FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 127 Will Provine, Killer of the myth of Optimistic Humanism Part E (Featured artist is Jim Dine )


Setting the record straight was Will Provine’s widow Gail when she stated, “[Will] did not believe in an ULTIMATE meaning in life (i.e. God’s plan), but he did believe in proximate meaning (i.e. relationships with people — friendship and especially LOVE 🙂 ). So one’s existence is ultimately senseless and useless, but certainly not to those whose lives we touch here on earth.”

Many humanists today try to leave the impression that nothing is lost by giving up belief in God, but Will Provine made it clear that  one’s existence is ultimately senseless and useless in the big scheme of things. Sadly many humanists are living in denial. Will Provine was a very kind man who had many close friendships and lived a fulfilling life and I salute him for his observations in this area.

Will and Gail Provine.jpg

We covered the passing of our evolutionary interlocutor Will Provine, an honest and loving atheist, at some length (see here, here, here, here, and here). One sweet thing that came out of this was hearing from Professor Provine’s widow, Gail Provine.

She emailed to express her approval of what we wrote, which not only gave me the opportunity to personally wish her comfort but, frankly, also made my day, despite the sad occasion. Some of us had the merit of meeting and knowing her late husband; others (such as myself) unfortunately did not. We evidently got something right, nevertheless, and despite the divergence of his picture of reality from ours.

However, Mrs. Provine took issue with our word choice in one respect and I wanted to acknowledge that. Commenting on the initial post at ENV, “William Provine, RIP: Noble in His Honesty,” she wrote:

Kudos to you! You really got Will, and I think he would have agreed with everything you said except probably your use of the word “nihilistic” to describe his worldview. If you accept this definition of nihilist from the Merriam-Webster dictionary,

a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless

b : a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths

then I would say that Will’s worldview was in no way nihilistic. He did not believe in an ULTIMATE foundation for ethics (i.e. the Bible), but he certainly thought that as a society we must have a robust set of ethics and morals that we teach our children (and that we learn from our parents and community). In the same way, he did not believe in an ULTIMATE meaning in life (i.e. God’s plan), but he did believe in proximate meaning (i.e. relationships with people — friendship and especially LOVE 🙂 ). So one’s existence is ultimately senseless and useless, but certainly not to those whose lives we touch here on earth.

Anyway, I found your obit to be the most accurate portrayal of Will of those out there. Thank you again.

Best wishes,


What a wonderful email, and what an admirably upbeat, appreciative attitude from a woman who has recently lost, at least in this life, the man she loves. Wow. As Paul Nelson observed, some people of religious faith could take a lesson from that.

As to the point about “nihilism,” she observed in a follow-up note, “I remember someone kept trying to label Will a ‘nihilist’ in his Wiki entry, and he kept taking it out.” It’s interesting to learn that some atheist evolutionary advocates too are plagued by disinformation specialists on Wikipedia, an experience we know well.

I leave to philosophers the task of defining the term nihilist, but I think intelligent design advocates should know as well as anyone the importance of allowing honest people to label and define their beliefs as they see fit. The courtesy is withheld from us by some on the evolutionary side of the Darwin debate, so we owe to it Professor Provine not to stick a word on him that he explicitly rejected.

Thank you, Mrs. Provine, for your kind words and gentle correction! I’m glad to offer my apology.

Photo: Gail and Will Provine, courtesy of Mrs. Provine.


Photo taken in 1944 after a reading of Picasso’s play El deseo pillado por la cola: Standing from left to right: Jacques Lacan, Cécile  Éluard, Pierre Reverdy, Louise Leiris, Pablo Picasso, Zanie de Campan, Valentine Hugo, Simone de Beauvoir, Brassaï. Sitting, from left to right: Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Michel Leiris, Jean Aubier. Photo by Brassaï. –

Why am I doing this series FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE? John Fischer probably expressed it best when he noted:

Schaeffer was the closest thing to a “man of sorrows” I have seen. He could not allow himself to be happy when most of the world was desperately lost and he knew why. He was the first Christian I found who could embrace faith and the despair of a lost humanity all at the same time. Though he had been found, he still knew what it was to be lost.

Schaeffer was the first Christian leader who taught me to weep over the world instead of judging it. Schaeffer modeled a caring and thoughtful engagement in the history of philosophy and its influence through movies, novels, plays, music, and art. Here was Schaeffer, teaching at Wheaton College about the existential dilemma expressed in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film, Blowup, when movies were still forbidden to students. He didn’t bat an eye. He ignored our legalism and went on teaching because he had been personally gripped by the desperation of such cultural statements.

Schaeffer taught his followers not to sneer at or dismiss the dissonance in modern art. He showed how these artists were merely expressing the outcome of the presuppositions of the modern era that did away with God and put all conclusions on a strictly human, rational level. Instead of shaking our heads at a depressing, dark, abstract work of art, the true Christian reaction should be to weep for the lost person who created it. Schaeffer was a rare Christian leader who advocated understanding and empathizing with non-Christians instead of taking issue with them.

Francis Schaeffer below pictured on cover of World Magazine:



There is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true asSchaeffer 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 linkshows 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 chanceplus matter.” THIS IS EXACT POINT SCHAEFFER SAYS SECULAR ARTISTSARE PAINTING FROM TODAY BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED ARE A RESULTOF MINDLESS CHANCE.


Existentialism and the Meaningful Life [The Common Room]

Published on Jul 7, 2015

Torrey Common Room Discussion with Janelle Aijian, Matt Jenson, and Diane Vincent

Reason is Dead

The  hallmark of the Enlightenment had been “Reason Is King.” The leading thinkers had consciously rejected the need for revelation. As Paul Hazard in European Thought in the Eighteenth Century says, they put Christianity on trial.91
Gradually, however, the problems of this enthronement of human reason emerged. The reason of man was not big enough to handle the big questions, and what man was left with relative knowledge and relative morality. The noose around the humanist’s neck tightened with every passing decade and generation.
What would he do?
Ironically, even though the basis of the humanists’ whole endeavor had been the central importance of man’s reason, when faced with the problems of relative knowledge and relative morality they repudiated reason. Rather than admit defeat in front of God’s revelation, the humanists extended the revolution further – and in a direction which would have been quite unthinkable to their eighteenth-century predecessors. Modern irrationalism was born.
We could go back as far as Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) in philosophy and to Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) in theology. Modern existentialism is also related to Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). However, our intention here is neither to go into the history of irrationalism, nor to examine the proponents of existentialism in our own century, but rather to concentrate on its main thesis. It is this that confronts us on all sides today, and it is impossible to understand modern man without understanding this concept.
Because we shall be using several terms a great deal now, we would ask the reader to attend carefully. When we speak of irrationalism or existentialism or the existential methodology, we are pointing to a quite simple idea. It may have been expressed in a variety of complicated ways by philosophers, but it is not a difficult concept.
Imagine that you are at the movies watching a suspense film. As the story unfolds, the tension increases until finally the hero is trapped in some impossible situation and everyone is groaning inwardly, wondering how he is going to get out of the mess. The suspense is heightened by the knowledge (of the audience, not the hero) that help is on the way in the form of the good guys. The only question is: will the good guys arrive in time?
Now imagine for a moment that the audience is slipped the information that there are no good guys, that the situation of the hero is not just desperate, but completely hopeless. Obviously, the first thing that would happen is that the suspense would be gone. You and the entire audience would simply be waiting for the axe to fall.
If the hero faced the end with courage, this would be morally edifying, but the situation itself would be tragic. If, however, the hero acted as if help were around the corner and kept buoying himself up with this thought (“Someone is on the way!” – “Help is at hand!”), all you could feel for him would be pity. It would be a means to keep hope alive within a hopeless situation. The hero’s hope would change nothing on the outside; it would be unable to manufacture, out of nothing, good guys coming to the rescue. All it would achieve would the hero’s own mental state of hopefulness rather than hopelessness.
The hopefulness itself would rest on a lie or an illusion and thus, viewed objectively, would be finally absurd. And if the hero really knew what the situation was, but consciously used the falsehood to buoy up his feelings and go whistling along, we would either say, “Poor guy!” or “He’s a fool.” It is this kind of conscious deceit that someone like Woody Allen has looked full in the face and will have none of.
Now this is what the existential methodology is about. If the universe we are living in is what the materialistic humanists say it is, then with our reason (when we stop to think about it) we could find absolutely no way to have meaning or morality or hope or beauty. This would plunge us into despair. We would have to take seriously the challenge of Albert Camus (1913-1960) in the first sentence of The Myth of Sisyphus: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.”92 Why stay alive in an absurd universe? Ah! But that is not where we stop. We say to ourselves – “There is hope!” (even though there is no help). “We shall overcome!” (even though nothing is more certain than that we shall be destroyed, both individually at death and cosmically with the end of all conscious life). This is what confronts us on all sides today: the modern irrational-ism.


