Francis Schaeffer pictured below:
I want to make two points today. First, Greg Koukl has rightly noted that the nudity of a ten year old girl in the art of Robert Mapplethorpe is not defensible, and it demonstrates where our culture is morally. It the same place morally where Rome was 2000 years ago as Francis Schaeffer has demonstrated in his excellent film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? (Schaeffer cites some of the art work from Pompeii.) Second, I am going to comment on some of the art of Tracey Emin who has reminded me how the moral standards put forth in art in the last 2000 years have fallen so far. I give Tracey credit for at least putting God in the discussion. One of her biggest shows was entitled “I need art like I need God,” (Solo Exhibition, Moo Gallery, Helsinki, London Gallery, London, Istanbul Biennial, Pera Palace Hotel, Turkey in 1997).
Here is what Tracey Emin had to say in her interview with Matthew Collings in his 1999 film series THIS IS MODERN ART (Episode 2):
A lot of my art ideas come out of an anxiety of feeling, lonely, morose, nostalgic, sad…I would give up the art instantly now to remove those feelings from myself. (Matt Collings then comments, “You don’t look very tormented.”) I am really…tormented, I am really upset. I am really brokenhearted…angst ridden.
Tracey went for a long time before she hit it big financially but now she still has a longing in her heart to find peace. Solomon had all the resources in the world and he found himself searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. (Tracey says she also fears getting old). However, it seems every door he tried to open was locked. Solomon found no lasting satisfaction in riches (Ecclesiastes 2:8-11), pleasure (2:1), education (2:3) and his work (2:4). None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of the rock band Kansas found that satisfaction by putting their faith in Christ. Earlier they had written and performed the hit song “Dust in the Wind” which describes the vain attempt to find meaning in life apart from God.
Kansas – Dust In The Wind
Kerry Livgren/Dave Hope: 700 Club Interview (Kansas) Part 1
Kerry Livgren/Dave Hope: 700 Club Interview (Kansas) Part2
Art Nation Interview – Tracy Emin Part 2
On Collaboration Ep4 “Tracey Emin x Harland Miller” by Johnnie Shand Kydd
Tracey Emin talking to BBC Culture about her life.
Tracey Emin’s BIOGRAPHY
Born in 1963, London
Lives and works in London
Hermann Vaske’s interview with Tracey Emin
Uploaded on Nov 12, 2007
In 1999 I was invited to Tracey’s place. My friends Tina and Stefan from the Maxwell Restaurant in Berlin made the contact. Tracey ate Lychees, and I rolled the cameras.
Tracey Emin on the loose
Published on Jul 10, 2013
Not everyone understands, likes or respects Tracey Emin’s work. But in this short montage of interview clips from BBC Culture, produced on her 50th birthday, you can really see the passion that she has for her work and the focus in which she has pursued it at all costs.
I love her she smiles and is so confident when she talks of the sacrifices she has made for her work, but views it as a wonderful gift that she has something that she is so passionate about. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could be so connected to and grateful for their work?
Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000 years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : 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,” . My favorite episodes are number 7 and 8 since they deal with modern art and culture primarily.(Joe Carter rightly noted, “Schaeffer—who always claimed to be an evangelist and not a philosopher—was often criticized for the way his work oversimplified intellectual history and philosophy.” To those critics I say take a chill pill because Schaeffer was introducing millions into the fields of art and culture!!!! !!! More people need to read his works and blog about them because they show how people’s worldviews affect their lives!
J.I.PACKER WROTE OF SCHAEFFER, “His communicative style was not that of a cautious academic who labors for exhaustive coverage and dispassionate objectivity. It was rather that of an impassioned thinker who paints his vision of eternal truth in bold strokes and stark contrasts.Yet it is a fact that MANY YOUNG THINKERS AND ARTISTS…HAVE FOUND SCHAEFFER’S ANALYSES A LIFELINE TO SANITY WITHOUT WHICH THEY COULD NOT HAVE GONE ON LIVING.”
Francis Schaeffer’s works are the basis for a large portion of my blog posts and they have stood the test of time. In fact, many people would say that many of the things he wrote in the 1960’s were right on in the sense he saw where our western society was heading and he knew that abortion, infanticide and youth enthansia were moral boundaries we would be crossing in the coming decades because of humanism and these are the discussions we are having now!)
There is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? There is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.
Francis Schaeffer in Art and the Bible noted, “Many modern artists, it seems to me, have forgotten the value that art has in itself. Much modern art is far too intellectual to be great art. Many modern artists seem not to see the distinction between man and non-man, and it is a part of the lostness of modern man that they no longer see value in the work of art as a work of art.”
