Open Letter #81 to Ricky Gervais on comparison of the Tony of AFTER LIFE to the Solomon of ECCLESIASTES, Artist FRANCIS BACON like Tony Johnson of AFTERLIFE and Solomon of ECCLESIASTES has embraced nihilism and his paintings of life are very pessimistic!

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After Life #1 Trailer

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I listened to this question and answer session at Harvard in 1992 on cassette tapes and was captivated with Ravi Zacharias. His responses were so much better than Kath’s responses to Tony in AFTER LIFE. I have referenced work by Ravi many times in the past and Especially moving was Ravi’s own spiritual search which started in a hospital bed after a failed suicide attempt. I also want you to check out his talk at Princeton and the question and answer time afterwards which are both on YOU TUBEat these two links: Link for talk, Link for Q/A.

After Life 2 Trailer

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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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If Death is the end then what is the point Kath asks below:

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Francis Schaeffer passed away on May 15, 1984 and on the 10th anniversary of that date I wrote many skeptics such as Carl Sagan and corresponded with them on the big questions covered by the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Kath: You are an atheist?

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Adrian Rogers on Evolution

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Ravi Zacharias  (March 26, 1946 – May 19, 2020) 

Francis Schaeffer (January 30, 1912 – May 15, 1984[1]

Francis Schaeffer.jpg


I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church under the leadership of our pastor Adrian Rogers and I read many books by the Evangelical Philosopher Francis Schaeffer and in 1992 I heard cassette tapes of Ravi Zacharias in all his brilliance in his sessions at Harvard and have had the opportunity to contact many of the evolutionists or humanistic academics that they have mentioned in their works. Many of these scholars have taken the time to respond back to me in the last 20 years and some of the names  included are  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997), Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Robert Shapiro (1935-2011), Nicolaas Bloembergen (1920-),  Brian Charlesworth (1945-),  Francisco J. Ayala (1934-) Elliott Sober (1948-), Kevin Padian (1951-), Matt Cartmill (1943-) , Milton Fingerman (1928-), John J. Shea (1969-), , Michael A. Crawford (1938-), Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), Sol Gordon (1923-2008), Albert Ellis (1913-2007), Barbara Marie Tabler (1915-1996), Renate Vambery (1916-2005), Archie J. Bahm (1907-1996), Aron S “Gil” Martin ( 1910-1997), Matthew I. Spetter (1921-2012), H. J. Eysenck (1916-1997), Robert L. Erdmann (1929-2006), Mary Morain (1911-1999), Lloyd Morain (1917-2010),  Warren Allen Smith (1921-), Bette Chambers (1930-),  Gordon Stein (1941-1996) , Milton Friedman (1912-2006), John Hospers (1918-2011), Michael Martin (1932-).Harry Kroto (1939-), Marty E. Martin (1928-), Richard Rubenstein (1924-), James Terry McCollum (1936-), Edward O. WIlson (1929-), Lewis Wolpert (1929), Gerald Holton(1922-), Martin Rees (1942-), Alan Macfarlane (1941-),  Roald Hoffmann (1937-), Herbert Kroemer (1928-), Thomas H. Jukes(1906-1999) and  Ray T. Cragun (1976-).

 Adrian Rogers (September 12, 1931 – November 15, 2005) 

Adrian Rogers.jpg

Charles Darwin Autobiography

(Above) Tony and Anne on the bench at the graveyard where their spouses are buried.

July 7, 2020 
Ricky Gervais 


Dear Ricky,  

This is the 81st day in a row that I have written another open letter to you to comment on some of your episodes of AFTER LIFE. 

(Tony Johnson with his dog Brandi seen below:)

In episode 2 of the second season of AFTER LIFE is the following discussion: 
Tony: I drink in times of trouble. I can’t help it the world is filled with trouble. It is a horrible place. Everyone is screwed up in someway. Everyone has worries like money or health or famine, war. We are chimps with brains the size of planets. No wonder we get drunk and try to kill each other. It is mental.

