This series of posts entitled “FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE” touches things that affect our culture today. The first post took a look at the foundations of our modern society today that were set by the Roman Democracy 2000 years ago and then it related it to the art we see today.
The second post took a look at how modern art was born by discussing Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas,Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, and Picasso.” The third post took a look at PAUL GAUGUIN’S 3 QUESTIONS: “Where do we come from? What art we? Where are we going? and his conclusion was a suicide attempt,” and also featured the art work of Mike Kelley. The fourth post took a look at the work of H.R. Rookmaaker and his close relationship to Schaeffer.
Francis Schaeffer pictured below:
Francis Schaeffer pictured below:
The eighth post showed and discussed the film “The Last Year at Marienbad” by Alain Resnais and featured the artwork of Richard Tuttle and looked into his return to the faith of his youth. The ninth post noted the comments of Francis Schaeffer on the artwork of Jasper Johns and also featured the artwork of Cai Guo-Qiang.___
The tenth post was about the art historian David Douglas Duncan and it also featured the artwork of Georges Rouault. The eleventh post discussed Thomas Aquinas and his Effect on Art and then episode 2 of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? on the THE MIDDLES AGES was profiled and also the artwork of Tony Oursler.
The twelfth post took a close work at the philosophical work of the humanist H.J.Blackham and the Materialistic Humanism Worldview that he represented and also the artwork of Arturo Herrera and remarkably Herrera claims also his artwork comes about by chance!!! The thirteenth post looks at Jacob Bronowski and his materialistic humanism worldview and his film series on evolution and also the artist Ellen Gallagher who believes her work is influenced by chance is featured.
Allan: That’s quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn’t it?
Museum Girl: Yes, it is.
Allan: What does it say to you?
Museum Girl: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos.
Allan: What are you doing Saturday night?
Museum Girl: Committing suicide.
Allan: What about Friday night?
Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?)
What has produced the inhumanity we have been considering in the previous chapters is that society in the West has adopted a world-view which says that all reality is made up only of matter. This view is sometimes referred to as philosophic materialism, because it holds that only matter exists; sometimes it is called naturalism, because it says that no supernatural exists. Humanism which begins from man alone and makes man the measure of all things usually is materialistic in its philosophy. Whatever the label, this is the underlying world-view of our society today. In this view the universe did not get here because it was created by a “supernatural” God. Rather, the universe has existed forever in some form, and its present form just happened as a result of chance events way back in time.
Society in the West has largely rested on the base that God exists and that the Bible is true. In all sorts of ways this view affected the society. The materialistic or naturalistic or humanistic world-view almost always takes a superior attitude toward Christianity. Those who hold such a view have argued that Christianity is unscientific, that it cannot be proved, that it belongs simply to the realm of “faith.” Christianity, they say, rests only on faith, while humanism rests on facts.
Professor Edmund R. Leach of Cambridge University expressed this view clearly:
Our idea of God is a product of history. What I now believe about the supernatural is derived from what I was taught by my parents, and what they taught me was derived from what they were taught, and so on. But such beliefs are justified by faith alone, never by reason, and the true believer is expected to go on reaffirming his faith in the same verbal formula even if the passage of history and the growth of scientific knowledge should have turned the words into plain nonsense.78
So some humanists act as if they have a great advantage over Christians. They act as if the advance of science and technology and a better understanding of history (through such concepts as the evolutionary theory) have all made the idea of God and Creation quite ridiculous.
This superior attitude, however, is strange because one of the most striking developments in the last half-century is the growth of a profound pessimism among both the well-educated and less-educated people. The thinkers in our society have been admitting for a long time that they have no final answers at all.
Take Woody Allen, for example. Most people know his as a comedian, but he has thought through where mankind stands after the “religious answers” have been abandoned. In an article in Esquire (May 1977), he says that man is left with:
… alienation, loneliness [and] emptiness verging on madness…. The fundamental thing behind all motivation and all activity is the constant struggle against annihilation and against death. It’s absolutely stupefying in its terror, and it renders anyone’s accomplishments meaningless. As Camus wrote, it’s not only that he (the individual) dies, or that man (as a whole) dies, but that you struggle to do a work of art that will last and then you realize that the universe itself is not going to exist after a period of time. Until those issues are resolved within each person – religiously or psychologically or existentially – the social and political issues will never be resolved, except in a slapdash way.
Allen sums up his view in his film Annie Hall with these words: “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”
Many would like to dismiss this sort of statement as coming from one who is merely a pessimist by temperament, one who sees life without the benefit of a sense of humor. Woody Allen does not allow us that luxury. He speaks as a human being who has simply looked life in the face and has the courage to say what he sees. If there is no personal God, nothing beyond what our eyes can see and our hands can touch, then Woody Allen is right: life is both meaningless and terrifying. As the famous artist Paul Gauguin wrote on his last painting shortly before he tried to commit suicide: “Whence come we? What are we? Whither do we go?” The answers are nowhere, nothing, and nowhere. The humanist H. J. Blackham has expressed this with a dramatic illustration:
On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility.79
One does not have to be highly educated to understand this. It follows directly from the starting point of the humanists’ position, namely, that everything is just matter. That is, that which has existed forever and ever is only some form of matter or energy, and everything in our world now is this and only this in a more or less complex form.
78. “When Scientists Play the Role of God,” London Times, November 16, 1978.
79. H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).
“If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” —Francis Schaeffer in The God Who Is There
Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR
Francis Schaeffer pictured below:
The fourteenth post takes a close look at the 19th century writer David Friedrich Strauss and features the work of the artist Roni Horn. The fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth posts discuss Francis Schaeffer’s comments concerning the interview of Andy Warhol from “The Observer June 12, 1966″ and feature the artists Robert Indiana, and James Rosenquist, and David Hockney.
Episode VII – The Age of Non Reason
The eighteenth post takes a look at the fact that “Michelangelo’s DAVID is the statement of what humanistic man saw himself as being tomorrow,” and features the artist Paul McCarthy. The nineteenth post discusses the work of the movie director Luis Bunuel and features the artist Oliver Herring.
The twentieth post takes a look at Woody Allen and his materialistic humanism worldview and the artwork of Ida Applebroog. The twenty-first post is on the evolutionist William B. Provine and features the artwork of Andrea Zittel.
The twenty-second post discusses the painting “The School of Athens by Raphael” and features the artwork of Sally Mann. The twenty-third post deals with BOB DYLAN and includes the comments of Francis Schaeffer on the proper place of rebellion with comments by Bob Dylan and Samuel Rutherford and also includes the artwork of Josiah McElheny.
The twenty-fourth post talks about BOB DYLAN and includes Francis Schaeffer’s comments on Bob Dylan’s words from HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED and it features artwork by Susan Rothenberg. The twenty-fifth post deals with BOB DYLAN, and Francis Schaeffer comments on Bob Dylan’s song “Ballad of a Thin Man” and the disconnect between the young generation of the 60’s and their parents’ generation and it includes the artwork of Fred Wilson.