Monthly Archives: April 2020

Open Letter #6 to Ricky Gervais on comparison of the Tony of AFTER LIFE to the Solomon of ECCLESIASTES, Both are searching for answers UNDER THE SUN but are coming up empty!

On Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask Ricky Gervais a question on his Twitter Live broadcast which was  “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark Ricky answers my question. Below is the video:

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April 23, 2020 
Ricky Gervais 
Dear Ricky, 

This is the 6th day in a row that I have written another open letter to you to comment on some of your episodes in season one of AFTER LIFE, and then I wanted to pass along some evidence that indicates the Bible is historically accurate. However, today’s open letter will be a little different than the previous 5 in that a spiritual solution will be suggested. 


Below is a portion of episode 3 of season one of AFTER LIFE: 

After Life on Netflix

After Life on Netflix stars Ricky Gervais as a bereaved husband (Image: Netflix)

Psychiatrist (Paul Kaye): Good week?

Tony Johnson: No, of course not!!!! How could have I possibly had a good week? 

The sandy beach walk



Psychiatrist: Only you know that really. 


Tony: Why am I paying you then?

Psychiatrist: That is a good question. Why are you paying me? 

Tony: So I got to know that too?

Psychiatrist: Tony we are here to ask and answer difficult questions about yourself. Maybe you don’t want to know the answer? Maybe it is easy for you to think there is isn’t an answer? There is an answer, but you seem happier to just accept your unhappiness. 

Tony: I do accept my unhappiness. I know exactly why I unhappy. I also know that the only thing that would stop me from being unhappy is impossible. What I don’t know is why I pay someone who doesn’t care about me.

Psychiatrist: There are people in your life who care about you, but do they actually do know what is good for you?

Tony: I don’t think anyone knows what is good for me. 
Psychiatrist: I think it [the answer] is in there somewhere. 

I have written on the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of the meaning of our lives on several occasions on this blog. In this post on Ecclesiastes I hope to show how secular humanist man can not hope to find a lasting meaning to his life in a closed system without bringing God back into the picture. Tony in AFTER LIFE and Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes both are searching for answers UNDER THE SUN but are coming up empty! Three thousand years ago, Solomon took a look at life “under the sun” in his book of 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 chance plus matter.”

Below Is a portion of a talk Francis Schaeffer did on Ecclesiastes back in 1968 or so and Schaeffer gives a spiritual answer to finding the meaning of life and how to have an abundant life: 

Ecclesiastes 8:15

15 And I commend joy, for man has nothing better UNDER THE SUN but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given himunder the sun.

Ecclesiastes 9:7-12

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, (DOES IT SOUND OPTIMISTIC? NOW COMES THE BACKLASH) all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

Solomon when at work takes off his hat and he stands by the grave of man and he says, “ALAS. ALAS. ALAS.”

But interestingly enough the story of Ecclesiastes does not end its message here because in two places in the New Testament it is picked up and carried along and put in its proper perspective.

Luke 12:16-21

16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax,eat, drink, be merry.”’ [ALMOST EVERYONE WHO HAS PROCEEDED HERE HAS FELT CERTAINLY THAT JESUS IS DELIBERATELY REFERRING TO SOLOMON’S SOLUTION.]20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Christ here points out the reason for the failure of the logic that is involved. He points out why it fails in logic and then why it fails in reality. This view of Solomon must end in failure philosophically and also in emotional desperation.

We are not made to live in the shortened environment of UNDER THE SUN in this life only!!! Neither are we made to live only in the environment of a bare concept of afterlife [ignoring trying to make this life better]. We are made to live in the environment of a God who exists and who is the judge. This is the difference and that is what Jesus is setting forth here.

I Corinthians 15:32

32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

There is no doubt here he is reaching back to Solomon again and he is just saying if there isn’t a resurrection of the dead then let’s just follow Solomon and let’s just eat and drink for tomorrow we die!!!! If there isn’t this full structure [including the resurrection of the dead] then just have the courage to follow Solomon and we can eat and drink because tomorrow we die and that is all we have. If the full structure isn’t there then pick up the cup and drink it dry! You can say it a different way in the 20th century: If the full structure is not there then go ahead and be an EXISTENTIALIST, but don’t cheat. Drink the cup to the end. Drink it dry! That is what Paul says. Paul  the educated man. Paul the man who knew his Greek philosophy. Paul the man who understood Solomon and the dilemma. Paul said it one way or the other. There is no room for a middle ground. IF CHRISTIANS AREN’T RAISED FROM THE DEAD THEN SOLOMON IS RIGHT IN ECCLESIASTES, BUT ONLY THENBut if he is right then you should accept all of Solomon’s despair and his conclusions. Isaiah picks up this theme.

Isaiah 22:10-14

10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.

12 In that day the Lord God of hosts
    called for weeping and mourning,
    for baldness and wearing sackcloth; [ INSTEAD OF WEEPING THIS NEXT VERSE TELLS WHAT THEY DID.]
13 and behold, joy and gladness,
    killing oxen and slaughtering sheep,
    eating flesh and drinking wine.
“Let us eat and drink,
    for tomorrow we die.”
14 The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears:
“Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,”
    says the Lord God of hosts.

God brings it together here. Solomon’s words, Isaiah’s words and Paul’s words are one message. What is occurring in Isaiah? They are under siege and they have strengthened the wall but they have turned away both from the creator of the world and the one who laid the foundation of the walls in Jerusalem, David himself, and his teaching. They have said since it is hopeless let’s just eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. In a little while the walls will be overthrown and the enemy will sweep across us and we will be slain. Let’s fill our stomachs today. Let’s eat and drink and be merry.

God is saying through Isaiah, don’t you understand that isn’t the call now. The call is not to eat and drink and be merry and try to blot yourself out. It is day for being sad. Not because you are going to be destroyed but because you must understand that the reason you are in this circumstance is because you have revolted against the GOD WHO IS THERE. The reason for the dilemma is a moral question. They have revolted against the God who exists. The solution is being sorrowful and saying to God I AM SORRY. But instead of that because they turned their back from the real problem and only look to the forces without, so they make their wall strong and they eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow they die. The only time it would make sense for them to live this way would be if they were living under Solomon’s framework UNDER THE SUN which looking at human life alone seen only between birth and death and if that is all there is.

Solomon would say it really doesn’t make any difference if the enemy is at the gate today  versus the day after in the form of death. Nevil Shute in ON THE BEACH says the human will eventually go this way too!!!

The difficulty is they refuse to come as sinners and because they haven’t there is one thing left and that is despair if they are consistent.

Now turning back to I Corinthians 15:32 we can understand more the force of what Paul is talking about here and more of the depth of what he is saying.

I Corinthians 15:32

32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

Paul sweeps this all together, Solomon’s conclusions and the case in Isaiah, and Paul says that would be consistent if this [If the dead are not raised] is not so. This same message is found in I Corinthians 15:19,  “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” How would you word that for the 20th century? IF CHRIST IS A BARE WORD TO WAVE AS A FLAG, IF CHRISTIANITY IS ONLY THAT TO INTEGRATE INTO INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGICALLY AND SOCIETY AS SUCH, IF THAT IS ALL CHRIST IS, PAUL SAYS LET’S PLEASE BE CONSISTENT ABOUT IT, THROW DOWN THE WORD “CHRIST” AND WALK UPON IT. Don’t play with this and have the courage of a Solomon.

I Corinthians 15:19-20

19 If in Christ we have hope  in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Christ is raised. We will be raised. Therefore, a consistent despair that rests in the other line of thinking is not really consistent in the light of what is. The people in Isaiah’s day were eating and drinking and waiting for death and it was folly because the real solution was turning back to God. There is a total framework here that Paul is presenting and it tells us why it is folly to accept Solomon’s solution (eating and drinking and being merry because tomorrow we die).

I Corinthians 15:21-22

21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

There is only one reason that viewing life UNDER THE SUN from birth to death causes despair and that is because we live in an abnormal world [since the fall in Genesis 3 when sin entered the world because of rebellion]. It is a legitimate despair if viewed only in the context of UNDER THE SUN,but it is an abnormal despair if it is seen in its proper setting. The problem in Isaiah’s day was not that the enemy was coming to kill them, but it was the revolt of man against the creator.

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below in 1971 at L Abri

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Francis Schaeffer

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, like Solomon and Coldplay, they 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.

The movie maker Woody Allen has embraced the nihilistic message of the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. David Segal in his article, “Things are Looking Up for the Director Woody Allen. No?” (Washington Post, July 26, 2006), wrote, “Allen is evangelically passionate about a few subjects. None more so than the chilling emptiness of life…The 70-year-old writer and director has been musing about life, sex, work, death and his generally futile search for hope…the world according to Woody is so bereft of meaning, so godless and absurd, that the only proper response is to curl up on a sofa and howl for your mommy.”

The song “Dust in the Wind” recommends, “Don’t hang on.” Allen himself says, “It’s just an awful thing and in that context you’ve got to find an answer to the question: ‘Why go on?’ ”  It is ironic that Chris Martin the leader of Coldplay regards Woody Allen as his favorite director.

Lets sum up the final conclusions of these gentlemen:  Coldplay is still searching for that “something more.” Woody Allen has concluded the search is futile. Livgren and Hope of Kansas have become Christians and are involved in fulltime ministry. 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 this youtube link:

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f you need more evidence then go to You Tube and watch the short videos  “Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1),“(3 min, 5 sec) and “Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of Truth & History (part 2),” (10 min, 46 sec).

Blaise Pascal asserted, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”  In other words, the spiritual answers your heart is seeking can be  found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Let me close by talking to you about the ROMAN ROAD TO CHRIST.

  1. Rom. 3:10, “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one . . . “
  2. Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  3. Rom. 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
  4. Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  5. Rom. 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  6. Rom. 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
  7. Rom. 10:13, “For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 316 Letter to Richard Dawkins about his comments on Ecclesiastes ( “Richard I have been married for over 34 years to the wife of my youth while many around me are still searching for their soulmate in all the wrong places it seems. I wish more people had a love for the Book of Ecclesiastes like you do because the message below shows the vanity of seeking satisfaction by maximizing the amount of sexual conquests”) Featured Artist is Michael c McMillen

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Richard Dawkins and Ricky Gervais

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Francis Schaeffer below:

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Richard Dawkins vs John Lennox | The God Delusion Debate

Ben Stein vs. Richard Dawkins Interview


XXXX Peter Singer – The Genius of Darwin: The Uncut Interviews – Richard Dawkins

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XXX November 22, 2019

November 22, 2019

Richard Dawkins c/o Richard Dawkins Foundation,  Washington, DC 20005

Dear Mr. Dawkins,

I have enjoyed reading about a dozen of your books and some of the most intriguing were The God DelusionAn Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist, and Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science.
I have posted in the past showing the false claims made in “Outgrowing God,” and you can reference these by googling “Outgrowing God The Daily Hatch.” Some questions raised by you include “Did Jesus even exist?” One of my favorite posts was FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 292 In OUTGROWING GOD Richard Dawkins wrongly notes “Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham” Featured Artist is Paul Pfeiffer

I enjoyed your latest book Outgrowing God which is one of my favorite books that you have written. However, there are some some weak parts of the book. For instance, on page 49:

There’s some beautiful English writing in the King James Bible. Ecclesiastes is at least as good as the Song of Songs, although it’s poetry is bleak and world-weary. If you read nothing else in the Bible, I recommend those two books, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs.

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Many of these letters I have written you have dealt with what Solomon had to say concerning the search for satisfaction in life UNDER THE SUN (without God in the picture.) Probably his most disappointing discovery was that being a ladies man left him unsatisfied. Richard I have been married for over 34 years to the wife of my youth while many around me are still searching for their soulmate in all the wrong places it seems. I wish more people had a love for the Book of Ecclesiastes like you do because the message below shows the vanity of seeking satisfaction by maximizing the amount of sexual conquests.

Ecclesiastes 2:8-10The Message (MSG)

I piled up silver and gold,
        loot from kings and kingdoms.
I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,
    and—most exquisite of all pleasures—
    voluptuous maidens for my bed.

9-10 Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!

1 Kings 11:1-3 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.

Francis Schaeffer observed concerning Solomon, “You can not know woman by knowing 1000 women.”

King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:11 sums up his search for meaning in the area of the Sexual Revolution with these words, “…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

In fact, the Book of Ecclesiastes shows that Solomon came to the conclusion that NOTHING in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), LADIES and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20). You can only find a lasting meaning to your life by looking above the sun and bring God back into the picture.

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.”

Why not take a few minutes and just read the short chapter of Psalms 22 that was written hundreds of years before the Romans even invented the practice of Crucifixion. 1000 years BC the Jews had the practice of stoning people but we read in this chapter a graphic description of Christ dying on the cross. How do you explain that without looking ABOVE THE SUN to God. Ecclesiastes was written to those who wanted to examine life UNDER THE SUN without God in the picture and Solomon’s conclusion in the final chapter was found in Ecclesiastes 12 when he looked at life ABOVE THE SUN:

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

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.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

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

Science Confirms the Bible with Ken Ham

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Schaeffer with his wife Edith in Switzerland.


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Richard Dawkins and John Lennox

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Francis and Edith Schaeffer seen below:

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Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Harris 

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Canary Islands 2014: Harold Kroto and Richard Dawkins

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

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The Basis of Human Dignity by Francis Schaeffer

Richard Dawkins, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Credit: Don Arnold Getty Images

Francis Schaeffer in 1984

Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer in 1982

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Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Episode 1

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Garik Israelian, Stephen Hawking, Alexey Leonov, Brian May, Richard Dawkins and Harry Kroto

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Dark History of Evolution-Henry Morris, Ph.D.

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Featured artist is Michael c McMillen

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Michael C. McMillen: Every Dream Is New

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Michael C. McMillen: Photo by Ari Young

Michael McMillen is a visual artist in the very broadest sense, careful to avoid narrowly defining just what it is he does. “The medium has to be in service of the idea,” he told an audience of students at Art Center College of Design in 2005.

McMillen’s shifting and overlapping job descriptions — sculptor, installation artist, printmaker, cultural anthropologist — reflect the fact that he is a searcher, never quite sure what he is looking for, always hoping to be amazed by what he comes across. An leading edge baby boomer — he was born in 1946 — his childhood was marked by a curiosity about the artifacts of postwar California.

Raised mainly by his grandparents, McMillen was surrounded from an early age by things older than he was: elderly people, antique furnishings, objects that had seen better days. Being older, his grandparents also tended to let him roam. Some of McMillen’s childhood memories involve pulling a wagon down the alleyway near his their house, collecting junk that he would later organize and create stories about. Since many of neighbors were veterans of WWII, or had worked for Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, McMillen often found items that conveyed the faded poetry of war and industry.

His imaginative drive also reflects the influence of his father, an actor who also worked as a scenic artist. Eventually McMillen Sr. worked for Channel 11, and Michael would visit him there. Walking among the sets, which he realized looked very different on television, got him thinking about the artifice and “duality” of media images. While attending Santa Monica City College he decided to become an artist: an epiphany that he says came to him like a “snap of a finger.”

After earning his MFA at UCLA McMillen promptly gained attention for his mixed-media sculptures and constructed environments. “Like films,” wrote one commentator, “McMillen’s fastidiously constructed works function as portals into other worlds…” While building his reputation as an artist McMillen also did odd jobs in the film industry, creating props and special effects for “Blade Runner” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

Since winning the LA County Museum’s “New Talent Award” and landing NEA Artist’s Fellowship, both in 1978, McMillen’s career has never faltered. His groundbreaking 1981 installation “Central Meridian (The Garage)” featured the cluttered interior of a 60’s garage/workshop/catacomb, complete with the rusting bones of a Dodge Dart. Doug Harvey, writing for the LA Weekly, says that the piece “…remains one of the most subtle, poetic and experiential critiques of the institutional art environment ever devised.”

Over the years, McMillen’s interests as an artist have remained remarkably consistent. Deeply aware of the evocative power of things, he has been accumulating and re-assembling “objects of interest” — some would call them detritus — all his life. While building his stellar reputation as an artist, an inevitable by product has been a growing storage problem.

“I have an exotic collection of materials, artifacts, gee-gaws and what-nots” says McMillen. “To avoid unnecessary clutter, I have a simple rule: If I haven’t used it in 30 years, I discard it.”