Matt: Always good to talk.

Tony: I was just explaining my new plan is to drink myself to death till I eventually implode in on my own evolution.

Ricky Gervais plays bereaved husband Tony Johnson in AFTER LIFE

This reminds me of the words of Francis Bacon because reduces us to just animals. 

Of course, we are meat. We are potential carcasses.
—Francis Bacon

Irish-born Francis Bacon (1909-1992), possibly the greatest painter of the latter half of the twentieth century, quintessentially exemplified modern humanity’s loneliness and alienation. Indeed, Bacon is considered the greatest British painter since William Turner.

Ricky your enthusiastic support of evolution and the secular worldview is understandable given that your college degree is in philosophy. Have you ever paused to wonder why philosophy is so pessimistic these days and I contend that it suffers from the same problem you encounter in your program AFTERLIFE when you attempt to answer the big questions in life but you exclude spiritual answers. Also have you ever wondered why modern art looks so fragmented compared to the art from before Darwin’s theory of evolution became popular? Let’s take a look at Darwin’s own words and then look at an example from modern art from the work of Francis Bacon. 

CHARLES DARWIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Addendum. Written May 1st, 1881 [the year before his death].

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds…gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dullthat it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music…This curious and lamentable loss of the higher æsthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive… The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness…


A letter to Sir J. D. Hooker, June 17, 1868,
 which repeats to some extent what is given in the Autobiography:—

“I am glad you were at the Messiah, it is the one thing that I should like to hear again, but I dare say I should find my soul too dried up to appreciate it as in old days; and then I should feel very flat, for it is a horrid bore to feel as I constantly do, that I am a withered leaf for every subject except Science. It sometimes makes me hate Science…

Francis Schaeffer summarized:

So he is glad for science because his stomach bothers him, but on the other hand when I think of what it costs me I almost hate science. You can almost hear young Jean-Jacques Rousseau speaking here, he sees what the machine is going to do and he hates the machine and Darwin is constructing the machine and it leads as we have seen to his own loss of human values in the area of aesthetics, the area of art and also in the area of nature. This is what it has cost him. His theory has led him to this place. When you come to this then it seems to me that you understand man’s dilemma very, very well, to think of the origin of the theory of mechanical evolution bringing  Darwin himself to the place of this titanic tension.


Darwin, C. R.
 to Doedes, N. D., 2 Apr 1873

“It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide.”

Francis Schaeffer observed:

So he sees here exactly the same that I would labor and what Paul gives in Romans chapter one, and that is first this tremendous universe [and it’s form] and the second thing, the mannishness of man and the concept of this arising from chance is very difficult for him to come to accept and he is forced to leap into this, his own kind of Kierkegaardian leap, but he is forced to leap into this because of his presuppositions but when in reality the real world troubles him. He sees there is no third alternative. If you do not have the existence of God then you only have chance. In my own lectures I am constantly pointing out there are only two possibilities, either a personal God or this concept of the impersonal plus time plus chance and Darwin understood this . You will notice that he divides it into the same exact two points that Paul does in Romans chapter one into and that Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) will in the problem of existence, the external universe, and man and his consciousness. Paul points out there are these two steps that man is confronted with, what I would call two things in the real world. The universe and it’s form and I usually quote Jean Paul Sartre here, and Sartre says the basic philosophic problem is that something is there rather than nothing is there and I then I add at the point the very thing that Darwin feels and that is it isn’t a bare universe that is out there, it is an universe in a specific form. I always bring in Einstein and the uniformity of the form of the universe and that it is constructed as a well formulated word puzzle or you have Carl Gustav Jung who says two things cut across a man’s will that he can not truly be autonomous, the external world and what Carl Gustav Jung would call his “collected unconsciousness.” It is the thing that churns up out of man, the mannishness of man. Darwin understood way back here this is a real problem. So he says “the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous  universe,” part one, the real world, the external universe, and part two “with our conscious selves arose through chance” and then he goes on and says this is not “an argument of real value.” The only thing he has to put in its place is his faith in his own theory.