Many modern artists are left in this point of desperation that Schaeffer points out and it reminds me of the despair that Solomon speaks of in Ecclesiastes. Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has 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.” THIS IS EXACT POINT SCHAEFFER SAYS SECULAR ARTISTS ARE PAINTING FROM TODAY BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED ARE A RESULT OF MINDLESS CHANCE.
Francis Schaeffer pictured below:
Jackson Pollock: 1912-1956,Beethoven’s last Quartets: 1825-26 Claude Monet: 1840-1926,Poplars at Giverny, Sunrise: 1885 Paul Cézanne: 1839-1906, The Bathers: c.1905: Claude Debussy: 1862-1918 Wassily Kandinsky: 1866-1944 Arnold Schoenberg: 1874-1951:T.S. Eliot: 1888-1965,The Wasteland: 1922:Karlheinz Stockhausen: 1928-2007:Sartre’s Nausea: 1938,Beauvoir’s L’Invitée: 1943,Camus’ The Stranger: 1942,Camus’ The Plague: 1947,Resnais’ The Last Year at Marienbad: 1961 Bergman’s The Silence: 1963 Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits: 1965 Antonioni’s Blow-Up: 1966,Bergman’s The Hour of the Wolf: 1967 Buñel’s Belle de Jour: 1967
Charles Darwin: 1809-1882,Origin of Species: 1859,Herbert Spencer: 1820-1903,Albert Einstein: 1879-1955,Russel Lee: 1895-,Heinrich Himmler: 1900-1945,B.F. Skinner: 1904-1990,Arthur Koestler: 1905-1983,Kenneth B. Clark: 1914-2005,Murray Eden: 1920-,Kermit Kranty: 1923-2007,,Skinner’s Beyond Freedom and Dignity: 1971,
Samuel Rutherford: 1600-1661 Rutherford’s Lex Rex: 1644, John Locke: 1631-1704, John Wesley: 1703-1791, Voltaire: 1694-1778,Letters on the English Nation: 1733 George Whitefield: 1714-1770 John Witherspoon: 1723-1794 John Newton: 1725-1807,John Howard: 1726-1790 Jefferson: 1743-1826,Robespierre: 1758-1794 Wilberforce: 1759-1833,Clarkson: 1760-1846,Napoleon: 1769-1821,Elizabeth Fry: 1780-1845,Declaration of Rights of Man: 1789,National Constituent Assembly: 1789-1791,Second French Revolution and Revolutionary Calendar: 1792 The Reign of Terror: 1792-1794,Lord Shaftesbury: 1801-1855,English slave trade ended: 1807,Slavery ended in Great Britain and Empire: 1833
Karl Marx: 1818-1883,Lenin: 1870-1924,Trotsky: 1879-1940,Stalin: 1879-1953,February and October Russian Revolutions: 1917,Berlin Wall: 1961,Czechoslovakian repression: 1968
Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 1 “The Roman Age”
Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part1)
Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 2)
Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 3)
Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 4)
Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 5)
10 Worldview and Truth
An excerpt from Francis Schaeffer…his recommendation to the people of the future.
How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)
#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer
Francis Schaeffer takes a look at Rome and why it fell. It fell because of inward problems. We have many of these same problems today in the USA.
As the Empire ground down, the decadent Romans were given to a thirst for violence and a gratification of the senses. This is especially evident in their rampant sexuality. For example, in’ Pompeii, a century or so after the Republic had become a thing of the past, the phallus cult was strong. Statues and paintings of exaggerated sexuality adorned the houses of the more affluent. Not all the art in Pompeii was like this, but the sexual representations were unabashedly blatant.
Perhaps no one has presented more vividly to our generation the inner weakness of imperial Rome than has Fellini (1920-) in his film Satyricon. He reminds us that the classical world is not to be romanticized, but that it was both cruel and decadent as it came to the logical conclusion of its world view.
E P I S O D E 1
B. We are, however, not helpless. Why?
C. Answer approached through consideration of the past.
D. Any starting point in history would be good; we start with Rome because it is direct ancestor of modern West.
II. Rome: The Empire Triumphant
A. Size and military strength of Empire.
B. Imperial sway evoked by Aventicum (Avenches), Switzerland.
III. Rome: Cultural Analysis
A. Greece and Rome: cultural influences and parallels.
1. Society as the absolute, to give meaning to life.
2. Finite gods as ground of accepted values.
B. Problems arising from Roman culture.
1. No infinite reference point as base for values and society.
2. Collapse of civic ideals therefore inevitable.
C. Results of collapse of ideals.
1. Dictatorship of Julius Caesar a response to civil disorder.
2. Firmly established authoritarian rule of Augustus.
D. Characteristics of regime introduced by Augustus.
1. Claim to give peace and the fruits of civilization.
2. Care to maintain facade of republican constitution.
3. People ready to accept absolute power in return for peace and prosperity.
4. Religious sanction for emperor-dictators: the emperor as God.
E. Christian persecution
1. Religious toleration in the Empire.
2. Christians persecuted because they would worship only the infinite-personal God and not Caesar also. They had an absolute whereby to judge the Roman state and its actions.