One of the results of being “awash with stuff” has been a deepening exploration with film. This new direction has allowed McMillen to both literally recycle some of the physical raw material he has accumulated and also to recycle some of the overarching ideas of his career. He has been tinkering with film since 2003, and his 2007 installation/exhibition “Speed’s Place” at the UnMuseum of the Contemporary Arts Museum of Cincinnati, included projections of his digital films.

His current exhibition “Lighthouse” at LA Louver Gallery doesn’t literally include a lighthouse. The title, McMillen explains, “… is both metaphoric and a bit literal,” as the installation includes a looped screening of his new short film “Quotidian Man” which projected onto the billboard of the “Hotel New Empire,” a kind of tilting film set raised on a catafalque of stilts over a tray of water.

A precarious flophouse with a questionable past it is both a sculpture and a metaphor. Adding the element of the billboard/movie screen is McMillen’s way of priming the image to receive an even richer set of suggestions. The billboard may also be a nod to the late painter James Doolin’s “Psychic,” a 1998 oil of a blank signboard hovering above a row of LA stores.

McMillen’s films are reminiscent of old films, and nostalgia — he has great affection for the days when movie magic wasn’t so seamless — is one of their key ingredients. Paradoxically, the poetry of nostalgia recycled creates something fresh and dreamlike. “Every dream is new: we don’t know where they are going,” McMillen points out. Spooky mirages, grainy and full of surprises, McMillen’s films somehow feel inevitable, as if he has been making them all his life.

In a sense, he has. Working with history makes him feel fresh, like a child again.

Michael C. McMillen is a man who is fascinated by the past, but who isn’t the least bit jaded. His imagination flickers brightly, like a Tesla coil in a monster movie.

Michael Mc Millen Artist’s Statement for “Lighthouse.”

The illusions of permanence and perfection are recurring themes in my work.

I use architectural references as a metaphoric language to express and reveal this
continuous state of flux and entropy.

The viewer’s memory and sense of reality are subtly subverted by the use of altered scale and the fabrication of elements that are both familiar and strangely dystopian.

With the advances in digital motion picture technology, I have been able to integrate time based images into my installations. The movies blend and combine a multitude of varied images from our popular culture into personal dream-like narratives that animate and transport the viewer into unexpected realms.

__________

—-

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Open Letter #5 to Ricky Gervais on comparison of the Tony of AFTER LIFE to the Solomon of ECCLESIASTES, Both Tony and Solomon after disappointments in their lives turn to alcohol and stimulates (heroine in Tony’s case) to numb the pain of vainly searching for ultimate answers in life UNDER THE SUN!

On Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask Ricky Gervais a question on his Twitter Live broadcast which was  “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark Ricky answers my question. Below is the video:

—-

April 22, 2020 
Ricky Gervais 
Dear Ricky, 

This is the 5th day in a row that I have written another open letter to you to comment on some of your episodes in season one of AFTER LIFE, and then I wanted to pass along some evidence that indicates the Bible is historically accurate. 

After Life on Netflix

Both Tony in AFTER LIFE and Solomon in ECCLESIASTES after disappointments in their lives turn to alcohol and stimulates (heroine in Tony’s case) to numb the pain of vainly searching for ultimate answers in life UNDER THE SUN. 

Tony and his wife Lisa who died 6 months ago of cancer


This is how episode 3 in the first season of AFTER LIFE ends: 

Julian: I brought you a little present [drugs]. 
Tony: With the money you stole from me?

Julian: Yeah. 
Tony: Thoughtful….I still can’t believe we both have so much in common. Both lost our partners, both trying to numb the pain, both losers. No offense but I look at you and I think $&@? me!!!I am like that!!! 

_____________________

As Julian and Tony drink alcohol and do heroine together the song INTO MY ARMS by Nick Cave plays in the background with these words

I don’t believe in an interventionist God
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did, I would kneel down and ask Him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Oh, not to touch a hair on your head
Leave you as you are
If he felt he had to direct you
Then direct you into my armsInto my arms, oh Lord
Into my arms, oh Lord
Into my arms, oh Lord
Into my armsAnd I don’t believe in the existence of angels
But looking at you I wonder if that’s true
But if I did I would summon them together
And ask them to watch over you
Both to each burn a candle for you
To make bright and clear your path
And to walk, like Christ, in grace and love
And guide you into my armsInto my arms, oh Lord
Into my arms, oh Lord
Into my arms, oh Lord
Into my armsBut I believe in Love
And I know that you do, too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you
So keep your candles burning
Make her journey bright and pure
That she’ll keep returning
Always and evermoreInto my arms, oh Lord
Into my arms, oh Lord
Into my arms, oh Lord
Into my arms


https://youtu.be/LnHoqHscTKE

Nick Cave makes his theological views very clear at the beginning of this song and it is why I think it describes well Tony’s humanist outlook on life. Solomon is seeking in Ecclesiastes answers between birth and death in life UNDER THE SUN. :The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias 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 Chance plus matter.”

Again you (Ricky Gervais) has done a great job of placing the great songs at the perfect places in the episodes. Both Tony and Julian have lost their soulmates and they want to numb their pain with wine and drugs. Solomon in Ecclesiastes looks for love UNDER THE SUN (without God) in the picture and he never finds his soulmate after bedding 1,000 women. Solomon at this point also turns to stimulate his body with wine. 

Francis Schaeffer discusses the views of Solomon on drinking:

In Ecclesiastes 1:8 he drives this home when he states, “All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. THE EYE IS NOT SATISFIED WITH SEEING. NOR IS THE EAR FILLED WITH HEARING.”  Solomon is stating here the fact that there is no final satisfaction because you don’t get to the end of the thing.

What do you do and the answer is to get drunk and this was not thought of in the RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KAHAYYAM:

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with winewhile my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaventhe few years of their lives.

The Daughter of the Vine (from the RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KAHAYYAM):

You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

A perfectly good philosophy coming out of Islam, but Solomon is not the first man that thought of it nor the last. In light of what has been presented by Solomon is the solution just to get intoxicated and black the think out? So many people have taken to alcohol and the dope which so often follows in our day. This approach is incomplete, temporary and immature. PAPA HEMINGWAY CAN FIND THE CHAMPAGNE OF PARISSUFFICIENT FOR A TIME, BUT ONCE HE LEFT HIS YOUTH HE NEVER FOUND IT SUFFICIENT AGAIN. HE HAD A LIFETIME SPENT LOOKING BACK TO PARIS AND THAT CHAMPAGNEAND NEVER FINDING IT ENOUGH.  It is no solution and Solomon says so too.

Let me quote from Adrian Rogers who was my pastor when I was growing up at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee in the 1970’s and you can hear the whole message on You Tube under the title, “Adrian Rogers: How You Can Be Certain the Bible Is the Word of God [#1725] (Audio).”QUOTE FROM ADRIAN ROGERS:Skeptics seem to think that the Bible is full of scientific errors. However, before an individual can make that assertion, they had better make sure they know both science and Scripture. You see, I have heard unbelievers state that the Bible is not a book of science, but a book of religion, which is basically true. It is not written to teach us about science, but to teach us about God. But the God of salvation and the God of creation are the same. Science doesn’t take God by surprise. A close look at Scripture reveals that it is scientifically accurate.

Ronald Reagan meeting with Adrian Rogers at White House

Image result for adrian rogers president ronald reagan

Every now and then science may disagree with the Bible, but usually science just needs time to catch up. For example, in 1861 a French scientific academy printed a brochure offering 51 incontrovertible facts that proved the Bible in error. Today there is not a single reputable scientist who would support those supposed “facts,” because modern science has disproved them all!The ancients believed the earth was held up by Atlas, or resting on pillars, or even seated on the backs of elephants. But today we know the earth is suspended in space, a fact the Word of God records in Job 26:7: “He . . . hangeth the earth upon nothing.” God revealed the facts of cosmology long before man had any idea of the truth.For centuries man believed the earth was flat, but now we know the earth is a globe. The prophet Isaiah, writing 750 years before the birth of Christ, revealed that “God sitteth upon the circle of the earth” (Isaiah 40:22). The word translated here as “circle” was more commonly translated “sphere.” In other words, Isaiah explained that the earth was a globe centuries before science discovered it.When Ptolemy charted the heavens, he counted 1026 stars in the sky. But with the invention of the telescope man discovered millions and millions of stars, something that Jeremiah 33:22 revealed nearly three thousand years ago: “The host of heaven cannot be numbered.” How did these men of God know the truth of science long before the rest of the world discovered it? They were moved by the Holy Spirit to write the truth. God’s Word is not filled with errors. It is filled with facts, even scientific facts.When the black plague was killing one quarter of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century, it was the church, not science, that helped overcome the dread disease. The leaders in the church noticed the instructions given by the Lord to Moses in Leviticus 13:46: “All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.” These early believers did not know microbiology or understand what germs were, but they could understand a clear teaching to quarantine someone who was sick. So they followed the Biblical dictum, quarantined those sick with the plague, and stopped it from spreading. The Bible had its science correct even before man discovered the truth! Don’t accept the charge that the Bible is filled with scientific errors. Modern science seems determined to explain God away, and refuses to acknowledge any evidence of the supernatural. But the science of Scripture is one reason to accept the Bible as God’s word. 

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.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

Open Letter #4 to Ricky Gervais on comparison of the Tony of AFTER LIFE to the Solomon of ECCLESIASTES, —- For both Tony and Solomon life UNDER THE SUN dictates that both animals and humans are controlled by time and chance, and neither has an advantage!

On Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask Ricky Gervais a question on his Twitter Live broadcast which was  “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark Ricky answers my question. Below is the video:

Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

April 21, 2020 
Ricky Gervais 
Dear Ricky, 
Just like yesterday and the day before and the day before that I wanted to write this open letter to you to comment on some of your episodes in season one of AFTER LIFE, and then I wanted to pass along some evidence that indicates the Bible is historically accurate. 
For both Tony and Solomon life UNDER THE SUN dictates that both animals and humans are controlled by time and chance and “men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts

Tony loves his dog Brandi and considers her a member of the family, and actually values her life over his at one point in AFTER LIFE. Genesis teaches us that mankind was created special by God and is to rule over the animals, but when you shut God out of the picture and turn to Darwin’s evolution then we are all equal to the animals. 

(Charles Darwin)

Chance and time plus matter (us) has determined the past and it will determine the future.By the way, what are the ingredients that make evolution work? George Wald – “Time is the Hero.”

Image result for george wald

 Jacques Monod – “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.” 

Image result for manod jac nobel prize

Solomon when he shuts God out and looks at life UNDER THE SUN then expresses the view of a humanist who believes that history is not heading somewhere with a purpose but is guided by pure chance, absolutely free but blind. Ecclesiastes 9:10-12 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Observing life UNDER THE SUN leads Solomon to conclude in ECCLESIASTES that man has no advantage over the animals. “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes 3:18-19

_____________________


In the beginning of episode 2 Tony is in the bath tub with a razor to his wrist and his hungry dog Brandi walks up and he asks her “Are you hungry?” And she responds with a sad sound.

Tony, “If you could open a tin I would be dead now but you can’t can you because you are useless. Who is useless? You are. You are useless. Good girl.”

Solomon realizes that the earth and moon will go on existing when we are no more and that really we have no advantage over the animals in that respect that we both die. It is ironic that Tony is saved by an animal.

”KING SOLOMON: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11;3:18-19 (Living Bible): 2 In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile. 3-7 For what does a man get for all his hard work?Generations come and go, but it makes no difference.[b] The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere.* The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full, and the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea . .everything is unutterably weary and tiresome. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied; no matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself…For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!”


On April 9, 2020 on your Twitter Live broadcast you noted something that I later verified when I read, “One of the world’s largest populations of tigers exists not in the wild—but in captivity in the United States. With an estimated 5,000 tigers, the U.S. captive tiger population exceeds the approximately 3,200 tigers in the wild.“ This is a sad fact and like you I am advocate of rescue animals. Our rescue dog Lucille is part dachshund and part yorkie and brings so much love to our home. We have had a long process of helping her to overcome hiding for long periods of time. Evidently her previous owner must have beaten her.

As a Justice of the Peace in Saline County in Arkansas I have recently voted to appropriate $25,000 to Saline County Humane Society & $15,000 to the Hot Springs Village Animal Welfare League, and this has always been a top priority with me while I have been in office and I have been a volunteer for the Saline County Humane Society.

Are animals equal to humans or are we created special by God to rule over the animals?

Dr. John J. Shea appeared on the TV series APE MAN with Walter Cronkite back in the 1990’s and claimed that there is only a degree of difference between monkeys and humans and not a categorical difference. After that program aired I had the opportunity to correspond with Dr. Shea and he was kind enough to send me a two page response to my questions. (This correspondence took place back in 1994 and 1995 and in 1995 I also got to correspond with Carl Sagan.)

Dr. Shea also suggested that I read SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS by Carl Sagan and his wife Ann Druyan, and I did so. Here are my thoughts on the question.

Image result for carl sagan children

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Image result for carl sagan

First, only humans lie in the sense we are held morally responsible. Sagan wrote, “Deception in the social relations of animals…is an emerging and productive topic in biology…” (p. 379). This may be true, but are animals responsible to God? I think not. Romans 3:23 teaches that “All MEN have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Animals may deceive but they are not morally responsible.

Second, only men feel guilt. Sagan refers briefly to the fact that men feel guilt (p. 4.14), but he does not spend a lot of time on this. Romans 1:19 asserts, “For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God has show it to them” (Amplified Bible).  Here Sagan turns to  Thomas Henry Huxley who he quotes:

On all sides, I shall hear the cry–“We are men and women, not a mere better sort of apes, a little longer in the leg, more compact in the foot, and bigger in brain than your brutal Chimpanzees and Gorillas. The power of knowledge–the conscience of good and evil--the pitiful tenderness of human affections, raise us out of all real fellowship with the brutes, however, closely they may seem to approximate us.” 

To this I can reply that the exclamation would be just and would be most just and would have my entire sympathy, if it were only relevant. But, it is not I who seek to base Man’s dignity upon this great toe, or insinuate that we are lost if an Ape has a hippocampus minor (in its brain). On the contrary, I have done my best to sweep away this vanity… 

WHY DID SAGAN AND HUXLEY FACE SUCH A LARGE CHORUS THAT WAS OBJECTING TO THIS VIEW THAT WE DON’T HAVE A GOD-GIVEN CONSCIENCE? The answer is very simple and it deals with the consequences of Social Darwinism. Chuck Colson said that Larry King was not very impressed with his long talk on the historical accuracy of the scriptures, but when he touched on this subject things got interesting:

Larry King invited me to dinner. “I don’t believe in God,” Larry told me straight out. “But tell me why you believe.” I responded, “Have you seen Woody Allen‘s movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS

Yes, he loved it, in fact. It’s about a doctor who is haunted by GUILT after hiring a killer to murder his mistress. His Jewish father has taught him that God will surely bring justice. In the end the doctor suppresses his GUILT, convincing himself that LIFE IS AN DARWINIAN STRUGGLE WHERE ONLY THE RUTHLESS SURVIVE

I asked Larry, “Is that our only choice–to be tormented by GUILT or else kill our conscience? Larry, how do you deal with your conscience?” He dropped his fork. I said, “What do you do with the GUILT that is in here? What do you do with what you know you have done wrong? 

Then he was ready to listen. I went on and shared with him from Romans which teaches about the voice of conscience that God has given us. 

__________

John J. Shea pictured below

Image result for john J. Shea

__

Image result for SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS by Carl Sagan

Thomas Henry Huxley

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Chuck Colson pictured below:

Image result for larry king chuck colson

Chuck Colson below saying nice things about the 100th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s birth

Image result for chuck colson francis schaeffer

Third, men have a longing for significance which expresses itself most clearly in the fear of non being.

Fourth, I would point to the fact that only people worship.

Fifth, men are not satisfied unless they have their spiritual needs met. Carl Sagan quotes the poet Walt Whitman, “Not one (animal) is dissatisfied…Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth…” Sagan comments, “On this basis of the evidence presented in this book, we doubt if any of Whitman’s  six purported differences between other animals and humans is true…” (p. 389).

