Every generation has its favorite faith bullies and mine was Bertrand Russell. Russell was a British philosopher and logician. He was also one of the leading social critics of his time. He was born in 1872 and died in 1970 – my last full year as an atheist.
I read many of Russell’s books, articles and essays in the 1960s and early 70s. Some of my favorites were “Why I Am Not A Christian,” “Free Thought and Official Propaganda,” “A Free Man’s Worship,” and “Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?” I say “were” because I stopped agreeing with Russell 40 years ago. Mr. Russell was wrong and my goal as a free-thinking person is to be right.
Bertrand Russell used to say, “No one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God.” I understand the argument because I used it, but how does sitting at the bedside of a dying child prove there is no God? It doesn’t. What the question does is cause some people of faith to question God. Why would my God let an innocent child suffer and die? For people who do not believe, the question confirms what they think about faith in God. They view faith as silly, childish, infantile.
Faith bullies say things like that to attack the minds and hearts of people. Most people love children and the thought of a child dying is difficult to accept. We look at children with hope for their future. When a child dies, their future is cut short. So, if there is a God, why would He let a child die?
Why indeed! It was never God’s intention that children should die. It was never God’s intention that anyone would die. He Created the human race to live forever. So, who is to blame for the sad affairs of humanity that could see the death of a child? Let’s place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the living beings who caused this terrible thing – Satan, Adam and Eve. Satan deceived the first woman and her husband stood by and watched it happen. That’s who is to blame for the death of a child.
I realize that Russell would not agree with my defense because I believe in the God of the Bible. He didn’t believe in God. He didn’t believe in the Words of the Bible. Russell was an unbeliever. But that does not change the facts about the existence of God and the reliability of Scripture. If one person sees a burning building and another says there is no building so there could be no fire, it doesn’t change the fact that a building is on fire and people’s lives are in danger. I am not deterred from Truth just because some people don’t believe it. Who is the fool? The person saying the building is on fire or the person standing in front of the burning building saying there is no building and no fire? The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.
Bertrand Russell said and wrote many other things during his lifetime to bully people of faith. He had a profound effect on people of my generation and the generation before, and he continues to impact the thinking of atheists and agnostics today. Because of that, we will revisit Russell’s words again, along with those who are following in his bullying footsteps.
Russell may be dead, but his lies are still being told. And whose lies are they? They come from the first liar – the father of lies – Satan. Remember what we learned about how Satan attacks. Bertrand Russell was just a man. It is the spiritual power behind Russell and those like him that we need to guard against.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
What does Russell have to say, at the foot of a dying child? tough luck? It doesn’t mean anything? Only molecules bumping together? Not even tragic, it just is?
Hi, Charlie. Are you asking a question or making a statement? I want to respond to you appropriately. Thanks
Hi, read Morris on ‘ book. He was a skeptic but after thorough research believed in Jesus Christ. Visit the web site Y-Jesus
Hi, Nico. Who is Morris? The post is about Bertrand Russell.
It amazes me how theologians can dress their arguments up in logical and sophistocated clothing with some deep sounding rhetorical questions etc. The fact is that what you are saying is simply meaningless. All this talk about angels, demons, Adam and Eve, God and the devil, does not prove anything and you surely deep down must know it, since you strike me as a fairly intelligent person.
Whether or not Russell tried to “bully” people of faith is another matter but the fact is that the argument for Christianity or for any major religion such as Islam or Judaism is flawed in so many ways. When Russell makes the point about a dying child he is simply positing the reasonable question of how can one believe in a god who is all powerful, all knowing and all loving at the same time when the evidence of reality and human experience clearly demonstrates that this does not seem so. It does not disprove the existence of a “god”(whatever one wishes to define that is) per se, but it does certainly make the existence of a god with all the attributes that Christians, Muslims and Jews ascribe to him clearly improbable at best.
When you talk about how it was never God’s intention to have all this happen i would like to ask: how exactly do you know this? Did God himself appear to you and tell you all of this? The answer is of course, that you cannot possibly know but religious faith allows you to set yourself up as a knower of absolute truths even if they seem outside the bounds of human reason.
The point about human beings being the cause of all the “natural order” being messed up because sin came into the world is again not logical. Funny also isnt it that the three abrahamic monotheistic faiths, and Christianity in particular, always somehow manage to turn things around on humans, it is always our fault isn it, never God’s? And i dont know if you refer to Adam and Eve in a literal or allegorical sense but just incase you fall into the former category, i hate to break it to you but any honest and serious scientist will tell you that this clearly contradicts scientific fact which we know about the universe. The earth is not 6-10000 years old. It is much much older.
If you rely upon the Bible for your assertions(which btw, is’nt a completely nonsensical book and contains some good and wise things) then surely you must have an explanation for all the inconsistencies, inaccuracies, errors, contradictions and logical fallacies that this book contains? Why if it is God’s Word, is it subject to so much criticism and derision. Oh sorry i forgot, because we unbelievers just cant or dont want to see the truth of the gospel right? Like Jesus said, “if they persecuted me, they will persecute you” but hey you just hang in there and get to heaven. If people criticise your faith, well all that does is further validate it right? See the problem here?
That is why Christianity(like other fanatical absolutist religions) has always had a persecution-complex. That the world is out to get them and that they are in the world but not of it etc which then gives them an excuse to brush off genuine and logical criticism of their faith.
I will leave you with this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC4CMefL9bQ
Hi, Grant. Nice to hear from you. I used to be what I call a “faith bully,” meaning that I bullied people who had “faith” in God. I was a scoffer/mocker – being vocal in my opposition to “faith in God.” I once admired Bertrand Russell and other outspoken atheists because of their strong stand against belief in God.
That’s who I was. I didn’t come from atheism to theism to Christianity easily or quickly, but I did come. I researched and investigated the available evidence and became convinced of the truthfulness of the “truth” claims of Christianity. I disagree with the video that belief in God is a “special pleading.” To say that the Bible is “an old, flawed book” and that Christianity has “no evidence, no logic, no reason” leads me to wonder if the former believer who made the video ever looked at the available evidence and the logic and reason behind belief in God. I understand someone saying they’ve looked at the evidence and remain unconvinced, but to say there is “no hard evidence” demonstrates a lack of basic knowledge concerning evidence or they may be trying to suppress truth about the evidence.
I became a Christian primarily because of evidence, so saying there is no evidence is not helpful to developing a conversation about the existence of God. I look forward to having a conversation with you and looking at the evidence, logic and reasoning of Christianity.