Atheism Is a Disadvantage (Part Two) :: By Tsvetan Sirmanov

Russell and Toynbee as Examples

Arnold Toybee (1889-1875)

Arnold Toybee was a professional historian with an Oxford education, famous for his hard work and dedication. He did not rest, not even on Sundays. He dedicated much of his life to the study of history, exploring a vast amount of factual material.

This scientist was seeking to cover European as well as the Eastern civilizations of China, India, and Japan. His 12 volumes titled Study of History were written for  over a period of nearly three decades and show a really great intellectual endeavor.

Naturally, we are curious—what are the results of the work? He started with the assumption that religions like pupae, give rise to various world civilizations but then ended with the opposite conclusion—namely that civilizations have given life to the world’s major religions.

Toynbee went further. He developed a typical humanist utopia of a future world civilization based on common values of established world religions. Utopia, how?  A superficial acquaintance with Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam show that they contain logically inconsistent statements and therefore cannot be united in a common belief system.

Thus far, attempts by other cults like the Bahai’s and Moonies have led to eclectic doctrines lacking essential elements of the known world religions, which have not been adopted by most believers. Despite the enormous work done by Arnold Toynbee, he concocted another “utopia” in the European culture without any chance for it to come true. Why?

Toynbee lacked spiritual discernment which was also lacking in Marx, Freud and many other intellectuals types in the past. They lacked the light that gives the Scriptures to Christians—the Old and New Testaments, and the unique and irreplaceable information contained therein. Similarly, without having researched the facts with the necessary rigor, Toynbee rejected a source of proven reliability—the Bible.

Scientists are often gullible; they accept information and arbitrarily and disregard many proven and verified issues.  That is why Toynbee’s study of history has become a “groping in the dark.” He can be likened to a man who left his lantern at the entrance to the cave and continued groping inside the slippery walls.

Like many others, Toynbee took what is written in the Bible as a myth and interpreted it arbitrarily, disregarding the clear and unfeigned text of the Book. For example, in the Gospel of Luke we read: “It was the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, and Annas and Caiaphas were high priests. At that time the word   of God came to John son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” [17]

On what grounds did Toynbee call this and similar passages mythology?

A narrative stating the time, place and actors is not mythology but history, and as a professional scientist Toynbee should have unmistakably distinguished between the two. Biblical events are part of real documented world history unfolding in time and space on planet Earth—with real living people, not fantastic characters unknown when and where, as it is in Greek mythology, for example. This fact allows checking the historicity of the biblical text through documents and archaeological findings..

Such fact checking has been actually made many times and the results have became public. William Albright, one of the famous archaeologists in the world, wrote: “There can be no doubt that the archeology has confirmed the solid historicity of the Old Testament tradition.” [18]

In another book, Albright stated:

Excess skepticism shown by major historical schools in the 18th and 19th century in terms of the Bible, elements of which still periodically occur here and there, was discredited in more and more. Discovery after discovery established the accuracy of innumerable details and led to one grew recognition of the value of the Bible as a historical source. [19]

In relation to the New Testament. Sir William Ramsay, who was also a British archaeologist, a professor at Oxford expressed his view: “I am confident that the historical narrative of Luke is unsurpassed in its reliability. We could examine the words of Luca much more than any other historian and despite they would have withstood the most intense study and most rigorous analysis.” [20]

As a professional in the field, Arnold Toynbee was required to know and take into account the conclusions of such specialists. Instead, like many others, he rejected facts without researching them and thus he did a disservice to society and of course to himself.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Let’s look at last the case of Bertrand Russell, an aristocratic man who possessed all the natural and social conditions to know the prime truth, but missed it. Russell was born into a family of mostly atheists. He became an orphan and grew up in the magnificent castle of his grandfather and had the privilege of having some biblical teaching even in childhood thanks to his grandmother, a convinced Christian.

The puritan spirit in which he was raised, discouraged immorality. Even at 15 years of age,  Russell thought he was so smart that in his own words, he had penetrated the ground of the Christian religion and found it unworthy of his intellect. As it became clear later, despite extensive knowledge of numerous historical facts, this philosopher never understand the essence of the Christian faith even up to the very end of his life. [21]

At the prestigious Oxford University, the young Russell studied mathematics and science that captivates with its strict beauty. He graduated with honors and a few years later, in collaboration with Whitehead wrote their core work Principles of Mathematics.

If he was confined to his mathematical writings and those of logic and theory of knowledge, he would have gone down in history with the honorary title of scientist and philosopher, endowed with remarkably sharp wit and insight.


If we add to this his work in his book titled, History of Western Philosophy, Russell would have received further recognition of a superb historian of philosophy. The aristocratic finesse with which he treated complex problems, the solid erudition, the exact and clear style of exhibition deserves admiration. But this philosopher did not stop there. He undertook pretentious speeches directed against Christianity and manifested himself as a militant atheist.