I read Sagan’s book cover to cover and made over 15 pages of notes, and I have yet to find any of the “evidence” that Sagan speaks of on page 389. I find the comments of NOAM CHOMSKY more logical. He calls animal language an “evolutionary miracle” akin to “finding an island of humans who could be taught to fly.”

I like Francis Schaeffer‘s term “Mannishness” of man. He defines it as those aspects of man, such as significance, love, rationality and the fear of non being, which mark him off from animals and machines and give evidence of his being created in the image of a personal God.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured)

The scientist Blaise Pascal is quoted by Sagan on page 364 and then Sagan notes, “Most of the philosophers adjudged great in the history of western thought held that humans are fundamentally different from other animals…”

As you know Pascal was the inventor of the barometer and he lived from 1623 to 1662. Pascal also observed, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man,and only God can fill it.”

What is the solution? “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The scriptural directive is not for us to work harder to achieve God’s favor (Romans 3:20), but to accept God’s mercy through our repentance and receiving Christ as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Is evolution true? Let me share with you a portion of a message on Evolution by my former pastor Adrian Rogers: 

Ronald Reagan meeting with Adrian Rogers at White House

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LOOK AT WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS I N GENESIS CHAPTER 1 VERSE 26, “AND GOD SAID, LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE, AFTER OUR LIKENESS: AND LET THEM HAVE DOMINION…” NOW, LET ME TALK TO YOU ABOUT THREE THINGS. FIRST OF ALL, “THE CREATION OF MAN AND THE ANIMALS,” “THE CREATION OF MAN AND THE ANIMALS.” MAN AND THE ANIMALS WERE CREATED BY ALMIGHTY GOD. AND THEY WERE CREATED AT, BASICALLY, THE SAME TIME. THE BIBLE DOES NOT TEACH EVOLUTION. “WELL,” YOU SAY, “PASTOR, WHAT ABOUT ALL THESE PRIMITIVE HALF-HUMANS, AND HALF-MEN THAT WE’VE SEEN IN THE TEXTBOOKS WHAT ABOUT ALL OF THAT–THESE, THESE CREATURES IN THE MUSEUMS, THESE, THESE MEN ON THEIR WAY UP. WELL, DEAR FRIEND THAT IS WHAT IS IN SOMEBODY’S IMAGINATION. THESE ARE NOT PICTURES OF ACTUAL BEINGS. THESE ARE THE CREATION OF SOMEBODY’S IMAGINATION! FOR EXAMPLE, UHM, THE SCOPES TRIAL WAS HELD HERE IN TENNESSEE, THE FAMOUS MONKEY TRIAL, BACK IN NINETEEN AND TWENTY-FIVE. AND PEOPLE ARE STILL LAUGHING ABOUT ‘BOUT THAT BECAUSE, UH, THEY SAY THAT,

UH, WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN, WHO WAS THE GREAT, UH, BELIEVER IN THE WORD OF GOD, ARGUED WITH CLARENCE DARROW ABOUT EVOLUTION, AND SO FORTH. AND DARROW, WHO WAS A VERY CUNNING, AND A VERY SHREWD, AND A VERY BRILLIANT LAWYER, ARGUED WITH THE GREAT, UH, CHRISTIAN, WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN.

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AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT DARROW DID WAS TO BRING IN FOR EVIDENCE FOR EVOLUTION A, A, UH, REPLICA OF A PREHISTORIC MAN, PAINTINGS AND ALL. HIS NAME WAS “NEBRASKA MAN.” AND “NEBRASKA MAN” WAS THOUGHT TO BE ONE MILLION YEARS OLD. AND HE SAID, “WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO, BRYAN, ABOUT ‘NEBRASKA MAN’?” “WELL,’? HE SAID, “I, I JUST THINK WE NEED MORE EVIDENCE. I DON’T THINK YOU HAVE ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT ‘NEBRASKA MAN’, THIS HALF MAN, HALF APE EVER EXISTED.” WELL, UH, THE SCIENTISTS, THEMSELVES, DID SOME MORE WORK ON “NEBRASKA MAN”, AND DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY FOUND OUT? HUH, HUH. THEY FOUND OUT THAT THE MAN WHO, UH, WHO DISCOVERED “NEBRASKA MAN”, A MAN NAMED MR. COOK, HAD REALLY DISCOVERED A TOOTH. I DIDN’T SAY “TEETH”, I SAID “TOOTH.” AND OUT OF ONE TOOTH, THEY CREATED AN ENTIRE RACE OF PEOPLE–MALE AND FEMALE–DREW PICTURES OF THEM, AND THERE THEY WERE. AND, GAVE AN AGE AND A DATE. BUT, FRIEND, YOU HAVEN’ HEARD THE PUNCH LINE. LATER ON THEY FOUND THE ENTIRE SKELETON, AND IT WAS THE PIG, THE TOOTH OF A PIG. AND OUT OF THE TOOTH OF A PIG,

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CLARENCE DARROW, THE GREAT, BRILLIANT LAWYER CAME INTO THE COURTROOM AND HELD UP A WHOLE RACE OF MEN. AND SAID, “THIS IS PROOF OF EVOLUTION.” “WELL,” YOU SAY, “YES, UH, THIS THAT’S, THAT DOESN’T DISPROVE THAT EVOLUTION IS TRUE. IT JUST PROVES THEY MADE A MISTAKE IN THAT PARTICULAR AREA.” WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL, WE STUDIED, IN MY BIOLOGY CLASSES, “THE PILTDOWN MAN.”

UH, HE WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED BY CHARLES DAWSON. AND WHAT CHARLES DAWSON REALLY HAD IN THIS SUPPOSED APE-MAN, HE HAD, UH, UH, A JAW THAT HAD TWO MOLARS IN IT, AND PART OF A SKULL. HE FOUND IT IN A GRAVEL PIT IN PILTDOWN, ENGLAND. AND HE PRESENTED THAT. THEY, THEY, THEY HAD A WHOLE RACE OF MEN THAT THEY DESCRIBED AFTER THAT. LATER ON IT WAS SHOWN TO BE A HOAX. AND IN 1956, THE READERS DIGEST HAD AN ARTICLE–I HAVE IT SOMEWHERE IN MY FILES–CALLED “THE GREAT PILTDOWN HOAX!” WHAT HAD HAPPENED IS THIS: THAT UHW, IT, THE, THE JAWBONE THAT THEY FOUND WAS THE JAWBONE OF AN APE. HE WAS ONLY FIFTY YEARS OLD. SOMEONE HAD FILED HIS TEETH DOWN, AND DISCOLORED THEM WITH CHEMICALS. AND HID THEM THERE IN PILTDOWN, HOPING THAT IT WOULD BE DISCOVERED. IT WAS A JOKE, A COLOSSAL JOKE! BUT, MY DEAR FRIEND, THE POINT I WANT TO MAKE IS THIS: THAT THE SCIENTISTS BOUGHT INTO IT LOCK, STOCK, AND BARREL, AND DEVELOPED A WHOLE RACE OUT OF IT! NOW, THESE ARE ONLY TWO EXAMPLES. BUT I JUST USED THEM AS EXAMPLES TO SHOW HOW EAGER MEN ARE TO MAKE MONKEYS OF THEMSELVES. HOW EAGER!

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This might interest you that good friend in Little Rock Craig Carney had an uncle named  Warren Carney and Warren was born in 1917 and he was the last living witness of the Scopes Monkey trial but he died in June of 2015. His father took him to the trial every day since they lived in Dayton and it was the biggest happening in the town’s history. Also I attended the funeral of Dr. Robert G. Lee (1886-1978) at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis and he is the minister who presided over William Jennings Bryan’s funeral in 1925. I have posted Dr. Lee’s mostfamous sermonPAYDAY SOME DAY o

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

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.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

Open Letter #3 to Ricky Gervais on comparison of the Tony of AFTER LIFE to the Solomon of ECCLESIASTES, “Lady Marmalade” is famous song for its sexually suggestive French chorus of “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?”, which means “Do you want to sleep with me (tonight)?”

On Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask Ricky Gervais a question on his Twitter Live broadcast which was  “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark Ricky answers my question. Below is the video:

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Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

After Life Season 2

2019


Roisin Conaty as Daphne

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 22: Roisin Conaty arrives at the British Academy Television Craft Awards held at The Brewery on April 22, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Roisin Conaty

Who is Daphne? A local prostitute Tony befriends after he hires her… to clean his kitchen.

April 20, 2020 
Ricky Gervais 
Dear Ricky, 
Just like yesterday and the day before I wanted to write this open letter to you to comment on some of your episodes in season one of AFTER LIFE, and then I wanted to pass along some evidence that indicates the Bible is historically accurate. 

The Tony of AFTER LIFE and the Solomon of Ecclesiastes have a lot in common. Solomon realized in his old age that the meaning of life is not found in the number of sexual conquests a man has. 

“I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11

The music in AFTER LIFE is amazing and the song LADY MARMALADE is used in a perfect way. When Tony hires a lady of the night and they are walking over to his place the song plays in the background. 

Lady Marmalade” is a song written by Bob Creweand Kenny Nolan. The song is famous for its sexually suggestive French chorus of “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?”, which translates into English as “Do you want to sleep with me (tonight)?”. The song first became a popular hit when it was recorded in 1974 by the American girl group Labelle. Labelle held the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100chart for one week, and also topped the Canadian RPM national singles chart.

LYRICS below:

Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister
Hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sisterHe met marmalade down in old new orleans
Struttin’ her stuff on the street
She said “hello, hey Joe, you wanna give it a go?”Hmm, hmm, itchi gitchi ya ya da da
Itchi gitchi ya ya here
Mocha-choca-lata ya ya
Creole lady marmaladeVoulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?He sat in her boudoir while she freshened up (hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister)
That boy drank all that magnolia wine (hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister)
On her black satin sheets where he started to freak (hey sister, go sister, soul sister, go sister)Itchi gitchi ya ya da da
Itchi gitchi ya ya here
Mocha-choca-lata ya ya
Creole lady marmaladeVoulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?Hey, hey, hey
Touching her skin feelin’ silky smooth
The colour of café au lait
Made the savage beast inside roar until it cried
More, more, moreNow he’s back home doing nine-to-five
Living his grey flannel life
But when he turns off to sleep
Old memories creep, more, more, moreItchi gitchi ya ya da da da
Itchi gitchi ya ya here
Mocha-choco-lata ya ya
Creole lady marmaladeVoulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?
Voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?
Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?Itchi gitchi ya ya da da da
Itchi gitchi ya ya here
Mocha-choco-lata ya ya
Itchi gitchi ya ya da da daSource: LyricFindSongwriters: Kenny Nolan / Robert CreweLady Marmalade lyrics 


After Life on Netflix

After Life on Netflix stars Ricky Gervais as a bereaved husband (Image: Netflix) Roisin Conaty on the left in above picture with the cigarette plays Daphne the sex worker. 


In AFTERLIFE Tony has a warm friendship with the sex worker Daphne (Roisin Conaty) and when he hires her she comes over and he asks her to clean up his kitchen. When Daphne asked if Tony wanted anything sexual he said no. That is when their friendship seemed to deepen. Tony lost a wonderful wife and he passed on a chance for sex without a relationship. Solomon found out long ago that path is just a deadend.

Francis Schaeffer looks at Solomon’s words in ECCLESIASTES:

Ecclesiastes 7:25-28

25 I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. 26 And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.

27 “Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28 I have looked for other answers but have found none. I found one man in a thousand that I could respect, but not one woman. (Good News Translation on verse 28)

One can understand both Solomon’s expertness in this field and his bitterness.

I Kings 11:1-3 (New American Standard Bible) 

11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.

An expert but also the reason for his bitterness. Certainly there have been many men over the centuries who have daydreamed of Solomon’s wealth in this area [of women], but at the end it was sorry, not only sorry but nothing and less than nothing. The simple fact is that one can not know woman in the real sense by pursuing 1000 women. It is not possible. Woman is not found this way. All that is left in this setting if one were to pursue the meaning of life in this direction is this most bitter word found in Ecclesiastes 7:28, “I have looked for other answers but have found none. I found one man in a thousand that I could respect, but not one woman.” (Good News Translation on verse 28) He was searching in the wrong way. He was searching for the answer to life in the limited circle of that which is beautiful in itself but not an answer finally in sexual life. More than that he finally tried to find it in variety and he didn’t even touch one woman at the end.

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?)

In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

The site of the biblical city called Lachish is about thirty miles southwest of Jerusalem. This city is referred to on a number of occasions in the Old Testament. Imagine a busy city with high walls surrounding it, and a gate in front that is the only entrance to the city. We know so much about Lachish from archaeological studies that a reconstruction of the whole city has been made in detail. This can be seen at the British Museum in the Lachish Room in the Assyrian section.

There is also a picture made by artists in the eighth century before Christ, the Lachish Relief, which was discovered in the city of Nineveh in the ancient Assyria. In this picture we can see the Jewish inhabitants of Lachish surrendering to Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. The details in the picture and the Assyrian writing on it give the Assyrian side of what the Bible tells us in Second Kings:

2 Kings 18:13-16

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” So the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver which was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

________

We should notice two things about this. First, this is a real-life situation–a real siege of a real city with real people on both sides of the war–and it happened at a particular date in history, near the turn of the eighth century B.C. Second, the two accounts of this incident in 701 B.C. (the account from the Bible and the Assyrian account from Nineveh) do not contradict, but rather confirm each other. The history of Lachish itself is not so important for us, but some of its smaller historical details.


Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 159 R “Open letter to Harry Kroto’s friend Richard Dawkins” Page 66 in THE GOD DELUSION: “John Adams’s ‘This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.’ ”

Canary Islands 2014: Harold Kroto and Richard Dawkins

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On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

Image result for harry kroto richard dawkins

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert DreyfusBart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. HänschBrian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman JonesSteve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry KrotoGeorge LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman PhilipseCarolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver SacksJohn SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de SousaVictor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard SusskindRaymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander VilenkinSir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

In  the second video below in the 67th clip in this series are Richard Dawkins’ words that Harry Kroto wanted me to see. Since then I have read several of Richard Dawkins books and have attempted to respond to the contents of these books directly to Richard Dawkins by mail. In fact, I have been writing Richard Dawkins letters since May 15, 1994 which was the 10th anniversary of the passing of one of my heroes, Francis Schaeffer. Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time responding to many of Richard Dawkins’ heroes such as Carl Sagan, Jacques Monod, H.J. Blackham, Isaac Newton, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Max Planck, Johann Sebastian Bach, Francis Bacon, Samuel Beckett, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, Gerald Horton, Edmund Leach, Louis Pasteur, George Wald, Jacob Bronowski, Steven Weinberg, Charles Darwin, Paul Kurtz, Peter Singer, Jonathan Miller, William B. Provine, Woody Allen, Noam Chomsky, James D. Watson, Francis Crick, Michael Polanyi, The Huxley family, Antony Flew, and Edward O. Wilson (Dawkins has since revised his opinion of Flew and Wilson, but he earlier regarded them very highly). 

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Francis Schaeffer 1911-1984

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Both Francis Schaeffer and Richard Dawkins have talked extensively about the life of Charles Darwin.

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Sir Harry Kroto with his high school friend Sir Ian McKellan at the FSU National High Field Magnetic Lab on Tuesday, October 27, 2009.

Image result for harry kroto richard dawkins

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

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Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

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Edit Post ‹ The Daily Hatch — WordPress

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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August 5, 2019

Richard Dawkins c/o Richard Dawkins Foundation, 
Washington, DC 20005

Dear Mr. Dawkins,

i have enjoyed reading about a dozen of your books and some of the most intriguing were The God DelusionAn Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist, and Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science.

Page 66 in THE GOD DELUSION: “John Adams’s ‘This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.’ ”

Sorry Dr. Dawkins but my article “Misquotes, Fake Quotes,  and Disputed Quotes of the Founders” shows this is an Adam’s misquote.

Many inauthentic quotes attributed to the Founding Fathers have been in circulation for much of the 20th century. These are still being used frequently, especially by those in the religious right.

Fortunately we have many of the letters, diaries, and notes written by the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson wrote many letters daily. John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary every day for 18 years straight. During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, James Madison wrote notes in shorthand which he converted into longhand every night. Newspapers of the day are also a good source. Actually, George Washington’s farewell Presidential Address in 1796 was only a newspaper article. In sum, our prolific Founders left us with many sources of material.

