Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

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Simon and Schuster, 1957 - Philosophy - 266 pages
12 Reviews
“Devastating in its use of cold logic,” (The Independent), the classic essay collection that expresses the freethinker’s views to religion and challenges set notions in today’s society from one of the most influential intellectual figures of the twentieth century.

Dedicated as few men have been to the life of reason, Bertrand Russell has always been concerned with the basic questions to which religion also addresses itself—questions about man’s place in the universe and the nature of the good life, questions that involve life after death, morality, freedom, education, and sexual ethics. He brings to his treatment of these questions the same courage, scrupulous logic, and lofty wisdom for which his other work as philosopher, writer, and teacher has been famous. These qualities make the essays included in this book perhaps the most graceful and moving presentation of the freethinker's position since the days of Hume and Voltaire.

“I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue,” Russell declares in his Preface, and his reasoned opposition to any system or dogma which he feels may shackle man’s mind runs through all the essays in this book, whether they were written as early as 1899 or as late as 1954.

The book has been edited, with Lord Russell’s full approval and cooperation, by Professor Paul Edwards of the Philosophy Department of New York University. In an Appendix, Professor Edwards contributes a full account of the highly controversial “Bertrand Russell Case” of 1940, 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.
 

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I read this book when I was 19 after having been educated and brainwashed by Catholicism. At the time I was having great difficulty differentiating between what I was taught and what I was witnessing around me. I was looking for answers. Then I came across these essays. While most of his arguments are very valid, I found some relating to Catholicism were shallow. Anyway, after I reading
it, my leap to enlightenment was much easier. I started to escape the guilty conscience which had been created by the Church over the years to keep me in tow. That was in 1967 and I am a much happier person for it. The older I get the more I appreciate my decision.
 

Review: Why I Am Not a Christian & Other Essays on Religion & Related Subjects

User Review  - Jed - Goodreads

I experianced a similar sensation in reading this as I did in reading Neitzche (HOW DO YOU SPELL THIS MAN'S NAME?? Maybe that's why he went crazy), that is, I expected a theological dogfight: a ... Read full review

Contents

Am Not a Christian
3
Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civiliza
24
Believe
48
Do We Survive Death?
88
Seems Madam? Nay It Is
94
A Free Mans Worship
104
On Catholic and Protestant Skeptics
117
Life in the Middle Ages
127
Nice People
148
The New Generation
157
Our Sexual Ethics
168
Freedom and the Colleges
179
Can Religion Cure Our Troubles?
193
Religion and Morals
205
Index
261
Copyright

The Fate of Thomas Paine 13 3
133

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Gareth Evans
Keith Scott
Limited preview - 1999
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About the author (1957)

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, Viscount Amberley, born in Wales, May 18, 1872. Educated at home and at Trinity College, Cambridge. During World War I, served four months in prison as a pacifist, where he wrote Introduction To Mathematical Philosophy. In 1910, published first volume of Principia Mathematica with Alfred Whitehead. Visited Russia and lectured on philosophy at the University of Peking in 1920. Returned to England and, with his wife, ran a progressive school for young children in Sussex from 1927-1932. Came to the United States, where he taught philosophy successively at the University of Chicago, University of California at Los Angeles, Harvard, and City College of New York. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Has been active in disarmament and anti-nuclear-testing movements while continuing to add to his large number of published books which include Philosophical Essays (1910); The ABC of Relativity (1925); A History of Western Philosophy (1946); Human Knowledge: Its Scope and Limits (1948); and The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell (1967). For a chronological list of Russell's principal works see The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell (Simon and Schuster).

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