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What I Believe

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,012 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Along with Why I Am Not a Christian, this essay must rank as the most articulate example of Russell's famed atheism. It is also one of the most notorious. Used as evidence in a 1940 court case in which Russell was declared unfit to teach college-level philosophy, What I Believe was to become one of his most defining works. The ideas contained within were and are controvers ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published February 2nd 2004 by Routledge (first published 1925)
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The God Delusion by Richard DawkinsGod Is Not Great by Christopher HitchensThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganLetter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
Notable Atheist Books
78th out of 346 books — 840 voters
Being and Time by Martin HeideggerThe Republic by PlatoCritique of Pure Reason by Immanuel KantThus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich NietzschePhenomenology of Spirit by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Best Philosophy Book
171st out of 680 books — 941 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Betül
Oct 30, 2015 Betül rated it really liked it
My thoughts about the roles of faith and religion in mankind's life are opposite to Russell's, but reading this man always gives me a great joy. This book is mainly related to sources and methods for a good life. Russell thinks that the scientific education is the best weapon with which we can transform impulsive, fearful and timid children to loving, humanistic and courageous adults. Isn't that admirable: "A good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."
Jude
Nov 14, 2012 Jude rated it it was amazing
This essay was only 40 pages long, but in that 40 pages Bertrand Russell managed to pack in lots of thought provoking ideas. Since it was a library book, I felt duty bound to make notes of some of his more noteworthy quotes. I can see why this book made the establishment so unhappy. He turns lots of ideas that we take on board so uncritically and makes you question them. It is not just religion that he has in his sights, but also morality, our treatment of criminals and education.
Whether you ul
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Sandys Nunes
Para uma vida virtuosa misture amor e conhecimento.
Jihad
May 09, 2011 Jihad rated it liked it
ثلاث مقالات طويلة للفيلسوف واسع التأثير، يحكي فيها عن معتقداته الشخصية، والأسباب التي قادته لها.

الكتاب بمجمله هو عن نظرته السلبية للنصرانية (المقال الثاني بأكمله هو بعنوان "لماذا لست نصرانياً")، مقابل إيمانه بالأخلاق البشرية الإيجابية التي لا تنبع من تشريع إلهي أو كتاب سماوي، بل من دافع اشباع رغبات الأفراد في مجتمع، ومحاولة التقاء هذه الرغبات مع بعضها.

في معرض عرض رأيه عن أسباب عدم اقتناعه بالنصرانية، يبين أيضاً أسباب عدم ايمانه بوجود الله، وهو صريح وواضح حول كونه ملحداً.

الكتاب مثير للاهتمام لأن
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Dina
Dec 07, 2015 Dina rated it really liked it
It offers a nice view of that society should aim to be like.

It is encouraging to see that we did make some progress since this essay was published, but it is quite sad to see that many things are still the same.
Khalid Obeid
Jan 02, 2016 Khalid Obeid rated it it was amazing
bertrandrussell_whatibelieve

This essay was published in 1925, in which Bertrand Russell examines what he believes in, one of the most enjoyable reads I have encountered it’s an essential read for everyone who likes to think outside the conventional way of thinking that societies and religions force us to follow, the essay simply address our logic in thinking about some fundamental elements in our lives, it advises the reader to follow common sense and break away from irrationality. in the preface Bertrand Russell writes th
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Amir Atef
May 27, 2016 Amir Atef rated it liked it
كتاب صغير مش كبير ويخلص في 3 ساعات بقراءة متأنية بطيئة كحالي البائس.
ثلاثة مقالات يتحدث فيها راسل ـ كملحد ـ عما يؤمن ومالا يؤمن به... ونظرته لكيان الله وكينونته وهيئته. واستخدام هذه الهيئة في إهمال العلم وبالأخص الفلك والفيزياء.. على حد قوله..
ما يميز برتراند راسل عن باقي ملحدين هذا العصر أنه استطاع ـ بهدوءٍ شديد دون تعصب ـ في مقالين أو ثلاثة، أن يحلل سبب ذلك دون التهكم والسخرية من ذات الله أو دياناته أو سيرته التاريخية عمومًا... وهذا يحسب لراسل... احترام الغير تمامًا.. رغم أنني لست متفقًا معه على
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Gabriel
Oct 11, 2014 Gabriel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I got this both because it is a fast read and I could get to know a little about the mind of this famous philosopher and logician who is known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. In case I liked it, I would read others from him. The result is, I already ordered 5 others of his books.