Misquotes

If one quotes the actual words of a Founding Father but does not give the context, then he is guilty of misquoting.

John Adams (1735-1826) “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it.”

John George and Paul Boller, Jr. in their book They Never Said It set the record straight:

Adams did indeed make the statement, but only to repudiate it. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson about religion on April 19, 1817, he mentioned reading some polemical books that reminded him of the way his boyhood minister, Lemuel Bryant, and his Latin schoolmaster, Joseph Cleverly, used to argue ad nausea about religion, and he told Jefferson: “Twenty times, in the course of my late reading, have I been on the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!!’ But in this exclamation, I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in public company–I mean hell.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) “I therefore beg leave to move–that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that article.”

This is exactly what Franklin said at the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. However, many in the religious right ignore that fact that his motion was tabled and never voted on. For instance, Tal Brooke comments, “It was Benjamin Franklin who called the Constitutional Convention to prayer with a powerful statement of their debt to God. As mere men, they could not presume to undertake so great a task without petitioning Him for guidance. America abounds with Christian evidences from its earliest days.”

Actually this version of the Franklin prayer motion originated with a letter written in September of 1825 from William Steele to his son, Jonathan. The letter told about William’s recollection of a conversation with General Jonathan Dayton, a member of the Constitutional Convention. This incorrect account later appeared in the National Intelligencer, and other sources as well. According to Steele, Dayton recalled that “the motion for appointing a chaplain was instantly seconded and carried.” However, James Madison in a letter to Thomas S. Grimke (January 6, 1834) stated that Franklin’s “proposition was received and treated with the respect due to it; but the lapse of time which had preceded, with consternations growing out of it, had the effect of limiting what was done, to a reference of the proposition to a highly respectable Committee… That the communication [Steele’s account of Dayton testimony] was erroneous is certain; whether from misapprehension or misrecollection, uncertain.”

We should learn a lesson from James Madison. It is one thing to correct a person who is mistaken about historical details, but it is quite another to accuse someone of intentionally fabricating a story. Note that Madison stopped short of doing the latter.

Fake Quotes

A fake quote is an inauthentic quote attributed to a Founding Father. The late Robert S. Alley, former professor at the University of Richmond has rightly stated that “proving that a quotation does not exist is a daunting task…” However, evidence exists that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the following quote is not authentic.

James Madison (1751-1836) “Religion …[is] the basis and foundation of government.”

This fake quote is taken from Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance. The subject in this sentence is not “Religion,” but actually the “Declaration of those rights ‘which pertain to the good people of Virginia.’” Nevertheless, this inauthentic quote has been circulated for many years.

Disputed Quotes

A disputed quote may actually be authentic, but no primary source has been found. Some scholars would put the following two quotes in the previous category of “Fake Quotes” while other scholars may hold out hope that a primary source will be found.

James Madison (1751-1836) “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves…according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

Possibly this quote was originally given by Bishop James Madison (a cousin) or from James Madison’s father, James Madison, Sr., but this is pure speculation. There is always a distant chance that a quote could turn up from a primary source that was found in someone’s attic. In fact, a primary document from James Madison surfaced as late as 1946, but don’t hold your breath till that happens again. The fact remains that there is not a shred of evidence that links James Madison to this quote. Moreover, Paul F. Boller, Jr. in a personal letter to me stated, “The Madison quote about the Ten Commandments sounds un-Madisonian. I’ve read a lot of Madison, and I know he didn’t express himself that way…Sometimes the questionable quote can’t be found in any of the writings that have survived of the person who is supposed to have made the statement. The Madison quote doesn’t appear in any of Madison’s writings.”

Christian apologist Gary DeMar wrote concerning his research concerning the quote:

I credited this quotation to Madison in the first edition of the first volume of God and Government. Nearly every book written by a Christian author to support the Christian America thesis claims Madison as the quotation’s author. I have searched in vain for the quotation’s original source. American Vision even contacted a Madison scholar for help. He was not familiar with the quotation. Further study led me to the January 1958 calendar published by Spiritual Mobilization. What was Spiritual Mobilization’s source for the quotation? None was listed. Additional detective work led me to another James Madison, a cousin of President Madison. Madison served as president of William and Mary College and was the first Protestant Episcopal bishop of Virginia. Is he the source of the quotation? Very possibly. Christians should stop attributing of the quotation to President James Madison until we find out. 

It is my opinion that this disputed quote attributed to Madison has been the one used more than any other by the religious right. This is probably due to the fact that the Supreme Court banned the display of the Ten Commandments in the public school rooms in the case Stone v. Graham in 1980.

George Washington (1732-1799) “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Several years ago, I was guilty of using this disputed quote, and the late Professor John George of the University of Central Oklahoma, Political Science Department, told me that there is not a shred of evidence to link Washington to this quote. Professor George was a leading expert on this subject, and he co-authored They Never Said It: A Book of Fake Quotes, Misquotes, and Misleading Attributions with Paul F. Boller, Jr. of Texas Christian University.

I had copied this disputed quote off of a bumper sticker that my friend from church had on his truck. However, I was surprised at my friend’s reaction when I told him he should remove his sticker. He said,  “Is Professor George a Christian? If not then he probably has an axe to grind.” I later discovered that Professor George had corrected many atheists too. Nevertheless, I tried to find someone in the religious right who also had some knowledge on the subject.

So I called up the company that specialized at putting out bumper stickers with quotes from the  Founding Fathers dealing with God. The owner of the company actually spent a whole year researching the Washington quote and he said he concluded that Washington did not say it. He commented, “Washington did not talk that way. He did not use the word ‘Bible’ any that I can remember, and I believe, I have read everything available that Washington wrote.”

This fellow was a Christian lawyer, and he said he could no longer sell the Washington bumper sticker even though it made up 90% of his sales. Again I went back to my friend, but he replied, “That fellow is not a historian. David Barton has studied the history of the founding fathers for over 20 years. I have a lot of respect for Barton.”

Then I contacted Barton’s organization, Wallbuilders Inc of Aledo, Texas. They mailed me the “Unconfirmed or Questionable Quote” list and it featured the Washington quote. Furthermore, it recommended not using this quote until it is authenticated.

When confronted with this opinion from Barton my friend responded, “I am not going to take my bumper sticker off until I have an explanation of how the quote could have possibly been mistakenly attributed to Washington in the first place.”

Then I received a few weeks later an updated “Unconfirmed Quote” list from Wallbuilders, and under the Washington disputed quote is this explanation:

There is a very real possibility that the quotation has its origin in an 1835 biography by James K. Paulding. In a description of Washington’s character, with supporting quotations, Paulding declares Washington to have said, “It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being.” The similarities are obvious; a paraphrase of these quotes could have easily generated the words in question. However, we have not been able to trace Paulding’s cite to a more scholarly reference. He offers no footnotes.

I thought my friend would finally back down when I showed him this evidence, but I was about to learn something about human nature. I explained to him that this quote originated around 1835 when someone read Paulding’s book A Life of Washington. This is because it contained another unconfirmed quote of Washington which also had the words “impossible” and “govern.” Obviously a paraphrase took place at that time. My friend replied, “Are you 100% sure it is a bad quote? If not then I am going to continue to use it!”

Needless to say I have learned a lot about people’s tendency to ignore evidence when it goes against their presuppositions. Furthermore, I have quit trying to convince my friend that a disputed quote should be shelved until it is authenticated. He truly believes if Washington were here today he would say it now even if he didn’t say it the first time.

 Everette Hatcher is a businessman in Little Rock, and his blog is www.thedailyhatch.org . He is a conservative Republican and he has confronted over 30 religious right authors over their misuse of disputed quotes. (The article above has been recommended by unlikely advocates such as the atheist Farrell Till of the Skepitcal Review.)

(Update: You will notice above in the section labeled “Fake Quotes” that I linked a comment by the late Dr. Robert Alley to an article by Rob Boston of Americans United published in 1996. I posted earlier how I was the sourcefor the two articles that Rob Boston wrote on David Barton but unfortunately he implied that Barton made up these quotes. Fortunately I was given the opportunity to set the record straight in The Freedom Writer. 

Later I got several board members of Americans United to contact Boston on my behalf and voice their opinion of how unfair Boston had been to Barton in his article  “Consumer Alert”. On March 7, 1997, I spoke with Barry Lynn the executive director of Americans United. Lynn was very gracious on the phone and  promised to consider an article from me in response to the slanted  “Consumer Alert” article Boston had written earlier. Americans United board member Dr. Paul Simmons of Louisville helped me write the aritcle, but ultimately it was never published until today.)

George Washington (Lansdowne portrait) by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas, 1796

George Washington (Lansdowne portrait) by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas, 1796National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Acquired as a gift to the nation through the generosity of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

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.

Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

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

Richard Dawkins Photos Photos – Professor Stephen Hawking Unveils Medal For Science Communication – Zimbio

Professor Stephen Hawking Unveils Medal For Science Communication

Professor Stephen Hawking Unveils Medal For Science Communication In This Photo: Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, Brian May, Harold Kroto, Alexi Leonov, Garik Israelian

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Richard Dawkins, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Credit: Don Arnold Getty Images

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Garik Israelian, Stephen Hawking, Alexey Leonov, Brian May, Richard Dawkins and Harry Kroto

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Related posts:

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October 20, 2015 – 5:20 am

  On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said: …Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975 and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them. Harry Kroto _________________ Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 78 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS) Featured musical artist is Stuart Gerber

September 24, 2015 – 5:42 am

The Beatles were “inspired by the musique concrète of German composer and early electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen…”  as SCOTT THILL has asserted. Francis Schaeffer noted that ideas of  “Non-resolution” and “Fragmentation” came down German and French streams with the influence of Beethoven’s last Quartets and then the influence of Debussy and later Schoenberg’s non-resolution which is in total contrast […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 42 Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, THE PROBLEM OF EVIL

September 8, 2015 – 5:10 am

  _______ On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said: …Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975 and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them. Harry Kroto _________________ Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Bart Ehrman “Why should one think that God performed the miracle of inspiring the words in the first place if He didn’t perform the miracle of preserving the words?”

September 2, 2015 – 8:42 am

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said: …Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975 and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them. Harry Kroto ____________________ Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Dr. […]

“Music Monday” THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song “BLACKBIRD” Part B (Featured Photographer is Jürgen Vollmer)

Since racial tensions were extremely high in the 1960’s I am adding a part two to my last post. I grew up in Memphis and was a resident when MLK Jr. was unfortunately assassinated. Just two months later Paul McCartney wrote the song BLACKBIRD because of this assassination. Francis Schaeffer also spoke out strongly against racial segregation.

Francis Schaeffer: The Man and His Message
Jerram Barrs 

Professor of Christian Studies and Contemporary Culture and
Resident Scholar of the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute 

Introduction 

Francis Schaeffer never presented himself as an academic apologist, as a philosopher, as a theologian, or as a scholar. Instead, he spoke of himself as an evangelist and a pastor, and this truly is how he thought about the ministry that God had graciously given him.

Racial Equality 

This sense of the unique dignity of all human persons also filled Schaeffer with a deep passion for racial equality and reconciliation, both in his own personal life and in his teaching. We can readily see this in examples from his college days when, as a very young believer, he would walk across the fields from the college to teach a class of African-American children each Sunday afternoon; and when he regularly visited the African-American janitor from the college when he became ill—Schaeffer would go to the man’s home to read the Scriptures and to pray with him.

This valuing of all men and women showed too in the way people of all races were welcomed to the Schaeffers’ home at L’Abri in Switzerland. He was happy to take the wedding service of Interracial couples, despite, in the case of two special friends of ours, the anger of the white parents (a minister in Britain and his wife) at Schaeffer’s “aiding and abetting marriage between blacks and whites.” I well remember how disturbed some white Christians were by his words in Whatever Happened to the Human Race?—at his speaking with such passion about the injustice and wickedness of slavery and the slave trade. These views on race may have seemed, particularly at that time, unusual for someone of Schaeffer’s strongly conservative views about the Bible and about moral and social issues. But he never felt constrained by a “system,” whether it was some particular detail of a theological system that seemed imposed on Scripture rather than drawn from it,15 or a political system of thought that had undermined evangelical concern for those who were discriminated against or downtrodden.

Human Life 

This approach of always going back to biblical foundations enabled Schaeffer to have the freedom to think about subjects that were not normally matters of discussion or concern among evangelical Christians. This is true with regard to human life issues. He began to address the problems of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia long before most other evangelicals. The reason for this was his deep sense that human persons are made in the image of God and are therefore to be treasured by us.

Just two years before his death, Schaeffer said in a lecture entitled “Priorities”: “We must understand that human life stands at a unique place. Human life stands at a crucial place because there is an unbreakable link between the existence of the infinite personal God and the unique dignity, intrinsic dignity of people. If God does not exist and he has not made people in his own image, there is no basis for an intrinsic, unique dignity of human life.”13 For Schaeffer, his conviction that Scripture teaches that we are God’s image-bearers continually fed his passion to help alienated young people see that they had dignity and value, and also challenged him to speak up for the unborn, for the newborn, for the handicapped, and for the elderly.

© 2006 Jerram Barrs. This article originally appeared in the November 2006 edition of Reformation 21: The Online Magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is used by permission. For more information or permission to reprint, contact covenantseminary@covenantseminary.edu. 

The Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America 

12330 Conway Road, Saint Louis, MO 63141 

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The Beatles – In my Life

Published on Feb 25, 2011

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Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles Tribute

Not sung by George but good nonetheless!!

Francis Schaeffer’s favorite album was SGT. PEPPER”S and he said of the album “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.”  (at the 14 minute point in episode 7 of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? ) 

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How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

Francis Schaeffer

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The Beatles – Revolution

Published on Oct 20, 2015

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The Beatles – Blackbird (official video)

Lyrics-
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Black bird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
all your life
you were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

THE SCHAEFFER LEGACY PROJECT – INTERVEW WITH SYLVESTER JACOBS

L’Abri 1974 (England) – Sylvester & Simone Jacobs

THE GOOD SOCIETY AND THE MORAL LAW

Rating: 5.00

I’m Eric Metaxas. Today on BreakPoint we re-present Chuck Colson’s commentary on Martin Luther King Day and Dr. King’s dramatic defense of the moral law.

Chuck Colson

More than forty years ago, on August 28, 1963, a quarter million people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial. They marched here for the cause of civil rights. And that day they heard Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, a speech in which he challenged America to fulfill her promise.

“I have a dream,” he said, “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.’ ”

While we know of the speech, most people are unaware that King also penned one of the most eloquent defenses of the moral law: the law that formed the basis for his speech, for the civil rights movement, and for all of the law, for that matter.

In the spring of 1963, King was arrested for leading a series of massive non-violent protests against the segregated lunch counters and discriminatory hiring practices rampant in Birmingham, Alabama. While in jail, King received a letter from eight Alabama ministers. They agreed with his goals, but they thought that he should call off the demonstrations and obey the law.

King explained why he disagreed in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail. “One might well ask,” he wrote, “how can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer “is found in the fact that there are two kinds of laws: just laws … and unjust laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws,” King said, “but conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobeyunjust laws.”

How does one determine whether the law is just or unjust? A just law, King wrote, “squares with the moral law of the law of God. An unjust law … is out of harmony with the moral law.”

Then King quoted Saint Augustine: “An unjust law is no law at all.” He quoted Thomas Aquinas: “An unjust law is a human law not rooted in eternal or natural law.”

This is the great issue today in the public square: Is the law rooted in truth? Is it transcendent, immutable, and morally binding? Or is it, as liberal interpreters argue, simply whatever courts say it is? Do we discover the law, or do we create it?

Many think of King as a liberal firebrand, waging war on traditional values. Nothing could be further from the truth. King was a great conservative on this central issue, and he stood on the shoulders of Augustine and Aquinas, striving to restore our heritage of justice rooted in the law of God.

Were he alive today, I believe he’d be in the vanguard of the pro-life movement. I also believe that he would be horrified at the way in which out of control courts have trampled down the moral truths he advocated.

From the time of Emperor Nero, who declared Christianity illegal, to the days of the American slave trade, from the civil rights struggle of the sixties to our current battles against abortion, euthanasia, cloning, and same-sex “marriage,” Christians have always maintained exactly what King maintained.