, Author, “A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning,”7 Things You Didn’t Know About Albert Camus,“Posted: 11/07/2013 7:38 am, “Camus was not a pessimist. Sure, he liked to remind us that there was no reason to hope. How could one in a universe of “tender indifference” to our repeated demands for meaning? But this was never a reason for despair. Think of the scene from “Annie Hall,” where Woody Allen puts the moves on a young woman who, while staring at a Jackson Pollock canvas, replies with an apocalyptic vision of the world. Like Allen, Camus would have asked if she was busy tomorrow night and, upon hearing she planned to commit suicide then, would pause only a moment before asking if she was busy tonight.”

How can we reconcile the statement of Zaretsky with Camus’ own words: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.”


The Best Art References in Woody Allen Films Image via Complex / APJAC Productions

Film: Play It Again, Sam (1972)

In 1972’s Play It Again, Sam, Allen plays a film critic trying to get over his wife’s leaving him by dating again. In one scene, Allen tries to pick up a depressive woman in front of the early Jackson Pollock work. This painting, because of its elusive title, has been the subject of much debate as to what it portrays. This makes for a nifty gag when Allen strolls up and asks the suicidal belle, “What does it say to you?”


Woody Allen in Play It Again Sam

Uploaded on May 20, 2009

Scene from ‘Play it Again Sam’ (1972)


Allan: That’s quite a lovely Jackson Pollock, isn’t it?

Museum Girl: Yes, it is.

Allan: What does it say to you?

Museum Girl: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos.

Allan: What are you doing Saturday night?

Museum Girl: Committing suicide.

Allan: What about Friday night?

Awesome Jim Dine Artist #9 Jim Dine Artwork

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Awesome Jim Dine Artist #9 Jim Dine Artwork

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Title : Awesome Jim Dine Artist #9 Jim Dine Artwork

Jim Dine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jim Dine

Jim Dine, surrounded by photographers,
at the inauguration of his work
Walking to Borås (behind him on the left),
May 16, 2008.
Born Jim Dine
June 16, 1935 (age 81)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Nationality American
Education Ohio University.
University of Cincinnati
Known for painting, drawing, sculpture,printmaking
Movement Neo-Dada, Pop Art

Jim Dine (born June 16, 1935) is an American pop artist. He is sometimes considered to be a part of the Neo-Dada movement.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, attended Walnut Hills High School and the University of Cincinnati. In 1953, he took evening classes at The Art Academy of Cincinnati from the influential abstract painter and instructor, Paul Chidlaw.[2] Dine received a BFA from Ohio University in 1957.


He first earned respect in the art world with his Happenings. Pioneered with artists Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow, in conjunction with musician John Cage, the “Happenings” were chaotic performance art that was a stark contrast with the more somber mood of the expressionists popular in the New York art world. The first of these was the 30 second The Smiling Worker performed in 1959.

Birth of American “Pop Art”[edit]

Job #1 by Jim Dine, 1962, Honolulu Museum of Art

In 1962 Dine’s work was included, along with Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Robert Dowd, Phillip Hefferton, Joe Goode, Edward Ruscha, and Wayne Thiebaud, in the historically important and ground-breaking New Painting of Common Objects, curated by Walter Hopps at the Norton Simon Museum. This exhibition is historically considered one of the first “Pop Art” exhibitions in America. These painters started a movement, in a time of social unrest, which shocked America and the art world. The Pop Art movement fundamentally altered the nature of modern art.

In the early 1960s, he began attaching objects, particularly tools of autobiographical significance, to his canvases.[3] Job #1 from 1962, in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art, which incorporates paint cans, paint brushes, a screwdriver, and a piece of wood is an example of such a pop art work. These provided commercial as well as critical success, but left Dine unsatisfied. In September 1966 police raided an exhibition of his work displayed atRobert Fraser‘s gallery in London, England. Twenty of his works were seized and Fraser was charged under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959, Dine’s work was found to be indecent but not obscene and Fraser was fined 20 guineas.[4] The following year Dine moved to London and continued to be represented by Fraser, spending the next four years developing his art.

