FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 224 Aldous Huxley and the rock band CREAM Featured artist is Peter Eugene Ball

 

 


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PSYCHEDELIC SIGHT

MIND-BLOWING ROCK MUSIC FROM THE 1960S & BEYOND: A CELEBRATION

No. 6: ‘White Room’

Known for its slashing wah-wah guitar solo, pounding drums and halting drug-inspired lyrics, “White Room” remains one of Cream’s heavily trafficked songs.

Although the wah-wah pedal effect on Eric Clapton’s guitar marks it as a product of the late 1960s, “White Room” feels as contemporary as anything in the Cream catalog. The rock song is marked by an unusual sophistication in the lyrics and musical structure. It also expresses the psychedelic aesthetic in a radio-friendly serving, and audiences of the day ate it up.

Lyricist Pete Brown wrote “White Room” with bassist/singer Jack Bruce. Brown’s carefully measured poetry (doled out in four-syllable phrases) lifts this above so many trippy-nonsense lyrics of the era:

In the white room, with black curtains, near the station/
Black roof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings

The “White Room” was a new flat (apartment) inhabited by Brown, a place where “the shadows run from themselves.” Before long, Brown must confront “the station,” perhaps the London Tube, where pain awaits as a lover departs:

You said no strings could secure you at the station/
Platform ticket, restless diesels, goodbye windows

Brown said years later: “It was a miracle it worked, considering it was me writing a monologue about a new flat.”

While drugs reportedly came into play in the song’s creation, this is a fine example of a psychedelic song working within the temporal confines of a rock single. In the U.S., a 3-minute single version spent several weeks in the top 10 during the fall of 1968. The full 5-minute song provided a dramatic opening to Cream’s “Wheels of Fire” double album.

Despite Clapton’s brilliant solo (and celebrity), “White Room” also serves as evidence that vocalist Bruce was very much Cream’s front man.

“White Room” remained a can’t-miss concert staple for both Bruce and Clapton in their solo careers, although Clapton did resist playing it for many years. It was the penultimate song performed at Cream’s 2005 reunion shows.

Cream – White Room – Lyrics

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In his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Francis Schaeffer noted:

The man who followed on from that point was English–Aldous Huxley (1894-1963). He proposed drugs as a solution. We should, he said, give healthy people drugs and they can then find truth inside their own heads. All that was left for Aldous Huxley and those who followed him was truth inside a person’s own head. With Huxley’s idea, what began with the existential philosophers – man’s individual subjectivity attempting to give order as well as meaning, in contrast to order being shaped by what is objective or external to oneself – came to its logical conclusion. Truth is in one’s own head. The ideal of objective truth was gone.

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This emphasis on hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups–for example, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Most of their work was from 1965-1958. The Beatles’Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) also fits here. This disc is a total unity, not just an isolated series of individual songs, and for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. As a whole, this music was the vehicle to carry the drug culture and the mentality which went with it across frontiers which were almost impassible by other means of communication.

Here is a good review of the episode 016 HSWTL The Age of Non-Reason of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?, December 23, 2007:

Together with the advent of the “drug Age” was the increased interest in the West in  the religious experience of Hinduism and Buddhism. Schaeffer tells us that: “This grasping for a nonrational meaning to life and values is the central reason that these Eastern religions are so popular in the West today.”  Drugs and Eastern religions came like a flood into the Western world.  They became the way that people chose to find meaning and values in life.  By themselves or together, drugs and Eastern religion became the way that people searched inside themselves for ultimate truth.

Along with drugs and Eastern religions there has been a remarkable increase “of the occult appearing as an upper-story hope.”  As modern man searches for answers it “many moderns would rather have demons than be left with the idea that everything in the universe is only one big machine.”  For many people having the “occult in the upper story of nonreason in the hope of having meaning” is better than leaving the upper story of nonreason empty. For them horror or the macabre are more acceptable than the idea that they are just a machine.

Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?,


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In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

 

The site of the biblical city called Lachish is about thirty miles southwest of Jerusalem. This city is referred to on a number of occasions in the Old Testament. Imagine a busy city with high walls surrounding it, and a gate in front that is the only entrance to the city. We know so much about Lachish from archaeological studies that a reconstruction of the whole city has been made in detail. This can be seen at the British Museum in the Lachish Room in the Assyrian section.

There is also a picture made by artists in the eighth century before Christ, the Lachish Relief, which was discovered in the city of Nineveh in the ancient Assyria. In this picture we can see the Jewish inhabitants of Lachish surrendering to Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. The details in the picture and the Assyrian writing on it give the Assyrian side of what the Bible tells us in Second Kings:

2 Kings 18:13-16

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” So the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver which was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

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We should notice two things about this. First, this is a real-life situation–a real siege of a real city with real people on both sides of the war–and it happened at a particular date in history, near the turn of the eighth century B.C. Second, the two accounts of this incident in 701 B.C. (the account from the Bible and the Assyrian account from Nineveh) do not contradict, but rather confirm each other. The history of Lachish itself is not so important for us, but some of its smaller historical details.

Tel Lachish –

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Featured artist today is Peter Eugene Ball

Contemporary Christian Art – The Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth

Published on Apr 10, 2012

Contrary to much opinion, the current scene of faith-related art is very much alive. There are new commissions for churches and cathedrals, a number of artists pursue their work on the basis of a deeply convinced faith, and other artists often resonate with traditional Christian themes, albeit in a highly untraditional way. The challenge for the artist, stated in the introduction to the course of lectures above, is still very much there: how to retain artistic integrity whilst doing justice to received themes.

This lecture is part of Lord Harries’ series on ‘Christian Faith and Modern Art’. The last century has seen changes in artistic style that have been both rapid and radical. This has presented a particular problem to artists who have wished to express Christian themes.

The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website:
http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and…

Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. This tradition continues today with all of our five or so public lectures a week being made available for free download from our website.
http://www.gresham.ac.uk

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Pièta, Winchester Cathedral, 2011

Peter Ball was born and brought up in Coventry and was much influenced by teachers at his local school. He trained at Coventry School of Art and has worked full time as a sculptor from 1968. His secular work has often been described as witty, and he usually begins there, as in his religious commissions, with a piece of driftwood. He must be the most commissioned of all contemporary artists, with over 60 commissions from churches or cathedrals. This popularity is no doubt related to that fact that he has said that a work in a church setting. “Has to be a devotional object not an architectural set piece”

 

Christus from the Flames, Cotgrave, 1998

The first word that comes to mind on seeing one of these religious commissions is “Romanesque”. Pamela Tudor Craig, after describing the drift wood and copper plate materials of his work says “So his Christus has, in the nature of its composition the battle-scarred endurance of a time-worn Romanesque Christus” and continues.

 

The large eyed narrow bearded heads of Romanesque art come naturally to Peter Ball. He is not the heir of the comely Gothic but of the tormented prophets of Souillac, or even further back, of Celtic spirit figures. His way of seeing is most suited, perhaps, to commissions for the Hanging Rood, or for a gaunt Pietà, but there is a tenderness in his treatment of

Biography (video)

Peter Eugene Ball was born in Coventry, Warwickshire on 19 March 1943.  He was educated at a local boys’ school and from 1957 to 1962 attended Coventry College of Art.

The powerful visual images of paintings, sculptures and architecture made a deep impression on the sculptor as a child.  Enlightened history teachers brought their subject alive for him and one of his earliest memories is of a visit to Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire at the age of 11, which, by coincidence, many years later, became the first cathedral to commission a major work by him.  He also acquired much first hand knowledge whilst accompanying Geoffrey Saunders, an art history tutor, on numerous trips around the British Isles during the 1960s and together they made a photographic survey of village Romanesque carvings and prehistoric monuments throughout England, Scotland and Wales.  From this Peter developed a life-long passion for Celtic and Romanesque carvings, both religious and secular.

He joined the Marjorie Parr Gallery, King’s Road, Chelsea in 1961 where he had his first one-man exhibition in 1967.  During this time Peter took on a factory job to supplement his income but in 1968 decided to make sculpture his full-time occupation.

In 1974 he sold his first religious piece to a Monsignor at Westminster Cathedral and in 1975 an exhibition of his sculptures took place at Southwark Cathedral in London.  Solo exhibitions at the Gilbert-Parr Gallery were supplemented by major showings every year at the Gallery’s stand at the International Art Fair in Basel.   The next few years were very productive with sculpture being shown at gallery exhibitions in London, Holland and Switzerland, and at international art fairs in Basel, Dϋsseldorf, New York and Chicago.  He also designed and made sculpture, masks and armour for ‘War Music’, Christopher Logue’s adaptation of Homer’s ‘Iliad’, for the Prospect Theatre at the Old Vic, London in 1977.  Then in 1978 Peter obtained his first church commission: a memorial crucifix at Preston-on-Stour, Warwickshire.

1982 brought a number of changes to the artist’s life.   The Gilbert-Parr Gallery in London closed and thereafter his exhibitions took place at the Galerie Gilbert in Remetschwiel, South Germany and at the Basel Art Fair, the Alwin Gallery on Grafton Street, London and the McMurtrey Gallery in Houston, Texas.  He was also producing paintings, drawings, etchings and painted ceramics during this period.  In 1986 he was commissioned to make a crucifix and altar pieces for Birmingham Cathedral and in 1987 a large Christus Rex for the nave of Southwell Minster.

Peter’s reputation for his religious work began to spread and over the next few years, as well as exhibiting his secular work, he made various pieces for churches, including a Virgin and Child for Southwark Cathedral and a Crucifix and Pieta for Winchester Cathedral.  In 1993 his work was included in the exhibition ‘Images of Christ : Religious Iconography in Twentieth Century British Art’ in Northampton and St Paul’s Cathedral, London. In the same year, he held a solo exhibition in Winchester Cathedral for its 900th anniversary.

‘A Kind of Madness’, an account of the secular work of Peter Eugene Ball by Inga Gilbert, was also published in 1993 and throughout the nineties he continued to exhibit his work in various galleries and, in particular, enjoyed great success at the Galerie Husstege in S’Hertogenbosch, Holland.  During this period he accepted various religious commissions and in 1999 was given a solo exhibition at Southwell Minster and another at Ely Cathedral the following year.  ‘Icons of the Invisible God’, an analysis of a selected collection of his religious sculptures by Elaine Kazimierczuk, was also published at this time.

The new millennium heralded a regular stream of religious commissions, including two pieces for Romsey Abbey and a Christus Rex and Welcoming Christ for the newly refurbished church of St Barnabas in Erdington.  He continued to hold exhibitions, often in cathedral settings such as Lichfield, Salisbury and Chichester, where he exhibited a mix of both religious and secular work.  In 2010 he was commissioned to make a Mother and Child for St Michael’s Church at Winchester College and went on to produce several other pieces for the school, including a large Crucifix for the main chapel.  In 2013 he was invited to hold a major exhibition of his work there which proved to be a great success.

Peter now lives in Newark in Nottinghamshire with his wife, Jane Warner, and continues to work from his studio at home.  He currently has more than seventy religious sculptures in churches and cathedrals throughout England and Wales and his secular work can be seen at various galleries and private exhibitions.   He has recently completed a major work for Merton College, Oxford: a Madonna and Child, and he is currently working towards his next exhibition which will take place in Oxford Cathedral, Christ Church College, Oxford next year.    He laughs a lot and curses when things go wrong.  His sculpture continues to be idiosyncratic and uncompromising, defying the changing fashions of the art world and remaining true to the spirit of the man.

 

Peter Eugene Ball – Artist & Sculptor

 

Virgin and Child

Crucifix, Winchester Cathedral, 1990

Christus Rex, Southwell Minster, 1987

Hope, St Martha the housewife, Broxtow, Nottingham, 1997

Peter Eugene Ball below:

Peter Eugene Ball’s art below:

 

Peter Eugene Ball

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Peter Eugene Ball
Born 19 March 1943 (age 70)
Coventry, England
Nationality British
Field Sculptor
Works Christus Rex (Southwell Minster), Pietà (Winchester Cathedral), Virgin and Child (Southwark Cathedral)

Peter Eugene Ball (19 March 1943) is an English sculptor. He is best known for his religious work which can be seen in churches and cathedrals throughout Britain. He also produces secular sculpture using predominantly driftwood and found objects.

Contents

Biography

Born on 19 March 1943 in Coventry, Warwickshire, Peter Eugene Ball attended Coventry College of Art from 1957 until 1962 where he obtained the National Diploma of Design. By 1963 his sculptures were already included in mixed exhibitions in the Midlands and at the Marjorie Parr Gallery, London, where he had his first one-man exhibition in 1967. However, it wasn’t until 1968 that making sculpture became his full-time occupation, and since that time he has devoted himself to producing both religious work for churches and cathedrals throughout the country and exhibiting and selling his secular work in galleries across Europe and in America.