King’s dream was to live in harmony with the moral law as God established it. So this Martin Luther King Day, reflect on that dream—for it is worthy of our aspirations, our hard work, and the same commitment Dr. King showed.

The original commentary first aired on August 28, 2003.

How Christians Ended Slavery

Dinesh D’Souza | Jan 14, 2008

Isn’t it remarkable that atheists, who did virtually nothing to oppose slavery, condemn Christians, who are the ones who abolished it?

Consider atheist Sam Harris, who blames Christianity for supporting slavery. Harris is right that slavery existed among the Old Testament Jews, and Paul even instructs slaves to obey their masters. During the civil war both sides quoted the Bible. We know all this. (Yawn, yawn.)

But slavery pre-dated Christianity by centuries and even millennia. As we read from sociologist Orlando Patterson’s work, all known cultures had slavery. For centuries, slavery needed no defenders because it had no critics. Atheists who champion ancient Greece and pre-Christian Rome somehow seem to forget that those empires were based on large-scale enslavement.

Atheist Michael Shermer says Christians are “late comers” to the movement against slavery. Shermer advanced this argument in our Cal Tech debate in December. That debate is now online, and you can watch it at michaelshermer.com.

But if what Shermer says is true, who were the early opponents of slavery who got there before the Christians did? Actually, there weren’t any. Shermer probably thinks the Christians only got around to opposing slavery in the modern era.

Wrong. Slavery was mostly eradicated from Western civilization–then called Christendom–between the fourth and the tenth century. The Greco-Roman institution of slavery gave way to serfdom. Now serfdom has its problems but at least the serf is not a “human tool” and cannot be bought and sold like property. So slavery was ended twice in Western civilization, first in the medieval era and then again in the modern era.

In the American South, Christianity proved to be the solace of the oppressed. As historian Eugene Genovese documents in Roll, Jordan, Roll, when black slaves sought to find dignity during the dark night of slavery, they didn’t turn to Marcus Aurelius or David Hume; they turned to the Bible. When they sought hope and inspiration for liberation, they found it not in Voltaire or D’Holbach but in the Book of Exodus.

The anti-slavery movements led by Wilberforce in England and abolitionists in America were dominated by Christians. These believers reasoned that since we are all created equal in the eyes of God, no one has the right to rule another without consent. This is the moral basis not only of anti-slavery but also of democracy.

Jefferson was in some ways the least orthodox and the most skeptical of the founders. Yet when he condemned slavery he found himself using biblical language. In Notes on the State of Virginia Jefferson warned that those who would enslave people should reflect that “the Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.” Jefferson famously added, “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep for ever.”

But wasn’t Jefferson also a man of science? Yes he was, and it was on the basis of the latest science of his day that Jefferson expressed his convictions about black inferiority. Citing the discoveries of modern science, Jefferson noted that “there are varieties in the race of man, distinguished by their powers both of body and of mind…as I see to be the case with races of other animals.” Blacks, Jefferson continued, lack the powers of reason that are evident in whites and even in native Indians. While atheists today like to portray themselves as paragons of equal dignity, Jefferson’s scientific and skeptical outlook contributed not to his anti-slavery sentiments but to his racism. Somehow Harris and Shermer neglect to point this out.

In the end the fact remains that the only movements that opposed slavery in principle were mobilized in the West, and they were overwhelmingly led and populated by Christians. Sadly the West had to use force to stop slavery in other cultures, such as the Muslim slave trade off the coast of Africa. In some quarters the campaign to eradicate slavery still goes on.

So who killed slavery? The Christians did, while everyone else generally stood by and watched.

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The Inspirations Behind “I Have a Dream”

Aerial view of the 1963 March on Washington, looking north from the Washington Monument. (Martin S. Trikosko/Library …

On Aug. 28, 1963, a quarter of a million people peaceably gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Attendant celebrities lent their Hollywood credentials. The media coverage was international. More than 22,000 police officers, guards, soldiers, and paratroopers were placed on alert.

Yet all this has been submerged into the backdrop to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words in “I Have a Dream.” The speech was an afterthought, one that King crafted in the final hours before the momentous convocation, working its rhythms like a poem. It is one of the finest speeches delivered on American soil — the distillation of Old Testament wisdom, Shakespearean drama, the Founding Fathers’ vision, and King’s own sermons and his emergent understanding of what it meant to be free, equal, and American.

With the help of Stanford University’s King Papers Project, the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, and “Voice of Deliverance” author Keith Miller, the following is an examination of key passages in “I Have a Dream” and a look at the historic origins that shaped them.

The “greatest demonstration in history

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom still ranks as the largest civil rights assembly in the country’s history. Before then, America’s largest demonstration had been in 1925, when an estimated 35,000 Ku Klux Klan members marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. King’s powerful oration was the “first of its kind” broadcast live on all three networks and around the world via the Telstar satellite.

“Five score years ago”: Abraham Lincoln and Psalms

King noted the Emancipation Proclamation’s centennial but referenced the first line — and its ideals — from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” King linked democratic values to biblical imagery of hellfires and then salvation, notably Psalms 30:5: “For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

The “chains of discrimination”: Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, John Donne, and Exodus

This passage packs in several key literary influences. Abolitionists long evoked the images of chains to depict slavery’s dehumanizing nature. Frederick Douglass did so in his oft-repeated historic speech “The Meaning of of July Fourth for the Negro.” King’s link to Douglass is even more fundamental, points out Arizona State University English professor Keith Miller, author of “Voices of Deliverance.” Douglass “basically uses the Bible and the Declaration of Independence to indict slavery.” Other speakers who linked the Bible with America’s founding documents included journalist and suffragist Ida B. Wells, who also alluded to the lyrics of the patriotic song “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (“America”).

King, who wrote of the “paralyzing chains of conformity” in his pivotal “Letter from Birmingham City Jail,” also referred to “twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty” in that letter. In this speech, though, the single man on the “lonely island of poverty” harks back to John Donne’s renowned poem, “No Man Is An Island.”

The notion of the exile points to Exodus — when the Jews lived in exile — and an allegory that King evokes throughout “I Have a Dream.”

To “cash a check”: The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and Clarence B. Jones

Besides the two documents that laid out America’s foundation, this passage includes a more contemporary metaphor about check-cashing and a promissory note. This decidedly mundane metaphor was suggested by his counsel and speechwriter, Clarence B. Jones. The religious link, however, reinforces the principles of equality not just as a contract but, as many scholars point out, as a covenant — a moral right, as much as a civil one.

The “Negro’s legitimate discontent”: Shakespeare, Gospel, and blunt words

“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York.” The homage to William Shakespeare’s play “Richard III” is clear. Scholars have dug for more comparisons — the troubled relationship between brothers Richard and Edward is echoed in the troubled relationships between black and white brothers.

In the midst of Shakespearean allusions and Gospel-tinged language (“whirlwinds of revolt”), King plunks a cliché-laden sentence smack in the middle (“blow off steam,” “rude awakening,” “business as usual”). It’s as though he has stepped off the trail to the mountaintop for a moment for some blunt talk.

“[U]ntil justice rolls down like water”: Old Testament prophets

The audience of 1963 would have been far more versed in the Bible then today’s secular audiences.  The next few passages dip heavily into the Old Testament, from Jeremiah to Amos. King’s talk about suffering finally gets to a New Testament reference, one he touched on his 1959 sermon “Unfulfilled Hopes” on the Apostle Paul. And in his repeated urgings to “go back” lay the sorrowful hope of Exodus — the dream of home.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident”: Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson wrote those key words in the Declaration of Independence, which King cited here. Of course, Jefferson was an active slave owner. But here, King is following the precedent that Abraham Lincoln established with the Gettysburg Address: He extended the Declaration and transformed it into an accountability doctrine to amend the Constitution.

The Constitution permitted slavery and the slave trade. There’s nothing explicit about privacy, sexual orientation, nor racial equality. The Constitution even rewarded the South’s political power by counting slaves as a fraction of one person, which greased census numbers.

“[It] had no legal power as a source to justify the moral imperative of blocking the expansion of slavery, and later, for emancipation,” said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

“I have a dream”: Sermon on the Mount and the Declaration of Independence

King told an interviewer that he ad-libbed the speech’s most famous repetition.

“I started out reading the speech, and I read it down to a point…the audience response was wonderful that day … And all of a sudden this thing came to me that … I’d used many times before … ‘I have a dream.’ And I just felt that I wanted to use it here … I used it, and at that point I just turned aside from the manuscript altogether. I didn’t come back to it.”

Of course, by the time King turned away from his scripted speech, he had spoken about this dream many times before. History professor Clayborne Carson, who oversees Stanford’s collection of King’s papers, said the phrase riffs on the song “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (“America”), a device that other speakers (see above) used, as did King’s family friend Archibald Carey. The Chicago lawyer, minister, and diplomat also referenced the lyrics while speaking in support of Dwight Eisenhower at the 1952 Republican Convention.

It is the emphasis on basic and universal appeals that makes the speech so memorable. Historians say that had King spoken of specifics — the March on Washington had been a rally for jobs and freedom, focusing on wages, among other issues — historical memory would be different.

“It’s about a direction, but it doesn’t have the same specific bite that some of his other speeches have, which makes it a lot more acceptable for a lot of people who don’t want to do anything specific or feel like we’ve already done it,” Orfield said.

The “dream” moves the speech’s movement from fiery Old Testament prophets to the New Testament. Its repetition echoes the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus instructs his followers: Blessed are those who hunger and search after justice; blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Let freedom ring”: Samuel Francis Smith’s “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” (“America”)

These words have their origins in Samuel Francis Smith’s “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”

Freedom is “probably the most fundamental American value,” Orfield said. “Even as the opponents of civil rights were fighting for ‘freedom’ from government, King wanted Americans to understand that government had to act and that civil rights law and the social and cultural changes that would come with it would bring a great expansion of freedom.”

King’s geographic references, such as the mention of Stone Mountain in Georgia, were intended to take topological high ground away from resurgent antagonists, such as the KKK.

“Free at last, free at last:” Negro spirituals and the Book of Exodus

Some of King’s thinking can be traced back to the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament. King sometimes began his Sunday sermons reading from the book. Listeners recognized the symbolism in Pharaoh, hardship going through Egypt, and the arrival at the Promised Land.

“It’s very congruent with King’s speeches,” he said. “When you were listening to Dr. King, you would hear about how we were making the path to freedom and we’re going to take down the walls of Jericho. All of this had an incredibly powerful resonance in the black churches where he was organizing people, where it was in their hearts and their souls and it became redemptive politically.”

King’s speech had a powerful inflection point at its end. After his martyrdom, King became associated with street names, public schools and more widespread honors. Lost amid the celebrations, Orfield said, was the recognition, which King held, that the work is never finished.

“The arc [of history] doesn’t bend automatically toward justice,” he said. “Plessy v. Ferguson was the law of the land for 60 years. It took a long struggle to get to Brown v. Board of Education. Every generation has to win its own rights. Anyone who thinks it ends with a big speech 50 years ago is saying something Dr. King would’ve never believed for a second.”

___________

September 19, 2011

By Elvis Costello

My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it’s not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver, you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .

Their breakup album, Let It Be, contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.

39

‘Day Tripper’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
SSPL/Getty Images

Main Writer: Lennon
Recorded: October 16, 1965
Released: December 6, 1965
10 weeks; no. 5

“Day Tripper” was “a drug song,” Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970. “I’ve always needed a drug to survive. The [other Beatles], too, but I always had more, I always took more pills and more of everything, ’cause I’m more crazy.”

The song was Lennon’s indictment of poseurs. “Day trippers are people who go on a day trip, right? Usually on a ferryboat or something,” he said. “But [the song] was kind of ‘you’re just a weekend hippie.'” In contrast, “We saw ourselves as full-time trippers,” McCartney said, “fully committed drivers.”

The in-jokes didn’t stop with that bit of wordplay. The Beatles put in “references that we knew our friends would get but that the Great British Public might not,” McCartney said. “So ‘she’s a big teaser’ was ‘she’s a prick teaser.’ . . . We thought that’d be fun to put in.”

Lennon and McCartney conceded that “Day Tripper” had been a “forced” song, written on deadline for a scheduled December single. While Lennon’s blues-based guitar hook may have been his answer to the Rolling Stones’ recent Number One hit, “Satisfaction,” “Day Tripper” was more complex, a gleaming combination of muscle and intricate arranging.

Lennon’s riff builds to a midsong rave-up that climaxes with soaring harmonies and Harrison climbing a scale behind Lennon’s solo, until Starr’s tambourine roll brings back the original groove. Lennon’s half sister, Julia Baird, was perplexed by the complicated nature of the song when she attended the recording session. “It seemed like bits and pieces were being put together,” she said. “I can’t understand how they got the final version.”

“Day Tripper” was planned as a single, but just a few days later, the Beatles recorded “We Can Work It Out,” which was generally thought to be a more commercial song. Lennon objected to losing the spot, though, so the two songs were marketed as the first-ever double-A-side single.

Though “We Can Work It Out” charted higher, “Day Tripper” was the more popular live number. The Beatles played it every night on their final concert tour, up to the last show, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on August 29th, 1966.

Appears On: Past Masters

The Beatles – Blackbird (official video)

38

‘Blackbird’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Jan Persson/Redferns

Main Writer: McCartney
Recorded: June 11, 1968
Released: November 25, 1968
Not released as a single

“Blackbird” was really about the struggle over civil rights: “I had in mind a black woman, rather than a bird,” McCartney said. “Those were the days of the civil rights movement, which all of us cared passionately about, so this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.'”

In one sense, the song was an oblique response to Lennon’s “Revolution,” the other big political song on the White Album. “As is often the case with my things, a veiling took place,” said McCartney, “so, rather than say, ‘Black woman living in Little Rock,’ and be very specific, she became a bird, became symbolic.”

McCartney recorded “Blackbird” on his own. Harrison and Starr were in California (where Harrison was being filmed for Ravi Shankar’s movie Raga), and Lennon was in a different studio working on “Revolution 9.” McCartney has said that the fingerpicked guitar lines of “Blackbird,” written at his Scotland farm soon after he returned from India, were loosely based on Bach’s “Bourrée in E minor,” which he and Harrison used to practice in their early years. The blackbird heard on the track was from a sound-effects collection. “He did a very good job, I thought,” McCartney joked. “He sings very well on that.”

After he’d run through the song a number of times, McCartney told engineer Geoff Emerick that he wanted the song to sound as if he were singing it outdoors. “Fine,” Emerick said, “then let’s do it outdoors” — and they relocated to tape “Blackbird” outside Abbey Road Studios’ echo chamber.

McCartney gave the first semipublic performance of “Blackbird” to a group of fans outside his Cavendish Avenue home. “Paul opened the window and called out to us, ‘Are you still down there?'” one of them recalled. “Then he sat on the windowsill with his acoustic guitar and sang ‘Blackbird’ to us, standing down there in the dark.”

Appears On:The Beatles

 

Featured Photographer is  Jürgen Vollmer

 

October 15, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

It was fifty years ago today, Jürgen Vollmer taught the band how to do their hair.

The traditional story has it that former Beatle bassist Stu Sutcliffe (living in Germany) was the first to wear the mop-top style haircut  thanks to the barbering skills of his artist-girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr. The myth continues that while performing in Hamburg, Stu’s look was copied by George Harrison and soon after by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (Drummer Pete Best kept his D.A .)  The problem with this story is that when the Beatles returned to Liverpool from Germany in July 1961, they all still sported  “duck-arse” haircuts.

The true story was confirmed by both John and Paul in the Sixties and since then has been mostly ignored. In late September and early October, John and Paul decided to celebrate John’s 21st birthday by hitchhiking to Spain. They only made it as far as Paris where they met up with a friend from their frequent sojourns in Hamburg, Jürgen Vollmer (top-left with Paul McCartney). By this time Vollmer had been wearing the style for years since he apparently stumbled upon the look after going swimming.  During a visit to Vollmer’s Left Bank hotel room, the two Beatles convinced him to cut their hair in a similar fashion.  Vollmer wrote that after the haircuts, the trio visited a Paris flea market where John and Paul were tempted to abandon their old look completely for the mod French style of attire (collarless jackets, bell bottoms, etc.) . The two eventually decided that the haircut was about as much novelty as their home town of Liverpool and their rapidly expanding fan base was ready for. On their return to Liverpool they stopped off in London where they bought some Chelsea boots, which were later to become fashionable as ‘Beatle boots.’ During the trip, John and Paul also tried to incorporate bowler hats into their new look but abandoned them before returning to Liverpool.

