Critique of bertrand russell essay.2


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A philosophical and Biblical critique of the fallacies of Bertrand Russell's argument for atheism. A partial demonstration of the historical validity and rationality of Christianity is also provided.

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Critique of bertrand russell essay.2

  1. 1. Critique of Bertrand Russell Essay: "Why I Am Not A Christian" by Joseph David Rhodes A Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfillment HT3300 Introduction to Apologetics. Professor: Thorvald B. Madsen, Ph.D. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Spring 2003 Kansas City, Missouri
  2. 2. 2 I. Brief Introduction. Despite Bertrand Russells fame and the fact that numerous handbooks andencyclopedias of philosophy tout him as a hero of reason, his pontifical pretensions asan expert in religion should be more critically evaluated than they have been. Grantedthat he was a whiz at mathematical logic, he really was not a serious student of historynor did he really demonstrate himself to be a qualified authority on the Gospel of Christ.As we shall see, his analysis of Christianity does not reveal a man objectively seeking toknow the truth of the primary sources. Rather, he was a highly belligerent protagonistwho, in the words of Paul, "suppressed the truth of God" in his conscience and life. II. Russells Philosophic Attack On Christianity Revisited. 1 Immediately in the preface of his now infamous book, Russell spells out hisobjections to Christianity, and indeed to religion generally. He states his case quiteunapologetically: There has been a rumor in recent years to the effect that I have become less opposed to religious orthodoxy than I formerly was. This rumor is totally without foundation. I think all the great religions of the world -- Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Communism -- both untrue and harmful. It is evident as a matter of logic that, since they disagree, not more than one of them can be true. . . . The question of the truth of a religion is one thing, but the question of its usefulness is another. I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue.2 [italics ours, JR] Since Russell believed that Christianity, like other religions, is harmful because itis false, we must look to see how he concludes that it is indeed false. But notice, one manfeels he can intellectually rule that Christianity is not unique and that it is not true. Whatare his qualifications for deciding this case? We shall see that his epistemologicalfoundations as well as his moral credentials are quite limited and we are justifiablysuspicious of both his arrogant rationalism and his spiritual ability to overcome the vastBiblical and historical testimony to Jesus Christ. Moreover, we shall see that most of hispurported logical refutations of arguments for God do not work either.12
  3. 3. 3 Russell believed that religious belief sprang from cultural factors and irrationalfantasy. He thinks that people simply believe in God because they have been taughtfrom infancy to believe in Him.3 Or, as he says elsewhere: " As I said before, I do notthink the real reason why people accept religion has anything to do with argumentation.They accept religion on emotional grounds."4 Russell thought that, on the whole, it wasfear that grounded religious belief: 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. Fear is the basis of the whole thing --fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand . . . In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, with the help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the Christian religion, against the churches, against the opposition of all old precepts. Science can help us get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make the world a fit place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the churches in all these centuries have made it.5 It also becomes clear that Russell, while doubting the worth on any religion, hadparticular objections to Christianity grounded on the Bible. He himself also classified hisobjections as (1) "intellectual,” and (2) "moral."6 . . . .Therefore, I take it that when I tell you why I am not a Christian I have to tell you two different things; first, why I do not believe in God and in immortality, and secondly, why I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men.7 Thus, as Russell begins his essay in earnest he starts with the fundamentalquestion of Gods existence. His first volley of acidic criticism then comes for thetraditional "proofs of God", particularly as they were enunciated by Thomas Aquinas inhis medieval Summa Theologiae. Russell remarks wryly, " You know, of course, that theCatholic Church has laid it down as a dogma that the existence of God can be proved byunaided reason. "8 As has been outlined in Ronald Nashs textbook, Faith & Reason:Searching For A Rational Faith, these "proofs" are known as the Ontological, Cosmological,and Teleological Arguments.9 Ironically, while the traditional arguments for God, derivedfrom Aristotle and Aquinas failed to coax Russell to belief, he does not seem to be able to3456789
  4. 4. 4debunk them logically. This is a key point. When Russell debated the erudite FatherFrederick Copleston on the BBC in 1948, he clarified his position as follows: "Russell:No, I should say my position is agnostic. . . . [later] Well, Im not contending in adogmatic way that there is not a God. What Im contending is that we dont know thatthere is."10 Russell did state in another place more precisely what the content actually was.His position is remotely like that of David Humes in his Essay Concerning HumanUnderstanding (or his Dialogues on Natural Religion). Since Gods existence cannot beproven with mathematical or logically certainty, Russell does not believe that we areentitled to believe in God: The Christian God may exist; so may the Gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.11 Russells rationalism finds its second obstacle in the doctrine of the immortalityof the soul. He perceives this belief as fundamental to Christian theism (and in aqualified sense, we agree). Russell equates the soul and the mind and his dismissal ofimmortality comes because he believes that empirical observation makes it impossible;he cannot accept this since " it is rational to suppose that mental life ceases when bodilylife ceases. "12 Another part of Russells objection to immortality is that such a belief"leads to hyper-individualistic Christian ethics, to a breakdown of the natural biologicalfamily tie, and to unwarranted superstition. "13 Again, Russell puts forth his boldNaturalism: " I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. " 14Obviously, Russell equated the brain and the mind, for he says, " We cannot supposethat an individuals thinking survives bodily death, since that destroys the organizationof the brain and dissipates the energy which utilized the brain tracks."15 Thus, Russellhas splendid confidence that man is simply a more highly evolved animal withdeveloped emotional and rational capacities, but certainly not a being with transcendentimmortal life. Finally, Russell objected to the historical and moral arguments for Christianitybased on the person of Christ. His rationalism led him to have unbridled confidence inhis ability to point out "defects" in Christs teaching and in his moral character. While helikes Christs maxim against "turning the other cheek" (Russell was a militant pacifist), hecannot regard Christ " as the best and wisest of men. "16 Yet, he goes on to say:10111213141516
  5. 5. 5 Having granted the excellence of these maxims, . . . . I do not believe that one can grant either the superlative wisdom or the superlative goodness of Christ as depicted in the Gospels; and here I may say that one that one is not concerned with the historical question. Historically it is quite doubtful that Christ existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him, so that I am not concerned with the historical question, which is a very difficult one. I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospels, taking the Gospel narrative as it stands; and there one does find some things that do not seem to be very wise.17 Philosopher Russell particularly attempts to establish that Jesus Christ wasconfused about His own second coming and that this confusion led early Christians tostrange and bizarre behavior. Russell contends that Jesus was wrong since " He certainlythought that His second coming would occur in the clouds of glory before the death ofall the people living who were living at that time."18 Yet, it is probably not merely Christs supernatural wisdom that troubled him, orHis imminent Second Coming (since Russell doubted his existence!), it was theperfection of Christs moral character that the Cambridge philosopher thought utterlyunacceptable. For Jesus spoke about ultimate "damnation in hell," and of the "everlastingpunishment" of unbelievers. This was a serious defect in Christ because Russell terriblydisliked the notion of Divine wrath: " I do not myself feel [italics ours] that any personwho is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment, and one doesfind repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to Hispreaching--an attitude not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detractfrom superlative excellence."19 In the same essay Russell cites other attitudes of Christand Scripture texts which he finds objectionable because they may some peopleunhappy, miserable, or guilty (Cf. pp. 17-18). He comments " I really do not think that aperson with the proper degree of kindliness in his nature would have put fears andterrors of that sort into the world."20 Finally, having demolished God the Father and Christ the Son (at least to hisown philosophic satisfaction), Russell turns his analytical guns on the sins of theinstitutional Christian Church. Once again, assuming his moral ability to judge Christ,Russell feels himself logically justified to negatively evaluate Christians : " That is theidea--that we should all be wicked if we do not hold to the Christian religion. It seems tome [italics ours!] the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremelywicked. "21 Eventually, he reaches a fever pitch: You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminuition of war, every step toward the better treatment of colored races, or every mitigation of1718192021
