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,