Bertrand Russell What I Believe Essay

In those days, if a man said that he was a Christian it was known what he meant. We have to be a little more vague in our meaning of Christianity.

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In that sense I suppose there would be Christians in all sects and creeds; but I do not think that that is the proper sense of the word, if only because it would imply that all the people who are not Christians—all the Buddhists, Confucians, Mohammedans, and so on—are not trying to live a good life.

I do not mean by a Christian any person who tries to live decently according to his lights.

I think you must have at the very lowest the belief that Christ was, if not divine, at least the best and wisest of men.

If you are not going to believe that much about Christ, I do not think you have any right to call yourself a Christian.

It is issued in booklet form at the request of many friends.

It should be added that the author alone is responsible for the political and other opinions expressed.

It is used these days in a very loose sense by a great many people.

Some people mean no more by it than a person who attempts to live a good life.

They had to introduce it because at one time the Freethinkers adopted the habit of saying that there were such and such arguments which mere reason might urge against the existence of God, but of course they knew as a matter of faith that God did exist.

The arguments and the reasons were set out at great length, and the Catholic Church felt that they must stop it.


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