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Bertrand Russell &
William Ernest Henley
on "Faith"

F. Earle Fox

These pieces below are a testimony to the strength (temporary) of atheism abroad in the West.  But it must be said that Russell before he died, admitted that "science" had failed us, that it does not give us the truth, at best it can only knock down falsehoods. 

Secularism is the most unstable of all worldviews because it is so terribly depersonalizing.  It depersonalizes all who follow it, by reducing us to no more value than a lump of coal.  We are all born accidents, we live accidents, and we die accidents.  There is no meaning whatsoever to life other than what we can temporarily and subjectively impose upon it.  There is no meaning to life itself. 

Secularism has (predictably) given way to paganism (of a "neo-" sort).  And science is being systematically betrayed, coopted into the power struggle which is inherent to both secularism and paganism.  On these thoughts, see the worldview library and Yahweh or the Great Mother?

Note that in both cases, the authors retreat into the intellectual realm -- just as the ancient Greeks and almost all pagan philosophy did.  The world for them, including Eastern religions, and the mystery cults which followed the High Hellenic age, was a place of trouble, not of peace, of power-struggle, not of love of neighbor. 

The Bible gives the single alternative.  

Biblical faith is not the anti-intellectual thing people imagine.  The first step to faith in God is to be a truth-seeker.  Truth-seeking is the Royal Road to God.   See The Authority of Scripture in a Scientific Age as well as Yahweh or the Great Mother? 


A Free Man's Worship

Bertrand Russell

Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned to-day [sic] to lose his dearest, to-morrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day; disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate, to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of chance, to preserve a mind free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward life; proudly defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate, for a moment, his knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas, the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious power.

The above is the final paragraph -- for whole piece, go to



William Ernest Henley

OUT of the night that covers me,  
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,  
I thank whatever gods may be  
  For my unconquerable soul.  
In the fell clutch of circumstance
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.  
Under the bludgeonings of chance  
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.  
Beyond this place of wrath and tears  
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,  
And yet the menace of the years  
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.  
It matters not how strait the gate,  
  How charged with punishments the scroll,  
I am the master of my fate:  
  I am the captain of my soul.

from http://www.bartleby.com/103/7.html

        Note that the deities to whom Henley appeals are the pagan sort, not the God of the Bible.   See Yahweh or the Great Mother? for the distinction between the two. 

        Both Russell and Henley are subject to the disintegrating forces of the closed circle, and their philosophy will give (and is giving) way to the return to paganism and the cosmic cycles of the Great Mother.  Secularism is always followed by Spiritualism (stages 2 and 3 of the cosmic cycle).  Also, do a search on 'Carl Sagan' in Yahweh or the Great Mother? for an example of descent of secularism back into pagan worldview.  

        It is all predictable.

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Date Posted - 10/28/2010   -   Date Last Edited - 07/07/2012