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Here below is the Romans passage that Schaeffer is referring to and verse 19 refers to what Schaeffer calls “the mannishness of man” and verse 20 refers to Schaeffer’s other point which is  “the universe and it’s form.”Romans 1:18-22Amplified Bible (AMP) 18 For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth andmake it inoperative. 19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness,because God [Himself] has shown it to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], 21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor andglorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile andgodless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].

I did enjoy reading LIFE ON THE EDGE by Jim Al-Khalili but I did agree with the Christian Blogger Mike when he noted:

I’ll close with their quote of Sir Fred Hoyle: “The probability of random chemical processes coming together to generate life…was as likely as a tornado blowing through a junkyard and assembling a jumbo jet by chance.  …cellular life…is just too complex and organized to have arisen by chance alone…” (p.275).  I concur!  But at least McFadden and Al-Khalili agree that life is the product of an equation requiring more than time plus matter plus chance.  May I suggest a Creator?  No, probably not.  That said, I think the authors actually provided a lot of support for Creationism

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Please take a look at Francis Schaeffer’s 26 minute film How Should We Then Live – Episode 8 – The Age of Fragmentation that has been posted recently by Eduardo Miller This film starts with the impressionists and goes through the modern day artists of the 1960’s (the film was made in 1976). I would love to hear your reaction to it.Francis Schaeffer in Art and the Bible noted, “Many modern artists, it seems to me, have forgotten the value that art has in itself. Much modern art is far too intellectual to be great art. Many modern artists seem not to see the distinction between man and non-man, and it is a part of the lostness of modern man that they no longer see value in the work of art as a work of art.” 

Many modern artists are left in this point of desperation that Schaeffer points out and it reminds me of the despair that Solomon speaks of in 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.” THIS IS EXACT POINT SCHAEFFER SAYS SECULAR ARTISTS ARE PAINTING FROM TODAY BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED ARE A RESULT OF MINDLESS CHANCE.

John Whitehead in an article noted:

Bacon, however, clearly expressed his atheistic pessimism: “Man now realizes that he is an accident, that he is a completely futile being, that he has to play out the game without purpose, other than of his own choosing.” On another occasion, he remarked: “We are born and we die and there’s nothing else. We’re just part of animal life.”

Thus, Bacon, in terms of humanity and the supernatural, reached not only a position of unbelief but of despair. His paintings express modern humanity’s condition: dehumanized man dispossessed of any durable paradise.

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I first read about Francis Bacon in a book written by Francis Schaeffer. I was interested in looking into his art. His art really shows where modern man has come to the place of desperation since modern man has embraced the closed system that does not include God. What is left for man but what time and chance can bring. Bacon admitted that he was very depressed about man’s future and it comes out in his paintings.

I wish he would have read the work of Francis Schaeffer. I have posted links to Schaeffer’s works below.

The Striptease of Humanism

This, then, is “the striptease of humanism,” a gathering crisis of optimism, an escape from reason, a surfacing of subterranean pessimism. Understanding it as the daily climate of our time, we can now analyze more closely certain features of its arrival and of its permanent residue.

First, there is the strong element of surprise. For any who had read Nietzsche, this should not have been so but in fact it was. In 1929 Freud remarked on this in Civilization and Its Discontents: “Man has, as it were, become a prosthetic god. . . . Future ages . . . will increase man’s likeness to God still more. But . . . present day man does not feel happy in his Godlike character.”33 In 1951 Camus felt it still more keenly: “During the last century, man cast off the fetters of religion. Hardly was he free, however, when he created new and utterly intolerable chains. . . . The kingdom of grace has been conquered, but the kingdom of justice is crumbling too. Europe is dying of this deception.”34

The situation is pregnant with irony: There is a crisis of disbelief as well as a crisis of belief. Some religious thinkers may be endlessly reporting the death of God (almost as their contemporary creedal confession), but the fact no longer seems heroic to the perceptive atheist. If the city of God has been razed, who is in need of a home now? Who feels the chill most keenly?