In his early writings he was more moderate. The review of atheistic works of Russell was facilitated by a Soviet edition in 1987. [22]  Bertrand Russell was an opponent of the regime, but in the struggle against religion, the communists found an unexpected ally with him and did not miss the opportunity to benefit from it. This is why we cannot doubt that the Soviet author had circulated the brightest pages of atheistic works. Here we will discuss only some of them:

In his early essay “The Adoration of the Free Man” (1903), Russell  engaged in the spirit of Mephistopheles (the devil, satanism, dark forces,  agents of evil), enabling him to break out in blasphemous tirades against his Creator and Benefactor. Later in the article, he dimed his criticism and recognized the dignity of Christianity known as humility—leading to wisdom. The essay is permeated with sadness sympathetic to the difficult fate of mankind. The philosopher was then in his prime and still had in his soul something of the generosity of his youth.

“The essence of religion” article was addressed to Otolayn Morel, a married woman who became a mistress of Russell. The tone is moderate and conciliatory. He spares her religious feelings, recognizes the role of faith to the exaltation of mankind over the animal part of his nature.

In another work from that period, “Mysticism and Logic” (1912) , the author examined the categories of good and evil as a subjective reflection of human emotions. Here Russell mistakenly identifies mysticism with religion. Unbelief prevents him from seeing the existence of the true supernatural source of knowledge.

“What I believe” (1925)  is a work that reveals the worldview of Russell translated into many languages. At first, the author develops the thesis that nature and Man as part of it can be fully explained by physical and chemical laws that science discovers. Probably under the impression of the new time for relativity and quantum mechanics, he goes beyond a mechanistic and reductionist view of the world—that even human thought boils down to physical phenomena.

Used in thinking energy is a chemical, he said. Yes, but that does not mean that the product of these brain processes can reduce thought to physical processes. Thinking and structure of the brain are connected, but that does not mean that they are the same thing. Software and hardware are related but nevertheless irreducible to each other elements of the computer.

God and immortality, central categories in the Christian faith, Russell considered for fiction, and deemed scientifically unjustified.  He claimed that various religions are considered hypotheses and assumptions, where one of them is more likely than another. Again random words without substance. Negative statements also must satisfy the logical law of sufficient reason. Already implemented arguments prove the opposite of what arrogantly Russell taught.

Like Freud, and perhaps influenced by him, Russell was convinced that the basis of religion lies in the fear of nature. As with the psychiatrist, it shows a complete ignorance of the true religious sentiments of Kepler, Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Einstein and many other naturalists; admiration of the universe created by God. Fear is predominant feeling while a person is in a state of rebellion against his Creator. After the establishment of peace with Him through Christ, the fear is changed to admiration.

Moral rules, according to Russell were similar to legal or internal rules of a club that allow people to live together. Yes, but why did he not like precisely the concept of “sin,” the transgression of God’s laws? The explanation, probably, can be found by looking at what psychologists call mechanism for psychological protection. To justify his actions, a certain type of people try to discredit the doctrine which exposes them, as in the story of the fox and the sour grapes.

With age, Russell became more depraved. He married and divorced several times, and also had many lovers. In a diary written during his second marriage, he is described as “pretty stinking, unhealthy and a cynical type, prematurely aged.” [23] This explains a lot about him.

Everyone needs self-esteem and therefore seeks such a doctrine which justifies himself. He also fiercely rejects everything that exposes himself, usually hiding his true motives behind “intellectual” arguments. In fact, things are interrelated in most cases; godlessness leads to an immoral life and vice versa.

Of course, there is another way, elected by reasonable people  that of repentance and change of life in harmony with God’s will. But Russell excludes this possibility for himself. “There is no reasonable explanation, he wrote, why some actions have begun to consider undesirable.” [24]

Does Russell really not understand that betrayal and adultery destroy the lives of other people, children and spouses? Did Russell not like that  that Christianity speaks of individual salvation?

The Bible teaches that everyone is responsible for his or her own life. The philosopher would like rather the wholesale salvation of entire societies, nations, of all mankind. So personal responsibility is unclear and fuzzy, there is no good and evil, nor reward and punishment.

“The main task of the moralist with a scientific approach is to combat fear,” he said. But is fear always a bad thing? The fear of fire, for example. Does not it drive people to leave the building on fire immediately? The most useful fear is the wise fear of God. People strive to keep the commandments of God, and if they sin, they rush to repent. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 1:7).

“Why am I Not a Christian” (1927), is other well known work (lecture) of Russell, which sheds light on his spiritual attitude. At first, he clarifies the meaning he denotes to the term Christian. It is limited to two mandatory postulates of faith; faith in God and immortality and faith in Christ. Russell sets out to refute these truths. Let’s follow his reasoning.

First, he tries to cope with the argument for the root cause of the material world. As a teenager, he struggled to solve it, and at 18 years of age he received a reply from the philosopher John Stuart Mill. According to the Mill, you cannot say that God created the world as it would immediately raise the question,  “Who created God?” Even today, many atheists, young and old, scientists and laymen consider this quote irresistible and do not miss any opportunity to use it in debates. But is it really irresistible and effective?

