Bertrand Russell on God and Religion

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Prometheus Books, 1986 - Philosophy - 350 pages
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"I think all the great religions of the world - Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Communism - both untrue and harmful. It is evident as a matter of logic that, since they disagree, not more than one of them can be true."

Bertrand Russell wrote these words in his famous essay, "Why I Am Not A Christian." In Bertrand Russell on God and Religion, Al Seckel presents in one volume the severe scrutiny Russell brought to bear on organized religion in his best essays.

Bertrand Russell on God and Religion is an exhaustive compilation of Russell's best essays on religion, freethought, and rationalism. Al Seckel has rescued many of the writings from obscure pamphlets, chapters buried in books, and from out-of-print periodicals.

From the outset of his career, Russell struggled to uproot and expose the remnants of Puritanism's emphasis upon guilt, sin, and moral condemnation. In "Why I Am Not A Christian," he wrote, "Religion is based . . . primarily and mainly upon fear . . . fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore, it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand."

It is in this vein that Russell approached religion. The essays in this book are representative of the full range of his thinking on the subject. Some of the essays included are, "My Religious Reminiscences," "A Debate On The Existence of God," "What Is An Agnostic?" and "Are the World's Troubles Due to Decay in Faith?"

Bertrand Russell was the recipient of countless awards for excellence during his long lifetime (1872-1970), including the Nobel Prize for literature, which he won in 1950. The range of his critical inquiry is without parallel in contemporary Western culture.

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Contents

Preface
9
The Life and Wisdom of Bertrand Russell by Al Seckel
13
PART
37
Copyright

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A Theodicy of Hell
C. Seymour
Limited preview - 2000

About the author (1986)

Bertrand Arthur William Russell (1872-1970) was a British philosopher, logician, essayist and social critic. He was best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. Together with G.E. Moore, Russell is generally recognized as one of the main founders of modern analytic philosophy. Together with Kurt Gödel, he is regularly credited with being one of the most important logicians of the twentieth century. Over the course of a long career, Russell also made contributions to a broad range of subjects, including the history of ideas, ethics, political and educational theory, and religious studies. General readers have benefited from his many popular writings on a wide variety of topics. 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.

Al Seckel is currently working on a comprehensive academic treatise on illusions for Massachusetts Institute of Technology and working in the Division of Computational and Neuronal Systems at Cal Tech in Pasadena. He lives in Pasadena, California.

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