs. the flying spaghetti monster at the Society of Edmonton Atheists (Part 1)

On the evening of November 1 I was pleased once again to share an evening with the motley crew at the Society of Edmonton Atheists. My topic for the evening was “What hath God to do with the flying spaghetti monster?” I spent the first section of the talk summarizing a range of entities that are popularly compared to God from Bertrand Russell’s famous flying teapot through Santa Claus, invisible pink unicorns, Zeus, and fairies, and finally settling on the most recent member of this most ignominious pantheon, the fabled flying spaghetti monster.

What is the point of comparing God to all these fantastical and enormously implausible entities? The basic idea seems clear enough: demonstrate the manifest absurdity of belief in God by comparing that belief to other beliefs that strike us as absurd (at least for adults; certainly a six year old can reasonably believe in Santa Claus and fairies, but if that belief remains when the individual is twenty-six then it would seem something has gone awry).

I closed off this section by noting that the more sophisticated forms of argument of this type are satirical in nature, but the less sophisticated forms (typified classically in Bil Maher’s horrible film “Religulous”), are nothing more than strawmen mockery.

This raises a very practical question for the Christian theologian like myself. How does one begin a meaningful conversation with people who think of Christian doctrine, and belief in God generally, against the backdrop of these analogies? To answer that question I presented an analogy of my own: how does a resident of a country like Canada who believes deeply in not-for-profit universal healthcare have a meaningful conversation with a friend south of the border who is convinced that not-for-profit universal healthcare is simply “socialism” or even “communism”?

The problem is that the skeptic in this conversation has bought into a woefully simplisitic picture in which the institutions of society are either public not-for-profit (socialism/communism) or private for-profit (capitalism). Thus to open the lines of communication the proponent of universal healthcare must challenge these assumptions. One way to do this is by pointing out that there are in fact many different positions on a continuum. This is evident in the simple fact that society is a network of multiple institutions, and thus we can ask in each case whether a particular institution ought to be public not-for-profit or private for-profit. Just think about it. Would you want the fire service, police service and military all to be private for-profit ventures? Not many people would. And this means that most people think at least some societal institutions should be public not-for-profit. This in turn means that we are not dealing with only two positions: socialism/communism vs. capitalism. Rather, we are dealing with multple positions all united with a single question: which institutions are best run as private ventures and which as public ventures? And with that you can open a discussion about healthcare in particular.

Those atheists/skeptics/agnostics who think of all religious doctrines within the absurdist framework of the flying teapot to flying spaghetti monster have their own set of simple categories which inhibit them from taking religious doctrines seriously. In order to begin to deconstruct this grossly simplistic, dichotomistic thinking, I introduced a concept which would open up a similar continuum of positions: the plausiblity structure.

Plausibility structure: The set of background assumptions by which one judges the initial plausibility of a truth claim.

I then pointed out that we all accept certain claims which would strike others as arbitrary, absurd or deeply counterinuitive, but which we accept nonetheless. And we do that because those claims somehow fit within our plausibility structure. I illustrated the point by drawing from Richard Lewontin’s famous book review of Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World. In the review Lewontin points out how absurd it is to believe that the blue cheese he ate for lunch is composed of tiny tasteless, odorless, colorless vibrating packets of energy with empty space between them. So why we we believe it? He writes:

“We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community of unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism.”

Now I have one quibble with the point. Many people accept this claim about the blue cheese without having a commitment to naturalism. Indeed, as we have noted often enough in this blog, it is not clear at all what “naturalism” even means. But one thing is clear: many of us accept claims without a second thought which appear on the face of it to be absurd.

In the blue cheese case, we accept a claim which appears to contradict our senses quite directly. And what is more, we accept that claim with little or no cognitive dissonance. Moreover, we accept it despite the fact that few of us can articulate all the scientific reasons why we are supposed to believe that the cheese is in fact made of tiny tasteless, colorless, odorless packets of energy. Finally, we are perfectly reasonable when we do this.

In the talk I noted how Bill Maher tendentiously defined faith as follows “Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking.” How foolish. I suspec that Bill Maher is unable to articulate all the scientific reasons why we are supposed to believe the cheese is composed of these vibrating packets of energy. But he accepts it nonetheless. Faith is not as Maher defines it. Rather, it is accepting the truth of a claim without having immediate access to the evidence for that claim. And thus Maher exercises faith when he accepts that the actual physical composition of the cheese is so radically different from his experience of it.

So what would Maher have us do? Withold any beliefs about the nature of cheese until we ourselves as individuals can confirm through our own research into the subatomic structure of that fine food? If that is what he would demand then I suspect we should likewise withold any belief in the existence of the subcontinent of India until we ourselves have the opportunity to visit there. And we should refuse to believe the earth is a sphere until we have the good fortune to take a ride on Virgin Galactic and confirm for ouselves the shape of the earth.

Our prior commitments may not be to naturalism per se, but we do have a prior commitment to the deliverances of science. It forms part of the plausibility framework of most modern people. This despite the fact that science presents us with many extraordinary claims. Nonetheless because we accept the authority of people within the scientific community we accept on faith their testimony of various truth claims, even if we cannot ourselves confirm the truth of those claims.

The first step for those who make various comparisons between religious beliefs and their favorite absurd belief is to recognize that all our beliefs are socially embedded within complex plausibility frameworks. And those outside those frameworks will find many of those beliefs bizarre along the lines of flying teapots and atomic blue cheese. This is true whether the plausibility framework in question includes a particular scientific theory (e.g. the atomic theory of matter), an economic theory (e.g. laissez-faire capitalism) or a metaphysical theory (e.g. Christian theism; naturalism).

And this leads me to my conclusion. The first step in intellectual maturation is when you stop pointing and laughing at the beliefs of others and make an effort to understand them.

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Image result for francis schaeffer

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

We now take a jump back in time to the middle of the ninth century before Christ, that is, about 850 B.C. Most people have heard of Jezebel. She was the wife of Ahab, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Her wickedness has become so proverbial that we talk about someone as a “Jezebel.” She urged her husband to have Naboth killed, simply because Ahab had expressed his liking for a piece of land owned by Naboth, who would not sell it. The Bible tells us also that she introduced into Israel the worship of her homeland, the Baal worship of Tyre. This led to the opposition of Elijah the Prophet and to the famous conflict on Mount Carmel between Elijah and the priests of Baal.

Here again one finds archaeological confirmations of what the Bible says. Take for example: “As for the other events of Ahab’s reign, including all he did, the palace he built and inlaid with ivory, and the cities he fortified, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?” (I Kings 22:39).

This is a very brief reference in the Bible to events which must have taken a long time: building projects which probably spanned decades. Archaeological excavations at the site of Samaria, the capital, reveal something of the former splendor of the royal citadel. Remnants of the “ivory house” were found and attracted special attention (Palestinian Archaeological Museum, Jerusalem). This appears to have been a treasure pavilion in which the walls and furnishings had been adorned with colored ivory work set with inlays giving a brilliant too, with the denunciations revealed by the prophet Amos:

“I will tear down the winter house along with the summer house; the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed and the mansions will be demolished,” declares the Lord. (Amos 3:15)

Other archaeological confirmation exists for the time of Ahab. Excavations at Hazor and Megiddo have given evidence of the the extent of fortifications carried out by Ahab. At Megiddo, in particular, Ahab’s works were very extensive including a large series of stables formerly assigned to Solomon’s time.

On the political front, Ahab had to contend with danger from the Aramacaus king of Syria who besieged Samaria, Ahab’s capital. Ben-hadad’s existence is attested by a stela (a column with writing on it) which has been discovered with his name written on it (Melquart Stela, Aleppo Museum, Syria). Again, a detail of history given in the Bible is shown to be correct.

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 149H Sir 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

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,

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, was a Welsh philosopher, historian, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, pacifist, and prominent rationalist. Although he was usually regarded as English, as he spent the majority of his life in England, he was born in Wales, where he also died.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950 “in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.”

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.

Bertrand Russell as a child

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Kill some wolves before you die: A review of “The Grey” (Part 2)

Warning: Spoiler(s) ahead. (Not really bad spoilers as would be the case if I told you that Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) in “The Sixth Sense” is really a ghost who doesn’t know he’s a ghost. That’d be a wicked spoiler. The “spoilers” here are really nothing more than the untimely revelation of plot points.)

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According to Wikipedia, “Promotion for The Grey, in part, targeted Christian groups by issuing a “film companion”, which highlighted the spiritual value of the film.” This really surprised me because the film is fundamentally anti-Christian. (I don’t mean that the way a Marilyn Manson album is anti-Christian but rather the way any work of art presenting a worldview fundamentally incompatible with the Christian worldview is anti-Christian.) Intrigued, I followed the link to the original article in “Variety”. Sure enough, the article states: “Open Road [the distributor] said it used several cross-promotional strategies to market the pic to Christian and various ethnic groups.” Go figure. To be sure, even if it is anti-Christian (or unChristian) in outlook, I do think that this film would be much more rewarding viewing for a church group than “Fireproof”. Let’s just hope that Granny has nodded off to sleep by the time that Ottway (Liam Neeson) unloads a truckload of four-letter invective at the Almighty near the end of the film.

So how is the worldview of the film “anti-Christian”?

The film, it seems to me, is a sort of allegory. It begins on an oil rig in the wilds of Northern Alaska. I take this rig to be representative of human civilization. This is not surprising since the harnessing of energy is core to the development of civilization. The harsh climate of Northern Alaska places into broad relief the precarious nature of our civilization. In that respect “The Grey” is orders more subtle and intriguing in depicting the human situation than a Hollywood mega-budget snooze-fest like “The Day After Tomorrow” with its wanna-be iconic Statue of Liberty arm jutting out of the ice.

It is easy to hold the delusion that our civilization is secure, and that is true of the oil workers as well. They are brought back to reality in a horrific moment when the plane they are riding to Anchorage takes a nose dive in the best airplane crash scene since “Castaway”. This really is a great sequence.

It is crucial to understand Ottway’s role in all this. To do so we must pay attention to a crucial moment on the airplane prior to the crash. At one point one of the characters makes a reference to Timothy Treadwell (though not by name) and the documentary about him, “Grizzly Man.” Some years ago Treadwell left southern California in search of meaning and went to Alaska to live with the Kodiak bears. He filmed them (and himself) for hours. He found meaning for his life in the bears. He thought they were his friends. He loved them. Then one of them ate him (off camera but with camera still rolling). The masterful documentarian Werner Herzog compiled some of this footage (mercifully not the horrific death, though he brilliantly incorporates it into the film just the same) into the documentary “Grizzly Man”.

