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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 August 2016
This short book presents several essays and articles written by Bertrand Russell concerning the subject of Christianity. The titular essay, originally a lecture from 1927, outlines the general reasons behind Russell's rejection of Christian faith and his acceptance of atheism. The remainder of the articles contribute to the overall theme - addressing specific issues relating to the belief in God.

Throughout, Russell adopts a well-reasoned, clearly argued perspective - and one that is both insightful and interesting to read. Perhaps one of the most fascinating essays is "The Existence of God" - involving a debate between Russell and a Christian priest, exploring the cosmological and philosophical questions ascertaining to the possibility of God's existence. Yet none of these essays in this book are comprehensive: Russell's purpose was to insight thought and entice engagement in a debate concerning religion, not to offer a thorough or systematic denunciation of faith.

The content of this book was written between the 1920's and 1950's - and, in some regards, it's now dated. Many people are today more aware of the limitations and weaknesses of Christian arguments, just as many people are today more willing to question God's existence and the role of the church in society. Yet when Russell proposed the ideas found in this book, many at the time (especially in the USA) considered his views heretical.

Whether you're religious or not, this book is worth reading. I highly recommend it. Note, this item is available new for under £15 - so I suggest looking for the most reasonable seller.
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on 29 March 2016
Among the most influential books of the 20th century, this is essential reading!
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on 11 December 2016
A selection of essays. The best one is "Why I am not a Christian" which is brilliant.
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on 26 January 2017
Very good reading. There are lots of unbelievers but when they are asked about their personal belief or view they feel sort of ashamed to say that they don't believe in God or don't care. It's percieved to be odd to say that 21 century doesn't need God as the Middle Ages needed. It's not about values, they are not Christian or non-Christian. They are good or bad, positive or negative. There are good and evil people on both sides. This book seems to be a statement of a modern person who doesn't feel embarrassed to express their non-belief. It's a question of tolerance on both sides.
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on 28 January 2017
Still very relevant, well written and a pleasure to read (it over and over)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 August 2016
This short book presents several essays and articles written by Bertrand Russell concerning the subject of Christianity. The titular essay, originally a lecture from 1927, outlines the general reasons behind Russell's rejection of Christian faith and his acceptance of atheism. The remainder of the articles contribute to the overall theme - addressing specific issues relating to the belief in God.

Throughout, Russell adopts a well-reasoned, clearly argued perspective - and one that is both insightful and interesting to read. Perhaps one of the most fascinating essays is "The Existence of God" - involving a debate between Russell and a Christian priest, exploring the cosmological and philosophical questions ascertaining to the possibility of God's existence.

The content of this book was written between the 1920's and 1950's - and, in some regards, it's now dated. Many people are today more aware of the limitations and weaknesses of Christian arguments, just as many people are today more willing to question God's existence and the role of the church in society. Yet when Russell proposed the ideas found in this book, many at the time considered his views heretical.

Whether you're religious or not, this book is worth reading. I highly recommend it.
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on 6 June 2017
I don't follow his arguments. He seems to just stop when he comes to the more detailed part of what he is trying to put forward without any really definite conclusions.
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on 24 January 2016
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.

Bertrand Russell's arguments from science have largely been discredited because science has constantly evolved and he is using ideas we no longer believe. This must always be the state of science at any time; it is what we have proved thus far.

His references to the Bible are often taken out of context, eg he suggests that all Christians are directed to sell all their possessions and give them to the poor but this was directed to one person for whom possessions were an idol that prevented him prioritising God. There are many such examples.

His references to the interpretation of the Bible are based on the beliefs of the Catholic church, often in those areas where Protestants would differ.

Some things he says are just plain silly, for example that Christians disapprove of sex; most think God invented sex.

On rationalism, he cannot empirically prove that we should only believe something we can empirically prove; therefore he cannot empirically prove his philosophy. His 'strong rationalism' is not objective and he illustrates this by citing the origin of many of his points of view in his own background and experiences.
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on 2 January 2016
Having read the reviews, I wonder what people thought they were buying. Obviously there are a few discomfitted Christians providing low votes, only to be expected, given the subject matter. What really surprises me are the reviews saying the book is mainstream or not a thorough philosophical tear-down of belief in God. The book is what it is, and a product of its time. The ideas have become mainstream, but at the time must have been radical and many modern atheists have adopted and expanded its ideas. The book is also a collection of essays, so a unified, coherent "tear-down" is unrealistic.
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.
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on 25 January 2016
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. I got the impression that he made his mind up first and then looked for things to bolster his thoughts. Not convincing at all.
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