F. Viability of presuppositions facing social and political tension.
1. Christians had infinite reference point in God and His revelation in the Old Testament, the revelation through Christ, and the growing New Testament.
2. Christians could confront Roman culture and be untouched by its inner weakness, including its relativism and syncretism.
3. Roman hump-backed bridge, like Roman culture, could only stand if not subjected to overwhelming pressures.
IV. Rome: Eventual Decline and Fall
A. Growth of taste for cruelty.
B. Decadence seen in rampant sexuality and lust for violence.
C. General apathy, as seen in decline in artistic creativity.
D. Economic decline, more expensive government, and tighter centralization.
E. Successful barbarian invasions because of internal rot.
There is no foundation strong enough for society or the individual life within the realm of finiteness and beginning from Man alone as autonomous.
1. Dr. Schaeffer claims that, through looking at history, we can see how presuppositions determine events. Does his discussion bear this out and, if so, how?
2. How can a survey of Roman history in one-half hour be either useful or responsible? Discuss.
3. “History does not repeat itself.” —The parallels between the history of Rome and the twentieth century West are many and obvious.” How may these statements be reconciled?
Key Events and Persons
Julius Caesar: 100-44 B.C.
Augustus Caesar (Octavian): 63 B.C.-A.D. 14
Declared Pontifex Maximus: 12 B.C.
Diocletian: (Emperor) A.D. 284-305
Here, as in succeeding suggestions for further study, it will be assumed that if you want to devote a great deal of time to a topic you can consult a library or a good bookstore. Suggestions given below are made on the basis of relevance to the text, readability, and availability.
Not all the books will necessarily agree at all—or in all details—with Dr. Schaeffer’s presentation. But as in the general conduct of life, so in matters of the mind, one must learn to discriminate. If you avoid reading things with which you disagree, you will be naive about what most of the world thinks. On the other hand, if you read everything—but without a critical mind—you will end up accepting by default all that the world (and especially your own moment of history) thinks.
J.P.V.D. Balsdon, Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome (1969).
E.M. Blaiklock, The Christian in Pagean Society (1956).
Samuel Dill, Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire (1962).
E.M.B. Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (1970).
Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans: A Selection (1972).
Virgil, The Aeneid (1965).
Film: Fellini, Satyricon (1969).
- Greg Koukl is the founder and President of Stand to Reason (www.str.org). He has written a number of books, including ‘Tactics’ and ‘Relativism’, and hosts a radio talk show. View all resources by Greg Koukl
Allan Bloom, author of the landmark critique of American education The Closing of the American Mind, starts his analysis this way: ‘There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2 + 2 = 4.’ 
What Professor Bloom observes is not a trend but a revolution. Like most revolutions, it did not start with a rifle shot or a cannon but with an idea that was whispered in many different environments and diverse situations. This revolution started in academia and eventually engulfed the common person. Its growth has been so subtle and thorough that it is now a core belief-not just of the college elite, but also of the rank and file, white collar and blue collar alike.
What Is Truth?
Since the sixties we have been in the throes of this quiet but desperate revolution of thought – the death of truth. We don’t mean ‘truth’ in the sense of something being my personal opinion. Rather we refer to the death of what the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer called ‘true truth,’ the extinction of the idea that any particular thing can be known for sure.
Today we’ve lost the confidence that statements of fact can ever be anything more than just opinions; we no longer know that anything is certain beyond our subjective preferences. The word truth now means ‘true for me’ and nothing more. We have entered an era of dogmatic scepticism.
Ideas that are whispered are seldom analyzed well, for they simply don’t draw enough attention. By means of repetition and passive acceptance over time, they take on the force of common wisdom, a ‘truth’ that everyone knows but no one has stopped to examine, a kind of intellectual urban legend.