Religious commissions

Sculpture Location Year
Christus Victor Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Oadby, Leicestershire 1992
Saint John the Baptist Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Baginton, Warwickshire 1992
High Altar Crucifix Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin and St Catherine, Nottingham 1992
Crucifix Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin and St Catherine, Nottingham 1992
Pietà The Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Southwell Minster), Nottinghamshire 1993
Crib St Peter’s Church, London (Eaton Square) 1994
Crib Christchurch, London (Chelsea) 1994
Saints and Bishops Portsmouth Cathedral 1994
Christus Monmouth School Chapel 1995
Altar Table and Saint Winchester Cathedral 1996
Crucifixion St Andrew’s Church, Chilcomb, Hampshire 1996
Christus Rex The Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Southwell Minster), Nottinghamshire 1997
Ecce Homo The Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Southwell Minster), Nottinghamshire 1997
Hope Hope Centre, Church of St Martha the Housewife, Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire 1997
Christus Rex St Michael’s Church, Basingstoke, Hampshire 1997
Madonna and Child Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh, Suffolk 1997
Madonna and Child St Swithun’s School Chapel, Winchester 1998
Christ Rowner, Hampshire 1999
Madonna and Child St Mary’s, Chesterfield 1999
Christus & Mother & Child Chelmsford Cathedral 2000
Mother and Child Clifton Brighouse 2000
Christ St Mary’s, Silchester 2001
Christus St Alban’s, Romford 2001
Christ Lichfield Cathedral 2002
John the Baptist St John’s, Penistone 2002
Virgin of the Sea St Andrew’s, Deal 2002
Christus Ely St Francis, Ely, Cardiff 2003
Christus St Mary’s, Gomersal, York 2004
Christus St Tielo’s, Whitchurch, Cardiff 2004
font St Tielo’s, Whitchurch, Cardiff 2004
St Nicholas Romsey Abbey, Romsey, Hampshire 2005
Virgin and Child St Giles’, Nottingham 2005
Small Crucifix Derby Cathedral 2005
St Andrew St Andrew’s, Wissett 2006
Christus St Bede’s, Basingstoke 2006
Small Christus Wolvesey Palace, Winchester 2006

Books

  • A Kind of Madness (The Sculptures of Peter Eugene Ball), Inga Gilbert
  • Icons of The Invisible God (Selected Sculptures of Peter Eugene Ball), foreword by Pamela Tudor-Craig, introduction by Richard Davey

External links

Authority control

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 HH Sir Bertrand Russell’s paper A FREE MAN’S WORSHIP reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

Image result for bertrand russellOn November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry KrotoImage result for harry krotoI have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true.__

Bertrand Russell – Biographical

Bertrand Arthur William Russell was born at Trelleck on 18th May, 1872. His parents were Viscount Amberley and Katherine, daughter of 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley. At the age of three he was left an orphan. His father had wished him to be brought up as an agnostic; to avoid this he was made a ward of Court, and brought up by his grandmother. Instead of being sent to school he was taught by governesses and tutors, and thus acquired a perfect knowledge of French and German. In 1890 he went into residence at Trinity College, Cambridge, and after being a very high Wrangler and obtaining a First Class with distinction in philosophy he was elected a fellow of his college in 1895. But he had already left Cambridge in the summer of 1894 and for some months was attaché at the British embassy at Paris.In December 1894 he married Miss Alys Pearsall Smith. After spending some months in Berlin studying social democracy, they went to live near Haslemere, where he devoted his time to the study of philosophy. In 1900 he visited the Mathematical Congress at Paris. He was impressed with the ability of the Italian mathematician Peano and his pupils, and immediately studied Peano’s works. In 1903 he wrote his first important book, The Principles of Mathematics, and with his friend Dr. Alfred Whitehead proceeded to develop and extend the mathematical logic of Peano and Frege. From time to time he abandoned philosophy for politics. In 1910 he was appointed lecturer at Trinity College. After the first World War broke out, he took an active part in the No Conscription fellowship and was fined £ 100 as the author of a leaflet criticizing a sentence of two years on a conscientious objector. His college deprived him of his lectureship in 1916. He was offered a post at Harvard university, but was refused a passport. He intended to give a course of lectures (afterwards published in America as Political Ideals, 1918) but was prevented by the military authorities. In 1918 he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for a pacifistic article he had written in the Tribunal. His Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy (1919) was written in prison. His Analysis of Mind (1921) was the outcome of some lectures he gave in London, which were organized by a few friends who got up a subscription for the purpose.In 1920 Russell had paid a short visit to Russia to study the conditions of Bolshevism on the spot. In the autumn of the same year he went to China to lecture on philosophy at the Peking university. On his return in Sept. 1921, having been divorced by his first wife, he married Miss Dora Black. They lived for six years in Chelsea during the winter months and spent the summers near Lands End. In 1927 he and his wife started a school for young children, which they carried on until 1932. He succeeded to the earldom in 1931. He was divorced by his second wife in 1935 and the following year married Patricia Helen Spence. In 1938 he went to the United States and during the next years taught at many of the country’s leading universities. In 1940 he was involved in legal proceedings when his right to teach philosophy at the College of the City of New York was questioned because of his views on morality. When his appointment to the college faculty was cancelled, he accepted a five-year contract as a lecturer for the Barnes foundation, Merion, Pa., but the cancellation of this contract was announced in Jan. 1943 by Albert C. Barnes, director of the foundation.Russell was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1908, and re-elected a fellow of Trinity College in 1944. He was awarded the Sylvester medal of the Royal Society, 1934, the de Morgan medal of the London Mathematical Society in the same year, the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1950.In a paper “Logical Atomism” (Contemporary British Philosophy. Personal Statements, First series. Lond. 1924) Russell exposed his views on his philosophy, preceded by a few words on historical development.1

Principal publications
German Social Democracy, 1896
Foundations of Geometry, 1897
A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz, 1900
Principles of Mathematics, vol. 1, 1903
Philosophical Essays, 1910
(with Dr. A. N. Whitehead) Principia mathematica, 3 vols, 1910-13
The Problems of Philosophy, 1912
Our Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy, 1944
Principles of Social Reconstruction, 1916
Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, 1918
Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism and Syndicalism, 1918
Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, 1919
The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, 1920
The Analysis of Mind, 1921
The Problem of China, 1922
The ABC of Atoms, 1923
(with Dora Russell) The Prospects of Industrial Civilisation, 1923
Logical Atomism, 1924
The ABC of Relativity, 1925
On Education, 1926
The Analysis of Matter, 1927
An Outline of Philosophy, 1927
Sceptical Essays, 1928
Marriage and Morals, 1929
The Conquest of Happiness, 1930
The Freedom and Organisation 1814-1914, 1934
In Praise of Idleness, 1935
Which Way to Peace?, 1936
(with Patricia Russell editor of) The Amberley Papers, 2 vols, 1937
Power: a new Social Introduction to its Study, 1938
An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, 1941
History of Western Philosophy, 1946
Human Knowledge, its Scope and Limits, 1948
Authority and the Individual, 1949
Unpopular Essays, 1950

1) The matter for this sketch is taken from general English reference books.From Les Prix Nobel en 1950, Editor Arne Holmberg, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1951This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and later published in the book series Les Prix Nobel/ Nobel Lectures/The Nobel Prizes. The information is sometimes updated with an addendum submitted by the Laureate.For more updated biographical information, see:
Russell, Bertrand, The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell. (3 vols.) Allen & Unwin: London, 1967-1969.

Image result for Douglas Groothuis,

Douglas Groothuis

01.24.13 | Denver Journal, Apologetics and Ethics, Douglas Groothuis | by Alain de Botton

A Denver Journal Review by Denver Seminary Professor Douglas Groothuis.

Alain de Botton Religion for Atheists: A Nonbelievers Guide to the Uses of Religion. New York: Pantheon Books, 2012. Hardback. $26.95. 320 pages. ISBN-10: 0307379108; ISBN-13: 978-0307379108.

ReligionforAtheistsCultural critic and popular atheistic philosopher, Alain de Botton, has a new angle on religion. Instead of denouncing religion as having no objective value (the modus operandi of “the new atheists”), de Botton scavenges for atheist blessings among the institutions, practices, and history of the (philosophically benighted) believers. No, there is no God. That, he thinks, is settled—although he gives no arguments to that effect. But why be so hostile to man’s religiosity—his sense of wonder, mystery, fellow-feeling, and the sacred? After all, a lot of religious things are pretty interesting and even inspiring (although there is no Spirit behind any of it). And even though the cognoscenti have outgrown any religious metaphysics (“God is dead,” as Nietzsche pontificated), there may be cultural and psychological gems mixed into the metaphysical manure of empty concepts such as God, angels, providence, prayer, prophets, miracles, saints, salvation, and final judgment.

This ambitious (or quixotic) endeavor has exposed de Botton some savage criticism from fellow God-bashers. Although he didn’t live long enough to excoriate Religion for Atheists, it is certain that Christopher Hitchens, the author of the vitriolic God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, would have denounced it as sentimental, unreasonable, and finally absurd. The entire new atheist movement distinguishes itself precisely by not tolerating religion (and particularly Christianity, which is routinely treated with enormous scorn) and for wanting to exorcise all things religious from culture. Instead of saying that religion is false, but we have to put up with superstition in a free society, the New Atheists claim that religion is the source of all manner of evil. It must be expunged from any rational society. No pats on the head for religion; rather, bring the hammer.

But de Botton who has several popular books under his belt, including Proust Can Change Your Life, attempts to articulate a kinder, gentler atheism. He even proposes a religious atheism. This is not new. The founder of sociology, August Comte (1798–1857), proposed an atheist “religion of humanity” in the nineteenth century, and de Botton draws some secular inspiration from his fatuous and failed endeavor. Moreover, The Secular Humanist Manifesto I, (1933), spoke of secular humanism as a religious endeavor—sans God, however. In The Secular Humanist Manifesto, II (1973), any positive reference to religion was fumigated. In the famous Torcaso vs. Watkins Supreme Court decision of 1963, “Secular Humanism,” was declared to be a “religion.” Sadly, this ruling was never applied to mandatory state education, which is dominated by this secular humanism in every subject and which will not even allow scientific evidence to be brought against aspects of Darwinism. (On this, see Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto [Crossway, 1981].)

There is no need to describe much of de Bottons project (as witty as some of it may be; he is British, after all), since it rests on an abject absurdity—or more than one, as we will see. On this, I side with the new atheists (“take no prisoners”), and with their grand and eloquent precursor, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). Consider this soliloquy from “The Madman” parable in The Gay Science (“gay” is taken in the older sense).

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. “Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

“How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us—for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.”

Atheism, or philosophical materialism, bequeaths to us a “world without windows” (Peter Berger), a closed system of cause and effect (Francis Schaeffer), which is all reducible to brute natural laws, matter and energy, chance, and a heck of a lot of (meaningless) time. Death is the end of the individual and of the entire cosmos eventually. That is the implacable narrative of naturalism, like it or not.

We cannot “comfort ourselves” by appropriating from religion what only religion can provide: divine revelation, a supernatural kingdom and worldview, providential history, real redemption from a source outside ourselves, and the life everlasting, either in the New Creation or in hell.

One may put the argument against de Bottons’s daft idea formally:

  1. X (religious meaning) requires Y (the truth of religion) for its existence.
  2. Y does not exist.
  3. Therefore: X does not exist.

Or it can be put thus:

  1. If and only if Y, then X.
  2. Not X.
  3. Therefore: not Y.

Or:

  1. If there is no religious truth, there is no religious meaning.
  2. There is no religious truth, since atheism is true.
  3. Therefore, there is no religious meaning.

Or, to put it yet another way for hardheaded atheists who wants to steal from religion what atheism itself can never provide:

  1. The truth of religion is a necessary condition for religious meaning.
  2. Religion is factually false (atheism).
  3. Therefore, there is no religious meaning.
  4. Therefore, all is meaningless (nihilism), whatever pseudo-religious games we play.

(This argument restates the first one given, but with a different form.)

I need not go on with this logical theme, lest I suffer the charge of pedantry. But another absurdity needs a tongue-lashing. While de Botton’s illicit existential booty largely comes from Christianity, he samples and mixes in bits from other religions as well. Thus, Buddhism can teach us about tranquility through meditation, and so on. But the problem mentioned above, with respect to Christianity, arises here as well. One cannot find Buddhist meaning without Buddhist truth. If “The Four Noble Truths” are not true, why meditate? But that is not all. Buddhism and Christianity affirm different and antithetical worldviews at their very core. They both cannot be true, since they disagree on minor things like the existence of the soul, the afterlife, and the ultimate reality (God or Nirvana). So, the absurdities multiply for de Botton who obliviously marches from chapter to chapter cherry- picking likeable aspects of false religions—whose meaning depends on their mutually-exclusive truths. Oh, my! How bad can it get? One must invoke the Apostle here:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:21-22).

In looting from the biblical ideal of fellowship, de Bottom imagines an “Agape Restaurant, a secular descendent of the Eucharist and of the tradition of Christian communal dining” (45). But later in the chapter, he invokes the debauched tradition of “the feast of fools,” in which normal social relations are skewed to let off the steam built up through good behavior. This means a lot of debauchery.  Of course, there is nothing like a “feast of fools” in the Bible, but no matter. For de Botton the “feast of fools” turns into a sexual orgy, which is pornographically depicted on page 67. Stunned, I ripped it out and disposed of it immediately after briefly seeing it. So, in the irresponsibly eclectic and illogical mind of Alain de Botton one can equally draw from the practice of Holy Communion and from the unholy pagan bacchanalia, the likes of which the Apostle Paul explicitly condemns.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).

But mixing communion with “acts of the flesh” for his atheist religion is quite convenient for de Botton and entirely unjustified by any consistent set of godless principles.

Not only is de Botton’s program for religious atheism absurd on several levels, it also testifies to the paucity of atheism qua atheism to deliver any objective or lasting human meaning based on transcendent truths. As astronomer Carl Sagan asserted without argument in Cosmos in 1980: “The universe is all that is, was, or ever will be.” As such atheism fails a necessary test for the truthfulness of a worldview. This is how I articulated it in Christian Apologetics (InterVarsity, 2011) when discussing the rational tests for a worldview.

Criterion 5a: For a worldview to be a likely candidate for truth, its essential propositions must be existentially viable.

Criterion 5b: If a worldview leads habitually to philosophical hypocrisy, it is rationally disqualified, since this indicates that it does not correspond to reality.

Image result for francis schaeffer

Atheism is not existentially viable (or livable), since we are meaning-seeking beings supposedly lost in a meaningless world. As Francis Schaeffer said in The God Who is There, this would be like a fish developing lungs in a world without an oxygen atmosphere. It is beyond pointless. This reality leads atheists such as de Botton to commit philosophical hypocrisy by vainly trying to purloin ideas from antithetical religious worldviews to give some meaning to an ultimately meaningless world. It melts down to these two logically incompatible propositions:

  1. There is no objective meaning in the world, because there is no God to bestow it.
  2. Religion, while false, gives us objective meaning.

But obviously, if (1) is true, then (2) must be false. One must engage in vicious mystification to try to think otherwise. A logically consistent set of two propositions for the atheist is as follows:

  1. There is no objective meaning in the world, because there is no God to bestow it.
  2. Therefore: all religious practices based on the idea of God’s existence lose their meaning and should be shunned, since God does not exist.

Image result for bertrand russell

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), perhaps the leading philosophical atheist of the twentieth century, put it unforgettably in his often anthologized essay, “A Free Man’s Worship.”

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 labours 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 a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which 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 habitation henceforth be safely built.

Russell, who drank the cup of atheism to the dregs, realized his godless fate. The “worship” of which he speaks later in the essay is simply the refusal to engage in the worship of power. It has nothing to do with de Bottom’s hopeless program of ontologically empty activities.

