Friday, 6 April 2012

Book Review: "Why I am not a Christian" by Bertrand Russell

I always think it is a good idea to go back and re-read books you bought and read in your youth.
This is one of those times.

I picked up my copy in 1982 and loved it then and find no reason to change my mind.

Just to be clear... This is a series of essays by the great man over many decades that cover a range of topics and not just the title. The last chapter covers the un-frickin-believable court case surrounding his potential appointment to a college in New York.

In any case, here is a list of the essays to show the scope of the discussions:

Why I am not a Christian (1927)
Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilisation? (1930)
What I believe (1925)
Do we survive death? (1936)
Seems, Madam? Nay, it is (1899)
On Catholic and Protestant Sceptics (1928)
Life in the Middle Ages (1925)
The Fate of Thomas Paine (1934)
Nice People (1931)
The New Generation (1930)
Our Sexual Ethics (1936)
Freedom and the Colleges (1940)
The Existence of God (1948)
Can Religion Cure Our Troubles? (1954)
Religion and Morals (1952)

My favourite was, and still is, "Nice People." A fantastically funny, biting and sarcastic rant about what we would today call "Moral Busybodies." Peppered with quotes that make you laugh out loud. When you think that it was written in 1931 it is startling to note that it is just as applicable today as then. Thus showing the timelessness of his writings.

RIP 1970. For more details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_russell

Also don't forget that a *small* selection of his work is available on Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/r#a355

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