Russell's Criticisms of Christianity & Jesus

BMS

Well-known member
You're talking about what is minimally sufficient. Russell was talking about what is minimally necessary. So you are not disagreeing with him at all.


Obviously. That's the whole point of his essay.
No I am also talking about what Jesus says is minimally necessary. Jesus requires seeking a good deal more than Russell imagines.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
No I am also talking about what Jesus says is minimally necessary. Jesus requires seeking a good deal more than Russell imagines.
You're still confusing necessary and sufficient conditions. Russell is not saying that his minimal requirements are enough to make one a Christian. He is only saying what you have already agreed with - that you cannot be a Christian without at least meeting these requirements.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Great post. I have to say that sounds a bit like my experience before I came to be 'born again' At that moment I felt a mixture of freedom and conviction that Jesus Christ is the truth way and life and my life was no longer my own.
I must admit an opposite shift in me over the years. What you describe is exactly how I feel for my family now. It became especially intense with the birth of my daughter and son. It was if I didn't have room for God in me after that. I took them home from the hospital, never having such direct responsibility and a love for them that I expected nothing in return before in my life, and my feelings and thoughts about God seemed a mere mental hobby in comparison (just listen to your and Nouveau's own mental machinations above concerning necessary and sufficient - just a mental exercise - a sound and fury to me signifying nothing in comparison to what has become real to me). God diminished in me - at first it seemed with His permission. I projected onto Him a joy in me going and being this new thing I became. I now know that joy to just be a reflection back to me of my own self. How much more did my God reflect my own thinking?

Now I fear losing a child far more intensely than I ever feared losing some heaven I never even so much as got a glimpse of, but could only contemplate as a mental exercise, and leisurely without attachment explore philosophies like sufficient and necessary. I began to wonder who God ever was that he couldn't affect me like this - was He ever real, or was he just a mental exercise in me while I was waiting for the real show?

The feeling is gone and I just can't get it back, and I must admit a relief to having something so strong and real keeping my feet on the ground, my mind in the trim of this experience, and I don't need to contemplate some future inherited hell that awaits me for simply becoming of this world - something that draws us all because we are of this world and it seems to need us. At least mine does. My apocalypse is over. My second coming came.

I am saved.
 
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BMS

Well-known member
You're still confusing necessary and sufficient conditions. Russell is not saying that his minimal requirements are enough to make one a Christian. He is only saying what you have already agreed with - that you cannot be a Christian without at least meeting these requirements.
Ok .
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
I must admit to having this experience as well, but with suspicion (you would call it repressing the truth in unrighteousness).

Since the seat of the soul is "wholly other" does it have its own intellect apart from our common intellect? That I do not feel. I sense every affect in me starting/entering via the common intellect, not an intellect of the soul.

I also recognize varying degrees of emotional affect from moderate to intense. You seem to be saying a more intense emotional affect gets routed to the soul - the wholly other. To me that's not wholly other... seems more of a spill-over reservoir when emotions get intense.

I remember when I felt a strong connection to God, and felt the difference between my intense feelings towards that concept and the lesser affect of my girlfriends.... until I would lose one of those girlfriends. Then I would discover an intense loss that wholly eclipsed this feeling I had towards the concept I had of God. I sensed I was fabricating and manipulating my feelings about God once I felt the real full-on affect of my temporal relationships. God seemed something I controlled and played with. My temporal relations - not so much. They ended up affecting me in a more real place as I had no control over them like I had with whatever I was thinking about a God that never challenged me in the way the real world did.

Before becoming a believer, I was an indifferent agnostic, not a passionate atheist like you. I had no emotional ties to any philosophical or religious beliefs. I was not even a seeker for truth, but a seeker rather of hedonistic pleasures. But I read a lot. And I found that of all the authors I read (mostly at random), the ones who seemed endowed with the most wisdom (Hawthorne, Chesterton, Donne, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Endo, Kingsley, etc.) were curiously Christian. So I too became curious, and began to read, not randomly but intentionally, works of non-fiction by these same authors, and eventually the Bible itself. In doing so, I gradually became intellectually convinced of the truth of Christianity, which in turn convinced me of the strong possibility that since there is a Living God, He could fill up the aching hole in my weak, self-centered, hedonistic heart. So I began to pray. Or better put, to cry out.