Image result for bertrand russell

However, the Christian can offer a “religion for atheists” — Christianity itself. But that, of course, requires the abandonment of atheism, the embrace of theism and the Incarnation, and the end of pretending otherwise. Only then, will religious meaning become a reality for the thirsty soul. As Jesus put it at the beginning of his world-changing ministry, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
Denver Seminary
January 2013

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Little Rock native David Hodges co-wrote A SONG ABOUT LOVE sung by Lee DeWyze

I used to make you cry,
But I haven’t smiled since you left.
Can you undo ‘Goodbye’,
Its a word I wish I cud forget.
You told me you love me and to try to move on.
But its hard to get up when you fall,
So I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.
Oh, oh
It was you who took the blame,
Even though we both knew who was wrong.
Yeah I’m calling out your name,
Every time I’m singing this song.
‘Cause its over, yeah its over
You told me you love me but its time to move on.
Its hard to get up when you fall,
So I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.
Oh, oh, oh
‘Cause its over, yeah its over
You told me you love me and to try to move on.
Its hard to get up when you fall,
So I wrote a song about love
And its sad ’cause it won’t be enough.
So I wrote a song about love but its nothing at all.
Oh
Songwriters: David Hodges / Lee Dewyze / Mike Busbee
A Song About Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Links to 2015 MUSIC MONDAYS

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Links to 2015 MUSIC MONDAYS

I am moving the MUSIC MONDAY to a monthly feature on http://www.thedailyhatch.org. My passion has been in the recent years to emphasize the works of Francis Schaeffer in my apologetic efforts and most of those posts are either on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

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___________     One of my favorit

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 223 Bernard Berenson ( Featured artist is Nick Cave )

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BERNARD BERENSON: A Life in the Picture Trade, by Rachel Cohen. The Jewish Lives Book Series

Published on Oct 12, 2013

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Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade, by Rachel Cohen, 2013, Yale University Press. The Jewish Lives Book Series. The fascinating life of Bernard Berenson. Trailer includes an interview with the author. Webvideo by Nick Davis Productions.

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Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE asserted:

There is a real tension in being a modern man because no one can live at ease in the area of despair. A Christian know’s that this is because a man has been made in the image of God and though man is fallen, separated from God by his true guilt, yet nevertheless he has not become a machine. The fallenness of man does not lead to machiness, but to fallen-manness. Therefore, when people feel this utter despair, there is a titanic pressure, like being extruded against all the long history of reasoned thinking to accept a dichotomy, and then later to accept some mysticism which gives an illusion of unity to the whole.

Image result for Bernard Berenson

Dr. Robert A. Sungenis discussed Schaeffer’s works extensively in his paper “Philosophy and its Effect on Society,” and he related this illustration Schaeffer used concerning Bernard Berenson:.

Bernard Berenson (d. 1959) professor at Harvard, was the world’s greatest expert on Renaissance art in his day. He was sought out for his ability to date and price any Renaissance piece of art. He loved the beauty of Renaissance art, so much so that when he compared it to the ugliness of modern art, in his own words, modern art was “bestial.” Berenson was also a Roman Catholic, at least by name. In one of his own ugly moments, he took a married woman, Mary Costelloe, away from her husband, living with her for years and then marrying her when her husband died (since as a Catholic, Mary could not divorce her husband). But when Berenson married her, they forged an agreement that each would be allowed to have extra-marital affairs, and they lived this way for 45 years. When Berenson was admonished for this, he would simply say: “You are forgetting the animal basis of our nature,” the same thing he said about modern art. Obviously, Berenson could not live within his own system of philosophy.

Francis Schaeffer in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE noted:

No man like Berenson can live with his system. Every truly modern man is forced to accept some sort of leap in theory or practice, because the pressure of his own humanity demands it. He can say what he will concerning what he himself is; but no matter what he says he is, he still is man. 

These kinds of leaps, produced in desperation as an act of blind faith, are totally different from the faith of historic Christianity. On the basis of biblical Christianity a rational discussion and consideration can take place, because it is fixed in the stuff of history. When Paul was asked whether Jesus was raised from the dead, he gave a completely nonreligious answer, in the twentieth-century sense. He said, “There are almost 500 living witnesses; go and ask them!” (I Corinthians 15:6). This is the faith that involves the whole man, including his reason; it does not ask for a belief into this void. As the twentieth-century mentality would understand the concept of religion, the Bible is a nonreligious book. 

 

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David Steele noted concerning Francis Schaeffer:

…One must understand the concept he calls “mannishness” or the tension of being a man.  The idea is essentially that no man can live at ease in the area of despair.  His significance, ability to love and be loved, and his capacity for rationality distinguish him from machines and animals and give evidence to this fact: Man is made in the image of God.  Modern man has been forced to accept the false dichotomy between nature and grace and consequently takes a leap of faith to the upper story and embraces some form of mysticism, which gives an illusion of unity to the whole.  But as Schaeffer points out, “The very ‘mannishness’ of man refuses to live in the logic of the position  to which his humanism and rationalism have brought him.  To say that I am only a machine is one thing; to live consistently  as if this were true is quite another” (The God Who Is There, 68).  Schaeffer continues, “Every truly modern man is forced to accept some sort of leap in theory or practice, because the pressure of his own humanity demands it.  He can say what he will concerning what he himself is; but no matter what he says he is, he is still a man” (The God Who Is There, 69).

WHY FRANCIS SCHAEFFER MATTERS: Consequences of Pitting Rationality Against Faith – PART 4

The decisive result of falling below the line of despair is a pitting of rationality against faith.  Schaeffer sees this as an enormous problem and details four consequences in his book, Escape From Reason.

First, when rationality contends against faith, one is not able to establish a system of morality.  It is simply impossible to have an “upstairs morality” that is unrelated to matters of everyday living.

Second, when rationality and faith are dichotomized, there is no adequate basis for law.  “The whole Reformation system of law was built on the fact that God had revealed something real down into the common things of life” (Escape From Reason, 261).  But when rationality and faith are pitted against one another, all hope for law is obliterated.

The third consequence is that this scheme throws away the answer to the problem of evil.  Christianity’s answer rests in the historic, space-time, real and complete Fall of man who rebelled and made a choice against God.  “Once the historic Christian answer is put away, all we can do is to leap upstairs and say that against all reason God is good” (Escape From Reason, 262).

Finally, when one accepts this unbiblical dichotomy he loses the opportunity to evangelize people at their real point of despair.  Schaeffer makes it clear that modern man longs for answers.  “He did not accept the line of despair and the dichotomy because he wanted to.  He accepted it because, on the basis of the natural development of his rationalistic presuppositions, he had to.  He may talk bravely at times, but in the end it is despair” (Escape From Reason, 262).  It is at this point that Schaeffer believes the Christian apologist has a golden opportunity to make an impact.  “Christianity has the opportunity, therefore, to say clearly that its answer has the very thing modern man has despaired of – the unity of thought.  It  provides a unified answer for the whole of life.  True, man has to renounce his rationalism; but then, on the basis of what can be discussed, he has the possibility of recovering his rationality” (Escape From Reason, 262).

Schaeffer challenges us, “Let us Christians remember, then, that if we fall into the trap  against which I have been warning, what we have done, among other things, is to put ourselves in the position where in reality we are only saying with evangelical words what the unbeliever is saying with his words.  In order to confront modern man effectively, we must not have this dichotomy.  You must have the Scriptures speaking truth both about God Himself and about the area where the Bible touches history and the cosmos” (Escape From Reason, 263).

The Tension of Being a Man

Before proceeding to Dr. Schaeffer’s basic approach to apologetics one must understand the concept he calls “mannishness” or the tension of being a man.  The idea is essentially that no man can live at ease in the area of despair.  His significance, ability to love and be loved, and his capacity for rationality distinguish him from machines and animals and give evidence to this fact: Man is made in the image of God.  Modern man has been forced to accept the false dichotomy between nature and grace and consequently takes a leap of faith to the upper story and embraces some form of mysticism, which gives an illusion of unity to the whole.  But as Schaeffer points out, “The very ‘mannishness’ of man refuses to live in the logic of the position  to which his humanism and rationalism have brought him.  To say that I am only a machine is one thing; to live consistently  as if this were true is quite another” (The God Who Is There, 68).  Schaeffer continues, “Every truly modern man is forced to accept some sort of leap in theory or practice, because the pressure of his own humanity demands it.  He can say what he will concerning what he himself is; but no matter what he says he is, he is still a man” (The God Who Is There, 69).

Thus, the foundation for Francis Schaeffer’s basic approach to apologetics is simply to recognize that man is an image-bearer.  Man even in his sin has personality, significance, and worth.  Therefore, the apologist should approach him in those terms.  The apologist must not only recognize that man is made in the image of God;  he must also love him in word and deed.  Finally, the apologist must speak to the man as a unit; he must reach the whole man (for faith truly does involve the whole man) and refuse to buy into the popularized Platonic idea that man’s soul is more important than the body.

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By David Steele

WHY FRANCIS SCHAEFFER MATTERS: Epistemology – PART 5

Dr. Schaeffer’s epistemology is integral to his approach to apologetics and may be described simply as follows.  First, one must understand that pagan thought endorses a belief in the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system.  Propositional and verbal revelation is nonsense in this scheme.  Christian epistemology stands in stark contrast to the non-Christian worldview.  The presupposition of Christianity begins with the God who is there.  God is the infinite-personal Being who has made man in His image.  God made man a verbalizer in the area of propositions in his horizontal communications with other men.  Thus God communicates to us on the basis of verbalizations and propositions by means of the written Word of God (He Is There And He Is Not Silent, 326-327).

Thus the Christian epistemological system brings three things together in a unified whole; the unified field of knowledge that modern man has given up on.  “The infinite personal God who made the universe; and man, whom he made to live in that universe; and the Bible, which He has given us to tell us about that universe” (He Is There And He Is Not Silent, 329).

Schaeffer goes one step further by noting that the presuppositions of Christianity is in line with every man’s experience.  “The fact is that if we are going to live in this world at all, we must live in it acting on a correlation of ourselves and the thing that is there, even if we have a philosophy that says there is no correlation . . . In other words, all men constantly and consistently act as though Christianity is true” (He Is There And He Is Not Silent, 330).

The reason for the shift in society leading to despair comes as a result of buying the lie of the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system.  The result delivers a deathblow to any possibility of epistemology.   Schaeffer adds, “Man’s attempted autonomy has robbed him of reality.  He has nothing to be sure of when his imagination soars beyond the stars, if there is nothing to guarantee a distinction between reality and fantasy.  But on the basis of the Christian epistemology, this confusion is ended, the alienation is healed.  This is the heart of the problem of knowing, and it is not solved until our knowledge fits under the apex of the infinite-personal, Triune God who is there and who is not silent” (He Is There And He Is Not Silent, 343-344).

Therefore, there are only two alternatives in the search for the source of knowledge according to Dr. Schaeffer.  Either a person attempts to find the answers to all his questions alone (autonomously) or he seeks truths from God and His revealed Word (the biblical world-view).

The former view mandates that a person begin with himself.  However, as Schaeffer notes, “Starting with himself, a person cannot establish an adequate explanation for the amazing possibility that he can observe the world around him and be assured that his observations have a correspondence with reality” (Whatever Happened To The Human Race, 365).  Herein lies the problem: Sinful man is forced to provide the answers to the ultimate metaphysical questions, but because they have limited experience they can know nothing with a high degree of certainty.  The end result is a hellish tension which leads down the road of meaninglessness and the relativity of morals:  “The truth is that everyone who rejects the biblical world-view must live in a state of tension between ideas about reality and reality itself” (Whatever Happened To The Human Race, 369).

The later view that derives truth from God’s Word is the only sure way to engage in epistemology.  Dr. Schaeffer gives three testimonies found in the Scripture.  First, the Bible gives us the explanation for the universe.  Second, the Bible explains the mannishness of man (which is described below) and third, the Bible is open to verification by historical study.  “From the Bible’s viewpoint, all truth finally rests upon the fact that the infinite-personal God exists in contrast to His not existing” (Whatever Happened To The Human Race, 393).

HE IS THERE AND HE IS NOT SILENT – Francis Schaeffer (1972)

I first read He is There and He is Not Silent by Francis Schaeffer in 1992.  Multiple readings have ensued and I turn back to Schaeffer’s book again and again for help with apologetics.

Schaeffer argues for three basic areas of philosophical thought: metaphysics (being or existence), morals (the dilemma of man), and epistemology (the problem of knowing). Philosophy and religion are essentially devoted to the same questions, namely, metaphysics, morals, and epistemology.

Philosophy is concerned with either an academic subject or a person’s worldview.  It is the later, that Schaeffer is concerned with in this volume.  Schaeffer contends that every man is a philosopher of sorts because it is impossible for humans to live without a worldview.

METAPHYSICS

There are three basic answers to the question of metaphysics.  The first answer is that “everything that exists has come out of absolutely nothing.”  Naturalism’s answer suggests no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality.  This answer is, as Schaeffer calls it, “nothing, nothing.”

The second answer is that everything had an impersonal beginning.  This answer leads automatically to reductionism.  “Beginning with the impersonal must be explained in terms of the impersonal plus time plus chance,” writes Schaeffer.  This answer poses many problem.  But the two primary problems fail to answer the major philosophical question: the need for unity and the need for diversity.

The third answer is the biblical answer.  The third answer is the only rational and satisfying answer.  This answer suggests that we must begin with a personal beginning.  And to have an adequate answer of a personal beginning, one must have a personal infinite God, and personal unity and diversity in God (found the holy Trinity).

Schaeffer concludes: “The reason we have the metaphysical answer is because the infinite-personal God, the full Trinitarian God is there and he is not silent.”

MORALS

There are only two basic answers to the question of morals.  The first: Everything had an impersonal beginning.  The is the answer of atheism.  Schaeffer never minces words.  He writes, “Beginning with the impersonal, there is no explanation for the complexity of the universe or the personality of man.”  When one begins with the impersonal, one eliminates the possibility of morals or ethics.

The second answer is the biblical reality of a personal beginning.  Man was created by an infinite-personal God.  Man sinned or “made a decision to change himself” as Schaeffer notes.

“The starting point,” writes Schaeffer “to the answer (of the question of morals) as with metaphysics is the fact that God is there and he is not silent.”

EPISTEMOLOGY

Schaeffer concludes by setting forth the problem concerning epistemology and the epistemological answer.

The epistemological problem concerns the tension between nature (particulars) and grace (universals).  When nature becomes autonomous, the universal is lost with the hope of giving the particulars meaning.  The problem is that when nature becomes autonomous, nature “eats up” grace.  Schaeffer argues that  when we are left with only particulars, we become lost in the areas of metaphysics, morality, and epistemology.