  6. 6. 6 slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.22 Thus, Bertrand Russells four philosophical objections to Christian belief are: (1).Christianity, like all religion is based on fear and is thus a bad thing; (2). There norational (scientific) grounds for believing in God or the immortality of the human soul.(3). By humanistic standards, Christ cannot be regarded as supremely wise or the best ofmen. (4). Organized Christianity ("religion") is an obstacle to moral and social progressin the world. III. An Apologetic-Christian Analysis of Russells Objections. Bertrand Russell was a humanistic rationalist whose skeptical arguments werenot simply objective attempts to understand the phenomenon of Christianity, but ratherhis philosophic moves were those of the self-defensive sinner. But, even if we were toassume that Russell was the most honest of men, and that his logical analyses werepursued for the best of scientific motives, he fails to grasp the true nature of Christianbelief and the unique character of Divine revelation. We should not forget either, that our famous humanist found it quite galling tolive in the perimeters of his own confining naturalism. Russell, when everything wasgoing his way, could bravely quip, “ Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only onthe firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation we safely built. ” 23William Craig has described this attitude well: “ About the only solution the atheist canoffer is that we face the absurdity of life and live bravely. ” 24 This writer himself was astudent of philosophy in the mid-1970s when Francis Schaeffer described suchhumanistic views as Russells (and that of atheistic existentialists like Jean-Paul Sartre) asmodern man living in a “two-story universe” with the lower story being filled withabsurdity and despair while faith-leaping into an upper story where there was meaning,value, and purpose.25 Professor Craig touches on Russell’s inconsistency here in that,while being an atheist (rejecting a purpose for life and an enduring meaning to love) yet,he is, at the same time, an outspoken social critic, fervently denouncing war, andrejecting limitations on sexual freedom: “ Russell admitted that he could not live as22232425
  7. 7. 7though ethical values were simply a matter of personal taste, and that he thereforefound his own views ‘incredible.’ ‘ I do not know the solution, ’ he confessed. "26 But what of Russell’s claim that religion is simply the result of primal irrationalfear ? Arnold Weigel shows the weakness of Russell’s argument here, for he commits the“ sociological fallacy” when he attempts to explain the nature of religion merely by itsaccidental functions in society.27 Russell, in the words of our old philosophy teacher,Mel-Thomas Rothwell, “ tried to pull a fast one,” by substituting the force of adescriptive statement for that of a normative definition. 28 So, when Russell asserts thatall religious beliefs are grounded in fear, he has not actually evaluated the validity ofbelief, he has only described a condition which sometimes accompanies it. Theuniversality of his claim is initially suspect, but more importantly, he does notdistinguish carefully among various kinds of fear, some of which have survival value.During the twentieth century, William James, Elton Trueblood, and Mortimer J. Adler,to name only three individuals, have written much on the value of certain sensitivetemperaments to religious truth and insight. While one might not be strongly inclined tobuild a case for God from experiences and religious convictions alone, neither shouldfaith be classified as childish fear or primitive superstition. Many people in the twentiethcentury (including Russell at times) have feared a nuclear holocaust. One would berather foolish to assert that the character of individuals’ fears would disprove thepotential existence of a planetary conflagration. One may wish to grant to Russell that the existence of God cannot be provenmathematically or as an absolutely indubitable conclusion by deductive reasoning. Yetsuch an objection is really a straw man. Even if Russell had proven that all thetraditional “proofs of God’s existence” were fallacious, he has not, as such destroyed thetruth or reality of what those arguments reference.29 This is the position of the Reformedphilosopher Alvin Plantinga, who argues that the reason why humanists andnaturalistic thinkers deny knowledge of God is that their cognitive or epistemologicaldispositions make it impossible; sin has clouded the human mind (our "noeticstructure"[Plantinga]) so that unregenerate men deny the truth (Romans 1:20 ff.). 30 Ifman could demonstrate God with his limited and sinful capacities, there would bereason to doubt that it was the infinite, sovereign, and transcendent God of the Bible.Blaise Pascal, who was French Jansenist and an apologist for Christianity in theseventeenth century wrote in his Pensees: " the heart has its reasons which reason doesnot know . . . . It is the heart which experiences God, and not the reason. " Perhaps Pascaloverstated himself, for reason (even as Luther reluctantly acknowledged) has a role inanalyzing revelation and even in spiritual knowledge, but a saving knowledge of thepersonal God certainly does not come via rationalism. This is why Protestant theologiansand philosophers have had problems with the traditional Aristotelian-Thomistic2627282930
  8. 8. 8"proofs" for Gods being. But, Bertrand Russell would certainly be example of anautonomous man who desired to have a God who would fit his own sinful reason. On the other hand, sheer rationalism being put aside, Christian apologists in thelate twentieth century have argued that atheistic Naturalism cannot stand up against themassive evidences and probabilities that the Universe is not self-caused or self-explanatory. Ronald Nash thus concludes: . . . Even if we should discover that some--or even all--theistic arguments fail as proofs for Gods existence, they may still be useful insofar as they function as evidence or grounds for belief. An argument may provide reasons that support belief, even though they fall short of being a proof. Even if various arguments for Gods existence arenot sound, they may still draw attention to things like order and purpose that compliment and support the believers conviction that God exists. In other words, even if an argument fails as a proof, it may still function as evidence or a justifying ground that can help trigger belief.31 One problem Christian theologians and philosophers have faced in respondingto skeptical worldviews like that of Bertrand Russell is that it has been assumed that onemust only trust deductive arguments for theism; inductive arguments have often beensuspected since they only lead to a high probability of objective certainty. Atheists("atheologians") have often scorned the latter type of reasoning while insisting that thedeductive case for God is unsound or fallacious. But some very hardworking Christianphilosophical apologists in recent times have successfully challenged this rigid andprejudicial stance. For example, the British philosopher Richard Swinburne, admits thatthere are "valid deductive arguments to the existence of God. . . [but] they start frompremises which are far from generally accepted. "32 It is also clear (as Nash shows) thatSwinburnes accumulation of inductive evidences are not the "leaky buckets" thatatheistic philosophers like Bertrand Russell, and more recently Anthony Flew, wouldhave people believe.33 When people leave the ivory tower of abstract logical speculationand enter the real world of the hard sciences, criminal law, and moral thinking, severalconsistent circumstantial facts and limited causes are decisive. Lee Harvey Oswald didshoot John Kennedy and George Bush was elected President by a narrow margin inFlorida in the fall of 2000. Likewise, the explanatory justification for theism is not basedon one narrowly conceived deductive proof, but upon a massive cumulative casederived from true observations about man, the universe, and spiritual experience.Christians believe too, that the Word of God has come among us sinners to interpretthese things (Proverbs 8:22 ff.; Isaiah 48:12-17; John 1:1-14,18; Colossians 2:2,3). Here oneshould heed Professor Nashs important distinction between "scientific" and "personal"explanations (a la Richard Swineburne): " The paradigm of scientific explanation is theway various phenomena are explained in physics. A personal explanation, in contrast, is313233
  9. 9. 9one where the phenomena are explained in terms of some rational agents intentionalaction. One good place to see personal explanations in action is in history." 34 Swinburnemakes the relevant comparison: When a detective argues from various bloodstains on the woodwork, fingerprints on the metal, Smiths corpse on the floor, money missing from the safe, Joness having much extra money to -- Joness having intentionally killed Smith and stolen his money, he is arguing to an explanation of the various phenomena in terms of the intentional action of a rational agent. Since persons are paradigm cases of rational agents, I will term explanation in terms of the intentional action of a rational agent personal explanation. . . . . when a theist argues from phenomena such as the existence of the world or some feature of the world to the existence of God, he is arguing . . . to an explanation of the phenomena in terms of the intentional action of a person [i.e.,God] . . . . A theistic explanation is a personal explanation. It explains phenomena in terms of the action of a person.35 Before proceeding to the crucial matter of the Cosmological evidences for Godsreality, it should be noted (in a Francis Schaefferish manner) that Bertrand Russellexhibited a strange contradiction here as elsewhere. According to his own daughter,Katharine (Russell) Tart, Russell remained all his life a passionate lonely man whodesperately sought certainty and truth. She provocatively states: " Do we have a freewill ? He said no writing philosophy, but acted yes and wrote yes when his moralpassions were enraged. Is there progress in the world ? He might say no and make funof the sillier versions of it, but he acted yes and based his life of hope on it. "36 The classic modern confrontation on the Cosmological argument for God camein the 1948 debate between Father Frederick Copleston and Bertrand Russell broadcastby the BBC. During the course of that debate Russell lodged three objections to theThomistic form of the argument which Copleston very ably defended.37 Russellsessential objections are as follows: * There is no intelligible form of necessity other than logical truth. * There is no reason to suppose that any such thing as the "universe" exists. * Even if there were such a thing as the "universe", our empirical knowledge gives us no good reason to assume that it has a cause.38 Coplestons reply to Russells evasions immediately gets to the heart of thematter:3435363738