Vollmer took several photographs of the two during their stay in Paris:

When they saw their bandmates’ new look, George was quick to adopt the hairstyle and, always the outsider, Pete Best kept his old haircut. The three haircuts grew a little longer until Brian Epstein took over management of the group near the end of the year and arranged for the Beatles to have their hair cut by a salon called Horne Brothers in Liverpool where the mop-top look was finally standardized. Pete Best insisted that his hair continue to be cut in a DA. When Pete Best was fired the following year, Ringo Starr dutifully showed up for his first day of work properly coiffed.

____________

Jürgen Vollmer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jürgen Vollmer, with Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann (the “Exis“), befriended the Beatles during the band’s time in Hamburg in the early 1960s. The son of a professional army officer who died during World War II, Vollmer attended Hamburg’s Institute of Fashion at the time he met the Beatles, who at the time included drummer Pete Best and bassist Stu Sutcliffe. Vollmer quickly became one of the group’s photographers, and was responsible for some of their most iconic images in their leather-clad days prior to Brian Epstein. John Lennon was particularly impressed with Vollmer’s photos, and used one of his favourites on the cover of his 1975 album Rock ‘n’ Roll. During the time Vollmer lived in the US, he worked as a set photographer in several Hollywood film productions.

External links[edit]

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Image result for sergent peppers album cover

Francis Schaeffer’s favorite album was SGT. PEPPER”S and he said of the album “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.”  (at the 14 minute point in episode 7 of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? ) 

Image result for francis schaeffer how should we then live

How Should We Then Live – Episode Seven – 07 – Portuguese Subtitles

Francis Schaeffer

Image result for francis schaeffer

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 202 the BEATLES’ last song FREE AS A BIRD (Featured artist is Susan Weil )

February 15, 2018 – 1:45 am

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 200 George Harrison song HERE ME LORD (Featured artist is Karl Schmidt-Rottluff )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 184 the BEATLES’ song REAL LOVE (Featured artist is David Hammonds )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 170 George Harrison and his song MY SWEET LORD (Featured artist is Bruce Herman )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 168 George Harrison’s song AWAITING ON YOU ALL Part B (Featured artist is Michelle Mackey )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 167 George Harrison’s song AWAITING ON YOU Part A (Artist featured is Paul Martin)

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 133 Louise Antony is UMass, Phil Dept, “Atheists if they commit themselves to justice, peace and the relief of suffering can only be doing so out of love for the good. Atheist have the opportunity to practice perfect piety”

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 166 George Harrison’s song ART OF DYING (Featured artist is Joel Sheesley )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 165 George Harrison’s view that many roads lead to Heaven (Featured artist is Tim Lowly)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 164 THE BEATLES Edgar Allan Poe (Featured artist is Christopher Wool)

PART 163 BEATLES Breaking down the song LONG AND WINDING ROAD (Featured artist is Charles Lutyens )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 162 A look at the BEATLES Breaking down the song ALL WE NEED IS LOVE Part C (Featured artist is Grace Slick)

PART 161 A look at the BEATLES Breaking down the song ALL WE NEED IS LOVE Part B (Featured artist is Francis Hoyland )

 

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 160 A look at the BEATLES Breaking down the song ALL WE NEED IS LOVE Part A (Featured artist is Shirazeh Houshiary)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 159 BEATLES, Soccer player Albert Stubbins made it on SGT. PEP’S because he was sport hero (Artist featured is Richard Land)

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 158 THE BEATLES (breaking down the song WHY DON’T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD?) Photographer Bob Gomel featured today!

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 118 THE BEATLES (Why was Tony Curtis on cover of SGT PEP?) (Feature on artist Jeffrey Gibson )

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 117 THE BEATLES, Breaking down the song WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU Part B (Featured artist is Emma Amos )

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Open Letter #2 to Ricky Gervais on comparison of the Tony of AFTER LIFE to the Solomon of ECCLESIASTES, Kath: If death is just the end then what is the point?

Both Tony in AFTER LIFE and Solomon in ECCLESIASTES both agree with this statement below: “The fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All come from the dust and all return to the dust” (ECCLESIASTES 3:19–20)

April 19, 2020 
Ricky Gervais 
Dear Ricky, 
I wanted to comment on some of your episodes in season one of AFTER LIFE, and then I wanted to pass along some evidence that indicates the Bible is historically accurate. 

“A society grows great when old men plant trees the shade they know they will never sit in. Good people do things for other. That’s it the end.” Why does that have to be true when evil people can get away with evil things and not be punished for them? Why not the survival of the fittest?

Wouldn’t there be a difference between playing a friendly in soccer or playing in the actual World Cup finals. One game “the friendly” is considered a practice game and the other will go down in the record books for all time. Wouldn’t our lives be lived at a higher level if we knew our actions counted beyond this life? Haven’t Christians through the ages built hospitals, colleges and charities throughout the world?

When Kath, asks, “If your an atheist, and you don’t believe in heaven and hell and all that, how come you don’t go around raping and murdering as much as you want?” Tony’s answer is, “I do. I do go around raping and murdering as much as I want, which is not at all.”

Kath: If death is just the end then what is the point? 
Tony: What is the point in what? 
Kath: What is the point in living? Why don’t you just kill yourself?


Tony: So if you are watching a movie and you are really enjoying it. Maybe a movie with Kevin Hart in it. Then someone points out there is an end eventually. Do you just say “Forget it. What’s the point and you turn it off?” 
Kath: No because you can watch it again. 
Tony: Well, I think Life is precious because you can’t watch it again. I mean you can believe in an afterlife if it makes you feel better, but it doesn’t mean it is true. But once you realize you are not going to be around forever I think that is what makes it magical. One day you will eat your last meal, smell a flower, and hug your friend for the last time. You might not know it is the last time, but that is why you should do everything you love with passion. Treasure the few years you got because you know that is all there is.

On his Twitter Live broadcast of April 13, 2020 Ricky Gervais seemed to contradict his argument with Kath. He asserted, “Your favorite meal? What if it was your final meal? Couldn’t really enjoy that. Would they rush you as well. You don’t have time for pudding because you are being executed at 2 pm. Brings the whole meal [mood] down. I am not enjoying this. I am not enjoying this sticky toffee pudding. The priest is looking at his watch.”

In the article “This godless Netflix comedy from Ricky Gervais is full of muddled post-post-Christian thinking” James Cary notes:

This is the part where Gervais gets to other themes of the show that he wanted to write about, specifically the view that atheists can’t be moral without God. Again, Kath half-heartedly attempts to make this suggestion, which Tony flicks away with some well-crafted rhetoric, which sounds clever, but doesn’t actually offer anything satisfactory or coherent in response.The show concludes with various characters asserting things that sound true, and would probably make a good inspirational poster. They ultimately beg far more questions than they answer, but that’s what comedies and dramas do. A widow on a bench beautifully played by Penelope Wilton tells Tony: “Happiness is amazing. It’s so amazing it doesn’t matter if it’s yours or not.” Sounds great, but what does it mean? There’s no time to find out. “A society grows great when old men plant trees the shade of which they know they will never sit in.” Does it? Why is that greatness? Why do future generations matter? “Good people do things for other people. That’s it. The end.” Is that the end? I know what I think the end is. The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. But Gervais has other ideas.

The founding fathers believed that it benefitted the government for it’s leaders to believe in God and with that would come the view that evil will be punished and good will be rewarded in the afterlife. John Quincy Adams said: There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience,

This point of view is not held by many today. I noticed in Woody Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors” you can see how Allen’s agnostic worldview permits him to allow the lead character to have his mistress killed when she threatens to call the cops. Judah noted, “God is a luxery I can not afford.” Earlier in the film Judah is terrified when he thinks there is a living God that will punish him in an afterlife, but only after he convinces himself there is no God is he at peace with his decision to have this troublesome lady killed. Check out this movie on Netflix and you will see what I mean about this potential moral problem that atheists can not answer. (I have looked this question many times in my previous posts.)

David Barton is a Christian historian and he has quoted many of the founders concerning their views of the afterlife and how their views impact what is done while leading the nation:

James Iredell, a ratifier of the Constitution and a U. S. Supreme Court justice appointed by George Washington, also confirmed:

According to the modern definition [1788] of an oath, it is considered a “solemn appeal to the Supreme Being for the truth of what is said by a person who believes in the existence of a Supreme Being and in a future state of rewards and punishments according to that form which would bind his conscience most.” 9

 David Barton noted in his article, “Importance of Morality and Religion in Government,”:


I have friends who are atheists who are very moral people. I am not saying that atheists can’t be moral people. My good friend Dr. John George was one of the finest men I have ever known. 

I have enjoyed developing relationships with skeptics and humanists over the years. Back in 1996 I took my two sons who were 8  and 10 yrs old back then to New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Delaware, and New Jersey and we had dinner one night with Herbert A. Tonne, who was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto II. The Late Professor John George who has written books for Prometheus Press was my good friend during the last 10 years of his life. (I still miss him today.) We often ate together and were constantly talking on the phone and writing letters to one another.

It is a funny story how I met Dr. George. As an evangelical Christian and a member of the Christian Coalition, I felt obliged to expose a misquote of John Adams’ I found in an article entitled “America’s Unchristian Beginnings” by the self-avowed atheist Dr. Steven Morris. However, what happened next changed my focus to the use of misquotes, unconfirmed quotes, and misleading attributions by the religious right.

In the process of attempting to correct Morris, I was guilty of using several misquotes myself. Professor John George of the University of Central Oklahoma political science department and coauthor (withPaul Boller Jr.) of the book THEY NEVER SAID IT! set me straight. George pointed out that George Washington never said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible. I had cited page 18 of the 1927 edition of HALLEY’S BIBLE HANDBOOK. This quote was probably generated by a similar statement that appears in A LIFE OF WASHINGTON by James Paulding. Sadly, no one has been able to verify any of the quotes in Paulding’s book since no footnotes were offered.

Paul F. Boller Jr.: 1916–2014

After reading THEY NEVER SAID IT! I had a better understanding of how widespread the problem of misquotes is. Furthermore, I discovered that many of these had been used by the leaders of the religious right. I decided to confront some individuals concerning their misquotes. WallBuilders, the publisher of David Barton’s THE MYTH OF SEPARATION, responded by providing me with their “unconfirmed  quote” list which contained a dozen quotes widely used by the religious right.

Sadly some of the top leaders of my own religious right have failed to take my encouragement to stop using these quotesand they have either claimed that their critics were biased skeptics who find the truth offensive or they defended their own method of research and claimed the secondary sources were adequate.

William Lane Craig in his article “The  Absurdity of Life without God,” wrote: 

NO ULTIMATE PURPOSE WITHOUT GOD AND IMMORTALITY

If death stands with open arms at the end of life’s trail, then what is the goal of life? To what end has life been lived? Is it all for nothing? Is there no reason for life? And what of the universe? Is it utterly pointless? If its destiny is a cold grave in the recesses of outer space, the answer must be yes—it is pointless. There is no goal, no purpose, for the universe. The litter of a dead universe will just go on expanding and expanding—forever…

What is true of mankind as a whole is true of each of us individually: we are here to no purpose. If there is no God, then our life is not fundamentally different from that of a dog. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true. As the ancient writer of Ecclesiastes put it: “The fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All come from the dust and all return to the dust” (Eccles. 3:19–20 AT). In this book, which reads more like a piece of modern existentialist literature than a book of the Bible, the writer shows the futility of pleasure, wealth, education, political fame, and honor in a life doomed to end in death. His verdict? “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (1:2 ESV). If life ends at the grave, then we have no ultimate purpose for living.

But more than that: even if it did not end in death, without God life would still be without purpose. For man and the universe would then be simple accidents of chance, thrust into existence for no reason. Without God the universe is the result of a cosmic accident, a chance explosion. There is no reason for which it exists. As for man, he is a freak of nature—a blind product of matter plus time plus chance. Man is just a lump of slime that evolved rationality. There is no more purpose in life for the human race than for a species of insect; for both are the result of the blind interaction of chance and necessity. As one philosopher has put it: “Human life is mounted upon a subhuman pedestal and must shift for itself alone in the heart of a silent and mindless universe.”13

What is true of the universe and of the human race is also true of us as individuals. Insofar as we are individual human beings, we are the result of certain combinations of heredity and environment. We are victims of a kind of genetic and environmental roulette. Biologists like Richard Dawkins regard man as an electro-chemical machine controlled by its mindless genes. If God does not exist, then you are just a miscarriage of nature, thrust into a purposeless universe to live a purposeless life.

So if God does not exist, that means that man and the universe exist to no purpose—since the end of everything is death—and that they came to be for no purpose, since they are only blind products of chance. In short, life is utterly without reason.

Do you understand the gravity of the alternatives before us? For if God exists, then there is hope for man. But if God does not exist, then all we are left with is despair. Do you understand why the question of God’s existence is so vital to man? As Francis Schaeffer aptly put it, “If God is dead, then man is dead, too.”

 Adrian Rogers noted the Bible is affirmed through historical accuracy. Do you remember the story about the handwriting on the wall that is found in the fifth chapter of Daniel? Belshazzar hosted a feast with a thousand of his lords and ladies. Suddenly, a gruesome hand appeared out of nowhere and began to write on a wall. The king was disturbed and asked for someone to interpret the writing. Daniel was found and gave the interpretation. After the interpretation, “Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.” (Daniel 5:29). 
Basing their opinion on Babylonian records, the historians claim this never happened. According to the records, the last king of Babylon was not Belshazzar, but a man named Nabonidas. And so, they said, the Bible is in error. There wasn’t a record of a king named Belshazzar. Well, the spades of archeologists continued to do their work. In 1853, an inscription was found on a cornerstone of a temple built by Nabonidas, to the god Ur, which read: “May I, Nabonidas, king of Babylon, not sin against thee. And may reverence for thee dwell in the heart of Belshazzar, my first-born favorite son.” 
From other inscriptions, it was learned that Belshazzar and Nabonidas were co-regents. Nabonidas traveled while Belshazzar stayed home to run the kingdom. Now that we know that Belshazzar and Nabonidas were co-regents, it makes sense that Belshazzar would say that Daniel would be the third ruler. What a marvelous nugget of truth tucked away in the Word of God!


Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002

On Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask Ricky Gervais a question on his Twitter Live broadcast which was  “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark Ricky answers my question. Below is the video:

Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

Open Letter to Ricky Gervais on our interaction today concerning NIHILISM and AFTER LIFE’s Tony

—-

Episode #1 of Afterlife: 

  • Tony There’s no advantage to being nice and thoughtful and caring and having integrity. It’s a disadvantage, if anything.
  • Tony Here’s what’s what humanity is a plague. We’re a disgusting, narcissistic, selfish parasite, and the world would be a better place without us. It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves. I could do it now. Quite happily just go upstairs, jump off the roof, and make sure I landed on some cunt from accounts.

Episode #4 Tony meets up with his acquaintance from work Julian who is a heroine addict and while doing drugs together this conversation happens: 

Tony: This must be a habit. You know I know how you feel.

Julian: Every minute of every day that I have my wits all I can think about is getting some [drugs] before I become too conscious…I am already dead inside. I am still in the worst kind of pain. 

Tony: I still can not believe we have so much in common.

Julian: We don’t have anything in common! 

Tony: Why do you say that?

Julian: The big difference is you haven’t given up yet, have you? Me I would quite happily die right now. If I had enough money I would take as much drugs as I possibly could. 

Tony gives Julian lots of money and says “Don’t waste it on food.”

The last scene of episode 5 is Julian injecting an overdose of heroine into his arm and then dying as the song “Youth” by the musical group DAUGHTER sings the words: 

Shadows settle on the place, that you left
Our minds are troubled by the emptiness
Destroy the middle, it’s a waste of time
From the perfect start to the finish lineAnd if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones
‘Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs
Setting fire to our insides for fun

Then in episode 5 there is discussion between Tony and brother-in-law Matt when Tony admits at first that he helped Julian get the overdose on purpose but then he backtracks when Matt threatens to keep Tony’s ten year old nephew from seeing him again: 

Tony: Julian was a heroine addict. That is what he did and it was what he wanted. 

