Bertrand Russell What I Believe Essay

Bertrand Russell What I Believe Essay-22
Therefore they laid it down that the existence of God can be proved by the unaided reason, and they had to set up what they considered were arguments to prove it.There are, of course, a number of them, but I shall take only a few.It is used these days in a very loose sense by a great many people.

That argument, I suppose, does not carry very much weight nowadays, because, in the first place, cause is not quite what it used to be.

The philosophers and the men of science have got going on cause, and it has not anything like the vitality it used to have; but, apart from that, you can see that the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity.

Therefore I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian I have to tell you two different things; first, why I do not believe in God and in immortality; and, secondly, why I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant Him a very high degree of moral goodness.

But for the successful efforts of unbelievers in the past, I could not take so elastic a definition of Christianity as that.

You know, of course, that the Catholic Church has laid it down as a dogma that the existence of God can be proved by the unaided reason.

That is a somewhat curious dogma, but it is one of their dogmas.Russell Society Home Page About Bertrand Russell About the Russell Society The BRS Library Society Publications Russell Texts Online Russell Resources JOIN the Russell Society!Officers and Organization Contact Us The Lecture that is here reproduced was delivered at the Battersea Town Hall on Sunday March 6, 1927, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society.It is issued in booklet form at the request of many friends.It should be added that the author alone is responsible for the political and other opinions expressed.As your Chairman has told you, the subject about which I am going to speak to you tonight is ‘Why I am not a Christian’.Perhaps it would be as well, first of all, to try to make out what one means by the word ‘Christian’.Of course there is another sense which you find in Whitaker’s Almanack and in geography books, where the population of the world is said to be divided into Christians, Mohammedans, Buddhists, fetish worshippers, and so on; and in that sense we are all Christians.The geography books count us all in, but that is a purely geographical sense, which I suppose we can ignore.In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant. We have to be a little more vague in our meaning of Christianity.You accepted a whole collection of creeds which were set out with great precision, and every single syllable of those creeds you believed with the whole strength of your convictions. I think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anybody calling himself a Christian.

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