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"there can't be a God, because man is so bad"

So states Bertrand Russell, the renowned scientist and philosopher,
in his classic and caustic 1935 treatise, Religion and Science.
Only Sir Bertrand establishes his point with a bit more elegance:
"If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in,
I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts."
And it sounds so blasphemous.
But is it really any more blasphemous than the "Christianity" which Russell observed in the Western world?


WHY DID Russell so vehemently reject religion? There were two primary reasons:

1) The irrational dogmas of an unscientific Christianity.

2) The inherent wickedness in human nature.

And both factors are absolutely correct.

Russell was on the right track. But he terminated his investigation too soon. He never came to realize that the Bible itself — the book which was supposedly the source of unscientific Christianity — had thousands of years before him pronounced precisely these same two statements of fact!

1) Russell felt that the irrational dogmas of an unscientific Christianity proved that the entire Bible — Old and New Testaments alike — were in total wrong. Little did he know that the Christianity which he was talking about was not only disassociated from the Bible in doctrine and diametrically the opposite in spirit, but furthermore that the Bible itself was all the while condemning this same false Christianity even more strongly than he was (Gal. 1:6-8; II Cor. 11:4, 13-15; etc)!

2) Russell decided that the inherent wickedness of human nature denied a Cosmic Purpose in man and denied an Omnipotent Being as his Creator. His deduction is perfectly understandable, since all traditional religions teach that man is basically good and that God is struggling to save his basically good "soul" out of its prison — the body! Both of which are obviously hard to swallow. And both of these ideas are vigorously denied by the whole Bible! Does that sound strange? Sure, strange to ears conditioned by the religions of this world. But not to ears attuned to the Bible. Read Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."

So the problem with Russell's conclusion is neither his facts nor his reasoning. Because his conclusion is RIGHT. But remember, Russell is only dealing with the religious ideas of this present world — ideas which are almost always in direct contradiction to the Bible.

So let's backtrack — and watch as these religious concoctions of men feel the cutting edge of Russell's incisive logic.

Unscientific "Christianity"

What respect and what confidence could a rational man like Sir Bertrand feel for a religious system which almost flippantly "transferred [to quote Russell] the seat of authority in religion, first from the Church and the Bible to the Bible alone, and then to the individual soul."

In other words, our sharp-thinking friend saw a Christianity which is constantly shifting its foundation. And with respect to any "absolute truth," which is seemingly required for any religion to be a religion, well, just read the following: "It gradually came to be recognized that the [Christian] religious life does not depend upon pronouncements as to matters of fact, for instance the historical existence of Adam and Eve [was at first believed and then discarded]."

Thus Russell sees a slippery Christianity squirm its way out of "inconvenient Bible texts" — which were quickly "interpreted allegorically or figuratively." And he also watches the historical process as Christianity surrendered many of its outward doctrines in a wistful attempt to protect its (pseudo-spiritual) "inward core." What faith could anybody put in such a sys- tem? Who could ever believe that this was the one true religion of the Creator of heaven and earth?

As Russell puts it, "No real excellence can be inextricably bound up with unfounded beliefs; and if theological beliefs are unfounded, they cannot be necessary for the preservation of what is good in a religious outlook." In other words, if Christianity is based upon falsehoods — the changing doctrines — why bother dissecting out its "good points" just to preserve the traditionally comforting "religious approach" to life? How much better it would be to discard the whole error-laden package, and begin anew to generate a more perfect philosophical system of accurate knowledge and pure understanding — devoid of all religious foolishness!

So how can we fault the man for choosing science over religion when all he knows is a medieval Christianity deciding such questions as "whether Jupiter has satellites, and whether bodies fall at a rate proportional to their mass . . . not by observation but by deduction from . . . the Bible [supposedly), the dogmas of the Catholic faith, and (almost equally) the teachings of Aristotle"? No, we must rather give Lord Russell all the credit he deserves for so accurately analyzing the present world in which we live.

Let's face facts. If what we now see of religion and if what we now see of man is indeed all there is to see of both religion and man, then Russell is wholly correct: 1) religion should be totally preempted by science, and 2) man should indeed become more modest than thinking that he is an adequate motive for an Omniscient Being to create the entire universe.

But Russell did not tell the whole story. And it is not his fault. He at least was intellectually honest with the facts at his disposal, no matter how pessimistic his conclusions might seem — this being in stark contradistinction to the twaddly platitudes and contradictory compromises which mark some religiously oriented scientists and all too many scientifically oriented theologians.


Evil Human Nature

Going further, common Christianity informed Russell that man is the great "Cosmic Purpose" which underlies "the good intentions of the universe."

But when Russell candidly looks at the history of man — what we have done (wars) and what we are doing (more wars) — we just do not appear all that "good." Observe his penetrating reasoning in action:

"They [theologians and philosophers) say that we think certain things good, and that since these things are good, we must be very good to think them so. But this is a circular argument. A being with other values might think ours so atrocious as to be proof that we were inspired by Satan. Is there not something a trifle absurd in the spectacle of human beings holding a mirror before themselves, and thinking what they behold so excellent as to prove that a Cosmic Purpose must have been aiming at it all along? Why, in any case, this glorification of Man? How about lions and tigers? They destroy fewer animal or human lives than we do, and they are much more beautiful than we are. How about ants? They manage the Corporate State much better than any Fascist. Would not a world of nightingales and larks and deer be better than our human world of cruelty and injustice and war?"

Now back off from yourself. Look at the situation "coolly" and unimpassionately. This is Russell's rigorously logical point of view. And the man has a point. Because he reasons with what he sees. And all he sees is a CHRISTIANITY as it is in this world and a MANKIND as it is in this world — neither of which seems particularly representative of some "Ultimate Good" of the entire universe — the former disqualifying itself by its vicissitudes and contradictions, the latter by its inherent hatreds and evils.



What Russell has proven, then, is the secondary thesis of this "Science vs. Theology?" feature — that the religion of this world is completely contradicted by the science of this world.

Insofar as our primary thesis is concerned — that true religion as defined by the Bible is totally confirmed and corroborated by true science — we must refer to other articles.

Obviously an in-depth discussion of the doctrines of false Christianity, the wickedness of human nature, the facts about Creation, the historicity of Adam and Eve, the purpose of human life, God's hands-off policy to this present world, etc . , are all subjects well beyond the scope of this short report. Suffice it to say that the purpose of TOMORROW'S WORLD is to fully answer all of these questions. Some back articles of interest which are available upon request: "Why Must Men Suffer?" — "Why Does God Hide Himself?" — "Is This the Only Day of Salvation?" — "Why God Is Not Real to Most People."