Archive for the ‘contradiction of humanism’ Category

I can’t justify it, but it was a deep and sincere prayer – a prayer for strength to subdue my instincts

October 13, 2009

Despite being a critic of religion,  Bertrand Russell’s biographer, Ray Monk, writes that he once prayed on his knees to God in the San Zeno Maggiore, Verona. He was struggling to control his sexual passions. Russell wrote:

I can’t justify it, but it was a deep and sincere prayer – a prayer for strength to subdue my instincts.

Clearly his rationalism wasn’t of much help at that time.

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Russell’s Misanthropy

September 8, 2009

Sometimes, in moments of horror, I have been tempted to doubt whether there is any reason to wish that such a creature as man should continue to exist. It is easy to see man as dark and cruel, as an embodiment of diabolic power, and as a blot upon the fair face of the universe.

Bertrand Russell, Ray Monk, vol.2, p.353

His misanthropy is ironic given his humanist credentials. He loved ‘mankind’ but failed to love those around him such as his wives and son.

What Russell saw, after his early liberal naivety failed, was the dark side of man. But without the possibility of Christian redemption he was left with misanthropy. The Christian can be realistic and hopeful due to the categories of original sin and redemption.

Naturalism – Man is not valuable at all

September 7, 2009

Did naturalism give an adequate reason for us to consider our-selves valuable? Unique, maybe. But gorillas are unique. So is every category of nature. Value was the first troublesome issue. Could a being thrown up by chance be worthy?

Second, could a being whose origins were so “iffy” trust his or her own capacity to know? Put it personally: If my mind is conterminous with my brain, if ‘I’ am only a thinking machine, how can I trust my thought? If consciousness is an epiphenomenon of matter, perhaps the appearance of human freedom which lays the basis for morality is an epiphenomenon of either chance or inexorable law. Perhaps chance or the nature of things only built into me the “feeling” that I am free but actually I am not.

James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door, Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988, p. 83.

Knowledge Requires an Omniscient Knower

September 3, 2009

…there must be comprehensive knowledge somewhere if there is to be any true knowledge anywhere but this comprehensive knowledge need not and cannot be in us; it must be in God.

Cornelius Van Til, Defense of the Faith, P&R, 1967, p.41

I find the human race hateful – Russell the Humanist

August 29, 2009

…it is the human race that is vile. It is a disgrace to belong to it.

Bertrand Russell, Ray Monk, vol. 1, p.490

something is gone wrong inside me. I find the human race hateful – affection seems dried up – it makes me very unhappy.

ibid., p.491

cf.

The gunman who went on a killing spree at his college in Finland targeted female students, it has emerged.

Matti Saari, 22, killed eight women among the 10 people he shot in yesterday’s massacre at a vocational college school in Kauhajoki, a rural town about 200 miles from Helsinki.

The handwritten suicide notes left in Saari’s dormitory explain he launched his attack because ‘I hate the human race’.

Daily Mail

Why people don’t act like the theory says they should

August 28, 2009

It is because we rejected the doctrine of original sin that we on the Left were always being disappointed. Disappointed by the refusal of people to be reasonable, by the subservience of intellect to emotion, by the failure of true socialism to arrive, by the behaviour of nations and politicians, by the masses’ preference of Holly-wood to Shakespeare, of Sinatra to Beethoven. Above all, we are disappointed by the re-current fact of the war. The reason for our disappointment is that we have rejected the doctrine of original sin.

C.E.M.Joad, Recovery of Belief, in Roy Clements, Masterplan: How God Makes Sense of Our World (Leicester: IVP, 1994), 43–44.

As a result of the war he said:

For years my name regularly appeared with H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and Aldous Huxley as a derider of religion…. Then came the war, and the existence of evil made its impact upon me as a positive and obtrusive fact. The war opened my eyes to the impossibility of writing off what I had better call man’s ‘sinfulness’ as a mere by-product of circumstance. The evil in man was due, I was taught, either to economic circumstance (because people were poor, their habits were squalid, their tastes undeveloped, their passions untamed) or to psychological circumstances. For were not psycho-analysts telling me that all the regressive, aggressive, or inhibited tendencies of human nature were due to the unfortunate psychological environment of one’s early childhood?

The implications are obvious; remove the circumstances, entrust children to psycho? analyzed nurses and teachers, and virtue would reign.

I see now that evil is endemic in man, and that the Christian doctrine of original sin expresses a deep and essential insight into human nature.