Responding to Oppenneimer and Lizza:Defending Francis Schaeffer’s influence on believers such as Michele Bachmann(Part 3)

Both Oppenneimer and Lizza have attacked Francis Schaeffer’s view, but the way to know his views best is to take time to watch his film series. I said that in my first post and I will continue to show all ten episodes of his film series “How should we then live?”

This is a series of posts concerning presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and her religious beliefs. Particularly I will be looking at the identity of Francis Schaeffer who Michele said had major impact on her views. I also would say that Francis Schaeffer was the greatest christian philosopher of the 20th century.

In 1979 I first watched the film series “How should we then live?” and it was so impressive to me that I returned to my high school with permission from my former teacher to view the series again. In fact, Mr. Brink would tell the seniors at Evangelical Christian School in  Cordova, TN something to this affect: “I hope you realize how important this film series by Dr. Francis Schaeffer is. Here we have Everette Hatcher who is in college now, but he is coming back to see this film again because he knows how valuable it is.”

The best way to understand Michele Bachmann’s worldview is to watch the film series “How should we then live?” by Francis Schaeffer. I have provided a 30 minute episode at the end of this post with a written outline.  In this film series the humanist worldview is seen as weak because it is not able to give adequate answers to life’s tough questions while the christian worldview can.  Humanism has a finite base because it is limited to finite man while the Christian worldview is based on information provided by the infinite-personal God of the Bible.

____________________________–

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Yorker: Nancy Pearcey a Dangerous Influence on Michele Bachmann

By Rick Pearcey • August 9, 2011, 09:09 AM

And not just Nancy because of her more than 100,000-copies selling book Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity(“Wonderful” book, says Bachmann), but also Francis Schaefferbecause of his work, including the 10-part film series How Should We Then Live? and his book A Christian Manifesto.

Equally as dangerous as Total Truth, I would suggest, and perhaps even more so, is Nancy’s new book Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning. I hope Michele and Marcus Bachmann put this new rascal on their reading and thinking list. But don’t let the teenagers get ahold of it!

So who is Nancy? Not mentioned in the New Yorker is that Bachmann once told me, by phone, when Bachmann was a Minnesota state senator and considering a run for Congress, that she had two heroes: “Ann Coulter and Nancy Pearcey.”

Nancy is a former agnostic, who, like me, embraces critical thinking as a way of life. This too is, perhaps to some, seen as dangerous and even subversive. To us, it’s simply being human and taking responsibility for one’s ideas and one’s choices in life. I think Camusmight have liked that. I like Camus; he played soccer, like me.

For some reason, the so-called elite establishments in politics and media seem frightfully worried about the resurgence of a people who can live and think for themselves.

We’re not afraid of the big questions, and we’re not bigoted toward possible rational answers to the big questions, even if, as the Founding Fathers noticed, the possible answers involve taking seriously the subversive and liberating influence of the Creator.

This divine subversion, as you may recall, upset the reactionary, non-critical-thinking establishment of its own day. Imagine, those extremist tea-partiers actually had the audacity to write it up in theDeclaration of Independence (is that document still legal in New Yorker land?). By the way, here is the, sadly, all-too-predictable New Yorker hit piece on Bachmann. Enjoy!

How Should We Then Live 3-1

I was impacted by this film series by Francis Schaeffer back in the 1970’s and I wanted to share it with you. Schaeffer really shows why we have so many problems today with this excellent episode. He noted, “Could have gone either way—with emphasis on real people living in a real world which God had made, or humanism could take over with its emphasis on the individual things being autonomous…Humanism’s problem: What is the meaning of individual things, including Man, if there is no final thing to relate them to? And how do we know what is right or wrong if there is no absolute to give us certainty? Humanism ends with only statistical averages.” That is exactly where we are today in 2011. Just left with no final answers, but just wtih statistical averages.

E P I S O D E 3

T h e RENAISSANCE

I. The Art of the Renaissance Is One of Mankind’s Glories

A. The artists reflect their culture.

B. The artists often provide the way for the next step in culture.

1. Positive emphasis on nature in Giotto’s art.

2. Significance of work of Masaccio.

3. Perspective as a form of humanism.

4. Parallel and supportive developments in Low Countries. Van Eyck’s Adoration of the Lamb, the substitutionary work of the crucified and risen Christ. Also an example of landscape naturalism.

5. Dante’s life and work.

a) Following Aquinas, he mixed Christian and classical elements.

b) Dichotomy in Dante and other writers between sensual and idealized, spiritual love.

6. Brunelleschi’s architecture and the conquest of space.

7. Trend to autobiography and self-portraiture a mark of emphasis on Man.

C. Italian Renaissance music.

1. Invention of orchestration.

2. Invention of movable type for music.

II. Increased Drift Toward a Total Humanism

A. Could have gone either way—with emphasis on real people living in a real world which God had made, orhumanism could take over with its emphasis on the individual things being autonomous.

B. The die was cast: Man tried to make himself independent, autonomous.

C. A growing humanism sees what preceded the Renaissance as the “Dark Ages.”

D. Idea of a “Dark Age” and a “rebirth” in Renaissance.

E. Aquinas had opened the door for that which is the problem of humanism.

1. Illustrated by Raphael’s fresco in the Vatican:

The School of Athens.

2. Humanism’s problem: What is the meaning of individual things, including Man, if there is no final thing to relate them to? And how do we know what is right or wrong if there is no absolute to give us certainty? Humanism ends with only statistical averages.

F. Fouguet’s Red Virgin as an example.

1. At first, only religious values seemed threatened.

2. But gradually the threat spread to all of knowledge and all of life.

G. Man as hero: Michelangelo’s Prisoners and David . Change in his later work, however.

H. Leonardo da Vinci and the dilemma of humanism.

1. Logical conclusion of humanism as perceived by Leonardo.

2. Final pessimism of Leonardo an expression of inevitable progression of humanism towards pessimism.

III. Christianity’s Answer to Humanism’s Problem

Questions

1. In what ways is this treatment of the Renaissance different from other treatments with which you are familiar?

2. Attitudes toward nature and Man seem to be crucial to understanding the Renaissance. How far were these attitudes Christian and how far non-Christian?

3. Can you see any parallels between the evolution of humanism in the Renaissance—from hopeful dawn to ominous sunset–and the changing outlook on human and world problems during your own lifetime?

Key Events and Persons

Dante: 1265-1321

The Divine Comedy: 1300-1321

Giotto: c. 1267-1337

Brunelleschi: 1377-1446

Jan van Eyck: 1380-1441

Masaccio: 1401-1428

Fouquet: 1416-1480

Duomo, Cathedral of Florence: 1434

Leonardo da Vinci: 1452-1519

Michelangelo: 1475-1564

Michelangelo’s David: 1504

Francis I of France: 1494-1547

Further Study

There are so many good picture books of Renaissance art and architecture that, rather than try to select one or two, I will simply urge the importance of consulting some. With profit, one might also listen to

Renaissance music, such as the selection in The Seraphim Guide to Renaissance Music.

J. Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 2 vols. (1958).

Benvenuto Cellini, Autobiography (1966).

E. Gorin, Italian Humanism (1966).

E. Panofsky, Studies in Iconology (1962).

Georgio Vasari, The Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, 4 vols. (1963).

W.H.Woodward, Vittorino da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators (1963).

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