I would like you to let me share with you just one or two points about a book I’m reading, by Bertrand Russell.
Russell was a British philosopher writing the book I am reading at a time when things Christians don’t believe today were well-believed or recently let go of by them. That is a monumentally enormous point.
What Russell does–amongst other things–is make you realize that the arguments used a long time ago to prove God, etc., have changed, meaning (as we know) that what is acceptable about God and religion has changed due to intellect; this has the surreptitious effect of showing we make God, not the other way around. That is not his point–or at least wasn’t where I am in the book, right now, but I realized from yet another angle of approach that it’s our story, not His–though Russell doesn’t say that, per se. It’s consequential and deductible from the reading. He suggests it, or you glean it reading his debunking of old standard arguments for the proof of a god.
Russell isn’t heavy-handed. He does what great philosopher do–like some comedians: he illustrates tracts of reasoning based on observations you realize should be plain to all of us. He gives you “Ah ha!” moments. You find yourself saying, ‘a child could see that; why didn’t I think of it?’
He is funny. He goes into “God is good.” That’s hilarious. But he doesn’t approach it as people often do, with a litany of disasters. He goes into it sort of like ‘good as opposed to what–by what other cause’s standard?’
That’s what I love about philosophers. Like comedians, they are so plainly and obviously insightful where others are stark raving blind that they can deconstruct the arguments “stupid” people take for granted, for lack of looking and caring– either because they wouldn’t even know to look or because they are afraid to.
The important aspect about philosophers and scientists is this: they approach their subjects out of honest and sincere naivte and innocence in a spirit if good nature. The fact that they come to conclusions religious people don’t like is a fact about the religious people, not about they who are the challendging philosophers and scientists; they don’t set out to hurt anyone or to aggrandize their situations, but rather their deeds indicate they are the epitome of lives utilizing free speech and free thought–to better the world and our misunderstanding of it.
These are some of the topics Russell covers on the existence of a god:
The First Cause Arguement
The Natural Law Arguement
The Arguement from Design
The Moral Arguements for Deity
The Arguement for The Remedying of Justice
The Character of Christ
Defects in Christ’s Teaching
Keep in mind this book was written in 1927. That fact stands to illuminate the debate raging now among prominant American, European and Muslim-American and Muslim-European intellectuals.
I first read Russell when I was nineteen. I am glad to be reading him, again. You should be enjoying this amazing thinker, too. His work is rather essential:
‘Why I Am Not A Christian’ by Bertrand Russell could do you and the world a lot of good, because you matter. That’s why he wrote it.