The epistemological answer was summarized by the Reformers.  The Reformers did not allow for a dichotomy between nature and grace.  The reason: they had verbal propositional revelation.  The Reformers were vocal about the reality of God’s existence and the reality of his revelation.  Schaeffer popularized this view in the title of his book,He is There and He is Not Silent.  God has spoken truly about himself.  However, he has not spoken exhaustively about himself.

Schaeffer urges readers to come face to face with two gigantic presuppositions – “the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system and the uniformity of natural causes in an open system and in a limited time span.”  Ultimately, readers must determine which worldview fits with the facts.

Schaeffer summarizes, then, the basic presuppositions in historic Christianity.

1. God is there.

2. God is the infinite-personal God who has made man in his image.

3. God made man a verbalizer in the area of propositions in his horizontal communications with other men.

4. God communicates to us on the basis of propositions, viz, he is there and his is not silent.

Schaeffer maintains, “Under the unity of the apex of the infinite-personal God, in all of these areas we can have meaning, we can have reality, and we can have beauty.”

He is There and He is Not Silent is an essential work of apologetics.  It should be required reading for every Bible College/Seminary student.  Schaeffer put his finger on the essential issues of the day – even in the early 70’s and especially in our day.

5 stars

WHY FRANCIS SHAEFFER MATTERS: The Turning Point in Truth – Part 2

The Truth Crisis

Francis Schaeffer sets the tone for his apologetical procedure by explaining the crisis of truth in America:  “We are fundamentally affected by a new way of looking at truth.  This change in the concept of the way we come to knowledge and truth is the most crucial problem facing America today” (The God Who Is There, 6).  He believes a paradigm shift occurred around 1935 when the American attitude toward truth changed.  Prior to this time, American’s were devoted to thinking about presuppositions, namely, the existence of absolutes, particularly in the areas of morals (ethics) and knowledge (epistemology).  But the average American took it for granted  that if a certain idea was true, it’s opposite was false.  In other words, “absolutes imply antithesis.”  The working antithesis is that God exists objectively (in antithesis) to his not existing.

Schaeffer believes that presuppositional apologetics would have stopped the decay.  Incidentally, he maintains that the use of classical apologetics was effective prior to the shift because non-Christians were functioning on the surface with the same presuppositions, even though they did not have an adequate base for them.

The Role of Thomas Aquinas

Dr. Schaeffer maintains that Aquinas opened the way for the discussion of what is usually called the “nature and grace” controversy (Escape From Reason, 209). He contends that Aquinas set up a dichotomy of grace versus nature.

Aquinas taught that the will of man was fallen, but the intellect was not.  The net result, according to Schaeffer, is that man’s intellect is seen as autonomous.  Schaeffer maintains that the teaching of Aquinas led to the development of the so-called Natural Theology where theology could be pursued independent of the Scriptures.  The vital principle to understand according to Schaeffer is that “as nature was made autonomous, nature began to ‘eat up’ grace” (Escape From Reason, 212).

Anthropology

Schaeffer militates against this so-called  “grace/nature” dichotomy and insists that Christ is equally Lord in both areas.  He suggests that God made the whole man and is consequently interested in the whole man.  When the historic space-time Fall took place, it affected the whole man, not merely the will as Aquinas taught.  Thus, Schaeffer taught that the whole man is saved and the whole man will eventually be glorified and perfectly redeemed.

Since God made man in His own image, man is not caught in the wheels of determinism:  “The Christian position is that since man is made in the image of God and even though he is a sinner, he can do those things that are tremendous – he can influence history for this life and the life to come, for himself and others” (Death In The City, 258).

Schaeffer argues that Evangelicals have such a strong tendency to combat humanism that they end up making man a “zero.”  He adds, “Man is indeed lost but that does not mean he is nothing . . . From the biblical viewpoint, man is lost, but great” (Death In The City, 258-259).  Therefore, Schaeffer’s anthropological position is that man is sinful, yet he is significant because he is made in the image of God.  And regenerate man is, as the Reformers emphasized, simul iustus et peccator – simultaneously righteous and sinful.

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Book Review The God Who is There by Francis Schaeffer

By Cris Putnam
The God Who Is There in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: Three Essential Books in One Volume by Francis A. Schaeffer. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 1990, 199 out of 361 pages, $16.95The God Who Is There by Francis Schaeffer is a seminal work in twentieth century apologetics. Inspiring generations to follow, Schaeffer, an American philosopher, theologian and Presbyterian pastor, is one of the most recognized and respected Christian authors of all time. As his first book, The God Who Is There is one among an essential reading list including Escape From Reason, True Spirituality, How Should We Then Live and A Christian Manifesto. The four volume set, The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, is part of this reviewer’s Logos Bible software library. This presentation will give a broad overview and summary of the book, and offer several key points of analysis. The first point of analysis will be the line of despair, which naturally leads to discussion of propositional truth because it is the delineating factor. The steady progression of relativism and irrationality through various disciplines will be discussed with particular attention to theology and the implications to ecumenism. Schaeffer’s tactic of “taking the roof off” will be examined on the basis of the unbeliever’s inevitable leap into irrationality. Finally, the importance of compassion and consistency is emphasized. The review will attempt to show that the book is valuable for its prescient analysis of modern culture and powerful apologetic approach.

Schaeffer’s genius was his capacity to communicate difficult philosophical and theological issues to the average Christian. He begins by exposing the problem as a widening gulf growing between the older and the younger generations concerning the knowledge of truth or epistemology. In so doing, he rightly bemoans the mounting acceptance of relativism over antithesis. Of course, the book was first published in 1968 so that younger generation is now mature and relativism is deeply embedded in the public psyche. His analysis was prescient, because today there is an institutionalized divide where scientific truths are held as absolute but morals, values and religion are all relative and preference based. The book is divided into six sections of several chapters. In the first section dealing with the intellectual climate of the late twentieth century, Schaeffer demarcates a major shift in thought by “a line of despair” around 1935 (for the U.S.) which descends step wise through the disciplines of philosophy, the arts, general culture and finally theology.

In philosophy, Schaeffer was largely lamenting the then popular existentialist movement with its relativizing of truth. Even so, his critique applies equally to twenty-first century postmodernism. He draws the line of despair at Hegel with his dialectical synthesis but also traces the problem back to Aquinas with his division of “nature and grace” and an incomplete view of the biblical fall which held that man had an autonomous intellect.[1] He moves from Hegel to Kierkegaard who was the first under the line by asserting that a leap of blind faith was necessary to becoming a Christian. With this leap into non-reason, Schaeffer posits him as the father of modern existential thought.

The epistemological jump into subjective non-reason is the cause for the despair and the crux of Schaeffer’s critique. It undermines hope. Schaeffer observed, “As a result of this, from that time on, if rationalistic man wants to deal with the really important things of human life (such as purpose, significance, the validity of love), he must discard rational thought about them and make a gigantic, nonrational leap of faith.:”[2] This fuzzy way of thinking leaves no certainty in ultimate matters. While this leap is admitted by existentialists, other philosophies like logical positivism (or scientism) misleadingly lay claim to rationality. Even so, Schaeffer demonstrates positivism’s incoherence in that it simply assumes the reliability of sense data without justifying it. Because it floats epistemologically in mid-air with no foundation, it is self-refuting. In this way, Schaeffer argues that blind faith in science and human progress is ultimately an irrational leap of faith as well. The genius of this book was in showing how this secular impetus in philosophy spread to the culture at large.

With no grounding or basis for truth in ultimate matters, art and music also began to reflect the secular despair. The visual arts lost all sense of realism and progressed from the hazy wash of the impressionists to the tortured figures in Picasso’s work. Schaeffer critiques and explains his impressions of figures like Mondrian, Duchamp and the Dada group in terms of man’s leap into non-reason. As art grew more abstract and impersonal so music lost its tonal center. John Cage is an example of a composer who sought to introduce randomness into his music. The absurdity of a composition of total silence is milestone along the descent.

One weakness in Schaeffer’s discussion is the neglect of viable Christian alternatives. When one compares the beauty and order of a J.S. Bach piece to a modern like Cage the line of despair stands out in sharp relief. Surely some Christian contemporaries of Schaeffer were producing viable art? But this seems to beg the question of Christians equitably competing in the contemporary artistic culture. There is surely an element of secular snobbery involved in the academy. Even those not inclined toward the sophisticated art forms are influenced in popular films and television. He makes a convincing case that the culture as a whole had fallen below the line.

What all disciplines share is the divided field of knowledge and the belief that truth is unknowable in ultimate matters. The trend toward despair is traced through the literature of Henry Miller and Dylan Thomas and the point is well illustrated. He observes that things like purpose, morals and love are relegated to the domain of opinion. Even so, an exemplary aspect of Schaeffer’s critique is that it is compassionate. After dissecting the absurdity seen in modern art forms he reminds the reader, “There is nothing more ugly than a Christian orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion.”[3] Man’s despair is real and it is epistemic of relativism and a deep lack of real hope. He frames the state of affairs as an opportunity for the church to compassionately declare that God is really there.

The second section deals with the new theology and the departure from biblical Christianity. He argues that theology is simply the last to fall along the same lines as philosophy and the arts. Theologians adopted purely rationalistic approaches and the demythologization program which ensured not only excised the supernatural but Christ as well. Of course, foundational to New Testament theology is the fall of man and the effects of Darwinian thought are still echoing today. Schaeffer observed, “Take away the first three chapters of Genesis, and you cannot maintain a true Christian position nor give Christianity’s answers.” This issue of man’s sinfulness and justification is crucial to coherent theological dialog. A major strength of this book is its scathing critique of liberal theology

Whereas Lesslie Newbigin advocates a generous ecumenism in an organization like the World Council of Churches, Schaeffer seems more realistic as to the state of affairs. The pivot point is the depravity of man and justification before a Holy God. He writes that justification means to be acquitted from actual guilt, “an absolute personal antithesis.”[4]This is often the point of tension with liberal theology which has important implications or ecumenism:

We may not play with the new theology even if we may think we can turn it to our advantage. This means, for example, we must beware of cooperation in evangelistic enterprises which force us into a position of accepting the new theology as Christian. If we do this, we have cut the ground from under the biblical concept of the personal antithesis of justification.[5]

Schaeffer critiques Barthian neo-orthodoxy as well as liberal Catholic thought, labeling it as ostensibly “semantic mysticism.” This did not happen overnight and he traces it back to Aquinas’ division of nature and grace, which sought to find a corporate meaning, to more desperate modern formula of the irrational over the rational, with no hope of unity. He argues that because the new theology has divorced faith from reason you can testify to it but you cannot really discuss it. Indeed, finding the point of irrationality and pressing it to the forefront of discussion is at the heart of Schaeffer’s apologetic.

Foundational to Schaeffer’s thought is that God has communicated real propositional truth to man in the Bible. It follows necessarily that the antithesis of God’s truth is false and this is the basis of what he calls “taking the roof off.” The idea is that secular presuppositions invariably contain an incoherence that when pressed lead to an absurd and intolerable conclusion. Without this realization, the unbeliever lives comfortably under a roof of irrational beliefs which shield him from the outside world. When the roof is removed, reality comes crashing in. The task of the apologist is to find a point of tension and lovingly yet firmly carry it through so the incoherence is obvious. If one can lead the unbeliever to see that his own system is unlivable, then there is a real opportunity to provide biblical answers. Taking the roof off is often painful because the real dilemma of modern man is moral and he is culpable to God. This is the truth of the Gospel which is often most offensive. There really are no “good” people.

The supernatural atoning work which Christ finished on the cross is the content of real biblical faith. But because they may never read a Bible, Schaeffer argues that the final apologetic is how the world sees Christians living individually and corporately. It follows that the message of the final section of the book is one of housecleaning. Individually, as an ambassador of Christ to the fallen world one must examine his own presuppositions with equal rigor. In an increasingly biblically illiterate (or skeptical) culture, Christianity is judged by the words and actions of Christians. Corporately, when Christians do not live as if God is really there, then it is hard to expect the world to believe our message.

The book teaches that a cold hearted orthodoxy is a poor substitute for loving authenticity. While a very strong case is made for the latter, a weakness in a book with this title (and perhaps indicative of Schaeffer’s training under Conelius Van Til) is that there is a conspicuous lack of evidential arguments for the existence of God. Nevertheless, because God is really there and calls the world to worship Him, Schaeffer’s apologetic works. The pride of life is a constant barrier and Schaeffer asserts, “Men turn away in order not to bow before the God who is there. This is the ‘scandal of the cross.’”[6] The challenge to believers is to live in way that shows His presence.

This brief summary and analysis of The God Who Is There sought to illustrate the value of the book for its scrutiny of Western culture, concept of truth and apologetic method. The so-called “new theology” was discussed as concession to the relativistic philosophy. It was agreed that man is truly fallen and guilty in the eyes of the Holy God who is really there. Because of this, the task of modern evangelism and apologetics is often to expose the incoherence of secular presuppositions in a firm yet compassionate way. Relativism is ingrained in the secular culture but there is also plenty of work to be done within the evangelical community. In the end, it seems that these points support the idea that this book is still extremely valuable for study.

 


[1]Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who Is There in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: the Three Essential Books in One Volume. (Westchester, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1990), 211.

[2] Schaeffer, The God, 16.

[3] Schaeffer, The God, 34.

[4] Schaeffer, The God, 112.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Schaeffer, The God, 111.

