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Friday, November 18, 2011

Bertrand Russell's world-view

Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar . . . system, and that the whole temple of Man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul's habitation henceforth be safely built. (Bertrand Russell, "A Free Man's Worship," in Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, 1918. Public domain, Project Gutenberg edition.)

In other words, there is no real purpose to the universe and no after-life. A clear declaration of atheism, by an atheist.

2 comments:

Weekend Fisher said...

He's a right little ray of sunshine, isn't he?

If I believed in pure materialism, btw, I think I'd still follow Jesus -- I'd just rationalize away the supernatural parts.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

Yes, that's a pessimistic view, for sure.

Thanks, Anne.