While its tone is playful and frivolous, this book poses tough questions over the nature of religion and belief.
Religion provides comfortable responses to the questions that have always beset humankind - why are we here, what is the point of being alive, how ought we to behave? Russell snatches that comfort away, leaving us instead with other, more troublesome alternatives: responsibility, autonomy, self-awareness. He tells us that the time to live is now, the place to live is here, and the way to be happy is to ensure others are happy.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Routledge Classics Edition -- Editor’s Introduction -- Preface by Bertrand Russell -- 1 Why I am not a Christian -- 2 Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilisation? -- 3 Do We Survive Death? -- 4 Seems, Madam? Nay, it is -- 5 On Catholic and Protestant Sceptics -- 6 Life in the Middle Ages -- 7 The Fate of Thomas Paine -- 8 Nice People -- 9 The New Generation -- 10 Our Sexual Ethics -- 11 Freedom and the Colleges -- 12 The Existence of God—a Debate Between Bertrand Russell and Father F. C. Copleston, SJ -- 13 Can Religion Cure Our Troubles? -- 14 Religion and Morals -- Appendix: How Bertrand Russell was Prevented from Teaching at the College of the City of New York -- Index.
'Devastating in its use of cold logic.' - The Independent
'The most robust as well as the most witty infidel since Voltaire and he can not fail to sharpen men's sense of what is entailed both in belief and unbelief.' - The Spectator
'What makes the book valuable is life-long uncompromising intellectual honesty.' - Times Literary Supplement