Once ideas like these take root, they are difficult to dislodge. Attempts to do so result in Bloom’s ‘uncomprehending’ stares.  The ideas become so much a part of our emerging intellectual constitution that we are increasingly incapable of critical self-reflection. Even if we did, we have little conviction that such analysis would do any good anyway. As Kelly Monroe remarked in her book Finding God at Harvard, ‘Students feel safer as doubters than as believers, and as perpetual seekers rather than eventual finders.’ 
When truth dies, all of its subspecies, such as ethics, perish with it. If truth can’t be known, then the concept of moral truth becomes incoherent. Ethics become relative, right and wrong matters of individual opinion. This may seem a moral liberty, but it ultimately rings hollow. ‘The freedom of our day,’ lamented a graduate in a Harvard commencement address, ‘is the freedom to devote ourselves to any values we please, on the mere condition that we do not believe them to be true.’ 
The death of truth in our society has created a moral decay in which ‘every debate ends with the barroom question “says who?” ‘  When we abandon the idea that one set of laws applies to every human being, all that remains is subjective, personal opinion.
Pleasure as Ethics
When morality is reduced to personal tastes, people exchange the moral question, What is good? for the pleasure question, What feels good? They assert their desires and then attempt to rationalize their choices with moral language. In this case, the tail wags the dog. Instead of morality constraining pleasures (‘I want to do that, but I really shouldn’t’), the pleasures define morality (‘I want to do that, and I’m going to find a way to rationalize it’). This effort at ethical decision making is really nothing more than thinly veiled self-interest-pleasure as ethics.
When self-interest rules, it has a profound impact on behaviour, especially affecting how we treat other human beings. The notions of human respect and dignity depend on the existence of moral truth. Without it, there is no obligation of self-sacrifice on behalf of others. Instead, we can discard people when they become trouble-some or expensive, or simply when they cramp our lifestyles.
What follows is a true story about a newborn child we’ll call Baby Garcia. This event took place in a major hospital in the Los Angeles area. I pass on the exact details as Jennifer, the nurse involved, related them to me:
One night a nurse on my shift came up to me and said, ‘Jennifer, you need to see the Garcia baby’ There was something suspicious about the way she said it, though. I see babies born every hour, I thought.
She led me to a utility room the nurses used for their breaks. Women were smoking and drinking coffee, their feet up on the stainless steel counter. There, lying on the metal, was the naked body of a newborn baby.
‘What is this baby doing here on this counter?’ I asked timidly. ‘That’s a preemie born at nineteen weeks,’ she said. ‘We don’t do anything to save them unless they’re twenty weeks.’
I noticed that his chest was fluttering rapidly. I picked him up for a closer look. ‘This baby is still alive!’ I exclaimed. I thought they hadn’t noticed.
Then I learned the horrible truth. The nurses knew, and it didn’t matter. They had presented the baby to its mother as a dead, premature child. Then they took him away and tossed him on the cold, steel counter in the lunch room until he died. His skin was blotchy white, and his mouth was gaping open as he tried to breathe.
I did the one thing I could think of. I held him in his last moments so he’d at least have some warmth and love when he died.
Just then one of the nurses-a large, harsh woman-burst into the room. ‘Jennifer, what are you doing with that baby?’ she yelled. ‘He’s still alive…’
‘He’s still alive because you’re holding him,’ she said. Grabbing him by the back with one hand, she snatched him from me, opened one of the stainless steel cabinets, and pulled out a specimen container with formaldehyde in it. She tossed the baby in and snapped the lid on. It was over in an instant.
To them, this child wasn’t human. In seven more days he would have qualified, but at nineteen weeks he was just trash. 
If there is no truth, nothing has transcendent value, including human beings. The death of morality reduces people to the status of mere creatures. When persons are viewed as things, they begin to be treated as things.
The death of morality also produces an ‘anything goes’ mentality. Sexual norms not only become more liberal, they expand without boundaries because no boundaries exist. Ann Landers recorded the following letter from one of her ‘morally liberated’ readers:
I am a man in my early 60s, divorced and retired. My sister is in her late 50s and widowed. We go to bed together twice a week. This has been going on since her husband died 8 years ago. Actually, when we were teenagers, we fooled around a lot, but never had intercourse. This is not a love match, but it is sex, and good sex at that.
We both enjoy these escapades, and they always produce a good night’s sleep. No one knows about this, and no one is getting hurt, or do you think we are fooling ourselves?
-No NAME, NO CITY, PLEASE
Dear No Name:
Sick, sick, sick. If I had your address I would send you a ‘get well’ card. 
