When I was a kid, my dad liked to watch “The Rockford Files.”
It will take a few posts to cover “The Bertrand Russell Case.” So, if you would like, you can imagine James Garner’s answering machine message and sweet Pontiac Firebird as these little essays come your way…
…Bertrand Russell styled himself a philosopher, a man of relentless reason and openness to truth. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950.
Half a century later, his essays read like mean-spirited hatchet jobs. He credits “religion” with only one contribution to history–standardizing the calendar. He dismisses Jesus Christ as a deluded and malicious crank–if He even existed at all.
Russell does not support his arguments with evidence, and many of his assertions are simply untrue.
On the other hand, he occasionally raises an interesting question. For instance, at the beginning of “Why I am not a Christian,” he confronts the problem of defining the term ‘Christian.’ He acknowledges that the term has been watered down, and he calls the bluff of non-dogmatic, liberal Protestants who more or less insist that a Christian is a “good person.”
Russell’s work IS offensive to pious readers. He is a propagandist of anti-Catholic prejudices and a P.R. man for Darwin and Freud. He provided a generation of “cultured despisers” of Christianity with its half-baked ideas.
When the Board of Higher Education of the City of New York appointed Russell as a professor of philosophy at City College in 1940, was it an affront to the common good? More to come on this question…
…At the Legg-Mason Tennis Classic, Del Potro and Andy are going at it in extreme heat, in front of a long-suffering crowd, including Brooklyn Decker Roddick.
Roddick looked like he had the match in hand. The tall Argentinian was wilting in the heat.
But Delpo just broke Roddick to win the second set, and now it’s anyone’s match.
2 thoughts on “The Russell Files, Episode 1”
The Rockford Files? Really, Father? Those are my favorite “convalescence” tv shows. 😉
Jeepers Fr. Mark – wish I had of found your blog years ago. I sure hope all this hoopla works out to your satisfaction.
Hope you don’t mind a dissenting comment…
“Russell’s work IS offensive to pious readers.”
As a former bible believer (Baptist) I find much of the bible offensive. I am quite amazed that most believers are not offended by what is said in the bible…but then I remind myself, most believers don’t read the bible. Most believers have little or no idea what is to be found between those leather covers.
“He is a propagandist of anti-Catholic prejudices…”
I am going to assume that since this is an old post, perhaps you have softened on this accusation? Don’t you think that Russel might have reason to be “anti-Catholic”? Hasn’t many (most) religious denominations given plenty of reasons for people to be “anti-most religions”?
“…and a P.R. man for Darwin and Freud.”
I don’t know much about Freud, but what is your problem with Darwin?
“He provided a generation of “cultured despisers” of Christianity with its half-baked ideas.”
I have read very little of Russel’s works. I became a “despiser” of Christianity while I was immersed in it. I left 20 years ago and consider that to be one of my few good life-decisions. I have never once regretted my loss of faith and I am so very glad I got out when I did.
I hope (and suspect) that as I read your blog posts, that you will make better cases for your objections.
I will try to catch up on your entries. I don’t rear the news paper much beyond the front page headlines.