Thursday, January 20, 2011

A "Review" of "What is an Agnostic?"

I decided to enter my year of religious texts by reading Bertrand Russell's essay, "What is an Agnostic?" - which you can read online here

My reason for picking this as the first text to read is simple: I'm an agnostic and I wanted to start with something familiar. Besides, I love Bertrand Russell's writing style and how he gets to the point. There isn't really anything that muddies the text or throws me off - let's face it, it's been years since I've picked up anything that was a literary work of fiction or nonfiction. Not that Russell's writings aren't stellar - they very much are. I especially like his collection of essays, Why I am Not a Christian.

I don't really know how to go about "reviewing" a religious/philosophy book, let alone an essay, so I'll do my best by stating it's very powerful. It answers the questions that most people have towards Agnosticism and those who practice it. Defines the difference between us, Atheists and Christians. I'm a little surprised that I haven't read before. 

However, there are a few points that I do disagree with the author, but mostly because I haven't evaluated them before. Such as when he wrote:
Many agnostics (including myself) are quite as doubtful of th body as they are of the soul, but this is a long story talking one into difficult metaphysics. Mind and matter alike, I should say, are only convenient symbols in discourse, not actually existing things.
I really don't know what to make of that, mostly because while I don't believe in the "soul", I do believe in the mind. However, its immortality is still in question. While I'd like to believe it does, a great chunk of my mind is dedicated to the idea that it doesn't.

Bertrand Russell will return in later posts as Why I Am Not a Christian is a part of my reading list, as are a few other essays that I found online, downloaded and converted to be used on my Kindle.

For further readings on my thoughts, check out City of Chapin here and here.

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