In an event entitled Fr. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell: The Famous 1948 BBC Radio Debate on the Existence of God, the two famous and intricate minds go head-to-head in several religious confrontations. I recall having listened to Russell’s daughter reflect on his philosophy after he died, with a soft and fond inside view that Russell’s yearn for philosophical truth and prowess was driven by a desire to believe in God – a desire he wanted very badly but never could honestly arrive to. I am not of the opinion Mr. Russell was an exceptional philosopher, nor was he a fool. I think you will enjoy both parties here, each having rendered his own history of philosophy (Copleston’s as 11 volumes) and being familiar with the arguments on the topic. If you spend any time on this blog, little of this material is new – but the personality and rendering of eternity that shines through it is exceptional.
I have given you much to read today, but this one you will not want to miss. Find it here.
My reflection on the debate? In Parts I and III, Copleston seems to have Russell on the defensive entirely, denying things that most of us believe is common sense. He got nowhere in Part II. Overall, an interesting discussion that did not turn into the usual scorched earth bickerfest you find in the average mind’s philosophical argumentation…
Note as well that objective moral truth is not generally a result of God’s existence (though it can be), but rather is often a proof thereof. The confusion of “you only think that morality exists because God exists!” is a possible weak objection by those arguing from thralldom (more on that in a post that I am writing), but generally the assertion is the opposite: we have another reason to believe that God existed based on our basic experience of moral objectivity.