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Bertrand Russell on God and Religion (Great Books in Philosophy) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Great Books in Philosophy
  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (June 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879753234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879753238
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #853,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Pletko on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
+++++

This book consists of twenty-one essays written by Bertrand Russell (1872 to 1970) between 1912 and 1961. They were compiled and edited by Al Seckel, a member of the Bertrand Russell Society and one who has lectured extensively on Russell's life and work. According to Seckel, "the purpose of this collection is to bring together in one...volume some of Russell's most delightful thought-provoking essays on [organized] religion."

Some topics discussed are agnosticism, atheism, rationalism, churches, God, the soul, science, free thought, sin, and faith. He examines these and other topics with "rational skepticism" which is "withholding judgment where the evidence is not sufficient, or, even more so, when there is contrary evidence."

This collection of essays definitely captures the scope and depth of Russell's thinking on religion. His logic and reasoning are impeccable. I now understand why he was called "the world's most famous atheist."

The book is divided into five parts. Here are the titles of my favorite essays taken from each part:

I. (6 essays)

(1) Why I am not a Christian.
(2) The faith of a rationalist. (No supernatural reasons are needed to make humans kind.)

II. (5 essays)

(1) A debate on the existence of God. (Between Russell and a Father of the church.)

III. (2 essays)

(1) Science and religion.

IV. (6 essays)

(1) An outline of intellectual rubbish.
(2) The value of free thought. (How to become a truth-seeker and break the chains of mental slavery.)
(3) Ideas that have harmed mankind (and womankind).
(4) Ideas that have helped mankind (and womankind).

V. (2 essays)

(1) The theologian's nightmare.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca R. Wake on June 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
After reading 'Why I am not a christian', I was excited to find that there existed an even larger collection of Mr. Russells essays. Some of the essays in this book are already in 'Why I am not a christian', including that particular essay. The others I had not read before were informative, well-structured, and balanced. He was truly a man ahead of his time.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
It appears in these selections that Russell was a very complex person who thought a great deal about religion. His views are not always consistent and they are pervaded by emotion. His general tendency is against religion. He especially hates Christianity as it has been practiced throughout history and the idea of Christian faith. He takes faith to be a set of related beliefs, on substantial issues, for which one has no good reasons. This selection is light reading, but it is too unfair to be used as an introduction to the philosophy of religion. Of course, this is one of the features of Russell's thought on religion that makes him psychologically interesting.
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18 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
When I picked up Bertand Russell's "THE PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY" I was very impressed. It gave me a comprehensive overview of basic questions of philosphy that was very accessible for the beginner such as myself. But I must say that I thought "BERTRAND RUSSELL ON GOD AND RELIGION" was a disappointment. It almost seemed too simplistic and his tone was almost indignant at times. The best section of the book was the preface. Other than those twenty or so pages, the book seemed over-generalized and self-serving. More thoughful books for agnostics and atheists deserve your money.
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