My soul was NOT flooded with joy, but I gradually over the years began to sense a Presence in my soul, and a recognition of my wretched unloving sinfulness, but ONLY to the degree that I had a heavenly Father Who knew the depths of that sin and forgave my sins, as does His Son Who died and rose again that they may be remitted.

I never said "the sinner's prayer." I WAS baptized but I'm not sure it took.
 

Furion

Well-known member
I must admit to having this experience as well, but with suspicion (you would call it repressing the truth in unrighteousness)..
Of that there is no doubt. Men are living and breathing suppressors, and suspicion is a suppressant.

There is no frightening boogeyman in the Creator, just pure truth. That is scary.

I think many think they hold the cards in this encounter. That is where your suspicion stems from, right? Your cards are for God to persuade you of His existence? I didn't have that. I was utterly indifferent until He hit me with it, smack right in the middle of my whole being.

Well, His cards are the truth, and I could never find a way around that, personally. Even trying Paul's idea of why did you make me this way? I knew the truth of me, warts and all. Nothing could remove my responsibility in the matter, I was defeated by the truth.

But it's ok, the truth of God is way, way better than I ever thought, quite freeing actually. Not scary at all.
 

5wize

Well-known member
Before becoming a believer, I was an indifferent agnostic, not a passionate atheist like you. I had no emotional ties to any philosophical or religious beliefs. I was not even a seeker for truth, but a seeker rather of hedonistic pleasures. But I read a lot. And I found that of all the authors I read (mostly at random), the ones who seemed endowed with the most wisdom (Hawthorne, Chesterton, Donne, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Endo, Kingsley, etc.) were curiously Christian. So I too became curious, and began to read, not randomly but intentionally, works of non-fiction by these same authors, and eventually the Bible itself. In doing so, I gradually became intellectually convinced of the truth of Christianity, which in turn convinced me of the strong possibility that since there is a Living God, He could fill up the aching hole in my weak, self-centered, hedonistic heart. So I began to pray. Or better put, to cry out.

My soul was NOT flooded with joy, but I gradually over the years began to sense a Presence in my soul, and a recognition of my wretched unloving sinfulness, but ONLY to the degree that I had a heavenly Father Who knew the depths of that sin and forgave my sins, as does His Son Who died and rose again that they may be remitted.

I never said "the sinner's prayer." I WAS baptized but I'm not sure it took.
Polarity here. Before becoming a non-believer I was an rabid believer. I felt a strong inner attachment to a concept of a loving creator and protector and would sincerely seek understanding as to a source of this feeling. 4 years in Christian academy turned me from the Christian God. It started when I couldn't stomach this inert closeness that I felt, something that even I projected as a universal feeling that all men must possess (as stated in Romans), yet the Jews claimed a chosen status for just themselves and this God I felt within me. I knew then that the Hebrew God that was unfolding in this Bible I was studying was a hedonistic nationalist blasphemy. A tool being forged in their alters as a hammer against their enemies (Psalms however had some nice respite from that - but on balance God was a mere weapon). Marcon was right - It was better dumping the Jewish God for what it was and moving on from that ancient nationalist darkness.

I also absolutely abhorred the Easter celebration where the God of love, mercy, kindness and forgiveness required the slaughter and blood sacrifice of a man for some remedy. It sickened me to think that was the best version of redemption from my shortcomings that this God could muster. I felt the emotional sickness of blending this slaughter with love, like an abusive parent that would whip you as they claimed the depth of their love for you, so you grow up warped in what love entails.

But my motto was just because the Judaic God does not exist, that doesn't mean this creator I felt did not, so I kept going, reading Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Jainism, Hinduism, Universalism, etc.... Then it dawned on me... they were all equally nationalistic or suspect of just making things up that seemed to make sense only to a primitive mind seeking answers or escape, and a primitive emotional need for connection that would go so far as to even create imaginary companions as saints or lesser gods like Wilson in Castaway. Idolatry and iconography in practice.

Then I started studying the history of the evolution of these concepts and the nail was thrust in the coffin, especially for Christianity - the cohesion of a message they claimed within the bible just did not exist when you learned how the sausage was made. I felt even more lied to. I still haven't really abandoned the search... I am just a strong atheist when it comes to knowing where not to look for God anymore.
 
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Torin

Well-known member
@Nouveau

I get that this essay is aimed at laymen in 1927, but there are a lot of arguments it doesn't address and the arguments it does address are kind of dated.