By definition, God is the root cause of all things. So does the following question make sense? Who created the root cause?

It would not be the primary cause if it was created. This is a logically incorrect asked question and professionally Russell was obliged to know that. God, the root cause of all things is a spiritual being and live forever, that we found in the Bible.

Russell believed that the world could occur without reason or exist forever. Physics, however, and in particular, the second law of thermodynamics, categorically reject that possibility.

The meaning of this principle, derived from centuries of human practice is that matter, left to itself, cannot organize itself. Gas trapped in one part of the vessel with a barrier will disperse throughout the volume after removing the partition but will never gather there again by itself. The electric current, the directed motion of electrons will warm the stove, but the heat will not again become an electrical current.

Matter left to itself, always moves from order to chaos. It follows that these highly organized structures—people, animals and plants which we see in the world, could in no way form on their own, even in a billion years! Therefore, a Master, a Constructor, a Creator really does exist.

Russell tries to reject the truth by lengthy and convoluted speculation. He does not want to see that on the other side of the barricade stand discoverers of these laws—renowned naturalists. They always believe in the existence of an intelligent Creator of the universe.

Indomitable arguments indicating the presence of purpose in nature, Russell tried to deflect weaknesses in his arguments by means of flat jokes or  by using the already compromised theory of Darwin. Russell resorted to a trick often used, namely the replacement of the subject of the conversation, although as a logician he knows this is wrong. So provided the appropriateness of nature, Russell asked,  “Would not it be possible to create something better than the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis?”

Why would anyone blame God for the fascists? Russell does not explain. When it comes to Christ, this philosopher spoke of the drawbacks of people living in Christian countries. In some places, the Bible is attacked and difficult for an explanation even by professional theologians, and Russell does not fail to take advantage of that.

Russell challenged many times the Son of God, His conviction in the existence of hell—a place of punishment for  the unsaved. In fact, Christ was not convinced, He knows hell is real. Christ would be cruel not to warn people that they might fall there. The Bible is very clear on the reality of hell. The Christian church is an enemy of progress, according to Russell.

This topic was extensively developed in the repeatedly republished essay (book), Religion and Science (1935). He expressed in that book a favorite of all atheists: “Religion and science are in constant confrontation and science always comes out the winner, but religion was forced to retreat.”

Historical facts are presented, but what Russell missed is that the conflict during the Italian Renaissance could be found in Christian circles and scientists who were believers in God. In other words, it concerns a misunderstanding between Christians and not a clash between science and religion in general. In the 1500s and 1600s the church still did not understand this new phenomenon—the science and its right to have its own methods in the study of nature. There were not clear boundaries between chemistry and alchemy, medicine and magic, astronomy and astrology.

Over the centuries what comprises history has been proven. Today it is clear that true science and true religion are in a state of  harmony, not conflict. Each reveal the truth in its field; science in the material world, the Christian religion in the spiritual world. So dozens of first-class scientists, physicists, chemists, biologists, mathematicians, engineers and others were and are convinced Christians.

Moreover, recent studies indicate that science could not occur without the Christian worldview. The doctrine of one God, Creator, and Lawgiver of nature has given necessary methodological prerequisites for any scientific activity: belief in the rational structure of the world, that it may be understood, explained and applied in engineering. To the East, where polytheism and the material world is considered to be an illusion Maya science does not arise.

Today atheists have difficulties finding examples of conflict between science and religion, so they are forced to look back to the Middle Ages and the dawn of the European science.


I have shown just a few examples of prominent intellectuals that created faulty philosophical teachings, and in this way deceived many. Unfortunately, the list of false prophets/ teachers can be increased with dozens of other names. What were the main reasons for their erroneous theories would be an inadequate study, and thus a failure as a consequence of arbitrary rejection and/or interpretation of the Bible—the Scriptures that comes from the Creator of the universe and Ruler of human history.

The lack of information has always been unacceptable for a scientist, and the more significant this lack, the more inadequate and defective is the end product of the study. Thus godlessness becomes a handicap for those who wear it. To meet an atheist who is proud of his “free-thinking” is like to meeting a blind man who boasts of his blindness.

It should be with regret that these talented men used their gifts and education not for the glory of their Creator but to fight against Him. For such people the apostle wrote, “…all their thinking has ended in futility, and their misguided minds were plunged into darkness. They boast of their wisdom, but they have made fools of themselves…” [25]



[17] Luke 3:1, 2.

[18] Albright, W.F. Archaelogy and the Religions of Israel, Baltimore. 1956.

[19] Albright, W.F. Archaelogy of Palestine, Pelican Books, 1960.

[20] Ramsay, W.M. Luke the doctor.

[21] See 1, стр.267.

[22] Б.Рассел. Почему я не христианин, Москва, 1987. (Bertrand Russell. Why I Am Not a        Christian).

[23] See 1, стр.288.

[24] See 22, стр.78

[25] Romans 1:21, 22.