Hieronder volgen enkele quotes van de, in 1970, overleden Britse filosoof, Bertrand Russell.
Communism does not oppose religion. It merely opposes the Christian religion, just as Mohammedanism does. Communism, at least in the form advocated by the Soviet Government and the Communist Party, is a new system of dogma of a peculiarly virulent and persecuting sort. Every genuine Agnostic must therefore be opposed to it. What is an Agnostic?
‘Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of the world.’ The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism.
‘Of the great religions of history, I prefer Buddhism, especially in its earliest forms, because it has had the smallest element of persecution.’ What is an Agnostic?
‘I observe that a very large portion of the human race does not believe in God and suffers no visible punishment in consequence. And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.’ What is an Agnostic?
‘Religion is based, I think, primarily en mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown, and partly 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 an religion have gone hand in hand.’ Why I am not a Christian.
‘I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion is anything to do with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds. One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it.’ Why I am not a christian.
‘What the world needs is not dogma but an attitude of scientific inquiry combined with a belief that the torture of millions is not desirable, whether inflicted by Stalin or by a Deity imagined in the likeness of the believer. Why I am not a christian.
‘I should wish to see a world in which education aimed at mental freedom rather than at imprisoning the minds of the young in a rigid armor 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 or new, that these can be derived. Why I am not a christian.
‘We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world-its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it.’ Why I am not a christian.
‘The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men.’ Why I am not a christian.
‘A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.’ Why I am not a christian.
‘The teaching of Christ, as it appears in the Gospels, has had extraordinarily little to do with the ethics of Christians.’ Has religion made useful contributions to civilization?
‘It is possible that mankind is on the treshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.’ Has religion made useful contributions to civilization?