Standpoint January/February 2012: Excerpt from “The Limits of Secularism” by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks January 2, 2012Posted by jaldenh in News & Views.
“And of course sometimes atheists — and I mean great atheists, really great atheists — can sound incredibly eloquent. The most eloquent piece of atheism I have ever read is by Bertrand Russell, who really was a stylish atheist, a serious atheist, and a thinker I like very much.”
That man is the product of causes, which had no provision of the end they were achieving. That his origin, his growth, his hopes, his 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 labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noon-day brightness of human genius is 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 a Universe in ruins. All these things if not quite beyond dispute are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy that rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair can the soul’s salvation henceforth be safely built.