A second feature is the irreversibility of the exposure of humanism. It would be comforting to regard the present pessimism as a cycle, or swing of the pendulum, but there are various reasons why we cannot. For one thing there are new factors which prevent a reversal. Here we come to the difference between Oswald Spengler and Max Weber. Spengler thought the decline of the West was essentially what had happened before. Weber held that what was occurring had never happened before. It was different because, although there were similar symptoms, the “disenchantment of the world” by technology was new. So the situation was irreversible.

These elements of surprise and irreversibility were two features of the arrival of the crisis, but of even greater importance are the various symptomatic features of its continuing presence. We shall now examine these. The key to the understanding of each of them is that they stem from the humanist’s lack of a basis, the loss of center, the death of absolutes.

Alienation

The first symptom is alienation which occurs when the lack of basis is actually seen, felt or experienced. Whenever a man is not fulfilled by his own view of himself, his society or his environment, then he is at odds with himself and feels estranged, alienated and called in question. Optimistic humanism, lacking sufficient basis for the full range of humanness, also lacks sufficient balance, and alienation is inescapable when this is so. First of all this is true today of metaphysical alienation. Denying the optimistic implications of Darwinism, Nietzsche pointed to man’s “ontological predicament”: “Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman — a rope over an abyss.”49 Caught between the all-too-human and the superhuman, man, if he is not to despair, must stretch across an unbridgeable chasm to the revalued ideals of the overman. Nietzsche himself felt mocked, even in madness, by this impossible struggle. As all-too-human he knew only anguish, terror, loneliness, desperation, disgust, “the great seasickness” of the world without God.

This last phrase was picked up by Sartre in his first novel Nausea,a classic of existentialism. Walking in the city park one day, Roquentin was overcome by the nausea of the meaninglessness of life. Looking around him, he concluded, “Every existent is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance.”50 He was forced to the unhappy conclusion that the key to life is its fundamental absurdity. Man as man has to reach towards being God in order to fulfill his aspirations, yet with God dead and the world as it is these aspirations are limitations cast back in his face as an absurdity. Sartre’s reluctant conclusion is that “man is a useless passion.”51

The drastic extremity of this is well portrayed in the drama of Samuel Beckett, whose Parisian home and early research in Marcel Proust’s philosophy of time bring him close to the thought world of existentialism. In Waiting for Godot,Godot’s failure to arrive reduces all of life to the level of irrational absurdity.52 In Krapp’s Last Tape, the personality of the old man is completely desiccated by the sequential flow of time shattering his identity into fragments.53 Beckett’s ultimate in economic starkness is Breath, thirty seconds in duration, with no actors nor dialogue nor any props on the stage except miscellaneous rubbish; the whole script is the sigh of human life from a baby’s cry to a man’s last gasp before the grave.

The same metaphysical alienation, expressed in terms of the counter culture, is brilliantly distilled in Yoko Ono’s single line poems in Grapefruit.54All of them are capsules of nihilism, variations on a theme of meaninglessness. “Map Piece” reads, “Draw a map to get lost.” Another called “Lighting Piece” runs, “Light a match and watch it till it goes out.” These are the poetic counterpoint to Breath.

