Sea of Faith 4 – Don Cupitt – Documentary : (Marx, Kierkegaard)

Published on Nov 12, 2013

Prometheus Unbound’: Karl Marx & Soren Kierkegaard; the religuos individualism of Kierkegaard is contrasted with the socio-economic & political approach of Marx.

Here in Episode 4 of SoF, Cupitt looks the attempt to find an origin for values in a post enlightenment secular world.

The Complete Series…

In this thoughtful and discursive series Rev Prof Don Cupitt explores how Christian thought nurtured, and responded to an increasingly materialist/realist/rationalist modern world-view. Cupitt consideredly meanders through the works and lives of a miscellany of thoughtful coves including Galileo, Pascal, David Strauss, Kierkegaard, Jung, Schopenhaurer, Annie Besant, Vivekananda, Albert Schweitzer, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and others. This learned, yet accessible, and frankly slightly odd series, is just the sort of thing you don’t see on TV anymore.

I believe this series is still available on DVD via the “Sea of Faith Network”.

(Don Cupitt’s 1984 BBC documentary “Sea of Faith” complete, entire whole Episode 4 Prometheus Unbound)
History. Western Thought, Christianity, Christian Existentialism, Western thought, Marxism, Communism, Religion, Theology, Philosophy, God.


At Berkeley the Free Speech Movement arose simultaneously with the hippie world of drugs. … but rather a call for the freedom to express any political views on Sproul Plaza. … followed the teaching of Herbert Marcuse (1898-). Marcuse was a German professor of philosophy related to the neo-Marxist.

Bettina Aptheker and Herbert Marcuse  pictured below:

Moral Support: “One Dimensional Man” author Herbert Marcuse accompanies Bettina Aptheker, center, and Angela Davis’ mother, Sallye Davis, to Angela Davis’ 1972 trial in San Jose. Associated Press



Francis Schaeffer is a hero of mine and I have posted many times in the past using his material. This post below is a result of his material..
Communism catches the attention of the young at heart but it has always brought repression wherever it is tried. True
Communism has never been tried is something I was told just a few months ago by a well meaning young person who was impressed with the ideas of Karl Marx. I responded that there are only 5 communist countries in the world today and they lack political, economic and religious freedom.WHY DOES COMMUNISM FAIL?
Communism has always failed because of its materialist base.  Francis Schaeffer does a great job of showing that in this clip below. Also Schaeffer shows that there were lots of similar things about the basis for both the French and Russia revolutions and he exposes the materialist and humanist basis of both revolutions.

Schaeffer compares communism with French Revolution and Napoleon.

1. Lenin took charge in Russia much as Napoleon took charge in France – when people get desperate enough, they’ll take a dictator.

Other examples: Hitler, Julius Caesar. It could happen again.

2. Communism is very repressive, stifling political and artistic freedom. Even allies have to be coerced. (Poland).

Communists say repression is temporary until utopia can be reached – yet there is no evidence of progress in that direction. Dictatorship appears to be permanent.

3. No ultimate basis for morality (right and wrong) – materialist base of communism is just as humanistic as French. Only have “arbitrary absolutes” no final basis for right and wrong.

How is Christianity different from both French Revolution and Communism?

Contrast N.T. Christianity – very positive government reform and great strides against injustice. (especially under Wesleyan revival).

Bible gives absolutes – standards of right and wrong. It shows the problems and why they exist (man’s fall and rebellion against God).


In HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture, the late Francis A. Schaeffer wrote:

Materialism, the philosophic base for Marxist-Leninism, gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Where Marxist-Leninism is not in power it attracts and converts by talking much of dignity and rights, but its materialistic base gives no basis for the dignity or rights of man.  Yet is attracts by its constant talk of idealism.

To understand this phenomenon we must understand that Marx reached over to that for which Christianity does give a base–the dignity of man–and took the words as words of his own.  The only understanding of idealistic sounding Marxist-Leninism is that it is (in this sense) a Christian heresy.  Not having the Christian base, until it comes to power it uses the words for which Christianity does give a base.  But wherever Marxist-Leninism has had power, it has at no place in history shown where it has not brought forth oppression.  As soon as they have had the power, the desire of the majority has become a concept without meaning.

Is Christianity at all like Communism?

Sometimes Communism sounds very “Christian” – desirable goals of equality, justice, etc but these terms are just borrowed from the New Testament. Schaeffer elsewhere explains by saying Marxism is a Christian heresy.

Below is a great article. Free-lance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

This article was published January 30, 2011 at 2:28 a.m. Here is a portion of that article below:
A final advantage is the mutation of socialism into so many variants over the past century or so. Precisely because Karl Marx was unclear as to how it would work in practice, socialism has always been something of an empty vessel into which would be revolutionaries seeking personal meaning and utopian causes to support can pour pretty much anything.
A desire to increase state power, soak the rich and expand the welfare state is about all that is left of the original vision. Socialism for young lefties these days means “social justice” and compassion for the poor, not the gulag and the NKVD.
In the end, the one argument that will never wash is that communismcan’t be said to have failed because it was never actually tried. This is a transparent intellectual dodge that ignores the fact that “people’s democracies” were established all over the place in the first three decades after World War II.
Such sophistry is resorted to only because communism in all of those places produced hell on earth rather than heaven.
That the attempts to build communism in a remarkable variety of different geographical regions led to only tyranny and mass bloodshed tells us only that it was never feasible in the first place, and that societies built on the socialist principle ironically suffer from the kind of “inner contradictions” that Marx mistakenly predicted would destroy capitalism.
Yes, all economies are mixed in nature, and one could plausibly argue that the socialist impulse took the rough edges off of capitalism by sponsoring the creation of welfare-state programs that command considerable public support.
But the fact remains that no society in history has been able to achieve sustained prosperity without respect for private property and market forces of supply and demand. Nations, therefore, retain their economic dynamism only to the extent that they resist the temptation to travel too far down the socialist road.

1970 bombing took away righteous standing of Anti-War movement.

Francis Schaeffer mentioned the 1970 bombing in his film series “How should we then live?” and I wanted to give some more history on it. Schaeffer noted:

In the United States the New Left also slowly ground down,losing favor because of the excesses of the bombings, especially in the bombing of the University of Wisconsin lab in 1970, where a graduate student was killed. This was not the last bomb that was or will be planted in the United States. Hard-core groups of redicals still remain and are active, and could become more active, but the violence which the New Left produced as its natural heritage (as it also had in Europe) caused the majority of young people in the United States no longer to see it as a hope. So some young people began in 1964 to challenge the false values of personal peace and affluence, and we must admire them for this. Humanism, man beginning only from himself, had destroyed the old basis of values, and could find no way to generate with certainty any new values.  In the resulting vacuum the impoverished values of personal peace and affluence had comes to stand supreme. And now, for the majority of the young people, after the passing of the false hopes of drugs as an ideology and the fading of the New Left, what remained? Only apathy was left. In the United States by the beginning of the seventies, apathy was almost complete. In contrast to the political activists of the sixties, not many of the young even went to the polls to vote, even though the national voting age was lowered to eighteen. Hope was gone.

After the turmoil of the sixties, many people thought that it was so much the better when the universities quieted down in the early seventies. I could have wept. The young people had been right in their analysis, though wrong in their solutions. How much worse when many gave up hope and simply accepted the same values as their parents–personal peace and affluence. (How Should We Then Live, pp. 209-210)


Sunday, August 28th, 2011, 11:11pm

Aug. 24 marked the 41st anniversary of the Sterling Hall bombing on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Four men planned the bomb at the height of the student protests over the Vietnam War. Back then, current Madison Mayor Paul Soglin was one of the leaders of those student protests in the capitol city. This weekend, Soglin recalled the unrest felt by UW-Madison students.

“The anti-war movement adopted a lot of its tactics and strategies from the civil rights movement which was about ten years older,” said Soglin. “It was one of picketing, demonstration, and passive resistance.”

The four men who planned the bombing focused on the Army Mathematics Research Center housed in Sterling Hall because it was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and therefore, worked on weapons technology. Karl Armstrong was one of the four men and he recently spoke with CBS News in his first television interview detailing the moments right before the bomb was set off.

“He asked me, he says, ‘Should we go ahead? Are we gonna do this?’ I think I made a comment to him about something like, ‘Now, I know what war is about,'” remembered Armstrong. “And I told him to light it.”

The bomb killed one researcher and father of three, 33-year-old Robert Fassnacht, although Armstrong maintains they planned the attack thinking no one would get hurt. The four men heard about the death as they were in their getaway car after the bomb went off.

“I felt good about doing the bombing, the bombing per se, but not taking someone’s life,” recalled Armstrong.

The researcher’s wife told CBS News that she harbors no ill will toward Armstrong and the other bombers. Three of the four men were captured and served time in prison. Armstrong served eight years of a 23-year sentence.

The fourth man, Leo Burt, was last seen in the fall of 1970 in Ontario and is to this day, still wanted by the FBI, with a $150,000 reward for his capture.

E P I S O D E 9

T h e Age of Personal Peace and Affluence 

I. By the Early 1960s People Were Bombarded From Every Side by Modern Man’s Humanistic Thought

II. Modern Form of Humanistic Thought Leads to Pessimism

Regarding a Meaning for Life and for Fixed Values

A. General acceptance of selfish values (personal peace and affluence) accompanied rejection of Christian consensus.

1. Personal peace means: I want to be left alone, and I don’t care what happens to the man across the street or across the world. I want my own life-style to be undisturbed regardless of what it will mean — even to my own children and grandchildren.

2. Affluence means things, things, things, always more things — and success is seen as an abundance of things.

B. Students wish to escape meaninglessness of much of adult society.

1. Watershed was Berkeley in 1964.

2. Drug Taking as an ideology: “turning on” the world.

3. Free Speech Movement on Sproul Plaza.

a) At first neither Left nor Right.

b) Soon became the New Left.

(1) Followed Marcuse.

(2) Paris riots.

4. Student analysis of problem was right, but solution wrong.

5. Woodstock, Altamont, and the end of innocence.

6. Drug taking survives the death of ideology but as an escape.

7. Demise of New Left: radical bombings.

8. Apathy supreme. The young accept values of the older generation: their own idea of personal peace and affluence, even though adopting a different life-style.

C. Marxism and Maoism as pseudo-ideals.

1. Vogue for idealistic communism which is another form of leap into the area of non-reason.

2. Solzhenitsyn: violence and expediency as norms of communism.

3. Communist repression in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

4. Communism has neither philosophic nor historic base for freedom. There is no base for “Communism with a human face.”

5. Utopian Marxism steals its talk of human dignity from Christianity.

6. But when it comes to power, the desire of majority has no meaning.

7. Two streams of communism.

a) Those who hold it as an idealistic leap.

b) Old-line communists who hold orthodox communist ideology and bureaucratic structure as it exists in Russia.

8. Many in West might accept communism if it seemed to give peace and affluence.

III. Legal and Political Results of Attempted Human Autonomy

A. Relativistic law.

1. Base for nonarbitrary law gone; only inertia allows a few principles to survive.

2. Holmes and sociological (variable) law.

3. Sociological law comes from failure of natural law (see evolution of existential from rationalistic theology).

4. Courts are now generating law.

5. Medical, legal, and historical arbitrariness of Supreme Court ruling on abortion and current abortion practice.

B. Sociological law opens door to racism, abrogation of freedoms,  euthanasia, and so on.

IV. Social Alternatives After Death of Christian Consensus

A. Hedonism? But might is right when pleasures conflict.

B. Without external absolute, majority vote is absolute. But this justifies a Hitler.

V. Conclusion

A. If there is no absolute by which to judge society, then society is absolute.

B. Humanist thinking—making the individual and mankind the center of all things (autonomous) — has led to death in our culture and in our political life.

Note: Social alternatives after the death of Christian consensus are continued in Episode Ten.


1. What was the basic cause of campus unrest in the sixties? What has happened to the campus scene since, and why?

2. What elements — in the life and thought of the communist and noncommunist world alike — suggest a possible base for world agreement?

3. “To prophesy doom about Western society is premature. We are, like all others who have lived in times of great change, too close to the details to see the broader picture. One thing we do know:

Society has always gone on, and the most wonderful epochs have followed the greatest depressions. To suggest that our day is the exception says more about our headache than it does about our head.” Debate.

4. As Dr. Schaeffer shows, many apparently isolated events and options gain new meaning when seen in the context of the whole. How far does your own involvement in business, law, financing, and so on reveal an acquiescence to current values?

Key Events and Persons

Oliver Wendell Holmes: 1841-1935

Herbert Marcuse: 1898-1979

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: 1917-

Hungarian Revolution: 1956

Free Speech Movement: 1964

Czechoslovakian repression: 1968

Woodstock and Altamont: 1969

Radical bombings: 1970

Supreme Court abortion ruling: 1973

Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago: 1973-74

Further Study

Keeping one’s eyes and ears open is the most useful study project: the prevalence of pornographic films and books, more and more suggestive advertising and TV shows, and signs of arbitrary absolutes.

The following books will repay careful reading, and Solzhenitsyn, though long and horrifying, should not be skipped.

Os Guinness, The Dust of Death (1973).

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: Parts I-II (1973), Parts III-IV (1974).


Featured artist is Carla Fernandez

Carla Fernández

Carla Fernández was born in 1973 in Saltillo, Mexico, and is based in Mexico City. Drawing inspiration from the geometric shapes of Mexican textiles and patterns, Fernández works closely with communities of indigenous artisans and craftspeople to create her clothing, textiles, and housewares for her eponymous fashion label. Guided by the ethos that tradition is not static and fashion is not ephemeral, Fernández travels throughout Mexico, visiting artisans who specialize in centuries-old techniques—such as weaving, handlooming, embroidery, mud dyeing, and leather working—and employs them to contribute in the production of new pieces and collections. Fernández’s practice serves as a reconceptualization of the ways in which cultural heritage and tradition can thrive in a globalizing, homogenizing world.



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  • Rycin  On January 8, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Love Schaeffer, I watched the video on this post, not near as insightful as Schaeffer it was good to try and understand the ideology of what we see destroying our country. Thank you

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