Returning to the United States in 1971 he focused on several series of drawings. Since 1976 Dine has been represented by The Pace Gallery. In the 1980s sculpture resumed a prominent place in his art. In the time since then there has been an apparent shift in the subject of his art from man-made objects to nature.

According to James Rado, co-writer (with Gerome Ragni) of the rock musical Hair, it was a Dine piece entitled Hair which gave them the name.[citation needed]

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts purchased six works by Dine, and in 1983 he was a juror in “The Next Juried Show” at the VMFA, judging prints and drawings. The juried shows at the VMFA were a series of biennial exhibitions covering all areas including Communication Arts, Craft Media, Painting & Sculpture, Photography, Video Arts, and Prints and Drawings, each on an every-other-year schedule. “The Next Juried Show” was the last of the series, however.

In 1984 the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, exhibited his work as “Jim Dine: Five Themes”. 1987 saw the publication of the book Jim Dine: Drawings 1973 – 1987,[5] to coincide with a touring exhibition. In 1989 the Minneapolis Institute of Arts hosted Jim Dine Drawings: 1973-1987. In 1983, he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1994.

In 2004 the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. organized the exhibition “Drawings of Jim Dine.” In the summer of 2007 he participated in the Chicago public art exhibition “Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet.” In Canada, he first exhibited at the Galerie de Bellefeuille alongside artists Chuck Close, Tom Hopkins and Jennifer Hornyak in 2009.[6] Dine also exhibited regularly with the Alan Cristea Gallery in London and had a show there in April 2010.[citation needed]


As of 2016, Jim Dine is exclusively represented by Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago and New York.[7]

Pinocchio Art[edit]

Dine at the Galerie de Bellefeuille, Westmount, Quebec, Canada, 2009

On May 16, 2008, Jim Dine formally presented a nine meter high bronze statue depicting a walking Pinocchio, named Walking to Borås to the city of Borås, Sweden.

Dine previously worked on a commercial book, paintings, and sculptures that focused on Pinocchio.

Another large bronze sculpture of Pinocchio by Jim Dine exists near the entrance of the Cincinnati Art Museum.


Dine’s work is part of numerous public collections including the British Museum, London;[8] the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Honolulu Museum of Art;[9] the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.;[10] and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Va.[11][12]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Chris Bruce, compiler, with an essay by Jim Dine. Extending the Artist’s Hand: Contemporary Sculpture from the Walla Walla Foundry. Pullman, Washington: Museum of Art, Washington State University, 2004. ISBN 978-0-9755662-0-6
  • John Coplans, “New Paintings of Common Objects”, Artforum, November, 1962. (Illustrations)



  1. Jump up^ Hodge, Susie (2012). Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That: Modern Art Explained. pp. 154–55. ISBN 9783791347356. LCCN 2012940064.
  2. Jump up^ Dine, Jim; Celant, Germano; Bell, Clare; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Cincinnati Art Museum (1999-01-01). Jim Dine : walking memory, 1959-1969. New York : Guggenheim Museum : Hardcover edition distributed by H.N. Abrams.
  3. Jump up^ Honolulu Museum of Art, wall label, Job #1 by Jim Dine, 1962, accession TCM.1991.22.16.ab
  4. Jump up^ Jones, Jonathan (November 3, 2001). “My name is Jimmy”. London: Retrieved 2010-02-07.
  5. Jump up^ Lafferty, S. R., (1987) Jim Dine: Drawings 1973 – 1987, Contemporary Arts Center, ISBN 0-917562-50-X, ISBN 978-0-917562-50-1
  6. Jump up^ Vanderstaay, Marilynn, “Don’t miss Galerie de Bellefeuille’s holiday show” Westmount Examiner. Montreal: 15 Dec. 2009. Web.
  7. Jump up^ Pogrebin, R. (2016, June 2). William Eggleston Joins Zwirner Gallery. Retrieved from
  8. Jump up^ [1]. Jim Dine’s gift of prints to the British Museum.
  9. Jump up^ Honolulu Museum of Art, wall label, Job #1 by Jim Dine, 1962, accession TCM.1991.22.16.ab
  10. Jump up^ JIM DINE : SELECT PUBLIC COLLECTIONS, Pace Gallery, Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia.
  12. Jump up^ Dine, Jim. “Red Robe with Hatchet (Self Portrait),” permanent collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

External links[edit]


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