Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Excerpt

From 'Why I am not a Christian' by Bertrand Russell. This lecture was delivered in 1927.

"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. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the Christian religion, against the churches, and against the opposition of all the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and I think 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 this world a better place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the churches in all these centuries have made it."

1 comment:

Sachidanand Mohanty said...

Definitely says it all.

And yet strangely enough, people continue to behave like sheep by looking for invisible support structures in an imaginary heaven.

Well, I guess it will take centuries for the 'intelligence' of the average human to rise to the same level as the most intelligent humans have been through the ages.

I guess that stands to reason. Leonardo da Vinci or Bertrand Russell or Einstein still have to be head and shoulders above the average human being.

And so the snake-oil salesmen peddling nonsense in the garb of religion will continue to prosper for a few centuries more for sure ... hopefully not forever.

I am sure EVENTUALLY human beings will grow up ... may be, when they become a true spacefaring civilization.

But then again, one wonders ... stupidity seems to be so all-pervasive after all.