Matt: Tell me that you didn’t know that he was gonna kill himself or I am not gonna let you see George again. 

Tony: I didn’t know. Obviously not. 

Matt: Okay you didn’t know.

In the third episode of AFTERLIFE Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats and this is what happens:

The comedian is getting huge laughs but Tony never laughs.

Comedian: You are a wonderful crowd. I am glad you are a wonderful crowd. I have had some bad news this week. Friend of mine actually committed suicide last week. He went upstairs and swallowed everything in the bathroom cabinet and choked on a tampon. (Crowd laughs heartily.) This guy in front row absolutely hated that joke. Cheer up mate! What is your name and what is your story?

Tony: My name is Tony. My wife died early this year with breast cancer and it broke me. Not a day goes by that I didn’t think of killing myself. I just don’t see any point in living.

Comedian: (Long pause of silence.) 

Tony and his wife Lisa who died 6 months ago of cancer


After Life on Netflix

After Life on Netflix stars Ricky Gervais as a bereaved husband (Image: Netflix) Roisin Conaty on the left in above picture with the cigarette plays Daphne the sex worker. 

In the beginning of episode 2 Tony is in the bath tub with a razor to his wrist and his hungry dog Brandi walks up and he asks her “Are you hungry?” And she responds with a sad sound.

Tony, “If you could open a tin I would be dead now but you can’t can you because you are useless. Who is useless? You are. You are useless. Good girl.”

Tony quotes from AFTERLIFE:  

I guess a good day is when I don’t go around, wanting to shoot random strangers in the face and then turn the gun to myself.

“Here’s what’s what: humanity is a plague. We’re a disgusting, narcissistic, selfish parasite, and the world would be a better place without us. It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves. I could do it now. Quite happily just go upstairs, jump off the roof, and make sure I landed on some c*** from accounts.”

April 18, 2020, Saturday

Ricky Gervais

Dear Ricky,

I have been a big fan of yours for 20 years now and I have taken an interest especially in your philosophical views concerning atheism and your attacks on Christianity, and since 2016 I have written you 9 letters basically concerning the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of nihilism. Then I ran across your series AFTER LIFE and Tony reminded me so much of Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes and the nihilism that Solomon embraced.

Today, Saturday April 18, 2020 at 6pm in London and noon in Arkansas, I had a chance to ask you on your Twitter Live broadcast “Is Tony a Nihilist?” At the 20:51 mark you answer my question with the following comments:



Not, I mean he [Tony] dabbles with it [nihilism] but a lot of this stuff is like he is being provocative and he is trying to sort of hurt people. No, It is difficult to say. I don’t. The one thing he wants he can’t have so he is angry. He has to compromise. He had the perfect marriage and he doesn’t know how to act or feel anymore. He is confused. He is in pain. He is ill. He is probably ill you know. If you are not right in your [mind] then you are ill, and you can’t just step out of it. You know. You even know you are not normal or well, but what can you do? You don’t feel good. That will do. Did we get serious then? That won’t happen again!

It seems to me that you would classify Tony as angry and confused but not a nihilist. You are the writer so you should know, but let me ask you if you can philosophically back up the view that Tony is not living the life of a nihilist (one who does think there are no rules for his life and no purpose for his life and no basis for morality).

As a member of the British Humanist Association you are familiar with the view of optimistic humanism. Let me share some views on that:

Paul Kurtz – (writer of Humanist Manifesto 2 in 1973 and Dr. Kurtz was a very kind gentleman who took time to correspond with me.)

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“The universe is neutral, indifferent to man’s existential yearnings. But we instinctively discover life, experience its throb, its excitement, its attraction. Life is here to be lived, enjoyed, suffered, and endured…Again–one cannot ‘prove’ this normative principle to everyone’s satisfaction. Living beings tend instinctively to maintain themselves and to reproduce beyond ultimate justification. It is a brute fact of our contingent natures; It is an instinctive desire to live.”

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J.P. Moreland – “2 Objections to optimistic humanism: #1 There is no rational justification for choosing it over nihilism. As far as rationality is concerned, it has nothing to offer over nihilism. Therefore, optimistic humanism suffers from some of the same objections we raised against nihilism. Kurtz himself admits that the ultimate values of humanism are incapable of rational justification!!!!!!  #2 Optimistic Humanism really answers the question of the meaning of life in the negative, just as nihilism does. For the optimistic humanist life has no objective value or purpose; It offers only subjective satisfaction, one should think long and hard before embracing such a horrible view. If there is a decent case that life has objective value and purpose, then such a case should be given as good a hearing as possible.  

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R.C. Sproul:Nihilism has two traditional enemies–Theism and Naive Humanism. The theist contradicts the nihilist because the existence of God guarantees that ultimate meaning and significance of personal life and history. Naive Humanism is considered naive by the nihilist because it rhapsodizes–with no rational foundation–the dignity and significance of human life. The humanist declares that man is a cosmic accident whose origin was fortuitous and entrenched in meaningless insignificance. Yet in between the humanist mindlessly crusades for, defends, and celebrates the chimera of human dignity…Herein is the dilemma: Nihilism declares that nothing really matters ultimately…In my judgment, no philosophical treatise has ever surpassed or equaled the penetrating analysis of the ultimate question of meaning versus vanity that is found in the Book of Ecclesiastes

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The humanist H. J. Blackham was the founder of the British Humanist Association and he asserted: On humanist assumptions, 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 the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads 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. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967). Francis Schaeffer comments concerning Blackham’s assertion, “One does not have to be highly educated to understand this. It follows directly from the starting point of the humanists’ position, namely, that everything is just matter. That is, that which has exited forever and in ever is only some form of matter or energy, and everything in our world now is this and only this in a more or less complex form.”


The 5 Conclusions of Humanism according to King Solomon of Israel in the Book of Ecclesiastes!!!!!

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The Humanistic world view tells us there is no afterlife and all we have is this life “under the sun.” 

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Francis Schaeffer (Christian Philosopher) notes Solomon limits himself to “under the sun” – In other words the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death. It is indeed the book of modern man. Solomon is the universal man with unlimited resources who says let us see where I go. Ravi Zacharias 

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“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 chance plus us (Matter)”

1st Conclusion: Nothing in life truly satisfies and that includes wisdom, great works and pleasure. A) Will wisdom satisfy someone under the sun? We know it is good in its proper place. T

But what did Solomon find out about wisdom “under the sun”? Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 (Living Bible): I said to myself, ‘Look, I am better educated than any of the kings before me in Jerusalem. I have greater wisdom and knowledge.’So I worked hard to be wise instead of foolish[c]—but now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. For the more my wisdom, the more my grief; to increase knowledge only increases distress.” (That is NIHILISM!!!!)

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KJV and Living Bible Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, 8, 10, 11: I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly,And then there were my many beautiful concubines.10 Anything I wanted I took and did not restrain myself from any joy…11 But as I looked at everything I had tried, it was all so useless, a chasing of the wind, and there was nothing really worthwhile anywhere…


2nd Conclusion: Power reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced!!!!!Ecclesiastes 4:1 (King James Version): So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Ecclesiastes 7:15 (King James Version) All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.If you are a humanist you must admit that men like Hitler will not be punished in the afterlife because you deny there is an afterlife? Right?

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3rd Conclusion – Death is the great equalizer. Just as the beasts will not be remembered so ultimately brilliant men will not be remembered. Ecclesiastes 3:20 “All go unto one place; All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Here Solomon comes to the same point that Kerry Livgren came to in January of 1978 when he wrote the hit song DUST IN THE WIND. Can you refute the nihilistic claims of this song within the humanistic world view? Solomon couldn’t but maybe you can.

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4th Conclusion – Chance and time plus matter (us) has determined the past and it will determine the future.By the way, what are the ingredients that make evolution work? George Wald – “Time is the Hero.”

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 Jacques Monod – “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.” 

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 I can not think of a better illustration of this in action than the movie ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute. On May 4, 1994 I watched the movie for the first time and again I thought of the humanist who believes that history is not heading somewhere with a purpose but is guided by pure chance, absolutely free but blind. I thought of the passage Ecclesiastes 9:10-12 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

5th Conclusion – Life is just a series ofcontinual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death.
Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16). 


I first starting studying Ecclesiastes in 1976 when I heard Adrian Rogers give a sermon on the nihilism of King Solomon. These facts in Ecclesiastes inspired the author of the song DUST IN THE WIND. Kerry Livgren of KANSAS, who wrote the song noted, “I happened to be reading a book of American Indian poetry and somewhere in it I came across the line, ‘We’re just dust in the wind.’ I remembered in the BOOK of ECCLESIASTES  where it said, ‘All is vanity,’ ” Livgren said of the passage that it reminds man he came from dust and will return to dust.

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I remember a visit in 1976 that Adrian Rogers made to our Junior High Chapel service at EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, and it was that day that I personally began a lifelong interest in King Solomon’s life, and his search for satisfaction as pictured in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

(Kerry Livgren, Dave Hope in back)

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Solomon was searching for meaning and satisfaction in life in what Rogers called the 6 big L words in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into Learning (1:16-18), Laughter, Ladies, Luxuries, and Liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and Labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Ecclesiastes 2:8-10The Message (MSG)

I piled up silver and gold,
loot from kings and kingdoms.
I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,
and—most exquisite of all pleasures—
voluptuous maidens for my bed.

9-10 Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What’s more, I kept a clear head through it all. Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!

(Edward John Poynter Painting  below of Solomon)

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Francis Schaeffer observed concerning Solomon, “You can not know woman by knowing 1000 women.”

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King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:11 sums up his search for meaning with these words, “…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

After hearing the sermon by Adrian Rogers in 1976, I took a special interest in the Book of Ecclesiastes and then the next year I bought the album POINT OF KNOW RETURN by the group rock group KANSAS. On that album was the song “Dust in the Wind”  and it rose to #6 on the charts in 1978. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song 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.


(That is the same reason I am excited about Ricky’s series AFTER LIFE!!!)

_____________________

Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more. I was hoping the members of KANSAS would keep looking for something more than just material pursuits UNDER THE SUN.

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 the bass player 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 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. DAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture.  
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil

Under the point THE PROPHETIC WITNESS OF THE SCRIPTURES Adrian Rogers talks about Psalm 22:

__

The Amazing Prophecy of the Cross

Psalm 22 is an incredible chapter. Perhaps more than any other chapter in the Bible, you cannot read it and come away not loving the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Turn to Psalm 22. Just below the name of a psalm, often the name of the one who wrote it is given. Who is the human author of Psalm 22?

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, almost half (73) of the Bible’s 150 psalms were written by King David.

One thousand years before Jesus Christ, David prophetically foretold His crucifixion.

Since crucifixion was a Roman, not Jewish, form of execution, how is that possible?  Crucifixion was completely unknown to the Jewish culture. It would be another 800 years before crucifixion came into the Jewish world. But here we find by divine inspiration a portrait of the cross.

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.

__

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002 everettehatcher@gmail.com

PS: Below are links to the previous 16 blog posts I did on AFTER LIFE and summaries of them.

Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

Part 3 Letter about Brandon Burlsworth concerning suffering and pain and evil in the world.  “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Part 4 Letter on Solomon on Death Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”

Part 5 Letter on subject of Learning in Ecclesiastes “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”

Part 6 Letter on Luxuries in Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

Part 7 Letter on Labor in Ecclesiastes My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

Part 8 Letter on Liquor in Ecclesiastes Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

Part 9 Letter on Laughter in Ecclesiastes , I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

Part 10 Final letter to Ricky on Ladies in Ecclesiastes “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Part 11 Letter about Daniel Stanhope and optimistic humanism  “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

Part 12 Letter on how pursuit of God is only way to get Satisfaction Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Part 13 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon realizing he will die just as a dog will die “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

Part 14 Letter to Stephen Hawking on 3 conclusions of humanism and Bertrand Russell destruction of optimistic humanism. “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Part 15 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Leonardo da Vinci and Solomon and Meaningless of life “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Part 16 Letter to Stephen Hawking on Solomon’s longing for death but still fear of death and 5 conclusions of humanism on life UNDER THE SUN. Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

—-

Summaries of previous blog posts on AFTER LIFE:

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 1 “Why have integrity in Godless Darwinian Universe where Might makes Right?”

If a person lives life UNDER THE SUN (phrase used 29 times in Book of Ecclesiastes) as if there is no God then it makes sense that the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest is the rule of the day and there is no afterlife where people will be judged by God. Therefore, lying is not looked down upon by Tony in episode 5 when he lies in order to not be punished by his boss Matt.

No wonder in episode 1 we hear these words from Tony: “There’s no advantage to being nice and thoughtful and caring and having integrity. It’s a disadvantage, if anything.”

—-

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 2 “My April 14, 2016 Letter to Ricky mentioned Book of Ecclesiastes and the Meaninglessness of Life”

In my first letter to Ricky Gervais on April 4, 2016 I asked Ricky to take 90 minutes and watch the Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors because that movie challenges the idea that in a Godless universe there is an argument against Might makes Right! (Greg Koukl also makes that same argument below in this post).  I also mentioned the Book of Ecclesiastes to Ricky and pointed out the idea that life is ultimately meaningless if there was no afterlife. T.

—-

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 3 “Why didn’t Jesus save her [from cancer]?” (Tony’s 10 year old nephew George in episode 2)

Daphne who is a good friend of Tony asserted,  Bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people… sometimes it’s just no one’s fault.

Episode # 2 of AFTERLIFE:

Below is a discussion between Tony and his ten year old nephew George concerning the passing of Tony’s wife Lisa.

George: Daddy says you are sad since  Aunt Lisa died.

Tony: Yep.

George: I am sad too. I dream about her sometime.

Tony: Me too.

George: Why didn’t the doctors make her better?

Tony: They tried.

George: Why didn’t Jesus save her?

Tony: Because Jesus is a &@$@$&! Don’t tell your Mum and Dad I said that.

George: I won’t.

On Twitter on May 23, 2013 Ricky Gervais wrote:

God doesn’t prevent terrible things because: A) He can’t B) He doesn’t want to C) He causes them D) He doesn’t exist PLEASE VOTE NOW.


3,000 years ago Solomon looked at the issue of the existence of pain and suffering in his Book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 4:1

 Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

Francis Schaeffer: Between birth and death power rules. Solomon looked over his kingdom and also around the world and proclaimed that right does not rule but power rules.

Ecclesiastes 7:15

15 I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 8:14

14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility.

Francis Schaeffer: We could say it in 20th century language, “The books are not balanced in this life.”

Francis Schaeffer: There is only one reason that viewing life UNDER THE SUN from birth to death causes despair and that is because we live in an abnormal world [since the fall in Genesis 3 when sin entered the world because of rebellion].

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Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 4, Tony in episode one, “It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves.”


Francis Schaeffer
 comments on the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of death:

Ecclesiastes 9:11

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Chance rules. If a man starts out only from himself and works outward it must eventually if he is consistent seem so that only chance rules and naturally in such a setting you can not expect him to have anything else but finally a hate of life.

Ecclesiastes 2:17-18a

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun…

That first great cry “So I hated life.” Naturally if you hate life you long for death and you find him saying this in Ecclesiastes 4:2-3:

And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are doneunder the sun.


AFTERLIFE episode #1:

  • Tony Here’s what’s what humanity is a plague. We’re a disgusting, narcissistic, selfish parasite, and the world would be a better place without us. It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves. I could do it now. Quite happily just go upstairs, jump off the roof, and make sure I landed on some cunt from accounts.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 5 “I don’t read books of fiction but mainly science and philosophy”


In the series AFTERLIFE you can obviously see how well read Ricky Gervais is and like many atheists it is obvious that Richard Dawkins is one of his heroes.

I am not an atheist but I have read about a dozen of Dawkins books also. Dawkins’ favorite book in the Bible is Ecclesiastes because of the poetry found in the King James Version and not the spiritual lessons.

Solomon was searching  for meaning in life in what I call the 6 big L words in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into LEARNING (1:12-18, 2:12-17), laughter, ladies, luxuries, and liquor (2:1-2, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Here is his final conclusion concerning LEARNING:

ECCLESIASTES 1:12-18, 2:12-17 LEARNING

12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done UNDER THE SUN, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.17 And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.