Anyway, “The Grey” is presenting us with a clear contrast. Treadwell naively projected meaning onto the bears of Alaska and was destroyed by them. Ottway is not that foolish. He recognizes that the wolves he is linked with are cold predators. It is a struggle for survival, pure and simple. And yet, as the film ultimately reveals, there may not be much difference. Treadwell’s delusion leads him to be destroyed by the bears. But Ottway’s gritty realism still leads him to be killed by the wolves. Either way both end up dead.

“The Grey” depicts a ragtag group escaping the wreckage of the plane hopefully away from the lair of the wolves that are hunting them and toward civilization. In fact, the journey leads them directly into the lair of the wolves and to their inevitable destruction. One by one, the brutishness of nature and human mortality, as represented by the wolves in their tireless pursuit, takes down each of the men until only Ottway is left.

This brings us to the point where I hope Grandma is asleep. However, I suspect that the unrelenting blitzkrieg of f-bombs throughout the film would have emptied the room of the faint of heart long before that point. (How do you think oil rig workers would talk?) If Grandma is still there by that point she will see Ottway look up to the grey skies and cry out to God for help with an explosive, expletive-laced tirade. Predictably there is no answer, unless you call the revelation a shortwhile later that Ottway is about to die in a flurry of teeth and fur an answer.

In the final scene Ottway squares off against the Alpha wolf surrounded by a snarling pack of beasts. Methodically he smashes tiny liquor bottles and tapes the jagged edges to his fists. (Who needs brass knuckles when you’ve got glass knuckles?!) Ottway is the ultimate promethean figure, one who refuses to accept his inevitable fate without a fight. As the credits suddenly appear we realize that Ottway’s final demise, like that of Treadwell, was kept off camera. Perhaps looking the other way is the last dignity we can pay the man.

Regardless, as the credits began to role up the screen I couldn’t help but think of this famous passage from Bertrand Russell:

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 be safely built.

_

Francis Schaeffer noted, “B.F.Skinner (like Bertrand Russell and George Wald) retains only the value of biological   continuity. “Survival is the only value according to which a culture is eventually to be judged, and any practice that furthers survival has survival value by definition.” (page 230 of Vol 5 of Complete Works, part of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?).

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Above Bertrand Russell said he rejected Christianity “Because I see no evidence whatsoever” indicating that Christianity is true. I wish he had considered the following:
Francis Schaeffer noted in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE:
Firstly, these are space-time
proofs in written form, and consequently
capable of careful consideration. Then,
secondly, these proofs are of such a
nature as to give good· and sufficient
evidence that Christ is the Messiah as
prophesied in the Old Testament, and
also that he is the Son of God. So that,
thirdly, we are not asked to believe until
we have faced the question as to whether
this is true on the basis of the space-time evidence. 
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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.

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 149G Sir Bertrand Russell “Why I Am Not a Christian.”

____

Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

 

About 

BERTRAND RUSSELL 

As a philosopher, mathematician, educator, social critic and political activist, Bertrand Russell authored over 70 books and thousands of essays and letters addressing a myriad of topics. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950, Russell was a fine literary stylist, one of the foremost logicians ever, and a gadfly for improving the lives of men and women.Born in 1872 into the British aristocracy and educated at Cambridge University, Russell gave away much of his inherited wealth. But in 1931 he inherited and kept an earldom. His multifaceted career centered on work as a philosophy professor, writer, and public lecturer.(Here is a detailed chronology of Russell’s life, an overview of his analytic philosophy, and a complete bibliography of all his publications.)

Russell was an author of diverse scope. His first books were German Social DemocracyAn Essay on the Foundations of Geometry, and A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz. His last books were War Crimes in Vietnam and The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. Other noteworthy books include Principles of MathematicsPrincipia Mathematica (with A.N. Whitehead), Anti-Suffragist AnxietiesThe Problems of PhilosophyIntroduction to Mathematical PhilosophySceptical EssaysWhy I Am Not a Christian, and A History of Western Philosophy.

He was arguably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century and the greatest logician since Aristotle. Analytic philosophy, the dominant philosophy of the twentieth century, owes its existence more to Russell than to any other philosopher. And the system of logic developed by Russell and A.N. Whitehead, based on earlier work by Dedekind, Cantor, Frege, and Peano, broke logic out of its Aristotelian straitjacket. He was also one of the century’s leading public intellectuals and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950 “in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.”

Russell was involved, often passionately, in numerous social and political controversies of his time. For example, he supported suffragists, free thought in religion and morals, and world government; he opposed World War I and the Vietnam War, nationalism, and political persecution. He was jailed in 1918 for anti-war views and in 1961 for his anti-nuclear weapons stance.

He was married 4 times and had 3 children. With Dora Russell, he founded the experimental Beacon Hill School. He knew or worked with many of the most prominent figures in late 19th and 20th century philosophy, mathematics, science, literature, and politics.

Active as a political and social critic until his end, Russell died in 1970 at the age of 97.

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

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Firing an Unloaded Gun: Bertrand Russell on Christianity

Gregory Bahnsen

 

An excellent opportunity to practice our defense of the Christian faith is provided by one of the most noteworthy British philosophers of the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell.  Russell has offered us a clear and pointed example of an intellectual challenge to the truthfulness of the Christian faith by writing an article which specifically aimed to show that Christianity should not be believed.  The title of his famous essay was “Why I Am Not a Christian.”1 Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) studied mathematics and philosophy at Cambridge University and began his teaching career there.  He wrote respected works as a philosopher (about Leibniz, about the philosophy of mathematics and set theory, about the metaphy-sics of mind and matter, about epistemological problems) and was influential on twentieth-century developments in the philosophy of language.  He also wrote extensively in a more popular vein on literature, education and politics.  Controversy surrounded him.  He was dismissed by Trinity College for pacifist activities in 1916; he was jailed in 1961 in connection with a campaign for nuclear disarmament.  His views on sexual morality contributed to the annulment of his appointment to teach at the City University of New York in 1940. Yet Russell was highly regarded as a scholar.  In 1944 he returned to teach at Cambridge, and in 1950 he became a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

For all his stature as a philosopher, Russell cannot be said to have been sure of himself and consistent in his views regarding reality or knowledge.  In his early years he adopted the Hegelian idealism taught by F. H. Bradley.  Influ-enced by G. E. Moore, he changed to a Platonic theory of ideas.  Challenged by Ludwig Wittgen-stein that mathematics consists merely of tauto-logies, he turned to metaphysical and linguistic atomism.  He adopted the extreme realism of Alexius Meinong, only later to turn toward logical constructionism instead.  Then following the lead of William James, Russell abandoned mind-matter dualism for the theory of neutral monism. Eventually Russell propounded materialism with fervor, even though his dissatisfaction with his earlier logical atomism left him without an alternative metaphysical account of the object of our empirical experiences.  Struggling with philoso-phical problems not unlike those which stymied David Hume, Russell conceded in his later years that the quest for certainty is a failure.

This brief history of Russell’s philosophical evolution is rehearsed so that the reader may correctly appraise the strength and authority of the intellectual platform from which Russell would presume to criticize the Christian faith.  Russell’s brilliance is not in doubt; he was a talented and intelligent man.  But to what avail?  In criticizing Christians for their views of ultimate reality, of how we know what we know, and of how we should live our lives, did Bertrand Russell have a defensible alternative from which to launch his attacks?  Not at all.  He could not give an account of reality and knowing which—on the grounds of, and according to the criteria of, his own autonomous reasoning—was cogent, reasonable and sure.  He could not say with certainty what was true about reality and knowledge, but nevertheless he was firmly convinced that Christianity was false!  Russell was firing an unloaded gun.

Bertrand Russell made no secret of the fact that he intellectually and personally disdained religion in general, and Christianity in particular.  In the preface to the book of his critical essays on the subject of religion he wrote:  “I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue.”3  He repeatedly charges in one way or another that a free man who exercises his reasoning ability cannot submit to religious dogma. He argued that religion was a hindrance to the advance of civilization, that it cannot cure our troubles, and that we do not survive death.

We are treated to a defiant expression of metaphysical materialism—perhaps Russell’s most notorious essay for a popular reading audience—in the article (first published in 1903) entitled “A Free Man’s Worship.”  He there concluded: “Brief and powerless is man’s life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark.  Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way.”  In the face of this nihilism and ethical subjectivism, Russell nevertheless called men to the invigoration of the free man’s worship:  “to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of chance . . . .”3

Hopefully the brazen contradiction in Russell’s philosophy of life is already apparent to the reader. He asserts that our ideals and values are not objective and supported by the nature of reality, indeed that they are fleeting and doomed to destruction.  On the other hand, quite contrary to this, Russell encourages us to assert our autonomous values in the face of a valueless universe—to act as though they really amounted to something worthwhile, were rational, and not merely the result of chance.  But after all, what sense could Russell hope to make of animmaterial value (an ideal) in the face of an “omnipotent matter” which is blind to values?  Russell only succeeded in shooting himself in the foot.

The essay “Why I Am Not a Christian” is the text of a lecture which Russell delivered to the National Secular Society in London on March 6, 1927. It is only fair to recognize, as Russell commented, that constraints of time prevented him from going into great detail or saying as much as he might like about the matters which he raises in the lecture. Nevertheless, he says quite enough with which to find fault.

In broad terms, Russell argued that he could not be a Christian because:

(1) the Roman Catholic church is mistaken to say that the existence of God can be proved by unaided reason;

(2) serious defects in the character and teaching of Jesus show that he was not the best and wisest of men, but actually morally inferior to Buddha and Socrates;

(3) people accept religion on emo-tional grounds, particularly on the foundation of fear, which is “not worthy of self-respecting human beings”; and

(4) the Christian religion “has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.”

What is outstanding about this litany of com-plaints against Christianity is Russell’s arbitrari-ness and inconsistency.  The second reason offered above presupposes some absolute standard of moral wisdom by which somebody could grade Jesus as either inferior or superior to others. Likewise, the third reason presupposes a fixed criterion for what is, and what is not, “worthy” of self-respecting human beings.  Then again, the complaint expressed in the fourth reason would not make any sense unless it is objectively wrong to be an enemy of “moral progress”; indeed, the very notion of moral “progress” itself assumes an established benchmark for morality by which to assess progress.