Nick Cave: Thick Skin | Art21 “Exclusive”

Published on Oct 7, 2016

SUBSCRIBE 65K
Episode #239: Artist Nick Cave discusses the experiences that force him to confront his identity as a black man—including being racially profiled by police—and how they fuel his impulse to create. Cave explains that in these moments he gets quiet and avoids lashing out in rage. “And if I do, lashing out for me is creating this,” he says in reference to his intricately constructed Soundsuits. “The Soundsuits hide gender, race, class and they force you to look at the work without judgment.” The exhibition “Here Hear,” which included a large-scale community performance, was installed at Detroit’s Cranbrook Art Museum in 2015. The museum is associated with the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where Nick Cave attended graduate school in the 1980s and was the only minority student at the time. Nick Cave creates “Soundsuits”—surreally majestic objects blending fashion and sculpture—that originated as metaphorical suits of armor in response to the Rodney King beatings and have evolved into vehicles for empowerment. Fully concealing the body, the “Soundsuits” serve as an alien second skin that obscures race, gender, and class, allowing viewers to look without bias towards the wearer’s identity. Cave regularly performs in the sculptures himself, dancing either before the public or for the camera, activating their full potential as costume, musical instrument, and living icon. The artist also works with choreographers, dancers, and amateur performers to produce lavish community celebrations in untraditional venues for art. Cave’s sculptures also include non-figurative assemblages, intricate accumulations of found objects that project out from the wall, and installations enveloping entire rooms. Learn more about the artist at: http://www.art21.org/artists/nick-cave CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster & Nick Ravich. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller. Interview: Stanley Nelson. Editor: Morgan Riles. Camera: Jamin Townsley. Sound: Richard K. Pooler. Artwork Courtesy: Nick Cave. Special Thanks: Cranbrook Art Museum, Robert Faust, William Gill & Laura Mott. ART21 “Exclusive” is supported, in part, by 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

Featured artist is Nick Cave

Nick Cave

Nick Cave was born in Fulton, Missouri in 1959. He creates “Soundsuits”—surreally majestic objects blending fashion and sculpture—that originated as metaphorical suits of armor in response to the Rodney King beatings and have evolved into vehicles for empowerment. Fully concealing the body, the “Soundsuits” serve as an alien second skin that obscures race, gender, and class, allowing viewers to look without bias towards the wearer’s identity. Cave regularly performs in the sculptures himself, dancing either before the public or for the camera, activating their full potential as costume, musical instrument, and living icon.

The artist also works with choreographers, dancers, and amateur performers to produce lavish community celebrations in untraditional venues for art. Dazzling in their movement, Cave’s sculptures are crafted in collaboration with artisans from a dizzying array of materials that include beads, raffia, buttons, sequins, twigs, fur, and fabric. The “Soundsuits” are also displayed in exhibitions as static sculptures, arranged as groups of figures in formation that are striking in their diversity and powerful stance. Cave’s sculptures also include non-figurative assemblages, intricate accumulations of found objects that project out from the wall, and installations enveloping entire rooms.

Nick Cave attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art (MFA, 1989), North Texas State University (1984-86), and the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA, 1982). Cave’s awards and residencies include the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008), Artadia Award (2006), Joyce Award (2006), Creative Capital Grant (2004, 2002), and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2001). Cave has had major exhibitions at MASS MoCA (2016); Cranbrook Art Museum (2015); Saint Louis Art Museum (2014-15); ICA Boston (2014); Denver Art Museum (2013); Fabric Workshop and Museum (2011-12); Seattle Art Museum (2011); and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2009), among others. Cave lives and works in Chicago, IL, USA.

Links:
Artist’s website
Artist on Facebook

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149 GG Bertrand Russell said “For beliefs based on faith, argument is useless,” yet Russell had a utter faith in an uniformity of natural causes in a closed system

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 149Z Sir Bertrand RussellImage result for bertrand russell_Image result for bertrand russellOn November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.Harry Kroto__

Harold W. Kroto (left) receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm, in 1996.

Soren Andersson/APImage result for harry kroto nobel prize __Image result for harry krotoI have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,_In  the first video below in the 14th clip in this series are his words and I will be responding to them in the next few weeks since Sir Bertrand Russell is probably the most quoted skeptic of our time, unless it was someone like Carl Sagan or Antony Flew.  

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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Quote from Bertrand Russell:

Q: Why are you not a Christian?Russell: Because I see no evidence whatever for any of the Christian dogmas. I’ve examined all the stock arguments in favor of the existence of God, and none of them seem to me to be logically valid.Q: Do you think there’s a practical reason for having a religious belief, for many people?Russell: Well, there can’t be a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. That’s quite… at least, I rule it out as impossible. Either the thing is true, or it isn’t. If it is true, you should believe it, and if it isn’t, you shouldn’t. And if you can’t find out whether it’s true or whether it isn’t, you should suspend judgment. But you can’t… it seems to me a fundamental dishonesty and a fundamental treachery to intellectual integrity to hold a belief because you think it’s useful, and not because you think it’s true._

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Bertrand Russell pictured above and Francis Schaeffer below:Image result for francis schaefferFrancis Schaeffer noted concerning the IMPLICIT FAITH of Bertrand Russell:I was lecturing at the University of St. Andrews one night and someone put forth the question, “If Christianity is so clear and reasonable then why doesn’t Bertrand Russell then become a Christian? Is it because he hasn’t discovered theology?”It wasn’t a matter of studying theology that was involved but rather that he had too much faith. I was surrounded by humanists and you could hear the gasps. Bertrand Russell and faith; Isn’t this the man of reason? I pointed out that this is a man of high orthodoxy who will hold his IMPLICIT FAITH on the basis of his presuppositions no matter how many times he has to zig and zag because it doesn’t conform to the facts.You must understand what the term IMPLICIT FAITH  means. In the old Roman Catholic Church when someone who became a Roman Catholic they had to promise implicit faith. That meant that you not only had to believe everything that Roman Catholic Church taught then but also everything it would teach in the future. It seems to me this is the kind of faith that these people have in the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system and they have accepted it no matter what it leads them into. I think that these men are men of a high level of IMPLICIT FAITH in their own set of presuppositions. Paul said (in Romans Chapter One) they won’t carry it to it’s logical conclusion even though they hold a great deal of the truth and they have revolted and they have set up a series of universals in themselves which they won’t transgress no matter if they conform to the facts or not.Here below is the Romans passage that Schaeffer is referring to and verse 19 refers to what Schaeffer calls “the mannishness of man” and verse 20 refers to Schaeffer’s other point which is “the universe and it’s form.”Romans 1:18-20 Amplified Bible :18 For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. 19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification].We can actually see the two points makes playing themselves out in Bertrand Russell’s own life.

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[From a letter dated August 11, 1918 to Miss Rinder when Russell was 46]It is so with all who spend their lives in the quest of something elusive, and yet omnipresent, and at once subtle and infinite. One seeks it in music, and the sea, and sunsets; at times I have seemed very near it in crowds when I have been feeling strongly what they were feeling; one seeks it in love above all. But if one lets oneself imagine one has found it, some cruel irony is sure to come and show one that it is not really found.
The outcome is that one is a ghost, floating through the world without any real contact. Even when one feels nearest to other people, something in one seems obstinately to belong to God and to refuse to enter into any earthly communion—at least that is how I should express it if I thought there was a God. It is odd isn’t it? I care passionately for this world, and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted—some ghost, from some extra-mundane region, seems always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand the message. There was evidence during Bertrand Russell’s own life that indicated that the Bible was true and could be trusted.Francis Schaeffer brings up the name of someone who lived at the same time Bertrand Russell and if Russell had chose to seriously study the evidence concerning the accuracy of the Bible then he could have seen how it could even change a skeptic’s mind like William Ramsay:

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnotes #97 and #98)

A common assumption among liberal scholars is that because the Gospels are theologically motivated writings–which they are–they cannot also be historically accurate. In other words, because Luke, say (when he wrote the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts), was convinced of the deity of Christ, this influenced his work to the point where it ceased to be reliable as a historical account. The assumption that a writing cannot be both historical and theological is false.The experience of the famous classical archaeologist Sir William Ramsay illustrates this well. When he began his pioneer work of exploration in Asia Minor, he accepted the view then current among the Tubingen scholars of his day that the Book of Acts was written long after the events in Paul’s life and was therefore historically inaccurate. However, his travels and discoveries increasingly forced upon his mind a totally different picture, and he became convinced that Acts was minutely accurate in many details which could be checked.Image result for william mitchell ramsay

Sir William Ramsay and Luke the Historian

Sir William Ramsay (1851-1939) was an archaeologist and biblical skeptic. He taught at the University of Edinburgh and believed that Bible writers made facts and stories up. The book of Acts, he declared, was full of errors, and to prove this contention, he traveled to Asia Minor to demonstrate Luke’s unreliability.He understood he could not prove or disprove miracle accounts, but if he could show Luke to be a sloppy historian on facts that could be verified
(geographical and historical), he felt he could discredit Luke’s unverifiable stories.Ramsay the skeptic returned to Great Britain a believer. Every one of Luke’s facts checked out. He found Luke to use specific and accurate terminology that reflected a careful chronicle of events. There were proconsuls in senatorial provinces, asiarchs in Ephesus, politarchs in Thessalonica. His conclusion was that Luke was a highly reliable historian, rendering the story of the early church in the book of Acts a remarkably clear one.The title politarch in Acts 17:6 is particularly striking because, until Ramsay’s investigation, the term was unknown in Greek literature outside Acts. Ramsay found five inscriptions with the term in the city.Ramsay wrote several important books reflecting his archaeological findings such as The Church in the Roman EmpireSt. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen and The Cities of St. Paul.What Ramsay’s story demonstrates is the Bible will withstand any investigation from those willing to honestly look at the evidence.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, “Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

Francis Schaeffer noted in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (p. 182 in Vol 5 of Complete Works) in the chapter The Breakdown in Philosophy and Science:In his lecture at Acapulco, George Wald finished with only one final value. It was the same one with which English philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was left. For Wald and Russell and for many other modern thinkers, the final value is the biological continuity of the human race. If this is the only final value, one is left wondering why this then has importance. Now having traveled from the pride of man in the High Renaissance and the Enlightenment down to the present despair, we can understand where modern people are. They have no place for a personal God. But equally they have no place for man as man, or for love, or for freedom, or for significance. This brings a crucial problem. Beginning only from man himself, people affirm that man is only a machine. But those who hold this position cannot live like machines! If they could, there would have been no tensions in their intellectual position or in their lives. But even people who believe they are machines cannot live like machines, and thus they must “leap upstairs” against their reason and try to find something which gives meaning to life, even though to do so they have to deny their reason. Francis Schaeffer in another place worded it like this:The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. We all know deep down that God exists and even atheists have to grapple with that knowledge.Solomon wisely noted in Ecclesiastes 3:11 “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” (Living Bible). No wonder Bertrand Russell wrote in his autobiography, “It is odd, isn’t it? I feel passionately for this world and many things and people in it, and yet…what is it all? There must be something more important, one feels, though I don’t believe there is. I am haunted. Some ghosts, for some extra mundane regions, seem always trying to tell me something that I am to repeat to the world, but I cannot understand that message.”Take a look at this 7th episode from Schaeffer’s series “HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Age of Nonreason”:

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

_Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible.

Schaeffer then points to the historical accuracy of the Bible in Chapter 5 of the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism), 4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites, 6.Shishak Smiting His Captives, 7. Moabite Stone, 8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 52 The views of Hegel and Bertrand Russell influenced Gareth Stedman Jones of Cambridge!!

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WOODY WEDNESDAY John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

Top 10 Woody Allen Movies __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were  atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 (More On) Woody Allen’s Atheism As I wrote in a previous post, I like Woody Allen. I have long admired his […]

John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!!

______ Top 10 Woody Allen Movies PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 01 PBS American Masters – Woody Allen A Documentary 02 __________ John Piippo makes the case that Bertrand Russell would have loved Woody Allen because they both were two atheists who don’t deny the ramifications of atheism!!! Monday, August 06, 2012 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Great debate Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 2)

Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of UK/BBC copyright. Pardon the hissy audio. It was recorded 51 […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript and audio (Part 1)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 4)

THE MORAL ARGUMENT     BERTRAND RUSSELL But aren’t you now saying in effect, I mean by God whatever is good or the sum total of what is good — the system of what is good, and, therefore, when a young man loves anything that is good he is loving God. Is that what you’re […]

Bertrand Russell v. Frederick Copleston debate transcript (Part 3)

Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell – Part 1 Uploaded by riversonthemoon on Jul 15, 2009 BBC Radio Third Programme Recording January 28, 1948. BBC Recording number T7324W. This is an excerpt from the full broadcast from cassette tape A303/5 Open University Course, Problems of Philosophy Units 7-8. Older than 50 years, out of […]

MUSIC MONDAY Little Rock native David Hodges co-wrote SPIDERWEB sung by Haley Reinhart

Little Rock native David Hodges co-wrote SPIDERWEB sung by Haley Reinhart

Edited by Welll Azvdo 4 months ago

[Verse 1:] Open your eyes Chandeliers are going to light the way Take a step inside the masquerade I know that it’s late But we’re just getting started here Soon the mystery will all be clear [Pre-Chorus:] I’ll give you a taste One drop will erase All your defenses [Chorus:] Come in just a little bit closer now You know that you want me ta take you down I’m the thrill that you can’t escape There’s no way out So don’t you forget, you’re caught my spiderweb [Verse 2:] You think that you know What your body’s getting into But nobody’s here to save you It’s been awhile Since I tapped into my appetite But the hunger’s coming back toright [Pre-Chorus:] The more that you fight The more that you’re mine I’ll keep you forever [Chorus:] Come in just a little bit closer now You know that you want me ta take you down I’m the thrill that you can’t escape There’s no way out So don’t you forget, you’re caught my spiderweb [Bridge:] You don’t know it yet But you might regret The moment we met You’re caught in my spiderweb You don’t know it yet But you might regret The moment we met You’re caught in my spiderweb You don’t know it yet But you might regret The moment we met You’re caught in my spiderweb [Chorus:] Come in just a little bit closer now You know that you want me ta take you down I’m the thrill that you can’t escape There’s no way out So don’t you forget, there’s no way out of this You’re caught my spiderweb

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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Listing of transcripts and videos of “Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave on www.theDailyHatch.org

In the last few years the number of people receiving Food Stamps has skyrocketed. President Obama has not cut any federal welfare programs but has increased them, and he  has used class warfare over and over the last few months and according to him equality at the finish line is the equality that we should all be talking about. However, socialism has never worked and it has always killed incentive to produce more. Milton Friedman shows in this film series below how so many people get caught in the “Welfare Trap.” Friedman also gives a great solution to this problem in the “negative income tax.” I am glad that I had the chance to be studying his work for over 30 years now.

