Why I Am Not a Christian - WikipediaThe English logician and philosopher Bertrand Russell was convinced that the religions of the world are not merely untrue, but that they do grievous harm to people. That conviction is very much in evidence in his speech, "Why I Am Not a Christian," read here in its complete form by the British actor Terrence Hardiman. Russell begins by establishing a very general and inclusive definition of the term "Christian. Beginning with the belief in God, Russell points out the logical fallacies in several of the most popular arguments for the existence of God, starting with the early rational arguments and moving along what he sees as the "intellectual descent" of Christian apologetics to some of the more recent arguments that have "become less respectable intellectually and more and more affected by a kind of moralizing vagueness. Although Russell grants Christ "a very high degree of moral goodness," he asserts that there have been wiser and better men.
Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
In , at the age of 17, and after eight schooners of lager and a night of murderous vomiting to celebrate my final matriculation exam, I left my home in rural New South Wales and moved to a university hall of residence in the parental Gomorrah of Sydney. In the room opposite me was an earnest man from Hong Kong, 10 years my senior, who late at night would tap on my door to invite me to play chess and drink jasmine tea. He was studying for a PhD on the mathematical philosopher Gottfried Leibnitz, and his room was full of books with titles that both frightened and excited me at the prospect of all I would need to know now that, overnight, I was no longer a child. On the first night I entered his room the title of one burnt into my brain—Bertrand Russell's Why I am not a Christian. I asked if I could read it, and I recall switching off my light at 3 30 am, drunk with excitement at the eloquent defilement that I'd just consumed.
Itshould beaddedthattheeditoriswillingtosharefullresponsibilitywiththeHon. Bertrand Russellinthatheisinaccordwiththepoliticalandotheropinionsexpressed. Somepeoplemeannomorebyitthanaperson whoattemptstoliveagoodlife. InthatsenseIsupposetherewouldbeChristiansinall sectsandcreeds;butIdonotthinkthatthatisthepropersenseoftheword,ifonly becauseitwouldimplythatallthepeoplewhoarenotChristiansalltheBuddhists, Confucians,Mohammedans,andsoonarenottryingtoliveagoodlife. Idonotmean byaChristiananypersonwhotriestolivedecentlyaccordingtohislights. Ithinkthat youmusthaveacertainamountofdefinitebeliefbeforeyouhavearighttocallyourself aChristian. Theworddoesnothavequitesuchafullbloodedmeaningnowasithadin thetimesofSt.
Originally a talk given 6 March at Battersea Town Hall, under the auspices of the South London Branch of the National Secular Society , it was published that year as a pamphlet and has been republished several times in English and in translation. Russell begins by defining what he means by the term Christian and sets out to explain why he does not "believe in God and in immortality" and why he does not "think that Christ was the best and wisest of men", the two things he identifies as "essential to anybody calling himself a Christian"., I just now — fifteen minutes ago — came to realize with the most crystal clarity I have ever had why I cannot call myself a Christian.
In an Appendix, Professor Edwards contributes a full account of the highly controversial "Bertrand Russell Case" of , in which Russell was judicially declared "unfit" to teach philosophy at the College of the City of New York. Whether the reader shares or rejects Bertrand Russell's views, he will find this book an invigorating challenge to set notions, a masterly statement of a philosophical position, and a pure joy to read. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.