Now, if Russell had been reasoning and speak-ing in terms of the Christian worldview, his attempt to assess moral wisdom, human worthiness, and moral progress—as well as to adversely judge shortcomings in these matters—would be under-standable and expected.  Christians have a universal, objective and absolute standard of morality in the revealed word of God.  But obviously Russell did not mean to be speaking as though he adopted Christian premises and perspectives!  On what basis, then, could Russell issue his moral evaluations and judgments?  In terms of what view of reality and knowledge did he assume that there was anything like an objective criterion of morality by which to find Christ, Christians, and the church lacking?

Russell was embarrassingly arbitrary in this regard.  He just took it for granted, as an unargued philosophical bias, that there was a moral standard to apply, and that he could presume to be the spokesman and judge who applies it.  One could easily counter Russell by simply saying that he had arbitrarily chosen the wrong standard of morality. To be fair, Russell’s opponents must be granted just as much arbitrariness in choosing a moral standard, and they may then select one different from his own.  And there goes his argument down in defeat.

By assuming the prerogative to pass moral judgment, Russell evidenced that his own presuppositions fail to comport with each other.  In offering a condemning value-judgment against Christianity, Russell engaged in behavior which betrayed his professed beliefs elsewhere.  In his lecture Russell professed that this was a chance world which shows no evidence of design, and where “laws” are nothing more than statistical averages describing what has happened.  He professed that the physical world may have always existed, and that human life and intelligence came about in the way explained by Darwin (evolu-tionary natural selection).  Our values and hopes are what “our intelligence can create.”  The fact remains that, according to “the ordinary laws of science, you have to suppose that human life . . . on this planet will die out in due course.”

This is simply to say that human values are subjective, fleeting, and self-created.  In short, they are relative.  Holding to this kind of view of moral values, Russell was utterly inconsistent in acting as though he could assume an altogether different kind of view of values, declaring an absolute moral evaluation of Christ or Christians. One aspect of Russell’s network of beliefs rendered another aspect of his set of beliefs unintelligible.

The same kind of inner tension within Russell’s beliefs is evident above in what he had to say about the “laws” of science.  On the one hand such laws are merely descriptions of what has happened in the past, says Russell.  On the other hand,  Russell spoke of the laws of science as providing a basis for projecting what will happen in the future, namely the decay of the solar system.  This kind of dialectical dance between conflicting views of scientific law (to speak epistemologically) or between conflicting views of the nature of the physical cosmos (to speak metaphysically) is characteristic of unbelieving thought.  Such thinking is not in harmony with itself and is thus irrational.

In the first reason given by Russell for why he was not a Christian, he alluded to the dogma of the Roman Catholic church that “the existence of God can be proved by the unaided reason.”4  He then turns to some of the more popular arguments advanced for the existence of God which are (supposedly) based upon this “unaided reason” and easily finds them wanting.  It goes without saying, of course, that Russell thought that he was defeating these arguments of unaided reason by means of his own (superior) unaided reason. Russell did not disagree with Rome that man can prove things with his “natural reason” (apart from the supernatural work of grace).  Indeed at the end of his lecture he called his hearers to “a fearless outlook and a free intelligence.”  Russell simply disagreed that unaided reason takes one to God. In different ways, and with different final conclusions, both the Roman church and Russell encouraged men to exercise their reasoning ability autono-mously—apart from the foundation and restraints of divine revelation.

The Christian apologist should not fail to expose this commitment to “unaided reason” for the unargued philosophical bias that it is.  Throughout his lecture Russell simply takes it for granted that autonomous reason enables man to know things. He speaks freely of his “knowledge of what atoms actually do,” of what “science can teach us,” and of “certain quite definite fallacies” committed in Christian arguments, etc.  But this simply will not do.  As the philosopher, Russell here gave himself a free ride; he hypocritically failed to be as self-critical in his reasoning as he beseeched others to be with themselves.

The nagging problem which Russell simply did not face is that, on the basis of autonomous reasoning, man cannot give an adequate and rational account of the knowledge we gain through science and logic.  Scientific procedure assumes that the natural world operates in a uniform fashion, in which case our observational knowledge of past cases provides a basis for predicting what will happen in future cases.  However, autonomous reason has no basis whatsoever for believing that the natural world will operate in a uniform fashion. Russell himself (at times) asserted that this is a chance universe.  He could never reconcile this view of nature being random with his view that nature is uniform (so that “science” can teach us).

So it is with a knowledge and use of the laws of logic (in terms of which Russell definitely insisted that fallacies be avoided).  The laws of logic are not physical objects in the natural world; they are not observed by man’s senses.  Moreover, the laws of logic are universal and unchanging—or else they reduce to relativistic preferences for thinking, rather than prescriptive requirements.  However, Russell’s autonomous reasoning could not explain or justify these characteristics of logical laws.  An individual’s unaided reason is limited in the scope of its use and experiences, in which case it cannot pronounce on what is universally true (descriptive-ly).  On the other hand, an individual’s unaided reason is in no position to dictate (prescriptively) universal laws of thought or to assure us that these stipulations for the mind will somehow prove applicable to the world of thought or matter outside the individual’s mind.5

Russell’s worldview, even apart from its internal tensions, could not provide a foundation for the intelligibility of science or logic.  His “unaided” reason could not account for the knowledge which men readily gain in God’s universe, a universe sovereignly controlled (so that it is uniform) and interpreted in light of the Creator’s revealed mind (so that there are immaterial laws of thought which are universal).

We must note, finally, that Russell’s case against being a Christian is subject to criticism for its reliance upon prejudicial conjecture and logical fallacies.  That being the case, he cannot be thought to have established his conclusions or given good reason for his rejection of Christianity.

One stands in amazement, for instance, that the same Russell who could lavish ridicule upon past Christians for their ignorance and lack of scholarship, could come out and say something as uneducated and inaccurate as this: “Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him.” Even forgetting secular references to Christ in the ancient world, Russell’s remark simply ignores the documents of the New Testament as early and authentic witnesses to the historical person of Jesus.  Given the relatively early dates of these documents and the relatively large number of them, if Russell “doubted” the existence of Jesus Christ, he must have either applied a conspicuous double standard in his historical reasoning, or been an agnostic about virtually the whole of ancient history.  Either way, we are given an insight into the prejudicial nature of Russell’s thinking when it came to consideration of the Christian religion.

Perhaps the most obvious logical fallacy evident in Russell’s lecture comes out in the way he readily shifts from an evaluation of Christian beliefs to a criticism of Christian believers.  And he should have known better.  At the very beginning of his lecture, Russell said, “I do not mean by a Christian any person who tries to live decently and 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.”  That is, the object of Russell’s criticism should be, by his own testimony, not the lifestyle of individuals but the doctrinal claims which are essential to Christianity as a system of thought.  The opening of his lecture focuses upon his dissatisfaction with those beliefs (God’s existence, immortality, Christ as the best of men).

Nevertheless, toward the end of his lecture, Russell’s discussion turns in the direction of fallaciously arguing against the personal defects of Christians (enforcing narrow rules contrary to human happiness) and the supposed psychological genesis of their beliefs (in emotion and fear). That is, he indulges in the fallacy of arguing ad homin-em. Even if what Russell had to say in these matters was fair-minded and accurate (it is not), the fact would remain that Russell has descended to the level of arguing against a truth-claim on the basis of his personal dislike and psychologizing of those who personally profess that claim. In other settings, Russell the philosopher would have been the first to criticize a student for pulling such a thing. It is nothing less than a shameful logical fallacy.

Notice briefly other defects in Russell’s line of thinking here.  He presumed to know the motivation of a person in becoming a Christian—even though Russell’s epistemology gave him no warrant for thinking he could discern such things (especially easily and at a distance).  Moreover, he presumed to know the motivation of a whole class of people (including those who lived long ago), based on a very, very small sampling from his own present experience.  These are little more than hasty and unfounded generalizations, telling us (if anything) only about the state of Russell’s mind and feelings in his obvious, emotional antipathy to Christians.

But then this leaves us face to face with a final, devastating fallacy in Russell’s case against Christianity—the use of double standards (and implicit special pleading) in his reasoning.  Russell wished to fault Christians for the emotional factor in their faith-commitment, and yet Russell himself evidenced a similarly emotional factor in his own personal anti-Christian commitment.  Indeed, Russell openly appealed to emotional feelings of courage, pride, freedom and self-worth as a basis for his audience to refrain from being Christians!

Similarly, Russell tried to take Christians to task for their “wickedness” (as though there could be any such thing within Russell’s worldview)—for their cruelty, wars, inquisitions, etc.  Russell did not pause for even a moment, however, to reflect on the far-surpassing cruelty and violence of non-Christians throughout history.  Genghis Khan, Vlad the Impaler, Marquis de Sade and a whole cast of other butchers were not known in history for their Christian professions, after all!  This is all conveniently swept under the carpet in Russell’s hypocritical disdain for the moral errors of the Christian church.

Russell’s essay “Why I Am Not a Christian” reveals to us that even the intellectually elite of this world are refuted by their own errors in opposing the truth of the Christian faith.  There is no credibility to a challenge to Christianity which evidences prejudicial conjecture, logical fallacies, unargued philosophical bias, behavior which be-trays professed beliefs, and presuppositions which do not comport with each other.  Why wasn’t Russell a Christian?  Given his weak effort at criticism, one would have to conclude that it was not for intellectual reasons.

 

Notes

1 The article is found in Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian, And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, ed. Paul Edwards (New York: Simon and Schuster, Clarion, 1957), pp. 3-23.

2 Ibid., p. vi.

3 Ibid., pp. 115-16.

4 In his lecture Russell displays a curious and capricious shifting around for the standard which defines the content of “Christian” beliefs.  Here he arbitrarily assumes that what the Roman magisterium says is the standard of Christian faith. Yet in the paragraph immediately preceding, Russell claimed that the doctrine of hell was not essential to Christian belief because the Privy Council of the English Parliament had so decreed (over the dissent of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York).  Elsewhere Russell departs from this criterion of Christianity and excoriates the teaching of Jesus, based upon the Bible, that the unrepentant face everlasting damnation.  Russell had no interest in being consistent or fair in dealing with Christianity as his opponent.  When con-venient he defined the faith according to the Bible, but when it was more convenient for his polemical purposes he shifted to defining the faith according to the English Parliament or the Roman Catholic church.

