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Why I am not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (Routledge Classics) Paperback – 2 Feb 2004
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'Devastating in its use of cold logic.' - The Independent
'The most robust as well as the most witty infidel since Voltaire and he can not fail to sharpen men's sense of what is entailed both in belief and unbelief.' - The Spectator
'What makes the book valuable is life-long uncompromising intellectual honesty.' - Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was born in England and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. His long career established him as one of the most influential philosophers, mathematicians, and social reformers of the twentieth century.
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Top Customer Reviews
Russell, in his fifteen essays, is humane, rational and tolerant. Indeed, he exhibits many of the qualities his christian critics appear to lack. Anyone who approaches this book with an open mind will be encouraged to think about beliefs and superstitions which from childhood many of us were encouraged to accept uncritically. The result, for some readers, will be to discover a freedom of thought and action outside the stultifying, and often nonsensical, strictures of religious belief. This is a stimulating book which has the capacity, if approached with an open mind, to change your life for the better. In reading it you have nothing to lose except what William Blake descibed as "mind forged manacles." Russell is a helpful step towards intellectual freedom.
What shines throughout this book is Russell himself: the clarity of thought and expression is marvellous, complex ideas are expressed with seeming ease. Russell also doesn't shy away from the resulting (then controversial) outcomes of his reasoning.The sheer humanity of Russell's thinking is shot through this work.
The section about losing the position at New York college was fascinating, and should serve as a warning in our own time about the shutting down of academic freedom in our own times.
"Religion, since it has its source in terror, has dignified certain kinds of fear and made people think them not disgraceful. In this it has done mankind a great disservice: all fear is bad..."
This book stripped the blindfold of religion from my eyes and opened the way toward rational thought. I never looked back. It's a good starting point for anybody wanting to step free of the muck that clutters too many minds, whether Christian or any other religion. Beyond this book are several others on a variety of subjects displaying Russell's compelling clarity of thought. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell is certainly one I can recommend. Give it a shot; you have nothing to lose but your chains.
The first two essays, including the one that was used for the collection's title are rather scathing denunciations of organized religion in general, and Christianity in particular. Russell presents his arguments against those arguments that "prove" the existence of God. He rightly points out the contradictions involved in those who purport to be Christians, but do not follow the teachings of the Bible. Most famously, and certainly one you do not hear in the mega-churches of today, concerns the chances of a rich man getting into Heaven... that is, the equivalent of a camel passing through the eye of a needle. And, of course, there is no comma after the straightforward commandment: Thou Shall Not Kill. Russell selects a few more, for example: Mathew 16:28: "There are some standing here who will not taste death till the Son of Man will come into his Kingdom." Thus, the "second coming" was predicted for the near future, in Biblical terms. He does note the comfort some congregational members derived from noting that their Minister, who was also preaching about an eminent "second coming" later that day was planting trees.
The collection includes an excellent essay "The Fate of Thomas Paine.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting philosophical journey into the thinkers of the beginning of 20th century. Hegel, Marx, SchopenhauerPublished 28 days ago by Mr Justice
The first essay, the text of Russell's 1927 address to the UK's National Secular Society (he was in his mid-50s) has a Youtube version, not however spoken by Russell himself. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rerevisionist
Makes some good points, but modern research has gone into much more detail so I feel this is somewhat out of date. Read morePublished 2 months ago by D. Preston
Among the most influential books of the 20th century, this is essential reading!Published 4 months ago by KRGSUMMERS
Belatedly reading him for the first time, I find difficult to flaw Russell's reasoned argument against religious "belief". Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
This did not turn out to be the sort of book I expected from such a clever man. His reasoning was not based on solid information. Read morePublished 6 months ago by George Smith
I enjoyed reading this book although I disagree with many of the views expressed. Opposing views of others are interesting when given with their reasons. Read morePublished 6 months ago by judith R Johnson