Modern humanism also refuses to touch the danger points, to face the logic of its own premises. It prefers to live in intellectual inconsistency. In The Disinherited Mind Erich Heller says, “In Kafka we have before us the modern mind, seemingly self-sufficient, intelligent, sceptical, ironical, splendidly trained for the great game of pretending that the world it comprehends in sterilized sobriety is the only and ultimate reality there is — yet a mind living in sin with the soul of Abraham. Thus he knows two things at once, and both with equal assurance; that there is no God, and that there must be God.”83

Kafka was not unique. Nietzsche himself, for all his scorn, made his leap of faith. He asserts that any attempt to understand the universe is prompted by man’s will to power but fails to see that his own conception of the will to power must then be admitted by him to be a creation of his will to power. What to Kafka was a weakness is now a disease of almost epidemic proportions. Erich Fromm ponders, “In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead, in the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead,”84 but Fromm shies away from exploring the connection between the two. R. D. Laing poses the alternative, “Deus absconditus. Or we have absconded,”85 but his vision of the divine is Eastern, not Christian, and his use of Luther’s concept is merely rhetorical.

Thus optimistic humanism is currently in the throes of a gathering crisis. But we dare not let this negate the humanness of its ideals. What is needed is a stronger humanism, not a weaker one. We need a concern for humanness that has a basis for its ideals and the possibility of their substantial realization.

There are several requirements which any contending solution must satisfy. First, it must provide a basis that will define and demonstrate the individuality of man as human. Here the Eastern conceptions of man with their essential negation of the value of man in this life, the communist subordination of the individual to the state, and the post-Christian failure of Western man to resist the trends of dehumanization point to answers which do not satisfy this first requirement.

Second, it must provide a basis for the fulfillment of an individual’s aspirations. The Eastern religions, communism and humanism again fall short for similar reasons. So also do determinism and existentialism.

Third, it must provide a basis for the substantial healing of man’s alienations in terms of an individual’s becoming more fully himself. Many views falter here.

Fourth, it must provide a basis for community, combining social unity and diversity, and it must avoid the chaos of relativism or the swing to control seen in many modern states and intentional communes.

These together must provide a basis for defining and demonstrating a humanness sufficiently robust to be an anchor against the dehumanization coming from social disruption and the fear of global destruction.

A Third Way is obviously required — one which speaks to the basic situation of humanity, both in individuality and in community. It must provide an answer to existentialism and a fulfillment to optimistic humanism. But this is still to run ahead of ourselves.

With the erosion of the Christian culture and the crisis of humanism, the direction of Western culture is uncertain. Will we see a desperate vacuum from which nihilism will rise? Will we lurch on uneasily to a new technological barbarism? Will a novel mysticism turn the West into the East? Or will the slow disintegration of Western culture herald a decline of power, until the egoism of Western culture is judged by the hammer of the Soviets?

Only the future will show. Curiously, the recent pre-occupation with “the end of ideology” has given rise to a new ideology — futurology. Here evolutionary optimistic humanism has its last chance. If, searching into his future, man finds grounds for believing in himself and his ability to control his future, then secular humanism may become solvent again. This quest forms the storyof our next chapter.