5 Those familiar with Russell’s detailed (and noteworthy, seminal) work in philosophy would point out that, despite his brilliance, Russell’s “unaided reason” could never resolve certain semantic and logical paradoxes which arise in his account of logic, mathematics and language. His most reverent followers concede that Russell’s theories are subject to criticism.

Greg L. Bahnsen page

 

 

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

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

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

Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:

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

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

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

There is also a confirmation of what the Bible says concerning the Egyptian King Tirhakah who came up to oppose the Assyrians. Confirmation of his reality is typified by a sphinx-ram in the British Museum (British Museum Ref. B.B.1779). The small figure between the legs of the ram is a representation of King Tirhakah. The Bible says that when Sennacherib heard that  Tirhakah, king of Eqypt, was coming to fight against him, he sent messengers to tell Hezekiah that help from Egypt would be of no use to him.

Image result for Egyptian King Tirhakah

2 Kings 19:9, 10 Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has set out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying,10 “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. (Isaiah 37:9-10 also says about the same thing.)

The date of Sennacherib’s campaign in Palestine is 701 B.C., and something which has often puzzled historians is the role of Tirhakah, who was not king of Egypt and Ethiopia until 690 B.C. But the solution to this problem is simple. In 701 B.C. Tirhakah was only a prince at the side of his military brother, the new Pharaoh Shebitku, who sent Tirhakah with an army to help Hezekiah fend off the Assyrian advance. But the story in Kings and Isaiah does not end in 701 B.C. It carries right through to the death of Sennacherib in 681 B.C., which is nine years after Tirhakah had become king of Egypt and Ethiopia. In other words, the biblical narrative, from the standpoint of 681 B.C., mentions Tirhakah by the title he bore at that time (that is, 681 B.C.), not as he was in 701 B.C. This is still done today, using a man’s title as he is known at the time of writing even it one is speaking of a previous time in his personal history.

Unaware of the the importance of these facts, and falling into wrong interpretations of some of Tirhakah’s inscriptions, some Old Testament scholars have stumbled over each in their eagerness to diagnose historical errors in the Books of the Kings and Isaiah. But as the archaeological confirmation shows, they were quite mistaken. What is striking about these archaeological finds is the way they often converge; there is often not just one line of evidence but several in which the biblical account is confirmed. We do not have confirmation of every single detail in the biblical account, by any means. Nor do we need such total confirmation in view of the amount of evidence there is. To insist on confirmation at every point would be to treat the Bible in a prejudiced way, simply because it is the Bible. The fact that is a religious book does not mean that it cannot also be true when it deals with history.

Not all archaeological finds have a convergence of many different interrelated lines like these around the life of Hezekiah, but they are no less striking. For example, take the “ration tablets” discovered in the ruins of Bablyon. The Bible tells us that after the Assyrians had destroyed the nothern kingdom of Samaria (around 721 B.C.), the southern kingdom, Judah, survived for almost another 150 years until approximately 586 B.C. By this time Assyria, one of the greatest military powers of the ancient world, had been defeated by Bablyon, a neighboring state to the east. That was in 609 B.C. Four years later the Babylonian general, Nebuchadnezzar–then the crown prince–came west and completely defeated Necho II, king of Egypt, at the battle of Carchemish. As a result of this victory he laid claim to Judah, which had previously been in the sphere of influence of Egypt. King Jehoiakim of Judah thus now paid tribute to the Babylonians. The Bible tells us that Jehoiakim rebelled three years later: “During Jehoiakim’s reign Nebuchadnezzar king of Bablyon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchnezzar” (II Kings 24:1).

The political background for this step can be understood from the Babylonian Chronicles (British Museum, Ref. 21946, records events from 597 B.C. down to 594). These were a compressed chronological summary of the principal events from the Babylonian court. There had been a crucial battle in 601 B.C. between the Egyptians and the Babylonians. This had left both sides weakened, and Jehoiakim took this opportunity to declare his independence of the Babylonian king. His independence, or rather Judah’s independence, did not last long, for Jehoiakim himself died in 598 B.C., leaving his throne and the crisis to his son, Jehoiachin. Second Kings (II Kings 24:10-12, 17) tells us what happened:

10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to the city while his servants were besieging it, 12 and Jehoiachin the king of Judah gave himself up to the king of Babylon, himself and his mother and his servants and his officials and his palace officials. The king of Babylon took him prisoner in the eighth year of his reign. 17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

The story of Jehoiachin does not end there, however. The royal family were kept at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, and the Bible says that they , like other royal captives, were provided for by the king with rations of grain and oil (II Kings 25:27-30):

27 And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed[a] Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. 28 And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table, 30 and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, as long as he lived.

Image result for Jehoiachin

The records of these allowances referred to in the Bible were unearthed in excavations in Babylon in basement storerooms of the royal palace (in Staat-Liches Museum, East Berlin, Vorderas Abteilung; Babylon 28122 and 28126). These are known as the “ration tablets” and they record who received such “rations.” In these, Jehoiachin is mentioned by name.

We also have confirmation of the Babylonian advance towards Judah in Nebuchadezzar’s first campaign. Among the ruins of Lachish were discovered a number of ostraca. Ostraca are broken pieces of earthenware called postherds, which were used for writing on in ink. (The Lachish ostraca are in the Palestinian Archaeological Museum, Jerusalem.) These brief letters reveal the increasing tensions within the growing state of Judah and tie in well with the picture given in the Bible by the Book of Jeremiah the Prophet. In Ostracon VI, the princes are accused of “weakening our hands” (that is, discouraging the writers), which is the very phraseology used in the Bible by the Judean princes against Jeremiah. Also, the use of fire beacons for signaling is found in both Ostracon IV and Jeremiah 6:1, each using the same terminology.

These events took place around the year 600 B.C. Events we considered earlier in relation to the capture of Lachish by Sennacherib during the reign of Hezekiah were around the year 700 B.C.

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Image result for francis schaeffer

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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

Image result for harry kroto

 

earlier posts:Photo of Bertrand Russell
Photo by Larry Burrows

Bertrand Russell

First published Thu Dec 7, 1995; substantive revision Thu Jun 29, 2017

Bertrand Arthur William Russell (1872–1970) was a British philosopher, logician, essayist and social critic best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. His most influential contributions include his championing of logicism (the view that mathematics is in some important sense reducible to logic), his refining of Gottlob Frege’s predicate calculus (which still forms the basis of most contemporary systems of logic), his defense of neutral monism (the view that the world consists of just one type of substance which is neither exclusively mental nor exclusively physical), and his theories of definite descriptionslogical atomism and logical types.

Together with G.E. Moore, Russell is generally recognized as one of the main founders of modern analytic philosophy. His famous paradoxtheory of types, and work with A.N. Whitehead onPrincipia Mathematica reinvigorated the study of logic throughout the twentieth century (Schilpp 1944, xiii; Wilczek 2010, 74).

Over the course of a long career, Russell also made significant contributions to a broad range of other subjects, including ethics, politics, educational theory, the history of ideas and religious studies, cheerfully ignoring Hooke’s admonition to the Royal Society against “meddling with Divinity, Metaphysics, Moralls, Politicks, Grammar, Rhetorick, or Logick” (Kreisel 1973, 24). In addition, generations of general readers have benefited from his many popular writings on a wide variety of topics in both the humanities and the natural sciences. Like Voltaire, to whom he has been compared (Times of London 1970, 12)), he wrote with style and wit and had enormous influence.

After a life marked by controversy—including dismissals from both Trinity College, Cambridge, and City College, New York—Russell was awarded the Order of Merit in 1949 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Noted also for his many spirited anti-nuclear protests and for his campaign against western involvement in the Vietnam War, Russell remained a prominent public figure until his death at the age of 97.

Interested readers may listen to two sound clips of Russell speaking or consult the Bertrand Russell Society’s video archive for video clips of and about Russell. (Members of the Society have access to a significantly larger video library than is available to the general public.)

1. Russell’s Chronology

A short chronology of the major events in Russell’s life is as follows:

  • (1872) Born May 18 at Ravenscroft in Trelleck, Monmouthshire, UK.
  • (1874) Death of mother and sister.
  • (1876) Death of father; Russell’s grandfather, Lord John Russell (the former Prime Minister), and grandmother succeed in overturning Russell’s father’s will to win custody of Russell and his brother, rather than have them raised as free-thinkers.
  • (1878) Death of grandfather; Russell’s grandmother, Lady Russell, supervises Russell’s upbringing at Pembroke Lodge, London.
  • (1883) Receives his first lessons in geometry from his brother Frank.
  • (1890) Enters Trinity College, Cambridge; meets Whitehead.
  • (1893) Awarded first-class B.A. in Mathematics.
  • (1894) Completes the Moral Sciences Tripos (Part II); appointed Honorary British Attaché in Paris; marries Alys Pearsall Smith.
  • (1895) Studies at the University of Berlin.
  • (1896) Appointed lecturer at the London School of Economics; lectures in the United States at Johns Hopkins and Bryn Mawr.
  • (1899) Appointed lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge.
  • (1900) Meets Peano at the First International Congress of Philosophy in Paris.
  • (1901) Reappointed lecturer at Cambridge; discovers Russell’s paradox.
  • (1902) Corresponds with Frege.
  • (1905) Develops his theory of descriptions.
  • (1907) Runs for parliament and is defeated.
  • (1908) Elected Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • (1910) Fails to receive Liberal Party nomination for parliament because of his atheism; reappointed lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge.
  • (1911) Meets Wittgenstein; elected President of the Aristotelian Society; separates from Alys.
  • (1913) Lectures at the École des Hautes Sociales in Paris.
  • (1914) Visits Harvard and teaches courses in logic and the theory of knowledge; meets T.S. Eliot.
  • (1915) Reappointed lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge.
  • (1916) Fined 100 pounds and dismissed from Trinity College as a result of anti-war writings; denied a passport and so unable to lecture at Harvard.
  • (1918) Imprisoned for five months as a result of anti-war writings.
  • (1920) Visits Russia.
  • (1921) Divorce from Alys and marriage to Dora Black; visits China and Japan.
  • (1922) Runs for parliament and is defeated.
  • (1923) Runs for parliament and is defeated.
  • (1924) Lectures in the United States.
  • (1927) Lectures in the United States; opens experimental school with Dora.
  • (1929) Lectures in the United States.
  • (1931) Lectures in the United States; becomes the third Earl Russell upon the death of his brother.
  • (1935) Divorce from Dora.
  • (1936) Marriage to Patricia (Peter) Helen Spence.
  • (1938) Appointed visiting professor of philosophy at Chicago.
  • (1939) Appointed professor of philosophy at the University of California at Los Angeles.
  • (1940) Appointment at City College New York revoked prior to Russell’s arrival as the result of public protests and a legal judgment in which Russell was found to be “morally unfit” to teach at the college; delivers the William James Lectures at Harvard.
  • (1941) Appointed lecturer at the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania.
  • (1942) Dismissed from Barnes Foundation, but wins a lawsuit against the Foundation for wrongful dismissal.
  • (1944) Reappointed a Fellow of Trinity College.
  • (1948) Involved in a plane crash en route to Norway, he and other passengers save themselves by swimming in the ocean until help arrives.
  • (1949) Awarded the Order of Merit; elected a Lifetime Fellow at Trinity College.
  • (1950) Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature; visits Australia.
  • (1951) Lectures in the United States.
  • (1952) Divorce from Patricia (Peter) and marriage to Edith Finch.
  • (1955) Releases Russell-Einstein Manifesto.
  • (1957) Elected President of the first Pugwash Conference.
  • (1958) Becomes founding President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
  • (1961) Imprisoned for one week in connection with anti-nuclear protests.
  • (1963) Establishes the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation.
  • (1967) Launches the International War Crimes Tribunal.
  • (1970) Dies February 02 at Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales.