  10. 10. 10 Well, the series of events is either caused or its not caused. If it is caused, there must obviously be a cause outside the series. If its not caused then its sufficient to itself, and if its sufficient to itself it is what I call necessary.But it cant be necessary since each member is contingent, and weve agreed that the total is no reality apart from its members, therefore it cant be necessary. Therefore, it cant be . . . . uncaused -- therefore it must have a cause. And I should like to observe in passing that the statement " the world is simply there and is inexplicable " cant be got out of logical analysis.39 Philosopher Robert C. Koons has written that " Almost fifty years later, Russellsobjections seem quite dated, dependent on a form of logical empiricism that has notweathered the intervening years well. The logic and metaphysics of possibility andnecessity have proved to be a fruitful and rich area of investigation. "40 Koons furtherexplains: Cosmology--the study of the universe as a whole--has matured and gained respectability. The notion of causation has taken root once again within philosophy, proving to be indispensable to recent advances in semantics, epistemology and cognitive science. The theory reasoning with and about causation has advanced far in recent years, resulting in a growing body of knowledge about so-called defeasible or nonmonotonic inference systems. The time has come to take a new look at the cosmological argument, in light of the recent recovery within philosophy of so much of the classical elements of metaphysics.41 William Craig, who has been cited before, has found the CosmologicalArgument, especially in Kalam form (for a temporal first cause of the universe) to becompelling. Craig, a noteworthy Christian theologian and apologist, has brilliantlydefended this argument in two of his books and in face-on debate with atheistphilosopher Quentin Smith.42 As with Professors Swinburne and Koons, Craig insiststhat both vigorous philosophical reasoning and scientific evidence establish that theuniverse began to exist. Thus, his argument may be formulated: 1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause. 2. The universe began to exist. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.43 He furthermore states , " Philosophical analysis reveals that such a cause musthave several of the principal theistic attributes." Craig is required first to defend thenotion of "cause" against Quentin Smith (who reasons much like Bertrand Russell did3940414243
  11. 11. 11against Copleston) and the objections of J.L. Mackie to creation ex nihilo (who demandsan a priori justification of the first premise). The second premise actually contains threesupporting philosophical notions which Craig shows can be scientifically supported bycurrent astrophysics and cosmology. These steps are: 1. An actually infinite number of things cannot exist. 2. A beginningless series of events in time entails an actually infinite numbers of things. 3. Therefore, a beginningless series of events in time cannot exist. Professor Craig uses the famous illustration of "Hilberts Hotel" by Germanmathematician to reveal to the absurdity of "an infinite number of members. "44 Thesecond point naturally follows, for if the universe never began to exist, then the series ofevents would be infinite, a sheer impossibility. The third point is a necessary logicalinference from the first two premises. Our apologist then outlines in another threefoldanalytic discussion how an actually infinite collection of things cannot be formed byadding one member after another.45 Craigs next move is one of confirmation where heanalyzes the recent astrophysical claims raised by Edwin Hubble and others (the "BigBang Model") to the effect that the universe is finite and has a beginning ( about fifteenbillion years ago !?). He cites various astrophysicists (Allan Sandage, P.C.W. Davies, etal.) to arrive at the obvious conclusion: "So what the Big Bang model implies is that theuniverse had a beginning and was created out of nothing. "46 As Craig demonstratesover and over again, various objections and alternatives brought forward to refute thefact of a beginning for the physical universe themselves fail logically and empirically.47Stephen Hawking, who brings forth one of these alternatives, is not oblivious to thetheistic/atheistic issues involved in his explanations. He acknowledges readily: The idea that space and time may form a closed surface without boundary . . . has profound implications for the role of God in the affairs of the universe . . . . So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning or end. What place, then, for a creator ?48 Craig does not attempt technical criticism of Hawkings physics or mathematics,but he does correctly observe that Hawkings quantum cosmology (like B. Russellsobjections to the F. Copleston) is rife with unexamined and unproven philosophicalassumptions. It is not a realistic scientific explanation of the actual universe; in the end itis an evasion of the obvious implied need for a Creator (Craig also quotes from the late4445464748
  12. 12. 12Sir Herbert Dingle that what is mathematically cogent is by no means necessary ofphysical reality).49 Finally, the notion of the universes beginning derives formidableconfirmation from the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which indicates that the totalenergy of the cosmos is running down; therefore, at some remote point in the past itmust have been full potential, i.e., it started.50 The essay may seemed to have strayed from an analysis of Bertrand Russell, butthe weakness of his objections to the Cosmological Argument should now be obvious.Craig, Koons, and Swinburne (who represent a contemporary wave of believingscholars) provide ample evidence that the doctrine of special creation makes sense, butonly if there is a supernatural or transcendent Creator. Religious options in the worldare severely reduced to monotheistic religions, and Christianity stands peerlessly(excepting only Judaism) as an explanation; naturalism and atheism becomes a merelysubjective rebellion. Correlated to this conclusion is the nature and purpose of life onearth and intelligence in the universe (which links to the Teleological Argument tofollow). Scientific evidence here favors the philosophical drift of theism, and the wholetheoretical construct of the "Anthropic Principle " (Barr and Tipler, Paul Davies, et al. )speaks to the magnificent planning and providential care of a Personal Creator and istheologically suggestive of Genesis 1 and Proverbs 8.51 Here again Bertrand Russellsnihilistic picture of the world (on the basis of his now discredited Naturalisticworldview) now appears powerless against the notion of a First Personal Cause. Thereare those, like Professor Adolf Grunbaum and Richard Dawkins, Russells spiritualgrandchildren who continue to raise objections to the notion of cause (that it isequivocal, and that there is one single conscious Creator/Cause). Yet, Craig shows that,like other kinds of misunderstandings and evasions, Grunbaums objections are merely asemantic and attitudinal refusal to acknowledge a transcendent cause for the time-bound contingent world.52 All of this shows practically that Bertrand Russells cockyrebuttal of the Cosmological argument (based on the example of John Stuart Mill) about" Who made God ? " is really an empty endeavor to avoid the testimony of the createdworld to the "invisible qualities and power of God." (Romans 1:19,20). The previous discussion leads naturally into Russells objections to theTeleological Argument, or as it is frequently known today, as "The Argument fromDesign." In " Why I Am Not A Christian, " he first attacks the belief that "natural law"was the regular expression of Gods will, but then he turns to an attack on the notionthat design (purpose) in the universe necessitates a Designer. He avoids the parodies ofVoltaire about the argument (just barely), but he asserts that because of the Darwiniantheory of evolution that we now " understand much better why living creatures areadapted to them environment."53 His key statement is " It is not that their environmentwas made to be suitable to them but that they grew to be suitable to it., and that is the4950515253
  13. 13. 13basis of adaptation. There is no evidence of design about it. "54 Somehow, ignoring themore obvious logical inferences from Darwinian "struggle for survival," Russellaccomplishes (or, imagines that he succeeds) in placing the responsibility for evil andcruelty in the world on God. Somehow, in his mind, if one believed in Gods design(even theistic evolution!), God had only managed to produce racism (the Ku Klux Klan,the Nazis, etc.). Ironically, he seemed depressingly able to accept at that the universewas headed for ultimate death, decay, and dissolution -life was only a transientphenomena. But was his dismissal of design philosophically and scientifically justified ? We have already seen that Russells objections to the Cosmological evidences forGod do not hold water, but neither does his purposeless naturalistic evolutionism. Notonly is there the classic case made for a goal-oriented reality in the Greek philosophers(Plato, Aristotle, etc.), Thomas Aquinas and the Medievals, Leibniz, etc., but the lateeighteenth-century was marked by the careful argumentation of William Paley(Cambridge: Natural Theology, 1802). William Craig has observed that despite twentiethcentury snubs, Paleys massive accumulation of catalogued evidences of fortuitouspatterns in nature impressed even Victorian rationalists like Leslie Stephen. Moreimportantly, Paley wrote after David Humes critique of the Teleological Argumentand , in many ways, dealt it lethal blows.55 It is also clear from Craigs depiction of hisfamous "watchmaker argument", that Humes objections to theistic purpose and designcannot be sustained by what is actually known in the artifices and contrivances ofphysical and biological mechanisms.56 Craig concludes : " . . . Each machine in theinfinite series evidences the same design, and its is irrelevant whether one has ten, athousand, or an infinite number of such machines -- a designer is still needed. " RichardSwineburne also weighs in against Hume and in behalf of Paley: " The dissimilaritiesbetween the natural world and the effects which men produce are indeed striking; butthe similarities between these are also, I have been suggesting, striking -- in both there isthe conformity of phenomena to a simple pattern of order detectable by men. "57 For the Christian who reads the writings of Russell and other Naturalisticphilosophers, it is clear that in the realm of worldviews that there really only exists twoultimate Cosmic creation stories (or in the neutral sense "myths"). The first one is that ofthe Naturalists who believe that mere chance (or, Chance) explains the origin and causalstructure of the universe, that all of physical space-time events and life andconsciousness on this earth is the result of a blind, purposeless force. The other view(which some might call "myth", incorrectly) is that from the beginning much more thanmere statistical coincidences and mindless necessity has been at work. This view posits acreative intelligence and a personal cause for the physical and living world. ForChristians, we are more happily certain and specific: we are struck by the analogybecause the universe is designed to reflect the analogs of an Infinite-Personal Mind, ourCreator God. But, as Robert C. Koons has perceptively stated:54555657
  14. 14. 14 It is one of the ironies of history that the devotees to the first myth have claimed the authority of Science for their doctrines, attributing all conviction attached to the competing myth to dogma dogma, wishful thinking, and a variety of psychopathologies. In fact, there is nothing especially scientific about the first myth: it antedates science by millennia, being one of the first explanations (or pseudo-explanations) of the cosmos. It is the second myth that has far greater claim to the allegiance of Science, both because it was first formulated at the inception of science in antiquity, and also because it fostered intelligibility of the universe. Pierre Duhem and Alfred North Whitehead have both argued persuasively that it is not an accident that the scientific revolution of the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries occurred in Christian Europe, where the second myth had become for the first time deeply rooted in a societys worldview.58 Strict believers in the inspiration of Holy Scripture have always rejected theDarwinist model of science and evolutionary paradigm of biology. But Creationism andBible beliefs in general were never an optional part of Bertrand Russells noetic world.Russell displayed his arrogance here in that he made a very bad scientific theory and anideologically loaded worldview the major basis of his self-defense against God. WhileDarwinism and Neo-Darwinism held sway in much of the later nineteenth century and,sadly, through the twentieth, noteworthy voices of dissent were sounded. However,until the late 1970s or even the mid-1980s, many of the individual scientists andphilosophers (most of whom were Christians) were simply viewed as backward oreccentric "Bible-thumpers "59. Yet, this sporadic dissent became a major wave ofpublished literature and prominent organizations in the 1980s, becoming public aboutthe same time as the cultural revolution and freedom movements in Eastern Europewhich overturned Marxism as a politic and a predominant worldview. Creationists in asense had been "underground" for nearly a century, but with the emergence of the"Intelligent Design" movement, a new breed of scientifically oriented believer in Godcame out of the closet. Beginning with the research on biological origins by CharlesThraxton, Walter Bradley, Michael Denton, Dean Kenyon, A-E Wilder Smith andothers,60 this movement grew and gained intellectual and spiritual allegiance from manydiverse fields and personalities. No longer was it merely a question of the Genesisaccount as science (although many held to this); these scholars began to critiqueDarwinism on purely factual and methodological grounds and they found it aninadequate framework for biology. Those such as Michael Behe, William Dembski,Phillip Johnson, Stephen Meyer, Paul Nelson, and Jonathan Wells set forth a positivephilosophical and scientific research program which better explained the marvelouscomplexity and purposefulness of life. William Dembski defines this theory and thisapproach as follows: " Intelligent Design begins with the observation that intelligentcauses can do things which undirected natural causes cannot. Undirected natural causescan place scrabble pieces on a board, but cannot arrange the pieces as meaningful words585960
  15. 15. 15or sentences. To obtain a meaningful arrangement requires an intelligent cause."61Morevover, as Dembski and others have admitted, the Intelligent Design movementowes much to the arguments already put forth by William Paley in 1802. Thisteleological understanding of organisms and living systems which had adherents in thewings of the scientific academy now came more into the mid-stream, effectivelychallenging the dominance of atheistic naturalism and its Darwinian propagandists.Well-defined observations and rigorous mathematical methods have now been used todetect and interpret features in the world transcending undirected natural causes and tooutline informational pathways which are indirect testimony to purposeful mechanisms.Now, Intelligent Design is not specifically a religious view (although it freely allows forit), nor does it presuppose miracles. Yet, it allows for and is consistent with "naturaltheology" and even revealed theology. In essence, according to Dembski and PhillipJohnson, it is a research program which " detects intelligence without speculating aboutthe nature of the intelligence. "62 The key point here is that Intelligent Design entails that naturalism in all forms istaboo. Thus, Russells confidence in the inviolability of Darwinian evolutionism wasmisplaced, and his snobbery toward Christians and other theists was another attack on astraw man. He was living with a naturalistic "hangover" (a C.S. Lewis phrase ) whichcharacterizes those who cannot see the work of God because they will not. And, contraryto the pontifical proclamations of "metaphysical hyper-Darwinists" like Jacques Monod,Sir Richard Dawkins, and Richard Dennett (company the atheistic Russell would haveenjoyed), even a limited randomness in nature (mutations, etc.) is not strictlyinconsistent with the "non-computable" intentions of a Cosmic intelligence. This hasbeen demonstrated by Harvard and MIT mathematicians at the Wistar Institute andprobability theorists such as Hubert Yockey.63 Thus, even molecular biology, theoreticalphysics, and advanced mathematics testify against the arrogance of Bertrand Russell: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom andinstruction " (Proverbs 1:7, NASB).64IV. The Historical Reality of the Incomparable Christ. Bertrand Russells greatest error, however, was his shallow dismissal of thehistorical evidences for the Incarnate Christ. Russell here most clearly reveals his apathyand prejudices: " . . . I do not believe that one can grant either the superlative wisdom orthe superlative goodness of Christ as depicted in the Gospels; and here may I say thatone is not concerned with the historical question. Historically, it is quite doubtful whetherChrist ever existed at all, [italics are ours -JR] and if He did we do not know anythingabout Him, so that I am not concerned with the historical question, which is a very61626364
  16. 16. 16difficult one. "65 One should note too that various persons Christian experience of Christmeant nothing to Russell, and that he totally dismissed the subjective confirmation offaith with smug sarcasm: " I can only speak from observation, not from personalexperience. "66 Thus, unlike many liberal and neo-orthodox theologians (e.g., Barth,Bultmann, Tillich), atheist Russell accepts the "Christ event" neither as an objectivefactual occurrence (Historie), nor as Heilgeschicte,a spiritual "encounter" with aproclaimed past event.67 He is simply ruling out most of the central message of the NewTestament (as J. Jeremias, W. Pannenburg, and George E. Ladd might note!) and yet,ironically, he claims to accept the narrative at face value. This is rather odd. But Russell, due to his excessive rationalism, adamantly refused to see the actualhistorical case the New Testament provides for the "objective, historical truth of theresurrection of the Jesus Christ from the dead"; as Paul wrote, " If Christ was not raised,then our Gospel is void and so is your faith" (I Corinthians 15:14). 68 Recently, a Christianhistorian makes this crucial empirical observation concerning Jesus Messianic claimsand the resurrection: . . . . This Messiah was crucified, an unthinkable occurrence. Had that been the end of Jesus, it is doubtful that messianic assertions would have been made about him, as they undoubtedly were. The "tremendous confirmatory event" of his bodily resurrection coupled with his own messianic/filial consciousness as communicated to his associates inspired the spread to this new faith in Jesus as the Messiah. . . .69 However, the skeptics of Christianity is assert that the Bible, particulary the NewTestament, is a historically unreliable source. Yet, numerous cross-examinations of theGospels, for example, have established to most reasonable minds that they areessentially historical documents. Even a generation ago believers could appeal to thejudgments of the those like the late William F. Albright, F.F. Bruce, Birger Gerhardsson,and several other conservative scholars that both the substantial reliability of both theSynoptics and John have been reasonably established against nineteenth-centurytheological liberalism and radical twentieth century form and literary criticism. But inthe 1980s and 1990s in response to Gnostic re-interpretations of Christianity and the so-called "Jesus Seminar" much new work was done toward confirming the historicalauthenticity and reliability of the records of Christ. Thus Craig Blomberg in a scholarlysurvey a few years ago suggested that various theories of the New Testament criticism,the formation of the Gospels and Acts, and many questions about the historical accuracyof the Gospel narratives have only strengthened the case for them. He notes, "In everycase it has been concluded that an even-handed treatment of the data does not lead to adistrust of the accuracy of the gospels in what they choose to report, even though many6566676869
  17. 17. 17might wish they had reported more or related what they did in a more precise fashion."70 The general consensus is that the Gospels were composed from ca. 55 to 90 A.D. atthe latest, and that they were controlled by living eye-witnesses who had known Jesus inthe flesh and who had reliable information about the real facts about His life, death, andresurrection. Again, Professor Blomberg suggests that minor discrepancies or evenoccasional historical "errors" (from the modern perspective) do not place the Gospel inthe category of fiction, legend, or myth.71 Finally, the concerted attempts of radical fringescholarship and media "history" to reinterpret the Gospels in the light of everythingfrom Ancient Cynicism to New Age Gnostic Feminism has constituted a weird buttotally unsupportable fad of the late twentieth century.72 It is in these ancient records, which are incidentally the best attested documentsfrom the classical world in terms of the textual accuracy and external documentaryevidence, that we discover Jesus Christ.73 There we see, as John W. Montgomery hasfrequently pointed out, "Jesus exercises divine perogatives and claims to be God inhuman flesh; and he rests his claims on his forthcoming resurrection. "74 One of the keyreasons that the unbelieving Jewish Sanhedrin put Christ to death is found in Hispredictions of His death and resurrection in Jerusalem: " Destroy this temple, and inthree days I will raise it up " (John 2:19). In Mark 2:1-12 Jesus forgives sins (in one ofmany examples) which made Him enemies among the Jewish authorities who believedthat they controlled Gods grace. Then in other passages such as Matthew 11:27ff.;16:13-17; John 10:30; 12:45; and 14:6-10, Jesus asserts His unique personal relation to theFather. And despite the quibblings of some Biblical scholars about non-normative uses,when the Gospel writers apply Kyrios (the term for "LORD" in the Septuagint [LXX]) toJesus it is critical as it was translation equivalent to Adonai and Yahweh, the Hebrewdesignations for Deity.75 Bertrand Russell, naturally, discounted the New Testament reports of thesupernatural aspects of Jesus life, playing off differences between Catholic andProtestant views of providence and natural law.76 Russells antisupernaturalism has beenaccepted as a standard a priori of many of his philosophical disciples, but theresurrection event of Christ cannot be summarily dismissed as he imagined. John W.Montgomery, following the lead of C.S. Lewis Miracles has shown that Russellsarguments depend on the validity of David Humes objections (based on the "uniformexperience of the past") which turn out lack validity.77 Miracles are impossible only ifone so defines them (as in the loaded definition "violations of Natural Law ") and refusesto allow impartial study of them.78 But the very existence of Christianity, is as Paul707172737475767778
  18. 18. 18Barnett and C.F.D. Moule proposed, itself a miracle. Even though historical research cannever supply more than "probalistic" evidence, many practical decisions in life and mostserious moral choices are based on such reasonable risks. True, Christianity is notsubject to a geometrical, logical demonstration, yet it is based on fact and its claims forJesus person and work are grounded in historic truth. Faith is not a blind leap ofignorance, but it is a risky adventure based on ancient documents of those whopersonally knew Christ.79 No one is forced to endure this adventure, but there are solid,eternal rewards for doing so (John 14:6; Hebrews 11:1ff.). Russells prejudices against theexistence of God and the miracles and Deity of Christ have no ground if a resurrectionoccurred on Easter, 33 A.D. If that event is historical fact, Jesus Christs authority overall things is assured (Matthew 28:19-20; John 20:30,31).80 As we pass over this point, we might note that the recent archaeologicaldiscovery of the ossuaries of Joseph Caiaphas and James, the brother of Jesus inJerusalem, together with the New Testament witness and Josephus, should put an end tothe claim that Jesus never existed. He did exist, His life was known, and His death isrecorded and confirmed in countless ways. The crucial issues are "who" he was andwhether or not he rose from the dead. Gary Habermas has carefully analyzed forty-fivesources in which eighteen record the resurrection with eleven more provide relevantfacts that even critical scholars must acknowledge. Thus, avers Habermas, we arrive atthree major categories of strong evidence of the resurrections historicity. 81 Here hissummary is useful for drawing this long essay to an eventual conclusion: (1) First, alternative theories that have been hypothesized by the critics to explain the resurrection on naturalistic grounds have failed to explain the data and are refuted by the facts. Combinations of these theories also fail on these grounds . . . . (2) . . . Second, even the accepted historical facts alone provide at least nine historical evidences for the resurrection, as enumerated above. In particular, that this event was reported early (probably in the AD 30s) by the very eyewitnesses who attested seeing the risen Christ (especially 1 Cor. 15:3ff. and the Acts creeds) is extremely strong evidence in favor of the literal resurrection . . . . (3) . . . Third, even if we were to utilize only the four minimal historical facts that are accepted by virtually all scholars who deal with this issue, we still have a significant basis on which to refute the naturalistic theories and provide the major evidences for the resurrection. The primary strength of these four facts is that they have been established by critical methodology and thus cannot be rejected by those who have doubts concerning other issues such as Scripture . . . . In the earliest church, the resurrection served the purpose of confirming Jesuss Christs message and providing the basis for the truth of the Christian message.8279808182
  19. 19. 19 Bertrand Russell, the never-yielding skeptic still has four lesser grounds forobjection to the perfection and wisdom of Christ. These may be listed as follows: 1. Russell severely criticizes the notion of " the immortality of the soul, " because he rejected the notion that mans "mental life" could continue apart from the physical body. (He believed this immortality "natural" to man himself ). 2. Russell rejected the "Christian hope" of immortality /resurrection as being too "individualistic ". 3. Russell rejected the idea that Christ was the wisest and best of men, because he has reasoned that Christ made two serious moral and spiritual blunders: (1) He miscalculated His second coming; and (2) He believed in hell and spoke of the "damnation in hell" of unrepentant sinners, i.e., those who refuse to trust in the Gospel. 4. Finally, Russells delightfully attacks several moral inconsistencies of the Christian Church and he argues that the Church has historically resisted real "progress" and has not played a significantly positive role in the civilization aspect of the West. The first point simply reveals that Russell looked at Christianity with a Greek orWestern mindset and did not understand the Biblical-Hebraic understanding of the soul.For the writers of the Bible the "soul" was not simply equivalent to mans "mental life", itwas the animating principle of the whole psycho-physical unity of man. Thus from theBiblical viewpoint, mere immortality of the spirit (or an "afterlife") would be insufficient;Biblical writers rejected anthropological dualism because their hope for future life waswholistic.83 Most importantly, for Christian believers, there is no intrinsic nature in manhimself which guarantees immortality, it is the gift of God in creation and the guaranteeof the Gospel that reassures him of this hope through Jesus Christ. 84 From the NewTestament perspective man has a foretaste of Gods world to come and everlasting lifenow because Jesus has already conquered sin and death in His resurrection (John 5:26;6:50; 11:26ff.; Romans 6:6-12; 23). Therefore, contra Russell, immortality is neither avacuous fantasy nor a natural condition of fallen man, it is a certain future hope squarelygrounded in Christs victory over powers of death and evil - it is gifted to the believer byfaith and the new birth (John 3:5ff.; 6:48-58; 17:3; 6:21-22; 8:12-25; I Corinthians 15:20-28;II Corinthians 5:17-18; etc.). Oscar Cullmann, a German New Testament scholar, hascorrectly called this "conditional immortality" and speaks of Christs resurrection as the"decisive victory already accomplished . . . but the not-yet-consummated victory at theend [of time]."85 As long as a man lives on this earth, by Gods grace he may trustfullydecide for this immortality. Yet, at the Final Judgment (Matthew 25; John 5:25-29;Romans 14:7-12; I Timothy 1:8-12; Hebrews 4:27-28; 12:24-29; II Peter 3:10-15; andRevelation 20:11-15), all the dead will be raised and mans eternal destiny fixed. ForChristians, the hope is for glorious resurrected bodies (holistic salvation) like that ofChrists own resurrected "body" in a New Creation. Moreover, Paul and the otherwriters of the New Testament constantly emphasis the corporate social nature of the838485
  20. 20. 20Church together with its mission and hope; it is not merely an "eternal insurance policy"for individuals, but it leads to a concern for all mankind and the redemptive ethicswhich affect the world (see, e.g., Mark 9:42-48; Matthew 5:29-30; Luke 17:1,2; Romans12;1,2; and 14:7ff.). Bertrand Russell clearly did not understand the "Christian hope" norits ethics, and his anemic broadsides against Christianity here have little relevance.Granted, the future resurrection and New Creation is a matter of faith; yet, it is notblind faith because it is grounded in the certainty of Jesus Christs historic atoning deathfor Adams children and in His certain defeat of death and Sin that brought it into theworld. Now to Russells third and fourth objections. As much as Christians love C.S.Lewis, his view that Christ "accomodated" himself to the human ignorance of His timesis not the best point of Lewiss famous essay, The Worlds Last Night86. John Montgomeryunderscores the point that this would leave much of what Jesus claimed for himself andHis teaching vulnerable to attack from disbelief. What Jesus meant in passages such asMatthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 must be carefully exegeted in the Greek and its Jewishapocalyptic context must be observed. First, the limitation is one of the Sons yielding tothe Father (Acts 1:7,8) and not intrinsic ignorance or error. Secondly, the chief allegedcontradiction can be cleared up by closer examination of the statements. It is certainlyvery reasonable in case of Matthew 16:28 (where Jesus said that some standing therewould not taste death until the coming of His kingdom) that our Lord was not explicitlyreferring to the end-time Parousia but rather His post-resurrection coming in the poweron the disciples by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. In light of the Greek word heteron (notallon) in John 14:6 and following, it is highly reasonable to think Jesus was here referringto His coming via Holy Spirit with mighty force for the fledgling Church (Acts 2:2, etc.).Other solutions to this Russellian dilemma with both Matthew 16:28 and 24:34 havebeen proposed by the Greek lexicographers Arndt and Gingrich with their study of theGreek word for "generation", genea.87 The contradiction is more apparent than real,especially in view of the fact that the term "Second Coming" (or "Second Advent") is notfound as such in Holy Scripture, which describes several phases of Christs work on theearth in the past, present, and future. Indeed, about the final or eschatological Coming,Christ said that this was in the "knowledge" or authority of the Father. Russellscitations from the Bible are predictably selective and his negative evaluation of them arein line with his pre-conceived humanistic categories. He did not show himself a carefulreader nor interpreter of Christ because his naturalistic prejudices and unregeneratehumanistic pride blinded his understanding. What about Russells objections to hell ? Arnold D. Weigel (whose 1973 paperwe have frequently cited) explains both why humanist Russell could not accept thedoctrine of eternal punishment and his illogic in doing so. His argument, summarized, isas follows:8687
  21. 21. 21 [1.] Russell, however, does not consider . . . [the] important distinction between the ultimate reality of hell and the description of such a place in human terms . . . . From the Christian standpoint, hell is inevitable for the unbeliever but it is not incredible for the believer. [See Matthew 13:41-42 and Luke 12:5, n.b., JR] [2.] . . . .The words which Peter uses [in I Peter 3:9] are " in which spirit"; this would signify that Christ already possessed his glorious spiritual body when he preached even (Gk. kai) to " the spirits in prison, " i.e., to the spirits which had hitherto rebelled against God and refused to listen to His saving Word. J. H.A. Hart, in The Expositors Greek Testament, says the significance of this passage lies in the word "even": Christ preached "even to the typical rebels who had sinned past forgiveness according to pre- Christian notions. " In other words, it is only Christ who can speak of "damnation in hell, " for he alone knows what it is like to be there and he alone has returned to tell us, to forewarn us to seek repentance and forgiveness. [3.] Russell says he wishes to take Jesus as he appears in the primary records; what al- ternative does he have then but to accept Jesus as he truly appears in the Gospels ? . . . Not without reason,as Philip Schaff has pointed out in The Creeds of Christendom, has the doctrine of hell been accepted for centuries by the Christian Church.88 We have already shown that Bertrand Russells attempt to judge God by anexternal ethical standard (based on naturalism?) is logically invalid. For whateverhumanistic canon of reason Russell can set up, the Infinite God and the ResurrectedChrist can known down. As the Psalm 2 suggests, God and His Messiah laugh at punyhuman attempts to dethrone the Almighty. And as St. Paul tells us, "O the depth of theriches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments,and his ways past finding out! "89 Finally, we come Russells weakest link, his bitter moral attack on theinconsistent practices of the organized Christian Church. This criticism is rather self-serving because Russell himself knew his own grievous short-comings and he alsoshould have logically distinguished between the validity of the beliefs of Christianityand the infidelity of certain individuals and groups to those same truths. True enough itis that professing ministers and Christians have been disloyal to Christ by theirprostitutions of their calling and shameful lifestyles. But, for example, because Socialismin the last century has been promoted by deception, murder, and persecution, does notinvalidate the ideals of socialism, per se. One needs to show that the beliefs or principlesnecessarily lead to this (which in the case of Russian and Chinese Communism, theyhave!). The world was imperfect and full of hypocrisy in the Medieval era to be sure, butthe humanism of the last century has seen a holocaust in human lives of the hundreds ofmillions!8889
