Book Report: Escape from Reason by Francis A. Schaeffer (1968)

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Book Report: Escape from Reason by Francis A. Schaeffer (1968)

Episode VII – The Age of Non Reason

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Dr. Schaeffer’s sweeping epic on the rise and decline of Western thought and Culture

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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 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.

Book Report: Escape from Reason by Francis A. Schaeffer (1968)

Executive Summary: Thomas Aquinas is teh suck!!!1!!!

I don’t remember where I got this book; it’s either a book fair bag filler or something that was in the free bin at Hooked on Books. However, since I was on a short, smart book kick, I picked it up.

This cover calls the book a penetrating analysis of trends in modern thought. The introduction goes further: as it’s an evangelical book, its goal is to frame traditional, even fundamental Christian thought with modern philosophical schools of thought. As such, it studies the dual nature of man (nature and grace) and how this fundamental dual nature has been corrupted through various schools of philosophical thought. When Thomas Aquinas intimated that only man’s will suffered from The Fall but that the intellect was capable of arriving independently at grace through its observations of nature and so on, he set into motion the eventual slippery slope where the autonomous lower half of man will overrun the higher half.

Ergo, throughout philosophical history, Kant and Rousseau saying that Freedom is the higher order of man and Nature is the lower, but the mechanistic view of human nature eventually logically trumps freedom, or the Christian Existentialist view (courtesy of Kierkegaard) that divides man’s duality into reason and faith (where the leap of faith is rationally inexplicable), or the regular Existentialist view where an act of will is the highest order.

I don’t remember most of the primary texts that the author refers to, so I can only say that the book poses a relatively sound exploration of the theme. I’m not sure, though, whether I’d characterize the Existentialists as embracing the dual nature of man. The author refers specifically to Sartre’s Nausea and how the Existentialists triumphs over the absurd and achieves the higher portion of himself through an act of will, of seeking authenticity. I remember just enough of my Sartre to suspect that this is a convenient reading of true Existentialism, which is monoist in nature.

So although the book does take a couple things a priori, such as the basic framework of its evangelical Christian roots with the cmbination of Jesus and The Scriptures as a framework for all thought, science, and art, it provided a handy (and short) mechanism for me to resharpen my old philosophical edges.

It looks as though this book and others by this author remain fairly popular–hence their higher prices at Amazon. Perhaps I lucked out in getting this first American printing so cheaply. I better bronze it.

John Donnelly's Gold Don’t forget my novel John Donnelly’s Gold is now available.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 6th, 2006 at 1:20 am and is filed under Book ReportBooks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.                           

Francis Schaeffer

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