18For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

12So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool!1So I hated life, because what is done UNDER THE SUN was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

I watched a replay of Ricky Gervais of his March 28th Twitter Live and he said he doesn’t read a lot of fiction but just mainly books on science and philosophy. This is evident in his dialogue in AFTERLIFE:

You can believe in an afterlife if that makes you feel better, doesn’t mean it’s true, but once you realise you’re not going to be around forever, that’s what makes life so magical…. That’s why you should treasure the few years you’ve got because that’s all there is.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 6, The Music of AFTERLIFE (Part A)

I recently watched the replay of the March 25th Twitter Live broadcast by Ricky Gervais and he opened it with the song “Jesus take the wheel” sung by Carrie Underwood. I must say that I have been amazed at the music in the series AFTERLIFE. It is outstanding and the themes of the songs fit the scenes in a special way.

Solomon had it all and especially gold but he said all the fame and fortune is vanity and a chasing of the wind because it will NOT bring satisfaction or even last.

Back in 2001 our friend David Hodges was in a struggling rock band named EVANESCENCE in Little Rock but then they hit it big. Not only did Evanescence sell 20 million records but afterwards David wrote #1 smash singles: Kelly Clarkson’s“Because of You,” Daughtry’s “What About Now,” Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” and many others. My personal favorite is A THOUSAND YEARS sung by Christina Perri. 

In October of 2016 David Hodges spoke to a meeting I attended in Little Rock. He said the 15 years he lived in Los Angeles had taught him a lot of lessons and the MOST IMPORTANT is the lesson from the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES that TRUE JOY and HAPPINESS does not come from MONEY and POSSESSIONS.

Solomon was searching for meaning in life in what I call the 6 big L words in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). After searching  in area of luxuries Solomon found  them to be  “vanity and a striving after the wind.”

Ecclesiastes 2:7-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

7I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem…10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained UNDER THE SUN.

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36 (Christ’s words)

God put Solomon’s story in Ecclesiastes in the Bible with the sole purpose of telling people like you that without God in the picture you  will find out the emptiness one feels when possessions are trying to fill the void that God can only fill.

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Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 7, My Letter to Ricky on Easter in 2017 concerning Book of Ecclesiastes and the legacy of a person’s life work

In the April 2nd Twitter Live broadcast Ricky Gervais said in a humorous way that one day some kid will find a DVD of his movie “Ghost town” and the kid will ask his father what is a DVD and who was Ricky Gervais? Ricky commented, “Sad isn’t it.”

Yes it is sad if you are looking at things at a secular perspective UNDER THE SUN like Solomon was in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 2:18-20

18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20 Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.

Francis Schaeffer: He looked at the works of his hands, great and multiplied by his wealth and his position and he shrugged his shoulders

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Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 8, Tony’s late wife Lisa told him, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run!”

In episode 1 of AFTERLIFE Tony’s late wife Lisa tells Tony, “Don’t get drunk all the time alright? It will only make you feel worse in the log run.”

Francis Schaeffer discusses the views of Solomon on drinking:

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with winewhile my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaventhe few years of their lives.

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Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 9, I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” Ecclesiastes 2:2

In the third episode of AFTERLIFE Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats and this is what happens:

The comedian is getting huge laughs but Tony never laughs.

Comedian: You are a wonderful crowd. I am glad you are a wonderful crowd. I have had some bad news this week. Friend of mine actually committed suicide last week. He went upstairs and swallowed everything in the bathroom cabinet and choked on a tampon. (Crowd laughs heartily.) This guy in front row absolutely hated that joke. Cheer up mate! What is your name and what is your story?

Tony: My name is Tony. My wife died early this year with breast cancer and it broke me. Not a day goes by that I didn’t think of killing myself. I just don’t see any point in living.

Comedian: (Long pause of silence.) Umbrellas are weird aren’t they?…

Probing the area of LAUGHTER was one of Solomon’s first places to start. In Ecclesiastes 2:2 he starts this quest but he concludes it is not productive to be laughing the whole time and not considering the serious issues of life. “I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” (2:2).   Then Solomon  asserted the nihilistic statement in Ecclesiastes 2:17: “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 10, “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

In AFTERLIFE Tony has a warm friendship with the sex worker Daphne (Roisin Conaty) and when he hires her she comes over and he asks her to clean up his kitchen. When Daphne asked if Tony wanted anything sexual he said no. That is when their friendship seemed to deepen. Tony lost a wonderful wife and he passed on a chance for sex without a relationship. Solomon found out long ago that path is just a deadend.

“I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed…behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun” Ecclesiastes 2:8-11.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 11 “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer)

In his review of AFTERLIFE Ben Sherlock notes:

When we experience the darkest moments in our lives, it can seem like things will always be that bad and it’ll never get better. So, we have to just hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

This is what keeps Tony going throughout the six initial episodes of After Life. He holds out hope that he’ll be able to move on from losing the person he cared about the most in the world and get his life back on track. All he has is hope and he holds onto it for dear life. In many ways, hope really is everything.

Can Ricky pull off restoring hope into life with his Humanist point of view?

“If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer in THE GOD WHO IS THERE)

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Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 12, Dan Jarrell “[In Ecclesiastes] if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION”

Tony in the film AFTERLIFE keeps thinking about the good ole days with his soulmate and thinks that everything was great then when it wasn’t. Wade Wainio makes this observation in the following article:

There are, however, signs that Tony was disappointed in life even before Lisa’s death. He hates his job at the Tambury Gazette, saying it’s not journalism. He decries what he considers the awful future of online publishing, including click-bait and angry fools in article comment sections.

How does Tony in AFTERLIFE or Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes get peace in their lives?

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?

Dan Jarrell commented on this passage in Ecclesiastes:

Either way you translate it, it says nothing is so good for us other than a satisfied life but nothing is as impossible for us because it is not in us to be satisfied for who can eat and enjoy life without him?  The answer is NOBODY CAN!!!! So you come down to the idea that if one seeks satisfaction they will never find it. In fact, every pleasure will be fleeting and can not be sustained, BUT IF ONE SEEKS GOD THEN ONE FINDS SATISFACTION. That is my sermon in a nutshell. That is the conclusion. 

—-

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 13 “For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!” Ecclesiastes

In the beginning of episode 2 Tony is in the bath tub with a razor to his wrist and his hungry dog Brandi walks up and he asks her “Are you hungry?” And she responds with a sad sound.

Tony, “If you could open a tin I would be dead now but you can’t can you because you are useless. Who is useless? You are. You are useless. Good girl.”

Solomon realizes that the earth and moon will go on existing when we are no more and that really we have no advantage over the animals in that respect that we both die. It is ironic that Tony is saved by an animal.

”KING SOLOMON: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11;3:18-19 (Living Bible): 2 In my opinion, nothing is worthwhile; everything is futile. 3-7 For what does a man get for all his hard work?Generations come and go, but it makes no difference.[b] The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere.* The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full, and the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea . .everything is unutterably weary and tiresome. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied; no matter how much we hear, we are not content. History merely repeats itself…For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity!”

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of Book of Ecclesiastes Part 14 “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms—no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Tony: “Here’s what’s what: humanity is a plague. We’re a disgusting, narcissistic, selfish parasite, and the world would be a better place without us. It should be everyone’s moral duty to kill themselves. I could do it now. Quite happily just go upstairs, jump off the roof, and make sure I landed on some c*** from accounts.”

Bertrand Russell – “That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”(Bertrand Russell, Free Man’s Worship)

Tony is an atheist and has a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest Tony because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect Tony.

FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)

SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)

THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” 

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Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes Book of Ecclesiastes Part 15 “I hate life. As far as I can see, what happens on earth is a bad business. It’s smoke—and spitting into the wind” Ecclesiastes 2:17

Tony quotes from AFTERLIFE:  

I guess a good day is when I don’t go around, wanting to shoot random strangers in the face and then turn the gun to myself.

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 16 Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

In the beginning of episode 2 Tony is in the bath tub with a razor to his wrist and his hungry dog Brandi walks up and he asks her “Are you hungry?” And she responds with a sad sound.

Tony, “If you could open a tin I would be dead now but you can’t can you because you are useless. Who is useless? You are. You are useless. Good girl.”

Tony hates life and longs for death but he still has a fear of death.

Francis Schaeffer, “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death.
Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16).”

Ricky Gervais Show AFTERLIFE in light of the Book of Ecclesiastes Part 16 Francis Schaeffer “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death. Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16)”

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In the beginning of episode 2 Tony is in the bath tub with a razor to his wrist and his hungry dog Brandi walks up and he asks her “Are you hungry?” And she responds with a sad sound.

Tony, “If you could open a tin I would be dead now but you can’t can you because you are useless. Who is useless? You are. You are useless. Good girl.”

Tony hates life and longs for death but he still has a fear of death.

Francis Schaeffer, “Life is just a series of continual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death.
Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16).”

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STARMUS panel announces ground-breaking Stephen Hawking Medals for Science Communication at the The Royal Society Featuring: Professor Sir Harry Kroto, Alexei Leonov, Dr Richard Dawkins, Dr Brian May, Professor Stephen

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

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(Harry Kroto pictured below)

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__S

In  the first video below in the 15th clip in this series are Hawking’s words and  my response is was given in an  earlier post.

In the popular You Tube video “Renowned Academics Speaking About God” Professor Hawking made the following statement:

“M-Theory doesn’t disprove God, but it does make him unnecessary. It predicts that the universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing without the need for a creator.” –Stephen Hawking, Cambridge theoretical physicist

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

This is the fourth part of the letter to Stephen Hawking, but the third part was posted last week on my blog.

The 5 Conclusions of Humanism according to King Solomon of Israel in the Book of Ecclesiastes!!!!!

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The Humanistic world view tells us there is no afterlife and all we have is this life “under the sun.”

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SECTION 3 A Study in the Book of Ecclesiastes done by Francis Schaeffer (Christian Philosopher). Solomon limits himself to “under the sun” – In other words the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death. It is indeed the book of modern man. Solomon is the universal man with unlimited resources who says let us see where I go. Ravi Zacharias 

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“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 chance plus us (Matter)”

1st Conclusion: Nothing in life truly satisfies and that includes wisdom, great works and pleasure. A) Will wisdom satisfy someone under the sun? We know it is good in its proper place. Take a look at this quote by Mike Malone: “Knowing God is the deepest longing of the human heart. It is knowledge so high and lofty that it transcends language, which can never exhaust the glorious reality of God. The wise man would take you by the hand and lead you to the fountain, where you may drink to your heart’s content, never tasting enough, yet never failing to be satisfied.” But what did Solomon find out about wisdom “under the sun”? Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 (Living Bible): I said to myself, ‘Look, I am better educated than any of the kings before me in Jerusalem. I have greater wisdom and knowledge.’So I worked hard to be wise instead of foolish[c]—but now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. For the more my wisdom, the more my grief; to increase knowledge only increases distress.”

B) Do great works of men bring satisfaction?Ecclesiastes 2:4-6, 18-20: Then I tried to find fulfillment by inaugurating a great public works program: homes, vineyards, gardens, parks, and orchards for myself, and reservoirs to hold the water to irrigate my plantations.And I am disgusted about this—that I must leave the fruits of all my hard work to others. 19 And who can tell whether my son will be a wise man or a fool? And yet all I have will be given to him—how discouraging! So I turned in despair from hard work as the answer to my search for satisfaction.C) Does pleasure give lasting satisfaction?

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KJV and Living Bible Ecclesiastes 2:1-3, 8, 10, 11: I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly,And then there were my many beautiful concubines.10 Anything I wanted I took and did not restrain myself from any joy…11 But as I looked at everything I had tried, it was all so useless, a chasing of the wind, and there was nothing really worthwhile anywhere…
2nd Conclusion: Power reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced!!!!!Ecclesiastes 4:1 (King James Version): So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Ecclesiastes 7:15 (King James Version) All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.If you are a humanist you must admit that men like Hitler will not be punished in the afterlife because you deny there is an afterlife? Right?

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3rd Conclusion – Death is the great equalizer. Just as the beasts will not be remembered so ultimately brilliant men will not be remembered. Ecclesiastes 3:20 “All go unto one place; All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Here Solomon comes to the same point that Kerry Livgren came to in January of 1978 when he wrote the hit song DUST IN THE WIND. Can you refute the nihilistic claims of this song within the humanistic world view? Solomon couldn’t but maybe you can.

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4th Conclusion – Chance and time plus matter (us) has determined the past and it will determine the future.By the way, what are the ingredients that make evolution work? George Wald – “Time is the Hero.”

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 Jacques Monod – “Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”

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 I can not think of a better illustration of this in action than the movie ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute. On May 4, 1994 I watched the movie for the first time and again I thought of the humanist who believes that history is not heading somewhere with a purpose but is guided by pure chance, absolutely free but blind. I thought of the passage Ecclesiastes 9:10-12 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

5th Conclusion – Life is just a series ofcontinual and unending cycles and man is stuck in the middle of the cycle. Youth, old age, Death.
Does Solomon at this point embrace nihilism? Yes!!! He exclaims that the hates life (Ecclesiastes 2:17), he longs for death (4:2-3) Yet he stills has a fear of death (2:14-16). How do you want your life to go the next million years? The humanist world view has no answer (see H. J. Blackham earlier quote). Ecclesiastes2:15-16: 15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.(Also refer to the lyrics of the song DUST IN THE WIND by the group KANSAS).Can you refute any of the conclusions of Solomon? Will you ridicule this material. In 1988 in the September-October of the HUMANIST MAGAZINE a 3 page article was devoted to cutting Schaeffer down to size, but even in that article which was called FRANCIS SCHAEFFER: A LOOK AT ONE OF THE FOREMOST FIGURES IN THE CRUSADE AGAINST HUMANISM the writer gave Schaeffer his due by saying “Schaeffer’s books are not the typical hodge-podge of newspaper headlines and obscure  Biblical prophecies, as in Hal Lindsey’s books. Schaeffer demonstrates a familiarity with the major theologians and some understanding of philosophy, art and literature. His books are clearly in a different league from the typical evangelical Christian reading matter…:” Why did I write about the meaning of life in this letter addressed to you?????? The answer is very simple: You have a spiritual need that must be met, and only Christ can meet it!!!! In the introduction of the book A SHATTERED VISAGE, Ravi Zacharias said this “The most telling aspect of the afternoon I spoke to a group of scientists at the Bell Lab in Holmdel, NJ was the nature of the questions that were raised following the address. None had to do with the technical or scientific expertise that the audience represented. They all had to do with the heart searching questions of men and women in pursuit of meaning of life. I have found these same questions asked time and time again in a variety of settings. After the intellectual that comes to the fore.” Ecclesiastes 3:11b “God has planted eternity in the hearts of men.” 

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Charles Spurgeon “The soul is insatiable till it finds the savoir.”I want to finish with a prediction: There is coming a time in your life that the most important thing to you will be to get your prayer answered by God. When I was ridden in a hospital many years ago I was told that I may not live. My thoughts turned to spiritual things. Does it take a tragic situation for you to wake up? I will pray that you see the humanistic worldview for what it is, and that you would honestly pursue the Bible. Thank you for your time

Finally I have enclosed a copy of my letter published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Newspaper on April 22, 1994:

A BANKRUPT WORLDVIEW

Brian Bolton, the ordained humanist minister, asserted that humanism deserves out respect in his March 27 article. Does it really?

Humanism is the belief that we are limited to human life standing alone between birth and death. There is no belief in God and the afterlife. Three thousand years ago, Solomon took a look at this humanistic world view in the Book of Ecclesiastes when he limited himself to examining life “under the sun.”

Humanists will tell you that the world evolved, and just as time and chance have determined the human race’s past, it will also determine the human race’s future. Ecclesiastes says, “I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

Solomon saw that the humanistic world view was bankrupt because without God in the picture man’s future was left up to time and chance.

When I play with my two children, they constantly are saying, “Daddy, watch me!” Their hearts long for my personal attention just as my heart longs for a daily personal relationship with a God who cares about me.

Why respect a religion like humanism that hands your future over to time and chance instead of a God who created you for a purpose? Humanism tells you that you are just a face in the crowd, and 1 million years from now it will be as though you never existed. Is Bolton a naive humanist who has avoided this conclusion?

Everette Hatcher III

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