Norman Geisler on Francis Schaeffer’s view that humans must be willing to live consistently with what they believe!!!!

Few contemporary Christians, however, have given more thoughtful and philosophical backing to a kind of pragmatic test for truth than has Francis Schaeffer. In a chapter called, “How do we know it is true?” Schaeffer outlines his test for truth as follows: “The theory must be non-contradictory and must give an answer to the phenomenon in question,” and, second, “we must be able to live consistently with our theory ” (emphasis added). Schaeffer admits that a non-Christian view such as materialism may  fit the second “for man simply cannot live as though he were a machine.” The Christian view of the universe, however, “can be lived with, both in life and in scholarly pursuits.” And “it should be added in conclusion that the Christian, after he is a Christian, has years of experimental evidence to add to all the above reasons.” Thus crucial to the falsity of the non-Christian view is its unlivability and experiential verification.

Schaeffer illustrates his point by what he thinks of as a kind of broad experiential teleological argument. He notes that no one can really live a chance philosophy of pure materialism. Schaeffer references Jackson but ultimately exhausted his method, and died at an early age. The American musician John Cage, who flipped coins to determine notes, took up hunting mushrooms as a hobby. He confessed, “I became aware that if I approached mushrooms in the spirit of my chance operations, I would die shortly. So I decided that I would not approach them in this way!” Pollock is dead because he tried in vain to live his chance philosophy. Cage lived on because he was inconsistent with his random view of the universe. Both approved that dysteleology (anti-design) is unvilvable. Therefore, to live consistently, one must believe that this universe is a designed and personal one (i.e., atheistic one). Of course, Schaeffer gives much more elaboration and sophistication to his position, but the broad pragmatic emphasis is there nonetheless. Only the Christian view is consistent and livable, and all non-Christian views are in the final analysis unlivable. Experience confirms this to be true (page 110 of CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS by Norman Geisler). 

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