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

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,852 Ratings  ·  445 Reviews
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 questio ...more
ebook, 48 pages
Published December 1st 2004 by Taylor & Francis, Inc. (first published 1957)
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-uht!
Jun 20, 2007 -uht! rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
By the time I read this book, I was already not a Christian, but it was still hard for me to read. It was kinda like accidentally figuring out a magician's trick. You knew he wasn't *really* doing magic, but seeing how he did it somehow made the world less fun.

That said, this is a great book. It's not without bite, but it's also not bitter. Having been a big fan of Russell's epistemological books, I was impressed that this book displayed the same clarity of thought and communication. His logical
...more
Farshad Firuzi
Sep 06, 2015 Farshad Firuzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
چرا مسیحی نیستم نقد راسل بر مذهب است. راسل در ابتدا میکوشد با تکیه بر منطق و قوای عقلی دلایلی در رد وجود علت العلل مطرح کند و سپس بحث را به مذهب میکشاند. او روش اخلاقی کانت را در تایید وجود این علت، مردود میشمارد و با تبیین فلسفه عقلانی خود، زندگی خوب را زندگی ای میداند که از عشق سرچشمه گرفته و با دانش رهبری شود. راسل رستگاری دینی را ناشی از فردیت میداند و معتقد است که فردیت نمیتواند راهی به سعادت پیدا کند. او در اثبات این مدعا، جمهوریت افلاطون را گواه خردمندانه ای برای زندگی سیاسی و رد فردیت بر ...more
Craig
May 16, 2008 Craig rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading most of the "new Atheist" books -- I read the ones by Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens -- this old one by Betrand Russell is still miles better than they. To be sure, I disagree with most of what he says, but his writing is much more clear-headed and articulate than the new ones. There really aren't many new arguments the new generation of atheists bring to the table, therefore I think it is reasonably fair to use Russell's as the standard bearer for them all.

Th
...more
Alex
Jun 25, 2007 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love these essays! Russell never argues that faith is impossible, but makes it clear why he doesn't have it. (I cannot believe in a god who, given an infinite universe and millions of years in which to perfect it, can come up with nothing better than the nazis and the KKK) - paraphrase
Florencia
You just have to read this. Even if you are a Christian, you should read about every point of view, to form or change (or not) your own. Russell explains complicated things which such clarity, a little of humor... It doesn't get tedious, at all.
Take "The argument of design", for instance.
I really cannot believe it. Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan, the
...more
Darya
Jan 24, 2016 Darya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
خیلی منطقی دلیل آورده بود
P.J. Sullivan
Jul 04, 2012 P.J. Sullivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Russell first defines what he means by a Christian: someone who believes in God, the immortality of the soul, and Jesus Christ. Then he explains why he does not believe. Step by step he dismisses as fallacious the arguments for the existence of God: the first cause argument, the argument from design, etc. Then he discusses whether we survive death. Then the character of Jesus, as presented in the Gospels. He agrees that Jesus was an admirable man, but not divine and not the best or wisest of men ...more
LJ
WHY I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN...- Ex
Russell, Bertrand

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 w
...more
Ardeshir
Jul 06, 2016 Ardeshir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
خیلی عالی بود و فکر میکنم بسیاری از بیانات ارزشمند برتراند راسل نه تنها ایرادها و اشتباهات دین مسیحیت رو نشان میده بلکه منظور ایراد تمام ادیان هستش
خیلی خوب و منطقی شرح داده بود و لذت بردم
Mobina Jafari
Jun 07, 2016 Mobina Jafari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious, philosophy
عالی بود... این کتاب مجموعه ای از مقالات و سخنرانی های راسل هست که از چندین فصل تشکیل شده و هر فصل به موضوع خاصی اختصاص داده شده.... فصل سیزدهم این کتاب متن یک مناظره بین راسل و پدر کاپلستون هست که واقعا برام جالب بود مخصوصا قسمت بحث اخلاقی مناظره...
از متن کتاب:
وقتی که شما در کلیسا میشنوید که مردم خود را تحقیر نموده می گویند مردمی بدبخت و گناه کارند واز این قبیل ، به نظر میرسد مقام ارجمند بشریت را تخفیف داده و خوار شمرده اند. بایستی علیه چنین مطالبی ایستادگی کنیم و چهره دنیا را بی پرده و روشن بب
...more
Paula
Jan 28, 2008 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My downstairs roommates are away for a while, and I am catsitting. It just so happens that my downstairs roommates also have an extensive collection of books. Books that have been on my to-read list for YEARS. And here they are, in one location, with no chance of someone checking them out before I can get my hands on them. So every other day, I brave the cat (actually, a hellbeast), feed and water it, and select a new tome.