  22. 22. 22 ************ Contrary to what Russell alleges, the Christian Church, particularlyProtestantism since the sixteenth century, has greatly affected world civilization andbrought numerous social and spiritual benefits besides eternal salvation. The lateKenneth S. Latourette, the Yale missionary scholar of Christianity absolutely refutesRussells charges in his classic, A History of the Expansion of Christianity.90 In an articlewritten several years ago, he noted that never before had the Christian faith been asaccepted as it is in modern times.91 Surely, not all the people who have embraced theChristian faith in the last century have not been morally degenerate or intellectuallyincapacitated ? Evangelists such as Billy Graham, Luis Palau, Ravi Zacharias, and JohnStott have had many distinctive conversions and won adherents from many of theintellectual caste. More than that Christian sociologists have marshalled incrediblemasses of evidence of the moral transformation of societies that are fervently andevangelically Christian.92 Christianity is responsible for founding more hospitals,schools, universities, charitable agencies of mercy, etc. than any other religion orhumanistic agency in history. John Wesley and William Wilberforce were ferventChristians against slavery; Martin Luther King, Jr. was a black Baptist preacher whoinspired much of the gains of civil rights in the 1960s; William Carey helped to end theevil practices of suttee in nineteenth-century Hindu India; in the twentieth centurypeople like Gladys Alyward, James Elliott, Mother Teresa, and Franklin Graham havebrought aid and the Gospel of release and freedom to many in darkness, slavery, andmisery. Russells focus is very narrow and selective. Russell seemed to sense no apparentirony in his own judgment of Christs wisdom and Christian ethics. The Church hasseldom been perfect at her best, yet Russells arguments fail both empirically andlogically to snuff out the fact that the Light of the World shines through her. V. Christian Supernaturalism vs. Rationalism Essentially, Bertrand Russell rejected Christianity because he believed stronglyin another religion, i.e., rationalistic humanism. This religion emphasized mans nativefreedom, human love, and scientific knowledge.93 Of course, the assumption that theworld exists and that man is really free and naturally oriented toward goodness seemsto have escaped the requirement of scientific verification ! Russell appeared to beoblivious to his own faith, but he observed its mottos.949091929394
  23. 23. 23 While most Christians have no problem with the scientific method in normalapplication nor even with a high view of mans created capacities, the placing of Sciencein the temple to worship is another matter. Science itself starts with a priori assumptionsabout reality; it needs faith in the Universe and mans mind to proceed.95 Given itsassumption of real time, space, and matter, and the existence of knowing minds itproceeds with quantitative analysis and testing of phenomena and empirical situations.But the descriptive statements of science can never become prescriptive values exceptthrough philosophical commitments of human persons. The once popularity of neo-Freudianism and the infamous Kinsey reports on American sexual habits are now aspasse as the last years Oprah Winfrey episodes or Larry Springer. Man can make a god outof anything, and turn himself into a devil while proclaiming himself scientific and"enlightened"96. Ironically, most of the witty criticisms which Russell aimed atChristianity can be more readily aimed at the presumptions and the naivetev ofcontemporary rationalism which believes education will save humanity. One of the important lessons of the late twentieth century came with the fall ofMarxist Socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Like Russells rationalistichumanism, Marxism is an ideology of humanism and a political faith with ferventdevotees. In fact, as George Weigel has pointed out, it is a materialistic atheistic form ofthe Christian vision of heaven.97 Yet, as Barbara von der Heydt Elliot has eloquentlynoted : "The reason that Communism collapsed is that Marxism is based on the falsepremise that the nature of man is inherently good and perfectible through humanendeavor, that it is a product of his material surroundings, devoid of transcendence. Buta faith without transcendence often produces tyranny. Indeed, the march of Marxism-Leninism became a violent one, with the Gulag used as the last resort to silence thosewho rejected this worldview."98 While Russell certainly despised Socialism, nearly asmuch as Christianity, he did embrace as a faith Evolutionary humanism in the traditionof C. Darwin, J.H. Huxley, H.G. Wells et al., the utopian dream that a rationalistic elitecould lead the world to a scientific paradise.99 Bertrand Russell, like Nietzsche before him, believed that he could build a newworld with the remedies of free education, pacifism, sexual freedom, one-worldgovernment [?], and unilateral nuclear disarmament. Yet, he only saw the need tochange mens environments, not to change the hearts of men to good.100 Russell ignoredthe most obviously empirical of all Christian doctrines, as G.K. Chesterton remarked, thedoctrine of the wrongness of man. This is the root problem of human beings thatrationalists are anxious to avoid. This is the final reason why Bertrand Russellsproposals to improve the human condition fail; he ignores the basic alienation of manfrom God who made him and who rules the world. It is significant that Russell had a9596979899100
  24. 24. 24childhood upbringing in Unitarianism which rejects the historic Christian creeds and thedeity of Jesus Christ. For the solution both to Bertrand Russells perplexing philosophicalenigmas and his own desires for a truly better world lay not in scientific utopias of theintellectually elite, but rather in the Cross of the One who did actually do somethingeternal for mans lost condition. It is through faith in this sign that true hope comes, andnot the pagan "peace" sign.
  25. 25. 25 Endnotes For Russell Critique.Preface to Why I Am Not A Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (New York:Simon and Schuster Touchstone Books, 1957), p. vii. " I should wish to see a world in whicheducation aimed at mental freedom rather than at imprisoning the minds of the young in a rigidarmor of dogma calculated to protect them through life against the shafts of impartial evidence.The world needs open hearts and open minds, and it is not through rigid systems, whether old ornew, that these can be derived. "2 Preface to Why I Am Not A Christian , pp. v and vi. One must give Russell credit here, he showsno tolerance for falsehood, since he thinks Christianity is provably false.3 Preface, p. v. A paraphrase of his comments in the second paragraph .4 Essay, " Why I Am Not A Christian, " p. 19. Arnold D. Weigel has another quotation which isalso quite interesting, " There is a second less powerful reason, which is the wish for safety, asort of feeling that there is a big brother who will look after you. " ([Russell],p. 14). This citation isfrom Weigels essay, " " A Critique of Bertrand Russells Religious Position. " In John WarwickMontgomery, ed., Christianity For The Tough-Minded: Essays in Support of an Intellectually DefensibleReligious Commitment (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany Fellowship, 1973).5 " Why I Am Not A Christian, " p. 22. This constitutes one of the major concluding paragraphs ofRussells essay and well summarizes both his humanist and his humanitarian impulses. It alsoreveals his dependence on Voltaire, F. H. Huxley, L. Feuerbach, and F. Nietzsche. Russell failedto notice that he had absorbed the radical skepticism and nihilism of the late 19th centuryVictorian and European infidelity - he was himself the product of a deliberate rejection of Divinerevelation and the Gospel. His was not merely a cool rationalism, it was a passionate disbelief inDeity.6 Weigel, Op. Cit. , citing page 23 from his edition. This is also a good summation of the lastsection of Russells essay on p. 23, which has the heading, " What We Must Do. "7 " Why I Am Not A Christian, " , pp. 4-5.8 Ibid ., p. 5. This is actually a gross over-simplification of Aquinas and the other scholasticspositions, but that Aquinas and other Christian philosophers believed in the natural revelation ofGod will be conceded.9 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: The Regency Library, 1988), see chapters II-X. To these might beadded the "Nomological Argument" (Natural Law in the Universe presupposes a MoralLawgiver), and the "Moral Perfection Argument, " (every graduation of moral goodness in theUniverse posits an " ens perfectissimum " which is the ultimate source of goodness or virtue. SeeWeigels list, " Bertrand Russells Religious Position, " p. 39. The references to Aristotle are foundin Richard McKeon, ed. and trans., Introduction to Aristotle (New York: Modern Library, 1947), pp.243-296; Aquinas versions of the Cosmological and Teleological Arguments may be found inAnton C. Pegis, ed., Thomas Aquinas, Basic Writings (2 Vols.; New York: Random House, 1945), I,18-24.10 Cited from John Hick, ed., Classical and Contemporary Readings in the Philosophy of Religion(Second Edition; Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1970), pp. 282, 292.11 " What I Believe, " an essay first published in 1925, and contained in Russells collected essays inWhy I Am Not A Christian , pp. 48-87. The citation is from pp. 50-51. He remarks in the same place," God and immortality, the central dogmas of the Christian religion, find no support in science. Itcannot be said that either doctrine is essential to religion, since neither is found in Buddhism. . . .