In 1980 when I first sat down and read the book “Free to Choose” I was involved in Ronald Reagan’s campaign for president and excited about the race. Milton Friedman’s books and film series really helped form my conservative views. Take a look at one of my favorite films of his:

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Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 1 of 7)

Volume 4 – From Cradle to Grave
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Abstract:

Since the Depression years of the 1930s, there has been almost continuous expansion of governmental efforts to provide for people’s welfare. First, there was a tremendous expansion of public works. The Social Security Act followed close behind. Soon other efforts extended governmental activities in all areas of the welfare sector. Growth of governmental welfare activity continued unabated, and today it has reached truly staggering proportions. Travelling in both Britain and the U.S., Milton Friedman points out that though many government welfare programs are well intentioned, they tend to have pernicious side effects. In Dr. Friedman’s view, perhaps the most serious shortcoming of governmental welfare activities is their tendency to strip away individual independence and dignity. This is because bureaucrats in welfare agencies are placed in positions of tremendous power over welfare recipients, exercising great influence over their lives. Because people never spend someone else’s money as carefully as they spend their own, inefficiency, waste, abuse, theft, and corruption are inevitable. In addition, welfare programs tend to be self-perpetuating because they destroy work incentives. Indeed, it is often in the welfare recipients’ best interests to remain unemployed. Dr. Friedman suggests a negative income tax as a way of helping the poor. The government would pay money to people falling below a certain income level. As they obtained jobs and earned money, they would continue to receive some payments from the government until their outside income reached a certain ceiling. This system would make people better off who sought work and earned income. This contrasts with many of today’s programs where one dollar earned means nearly one dollar lost in welfare payments.

Volume 4 – From Cradle to Grave
Transcript:
Friedman: After the 2nd World War, New York City authorities retained rent control supposedly to help their poorer citizens. The intentions were good. This in the Bronx was one result.
By the 50’s the same authorities were taxing their citizens. Including those who lived in the Bronx and other devastated areas beyond the East River to subsidize public housing. Another idea with good intentions yet poor people are paying for this, subsidized apartments for the well-to-do. When government at city or federal level spends our money to help us, strange things happen.
The idea that government had to protect us came to be accepted during the terrible years of the Depression. Capitalism was said to have failed. And politicians were looking for a new approach.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a candidate for the presidency. He was governor of New York State. At the governor’s mansion in Albany, he met repeatedly with friends and colleagues to try to find some way out of the Depression. The problems of the day were to be solved by government action and government spending. The measures that FDR and his associates discussed here derived from a long line of past experience. Some of the roots of these measures go back to Bismark’s Germany at the end of the 19th Century. The first modern state to institute old age pensions and other similar measures on the part of government. In the early 20th Century Great Britain followed suit under Lloyd George and Churchill. It too instituted old age pensions and similar plans.
These precursors of the modern welfare state had little effect on practice in the United States. But they did have a very great effect on the intellectuals on the campus like those who gathered here with FDR. The people who met here had little personal experience of the horrors of the Depression but they were confident that they had the solution. In their long discussions as they sat around this fireplace trying to design programs to meet the problems raised by the worst Depression in the history of the United States, they quite naturally drew upon the ideas that were prevalent at the time. The intellectual climate had become one in which it was taken for granted that government had to play a major role in solving the problems in providing what came later to be called Security from Cradle to Grave.
Roosevelt’s first priority after his election was to deal with massive unemployment. A Public Works program was started. The government financed projects to build highways, bridges and dams. The National Recovery Administration was set up to revitalize industry. Roosevelt wanted to see America move into a new era. The Social Security Act was passed and other measures followed. Unemployment benefits, welfare payments, distribution of surplus food. With these measures, of course, came rules, regulations and red tape as familiar today as they were novel then. The government bureaucracy began to grow and it’s been growing ever since.
This is just a small part of the Social Security empire today. Their headquarters in Baltimore has 16 rooms this size. All these people are dispensing our money with the best possible intentions. But at what cost?
In the 50 years since the Albany meetings, we have given government more and more control over our lives and our income. In New York State alone, these government buildings house 11,000 bureaucrats. Administering government programs that cost New York taxpayers 22 billion dollars. At the federal level, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare alone has a budget larger than any government in the world except only Russia and the United States.
Yet these government measures often do not help the people they are supposed to. Richard Brown’s daughter, Helema, needs constant medical attention. She has a throat defect and has to be connected to a breathing machine so that she’ll survive the nights. It’s expensive treatment and you might expect the family to qualify for a Medicaid grant.
Richard Brown: No, I don’t get it, cause I’m not eligible for it. I make a few dollars too much and the salary that I make I can’t afford to really live and to save anything is out of the question. And I mean, I live, we live from payday to payday. I mean literally from payday to payday.
Friedman: His struggle isn’t made any easier by the fact that Mr. Brown knows that if he gave up his job as an orderly at the Harlem Hospital, he would qualify for a government handout. And he’d be better off financially.
Hospital Worker: Mr. Brown, do me a favor please? There is a section patient.
Friedman: It’s a terrible pressure on him. But he is proud of the work that he does here and he’s strong enough to resist the pressure.
Richard Brown: I’m Mr. Brown. Your fully dilated and I’m here to take you to the delivery. Try not to push, please. We want to have a nice sterile delivery.
Friedman: Mr. Brown has found out the hard way that welfare programs destroy an individual’s independence.
Richard Brown: We’ve considered welfare. We went to see, to apply for welfare but, we were told that we were only eligible for $5.00 a month. And, to receive this $5.00 we would have to cash in our son’s savings bonds. And that’s not even worth it. I don’t believe in something for nothing anyway.
Mrs. Brown: I think a lot of people are capable of working and are willing to work, but it’s just the way it is set up. It, the mother and the children are better off if the husband isn’t working or if the husband isn’t there. And this breaks up so many poor families.
Friedman: One of the saddest things is that many of the children whose parents are on welfare will in their turn end up in the welfare trap when they grow up. In this public housing project in the Bronx, New York, 3/4’s of the families are now receiving welfare payments.
Well Mr. Brown wanted to keep away from this kind of thing for a very good reason. The people who get on welfare lose their human independence and feeling of dignity. They become subject to the dictates and whims of their welfare supervisor who can tell them whether they can live here or there, whether they may put in a telephone, what they may do with their lives. They are treated like children, not like responsible adults and they are trapped in the system. Maybe a job comes up which looks better than welfare but they are afraid to take it because if they lose it after a few months it maybe six months or nine months before they can get back onto welfare. And as a result, this becomes a self-perpetuating cycle rather than simply a temporary state of affairs.
Things have gone even further elsewhere. This is a huge mistake. A public housing project in Manchester, England.
Well we’re 3,000 miles away from the Bronx here but you’d never know it just by looking around. It looks as if we are at the same place. It’s the same kind of flats, the same kind of massive housing units, decrepit even though they were only built 7 or 8 years ago. Vandalism, graffiti, the same feeling about the place. Of people who don’t have a great deal of drive and energy because somebody else is taking care of their day to day needs because the state has deprived them of an incentive to find jobs to become responsible people to be the real support for themselves and their families.

Other segments:

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Milton Friedman’s solution to limiting poverty Liberals just don’t get it. They should listen to Milton Friedman (who is quoted in this video below concerning the best way to limit poverty). New Video Shows the War on Poverty Is a Failure Posted by Daniel J. Mitchell The Center for Freedom and Prosperity has released another […]

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 I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. PART 4 of 7 The massive growth of central government that started after the depression has continued ever since. If anything, it has even speeded up in recent years. Each year there […]

Milton Friedman Friday: (“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 3 of 7)

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 I am currently going through his film series “Free to Choose” which is one the most powerful film series I have ever seen. For the past 7 years Maureen Ramsey has had to buy food and clothes for her family out of a government handout. For the whole of that time, her husband, Steve, hasn’t […]

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Friedman Friday:(“Free to Choose” episode 4 – From Cradle to Grave, Part 1 of 7) Volume 4 – From Cradle to Grave Abstract: Since the Depression years of the 1930s, there has been almost continuous expansion of governmental efforts to provide for people’s welfare. First, there was a tremendous expansion of public works. The Social Security Act […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 222 Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (FEATURED ARTIST IS John Feodorov)

_______

I recently read a book by Lawrence Krauss and another book by Richard Dawkins and they both quoted Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar who died in 1995. Back in 1994 on the tenth anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s death, I wrote Dr. Chandrasekhar a letter but never heard back from him. (A portion of that letter is below).

______

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
ChandraNobel.png

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
Native name சுப்பிரமணியன் சந்திரசேகர்
Born 19 October 1910
Lahore, Punjab, British India (now in Pakistan)
Died 21 August 1995 (aged 84)
Chicago, United States
Residence United States, India
Citizenship United States, India
Fields Astrophysics
Institutions University of Chicago
Ballistic Research Laboratory
University of Cambridge
Alma mater
Thesis Polytropic distributions (1933)
Doctoral advisor Ralph H. Fowler
Arthur Eddington
Doctoral students
Known for
Notable awards
Signature

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, FRS[1] (Listeni/ˌʌndrəˈʃkər/; 19 October 1910 – 21 August 1995),[2] was an Indian American astrophysicist who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics with William A. Fowler “for his theoretical studies of the physical processes of importance to the structure and evolution of the stars”. His mathematical treatment of stellar evolution yielded many of the best current theoretical models of the later evolutionary stages of massive stars and black holes.[3][4] The Chandrasekhar limit is named after him.

Chandrasekhar worked on a wide variety of astrophysical problems in his lifetime, contributing to the contemporary understanding of stellar structure, white dwarves, stellar dynamics, radiative transfer, the quantum theory of the hydrogen anion, hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability, turbulence, equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, general relativity, mathematical theory of black holes and theory of colliding gravitational waves.[5] At the University of Cambridge, he developed a theoretical model explaining the structure of white dwarf stars that took into account the relativistic variation of mass with the velocities of electrons that comprise their degenerate matter. He showed that the mass of a white dwarf could not exceed 1.44 times that of the Sun – the Chandrasekhar limit. Chandrasekhar revised the models of stellar dynamics first outlined by Jan Oort and others by considering the effects of fluctuating gravitational fields within the Milky Way on stars rotating about the galactic centre. His solution to this complex dynamical problem involved a set of twenty partial differential equations, describing a new quantity he termed ‘dynamical friction’, which has the dual effects of decelerating the star and helping to stabilize clusters of stars. Chandrasekhar extended this analysis to the interstellar medium, showing that clouds of galactic gas and dust are distributed very unevenly.

Chandrasekhar studied at Presidency College, Madras (now Chennai) and the University of Cambridge. He spent most of his career at the University of Chicago, spending some time in its Yerkes Observatory, and serving as editor of The Astrophysical Journal from 1952 to 1971. He served on the University of Chicago faculty from 1937 until his death in 1995 at the age of 84.

Chandrasekhar married Lalitha Doraiswamy in September 1936. He had met her as a fellow student at Presidency College, Madras.

Chandrasekhar was the nephew of Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930.

He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1953.

Early life and education[edit]

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

Chandrasekhar was born on 19 October 1910 in Lahore, Punjab, British India in a Tamil family, to Sitalakshmi (1891–1931) and Chandrasekhara Subrahmanya (1885–1960)[6] who was posted in Lahore as Deputy Auditor General of the Northwestern Railways at the time of Chandrasekhar’s birth. He was the eldest of their four sons and the third of their ten children. His paternal uncle was the Indian physicist and Nobel laureate C. V. Raman. His mother was devoted to intellectual pursuits, had translated Henrik Ibsen‘s A Doll’s House into Tamil and is credited with arousing Chandra’s intellectual curiosity at an early age.

Chandrasekhar was tutored at home initially through middle school and later attended the Hindu High School, Triplicane, Madras during the years 1922–25. Subsequently, he studied at Presidency College, Madras from 1925 to 1930, writing his first paper, “The Compton Scattering and the New Statistics“, in 1929 upon inspiration from a lecture by Arnold Sommerfeld and obtaining his bachelor’s degree, B.Sc. (Hon.), in physics in June 1930. In July 1930, Chandrasekhar was awarded a Government of India scholarship to pursue graduate studies at the University of Cambridge, where he was admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, secured by Professor R. H. Fowler with whom he communicated his first paper. During his travels to England, Chandrasekhar spent his time working out the statistical mechanics of the degenerate electron gas in white dwarf stars, providing relativistic corrections to Fowler’s previous work (see Legacy below).

In his first year at Cambridge, as a research student of Fowler, Chandrasekhar spent his time calculating mean opacities and applying his results to the construction of an improved model for the limiting mass of the degenerate star. At the meetings of the Royal Astronomical Society, he met Professor E. A. Milne. At the invitation of Max Born he spent the summer of 1931, his second year of post-graduate studies, at Born’s institute at Göttingen, working on opacities, atomic absorption coefficients, and model stellar photospheres. On the advice of Prof. P. A. M. Dirac, he spent his final year of graduate studies at the Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen, where he met Prof. Niels Bohr.

After receiving a bronze medal for his work on degenerate stars, in the summer of 1933, Chandrasekhar was awarded his PhD degree at Cambridge with a thesis among his four papers on rotating self-gravitating polytropes, and the following October, he was elected to a Prize Fellowship at Trinity College for the period 1933–1937.

During this time, Chandrasekhar made acquaintance with British physicist Sir Arthur Eddington. In an infamous encounter in 1935, Eddington publicly ridiculed the concept of the Chandrasekhar limit. Although Eddington would later be proved wrong, this encounter caused Chandra to contemplate employment outside the UK. Later in life, on multiple occasions, Chandra expressed the view that Eddington’s behavior was in part racially motivated.[7]

Career and research[edit]

Early career[edit]

In January 1937, Chandrasekhar was recruited to the University of Chicago faculty as Assistant Professor by Dr. Otto Struve and President Robert Maynard Hutchins. He was to remain at the university for his entire career, becoming Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics in 1952 and attaining emeritus status in 1985. Famously, Chandrasekhar declined many offers from other universities, including one to succeed Henry Norris Russell, the preeminent American astronomer, as director of the Princeton University Observatory.

Chandrasekhar did some work at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, which was run by the University of Chicago. After the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR) was built by NASA in 1966 at the University, Chandrasekhar occupied one of the four corner offices on the second floor. (The other corners housed John A. Simpson, Peter Meyer, and Eugene N. Parker.) Chandrasekhar lived at 4800 Lake Shore Drive after the high-rise apartment complex was built in the late 1960s, and later at 5550 Dorchester Building.

During World War II, Chandrasekhar worked at the Ballistic Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. While there, he worked on problems of ballistics; for example, two reports from 1943 were titled, On the decay of plane shock waves and The normal reflection of a blast wave.[5] Chandrasekhar’s expertise in hydrodynamics led Robert Oppenheimer to invite him to join the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, but delays in the processing of his security clearance prevented him from contributing to the project. It has been rumored however that he was called to discuss and visit the Calutron project and was the individual responsible for suggesting that young women be used to operate the calutrons as they would do so more efficiently than the male scientists assigned to the task. Chandraskhar had used top performing female high school students from Williams Bay, Lake Geneva, Elkhorn and Burlington, Wisconsin to calculate immensely difficult mathematical equations entirely by long hand, and found that their abilities and vigilance were unparalleled. He then applied this first-hand knowledge with the talents of local “hillbilly high school girls” to speed up the slow-moving centrifugal Calutron project. This in turn allowed the enriched radioactive materials to be completed on time, in order to fashion the atomic weapons ultimately used to end the war. Without these raw materials, developed at the Y-12 National Security Complex these weapons never would have been tested or dropped on Japan.

