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Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on…
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Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (original 1957; edition 1967)

by Bertrand Russell (Author), Paul Edwards (Editor)

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3,658342,683 (3.91)43
While its tone is playful and frivolous, this book poses tough questions over the nature of religion and belief. Religion provides comfortable responses to the questions that have always beset humankind - why are we here, what is the point of being alive, how ought we to behave? Russell snatches that comfort away, leaving us instead with other, more troublesome alternatives: responsibility, autonomy, self-awareness. He tells us that the time to live is now, the place to live is here, and the way to be happy is to ensure others are happy.… (more)
Member:Deirdre.An
Title:Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
Authors:Bertrand Russell (Author)
Other authors:Paul Edwards (Editor)
Info:Touchstone (1967), 266 pages
Collections:Your library
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Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects by Bertrand Russell (1957)

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English (29)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (34)
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I need to reread this book...
  ennuiprayer | Jan 14, 2022 |
I enjoyed this book. A lot of the things Russell states about religion resonates with me.

Included in this volume are a number of essays and an appendix that deals with the Bertrand Russell case where he was denied a job at City College of New York because of his writings. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
“Why I Am Not A Christian” is a collection of Bertrand Russell’s thoughts on religion. This collection includes 14 articles, essays, lectures, and debates where Russell takes on aspects of religion. The collection opens with the title lecture, “Why I am not a Christian” which is perhaps the talk for which Bertrand Russell is best know. Originally delivered on March 6th, 1927, Russell goes through all aspects of what he means by Christian, his views on the arguments for the existence of God, a discussion of Christ and his teachings, and more.
Other titles of topics covered include: “Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilisation?”, “Do We Survive Death?”, “On Catholic and Protestant Sceptics”, “Life in the Middle Ages”, The Fate of Thomas Paine”, and many more. When reading this collection, it is easily noted that there are big differences between Bertrand Russell and the more recent works by Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Ali, etc. Russell is a philosopher, and so if you were to compare him with any of the current people who are proponents of atheism, it would be Daniel Dennett. Even there though, Dennett has a more scientific angle in his discussions than Russell.
The appendix of the book discusses the actions taken to prevent Russell from teaching at the College of the City of New York. This is worth reading, because it is a good reminder of how atheists used to be treated in society. It is important to note that it was not the view of all religious people that Russell should be prevented from teaching at the college, in fact I would guess that it was a minority that held that view. There were several defenders of Russell who were religious, but it was those who loudly denounced Russell and mischaracterised his views who were able to carry the day in court, due to a sympathetic judge, and then proceeded to affectively block the ability to overturn the decision. The entire story is a big reminder of the damage which can be done by religious zealots. It also includes perhaps one of Russell’s greatest quotes which applies to today as well as it did at the time: “In a democracy, it is necessary that people should learn to endure having their sentiments outraged…” ( )
1 vote dave_42 | Apr 5, 2019 |
To be precise, I read only the title essay, plus one other, but that was plenty to chew. Much here to commend and agree with; but on the whole, I'm not persuaded to abandon my faith, idiosyncratic though it may be. I have not the time, inclination, or mental firepower to attempt a rebuttal, by any means; nonetheless, a couple of observations. 1. Despite his cynicism, Russell displays unbounded faith in the infinite progress of science and the perfectibility of humankind, neither of which I share, and neither of which have been well borne out, I think, by any understanding of recent history; 2. He repeatedly disdains a belief in God as "wishing for a kind of older brother who can protect us," or something along those lines -- I forget the exact language. Put that way, of course, it sounds banal: but something like this feeling, this yearning for a sense of shelter, for the loan of courage, for some sign of the potentiality of a greater justice or force for good, seems to me very human, and not at all ignoble or craven. Looking within oneself for all the answers, attempting to be completely self-contained, seems to me both arrogant and kind of pathetic, in a sense. I do not doubt that Lord Russell would heartily have disagreed. ( )
  MikeLindgren51 | Aug 7, 2018 |
Exactly what the subtitle promises: a collection of essays on religion and related subjects. Russell always expressed himself clearly and unambiguously (his refusal to plunge into the lumpy, opaque stew of metaphysics was an invaluable gift to philosophy), and I agree with his sentiments almost entirely. But, paradoxically, that's the problem with this book. It states the obvious over and over again, quickly becoming monotonous; the reader rarely feels challenged. Why I Am Not a Christian does, however, contain an excellent piece entitled "The Fate of Thomas Paine", which by itself is worth the price of admission. It's the finest thing Russell ever wrote, and should be on every high school's required reading list to provide a little perspective on the whitewashed history of the American Revolution. ( )
1 vote Jonathan_M | Nov 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Russell, Bertrandprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edwards, PaulEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alves, MárioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barbosa, GasparTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blackburn, SimonPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buratti Cantarelli, TinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaiser, AddyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kurlandzka, AmeliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martínez Alinari, JosefinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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As your Chairman has told you, the subject about which I am going to speak to you tonight is "Why I Am Not A Christian."
Quotations
Une vie bonne, ...c'est une vie qu'inspire l'amour et que la connaissance guide.p. 131 Ce que je crois
Science can teach us, and I think our hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supporters, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make the world a fit place to live.
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.
Conquer the world by intelligence, and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it.
I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.
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This work refers to the collection of essays titled Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, ed. Paul Edwards, first published in 1957. The contents  of the First British and American editions are slightly different but both belong here. Please do not combine with separate editions of the essay "Why I am not a Christian" or with other collections which contain completely different essays than the ones selected by Paul Edwards.
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While its tone is playful and frivolous, this book poses tough questions over the nature of religion and belief. Religion provides comfortable responses to the questions that have always beset humankind - why are we here, what is the point of being alive, how ought we to behave? Russell snatches that comfort away, leaving us instead with other, more troublesome alternatives: responsibility, autonomy, self-awareness. He tells us that the time to live is now, the place to live is here, and the way to be happy is to ensure others are happy.

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"Perchè non sono cristiano" affronta con spregiudicata libertà di pensiero un argomento di grande interesse: il sentimento religioso. Russel, pensatore ateo per eccellenza, analizza con semplicità e chiarezza di esposizioni origini, valori e significati della religione cristiana. Un testo imprescindibile per credenti e non credenti, uno dei "classici" più letti di Russell.
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