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CRITIQUE OF THE TRADITIONAL ARGUMENTS

Bertrand Russell
(by Cory Ruda)

THE MAIN PURPOSE

To analyze the Churchs unaided reason arguments Show support for the theory that there is no higher power, at least as far as the Christian God goes (P114)

ARGUMENT OF FIRST CAUSE

It is understood that everything in the world has some type of first cause. That first cause is God. 3 problems: 1. What is there to prove that the argument is true? 2. It must lead back to, Who/What caused God? 3. Thus, why should we stop at God, and not just stop at The Universe has no first cause. (p114)

NATURAL LAW ARGUMENT

God set everything to function in a very specific way, and need no other way or reason to do so.
For example, the planet move around the sun because God set them to do so. Thus, nothing should be random or chaotic whatsoever.

NATURAL LAW RESPONSE

Problems:
1) All of this is explainable in laws, such as the law of gravitation, the general Laws of Nature. 2) A great many things (such as atoms) cant be described fully in laws, but act randomly, and without any distinct, set system. 3) Finally, why would God place Laws of Nature on X, Y, and Z, but not A, B, and C? Either A) He did so on a whim, which would mean that not everything is subject to law anyway, or B) he did so to create a perfect world, the best possible, which would then mean he was subject to a certain law, and thus pointless, since he is then not the supreme and highest form of power, so theres no reason to have him as a intermediary.

THE ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN

Everything in the world is made just so that we can manage to live in the world, and if the world was ever so little different we could not manage to live in it. (p117) Problem: There is NO SUPPORT in nature for this argument. Nature is clearly not custom-made for mankind. Eventually, by the laws of science, all mankind will be extinguished. With an infinite amount of time and effort put into it, could our world really- be the best that it could be, with the Ku Klux Klan, the Fascisti, and Mr. Winston Churchill? (p117)

MORAL ARGUMENTS FOR A DEITY

Kant made 3 intellectual arguments into a final Moral Argument. There would be no right or wrong unless God existed. Problem: If it is assumed there is a difference between right and wrong, then is that difference due to Gods word or not? If it is: For God, there is no difference between good and evil, thus saying that God is good is meaningless and pointless. If it is not and you say God is good: Then good and evil are independent of God, and good and evil are both greater than God. How is it possible for things to be greater than God? Did the reality of good and evil come from an even greater god than God?

ARGUMENT FOR REMEDYING OF INJUSTICE

Without God, there would be no justice in the world!!! It is a fact that sometimes, good people get the short end of the stick, and bad people prosper. There must, however, be a justice, a fair balancing of the scales. This would suppose an afterlife was the truth.

THE REPLY

Suppose you open a crate of oranges. As you do, you realize that the top layer of oranges have rotted. You would not then say, Hmm, the bottom of the oranges must be good, because there is justice in the world. You would say that the entire crate is of bad oranges. Any scientific mind would think as such, and so too would that thought go to understanding the universe since it is clear that justice does not rule in the world.

RUSSELL FINISHES WITH

It is clear that intellect is not what moves people to religion, thus, for most, intellectual arguments will not be the most effective or persuasive. He claims that most people agree with religion because they were taught since infancy to do so. Also, there is a deeper want for safety, and religion can supply that, at least to a certain degree.

THOUGHTS ON IT

Russell has a decent idea in trying to destroy these arguments for religion.
1. 2. By doing so, he forces one of two things: An evaluation of beliefs to create stronger arguments. A creation of new beliefs, be they religious or otherwise.

I agree completely with the first cause argument he puts forward: What is there to make the leap from the universe as a first cause to a divine being?
The arguments from design and natural law are just poorly formulated, and should be abandoned as any types of proofs. The Arg. For Remedying the Injustice seems like the strongest of the theist arguments here, but would still counter the omniscient, omnibenevolent God ideal. Theres nothing pointing to the world being a just place, and theres no reason for it not to be if He could have created a perfect world. The idea of an afterlife justice seems cruel for a perfect being.