  26. 26. 26But we in the West have come to think of them as the irreducible minimum of theology. Nodoubt people will continue to entertain these beliefs, because they are pleasant to think ourselvesvirtuous and our enemies wicked. But for my own part I cannot see any ground for either. " (Ibid.)12 "What I Believe, " pp. 51-53. He further notes, " Metaphysicians have advanced innumerablearguments to prove that the soul must be immortal. There is one simple test by which all thesearguments can be demolished. They all prove equally that the soul must pervade all space. But aswe are not so anxious to be fat as to live long, none of the metaphysicians in question have evernoticed this application of their reasoning. This is an instance of amazing power of desire inblinding even very able men to fallacies which would otherwise be obvious at once. If we werenot afraid of death, I do not believe that the idea of immortality would have ever arisen. " (p. 53).See also Bertrand Russell, Religion and Science (New York: Oxford University Press, 1961), pp.110-143.13 Cited in Arnold D. Weigel, " A Critique of Bertrand Russells Religious Position," p. 40. , cf. "Has Religion Made Contributions to Civilization ? ", pp. 34-35. See also " What I Believe, " pp.72-74 which is an expansion of the extreme individualistic thesis.14 In " What I Believe, " p. 54.15 "What I Believe, " , p 50. A.J. Ayer has a useful summary of Russells theory of the nature of themind based on his primary works in his Bertrand Russell , In Frank Kermodes Series, ModernMasters (New York: The Viking Press, 1972), Pt. IV B, " Russells Conception of Reality : Mindand Matter, " pp. 112-116. See also his " Mind and Matter, " in Protraits from Memory (London:Cambridge University Press, 1956), p. 149, cited in A.J. Ayer, pp. 137-138.16 " Why I Am Not A Christian, " , pp. 14-15. He likes Christs words in Matthew 7:1-5 about "notjudging" and Christs words about giving (lending) to one who asks to borrow (Matthew 5:42 andparallels). Why ?17 Ibid. , pp. 15-16.18 Ibid., pp. 16-17.19 Ibid.20 Ibid., p. 18.21 Ibid., p. 20.22 Ibid, pp. 20-21.23 “ A Free Man’s Worship, “ in Why I Am Not A Christian, p. 107. This whole short essay is avirtual credo of Evolutionary Naturalism and Humanism, see pp. 104-116.24 Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics ( Revised Edition; Wheaton, Illinois: CrosswayBooks, 1994), 64. Craig observes: “ The fundamental problem with this solution, however, is thatit is impossible to live consistently and happily within such a world view. If one livesconsistently, he will not be happy; if he lives happily, it is only because he is not consistent, “Ibid., 65.25 Cf. primarily F. Schaeffer’s classics, The God Who Is There (Downers Grove, Illinois: IntervarsityPress, 1971) and He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers,1973.)26 Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, 66. Craig’s citation if from Bertrand Russell,Letter to the Observer, 6 October 1957. Russell constantly made absolutes out of his relativeNaturalistic values, yet he felt compelled to criticize the established traditions of Westerncivilization and when he decried the evils of Christianity !27 " A Critique of Bertrand Russells Religious Position," p. 42. Weigel cites here the standardhumanist philosophy text by J.H. Randall, Jr. and Justus Buchler, Philosophy: An Introduction (NewYork: Barnes and Noble, 1942), p. 271.
  27. 27. 2728 Dr. Mel-Thomas Rothwell (deceased, 1986), Emeritus Professor of Religion and Philosophy atSouthern Nazarene University. Professor Rothwell was echoing the perceptive analysis of hisinstructor at Boston University, Edgar S. Brightman, on this point. See An Introduction toPhilosophy (Third Revised Edition; New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1963).29 Cf. the statements of Erich Frank, cited by Arnold Weigel, Op.Cit., p. 43: “ . . . The modernphilosopher can never cogently prove the existence of God beyond this world . . . If humanreason tries to transcend the limits of the perceptible world or mathematics . . . its thinking isbound to get entangled in contradictions . . . Rational conclusions are dependent on certainpremises which reason itself is unable to prove. “ Philosophical Understanding and Religious Truth(New York: Oxford University Press, 1952), pp. 38-40. Frank’s statement itself is a littleWittgensteinian and , perhaps, only half the truth. God’s existence is not disproved by the failureof mere human logic, either.30 Cf. Alvin Plantinga, " Reason and Belief in God, " in Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff,eds., Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of NotreDame Press, 1983), pp. 64-66; 72; 89-90, and passim . Plantinga is one of the most productive ofcontemporary Calvinist philosopher-theologians, famous since the 1960s for his book God andOther Minds (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1967). Ronald Nash follows his"presuppositionalist" viewpoint and discusses his views on evidentialism and foundationalism inFaith & Reason : Searching For A Rational Faith, chaps. 6-7, pp. 80-102.31 Faith & Reason : Searching For A Rational Faith, pp. 101-102. In his stated position here Nashfollows the lead of Alvin Plantinga in his many works (see our Bibliography). Nash devoteschapter 8 to a detailed exposition of this position, pp. 105- 120. This writer confesses to not haveread much of Plantinga, as he was brought up a Lutheran and early on impressed with the"evidentialist" approach of Lutheran John Warwick Montgomery and the Baptist scholar andphilosopher Gary R. Habermas.32 The Existence of God (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1979), p. 14, cited in Nash, Faith & Reason :Searching For A Rational Faith, p. 116. Nash follows this by stating, " According to thinkers likeSwinburne, the proper way to argue for Gods existence is to utilize inductive arguments. AsSwinburne explains, an inductive argument is " an argument from premisses to a conclusion inwhich the premisses count in favour of, provide evidence for, the conclusion, without entailing it." The Existence of God, p. 45, cited in Nash, pp. 116-117.33 Cf. Anthony Flew, God and Philosophy (New York: Dell, 1966), pp. 62-63. Nash discussesSwineburnes key caveat about this on pp. 117-118.34 Faith & Reason : Searching For A Rational Faith, p. 119. It will be seen later that Bertrand Russelldisplays his intellectual myopeia here to the highest degree in his equation of Christianity withBuddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Communism (cf. Why I Am Not A Christian , p. xi). On thecontrary, Christian philosopher and historian, John Warwick Montgomery remarks thatChristianity " is the only religion which purports to offer external, objective evidence of itsvitality. All other religions appeal to inner experience without any means of objective validation",The Shape of the Past: Essays in Christian Historiography (" History in Christian Perspective, "; AnnArbor, Michigan: Edwards Brothers, 1962), Vol. I, p. 140.35 Faith & Reason, Ibid. This writer has actually endeavored to read the whole of Swinburneselaborate treatise where he uses confirmatory logical theory. But much of the 291 page book isdifficult because of the symbolic logic and mathematical-like equations. Doubtlessly, BertrandRussell might have appreciated the logical finesse and rigorous steps of inductive analysis here;the rest of us may have to settle for the Swinburnes more plainly stated summaries in regularEnglish prose , Cf. The Existence of God , chap. 7, pp. 131-132.
  28. 28. 2836 Paul C. Vitz, The Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, : The Psychology of Atheism(Dallas, Texas: Spence Publishing Company, 1999), p. 28.37 John Hick, ed., Classical and Contemporary Readings in the Philosophy of Religion (Second Edition;Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1970), pp. 282-301.18 The writer is here drawing, by permission, from a published paper by Robert C. Koons,Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, " A New Look at the CosmologicalArgument, " American Philosophical Quarterly 34: 193-212. Permission to use John Hick, ed., Classical and Contemporary Readings in the Philosophy of Religion , p. 289.40 " A New Look at the Cosmological Argument, " p. 1. The most sophisticated overallpresentation of both the cosmological and teleological arguments are found in William L. Craig,Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics , chap. 3, " The Existence of God, " pp. 125. See alsohis essay, " The Ultimate Question of Origins: God and the Beginning of the Universe, " fromAstrophysics and Space Science 269-270 (1999): 723-740. The intermediate source of this writer wasthe downloaded copy of this same essay from http: // offices/billcraig/docs.41 Ibid., p. 2. Dr. Koons has published several articles in philosophy journals and has written twobooks: Paradoxes of Belief and Strategic Rationality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)and, more recently, Realism Regained (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). Oneof his fields of expertise is theories of causation.42 We are drawing our general thoughts from Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics , pp.90ff. But one should also see The Kalam Cosmological Argument (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1979),and William L. Craig and Quentin Smith, Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (A Debate)(Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1993).43 Ibid., p. 92 . The next quotation is from the same place.44 Ibid., pp. 94-97. Dr. Robert Koons sketches a similar kind of multi-stepped proof in his paper, "A New Look at the Cosmological Argument, " pp. 8-11.45 Ibid., pp. 98-100. Again, he is dealing the objections of J.L. Mackie and responding to questionsraised about infinite set theory by Bertrand Russell.46 Ibid., pp. 100-102. He writes, " Thus, as astronomer Fred Hoyle points out, the Big Bang theoryrequires the creation of the universe from nothing. This is because as one goes back in time, onereaches a point at which, in Hoyles words, the universe was shrunk down to nothing at all. " (p.102).47 He considers the steady-state model, the oscillating universe ( a view popular with Carl Sagan of"Cosmos"), hot dark matter theories, and cold dark matter theories, etc. on pp. 102-106. On pp. 106-116he responds to theoretical cosmology in the last two or three decades such as the vacuumfluctuation models (Brout and Spindel), the quantum gravity models (the Hartle-Hawking model)[popularized in the Stephen Hawkings Brief History of Time], etc. In the model adopted byHawking, that the universe did not began to exist, the notion of "imaginary time" has to beintroduced into the model.48 A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), p. 140-141, cited in Craig, Ibid.49 Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics , pp. 110-113. Craig shows that Hawkingstheory taken to its logical conclusion undermines the real relations of past, present, and future inthe world and history.50 Ibid., pp 114-116. Here Professor Craig cites the work of physicist, Beatrice Tinsley, " From BigBang to Eternity ? " in Natural History Magazine, October 1975, 103-105.