 

 

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

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John Piippo

Theological/philosophical/cultural/spiritual thoughts about God and the Real Jesus.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Bertrand Russell’s “A Free Man’s Worship” (For My Philosophy of Religion Students)

Philosophy of Religion Exam 3, Question 2:

EXPLAIN BERTRAND RUSSELL’S “A FREE MAN’S WORSHIP”

What, then, are the beliefs of atheism? Some (but not all) atheists have come forth with them. The famous British philosopher and atheist Bertrand Russell has done so, in his 1907 essay “A Free Man’s Worship.” I think Russell has done an admirable and logical job; i.e., were I an atheist I would believe these things. (I’d probably side with Nietzsche on 5.)

1. Russell is an atheist who presents the logic of atheism. That is, if atheism is true, then here is what life is like.

2. State Russell’s 4 Pillars of Atheism.

#1 –  Humanity is the product of causes that had no prevision of his appearing.
I am certain Russell is correct on this. If there is no Creator-God, then the universe and all that is in it is not some “creation,” like every work of art has a creator-artist. If there is no Supreme Personal Agent who has made everything and is responsible for everything, and who is the cause of it all, then no one or no thing or no being “had us on their mind” when the universe began. Sometimes I hear someone who self-designates as an “atheist” and believes there is some reason or purpose for their existence. They don’t realize that, on atheism, such thinking is nonsense. Humanity just is, for no reason.

#2 –  Humanity is but the result of an accidental collocation of atoms.
A “collocation” is a “coming together,” a “being located together,” a “co”-“location.” An “accidental collocation” is an unplanned, random “coming together.” For example, I am writing this from my home office, located on the second floor of our house. I’m looking down on our front lawn, and leaves from one of our maple trees are scattered randomly. Why are the leaves scattered as they are? Not because an intelligent agent arranged or designed them that way. Purely natural conditions caused them to lie where they do. Beyond this, there is no meaning or purpose. Sometimes I read an atheist who believes their existence is more than some cosmic accident. But this is more nonsense. On atheism the formation of humanity is no more or greater than the random, accidental blowing of the leaves on my front lawn.

#3 –  There is no personal existence after death.
Russell was once asked what he thought would happen to him after he dies. He responded, “I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my own ego will survive.” (In Paul Edwards, “Great Minds: Bertrand Russell,” Free Inquiry,December 2004/January 2005, 46) If the worldview of atheism is true, then I am certain this logically follows. On atheism all that exists is matter (accidental collocations of atoms). There is no non-physical, non-material reality. Persons have no spiritual being or essence or “soul” or “mind” that survives physical death. Obviously, on atheism, “soul friends” don’t exist. “You” and “I” simply will not be, on death. 

#4 – All the heroism and human fire in the world cannot stop the fact that all man’s accomplishments will ultimately be destroyed and come to nothing in the vast heat-death of the universe.
According to physics, this is true. Of course, it’s not going to happen tomorrow. Nonetheless, on atheism, it will happen. Nothing can stand in the way of Nature (Russell capitalizes it). I use this analogy to explain. Imagine life is a voyage on the Titanic. Imagine also that we know the fate of the Titanic, and that nothing can prevent it. We can choose to polish and rearrange the deck chairs if we desire to do so. But in the end all this labor will be undone. All heroic talk of “Let’s make a better world” is, ultimately, futile. This atheistic fact has caused a number of atheists to despair (see especially atheistic existentialists)

3. State Russell’s “Temple”

For Russell, these four truths are certain. They form the pillars of a “temple” upon which humanity erects a scaffolding and dwells within. Russell writes: “Within the scaffolding of these truths, which are nearly certain and cannot reasonably be denied, humanity must build its temple for worship on a foundation of unyielding despair. (“Unyielding” refers to the inexorable destructiveness of Nature. “Despair” describes the emotion felt about the absurdity and meaninglessness of life.

4. Russell is amazed at… 

Astoundingly, nature has produced “man” as a conscious and self-reflexive being. (Here is the matter of consciousness arising from unconscious matter, no less astounding today than it was in Russell’s time.)

5. Worship Goodness, not Nature (Power)
Even though nature is and will do its horrific thing, in our minds we are free and should not bow to Nature (as Nietzsche calls us to do). This is our freedom in the face of the inevitable – free to create, act, live, be moral, rational agents.

John Piippo at 8:55 AM

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Image result for francis schaeffer

Above Bertrand Russell said he rejected Christianity “Because I see no evidence whatsoever” indicating that Christianity is true. I wish he had considered the following:
Francis Schaeffer noted in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE:
Firstly, these are space-time
proofs in written form, and consequently
capable of careful consideration. Then,
secondly, these proofs are of such a
nature as to give good· and sufficient
evidence that Christ is the Messiah as
prophesied in the Old Testament, and
also that he is the Son of God. So that,
thirdly, we are not asked to believe until
we have faced the question as to whether
this is true on the basis of the space-time evidence. 
_______
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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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 149E Sir Bertrand Russell “A Free Man’s Worship”

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Image result for bertrand russell

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

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

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

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

Bertrand Russellin full Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell of Kingston Russell, Viscount Amberley of Amberley and of Ardsalla (born May 18, 1872, Trelleck, MonmouthshireWales—died Feb. 2, 1970, Penrhyndeudraeth, Merioneth), British philosopher, logician, and social reformer, founding figure in the analytic movement in Anglo-American philosophy, and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Russell’s contributions to logicepistemology, and the philosophy of mathematics established him as one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th century. To the general public, however, he was best known as a campaigner for peace and as a popular writer on social, political, and moral subjects. During a long, productive, and often turbulent life, he published more than 70 books and about 2,000 articles, married four times, became involved in innumerable public controversies, and was honoured and reviled in almost equal measure throughout the world. Russell’s article on the philosophical consequences of relativity appeared in the 13th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

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.

[Philosophy] A Free Man’s Worship, by Bertrand Russell, Essay, Audiobook

Published on Apr 10, 2014

[Philosophy] A Free Man’s Worship, by Bertrand Russell, Essay, Audiobook

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Bertrand Russell’s “A Free Man’s Worship”

If you were an atheist, what should you worship? What should you give your life to? Bertrand Russell’s answer was: worship “Goodness.” Russell capitalizes ‘Goodness,’ and in a later writing admitted that “Free Man’s Worship” may have been a bit too idealistic. Nevertheless, I do think Russell captures the logic of atheism.

By the “logic of atheism” I mean: what life is like if atheism is true. In one of the most famous atheistic paragraphs ever written Russell says:

“Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. 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.”

Here are the Russell bullet-points.

  • Russell says, without God, “Science” is the only tool we have to understand the world.
  • Science gives us three bleak certainties:
  • 1) Your life has no purpose – it’s but an accidental put-together of atoms.
  • 2) There’s no existence after death.
  • 3) All the achievements of humanity are destined to be destroyed by the inexorable onslaught of nature’s power.
  • Realize the certainty of these three things. They form a “foundation of unyielding despair.” Build your life on them.

Anticipating Richard Dawkins’s The Blind Watchmaker, Russell writes next: “A strange mystery it is that Nature, omnipotent but blind, in the revolutions of her secular hurryings through the abysses of space, has brought forth at last a child, subject still to her power, but gifted with sight, with knowledge of good and evil, with the capacity of judging all the works of his unthinking Mother. In spite of death, the mark and seal of the parental control, Man is yet free, during his brief years, to examine, to criticise, to know, and in imagination to create. To him alone, in the world with which he is acquainted, this freedom belongs; and in this lies his superiority to the resistless forces that control his outward life.”

So, while Nature is the big, bad, blind, pointless consuming Beast, it has mysteriously produced us, and we in our minds are free. How weird! For Russell this makes us “superior” to the “resistless forces” of Nature. In our minds we are free. We can make choices. And we can choose to worship, not Nature, but Goodness.

The big choice for us is this: “Shall we worship Force, or shall we worship Goodness? Shall our God exist and be evil, or shall he be recognized as the creation of our own conscience? The answer to this question is very momentous, and affects profoundly our whole morality. The worship of Force, to which Carlyle and Nietzsche and the creed of Militarism have accustomed us, is the result of failure to maintain our own ideals against a hostile universe: it is itself a prostrate submission to evil, a sacrifice of our best to Moloch.” Russell thus rejects the Nietzschean choice of the worship of Power.

Were I an atheist, I would follow both Nietzsche and Russell this far, being forced to acknowledge points 1-3 above, with the Nietzschean addition of the loss of a moral foundation (the moral ontology of atheism does not provide a foundation for objective moral values). For this reason I would be forced to choose the “worship” of Power, not Goodness. I’d also seriously entertain the idea that, on atheism, we don’t have free will (by “free will” meaning: choices not fully reducible to antecedent causal conditions). Then I’d really struggle with that last sentence, since it implies that there is an ‘I’ to “choose” to “entertain” any ideas. I’d have to look into the abyss of nihilism, admitting that there’s little hope of overcoming it.

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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. 

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

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

Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

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

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

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

We looked earlier at the city of Lachish. Let us return to the same period in Israel’s history when Lachich was besieged and captured by the Assyrian King Sennacherib. The king of Judah at the time was Hezekiah.

