Read Why I Am Not a Christian & Other Essays on Religion & Related Subjects by Bertrand Russell Free Online
Book Title: Why I Am Not a Christian & Other Essays on Religion & Related Subjects|
The author of the book: Bertrand Russell
ISBN 13: 9781409727217
Edition: Barlow Press
Date of issue: May 18th 2008
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 410 KB
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"Why I Am Not A Christian?"
If I ask myself that question, the answer will be:
"I am not a Christian because I read the Bible, both Old and New Testament, from cover to cover, and consider it complete nonsense to believe that to be literal, figurative or symbolical truth."
"Why do I not believe Christianity is good?"
Because I read Bertrand Russell. As a young, impressionable person, I used to lament the fact that I was not given "the gift" of belief, as it seemed to come with confidence in the believer's "goodness". Who doesn't want to be good? Who doesn't want to feel sure about themselves? Who doesn't want to have a superior guideline to stick to?
As much as I wanted to believe in the religion that happened to be the predominant one in my environment, it all just seemed ridiculous. I remember sitting in a church as a 15-year-old, praying to a god I did not believe in to give me faith in him. It took me many years to get over the feeling of guilt over my "lack" or "misfortune". I felt left out by the non-existent god in a society that apparently unquestioningly accepted what didn't make sense to me. I said over and over again to believers who reprimanded me for my atheism:
"Oh, I respect your faith in Jesus, and I am truly sorry for not finding faith myself. I admire the morality of Christianity and wish I could be part of it!"
And I received condescending, pitying smiles in return.
Then I left my small town and moved to a university city, and started reading, reading, and reading. Philosophy, literary fiction, history, art history, religion, pedagogy. In the huge pile: Russell!
And finally, finally, I was able to break away from the Lutheran guilt trap that catches believers and nonbelievers alike in the social environment where it is dominant. Finally I could distance myself from the unthinking group pressure of "Christian morality". There is no such thing. Religion is not moral. Atheists are not likelier to kill or rape or steal than Christians, despite the fact that they do not feel the threat of eternal punishment. Moral behaviour is completely independent from supernatural belief. Russell helped me get the definitions straight.
Once I had read Russell, I could embrace my sense that the evil force (god, the killer of anything that opposes him) that appears in the Bible does not exist, and should not exist (it would be horrible!). I learned that I was not alone in seeing that religion is a human invention to simulate immortality - for those who are afraid to let go of their egos when they die - and to enforce patriarchal power structures - for those who can't convince people to follow them by choice and free will. It is a way for people to define themselves through exclusion and protectionism, not through individual merit.
Russell followed me when I moved into the field of education, and today, almost a century after he wrote his essay, I would like people to read out loud his words against groupthink and crimestop (newspeak for protective stupidity):
“The world that I should wish to see would be one freed from the virulence of group hostilities and capable of realizing that happiness for all is to be derived rather from co-operation than from strife. I should wish to see a world in which education aimed at mental freedom rather than imprisoning the minds of the young in rigid armor of dogma calculated to protect them through life against the shafts of impartial evidence.”
Why am I not a Christian? I don't believe in the myth. Why do I not want to be a Christian? It supports evil practices and holds people hostage in an ancient worldview. It discriminates and divides and takes advantage of weaknesses to spread power. It stimulates fear in order to control. It plays Big Brother and forces people to love him.
Recommended to the world. Reposted in support of the victims of grand scale child abuse, covered up and ignored by the Catholic Church for too long to be bearable. Reposted in support of those who suffer discrimination at the hands of "evangelical" preachers of hate and division and intolerance. Reposted in support of those who feel the grip of their churches tightening in fear of the modern world of freedom of choice.
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Read information about the authorBertrand 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 varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought."