Francis Schaeffer and Postmodernism by Chad Brand

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

The clip above is from episode 9 THE AGE OF PERSONAL PEACE AND AFFLUENCE

10 Worldview and Truth

In above clip Schaeffer quotes Paul’s speech in Greece from Romans 1 (from Episode FINAL CHOICES)

Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100

A Christian Manifesto Francis Schaeffer

Published on Dec 18, 2012

A video important to today. The man was very wise in the ways of God. And of government. Hope you enjoy a good solis teaching from the past. The truth never gets old.

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

_______________________

If you take the time to watch the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? you will find this statement by Chad Brand is true:  “Francis Schaeffer wanted to tell these young persons who have been steeped in Marcuse, Sartre, and Nietzsche that they do not have to sell their souls to the devil of a fractured metaphysic. The answer to the human condition lies not in nihilism, but in the Infinite-Personal God of biblical revelation.”

I love the works of Francis Schaeffer and I have been on the internet reading several blogs that talk about Schaeffer’s work and the work below  by Chad Brand was really helpful. Schaeffer’s film series “How should we then live?  Wikipedia notes, “According to Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live traces Western history from Ancient Rome until the time of writing (1976) along three lines: the philosophic, scientific, and religious.[3] He also makes extensive references to art and architecture as a means of showing how these movements reflected changing patterns of thought through time. Schaeffer’s central premise is: when we base society on the Bible, on the infinite-personal God who is there and has spoken,[4] this provides an absolute by which we can conduct our lives and by which we can judge society.  Here are some posts I have done on this series: Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” episode 6 “The Scientific Age”  episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” .

In the film series “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?” the arguments are presented  against abortion (Episode 1),  infanticide (Episode 2),   euthanasia (Episode 3), and then there is a discussion of the Christian versus Humanist worldview concerning the issue of “the basis for human dignity” in Episode 4 and then in the last episode a close look at the truth claims of the Bible.

Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer and Postmodernism

by Chad Brand | Dec 01 2012 | Published in Uncategorized

For me, the ‘Seventies were virtually bookended by Francis Schaeffer. I read The God Who Is There for the first time in 1972 and my intellectual life was transformed. Though I struggled with some of the ideas in the book and at times I wished the author might have given a bit more background material to explain his assessments, I had the overwhelming sense that I had crossed over into a new world. Then in 1978 I spent ten successive Thursday nights going to a church in Ft. Worth, Texas, to view the successive installments of the film series, “How Should We Then Live?” At the time it was a tour de force in Christian film production, and it convinced me that it was possible not only to make a credible case for Christianity, but that it might also be done in an attractive and compelling format.

Schaeffer was the first apologist I ever read, and his impact on my thinking was profound. But he is more than that. Hegel reminded us that the Owl of Minerva flies at dusk, and if this is so, then one might surmise that the real jolt of Schaeffer’s work would not be felt until after he was gone. I personally believe this to be the case. As helpful as he was as a teacher to me when I was eighteen years old, now I read him as a prophet.
Schaeffer was one of the first evangelical thinkers to take note of rising postmodernity, though that term was not au courant in his time, and to recognize it for what it was, not what it claimed to be. His criticisms of Samuel Beckett and Mondrian, for example, show that though these postmodern cultural icons claim to be critiquing any possibility for objective truth claims, the fact is that they offer their own tacit affirmations about truth.

He labored as an evangelist. Schaeffer’s work might be seen as the reverse of the strategy exercised by postmodern critics such as Herbert Marcuse and Theodore Adorno in the early ‘Sixties. These members of the Frankfurt School launched a very caustic critique of all claims to knowledge and truth that stood in the heritage of classical antiquity, of the Christian worldview, or even of modernity. However it may seem to the casual reader of books like One-Dimensional Man, though, the goal of these iconoclasts was not the rejection of outmoded forms of discourse so that marginalized speech might finally have its place in cultural life. These men had political ends in view—they wanted to take over the state. In order to do that, of course, they needed to gain a mass following. Knowing that it was highly unlikely that their intellectual concerns would find a sympathetic hearing among either the working class or the bourgeoisie, these left-wing intellectuals turned to university students to obtain a pool of disciples. Marcuse and company knew full well that their stance of negativity toward prevailing institutions and truth claims would find a ready hearing among the disaffected youth of the (mostly) middle class. The result was the student protest movement in places such as Paris, Columbia University, and Berkeley.

Schaeffer’s work was an antidote to all of this in two ways. First, in his radical demythologizing of the (post)modern and existentialist myths, Schaeffer lifted the lid off of prevailing ideologies and demonstrated that non-Christians cannot give a unified account of reality. This is especially true of the intellectual traditions of the last century, in which thinking persons, under the spell of Kant, Hegel, and Kierkegaard, have slipped below the “line of despair.” Feeling self-conscious about the disarray in their worldview, such persons have thrown a blanket over the chaos to hide it from view, and then have assumed a Protean stance, like James Cagney standing atop a burning building and crying, “I’m on top of the world.” American youth in particular had fallen prey to the notion that nihilism was innocuous, a sort of playful exercise. Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, and Frank Sinatra all made hit recordings of the song, “Mack the Knife,” a song about a serial murderer, sung to a sprightly tune, putting a sort of happy face on nihilism. (The full version of the song, from Brecht’s “Three Penny Opera” is more explicit than the American version.) Schaeffer sought to remove the blanket and let the daylight come streaming in to reveal the fractured character of these newly canonical epistemologies. Without diminishing the lure of relativism and nihilism or downplaying the genuine angst of young people in the contemporary world, Francis Schaeffer displayed the vacuity of the postmodern and existentialist “cures.” For me, reading Camus, Nietzsche, and Kafka through the decade of the ‘Seventies, Schaeffer’s sermons kept ringing back: “These men have fallen below the line of despair—they are of no final help to you.”

Second, Schaeffer wanted to tell these young persons who have been steeped in Marcuse, Sartre, and Nietzsche that they do not have to sell their souls to the devil of a fractured metaphysic. The answer to the human condition lies not in nihilism, but in the Infinite-Personal God of biblical revelation. This God seeks a relationship with humans through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. Though the church has often obscured the essence of the faith through its traditions, biblical Christianity understood in terms of the Reformation traditions provides the real solution to the human dilemma. We can know that this message is true both because it rings true in our lives and because it is presented in a Book that is absolutely trustworthy. Again, though my own approach to apologetics may not be completely Schaeferrian any more, his approach helped me work through issues related to presuppositionalism, evidentialism, and the classical approach.

Francis Schaeffer the prophet points us the way through the maze of postmodernity. Like other prophets to postmodernity, such as Solzhenitsyn and Alvin Gouldner, he reminds us that the advocates of existentialism and postmodernism are not disinterested, objective observers of the contemporary situation. They rather have adopted a discourse of radical suspicion for the purposes of transforming the moral condition of this world into something more fitting with their own rejection of Judeo-Christian values. Further, in their defense of marginalized discourses, though they appear to be the Robin Hoods of postmodern culture, taking from the bourgeoisie and their intellectual hired guns, in fact, beneath the mask they really are the Sheriff of Nottingham, with political goals of their own. Postmodernity is a power play by humanistic intellectuals for the purposes of intellectuals, and we ought not to be deluded into thinking otherwise.

Chad Owen Brand

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