This was intelligent, thought provokin, lucid and with a sharp and crystal clear argumentation. Not to mention the fact of how much this was ahead of his time.

I wasn't expecting anything less
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Ollie
Jul 23, 2014 Ollie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the great things about our anarchist approach here on Ground Control is that it gives us the opportunity to stay creative with our columns. After all, isn’t pop culture consumption supposed to be creative, and aren’t we allowed to stay fresh? So, it is with great pleasure that we’re going to be doing something a little bit different with I Wanna Be Literated! (and hopefully not the only time) and do an entire series on the writings of Bertrand Russell.

Russell was a world renown philosophe
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Jonathas Soares
Jul 15, 2015 Jonathas Soares rated it it was amazing
"I believe that when I die, I will rot."

Bertrand Russell absolutely kicks ass. He is truly dreamy. <3
He starts by stating there is no reason to waste time dwelling on gods since there is no evidence. No point yo.

About humankind's supposed upcoming immortality, he says: our mental life IS our life so it ceases when bodily life ceases. Fear is the core of religious dogma, fear of nature.
Immortality removes the terror of death and this is why it has become so popular. Prayers, in turn, give u
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Hriday
Jul 01, 2014 Hriday rated it really liked it
A brief but pungent work by the greatest philosopher of modern times. As typical of Russell the prose is lucid and penetrating.
The good life is "love guided by wisdom" with love being resolved into 'delight at contemplation' and 'benevolence'( Benevolence doesnt conform to the dictionary definition. It may better be inferred as a will for positive action)
For Russell knowledge is essentially scientific knowledge ( such as in favour of contraception) rather than an ethical awareness. He considers
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Mina Soare
Aug 12, 2015 Mina Soare rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mina by: Why I Am Not a Christian and other essays
From the heights of my limited readings, I would say that in this essay, Russell is very romantic. This coupled with his ease in expressing himself and the elegance of his prose makes for an engaging piece.

I wished for more incisiveness than oratory skill, although it would have ill suited the tone of the work, which is undeniably warm. For example, at some point he argues that religion stems from fear, which he seems to despise thoroughly in all forms. I found his approach to death full of path
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So Hakim
Jul 02, 2015 So Hakim rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, others
Originally published as pamphlets in 1925, in this book philosopher Bertrand Russell offered what he thought of the world. The sections are titled thus:

1. Nature and Man
2. The Good Life
3. Moral Rules
4. Salvation: Individual and Social
5. Science and Happiness


One statement jumped at me, where Russell considered what makes a good life, in his own words: "The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge." While this may sound vague and romantic, Russell actually rose and ably defended i
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Amin Farhadi
simply amazing. I adore Russell and this tiny little one on his thoughts is as great as every other book of his ! highly recommended !
Remat
Jan 01, 2016 Remat added it
“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life.” Russell writes:

In "What I believe", Russel further argues although both love and knowledge are necessary, love is in a sense more fundamental, since it will lead intelligent people to seek knowledge, in order to find out how to benefit those whom they love. But if people are not intelligent, they will be content to believe what they have been told,
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Samuel
Dec 21, 2015 Samuel rated it liked it
I am a false book reader, in the sense that the main reason why I read books is not because I enjoy the simple and fundamental feeling it gives to most readers - the feeling of travelling to a different world; the true journey of plunging into a universe that is not our own. Now, I immensely enjoy journeys, but the main reason I read books is because of the ideas within them. I praise ideas higher than anything else - above the thrill of discovering whether a character will die in the next page, ...more
Katie
Dec 07, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
DELICIOUS food for thought! Russell manages to say quite a bit in only 42 pages. The overall theme is that love & knowledge are the two elements most necessary for 'the good life'. His main concern is a happy & productive society. Here's my favorite excerpt: "we should treat the criminal as we treat a man suffering from the plague. Each is a public danger, each must have his liberty curtailed until he has ceased to be a danger. But the man suffering from the plague is an object of sympat ...more
Joana Navega
Sep 16, 2015 Joana Navega rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bertrand Russel resume em poucas páginas, de forma relativamente simples, suas crenças mais profundas e densas. Fiquei profundamente tocada e emocionada, na medida em que muitas delas refletem as minhas próprias crenças a partir da minha experiência so far (mas que eu não havia concatenado tão bem e de forma tão ampla até me deparar com esse livro) e posso dizer que passei a ser uma defensora das ideias dele. Deu vontade de sair gritando por aí as palavras escritas por ele nesse livro.
Josh
Jan 26, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it
Crazy to think this was written in 1925. Even if you disagree with Bertrand Russell with regard to his views on religion he was clearly ahead of his time in advocating for issues like sex education, sex positivity, and even a radical more humane view on how we treat prisoners(and people in general). Love others and always seek knowledge, sounds like the good life to me.
Zari
Sep 07, 2015 Zari added it
Shelves: philosophy, article
"Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own. "
Tammam Aloudat
Dec 13, 2014 Tammam Aloudat rated it it was amazing
I am not sure I am articulate enough to review this book. Suffice it to say that the illumination I felt dawn on me as I read is one I have never felt before. Must be read even if you believe in God.
Jaco Delport
Jan 28, 2014 Jaco Delport rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
A clear thinker way ahead of his time - still relevant today.

Favourite quote: "Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cosy indoor warmth of humanising myths in the end the fresh air brings vigour, and the great spaces have a splendour of their own."
Patrick
May 21, 2010 Patrick rated it really liked it
Russel is a genius but from the dark side of the 20th century. Easy to see why.

From Amazon:
Along with Why I Am Not a Christian, this essay must rank as the most articulate example of Russell's famed atheism. It is also one of the most notorious. Used as evidence in a 1940 court case in which Russell was declared unfit to teach college-level philosophy, What I Believe was to become one of his most defining works. The ideas contained within were and are controversial, contentious and - to the reli
...more
Abrar Asghar
May 18, 2016 Abrar Asghar rated it it was amazing
It is a beautiful book. Anyone looking for answers, or opinions, about the morals, life and what a good life can be described as, and religion should read this book.
Joe
May 13, 2010 Joe rated it it was amazing
brilliant, as can be expected from Russell, but also poignant and beautiful. it begins with seductively forceful logic, and ends in pure poetry and wisdom. it the middle he belies some bitterness with regarding the treatment of women and minorities. these essays were written in the first half of the 20th century, and it is encouraging to note that much of what he was bitter about has been improved in our society. which leaves the book more enjoyable in my opinion -- the observations on love and ...more
John
Mar 20, 2016 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: phil
I wish societies would finally catch up to Russell.
Mark
Feb 17, 2015 Mark rated it liked it
"Only justice can give security." p.35
Rachelle
Apr 11, 2014 Rachelle rated it really liked it
Still relevant after all these years.
Luís Garcia
(lido em Lampang, Tailândia)
Bogdan
Sep 20, 2015 Bogdan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, de-recitit
'O dorinta, considerata separat, ne este mai buna sau mai rea decat oricare alta; dar un grup de dorinte este mai bun decat un altul daca toate dorintele din primul grup pot fi satisfacute simultan, pe cand in cel de-al doilea grup unele sunt incompatibile cu altele. Iata de ce iubirea este preferabila urii.'
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17854
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, was a Welsh philosopher, historian, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, pacifist, and prominent rationalist. Although he was usually regarded as English, as he spent the majority of his life in England, he was born in Wales, where he also died.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950 "in recognition of his var
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“Even if the open windows of science at first make us shiver after the cozy indoor warmth of traditional humanizing myths, in the end the fresh air brings vigor, and the great spaces have a splendor of their own.” 151 likes
“It is we who create value and our desires which confer value. In this realm we are kings, and we debase our kingship if we bow down to Nature. It is for us to determine the good life, not for Nature - not even for Nature personified as God.” 6 likes
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