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Bertrand Russell - The Humanist

Old 07-12-2006, 10:45 AM
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Bertrand Russell - The Humanist

This man, and I am not a groupie or a stalker or anything, fried me from the terrifying bondage of fundementalisim. His essay "Why I am not a Christian" totally liberated me from having a mind that was trapped. I felt trapped. And totally violated. And Russell helped me free my mind again and not feel guilty.

Just thought I would get that out.

James
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Old 07-12-2006, 11:32 AM
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Thanks Five - Interesting stuff.

I haven't read the entire thing yet but I love this quote I found.

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. ... A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.
— Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
Here is a link to the full-text:
http://users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:38 AM
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Hey James,

Thanks for posting that. It reminded me of an essay I wrote in college that I titled "Religion in Today's Society". So, I dug it out and read it! I've never read something that I wrote that long ago ('89). It was kinda strange, but my beliefs really haven't changed since then. I did, however, find myself critiquing it, and thinking I could have written it better!

Paul
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:53 PM
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Well, when you DO write it better, I hope you'll post it!
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Old 07-15-2006, 07:17 AM
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I suppose I could post the original, mistakes and all, if folks will keep in mind that I was just a kid when I wrote it.
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Old 07-15-2006, 07:31 AM
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Need an editor???

Shalom!
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Old 07-15-2006, 07:49 AM
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Probably HT! Although, I did get an 'A'. It was written for a Cultural Anthropology class, undergraduate of course, which was one of my favorite classes.
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Old 07-15-2006, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by doorknob
I suppose I could post the original, mistakes and all, if folks will keep in mind that I was just a kid when I wrote it.
I think it would be great! I was thinking earlier that it would be very fun and interesting to read what the 'ol Knobster wrote going on 20 years ago, lol.

After all, you write a mean rap.....

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Old 07-18-2006, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Autumn
I think it would be great! I was thinking earlier that it would be very fun and interesting to read what the 'ol Knobster wrote going on 20 years ago, lol.

After all, you write a mean rap.....

Thanks Autumn. I'll start working on typing it in. It's been so long, it's almost like reading somebody elses paper. And I'm wondering how I couldn't see some of the flaws that I see now, not in my ideas so much, but in my writing. Of course it was for Anthropology, not English, but I'm picky about my writing. LOL!
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Old 07-20-2006, 04:34 AM
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Old 07-20-2006, 04:46 AM
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I'll tell you what Knobster - and I have been mulling this over - if you post your paper, I'll post an ethics essay I wrote in a Medic class ten years ago. I do reference religion/god in it quite a bit.

It's kinda cheesy, but I'll bite.
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Old 07-20-2006, 08:20 AM
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I don't mind posting it. I just don't want to type it!
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:38 AM
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I'll type it for you -- well, how long is it?
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:42 AM
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LOL, how would you do that? It's about 3 pages double spaced. I'll get it typed in, just don't be holdin' your breath!
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:45 AM
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well - you could send it too me.....you could just scan it in too. No typing.
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:47 AM
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Why not go to a library and get it scanned into the puter?

I have a mean essay too; perhaps I'll take the plunge...

Shalom!
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:53 AM
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I'm not sure if the library here has a scanner. I've never noticed one. Thanks for the offer PD. I'll just start typin'!
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Old 07-20-2006, 11:49 AM
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Here it is, mistakes and all...

Religion In Today's Society

When early man first walked the earth he was awed by the power of nature. Volcanos, hurricanes and earthquakes were and still are very impressive displays of the power of nature. Today, modern science can explain these events. Early man, however, had not developed science and therefore explained these events the only way he knew how, by using religion.

Early man believed that there were powerful forces in the universe that were the cause of rain, sunlight, plant growth, and other natural events. Eventually these beliefs gave rise to the belief in spirits and gods that could be angered or soothed. Man performed religious rituals and ceremonies to appeal to these spirits. In doing this man explained the unexplainable and it gave him a feeling of control over nature.

Today, much of nature has been explained by science. Yet, despite the ever accumulating knowledge of science, people still hold on to their religious beliefs. Despite the lack of convincing evidence religious believers still assert that there is a god that created the universe and that cares about each and every individual. This is because religion has so much to offer us. It sets moral standards for us to live by, it gives us a purpose in life and it assures us of everlasting life. All you have to do is believe and have faith.

Faith is the key component to any religion. Since religion is primarily unempirical it is impossible to prove or disprove any assertions being made. The scientific method only works on things that can be observed by the senses. Therefore, faith is religions only alternative. It is a shortcut to truth. In the Christian Bible faith is defined as "Belief in things unseen, yet hoped for. "Faith" is generally defined by scientists and philosophers as "Firm belief in something for which there is no convincing evidence." Faith is a way of substituting emotion for evidence. Many people feel that if they believe something strong enough it will be true. In reality, however, our belief or disbelief in an assertion has no effect on the truth or falsity of it. For example, at one time everybody believed that the eart was flat. This does not change the fact that the earth is round.

Another important aspect of religion is scriptures. Scriptures are writings, usually ancient, that are held sacred. Scriptures are usually believed to have been inspired by the supernatural. Since the validity of the scriptures cannot be determined, those who believe their assertions do so on faith. Some people believe so strongly in scriptures that they will risk their lives expressing their beliefs. An example of this are certain pentacostal churches that handle poisonous snakes and drink poison to test their faith. A Christian denomination called Christian Scientists reject any medical intervention. Some religions reject scientific evidence because it contradicts what is written in their scriptures. Many Christian churches teach that evolution is a myth and that the story of creation in the Bible is fact. There is no evidence to support the assertion that God created all species separate other than a story written by desert nomads over two thousand years ago. Yet these churches reject a scientific theory that is based on and supported by much empirical evidence.

In the world of today, with all the modern technology that mankind has created and with the accuracy with which scientists have been able to explain and predict nature, it is hard to believe that religion has been able to survive. I think that the only thing that has kept religion alive is mans strong desire to have a purpose in life and his fears of dying. I feel that religion was an acceptable method of explaining nature before science was developed, but in the modern world it has no place. My feelings about religion are best described by a quote by David Hume: "A wise man proportions his beliefs to the evidence."

- Paul J (5/9/89)
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Old 07-20-2006, 12:55 PM
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That's great dk!

It sort of makes me want to dig out some of my old papers. I'm a horrible writer though.
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Old 07-20-2006, 01:11 PM
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Thanks PD. Reading it made me realize that I'm a much better writer now than I was then. When I was typing it, I really wanted to edit. I would have used used more discriptive language, and different words for the ones I was repeating, as well as a few more commas, for starters. That was my first year in college. I completed 2 1/2 more years, but fell apart in my senior year (twice).
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