Perhaps you remember the story of how Jesus healed a blind man and told him to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. It is the same place known by King Hezekiah, approximately 700 years earlier. One of the remarkable things about the flow of the Bible is that historical events separated by hundreds of years took place in the same geographic spots, and standing in these places today, we can feel that flow of history about us. The crucial archaeological discovery which relates the Pool of Siloam is the tunnel which lies behind it.

One day in 1880 a small Arab boy was playing with his friend and fell into the pool. When he clambered out, he found a small opening about two feet wide and five feet high. On examination, it turned out to be a tunnel reaching  back into the rock. But that was not all. On the side of the tunnel an inscribed stone (now kept in the museum in Istanbul) was discovered, which told how the tunnel had been built originally. The inscription in classical Hebrew reads as follows:

The boring through is completed. And this is the story of the boring: while yet they plied the pick, each toward his fellow, and while there were yet three cubits [4 14 feet] to be bored through, there was heard the voice of one calling to the other that there was a hole in the rock on the right hand and on the left hand. And on the day of the boring through the workers on the tunnel struck each to meet his fellow, pick upon pick. Then the water poured from the source to the Pool 1,200 cubits [about 600 yards] and a 100 cubits was the height of the rock above the heads of the workers in the tunnel. 

We know this as Hezekiah’s Tunnel. The Bible tells us how Hezekiah made provision for a better water supply to the city:Now the rest of the acts of Hezekiah and all his might, and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?(II Kings 20:20). We know here three things: the biblical account, the tunnel itself of which the Bible speaks, and the original stone with its inscription in classical Hebrew.

From the Assyrian side, there is additional confirmation of the incidents mentioned in the Bible. There is a clay prism in the British Museum called the Taylor Prism (British Museum, Ref. 91032). It is only fifteen inches high and was discovered in the Assyrian palace at Nineveh. This particular prism dates from about 691 B.C. and tells about Sennacherib’s exploits. A section from the prism reads, “As for Hezekiah,  the Jew, who did not submit to my yoke, forty-six of his strong walled cities, as well as small cities  in their neighborhood I have besieged and took…himself like a caged bird, I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city. Earthworks I threw up against him,” Thus, there is a three-way confirmation concerning Hezekiah’s tunnel from the Hebrew side and this amazing confirmation from the Assyrian side.

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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 149D Sir 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

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 whatsoever 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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Lady Katharine Tait

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An Atheist’s Daughter

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), a British mathematician and philosopher, was applauded as one of the world’s profound thinkers. In 1959 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature on the basis that he was “a defender of humanity and freedom of thought.” He authored more than 40 books covering such subjects as philosophy, education, sex, and morality.

Religious Philosophy

At times, Russell claimed to be an atheist. In his essay, “Why I Am Not a Christian,” he wrote: “I do not believe in God” (1957, 5).

On other occasions, he positioned himself as an agnostic. In the volume, Religions of America, Russell was asked to contribute an article titled, “What is an agnostic?”, since he was perceived as being such. In that piece, however, he conceded that “for practical purposes” the agnostics are “at one with the atheists” (Rosten, 1975, 286).

In a bizarre, absolutely unrealistic sense, Russell did not mind being called a Christian. In one essay, in discussing, “Can an Agnostic be a Christian?”, he wrote: “If you mean by a ‘Christian’ a man who loves his neighbor, who has wide sympathy with suffering, and who ardently desires a world freed from the cruelties and abominations that at present disfigure it, then, certainly, you will be justified in calling me a Christian” (Tait, 1975, 289).

Russell’s views of religion and morality caused a furor in the early decades of the 20th century. In 1940 he was fired from the College of the City of New York, and yet, his ideas probably prepared the way for the widespread climate of anti-religious sentiment so prominent in today’s society.

I have been interested in Russell’s writings for many years, and a number of his volumes make their rude presence felt among the noble ones on my shelves. I also have an autobiography, along with several biographies, of the controversial gentleman. I collected them for the sake of analysis and review, and, quite frankly, I have concluded that the noted philosopher was much overrated and erratically inconsistent. In fact, one authority observed that Russell not infrequently argued conflicting ethical positions; he “traversed all of the major positions in contemporary ethics in the course of his writings” (Stolnitz, 511). All of them, that is, except the right one!

Katharine’s Testimony

Several years ago, while browsing in a bookshop in the east, a volume with Russell’s photograph on the dust cover caught my eye. The title was, My Father—Bertrand Russell, by Katharine Tait.

Katharine Tait was Russell’s only daughter. She was born in London in 1923 and was educated at her parents’ innovative school, Beacon Hill. It was a small academy dedicated to the promotion of “free thought”; in other words, atheistic humanism.

In this fascinating book the author attempts to explain what it was like having Bertrand Russell for a father. It is not a lovely picture. The following glimpses into Russell’s life and teachings come from one who loved him with devotion, though not always agreeing with him. It could not be more objective.

Marriage

Tait is very candid about her father’s adulterous adventures. “Once my father had freed himself of his original Puritanism, he was never again a one-woman man, though each new love might seem to be the ideal, he did not want to be irrevocably committed” (101-102).

“Having given up strict monogamy with the end of his first marriage, he no longer felt any need to restrict his affections, which he distributed most liberally throughout the rest of his life” (46).

When he was once asked, “if it wasn’t unkind of him to love and leave so many women,” he replied: “Why? Surely they can find other men” (106).

The celebrated figure lived on the “alley cat” level, but such never bothered his skeptical fans; with them, there is no moral code. Or, as Russell himself once put it, “Outside human desire there is no moral standard” (1957, 62). Adolf Hitler and Charlie Manson would have endorsed this philosophical code entirely.

Apparently, however, the British scholar was unwilling to accept the consequences of his own “freedom.” For instance, he felt that “adulterous intercourse” should not “lead to children” (104), for a “stable marriage was important to the children” (102). Apparently it was not “important” in the case of his own daughter.

Though he wanted his sexual license to be unrestrained, when one of his wives became pregnant by another man, Russell was “hurt and angered and wounded in his family pride” (107).

Katharine wrote: “Once I asked him if I should sleep with an amiable young man of my acquaintance. ‘Do you love him?’ ‘No, not really.’ ‘Then I shouldn’t. It’s best to save that for someone you love and not treat it lightly’” (155-156). This was the epitome of inconsistency.

Is it not odd how libertine men can be so protective of their daughters, while caring nothing for the daughters of others? Tait had this interesting comment: “…it turned out that the new morality was no easier and no more natural than the ideal of rigorous life-long monogamy it was intended to replace.” And again: “Free marriage had proved more difficult than he had expected, its failure painful and expensive” (103, 118).

Man’s Origin

Russell was an ardent proponent of Darwinism. He taught his children that “mankind was no more than an accident of evolution” (178). When he traveled with his family, his daughter recalls, “he suggested that we might lean out the windows when we passed other cars and shout out: ‘Your grandfather was a monkey.’ This was to convince them of the correctness of Darwin’s theory of evolution” (4).

Tait charged: “When he wanted to attack religion, he sought out its most egregious errors and held them up to ridicule, while avoiding serious discussion of the basic message” (188).

It is small wonder that the philosopher had such a depressing outlook upon his fellows. In his autobiography he wrote:

“The sea, the stars, the night wind in waste places, mean more to me than even the human beings I love best, and I am conscious that human affection is to me at bottom an attempt to escape from the vain search for God” (1968, II, 36).

But the confused gentleman could not live with his views.

“Christians were mocked for imagining that man is important in the vast scheme of the universe, even the high point of all creation—yet my father thought man and his preservation the most important thing in the world, and he lived in hopes of a better life to come” (184).

Morality

Russell believed that a parent must teach his child “with its very first breath that it has entered into a moral world” (59). And yet, as with all atheists, he had a most difficult time explaining why, if man is simply the produce of natural forces, children should be taught morality. Ms. Tait recalled various conversations relative to moral matters in which she and her father engaged when she was a youngster.

“I don’t want to! Why should I?” she pressed. She noted that a conventional parent might reply: “Because I say so … your father says so … God says so….” Russell, however, would say to his children: “Because more people will be happy if you do than if you don’t.”

“So what?”, she would respond, “I don’t care about other people.”
“But you should,” her father would retort.

In her innocence she would exclaim: “But why?” To her question the redundant rejoinder would be: “Because more people will be happy if you do than if you don’t.”

Tait observed: “We felt the heavy pressure of his rectitude and obeyed, but the reason was not convincing—neither to us nor to him” (184-185).

The confused celebrity could hardly impress his children with any kind of moral sense of responsibility when, as noted above, he himself taught: “Outside human desire there is no moral standard” (1957, 62).

A Vain Search for Peace

As mentioned earlier, Professor Russell once said that “human affection” was but “an attempt to escape the vain search for God.” His daughter declared:

“I believe myself that his whole life was a search for God…. Indeed, he had first taken up philosophy in hope of finding proof of the evidence of the existence of God … Somewhere at the back of my father’s mind, at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul [which he did not believe he had—WJ] there was an empty space that had once been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it” (185).

That statement is not quite correct. When God was banished from his heart, he replaced the vacuum with frustration, anger, and atheistic attempts to destroy the faith that flourished in the hearts of others. Such an evil disposition compounds one’s culpability considerably.

The wretchedness of his emotional state at times reached depths of great pathos. In a letter penned in 1920, he wrote:

“But I do know the despair in my soul. I know the great loneliness, as I wander through the world like a ghost, speaking in tones that are not heard, lost as if I had fallen from some other planet” (1968, I, 145).

Ray Monk is a professor of philosophy at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. In his highly acclaimed book, Bertrand Russell—The Spirit of Solitude 1872-1921 (xix), he records the words of a poem composed by Russell, and addressed, “To Edith.”

Through the long years
I have sought peace,
I found ecstasy,
I found anguish,
I found madness,
I found loneliness.
I found the solitary pain
that gnaws the heart,
But peace I did not find.

Such was a fitting epitaph for a tragic life.