Philosophy of systematization[edit]

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

He wrote that his scientific research was motivated by his desire to participate in the progress of different subjects in science to the best of his ability, and that the prime motive underlying his work was systematization. “What a scientist tries to do essentially is to select a certain domain, a certain aspect, or a certain detail, and see if that takes its appropriate place in a general scheme which has form and coherence; and, if not, to seek further information which would help him to do that.” [8] Chandrasekhar developed a unique style of mastering several fields of physics and astrophysics; consequently, his working life can be divided into distinct periods. He would exhaustively study a specific area, publish several papers in it and then write a book summarizing the major concepts in the field. He would then move on to another field for the next decade and repeat the pattern. Thus he studied stellar structure, including the theory of white dwarfs, during the years 1929 to 1939, and subsequently focused on stellar dynamics, theory of Brownian motion from 1939 to 1943. Next, he concentrated on the theory of radiative transfer and the quantum theory of the negative ion of hydrogen from 1943 to 1950. This was followed by sustained work on hydrodynamic and hydromagnetic stability from 1950 to 1961. In the 1960s, he studied the equilibrium and the stability of ellipsoidal figures of equilibrium, and also general relativity. During the period, 1971 to 1983 he studied the mathematical theory of black holes, and, finally, during the late 80s, he worked on the theory of colliding gravitational waves.[5]

Work with students[edit]

Chandra worked closely with his students and expressed pride in the fact that over a 50-year period (from roughly 1930 to 1980), the average age of his co-author collaborators had remained the same, at around 30. He insisted that students address him as “Chandrasekhar” until they received their Ph.D. degree, after which time they (as other colleagues) were encouraged to address him as “Chandra”.

Other activities[edit]

From 1952 to 1971 Chandrasekhar was editor of The Astrophysical Journal.[9] During the years 1990 to 1995, Chandrasekhar worked on a project devoted to explaining the detailed geometric arguments in Sir Isaac Newton‘s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica using the language and methods of ordinary calculus. The effort resulted in the book Newton’s Principia for the Common Reader, published in 1995. Chandrasekhar was an honorary member of the International Academy of Science.[citation needed]

Publications[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1958) [1939]. An Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-60413-6.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (2005) [1942]. Principles of Stellar Dynamics. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-44273-X.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1947). Heywood, Robert B., ed. The Works of the Mind:The Scientist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 159–179. OCLC 752682744.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1960) [1950]. Radiative Transfer. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-60590-6.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1975) [1960]. Plasma Physics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-10084-7.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1981) [1961]. Hydrodynamic and Hydromagnetic Stability. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-64071-X.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1987) [1969]. Ellipsoidal Figures of Equilibrium. New York: Dover. ISBN 0-486-65258-0.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1998) [1983]. The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850370-9.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1983) [1983]. Eddington: The Most Distinguished Astrophysicist of His Time. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521257466.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1990) [1987]. Truth and Beauty. Aesthetics and Motivations in Science. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-10087-1.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1995). Newton’s Principia for the Common Reader. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-851744-0.

Notes[edit]

  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1943). Stochastic Problems in Physics and Astronomy. Reviews of modern physics.
  • Spiegel, E.A. (2011) [1954]. The Theory of Turbulence : Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar’s 1954 Lectures. Netherlands: Springer. ISBN 978-94-007-0117-5.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1983). On Stars, their evolution and their stability, Noble lecture. Stockholm: Noble Foundation.

Journals[edit]

Chandrasekhar had published around 380 papers[10] in his life time. He wrote his first paper in 1928 when he was still an undergraduate student and last paper was in 1995. The University of Chicago Press published the papers of Chandrasekhar in six volumes.

  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1989). Selected Papers, Vol 1, Stellar structure and stellar atmospheres. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100890.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1989). Selected Papers, Vol 2, Radiative transfer and negative ion of hydrogen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100920.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1989). Selected Papers, Vol 3, Stochastic, statistical and hydromagnetic problems in Physics and Astronomy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100944.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1989). Selected Papers, Vol 4, Plasma Physics, Hydrodynamic and Hydromagnetic stability, and applications of the Tensor-Virial theorem. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100975.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1990). Selected Papers, Vol 5, Relativistic Astrophysics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226100982.
  • Chandrasekhar, S. (1991). Selected Papers, Vol 6, The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes and of Colliding Plane Waves. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226101019.

Awards, honours and legacy[edit]

Chandra receiving Nobel Prize(1983)

Chandra receiving National Medal of Science from President Lyndon B. Johnson(1966)

Nobel prize[edit]

Professor Chandrasekhar was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1983 for his studies on the physical processes important to the structure and evolution of stars. Chandrasekhar accepted this honor, but was upset the citation mentioned only his earliest work, seeing it as a denigration of a lifetime’s achievement. He shared it with William A. Fowler.

Other awards[edit]

An exhibition on life and works of Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was held at Science City, Kolkata, on January, 2011.

Legacy[edit]

Chandrasekhar’s most notable work was the astrophysical Chandrasekhar limit. The limit describes the maximum mass of a white dwarf star, ~1.44 solar masses, or equivalently, the minimum mass which must be exceeded for a star to ultimately collapse into a neutron star or black hole (following a supernova). The limit was first calculated by Chandrasekhar in 1930 during his maiden voyage from India to Cambridge, England for his graduate studies. In 1999, NASA named the third of its four “Great Observatories” after Chandrasekhar. This followed a naming contest which attracted 6,000 entries from fifty states and sixty-one countries. The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on 23 July 1999. The Chandrasekhar number, an important dimensionless number of magnetohydrodynamics, is named after him. The asteroid 1958 Chandra is also named after Chandrasekhar. American astronomer Carl Sagan, who studied Mathematics under Chandrasekhar, at the University of Chicago, praised him in the book The Demon-Haunted World: “I discovered what true mathematical elegance is from Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.”

Chandrasekhar guided 50 students to their PhDs.[citation needed].

After his death, his widow Mrs. Lalitha Chandrasekhar made a gift of his Nobel Prize money to the University of Chicago towards the establishment of the Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Memorial Fellowship. First awarded in the year 2000, each year, this fellowship is given to an outstanding applicant to graduate school in the Ph.D. programs of the Department of Physics or the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Chandrasekhar died of a sudden heart attack at the University of Chicago Hospital in 1995, and was survived by his wife, Lalitha Chandrasekhar, who died on 2 September 2013 at the age of 102.[18] In the Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society of London, R. J. Tayler wrote: “Chandrasekhar was a classical applied mathematician whose research was primarily applied in astronomy and whose like will probably never be seen again.”[1]

Atheism[edit]

Once when involved in a discussion about the Gita, Chandrashekhar said, “I should like to preface my remarks with a personal statement in order that my later remarks will not be misunderstood. I consider myself an atheist.”[19]

This was also confirmed many times in his other talks.[20]

In an interview with Kevin Krisciunas at the University of Chicago, on 6 October 1987, Chandrasekhar commented: “Of course, he (Otto Struve) knew I was an atheist, and he never brought up the subject with me”.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Tayler, R. J. (1996). “Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. 19 October 1910 – 21 August 1995”. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 42: 80–26. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1996.0006.
  2. Jump up^ Bio-Chandrasekhar
  3. Jump up^ Vishveshwara, C.V. (25 April 2000). “Leaves from an unwritten diary: S. Chandrasekhar, Reminiscences and Reflections” (PDF). Current Science. 78 (8): 1025–1033. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  4. Jump up^ Horgan, J. (1994) Profile: Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar—Confronting the Final Limit, Scientific American 270(3), 32–33.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c O’Connor, J. J.; Robertson, E. F. “Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar”. Biographies. School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  6. Jump up^ Chandrasekhar, S. 1983. Autobiography Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden.
  7. Jump up^ K.C. Wali, “Chandrasekhar vs. Eddington: An Unanticipated Confrontation”, Physics Today, vol. 35, no. 10, pp. 33–40 (October, 1982)
  8. Jump up^ The Works of the Mind, p.176, edited by Robert B. Heywood, University of Chicago Press, 1947.
  9. Jump up^ Helmut A. Abt (1 December 1995). “Obituary – Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan”. Astrophysical Journal. 454: 551. Bibcode:1995ApJ…454..551A. doi:10.1086/176507.
  10. Jump up^ “Publications by S. Chandrasekhar” (PDF). Indian Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  11. Jump up^ “Grants, Prizes and Awards”. American Astronomical Society. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  12. Jump up^ “Past Winners of the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal”. Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  13. Jump up^ “Winners of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society”. Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  14. Jump up^ “Past Recipients of the Rumford Prize”. American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  15. Jump up^ National Science Foundation – The President’s National Medal of Science
  16. Jump up^ “Henry Draper Medal”. National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  17. Jump up^ “Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Memorial Fellowship”.
  18. Jump up^ “Nobel laureate’s wife Lalitha Chandrasekhar dies at 102”. The Hindu. 2013-09-07. Retrieved 2014-01-02.
  19. Jump up^ S. Chandrasekhar: the man behind the legend, Kameshwar C. Wali. Imperial College Press (1 January 1997) ISBN 978-1860940385
  20. Jump up^ Kameshwar C. Wali (1991). Chandra: A Biography of Chandrasekhar. University of Chicago Press. p. 304. ISBN 9780226870557. SC: I am not religious in any sense; in fact, I consider myself an atheist.
  21. Jump up^ “Interview with Dr. S. Chandrasekhar”. American Institute of Physics.

Further reading[edit]

  • Miller, Arthur I. (2005). Empire of the Stars: Friendship, Obsession, and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-34151-X.
  • Srinivasan, G., ed. (1997). From White Dwarfs to Black Holes: The Legacy of S. Chandrasekhar. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-76996-8.
  • Wali, Kameshwar C. (1991). Chandra: A Biography of S. Chandrasekhar. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-87054-5.
  • Wali, Kameshwar C., ed. (1997). Chandrasekhar: The Man Behind the Legend – Chandra Remembered. London: imperial College Press. ISBN 1-86094-038-2.
  • Wignesan, T., ed. (2004). The Man who Dwarfed the Stars. The Asianists’ Asia. ISSN 1298-0358.
  • Venkataraman, G. (1992). Chandrasekhar and His Limit. Hyderabad,India: Universities Press. ISBN 81-7371-035-X.
  • Saikia, D J.; et al., eds. (2011). Fluid flows to Black Holes. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Ptd Ltd. ISBN 981-4299-57-X.
  • Kameshwar, C Wali, ed. (2001). A Quest For Perspectives. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Ptd Ltd. ISBN 1-86094-201-6.
  • Kameshwar, C Wali, ed. (1997). A Man Behind the Legend. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Ptd Ltd. ISBN 1-86094-038-2.
  • Kameshwar, C Wali, ed. (2011). A Scientific Autobiography: S Chandrasekhar. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Ptd Ltd. ISBN 981-4299-57-X.

External links[edit]

Obituaries

 

Portion of my 5-15-94 letter to Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I attempted to send a letter to almost every living Nobel Prize winner and I believe  Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was probably among that group and here is a portion of that letter below:

I have enclosed a cassette tape by Adrian Rogers and it includes  a story about  Charles Darwin‘s journey from  the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD  “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.  

Evolution Fact of Fiction Adrian Rogers (same message I put on cassette tape back in 1994)

Uploaded on Nov 13, 2011

The Theory of Evolution Destroyed!!

 

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

In the first 3 minutes of the cassette tape is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” Below I have given you some key points  Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by  looking into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  

Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it.  Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.

There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

 

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Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that.

Livgren wrote, “All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Both Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981.  Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Featured artist is John Feodorov

John Feodorov

John Feodorov was born in 1960 in Los Angeles, of mixed Native-American and Euro-American descent. Brought up both in the suburbs of Los Angeles and on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, Feodorov early experienced the cultural differences between his dual heritages. He also observed the stereotypes present in American culture at large, where Native Americans were idealized as the living embodiment of spirituality by New Age consumerists. His work addresses this clichéd modern archetype through a humorous interjection of “sacred” items into recognizable consumer products.

His kitschy Totem Teddy series, for instance, added masks and totemic markings to stuffed toy bears accompanied by booklets declaring the bears to “meet the spiritual needs of consumers of all ages!” He has said: “A major theme in my work is the way Native Americans are still being portrayed, stereotyped, and studied in contemporary America. I’ve read that the Navajo Nation is the most-studied group of people on Earth. I don’t know whether to be proud or disgusted.”

Feodorov mixes this analytical critique with installations and sculptural objects that are often whimsical, fantastic, and mythical, creating a new and sometimes genuine sense of the sacred—a sacredness for modern, fractured times. Feodorov holds a BFA in drawing and painting from California State University at Long Beach. He is also a musician and headlines the band Skinwalkers. He lives in Seattle.

Related posts:

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 51 THE BEATLES (Part C, List of those on cover of Stg.Pepper’s ) (Feature on artist Raqib Shaw )

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WOODY WEDNESDAY The Existential Genius of Late Woody Allen

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Woody Allen’s new film opens with a jolt of joie de cinéma—images of Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix), a professor, driving to Braylin College, and of Jill Pollard (Emma Stone), a student, walking through the campus, each accompanied by his or her own questioning reminiscences in voice-over. This scene may be the closest thing to joie de vivre with which Allen can cut loose, but it’s a real directorial kick, launching “Irrational Man” with an impulsive energy that carries through the entire film and that, despite the multiplicity of the plot, makes the movie seem as if it were sketched and inwardly grasped in a single, urgent, awed, and somewhat terrified gaze.

Filmed in poised and sun-splashed wide-screen images, “Irrational Man” conveys a lofty serenity that’s in conflict with the characters’ emotional and moral crises. It’s a trend that has run through Allen’s entire career but that has come to the fore in his most recent films—nowhere more so than here. As his writing has turned ever sketchier, leaping with a seemingly effortless rapidity to the disturbed heart of the story, his direction has brightened and turned brisk and clear—as if the oil paint’s impasto had loosened to a translucent wash. The sheer delight of perception merges with the hell of self-perception. It’s the visual fulfillment of the long-standing paradox that Allen distilled in the “Annie Hall” joke: “The food at this place is terrible.” “Yeah, I know—and such small portions.”