One of this week's selection was "Why I Am Not a Christian." I should ve
...more
Matthew
Jul 07, 2009 Matthew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritualistic
I probably would have liked this book a lot more if I had read it when I was younger, but now I find Russell's critique of religion profoundly disappointing. For a logician and philosopher of his caliber, his proofs--on the reasons why the basis of religious belief is existential terror, for example--are unconvincing and sometimes shockingly sloppy. They tend to rely on a straw-man caricatures that he sets up and knocks down, rather than actually engaging with the roots of faith or the complexit ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
متن سخنرانیای است که «برتراند راسل» در مارس در انجمن ملی غیرمذهبیان در شمال لندن ایراد کرده که سپس به صورت جزوهای در همان سال چاپ شد ...more
Brendan
Dec 28, 2007 Brendan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, religion
A mediocre atheism. If you want the real stuff, read Nietzsche, Marx, or Freud. No one has said anything original on the subject since they.
Emadeddin
description

This is the very first book I read for Bertrand Russell. I admit: it's huge!
Though I totally disagree with Russell's view of God, but I really loved this book.
There are a lot of inspiring lines I loved.
This man is truly wise.

The part of the book I liked the most was the 'Good Life' part!
It was really fascinating. I read it more than three times!

description

Regarding 'God' issue, I think that Russell, just like all other atheists and agnostics, is not actually condemning God. He is condemning religious p
...more
Διόνυσος Ελευθέριος
Jul 04, 2014 Διόνυσος Ελευθέριος rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Διόνυσος by: Monica Morrison
As with every other time I have read Russell, I found Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects very pleasurable to read. Russell's clear and organized style of writing is somewhat of a rarity in philosophical writing. On the other hand—but also just like the other times I have read his work—he begins with a deep, but almost entirely tacit, faith in Reason's reason, a faith we can no longer seriously share with Russell in a world which finds itself after Nietzsc ...more
Jorge
Apr 14, 2011 Jorge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Resulta difícil comentar obras de un filósofo tan trascendente como Bertrand Russell, y esto por varias razones: 1) no me considero ni remotamente capaz de entender toda su obra y pensamiento (principalmente porque no soy científico ni matemático como lo era él); 2) la ciencia y el conocimiento humano han vivido un salto tan importante y rápido desde la muerte de Russell a la actualidad, que resulta muy difícil situarse en el contexto del mundo de la primera mitad del siglo XX y darse cuenta de ...more
Adam
Disclaimer: My upbringing in a religious home and eventual rejection of religion certainly predisposes me to a book of this subject matter.

I have personally experienced the best and worst of religion as it functions both socially and personally. I find Russell's thoughts incredibly well articulated and very enlightening to me. "Why I Am Not a Christian" and "Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization?" are must-reads for anyone, regardless of their religious or non-religious stance
...more
Odai Alsaeed
Feb 21, 2016 Odai Alsaeed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
من أفضل ما قرأت فيما يخص الفلسفةالفكرية تجاه الدين المسيحي خاصة والأديان الأخرى عامة , فكر بيرتناد رسل يفصل المنطق ببساطة,لا يضاهيها الا سرده المنظم ...كتاب رائع
David
Recently I watched the movie God is not Dead (which I did not like). During the scene where the Christian student stands up to his atheist professor, the professor adds an assignment for the whole class as punishment for this one student's recalcitrance. The assignment is to read Bertrand Russell's Why I am Not a Christian on top of their other assigned reading.

I chuckled for I was, ironically, reading this very book at the time. Russell was a world-famous philosopher and outspoken atheist. The
...more
Rhonda
Apr 25, 2009 Rhonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This book had a truly profound impact on my teenaged life and principally my wholesale rebellion against God. At the behest of my older brother, I began devouring books on philosophy when I was 12, even though I noticed that I would often receive queer looks from my friends when I mentioned such or quoted from them. My favorite phrase from Russell of all time originates, I think, in this book, a typically snotty English phrase of superiority: "This strikes me as curious." I used this and other R ...more
Rakan
ـ"لماذا لست مسيحياً" عبارة عن محاضرةألقاها بيرتراند راسل على الجمعية الوطنية العلمانية في بريطانيا. يُعَرِف راسل في البداية الديانة المسيحية ثم يقوم بتفنيد ما تقوم عليه من أركان. بعدها يتحدث الكاتب عن 5 براهين مشهورة لإثبات وجود الإله، ويقوم بإسقاطها واحدا تلو الآخر.

