A free man s worship
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A free man s worship
“A Free Man’s Worship”

“That Man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins — all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” (from Betrand Russell’s A Free Man’s Worship 1918)

In a russellian world
In a Russellian World

  • The mind and consciousness that are rooted in material/physical phenomena.

  • Each individual comes to a permanent end at physical death.

  • The human race is to doomed to extinction.

  • Fair and accurate?

Russellian world benefits goods
Russellian-World Benefits/Goods?

  • Contentment.

  • Old age.

  • Sex.

  • Sensory pleasure (food, art, hiking, etc.)

  • Good reputation.

What else do we want?

Morality and obligation
Morality and Obligation

  • If morality refers to an obligation to do a certain thing on a certain occasion, from where does the obligation come if there is no God?

  • And why would we fulfill an obligation that causes us to suffer if there’s no God threatening punishment or offering reward?

George Mavrodes: “The best thing to say is that were it a fact that we had such obligations [in a godless world], then the world that included such a fact would be absurd—we would be living in a crazy world.”

The problem of morality in a godless universe
The Problem of “Morality” in a Godless Universe

  • Without something to anchor morality the best Russellian world would be one in which I act immorally to my own benefit and get away with it, and everyone else behaves morally.

  • Morality for thee, but not for me.

4 ways to eliminate the strangeness of morality in a russellian world
4 Ways to Eliminate the Strangeness of Morality in a Russellian World

  • Moral obligation is fundamental to teleology of human beings.

  • Moral obligation is really just an expression of feelings and attitudes.

  • Moral obligation has some kind of survival value.

  • Moral obligation always yields a Russellian benefit to those who fulfill it.

How does god solve the problem
How Does God Solve the Problem? Russellian World

  • Makes “real” the values upon which moral obligations are based.

  • Provides a rational basis for performing a moral act that does not benefit oneself (and may, in fact, bring about harm to oneself).

  • What do you think?

A free man s worship
Why? Russellian World

Organ donation vs organ selling
Organ Donation vs. Organ Selling Russellian World

  • It is currently legal to donate but illegal to sell a kidney in US.

  • Practical result? Lots of people die waiting for kidneys.

  • Proposal: Allow kidneys to be sold.