The Russell Files, Episode 2

delpo2Today is the 1,751st anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Lawrence the Deacon. Last fall, we highlighted the Holy Father’s visit to St. Lawrence’s tomb

…Delpo managed an over-heated victory yesterday, dealing poor Andy a sweltering defeat…

bertrand russell…We will discuss the court case that led America magazine to call New York Supreme Court Justice John E. McGeehan “an American, a virile and staunch American.” But first, let’s consider one of Bertrand Russell’s reasons for not being a Christian.

Russell regarded the Catholic doctrine of natural law to be irreconcilable with human freedom. He confused natural law with scientific “laws of nature.”

All just law proceeds from the Eternal Law of God for the good of everything that is subject to it. Law liberates its subject to attain fulfillment and goodness.

Creatures that do not possess intelligence are governed by the intelligence of the Creator Himself. Flowers bloom because they follow the law that the Creator inscribed in their flower-ness.

New York Supreme Court
New York Supreme Court

Natural laws of this kind are laws of sublime intelligence, inscribed in unintelligent nature for the good of the governed.

Intelligent creatures, on the other hand, possess the capacity for self-government. This is the natural law for man: that we govern ourselves according to reason.

This does not give us unlimited freedom. We are not, after all, unlimited beings–only God is. Our scope of freedom is determined by our human nature: we are rational animals, destined for the glory of God.

In other words, we possess the degree of freedom which is good for us. We have the freedom to do good and avoid evil. By doing good and avoiding evil, we…

capt ryder1. Obey the natural law.

2. Act freely.

3. Advance toward our ultimate good.

There is no contradiction between the doctrine of natural law and the freedom of man…

…”Then, at the age of 39, I began to be old.” –Captain Charles Ryder, at the beginning of the BBC version of Brideshead Revisited (based on the novel by Evelyn Waugh).

Uh-oh.

Your unworthy servant was born on a hot summer morning in 1970.

The Russell Files, Episode 1

bertrand russellWhen 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…

rockford files…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.”

City College of New York
City College of New York

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…

brooklyn decker…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.