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Bertrand Russell: Atheist oder Agnostiker?
Diese Frage läßt sich nicht so leicht beantworten – Atheist LinksAtheist Literatur
Diese Frage läßt sich nicht so leicht beantworten.
Die Beantwortung ist andrerseits nicht so entscheidend, wie es manche Göttergläubigen behaupten.
  1. Ob A oder B diese oder jener Weltanschauung oder Religon anhängen sagt wenig über die Positionen selbst.
  2. Die Begriffe "Atheist" und "Agnostiker" sind sehr facettenreich.
Viele Atheisten sind überzeugt, dass es keine Götter gibt, gestehen aber die Möglichkeit ihrer Existenz zu. Ihre Überzeugung ist also revidierbar. Manche meinen dann, jene seien eigentlich Agnostiker.
Russell selbst beantwortete die Frage in Interviews und explizit in einer Dinner-Ansprache "Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic? A Plea For Tolerance In The Face Of New Dogmas" (1949), aus dem der entscheidende Absatz zitiert wird:
“Here there comes a practical question which has often troubled me. Whenever I go into a foreign country or a prison or any similar place they always ask me what is my religion.

I never know whether I should say "Agnostic" or whether I should say "Atheist". It is a very difficult question and I daresay that some of you have been troubled by it. As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God.

On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.

None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of homer really exist, and yet if you were to set to work to give a logical demonstration that Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and the rest of them did not exist you would find it an awful job. You could not get such proof.

Therefore, in regard to the Olympic gods, speaking to a purely philosophical audience, I would say that I am an Agnostic. But speaking popularly, I think that all of us would say in regard to those gods that we were Atheists. In regard to the Christian God, I should, I think, take exactly the same line.”
Russell hielt dies Ansprache am 20. Mai 1949 beim alljährlichen Dinner der Rationalist Press Association. Es wurde erstmals in RPA's Literary Guide and Rationalist Review 64 (July 1949), S. 115-16 gedruckt. Hervorhebungen von HH.
Eine weitere Stellungnnahme Russells zu religiösen Dogmas:
“Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time. It is customary to suppose that, if a belief is widespread, there must be something reasonable about it. I do not think this view can be held by anyone who has studied history. [...] My conclusion is that there is no reason to believe any of the dogmas of traditional theology and, further, that there is no reason to wish that they were true. Man, in so far as he is not subject to natural forces, is free to work out his own destiny. The responsibility is his, and so is the opportunity.”
Ende des Essay: Bertrand Russell: “Is There a God?” (commissioned – but not published – by Illustrated Magazine in 1952), online siehe unter Atheist Links. Hervorhebungen von HH.
Was wären ausreichende Belege für die Existenz Gottes?
Bertrand Russell wurde gefragt, was er sagen würde, wenn er eines Tages Gott gegenüberstehen würde.
  • Russell: “I would say, »Sir, why did you not give me better evidence?«”
Leon Rosten: "Bertrand Russell and God: A memoir" Saturday Review World #12 (23 Feb. 1974). S. 25-26

Russell vertrat die Lockesche These der Übereinstimmung der Überzeugungsstärke mit der Belegstärke. “Give to any hypothesis which is worth your while to consider just that degree of credence which the evidence warrants.”
Bertrand Russell: History of Western Philosophy. London, New York: Routledge, 2008 [1946] S. 727.
Nur wenn man genügend Belege für p hat, soll man von p überzeugt sein (»principle of sufficient evidence«).
Dazu gibt es zwei Haupteinwände.
1) Wer solche Belege für p hat, glaubt nicht mehr p, sondern er weiß p. >
2) Es war / ist möglich solche Belege zu finden.
Zu 1) Die Grenze zwischen purem Glauben und Wissen ist fließend.
• Bei vielen Aussagen ist es nicht so entscheidend, wieviele Belege man hat und wie gut sie sind, doch um Existenzannahmen mit weitreichender Bedeutung zu machen und von ihnen überzeugt zu sein, braucht es schon gute Belege.
• Es kann andrerseits nicht schaden, wenn man solch wichtige und elemantare Aussagen, wie p1: "Götter existieren" oder p2: "Es gibt mindestens einen Gott", weiß statt nur zu mutmassen.
Zu 2) Wenn es Gott gibt und er ein bestimmtes Verhalten einfordert (Nächstenliebe, 10 Gebote, Almosen geben oder ...) dann kann er redlicherweise kaum verlangen, dass man die Belege für seine Existenz erst noch suchen soll.
  • Was wären ausreichende Belege für die Existenz Gottes?
Dazu antwortete Russell in einem Interview im Magazin Look.
Editor: “What kind of evidence could convince you that God exists?”
  • Russell: “I think that if I heard a voice from the sky predicting all that was going to happen to me during the next 24 hours, including events that would have seemed highly improbable, and if all these events then proceeded to happen, I might perhaps be convinced at least of the existence of some super-human intelligence. I can imagine other evidence of the same sort which might convince me, but so far as I know no such evidence exists.”
"What Is An Agnostic?" Look 1953, In: Robert E. Egner, Lester E. Denonn, Hg.: The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell: 1903-1959. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961. S. 584 – AgnostikerText online (pdf)
"Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic? A Plea For Tolerance In The Face Of New Dogmas" (1949)
russell“Is There a God?”
Atheist weitere Links zum Thema
Atheist Why I Am Not a Christian, and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
Der Sammelband God and Religion beginnt mit "The Life and Wisdom of Bertrand Russell" vom Herausgeber Al Seckel. Dieser hat dann 21 Essays von Bertrand Russell ausgewählt, darunter das berühmte "Why I Am Not a Christian" und "Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic?". Sehr empfehlenswert. Der Essay "Why I Am Not a Christian" gab einem weiteren Sammelband den Titel ist darin natürlich auch enthalten. Bertrand Russell: Why I Am Not a Christian, and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, siehe Atheist Links.
Bei Amazon nachschauen   Bei Amazon nachschauen
Russell RussellBertrand Russell: Am I an Atheist or an Agnostic? A Plea for Tolerance in the Face of New Dogmas. Literary Licensing, 2011. Gebunden, 34 Seiten Russell
Bertrand Russell: God and Religion. Al Seckel, Hg. Prometheus, 1986. Taschenbuch, 350 Seiten Russell
Christian Anfang

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