Even more sobering is how America responded when art went on trial in a Cincinnati courthouse. At issue was an exhibit in the Contemporary Art Center of the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, a talented photographer who had distinguished himself with, among other things, still-life photography of flowers. The photographs on display included the following: a picture of a ten-year-old girl sitting in a chair with her knees up and genitals exposed; a photograph of a man who was naked except for cowboy boots, bent over with a bull-whip in his anus; and a shot of one man expelling a stream of urine into the mouth of another.
The museum was charged with exhibiting pornography. During the trial, a curator of another museum who testified on behalf of the Mapplethorpe exhibit was asked if the urination picture was art. ‘Yes,’ she said.
‘Is it fine art?’
‘Because of the composition and the lighting.’
Each photograph was acquitted of the charge of pornography and judged as fine art, after which social commentator and radio talkshow host Dennis Prager observed, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, if some of the leading artists in a civilization see a man urinating in another man’s mouth and see composition and lighting and do not see their civilization being pissed upon, we are in trouble.’ 
Ours is a generation that has institutionalized moral relativism. We’ve cut our eye-teeth on the philosophy that life’s most sublime goal is to be happy and that virtually any means justifies this self-serving end. No longer will we allow a hint of moral censure on sexual practices that were regarded as perverse only a generation before. We consider bullwhips in the butt and urination in the face fine art, abortion a constitutional right, infanticide a reasonable alternative to caring for a child with a troublesome birth defect, lesbian and homosexual families normal, and drug use a national pastime.’It is possible,’ Prager observes, ‘that some societies have declined as rapidly as has America since the 1960s, but I am not aware of any.’ 
Traitors in Our Midst
This is not a ‘morality’ we simply tolerate; we champion it. We take pride in our tolerance, yet tolerate no one who doesn’t share our moral open-mindedness. ‘Who are you to pass judgment?’ we ask. ‘Where do you get off condemning a nurse for what she does with a foetus that was dying anyway? Or for criticizing the sexual preferences of siblings? Or for challenging another’s view of art?’
This stinking stew of ethical nothingness is the sad legacy of the sixties. Yet when our own moral philosophy turns us into victims when our personal liberty is interrupted by random acts of anarchy – suddenly something like moral consciousness tries to lift its head.
Take the Los Angeles riots of 1992, for example. As the buildings burned we watched with horror. Shops were plundered not by hooded looters but by families made up of mom, dad, and the kids – moral mutants on the shopping spree of their lives, giggling and laughing with impunity while stuffing their spoils into shopping carts and oversized trash bags.
We shouldn’t have been surprised. During the L.A. riots these families did exactly what they had been taught. Nobody wanted to ‘impose’ their morality on anyone else, so they learned that values are relative and that morality is a matter of personal preference. Make your own rules, define your own reality, seek your own truth. In the spring of ’92, thousands of people did just what we told them to do, and civilization burned.
If we reject truth, why should we be surprised at the moral turbulence that follows? As C. S. Lewis said, ‘We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.’ 
This is the chaotic and confusing world of moral relativism, a world made more confusing because moral relativism isn’t even moral. It doesn’t qualify as a genuine moral view, as we will learn in the next chapter
1. Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), 25.
2. When Chuck Colson gave an address at Harvard titled ‘Why It’s Impossible to Teach Ethics at Harvard Business School,’ this was precisely the response he received. As mentioned in a radio interview with James Dobson, Focus On the Family. The tape aired by Focus on the Family is Chuck Colson, ‘The Problem of Ethics: Why Good People Do Bad Things,’ an address to the Harvard Business School; copyright 1991, Prison Fellowship, PO. Box 17500, Washington, D.C. 20041.
3. Kelly Monroe, ed., Finding God at Harvard (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 15. 4. Ibid., 17.
5. Recorded in The Presbyterian Layman, July-August 1996, 8.
6. As told to Gregory Koukl by Jennifer Personius, November 1988.
7. Los Angeles Times, 22 August 1992, E4.
8. Dennis Prager, ‘Multiculturalism and the War Against Western Values’ (audiotape), 7 October 1991, available through Ultimate Issues, 800-225-8584.
9. Stephanie Saul, New York Newsday, 20 July 1995, A17.
10. Ingrid Newkirk, national director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), quoted in ‘To Market, To Market,’ L.A. Times Magazine, 22 March 1992.
11. New York Times, 26 March 1992 and 29 March 1992; Time, 6 April 1992; referenced in World News Digest, 13 April 1992.
12. Dennis Prager, ‘Just Another Two Days in the Decline of America,’ The Prager Perspective, 1 January 1997, 1.
13. C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Collier Macmillan, 1955), 35.
This is a sample chapter from the book Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Greg Koukl and Francis J. Beckwith available in the UK from STL through Wesley Owen bookshops.
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