REFERENCES
  • Monk, Ray (1996), Bertrand Russell – The Spirit of Solitude 1872-1921 (New York: The Free Press).
  • Rosten, Leo, ed. (1975), Religions of America (New York: Simon & Schuster).
  • Russell, Bertrand (1957), Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays (New York: Simon & Schuster).
  • Russell, Bertrand (1968), Autobiography (Boston: Atlantic-Little Brown), Two Volumes.
  • Stolnitz, Jerome (1956), “Bertrand Russell,” Encyclopedia of Morals, Vergilius Ferm, ed. (New York: Philosophical Library).
  • Tait, Katharine (1975), My Father – Bertrand Russell (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich).
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
1 Thessalonians 5
CITE THIS ARTICLE
Jackson, Wayne. “An Atheist’s Daughter.” ChristianCourier.com. Access date: June 3, 2017. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1268-atheists-daughter-an

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Image result for francis schaeffer

Above Bertrand Russell said he rejected Christianity “Because I see no evidence whatsoever” indicating that Christianity is true. I wish he had considered the following:
Francis Schaeffer noted in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE:
Firstly, these are space-time
proofs in written form, and consequently
capable of careful consideration. Then,
secondly, these proofs are of such a
nature as to give good· and sufficient
evidence that Christ is the Messiah as
prophesied in the Old Testament, and
also that he is the Son of God. So that,
thirdly, we are not asked to believe until
we have faced the question as to whether
this is true on the basis of the space-time evidence. 
_______
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.

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 149C Sir 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

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

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

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

Bertrand Russell – Biographical

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

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

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

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

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

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

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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

__

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.

_

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

31 The Human Genome Project.
https://www.genome.gov/11006943.
32 Geisler, Norman L.; Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith
To Be An Atheist. Crossway Books, 2004. Pg. 157.
Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any
fundamental biochemical or cellular system,
only a variety of wishful speculations. It is
remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a
satisfactory explanation for such a vast
subject — evolution — with so little
rigorous examination of how well its basic
theses works in illuminating specific
instances of biological adaptation or
diversity.”33
Yet, Russell also rejects design on the basis of
the apparent bad design in the world. He reasons:
“Do you think that, if you were granted
omnipotence and omniscience and millions
of years in which to perfect your world, you
could produce nothing better than the Ku
Klux Klan or the Fascists? Moreover, if you
accept the ordinary laws of science, you
have to suppose that human life and life in
general on this planet will die out in due
course.”34
Russell reasons that because creatures do bad
things and die, they could not have been designed by
a good designer. But the law of decay does not mean
there was no design. Henry Ford did an amazing job
designing his Model-T, but it broke down in time
too! Further, Genesis 3 tells us that, because man
sinned, separating himself from the goodness of his
Creator, physical death and suffering followed.
Finally, wasn’t it Russell who argued against natural
laws because the laws of nature were only human
conventions anyway?
These kinds of evidences led Antony Flew, an
equally prolific and philosophically minded atheist as
Russell, to abandon his atheism. “It now seems to
me,” said Flew, “that the findings of more than fifty
years of DNA research have provided materials for a
new and enormously powerful argument to design.”35
For Flew, there is really only one explanation: a
designer. He also writes, “The only satisfactory
explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, selfreplicating’
life as we see on earth is an infinitely
intelligent Mind.”36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other papers from Christian perspective:

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

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

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Bertrand Russell pictured above and 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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 […]

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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)

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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 […]

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149B Sir Bertrand Russell

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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,

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell transparent bg.png
Born Bertrand Arthur William Russell
18 May 1872
TrellechMonmouthshire,[1]United Kingdom
Died 2 February 1970 (aged 97)
PenrhyndeudraethCaernarfonshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Residence United Kingdom
Nationality British
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
(BA, 1893)
Spouse(s) Alys Pearsall Smith (m. 1894–1921)
Dora Black (m. 1921–1935)
Marjorie “Patricia” Spence (m. 1936–1952[2])
Edith Finch (m. 1952–1970; his death)
Awards De Morgan Medal (1932)
Sylvester Medal (1934)
Nobel Prize in Literature (1950)
Kalinga Prize (1957)
Jerusalem Prize (1963)
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Analytic philosophy
Linguistic turn
Logicism
Utilitarianism
Institutions Trinity College, CambridgeLondon School of Economics
Main interests
Notable ideas
Signature
Bertrand Russell signature.svg

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

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Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell

Published on Mar 10, 2012

Bertrand Russell first delivered this lecture on March 6, 1927 to the National Secular Society, South London Branch, at Battersea Town Hall.

What Is a Christian? 0:16
The Existence of God 4:16
The First-cause Argument 5:27
The Natural-law Argument 7:42
The Argument from Design 12:08
The Moral Arguments for Deity 15:18
The Argument for the Remedying of Injustice 18:06
The Character of Christ 20:28
Defects in Christ’s Teaching 23:22
The Moral Problem 25:43
The Emotional Factor 30:45
How the Churches Have Retarded Progress 33:48
Fear, the Foundation of Religion 35:41
What We Must Do 37:10

Full text available at http://reasonbroadcast.blogspot.com/2…

A Review Of “Why I Am Not A Christian” By Bertrand Russell

Without a doubt, Bertrand Russell stands as one of the most formidable minds of the modern era. Through his efforts with Alfred North Whitehead in “Principia Mathematica”, Russell further elaborated the relationship between mathematics and deductive logic. Russell’s endeavors, however, were not confined to complex philosophical treatises having little influence outside of academic circles. Russell’s work spanned the intellectual spectrum, ranging from works on the history of philosophy to international relations and political theory. Russell even produced newspaper articles for mass consumption. But despite his prolific intellectual output, Russell did not apply his mathematician’s logic and objectivity to much of his non-scientific thought, especially in the area of religion as embodied by his work “Why I Am Not A Christian”.

Instead of addressing a single topic throughout the entire work, “Why I Am Not A Christian” is a collection of articles and essays addressing Russell’s position on religious matters in general and issues regarding Christianity in particular. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so he is.” Many times influential voices speaking in the opinion-molding institutions of academia and media contend that one’s views on religion do not necessarily impact other areas of existence such as the political or the sociological. Scripture teaches that this popular opinion is incorrect. However, the Bible is not readily accepted by those arguing for the mentioned opinion. Even though the work argues against the traditional positions of Christianity, the power of “Why I Am Not A Christian” resides in how it links one’s views regarding religion with one’s beliefs about society and the world despite the author’s attempt to argue otherwise.

Russell’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) found their basis in his position that the theistic proofs are not as conclusive as believers make them out to be. When asked what he would say if confronted by the Creator at his death, Russell said he would respond by saying, “God! Why did you make evidence of your existence so insufficient?”

In “Why I Am Not A Christian”, Russell proceeds to critique each of these arguments. None of them escape his scathing scrutiny. Of the argument from the First Cause, Russell remarks that, if everything must have a cause, then God cannot be the uncaused cause by those following in the intellectual lineage of Aquinas. Russell claims that this argument actually results in an endless digression of creators begetting creators much like those mythological cosmologies where the Earth rests atop an elephant resting atop a tortoise etc. etc (7).

From the outset, Russell argues from faulty notions. According to Norman Geisler in “Introduction To Philosophy: A Christian Perspective”, in a thoroughly naturalistic context something cannot come from nothing. But by its definition, a noncontingent being does not require a cause since its existence is complete in itself (289). Only finite contingent beings require a cause.

The next proofs tackled by Russell are the arguments for the existence of God from the evidence of creation. Russell argues that, in the light of Einsteinian relativity, the Newtonian system of natural law is not as binding upon the universe as originally thought. Therefore, these scientific principles cannot be used to argue for the existence of a rational creator. However, one could turn the tables on Russell and point out that the revelations of Einsteinian physics actually provide a better testimony to the existence of God than even the previous Newtonian model.

According to Russell, natural law is nothing more than statistical averages resulting from the laws of chance (Russell, 8). John Warwick Montgomery in “Faith Founded On Fact” rebuts Russell’s position by pointing out that the Einsteinian and quantum paradigms actually allow for miracles while maintaining that an ordered universe exists. In those systems attempting to account for the totality of the physical universe, it is God who keeps the universe from instantaneously dissolving into the chaos of individual atoms flying off into their own paths and who can rearrange the normal operations of reality when doing so suits His greater glory such as turning water into wine and resurrecting the dead (Montgomery, 43).

Besides drawing faulty conclusions regarding the validity of the theistic proofs, Russell errs as to their purpose as well. Russell is correct in pointing out that these arguments do leave room for some doubt. Yet this can be said about any other linguistically synthetic proposition about the world as well.

If one wants to get really nit-picky about the matter, one could doubt whether Bertrand Russell himself even existed since the Analysts were not above doubting the veracity of historical knowledge. As much as it might irritate the so-called “scientific mind”, one cannot exist without exercising some degree and kind of faith.

The theistic proofs can serve as a guide pointing towards faith or as a mechanism to help rationally clarify it. They do not properly serve as a replacement for it. Norman Geisler points out that one ought not to believe in God because of the theistic proofs. Rather, the theistic proofs provide one with a basis to reasonably assert that God exists (Geisler, 269).

Having taken on the first person of the triune Godhead, Russell turns his sites onto the second, the Lord Jesus Christ. To his perverse credit in a perverse sort way, Russell does not hind behind the phony religiosity of the liberal and the modernist which states, “Jesus was a good teacher, but…”

Russell openly wonders whether or not Christ even existed. And even if He did, Russell asserts, Jesus is far from being the greatest among human teachers as asserted by the likes of the Unitarians and the New Age movement. At best, according to Russell’s scorecard, Jesus comes in at a distant third behind Socrates and Buddha (16). According to Russell, Christ’s greatest flaw was His belief in the reality of Hell and His condemnation of those who would not heed the Messiah’s call. Socrates provides a superior moral example since Socrates did not verbally castigate his detractors (Russell, 17).

Russell’s disdain for those believing in the reality of Hell exposes his own bias rather than prove his dedication to the ideas of truth that he invokes elsewhere to undermine the claims of religious faith. In appraising the idea of Hell, Russell does not give much consideration to the realm of eternal damnation, instead dismissing the concept as a cruel idea (18). But if Hell is real, is not Christ doing the proper thing in warning how such a terrible fate might be avoided? Employing Russell’s line of reasoning, it becomes cruel to chastise someone standing under a tall tree with a piece of sheet metal during a thunderstorm since such an exhortation also warns of the dire consequences likely to result from such foolish behavior.

But while Russell questions the historicity of Jesus Christ, he readily accepts that of Buddha even though Christ is perhaps the best documented figure of ancient history. The first accounts of Buddha appear nearly 500 years after the death of that particular religious figure. Those regarding Jesus appear within the first several decades following the Crucifixion.