For Allen, hell isn’t other people, it’s oneself. He’s a comic existentialist whose self-loathing and attraction to the self-erasure of death is matched by his self-love and desperate clinging to existence. His self-criticism is equalled only by his pleasure in indulging in it. He has been a meta-man from the start, aware that he’s only a flyspeck in the universe—and that he’s the only flyspeck he’s got.

From the beginning, “Irrational Man” stands outside the regular run of life, with one foot in death, in a way that doesn’t become clear until the end of the film (and that I won’t spoil), even though the story is a simple resetting of a mismatched pair of classic movie plots. First, there’s the romantic triangle: Abe falls, more through passivity than through ardor, into a relationship with a colleague, Rita Richards (Parker Posey), an unhappily married scientist with romantic dreams. At the same time, he becomes close—platonically close—with Jill, a student whom he considers gifted. Jill feeds on his every world-weary word, tries to draw him out of his depressive, seemingly self-destructive funk, and hopes to be his muse—erotically as well as intellectually. Though Abe takes it upon himself to be responsible and resist her flirtations, they’re nonetheless often seen together and taken for lovers, making Rita, as well as Jill’s boyfriend, Roy (Jamie Blackley), jealous.

Meanwhile, Jill and Abe get wind of misdeeds in the town of Newport, outside the confines of the campus. (The scene is too good to give away.) An official is abusing his power and making a defenseless citizen’s life miserable, and Abe, his sense of justice as well as his feeling of power aroused, decides to take direct action. At this point, the movie veers into quasi-Dostoyevskian territory (the reference is built into the film), and Allen covers that territory with a brisk once-over. The wondrous paradox of the movie—and, for that matter, of Allen’s later career overall—is that his sketchy rapidity and breezy effervescence, which never abandon the tone of his earlier, brightly-lit comedy, nonetheless get a toehold on the deepest, darkest, strangest, most troubling speculative realms. The exotic depths of Allen’s philosophical musings seemingly arise effortlessly and even despite himself. It’s that very sense of thinness and lightness in the presence of philosophical thunder that provokes undue critical resistance to much of his later work.

Abe is an itinerant scholar, a perpetually restless malcontent who has experimented with extreme experiences, whether external (such as an extended mission in Darfur) or internal (drugs), and seems unchanged by them. He’s equally averse to pain and to pleasure, to hardship and to indulgence, to action and to contemplation. He’s something of a burned-out case—withdrawn, depressed, despairing, unloved and unloving, burdened with a sense of futility, going through his routine with a sense of automatism, casually indifferent to his own life, a dead man walking.

Jill, by contrast, is vitality itself—she’s cheerful, hard-working, curious, and sympathetic, but she has a double blind spot: her attraction to the black hole of the existential void—the romanticization of negativity and destruction—and her sense that, through her own caring interest and involvement, she can lure Abe away from that hole and into constructive, positive activity.

The core of the film is Jill and Abe’s tragic innocence and the unfortunate accidents and coincidences through which they mesh. Abe, thinking that he’s doing good, comes to realize, by how good his daring deed feels, that he’s doing evil, and that he likes it. Evil, so to speak, likes him, too; it quickly improves his state of mind and even his physical well-being. When one taboo falls, they all do, beginning with Abe’s readiness to have an affair with Jill. Meanwhile, Jill is attracted to his intelligence, to his nihilistic worldview, to his knowledge, to his style—but also to what she perceives as his goodness and humanity, which she plans to use her influence and charm to tease out and shore up. Then she discovers that these two tendencies, the negative and the positive, the destructive and the virtuous, ineluctably and ironically overlap in ways that terrify her.

Allen’s world, for all its lightness and comedy-studded familiarity, is far more challenging and intricate than, say, Michael Haneke’s leaden ambiguities in “Amour.” Allen’s directorial delight in the pleasure of beholding tragic mechanisms in the midst of aesthetic charm is something of a fulfillment of his career-long efforts. Allen’s worldview is as intricately troubled over the span of a film (or of a lifetime) as it is iridescently disturbed in the mercurial moment of a one-liner or the fleeting luminosity of a moment of cinematic beauty. It’s a world that’s captured in a sense of style: Allen’s personal style, down to the sartorial, the culinary, and the vocal, is inseparable from his art. One of his finest achievements of his later years is the discovery of a cinematic style that’s of a piece with his personal turns.

It’s a tone that Allen brings equally to the sumptuous and quietly hectic Fitzgerald Riviera of “Magic in the Moonlight” and to the airy repose of Newport in “Irrational Man.” There was something relatively clotted about “Blue Jasmine,” about the bounds placed on the movie’s acting and filming by its tightly fitting writing. By contrast, in his two most recent films, the avid wide-screen image corresponds to a lofty, somewhat Olympian detachment in the storytelling, which befits the films’ vertiginous ironies. In “Magic,” Allen contemplated the nature of performance (whether onstage or in intimate circles) and found deception and sincerity, sleight-of-hand and authenticity, to be the conjoined and inseparable components of character. In “Irrational Man,” he sees two sides to the problem of evil—one, that it’s so manifestly tempting a target, and the other, that it often arises from the desire to do good—and projects a radical third, that evil often feels so much better than doing good.

“Irrational Man” earns its title on both sides of the camera. Abe Lucas’s experience is fraught with unintended consequences and with the agonizingly entropic mysteries of chance, and Allen, seeing monstrosities occur, offers a serene contemplation of the world in which they happen and offers no way out—almost.

Just as Allen has nothing better to offer than a common-sense limit to deception in “Magic,” in “Irrational Man” his insight is yoked to a common-sense constraint on action. In both films, he finds himself arguing for norms that he can’t rationally justify, a conventional moralism that seems obvious at a distance but uncertain in the moment. For all his existential despair, Allen isn’t a nihilist. His films don’t display a belief in unrestrained behavior or a disdain for moral codes. On the contrary, he offers an optimism in the throw of the dice, a blind faith despite the absence of God. The pleasure of “Magic” is real, despite the volcano preparing to erupt beneath the soil; so is that of “Irrational,” despite the ease with which things could have turned out radically worse. The irrationality of “Irrational Man” is this faith in the ordinary—and it’s not entirely new to Allen’s work.

On the contrary, at the end of “Manhattan,” Tracy implores Isaac to “have a little faith in people.” Allen’s underlying humanism isn’t gone—he takes directorial pleasure in the characters who people his cinematic universe—but now it’s sublimated. In his earlier films, he wrote his characters densely, filmed them closely, and derived a wider worldview from the vectors that they bore within. Now, he sees existence as a whole, as if from the somewhat fearsome contemplative distance of someone with one foot already outside it and in the next world. His characters float through that worldscape like apparitions, as diaphanous and transitory as the directorial eye.

Nonetheless, Allen’s work is comic and breezy—not from a lack of seriousness or of commitment but from an abiding sense of fullness and progress, an optimism in the sense that the dice are infinitesimally loaded, that, in the long run, over the billions of throws, the house gets beaten just enough to keep mankind in the black. The primal trauma of “Annie Hall” is young Alvy’s neurotic realization that the world will eventually come to an end, destroying all traces of human life and retroactively rendering all action absurd. Yet, there, Allen comically overcame that nihilism by means of the sheer force and exuberance of personality. This was the heart of the film’s easygoing but intricately modernistic reflexivity—a crucial trace of which gleams throughout all of Allen’s work, including “Irrational Man.”

There’s something closed-in about Allen’s optimism; it’s the optimism of the tight community—the college, the social circuit, the couple, the family—and these circles, too, have their breakdowns built into them. His works of faith are also works of doubt, as in “Cassandra’s Dream” (where, every time the word “family” is spoken, the mechanism of destruction is tightened by one more turn). In “Irrational Man,” the collegiate setting, the intellectual community, is no redemption. Allen’s wide-screen images are joined to jaunty music (Ramsey Lewis) and noble music (Bach), there’s art on the walls and philosophy in the air, yet “Irrational Man” is a vision of art-weariness. It doesn’t offer redemption (as “Manhattan” did) through Louis Armstrong and Flaubert, Willie Mays and Mozart, but through the immediate contemplation of street life and carnival whimsicalities, of the sun and the sea—of the transitory moments, perceptions, and impressions tobe rescued from oblivion, with the confidence that they’re worth the effort to do so.

Correction: A previous version of this post misnamed the fictional college at which “Irrational Man” is set.

Annie Hall – The Opening Scene [HD]

Manhattan

Francis Schaeffer two months before he died said if he was talking to a gentleman he was sitting next to on an airplane about Christ he wouldn’t start off quoting Bible verses. Schaeffer asserted:

I would go back rather to their dilemma if they hold the modern worldview of the final reality only being energy, etc., I would start with that. I would begin as I stress in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE about their own [humanist] prophets who really show where their view goes. For instance, Jacques Monod, Nobel Prize winner from France, in his book NECESSITY AND CHANCE said there is no way to tell the OUGHT from the IS. In other words, you live in a totally silent universe. 

The men like Monod and Sartre or whoever the man might know that is his [humanist] prophet and they point out quite properly and conclusively what life is like, not just that there is no meaningfulness in life but everyone according to modern man is just living out some kind of game plan. It may be knocking 1/10th of a second off a downhill ski run or making one more million dollars. But all you are doing is making a game plan within the mix of a meaningless situation. WOODY ALLEN exploits this very strongly in his films. He really lives it. I feel for that man, and he has expressed it so thoroughly in ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN and so on.

According to the Humanist worldview Jacques Monod the universe is silent about values and therefore his good friend Woody Allen demonstrated this very fact so well in his 1989 movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. In other words, if we can’t get our values from the Bible then  the answer is MIGHT MAKES RIGHT!!!!

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The question now becomes do you want to know if there is a God or not? Are you willing to examine the same evidence that I provided to the world’s leading atheistic philosopher in 1994 (Antony Flew)? Here some are links below that examine the subjects that Antony Flew studied before he switched from away from atheism, followed by the sermon by Adrian Rogers that I provided to Antony Flew and he said he enjoyed listening to.

Former atheist Antony Flew: “Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have since come to see that, when correctly formulated, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God!

Former atheist Antony Flew said, “I was particularly impressed with Gerry Schroeder’s point-by-point refutation of what I call the MONKEY THEOREM!

Why the world’s most famous atheist (Antony Flew) now believes in God by James A. Beverley

BP)–Antony Flew, a legendary British philosopher and atheist, has changed his mind about the existence of God in light of recent scientific evidence.Flew –

Former Atheist Antony Flew noted that Evolutionists failed to show “Where did a living, self-reproducing organism come from in the first place?”

Former atheist Antony Flew pointed out that natural selection can’t explain the origin of first life and in every other case, information necessarily points to an intelligent source!

 

Related posts:

Former atheist Antony Flew: “Although I was once sharply critical of the argument to design, I have since come to see that, when correctly formulated, this argument constitutes a persuasive case for the existence of God!”

Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 Debate – William Lane Craig vs Christopher Hitchens – Does God Exist? Uploaded on Jan 27, 2011 April 4, 2009 – Craig vs. […]

Former atheist Antony Flew said, “I was particularly impressed with Gerry Schroeder’s point-by-point refutation of what I call the MONKEY THEOREM!”

____________ Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 Is Goodness Without God is Good Enough? William Lane Craig vs. Paul Kurtz Published on Jul 29, 2013 Date: October 24, 2001 […]

The argument from design led former atheist Antony Flew to assert: “I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason, and it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being!”

  ____________ Jesus’ Resurrection: Atheist, Antony Flew, and Theist, Gary Habermas, Dialogue Published on Apr 7, 2012 http://www.veritas.org/talks – Did Jesus die, was he buried, and what happened afterward? Join legendary atheist Antony Flew and Christian historian and apologist Gary Habermas in a discussion about the facts surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Join […]

Former atheist Antony Flew pointed out that natural selection can’t explain the origin of first life and in every other case, information necessarily points to an intelligent source!

______________ Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew Published on Jan 2, 2014 Date: September 20-23, 1976 Location: North Texas State University Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/ ______________________ Antony Flew and his conversion to theism Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011 Antony Flew, a well known spokesperson […]

Former Atheist Antony Flew noted that Evolutionists failed to show “Where did a living, self-reproducing organism come from in the first place?”

____   Does God Exist? Thomas Warren vs. Antony Flew Published on Jan 2, 2014 Date: September 20-23, 1976 Location: North Texas State University Christian debater: Thomas B. Warren Atheist debater: Antony G.N. Flew For Thomas Warren: http://www.warrenapologeticscenter.org/ ______________________ Antony Flew and his conversion to theism Uploaded on Aug 12, 2011 Antony Flew, a well known […]

(BP)–Antony Flew, a legendary British philosopher and atheist, has changed his mind about the existence of God in light of recent scientific evidence.Flew –

_____________ Famed atheist sees evidence for God, cites recent discoveries Antony Flew NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Antony Flew, a legendary British philosopher and atheist, has changed his mind about the existence of God in light of recent scientific evidence.Flew — a prolific author who has argued against the existence of God and the claims of Christianity for […]

Antony Flew in his book THERE IS A GOD talks about his “notoriety” as an atheist! ( also 7 News : Web Extra: Ricky Gervais on God)

  7News : Web Extra: Ricky Gervais on God Published on Mar 23, 2014 He’s not shy about sharing his opinion with 5 million social media followers so Ricky Gervais was happy to clear a few things up for us too. __________________________________ Discussion (2 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Atheist Lawrence Krauss loses debate […]

Was Antony Flew the most prominent atheist of the 20th century?

_________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death […]

Why the world’s most famous atheist (Antony Flew) now believes in God by James A. Beverley

____________ Antony Flew on God and Atheism Published on Feb 11, 2013 Lee Strobel interviews philosopher and scholar Antony Flew on his conversion from atheism to deism. Much of it has to do with intelligent design. Flew was considered one of the most influential and important thinker for atheism during his time before his death […]

The Death of a (Former) Atheist — Antony Flew, 1923-2010 Antony Flew’s rejection of atheism is an encouragement, but his rejection of Christianity is a warning. Rejecting atheism is simply not enough, by Al Mohler

Discussion (1 of 3): Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas Uploaded on Sep 22, 2010 A discussion with Antony Flew, N.T. Wright, and Gary Habermas. This was held at Westminster Chapel March, 2008 ______________________ Making Sense of Faith and Science Uploaded on May 16, 2008 Dr. H. Fritz Schaefer confronts the assertion that one cannot believe […]

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