Notes

  • Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 125, in The Portable Nietzsche (New York: The Viking Press, 1954), p. 96; C. G. Jung. “Epilogue,” Modern Man in Search of a Soul (New York: Routledge Books, 1933); Bertrand Russell, Has Man a Future? (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1961), p. 110; Federico Fellini, Fellini’s Satyricon, ed. Darlo Zanelli, trans. Eugene Walters and John Matthews (New York: Ballantine Books, 1970), p. 269.
  • Quoted in Kenneth Clark, Civilisation (London: John Murray Ltd., 1971), p. 104.
  • Quoted in ibid., p. 101.
  • Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1966), p. 44.
  • Ibid.,p.417.
  • Michael Harrington, The Accidental Century (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1967), p. 31.
  • Gordon Childe, Man Makes Himself (New York: Mentor Books, 1951).
  • Julian Huxley, ed., The Humanist Frame (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1961), p. 44.
  • Ibid.,p.7.
  • Algernon Charles Swinburne, “Hymn of Man.”
  • J. Huxley, p. 6.
  • Ibid., p. 26.
  • Harrington, p. 35.
  • Heinrich Heine, quoted in WaIter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (New York: Meridian Books, 1956), p. 375.
  • Nietzsche, The Will to Power, 1-2, quoted in Kaufmann, p. 103.
  • C. S. Lewis, Christian Reflections (London: Geoffrey Bles Ltd., 1967), p. 82.
  • Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, trans. Constance Farrington (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1967), p. 251.
  • lbid., p.21.
  • Letter of Aldous Huxley to Sibylle Bedford quoted in Time, May 4, 1970.
  • J. R. Platt, The Step to Man (New York: John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 1966), p. 196.
  • Norman O. Brown, Life Against Death (London: Sphere Books Ltd., 1968), p. 267.
  • See discussion in Nigel Calder, Technopolis (London: MacGibbon & Kee Ltd., 1969), pp. 98-99.
  • Arnold Toynbee, “Changing Attitudes towards Death in the Modern Western World” in Arnold Toynbee and others, Man’s Concern with Death (London: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1968), p. 125.
  • Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine (London: Hutchinson & Co. Ltd., 1967), p. 15.
  • Viktor E. Frankl, “Reductionism and Nihilism” in Beyond Reductionism, ed. Arthur Koestler and J. R. Smythies (London: Hutchinson & Co. Ltd., 1969), p. 398.
  • Mortimer J. Adler, The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes (London: Holt, Rinehart & Winston Ltd., 1967).
  • Quoted in T. M. Kitwood, What Is Human? (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1970), p. 49.
  • Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, IV, 1, as quoted in Kaufmann, pp. 83-84.
  • Harrington, p. 26.
  • Koestler, p. 313.
  • Fanon, pp. 251-52.
  • Harrington, p. 36.
  • Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, Standard Works of Freud, 21 (London: The Hogarth Press Ltd., 1961), p. 91-92.
  • Albert Camus, The Rebel, trans. Anthony Bower (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1962), pp. 243-44.
  • Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 125.
  • Quoted in Gay, p. 65.
  • Quoted in Kitwood, p. 54.
  • Erich Heller, The Disinherited Mind (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1961), p. 75.
  • Nietzsche, p. 409.
  • Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, I, 11, in The Portable Nietzsche, p. 160.
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Possessed (New York: Signet Classics, 1962), pp. 384-85.
  • Camus, The Rebel, p. 199.
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, Inc., 1968), p. 733.
  • Quoted in Camus, The Rebel, p. 58.
  • Quoted in ibid., p. 62.
  • Quoted in ibid.
  • Quoted in ibid.
  • Heller, p. 76.
  • Nietzsche, Zarathustra’s Prologue, 4, in The Portable Nietzsche, p. 126.
  • Jean Paul Sartre, Nausea (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965), p. 191.
  • Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. Hazel E. Barnes (London: Methuen, 1957), p. 566.
  • Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot (London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1956).
  • Samuel Beckett, Krapp’s Last Tape (New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1958).
  • Yoko Ono, Grapefruit (London: Peter Owen Ltd., 1970).
  • Paul Simon, The Paul Simon Songbook, C.B.S. 62579.
  • Jean Luc Godard, La Chinoise, filmed 1967.
  • Quoted in H. R. Rookmaaker, Modern Art and the Death of a Culture (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1970), p. 174.
  • Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society, trans. John Wilkinson (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970), p.321.
  • Chores and Roy Medvedev, A Question of Madness (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971).
  • “Psychoadaptation, or How to Handle Dissenters,” Time,September 27, 1971, p. 45.
  • lbid., p.44.
  • Quoted in Harrison Salisbury, “Introduction,” The Prison Diary of Ho Chi Minh (New York: Bantam Books, 1971), p. ix.
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot (New York: Bantam Books, 1958), p. 71.
  • Jerzy Grotowski, Towards a Poor Theatre (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), p. 123.
  • