Francis Schaeffer “If rationalistic man wants to deal with the real things of human life — such as purpose, significance, the validity of love — he must discard rational thought about them and make a gigantic, non-rational leap of faith. The rationalistic framework had failed to produce an answer on the basis of reason”

I am currently reading the books THE GOD WHO IS THERE and ESCAPE FROM REASON and that inspired me to do this series of posts on Francis Schaeffer again.

Excerpt from THE GOD WHO IS THERE: ( page 10)

So rationalism or humanism is the unity within secular thought. (..)

In one way it is always the same, men trying to build from themselves
alone. In another sense it is constantly shifting (..)

The ‘line of despair’ indicates a titanic shift at this present time within
the unity of rationalism: Above the line, men were rationalistic
optimists. They believed that they could begin with themselves and
draw a circle which would encompass all thoughts of life, and life itself,
without having to depart from the logic of antithesis. They thought
that on their own, rationalistically, finite men could find a unity in the
total diversity. This is where philosophy stood, prior to our own day.

The only real argument between these rationalistic optimists was over
the circle that should be drawn. One man would draw a circle and say,
You can live within this circle. The next man would cross it out and
would draw a different circle. The next man would come along, and
draw his own – ad infinitum (…)
By the time you have considered all these circles.. you may feel like
jumping off London Bridge! But at a certain point this attempt to spin
out a unified optimistic humanism ceased. The thinkers came to the
conclusion that they were not going to find a unified rationalistic
circle that would contain all thought, and in which they could live.

It was as though the rationalist suddenly became trapped in a large
darkness… he would feel his way to the walls and look for an exit…
then the terrifying truth would dawn on him that there was no exit
at all! … and so, departing from the classical method of antithesis,
they shifted the concept of truth — and modern man was born.

..and modern man moved under the line of despair, against his
desire. He remained a rationalist, but he had changed.
If we do not understand this shift, we are largely talking to
ourselves.

Søren Kirkegaard [was named] the father of all modern thinking:
..of modern secular thinking and of the new theological thinking.

[SK] came to the conclusion that you could not arrive at synthesis
by reason. Instead, you achieved everything of real importance
by a leap of faith. So he separated absolutely the rational and
logical, from faith. We might… debate whether, if he came back
today, he would be pleased with what had been made of his thinking.

..but with the concept of a leap of faith, he became in a real way
the father of all modern existential thought, both secular and
theological.
As a result, from that time on, if rationalistic man wants to deal with
the real things of human life — such as purpose, significance, the
validity of love — he must discard rational thought about them and
make a gigantic, non-rational leap of faith. The rationalistic
framework had failed to produce an answer on the basis of reason,

and so all hope of a uniform field of knowledge had to be abandoned.

…though there appear to be many forms of of philosophy today,
in reality there are very few. They have a uniform cast about them.

..there is one basic agreement in almost all of the chairs of philosophy
today, a radical denial of the possibility of putting forth a circle which
will encompass all. In this sense, the philosophies of today can be
called, in all seriousness, anti-philosophies.

How Should We Then Live – Episode 8 – The Age of Fragmentation

How Should We Then Live – Episode 9 – The Age of Personal Peace & Affluence

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By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Francis Schaeffer | Edit | Comments (0)

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