Allegedly having removed God from His thrown as sovereign of the universe, Russell proceeds to lay out what he does believe primarily in the chapter titled “What I Believe”. Replacing religion as the tool by which man approaches the world, Russell would have man utilize science to determine meaning, reducing the totality of reality to that of mere physics (50). To Russell, even thought is nothing more than the chemical components and electrical impulses arising from the brain’s physical composition.

Yet despite believing the material world to be ultimate, Russell saw no problem with making pronouncements regarding the areas of life transcending the material base such as ethics and social organization. Russell boldly states in italicized print for all to read, “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge (56).” However, elsewhere in the very same chapter, Russell says, “…nature in itself is neutral, neither good nor bad (55).”

If humanity is nothing more than the sum of the physical composition of the species, it is then inappropriate to elaborate a theory of morality. Morality poured into such a naturalistic crucible becomes nothing more than individual personal preferences, which do seem to serve as Russell’s source of moral reasoning. According to Russell, traditional morality is based upon cruelty and ignorance. However, according to John Frame in “Apologetics To The Glory Of God”, to invoke the values of love and knowledge (even when done so to undermine traditional conceptions of virtue) is to inadvertently defend the divinely established order of creation traditional moral values rests upon in the first place since such values are only desirable if a divinely created hierarchy exists (93-102).

Ultimately, one cannot craft a system of ethics solely based on science legitimately defined as science. At best, science can only assess and clarify the situations to which moral principles must be applied. To say that science is the source of moral values is to argue for a scientism or a naturalism as loaded with as many conceptual presuppositions as any theistic creed.

One can base one’s ethical beliefs on the record of Scripture, which II Timothy 3:16 says is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for corrections, and for instruction in righteousness. Or, one can operate under man’s own unaided reason, which is finite, corruptible, and known to change every five to ten years subject to FDA approval. History reveals which has the far better track record.

Unlike many Christians who do not take their worldview outside the church sanctuary or seminary classroom, Bertrand Russell was not one content to keep his philosophy and ideology confined to the level of an academic exercise. In terms of political activism, this was manifested by his vocal opposition to the nuclear diplomacy engaged in by both the United States and the Soviet Union during the tensest days of the Cold War.

However, the application of Russell’s worldview did not always lead him to pursue admirable yet perhaps naive goals such as world peace. In fact, Presbyterian minister D.James Kennedy suggests in “Character & Destiny: A Nation In Search Of Its Soul” that Russell may have formulated his philosophical position regarding religious matters as a justification for his erotic proclivities, the lanky intellectual having actually had numerous adulterous relationships including philanderous escapades with the daughters of friends and colleagues (173). In fact, Russell social views derived from his foundational assumptions sparked considerable controversy. After all, it was not his “Principia Mathematica” that cost him a professorship at the City College of New York but rather his views regarding marriage and personal morality.

Seeing man soley as the product of natural processes and merely as a highly evolved animal, Russell’s views regarding human intimacy and procreation reflect this sentiment. According to Russell, much of traditional morality — especially that dealing with sexual ethics — is based upon superstition. In fact, Russell believes that it would be beneficial for society and family life if the traditional understanding of monogamous, life-long, God-ordained marriage was openly violated. In these matters, Russell sounds much like a contemporary Planned Parenthood operative or public school sex educator. For example, Russell argues for no-fault divorce, unhampered sexual promiscuity provided children do not result from such illicit unions, and for temporary trial marriages not unlike the phenomena of cohabitation (Russell, 168-178).

Despite his attempts to expand human freedom and happiness in regards to these matters, Russell’s proposals are in reality prescriptions for heartache and disaster. The segment of society sustaining the highest number of casualties in the sexual revolution are the young that Russell had hoped to liberate. According to syndicated columnist Cal Thomas in “The Death Of Ethics In America”, by the age of twenty-one 81% of unmarried males and 60% of unmarried females have had sexual intercourse. However, such carnal stimulation is not necessarily the fulfilling personal growth opportunity Russell claimed it would be.

Venereal diseases rank as the number one form of communicable illness in the United States. And the varieties of this pestilence prevalent today do not always react as well to penicillin as those ravaging the morally deviant of Professor Russell’s day (Thomas, 92). Those engaging in Dr. Russell’s trial marriages — what use to be referred to as living in sin — fare little better. Those participating in such arrangements on average go on to experience higher levels of marital discord and incidents of divorce.

God did not establish the regulations regarding human intimacy in order to rain on everybody’s parade. These rules were promulgated in order to bring about the maximum degree of individual well-being and personal happiness. Matthew 19:5 says, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. Hebrews 13:4 adds, “Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

To his credit and the shame of the church, Russell does note how women have over the course of history often endured oppressive marriages many times under the sanction and justification of misunderstood interpretations regarding marital submission. However, any cruelty justified under this command is a misinterpretation of the passage’s true intent. In Ephesians 5:25, just two verses away from the famous Scripture misused as an excuse for all manner of masculine cruelty, the Bible clearly reads, “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church.” This love is to be a sacrificial and gentle love; not the decree of a tyrant even though the husband is the king of the house. Studies indicate that, in reality, marriage is far safer for women than the live-in arrangements advocated by Russell under the euphemism of temporary marriage.

Having dismissed the traditional family and religion (both organized and otherwise) as impediments to humanity’s progress, Russell puts his hope for the betterment of mankind in the state. Rather than punish individuals committing sins so heinous that they infringe upon the well-being of society, the state is to manipulate human behavior in order to bring about desired outcomes beneficial to the greater community. In fact, according to Russell, sin defined as an action committed by an individual in defiance of the universal moral order as established by an omnipotent creator does not exist. Sin is merely that which is disliked by those controlling education (159).

Even those committing the most heinous deeds are not beyond the pale of psychological reprogramming or pity much like that lavished upon a wayward dog that cannot help scratching up the furniture. To bring about his scientific utopia, the state would be granted expansive powers in even those most private aspects of existence. For example, Russell’s state would go so far as to decree that children must be confiscated from their parents and raised by trained statist experts (Russell, 163).

Russell also suffers from the same paradox afflicting Marx and other socialists in that Russell desires to shrink the power of the state while at the same time dramatically increasing it. While wanting to put economic power into the hands of workers through a system of guilds and syndicates, Russell also sought to establish a world state having a monopoly on the use of force as well as establish guaranteed incomes and the human breeding restrictions mentioned earlier.

The issues raised by Russell’s political opinions still possess relevance today with much of contemporary civic discourse an ongoing debate regarding the very kinds of policies advocated by Russell and his leftwing associates. F.A. Hayek noted in “The Road To Serfdom” that, while liberals might have naive but benevolent intentions behind their social engineering proposals, these ultimately require more bloodthirsty totalitarians or others of a similar vain lacking concern for innate human freedoms and constitutional liberties. Even Russell admits that much of human liberty is the result of the interplay between church and state (185). What then would result should the influence be nullified as Russell proposes?

Reflecting upon Russell’s proposal of state-run childcare, it is highly doubtful whether or not such a program could be implemented without a great deal of bloodshed or a massive multi-generational conspiracy such as Hillary Clinton’s it takes a village mentality and the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of The Child. Programs and policy outlooks such as these seek to alter the fundamental nature of the family primarily through bureaucratic stealth and covert legislative manipulation. Realizing that the proclivities towards marriage and family ran so deeply in the human psyche, even the Soviets had to back off their plank to so openly undermine the oldest of human institutions as part of their diabolical agenda.

And while the wars plaguing mankind are deplorable, the geopolitical landscape allowing them to arise is still preferable to the global tyranny and persecution that would result from a planetary regime that would impose its iron will on any portion of the world refusing to heed its edicts and decrees. At least under the current world order, a small percentage of humanity is able to enjoy some measure of freedom until the Lord’s Second Coming.

Contrary to what even the National Rifle Association claims, America’s Founding Fathers did not draft the Second Amendment to protect skeet shooting and squirrel hunting. Instead, this constitutional provision established a sense of liberty by creating tension between freemen and the operatives of the state by implying violence could result should government authorities over step the confines of their legitimate powers. Something similar is true with a system of nation-states competing with one another, none of which can tyrannize all of mankind at one time.

By reading “Why I Am Not A Christian”, one is reminded that the current culture war besieging America did not begin with either the inaugurations of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. It is in fact decades and even centuries old. While setting out an agenda and its ideological justification, Russell’s “Why I Am Not A Christian” also provides a glimpse into the cultural disputes of another era.

The final chapter of the book consists of an appendix detailing the court case that ultimately prevented Russell from obtaining a professorship of mathematical and scientific philosophy. Whether or not Russell’s critics should have acted so vehemently is open to debate as (to utilize a phrase just employed) there is some virtue to settling things through “open debate” with each side detailing their merits and revealing the weaknesses in the arguments of their opponents. However, history has shown that the concerns raised by those opposed to Russell’s appointment were based in legitimate fears.

Though Russell cannot bear sole guilt as much of that must also go to his colleagues sharing in his worldview of loose sex and paternalistic government, this philosophy has gained such prominence in social institutions such as education, entertainment, and even religion. Regard for the family and human life has deteriorated to such a degree that is has become regular to hear in news reports of former mailmen mowing down with machine guns their fellow employees (the act itself now referred to as “going postal”) or of prom queens killing their newborns between dances. The world has never been perfect since the expulsion from Eden, but seldom in history has there been times where such outright evil is openly justified by those in authority such as certain psychologists, elected officials, and media personalities.

Bertrand Russell’s “Why I Am Not A Christian” will not stand as a classic regarding what is explicitly written upon the pages. For the highest rational principle appealed to is that the world should enshrine the thoughts and preferences of Bertrand Russell simply because they are the thoughts and utterances of Bertrand Russell. However, the message it propounds between the lines of each man serving as his own god ranks among the central apologetic challenges of this or any other era. The clear style and detectable fallacies found within the pages of Russell’s “Why I Am Not A Christian” will prepare Christians to take on more sophisticated versions of these arguments wherever they might appear.

By Frederick Meekins

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Image result for francis schaeffer

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Francis Schaeffer noted in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE:
Firstly, these are space-time
proofs in written form, and consequently
capable of careful consideration. Then,
secondly, these proofs are of such a
nature as to give good· and sufficient
evidence that Christ is the Messiah as
prophesied in the Old Testament, and
also that he is the Son of God. So that,
thirdly, we are not asked to believe until
we have faced the question as to whether
this is true on the basis of the space-time evidence. 
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Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible:

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.

 

Related posts:

 

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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!!!

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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!!!

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

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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 […]

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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)

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