Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was a prominent British philosopher. He was an outspoken agnostic, and his essay entitled Why I Am Not A Christian (based on a talk given in 1927) remains one of the most celebrated statements of unbelief.
That man is the product of causes which 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 an 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 the universe in ruins.
Next year sees a major Charles Darwin anniversary: 200 years since his birth, and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of the Species.
Darwin’s religious views were (or became) those of a muddled agnostic. In a recent article in Times Online, Nick Spencer offers Ten Surprising Things Darwin Said About Religious Faith:-
1. “The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.” (Autobiography)