بيرتراند راسل فيلسوف عظيم وأنا من أشد المعجبين به، لكن هذا الكتاب كان بالنسبة لي سقطة لبيرتراند. ما يميز راسل عن غيره من المفكرين هو عمقه الفكري وقدرته التحليلية النقدية العالية، وهذا ما لم أجده في هذا الكتاب. كان راسل سطحياً جداً ف
...more
Nick Black
Russell "demolishes" the classic arguments (ontological, teleological, cosmological) in the quick, sweeping first few dozen pages, then digresses for the remainder, addressing vaguely the tenets of logical positivism he'd better develop in The Problems of Philosophy and The Conquest of Happiness. Overall, though, I can't help but think this is all a wanktastic waste of time. It's unknowable, and the important thing is not to kill God, but to annihilate the willingness to consider that which ca ...more
Jo
Aug 30, 2007 Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I read this, I just kept thinking, "Yes!" The essays are surprisingly easy to digest and use very basic, nearly irrefutable arguments. I was pleasantly surprised to find an essay on Thomas Paine and another on spirituality and sexuality. Both inspired and encouraged me to continue on my own spiritual quest. I'd recommend this book to Christians and non-Christians alike. It makes for very interesting reading.
Zari
its one of my favorite part:

"Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing -- 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 because fear is at the
...more
Yann
Oct 10, 2012 Yann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Pourquoi je ne suis pas chrétien" est un texte écrit dans les années 1920 par Bertrand Russel, philosophe et logicien anglais. Il y détaille les raisons sur lesquelles il a fondé de son agnosticisme. Il ne croit pas en l'existence d'un Dieu, ni en l'immortalité de l'âme. Pour les points métaphysiques, on ne peut faire aucune assertion définitive dans un sens comme dans un autre, si bien que ces convictions de chacun en ces matières se rattachent en définitive à des sentiments personnels. Non pa ...more
Sasha
Dec 11, 2012 Sasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
My exposure to Russell started after reading contemporary critics of Religion like Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris. I found myself finishing it pretty quick with the cerebral heavy highlighting and incessant note-taking. His arguments concerning the existence of God were discussed in a fashion which I consider a gem of a summary.

After thoroughly sifting through this quick read of Russell's sound of logic, I find the bright light of reason being triumphant over Christian dogma once again. He has dis
...more
Mark
Mar 05, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: atheism
Bertrand Russell was a man ahead of his time. This book, first published in 1957 is one of the few philosophical books that has actually made it to some popular fame, as has Russell himself. Again, recent writers such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and earlier writers such as George Smith in the seventies have taken ideas that Russell was speaking and writing about decades before.
This book is a collection of essays, some are lectures, that deal with situations in which religion often tries to r
...more
Scott Hotes
Nov 11, 2010 Scott Hotes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Russell lays out in concise, unemotional fashion how organized religion and Christianity in particular is not only entirely irrational but also hugely destructive. This work could easily serve as the foundation of the "new atheism" movement, and is superior to works such as "The God Delusion" by Dawkins and "God is not Great" by Hitchens for its clarity of thought and lack of distracting vitriol.

This question of the value (and necessity?) of organized religion to society is both complex and fasc
...more
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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
...more
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“I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.” 589 likes
“That is the idea -- that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

You may think that I am going too far when I say that that is still so. I do not think that I am. Take one fact. You will bear with me if I mention it. It is not a pleasant fact, but the churches compel one to mention facts that are not pleasant. Supposing that in this world that we live in today an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, 'This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together. And if you stay together, you must not use birth control to prevent the birth of syphilitic children.' Nobody whose natural sympathies have not been warped by dogma, or whose moral nature was not absolutely dead to all sense of suffering, could maintain that it is right and proper that that state of things should continue.

That is only an example. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world, because it has chosen to label as morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness; and when you say that this or that ought to be done because it would make for human happiness, they think that has nothing to do with the matter at all. 'What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy.”
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