The last 3 letters I wrote to Hugh Hefner compared him to King Solomon in Ecclesiastes and his search for the meaning of it all!!! (Part 2)

I learned yesterday that Hugh Hefner had passed away. Just last year I visited Chicago and drove by his Chicago Playboy Mansion pictured below.

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Playboy after dark filmed in Chicago Playboy Mansion

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During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know the Bible is True,” “The Final Judgement,” “Who is Jesus?” and the message by Bill Elliff, “How to get a pure heart.”  I would also send them printed material from the works of Francis Schaeffer and a personal apologetic letter from me addressing some of the issues in their work. My second cassette tape that I sent to philosophers such as  Antony Flew and scientists such as George Wald of HARVARD  was Adrian Rogers’ sermon on EVOLUTION.  Both men listened to the messages then wrote me back twice each. Then about 6 years ago I started this blog and shortly after that I started writing letters again to famous agnostics and atheists. Hugh Hefner was one of those agnostics that I wrote. He had been mentioned both by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer as someone who wanted to smash the puritan ethic.

 

 

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I centered in primarily on the life of Solomon and especially his search for meaning UNDER THE SUN (without God in the picture) in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Overall, I wrote 79 letters to Hef during the years and I am sure that he had an opportunity to look at least at some of the postcards I sent him from places like New Orleans and Las Vegas.

July 30, 2017

Hugh Hefner
Playboy Mansion
Dear Hugh,
I know that you are from Chicago and it just so happens that I originally started my blog for the main purpose of promoting the ideas of Milton Friedman who taught in Economics at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1977. Since you were a prominent figure also in Chicago during that time I was curious if you ever had a chance to meet Friedman?
I have to admit that many of the articles that have been attributed to PLAYBOY MAGAZINE have very good. I found this interview from 1973 on a blog and it was evidently carried originally by PLAYBOY. I wanted to give you just a portion that deals with schools. Then I wanted to share with you my thoughts on Milton Friedman’s religious views.

A 1973 INTERVIEW WITH MILTON FRIEDMAN – PLAYBOY MAGAZINE

PLAYBOY: Schools?
FRIEDMAN: Is there any doubt that they’re more discriminated against in schooling? Is there any doubt, if you’re a parent in a black ghetto, that the thing you will find hardest to acquire is decent schooling for your child? Is it an accident that the schooling is provided by the government? A black in a ghetto who has the money can buy any car he wants. But even if he has the money, he can’t get the schooling he wants, or at least he’ll have to pay an enormously higher price for it than a white person will. A white person with that income can move into a nice suburb and get the schooling he wants. A black person will have great difficulty doing it.
Let’s suppose, on the other hand, that you didn’t have government schooling. Let’s suppose you had the kind of system that I’m in favor of, which is a system under which the government, instead of providing schooling, would give every parent a voucher for a sum of money equal to what it’s now spending per child and the parent could spend that at any school he wanted to. Then you’d have private-enterprise schools developed and blacks could buy much better schooling for their children than they can get under the government.
Under free enterprise, a person who has a prejudice has to pay for that prejudice. Suppose I’m going to go into business producing widgets and that I’m a terrible racist and will hire only whites. You’re going into business producing widgets, too, but you don’t give a damn about race, so you’re going to hire the person who’s most productive for the lowest wage. Which of us is going to be able to win out in the competitive race?

PLAYBOY: That depends on the unions.
FRIEDMAN: You’re departing from competition. One of the major sources of black discrimination has been the unions, but the unions are an anti-competitive element; they’re a private monopoly; they’re against the rules of free enterprise.

PLAYBOY: You blame the government for discrimination against blacks in the school system because the government controls the schools. But isn’t this discrimination really based on residential real-estate patterns that are the result of individual choice?
FRIEDMAN: Yes, to some extent it is. But those residential patterns don’t necessarily imply segregation of schooling. They don’t imply segregation of the kinds of automobiles people have. They don’t imply segregation of the kind of movies people go to. If you had a free-enterprise school system, you’d have a much wider variety of schools available to blacks—schools of a higher quality. Moreover, residential segregation itself is partly stimulated by the fact that government provides schooling.
Let me illustrate. You’re a well-to-do fellow and you want to send your child to a good school. You don’t send him to a private school, because you’re already paying taxes for schools and any additional money you’d pay for tuition wouldn’t be deductible. So, instead, you get together with some of your friends and establish a nice high-income suburb and set up a so-called public school that’s really a private school. Now you won’t have to pay twice and the extra amount you pay will be in the form of taxes—not tuition, which will be permitted as a deduction in computing your personal income tax. The effect of this will be that your children’s education will be partly subsidized by the poor taxpayers in the ghetto. The fact that schooling is generally provided by the state, paid for through taxes that are deductible in computing the Federal income tax, promotes a great deal of residential segregation.
The crucial point is this: In a political system, 51 percent of the people can control it. That’s an overstatement, of course, since no government that’s supported by only 51 percent of the people will do the same things that one supported by 90 percent of the people will do. But in a political system, everything tends to be a yes-or-no decision: if 51 percent vote yes, it’s yes. A political system finds it very difficult to satisfy the needs of minority groups. It’s very hard to set up a political arrangement under which, if 51 percent of the people vote one way and 49 percent vote the other way, the 51 percent will get what they want and the 49 percent will get what they want. Rather, the 49 percent will also get what the 51 percent want.
In a market system, if 51 percent of the people vote, say, to buy American cars and 49 percent of the people vote to buy foreign cars and the government lets their votes be effective and doesn’t impose tariffs, 51 percent will get American cars and 49 percent will get foreign cars. In a market system, if 40 percent of the people vote that they want to send their children to integrated schools and 60 percent vote that they want to send them to segregated schools, 40 percent will be able to do what they want and 60 percent will be able to do what they want. It’s precisely because the market is a system of proportional representation that it protects the interests of minorities. It’s for this reason that minorities like the blacks, like the Jews, like the Amish, like SDS, ought to be the strongest supporters of free-enterprise capitalism.

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1947: Economists representing the emerging Chicago School: Milton Friedman, George Stigler, and Aaron Director,

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If anyone takes time to read my blog for any length of time they can not question my respect for the life long work of Milton Friedman. He has advanced the cause of freedom more than any other person I know of in the last 100 years except for Ronald Reagan who I give credit to for the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

I only had once chance to correspond with Milton Friedman and he quickly answered my letter. It was a question concerning my favorite christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer. I had read  in the 1981 printing of The Tapestry: the Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer on page 644 that Edith mentioned “that the KUP SHOW  in Chicago, a talk show Francis was on twice, once with the economist Milton Friedman, whith whom he still has a good correspondence.”  I asked in a letter in the late 1990’s  if Friedman remembered the content of any of that correspondence and he said he did not.

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I was hoping the answer would have been yes because I also wanted to talk to Friedman about some religious subjects. I knew that Friedman had rejected religion at an early age. James A. Nuechterlein noted in 2007, “Milton Friedman grew up in Rahway, New Jersey, the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants. (His parents were moderately observant, but Friedman, after an intense burst of childhood piety, rejected religion altogether.)

It is my understanding that Friedman did express more interest in religious subjects later in his life.  Here is a portion of an article from Human Events that led me to believe that:

Milton’s mind was bright and alert to the end, although he suffered from pain in his legs and he had a hard time walking. He also had gone through two open-heart surgeries in the 1980s. This year, when he turned 94, I asked him, “Do you think you will live to be 100?” His reply: “I hope not!” But Milton was almost always upbeat about life, even to the end. He was not a particularly religious man, but he expressed interest in religious topics near the end of his life.

John Lofton, editor of www.theamericanview.com noted in “An Exchange: My Correspondence With Milton Friedman About God, Economics, Evolution And “Values”:

One of the saddest things to see is a truly brilliant individual, with a keen intellect, but who does not believe in God, in Jesus Christ, in the Bible. A case in point: Dr. Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning, libertarian, free market economist. In a letter-to-the-editor to the “Wall Street Journal” (10/30/92), Dr. Friedman made the point that he is a “radical,” get-to-the-root-of-the-problem kind of guy. So, although I knew, generally, what his answer would be, but not exactly, I wrote Dr. Friedman, at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, and asked him:

Do you believe in God? And what, if anything, does God have to do with economics? He replied, in a handwritten note on my original letter:

“I am an agnostic. I do not ‘believe in’ God, but I am not an atheist, because I believe the statement, ‘There is a god’ does not admit of being either confirmed or rejected. I do not believe God has anything to do with economics. But values do.”

Okay. So, I write Dr. Friedman again, thank him for his prompt response, and ask: What is the distinction you make between ‘agnosticism’ and ‘atheism?” And where do these ‘values’ you say you believe in come from? Again, Dr. Friedman writes back, quickly:

“(1) Agnosticism ‘I do not know.’ (2) Atheism ‘I know that there is no god.’ (3) I do not know where my values come from, but that does not mean (a) I don’t have them, (b) I don’t hold them as strongly as you hold your belief in God. (c) They turn out — not accidentally, I believe — to be very much like these held by most other people whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, or abstract. (d) Which leads me to believe that they are a product of the same evolutionary process that accounts for the rest of our customs as well as physical characterizations.”

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John Lofton rightly notes that “Dr. Friedman was an evolutionist with ‘values’ of unknown origin but he said they were not ‘accidental.’ I encountered the same approach from Carl Sagan. He wanted to say their was no afterlife and we were all products of chance but then he wanted to jump back and grab words like “precious” to describe us as if we could attain lasting meaning to our lives without God in the picture.

Milton Friedman had no valid basis for his morality. He was borrowing from a Judeo-Christian basis.

I will give agnostics credit when they realize that without God in the picture everything is left to chance. I posted earlier. Neo-Darwinist Richard Dawkins recognized the purposelessness of such a system:

In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.22

Without God in the picture life is meaningless ultimately.  Also without God providing punishment in the afterlife for evil then there is no reason to do good without an enforcement factor.

H.J.Blackham below

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I would love to hear from any atheist that would present a case for lasting meaning in life apart from God. It seems to me that H. J. Blackham was right in his accessment of the predictament that atheists face:

On humanist assumptions [the assumption that there is no God and life has evolved by time and chance alone], life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after another they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads to nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere. . . It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all . . . such a situation is a model of futility (H. J. Blackham et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).)

I do not accept evolution at all. Adrian Rogers noted three problems with evolution:

1. The fossil record. Not only is the so-called missing link still missing, all of the transitional life forms so crucial to evolutionary theory are missing from the fossil record. There are thousands of missing links, not one!
2. The second law of thermodynamics. This law states that energy is winding down and that matter left to itself tends toward chaos and randomness, not greater organization and complexity. Evolution demands exactly the opposite process, which is observed nowhere in nature.
3. The origin of life. Evolution offers no answers to the origin of life. It simply pushes the question farther back in time, back to some primordial event in space or an act of spontaneous generation in which life simply sprang from nothing.

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The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Solomon is said to be the wisest man who ever lived.Solomon went to the extreme in his searching in the Book of Ecclesiastes for this something more,  but he did not find any satisfaction in pleasure (2:1), education (2:3), work (2:4), wealth (2:8) or fame (2:9). All of his accomplishments would not be remembered (1:11) and who is to say that they had not already been done before by others (1:10)?   Also Solomon’s upcoming death depressed him because both people and animals alike “go to the same place — they came from dust and they return to dust” (3:20).

In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me thatKerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more.

Livgren wrote:

“All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Both Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

You can hear Kerry Livgren’s story from You Tube.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Milton Friedman receives Nobel Prize in Economics in 1976

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Francis Schaeffer pictured above

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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