  29. 29. 2951 Ibid., pp. 118-120. The correlations with Biblical revelation is amazing here and seems to beunforced and "natural" in light of the many strands of evidence from the "fit" of the universe tohuman life and spirit.52 Ibid., pp. 118-122.53 Why I Am Not A Christian, pp. 7-11. Russells confidence in the scientific credibility of Darwinismand evolutionary progress seems hard to justify in light of his philosophical skepticism aboutcauses and knowledge of the remote past.54 Ibid., p. 10. Perhaps, as Paul Johnson implies, Russells loose regard for marriage and hispredatory sexual practices are evidences of just how much he absorbed of Darwinian thinkingand his consistent naturalistic ethics. See Johnsons Intellectuals (New York: Harper & RowPublishers, 1988), pp. 212-222, passim.55 Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, pp. 85-86.56 Ibid. Here Professor Craig borrows from the close analysis of Frederick Ferre in his positiveIntroduction to Natural Theology Selections by William Paley (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963),pp. xi-xxxii.57 The Existence of God , p. 150. In drawing these conclusions Swinburne makes a vital distinctionbetween " P-Inductive" arguments which a conclusion probable, and " C-Inductive" argumentswhich the premisses add to the probability of the conclusion (making it more likely or moreprobable than it would be otherwise), cf. pp.-6-8. See also the survey of modern discussions ofteleology in Ronald H. Nash, Faith & Reason , ch. 10, pp. 134-142.58 " A New Look at the Cosmological Argument," pp. 22-23. This author does not agree, onhistorical grounds, with Professor Koons that Darwin was a "theist" in any meaningful sense.59 This is in spite of the fact the American Scientific Affiliation, the Creation Research Institute, theBible-Science Association, etc. had several hundred member scientists with earned M.S. andPh.D. credentials! This did not matter, because the other viewpoint was the "scientificestablishment" at the University and government level.60 Please see the books devoted to this subject listed the bibliography of this paper.61 See " The Intelligent Design Movement, " article for March 1, 1998 at . See also the Demskis article, " Intelligent Design as aTheory of Information, " a paper delivered at "Naturalism, Theism, and the ScientificEnterprise" : An Interdisplinary Conference at the University of Texas, February 20-23, 1997.Dembski is the author of several books including The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance ThroughSmall Probabilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), and Mere Creation: Reclaimingthe Book of Nature (Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1998). He has also contributedscores of articles to scholarly journals on the philosophy of science, theology, and mathematics.62 " The Intelligent Design Movement, " p. 3. Dembski adds: " Biochemist Michael Behesirreducible complexity, physicist David Bohms active information, mathematician MarcelSchutzenbergers functional complexity, and my own complex specified information arealternate routes to the same reality. " (Ibid.).63 Summary of some points in Dembski and in Robert Koons, Op. Cit. ,pp. 23-24.64 See also Proverbs 3:19-20 and 8:22ff. The Psalms of Israel in the O.T. are also replete withreferences to Gods eternal wisdom and His design of all things: Psalms 19,71:17-21; 95:1-7; 104;119; 139, etc.65 " Why I Am Not A Christian, " pp. 15-16. Cited previously on p. 14 of this essay. Russell adds, "I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospels, taking the Gospel narrative as it stands,and there one does find some things that do not seem to be very wise. . . ."
  30. 30. 3066 From a short essay, " Religion and Morals, " written in 1952. This is contained in Why I Am NotA Christian, p. 205 Russell snickers at the connection between faith and morals: " Intelligence isimpeded by any creed, no matter what; and kindness is inhibited by the belief in sin andpunishment (this belief, by the way, is the only one that the Soviet Government has taken overfrom orthodox Christianity" (Ibid.)67 Cf. Robert Scharlemann, " Shadow on the Tomb, " in Dialog: A Journal of Theology, I (Spring,1962), 23 cited in John Warwick Montgomery, ed., Christianity For The Tough-Minded, p. 44.68 See again, John Warwick Montgomery, The Shape of the Past , p. 138. See also the comments ofC.F.D. Moule, Greek Classicist and New Testament Scholar at Cambridge in his marvelousmonograph, The Phenomenon of the New Testament (London: SCM Press, 1967) as well as GaryHabermas, The Resurrection of Jesus: An Apologetic (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House,1980), ch. 1," Jesus Resurrection As History," pp. 21-42.69 Paul Barnett, Jesus & The Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times (DownersGrove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1999), p.43. See especially his work, Jesus and the Logic of History(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997).70 The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Leicester, England and Downers Grove, Illinois:Intervarsity Press, 1987), ch. 7, pp. 234-235. See also Bloombergs more recent meticulous andtightly-argued defense of the Fourth Gospel, The Historical Reliability of Johns Gospel: Issues &Commentary (Ibid., 2001). See further the critically sophisticated works of James Charlesworth,Craig Evans, Colin Hemer, and N.T. Wright for representative treatments.71 Ibid. , pp. 235-236 and in the following. This material is also covered in elaborate andpainstaking detail in Donald A. Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (The Master ReferenceEdition, Third Edition; Leicester and Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1990). See alsoR.T. France and David Wenham, Gospel Perspectives I: Studies of History and Tradition in the FourGospels (Sheffield: Journal For the Study of the Old Testament, 1980).72 See Philip Jenkins, Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way (Oxford and New York:Oxford University Press, 2001). See also the historical and philosophical analysis of "skeptical"histories of Jesus, Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ(Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 1996).73 According Kurt Aland in his recent 27th Edition of the Greek New Testament our present criticaltext is virtually the reading of the original autographs. Philip Comfort, an American textual criticand Bible translator, has stated, " One can be assured that most of the wording in the text is whatthe writers of the New Testament actually wrote; and if the editors got it wrong, the correctreading can be found in the critical apparatus ", Essential Guide To Bible Versions (Wheaton,Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2000). See the accounts of Kurt and Barbara Aland, The Text ofthe New Testament (Grand Rapids and Leiden, Netherlands: Eerdmans and E.J. Brill Publishers,1988) and Bruce Metzger, The Text of the New Testament : Its Transmission, Corruption, andRestoration (2nd Edition; Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).74 The Shape of the Past ,p. 139 Montgomery quotes, for example Mark 2:1-12 on Jesus forgivenessof sins and John 10:30 where he claims equality with the Father as examples. Montgomery hastabulated key examples from the entire New Testament in his History and Christianity (DownersGrove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1966).75 Montgomery, The Shape of the Past, pp. 168-169. On the background for this usage see W.T.Manson, The Servant-Messiah (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1957) and Martin Hengel,Jesus As the Son of God: The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion , E.T.(London and Philadelphia: SCM and Fortress Press, 1976).76 In "What I Believe, " in Why I am Not A Christian , pp. 54-55.
  31. 31. 3177 See the works of William Craig, Norman Geisler, Gary Habermas, Walter Kunneth, George E.Ladd, I. Howard Marshall, and Wolfhart Pannenburg listed in our bibliography where these linesof argument are made in extensio78 Montgomery, The Shape of the Past, p. 139. Cf. also C.S. Lewiss classic Miracles : A PreliminaryStudy (New York: Macmillan and Company, 1947).79 Read Montgomerys summary of this point in his Shape of the Past, pp. 139-140.80 We have not attempted to provide the entire New Testament case for the resurrection of Christ,by any means. This argument is made in fine philosophical form in Gary R. Habermass TheHistorical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ , " Appendix 2: An Apologetic Outline," pp.275-286.81 The Historical Jesus, p. 253.82 Ibid., pp. 253-255. In 1987, Professor Habermas successfully argued his case against the famousatheist Anthony Flew in Dallas Texas. See Terry L. Miethe, ed., Did Jesus Rise from the Dead ? TheResurrection Debate with Anthony Flew (New York: Harper & Row, 1987).83 See James H. Burtress, " Immortality and/or Resurrection, " Dialog: A Journal of Theology , I(Spring, 1962), pp. 46-48; and Claude Tresmontant, A Study of Hebrew Thought, trans., Michael F.Gibson (New York: Deselee, 1960), p. 94ff. See also J.A.T Robinson, The Body, A Study in PaulineTheology (London: SCM Press, 1952), and Robert H. Gundrys magisterial study, Soma in BiblicalTheology: With Emphasis on Pauline Anthropology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976).84 Cf. T.A. Kantonen, The Christian Hope (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg [Fortress] Press, 1945), pp.27-28. Kantonens comments here are excellent: " There is no immortality of the soul but aresurrection of the whole person, body and soul, from death. The only immortality which theBible recognizes is the immortality of a personal relationship with God in Christ, " p. 33 (See alsop. 36).85 See Oscar Cullmanns famous work, Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead (London:Epworth Press, 1958), p. 48. For a more contemporary perspective see Pinchas Lapide, TheResurrection of Jesus: A Jewish Perspective (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1983) andUlrich Wilkens, Resurrection, trans. A.M. Stewart (Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press, 1977).86 (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1959), pp. 98-99. For Montgomery, see The Shape ofthe Past, p. 175. Helpful too, is the discussion of Brad H. Young, Jesus the Jewish Theologian(Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1995), ch. 22, pp. 243-252.87 For geneav vs. gevnesia, ejrcovmenon and hJV parousiva see William F. Arndt and F.Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek English- Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature,revised by Frederick R. Danker (Third Revised Edition; Chicago: University of ChicagoPress,2000), pp. 191-3,394-395, 780-781. See further the illustrative comments of R. GordonGruenler about the second aorist gejnetai in William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar(Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993).88 " A Critique of Bertrand Russells Religious Position," pp. 52-54. The citation from J.H.A. Hart isfrom " The First Epistle of Peter," in The Expositors Greek Testament, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll (5Vols.; New York and London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1897), V, 68.89 Romans 11:33; From the Authorized King James Version (1611) (New York: Oxford UniversityPress, 1998 Edition).90 (7 Vols.; New York: Harper and Brothers, 1937-1945), see especially vol. VII. A Second Editionwas reprinted as one volume, The History of Christianity (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1953).91 "Protestantisms Amazing Vitality, " in Christianity Today, VI (March 2, 1962). This remains trueeven forty years later in 2003. While there has been a decline of Christian faith in "post-modern"America, there has been a revival of it in Eastern Europe, South America, China, and Africa.