Contemporary Chinese Thought 52 (1-2):21-32 (2021)

Bertrand Russell was a renowned thinker who has exerted great influence over the Western intellectual circles of the 20th century. In particular, his criticism and reflections on Western religious traditions have become important symbols of contemporary Enlightenment. He deepened the past scholars’ accomplishments in sociology, anthropology, and psychology into atheistic views, through which he revealed the psychological motives and social functions of the origin of religion. He analyzed the types and disadvantages of religion from the aspects of historical development, social function, and religious form, deeply criticized the dogmatism of religion and the institutional cruelty of the Catholic Church, and positively affirmed the function of religion in expressing emotion in human spiritual life. Through the analysis of Russell’s enlightening thoughts, this article points out that the origin and functions of religion most likely find expression in people’s universal “desire for knowledge.”
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DOI 10.1080/10971467.2021.1917940
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