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Why I Am Not a Christi...
 
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Bertrand Russell
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Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  11,065 ratings  ·  363 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
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Published December 1st 2004 by Taylor & Francis, Inc. (first published 1927)
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-uht!
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
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Alex
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
Craig
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
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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
Paula
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
P.J. Sullivan
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
Διόνυσος Ψευδάνωρ
Jul 04, 2014 Διόνυσος Ψευδάνωρ rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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Florencia
You just have to read this. Even if you're 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 F
...more
Rhonda
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
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
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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
متن سخنرانی‌ای است که «برتراند راسل» در ۶ مارس ۱۹۲۷ در انجمن ملی غیرمذهبیان در شمال لندن ایراد کرده که سپس به صورت جزوه‌ای در همان سال چاپ شد
Brendan
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.
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
Sasha
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
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
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
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Jesse
Religion has nothing to do with morality. This is as difficult to accept for the Nietzschean, or any habitually evil person, as it is for the Pope, and because of this, Russell's book stands pre-eminent amongst other atheistic books that merely mean to antagonize. Russell, with the utmost fairness, unravels every rational or irrational convinction one may have concerning Christianity, or any religion, with clear logic and historical examples. Jesus is shown to be as cruel as he was kind, but muc ...more
Ioannis Savvas
Ο μεγάλος στοχαστής και φιλόσοφος Bertrand Russell σε αυτή τη συλλογή κειμένων (δοκίμια, ομιλίες, διάλογοι) μιλάει για τις θέσεις του περί θρησκείας και Θεού. Άθεος, ορθολογιστής, πραγματιστής, ειρωνικός, με το χαρακτηριστικό βρετανικό φλέγμα, στηλιτεύει τη θρησκεία, αλλά και άλλες αυθεντίες της κοινωνίας. Πολύ ωραίο και ενδιαφέρον κείμενο είναι το "Freedom and the Colleges", στο οποίο χλευάζει το πανεπιστημιακό κατεστημένο.
Davide
"Il mondo non ha bisogno di dogmi, ma di libera ricerca". Ecco quello che, ridotto ai minimi termini, pensava e scriveva Bertrand Russell. Un assunto che un secolo dopo, ahinoi, il mondo non ha ancora compreso.
Jorge
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
Barak
Initially, before reading this book, I perceived Russell as a graphomaniac, that is, someone who had some scarce but important contributions to mathematical logic (such as "On Denotation" and his (and his mathematics teacher Whitehead) "Principia Mathematica"). I believed the rest he wrote was populist in nature and philosophically un-professional or at least uninteresting. After reading this book (and possibly my views in general also changed in the last couple of years) I have come to develop ...more
Jean Tessier
Christopher Hitchens references Bertrand Russell a lot. This books seems to be
a good place to start to understand Bertrand Russell.

The book is actually a collection of essays written by Russell over a 55 year
period. I will comment on each one separately.

Why I Am Not a Christian (1927)

Defines what is a Christian. More than just living a good life, it implies a
certain credo that begins with the existence of God. The piece then debunks
the various proofs for the existence of God that have been adv
...more
Julie
It's official! Bertrand Russell has earned a place among the 4 people I would want to have dinner with (You know the old question: If you could have dinner with 4 people, living or dead, who would they be? There has been a vacancy at my table ever since Harrison Ford was ousted when he left his wife for Calista Flockhart. By the way, my guest list has evolved over the years as I have. Current guests, besides Bertrand Russell, include Pema Chödrön, historical Jesus, and Morgan Freeman). At any ra ...more
Teresa
"New hopes, new beliefs, and new thoughts are at all times necessary to mankind, and it is not out of dead uniformity that they can be expected to arise."
- from the essay 'Freedom and the colleges'

A brilliant but somewhat uneven and at times dated book (most essays were written around 1930 and while some transcend time others are more interesting from a historical perspective). This doesn't take away from the content of the book however - it starts out strong, lags a little and then picks right
...more
Brian
"Why I Am Not a Christian" is a series of essays and speeches by Bertrand Russell, a famous philosopher. Russell's views were controversial in his time (he was famously denied a teaching position at the City College of New York after being railroaded by religious types), and are still controversial. I didn't read all of the pieces in the book, as my attention span just hasn't been in the right spot lately, but I was impressed by some of them, and disappointed in others.
Some of his arguments are
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Gregg Wingo
Feb 06, 2013 Gregg Wingo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gregg by: Chuck
Lord Russell is considered one of the great thinkers of the 20th century and this collection of articles illustrate how profoundly his thoughts have guide the evolution of our society. He was a major opponent of religion due to his opposition to irrational thought as a mechanism for ordering society. The following quote illustrates his thoughts on the subject:

‎"It would seem, therefore, that the three human impulses embodied in religion are fear, conceit, and hatred. The purpose of religion, one
...more
Donald
This was an impressive book at the time I read it. This was the most potent statement of unbelief in print at the time and, until the latest swath of the "new atheism," was the most accessible to the philosophically untrained reader. My problem with Russell's thinking is that he essentially aped his arguments from Feuerbach, which were pretty much debunked from the get-go. Russell had three issues:

1. The God = Evil problem (borrowed extensively by Hitchens in his latest polemic)
2. The God as a w
...more
Julian
This is a book of essays by Bertrand Russell that were written in the early part of the 20th century. I read them to compare them to more modern books/essays on atheism. In some ways these were chillingly accurate when read through a modern lens, in other ways disturbingly inaccurate (such as when Russell said something along the lines of "But surely no one 50 years from now would actually believe in the creation myth!"). Recommended for anyone who is, like me, doing a weird personal study into ...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
More about Bertrand Russell...
A History of Western Philosophy The Problems of Philosophy The Conquest of Happiness Religion and Science In Praise of Idleness and Other Essays

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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.” 471 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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