The kalam cosmological argument is addressed, sort of, but there's nothing here about Thomistic cosmological arguments or the Leibnizian cosmological argument. The ontological argument is ignored altogether, in all of its versions. And the only teleological argument addressed is Paley's, which leaves aside the fine tuning argument (although of course Russell could not have addressed the latter since it was not formulated in 1927).

I don't mean to say it's a bad essay or anything, but I think it has fairly limited value.

Thoughts?
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
......... a hedonistic nationalist blasphemy. .............................

How strange it was reading your entire angry screed against Christianity. I did not recognize the target of your wrath. It's as though I were reading a review of Plan 9 from Outer Space, and the critic had substituted Citizen Kane for the title of the movie. You didn't really elaborate on the shots you took at the god you no longer believe exists, so I feel no need to rebut.

But "polarity" is putting it mildly. I love Him and KNOW Him as my kindly and merciful Father, my beloved Elder Brother, my life sustainer, my Friend, my Comforter, my Advocate, my Teacher, my Redeemer and my Protector.
 

5wize

Well-known member
How strange it was reading your entire angry screed against Christianity. I did not recognize the target of your wrath. It's as though I were reading a review of Plan 9 from Outer Space, and the critic had substituted Citizen Kane for the title of the movie. You didn't really elaborate on the shots you took at the god you no longer believe exists, so I feel no need to rebut.

But "polarity" is putting it mildly. I love Him and KNOW Him as my kindly and merciful Father, my beloved Elder Brother, my life sustainer, my Friend, my Comforter, my Advocate, my Teacher, my Redeemer and my Protector.
I get that. It's often that children in an abusive home see it as normal, and equate it to love, until they experience how others live in a more healthy less volatile environment without fear of damnation around every corner if one steps off the path of the despotic dad.

That is revelation.
 

5wize

Well-known member
easter is indeed a pagan celebration as posed. and judaism is but one more false religion overlaid upon His concepts… Esau made a mess long before christ arrived.
You still haven't told me where to look and how to look for what you say you found. You claim it is in the underlay of the bible if you read it with your soul. What does that mean? How do you polish soul eyes?
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
I get that. It's often that children in an abusive home see it as normal, and equate it to love, until they experience how others live in a more healthy less volatile environment without fear of damnation around every corner if one steps off the path of the despotic dad.

That seems to be a very poor analogy. My relationship with Christ has been the antithesis of abusive, and certainly no fear of damnation, but rather the hope of glory.
 

5wize

Well-known member
That seems to be a very poor analogy. My relationship with Christ has been the antithesis of abusive, and certainly no fear of damnation, but rather the hope of glory.
This is the bright face of Christian thinking.... now what is that paddle you have hidden behind your back for me, as well as yourself, if suddenly you were to feel different about it?
 

stiggy wiggy

Well-known member
This is the bright face of Christian thinking....

Correct. He is Light. Too bright to face head on without prismatic diffraction.


now what is that paddle you have hidden behind your back for me, as well as yourself, if suddenly you were to feel different about it?

Hallucinating paddles now? Is it a bolo bouncer? I never could master those things.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
russell misunderstands christ and scripture. … his opinions are just that. christianity doesn’t need defend itself against his opinions.
You've made no attempt whatsoever to address anything Russell said. But that's okay. Not everyone is good at philosophy.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
@Nouveau

I get that this essay is aimed at laymen in 1927, but there are a lot of arguments it doesn't address and the arguments it does address are kind of dated.

The kalam cosmological argument is addressed, sort of, but there's nothing here about Thomistic cosmological arguments or the Leibnizian cosmological argument. The ontological argument is ignored altogether, in all of its versions. And the only teleological argument addressed is Paley's, which leaves aside the fine tuning argument (although of course Russell could not have addressed the latter since it was not formulated in 1927).

I don't mean to say it's a bad essay or anything, but I think it has fairly limited value.

Thoughts?
I agree, it is somewhat dated and other theistic arguments could be considered in a modernized version. But a lot of what he says remains valuable, and I don't think a different argument selection would have changed the outcome. As he says, most believers aren't motivated by such arguments anyway, and I think those who are remain moved by broad cosmological or teleological considerations like those he addresses rather than abstruse modern technical arguments. Fine tuning would have been good to cover, though its rebuttal I think requires some technical modal distinctions that would not have been easily made in the context of his speech.
 
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