Bertrand Russell What I Believe Essay

Bertrand Russell What I Believe Essay-64
Then, further than that, as the name implies, you must have some kind of belief about Christ.

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The first is one of a dogmatic nature—namely, that you must believe in God and immortality.

If you do not believe in those two things, I do not think that you can properly call yourself a Christian.

In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant. We have to be a little more vague in our meaning of Christianity.

You accepted a whole collection of creeds which were set out with great precision, and every single syllable of those creeds you believed with the whole strength of your convictions. I think, however, that there are two different items which are quite essential to anybody calling himself a Christian.

As your Chairman has told you, the subject about which I am going to speak to you tonight is ‘Why I am not a Christian’.

Perhaps it would be as well, first of all, to try to make out what one means by the word ‘Christian’.

You know, of course, that the Catholic Church has laid it down as a dogma that the existence of God can be proved by the unaided reason.

That is a somewhat curious dogma, but it is one of their dogmas.

Therefore I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian I have to tell you two different things; first, why I do not believe in God and in immortality; and, secondly, why I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant Him a very high degree of moral goodness.

But for the successful efforts of unbelievers in the past, I could not take so elastic a definition of Christianity as that.


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