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Russell on religion: selections from the writings of by Bertrand Russell

By Bertrand Russell

Russell on faith offers a accomplished and obtainable collection of Bertrand Russell's writing on faith and comparable issues from the flip of the century to the top of his lifestyles. The effect of faith pervades just about all Bertrand Russell's writings from his mathematical treatises to his early fiction. This entire collection of writings deals a transparent assessment of the advance of his puzzling over faith.

Russell contends with faith as a thinker, historian, social critic and personal person. the decisions papers are prepared chronologically, and span Russell's pondering together with his own statements, and his perspectives on faith and philosophy, faith and technology, faith and morality and faith and heritage. This assortment indicates the advance and variety of Russell's considering on faith and exposes the reader to all facets of his paintings in this topic.

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Sample text

One of her great-grandfathers was Robertson, the historian of Charles V. She was a Puritan, with the moral rigidity of the Covenanters, despising comfort, indifferent to food, hating wine, and regarding tobacco as sinful. Although she had lived her whole life in the great world until my grandfather’s retirement in 1866, she was completely unworldly. She had that indifference to money which is only possible to those who have always had enough of it. She wished her children and grandchildren to live useful and virtuous lives, but had no desire that they should achieve what others would regard as success, or that they should marry ‘well’.

Others, going still further, mean by ‘Christianity’ merely a system of ethics which, since they are ignorant of history, they imagine to be characteristic of Christians only. When, in a recent book, I said that what the world needs is ‘love, Christian love, or compassion’, many people thought that this showed some change in my views although, in fact, I might have said the same thing at any time. If you mean by a ‘Christian’ a man who loves his neighbour, who has wide sympathy with suffering and who ardently desires a world freed from the cruelties and abominations which at present disfigure it, then, certainly, you will be justified in calling me a Christian.

I think Leibniz, in his Théodicée, proved that the evil in the world may have been necessary in order to produce a greater good. He did not notice that the same argument proves that the good may have been necessary in order to produce a greater evil. If a world which is partly bad may have been created by a wholly benevolent God, a world which is partly good may have been created by a wholly malevolent Devil. Neither seems to me likely, but the one is as likely 29 PERSONAL STATEMENTS as the other.

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