THE QUESTION OF MAN (Francis Schaeffer v Woody Allen)

THE QUESTION OF MAN

“THE DILEMMA OF MODERN MAN IS SIMPLE:  HE DOES NOT KNOW WHY MAN HAS ANY MEANING.  HE IS LOST.  MAN REMAINS A ZERO.  THIS IS THE DAMNATION OF MODERN MAN.  BUT IF WE BEGIN WITH A PERSONAL BEGINNING, AND THIS IS THE ORIGIN OF ALL ELSE, THEN THE PERSONAL DOES HAVE MEANING AND MAN AND HIS ASPIRATIONS ARE NOT MEANINGLESS.”

– FRANCIS SCHAEFFER

The great problem with beginning with the impersonal is to find any meaning for the particulars . . . . If we begin with the impersonal, then how do any of the particulars that now exist – including man – have any meaning, any significance?

Beginning with the impersonal, everything, including man, must be explained in terms of the impersonal plus time plus chance.  There are no other factors in the formula.  No one has ever demonstrated how time plus chance, beginning with an impersonal, can produce the needed complexity of the universe, let alone the personality of man.  No one has given a clue to this.

So now let us think what it means to begin with that which is personal.  That is, that which is personal began everything else, the very opposite of beginning with the impersonal.   In this case man, being personal, does have meaning and man and his aspirations are not meaningless.  Man’s aspirations of the reality of personality are in line with what was originally there and what has always intrinsically been.

This is the answer to the question of man at this point – a titanic answer.  Man’s damnation today is that he can find no meaning for man, but if we begin with the personal beginning we have an absolutely opposite situation.  We have the reality of the fact that personality does have meaning because it is not alienated from what has always been, and what is, and what always will be.  This is our answer, and with this we have a solution not only to the problem of existence – of bare being and its complexity – but also for man’s being different, with a personality which distinguishes him from non-man.

What we are talking about is the philosophic necessity, in the area of being and existence, of the fact that God is there.  That is what it is all about:  He is there.  There is no other sufficient philosophical answer than this.  You can search through university philosophy, underground philosophy, filling station philosophy – it does not matter which – there is no other sufficient philosophical answer to existence, to being, than the one I have outlined.  There is only one philosophy, one religion, that fills this need in all the world’s thought, whether the East, the West, the ancient, the modern, the new, the old.  Only one fills the philosophical need of existence, of being, and it is the Judaeo-Christian God – not just an abstract concept, but rather that this God is really there.  He really exists.  Not the mere word “god,” but the Judaeo-Christian content to the word “God” as given in the Old and New Testaments.  And what is that content?  It relates to an infinite-personal God, who is personal unity and diversity on the high order of trinity.

(These selections are from the book, He is there and he is not silent, Chapter 1, “The Metaphysical Necessity” where this is further discussed.)

“MORE THAN ANY OTHER TIME IN HISTORY, MANKIND FACES A CROSSROADS.  ONE PATH LEADS TO DESPAIR AND UTTER HOPELESSNESS.  THE OTHER TO TOTAL EXTINCTION.  LET US PRAY WE HAVE THE WISDOM TO CHOOSE CORRECTLY.”

– WOODY ALLEN

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