a. Background information to introduce the issue
Bertrand Russell was a revolutionary in the field of humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought. Aside from that he was probably one of the most profound and sophisticated spokesman for atheism from the last century, His literary and communication skills are definitely almost unprecedented winning a nobel prize for Literature. His influence and iconicness that stood the test of time and his literary works that are still being talked about years after his death is a proof of his undying influence.
Despite the fact that he was agnostic and an atheist, he felt that he was not up to the pedestal of being a Christian because he ...view middle of the document...
Bertrand Russel’s Essay about why he’s not a Christian is both unpersuasive and shallow due to the fact that the criterion he used for grilling Christ’s character was very arbitrary and that his attempts at finding holes in the argument for design were not only futile but shallow at best.
A.)Main Argument 1:
Russell tries (and fails) to debunk Christ’s character and divinity by the type of arguments he used
In this argument, Russell tries to throw out the Character of Christ by using an unethical way of arguing by having no respect to the context of the verses and using selective and arbitrary criterions of explaining these verses which just made him unprofessional and shallow. For example, Russell picks out a verse from the bible like this:“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29). Russell asserts that not many Christians turn their other cheek when someone does them wrong, and since Christians font follow this rule, there’s something wrong with the Christians and by extension, Jesus Christ himself. But what Russell forgets is that this verse is taken out of context and has no respect to the entire text which offers a better explanation! And according to D.A Carson,
“...we must agree that absolutizing any text, without due respect for the context and flow of the argument, as well as for other things Jesus says elsewhere, is bound to lead to distortion and misrepresentation of what Jesus means.‛ ( Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, pg 54)
What the verse really meant In the larger passage of Matthew 5:38-42, Jesus Christ was referring to the act of personal self-sacrifice; and a smite on the cheek was typically referred to as an insult as opposed to an act of bodily harm, which was translated from the Greek text, something not present on the english translation. Jesus was saying that to be Christian, you shouldn’t stoop down to insults, he wasn’t referring to ignore your sense of self-preservation. To conclude otherwise would be a misrepresentation of Christ’s words.
Jesus believes in hell because a just God would never let a grave mistake to go unpunished, not doing so would just steam more criticisms from Russell. In this argument, we are criticizing Russell for criticizing Christ’s concept of hell. He then makes this statement: “I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment” and also this: “vindictive fury against these people who would not listen to his preaching”, he combines these verses to once again question Christ’s morality into the table
And as evidence of his contentions, Russell, again selectively picks out a random verse from the bible: “you snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? ‛”(Matthew 23:33). And just like his previous argument, he arbitrarily takes out a verse out of it’s context...