On pages 59 and 60, Russell returns to the argument of God as "First Cause". He makes two points:
- The world may have come into existence without a cause.
- The world may be eternal.
The first point I can't disprove. There is no evidence for this (nor can there be). It seems illogical (to me) to believe a completely causal universe came from an acausal source. However, I do have evidence that God is without cause (Exodus 3:13, as mentioned previously).
On page 68, Russell makes a rather odd statement, he is talking about the doctrine of Hell, and says:
"and he goes on about the wailing and the gnashing of teeth. It comes in one verse after another, and it is quite manifest to the reader that there is a certain pleasure in contemplating wailing and gnashing of teeth, or else it would not occur so often." (emphasis added)I have read that passage (probably Matthew 13:42) many times, even before I was a Christian. I never took that meaning. The sad thing is, I don't think Russell is creating this interpretation on his own (although, he might). He probably heard some well meaning (or not) preacher, who did take pleasure in declaming sinners to Hell.
That is not the tone of this passage.
The tone is one of sadness, and pleading with people who are determined to go to destruction. A loving wakeup call for people to turn away from destruction. That is Jesus' attitude, and it should be ours.
Russell closes out the essay with a complaint on the use of emotion (both content and fearful) in the persuasion for religion. This I agree with (although the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so some amount is good for you, at least at first). Far too many Christian churches appeal to emotion to "win conversions" (many of which will be false), and "to feel the Spirit". Our emotions are not a reliable source of information. For example, sin can feel very right, for a time. Also, decisions should be made by taking into account Biblical principles (and outright commands); not whether it "feels right".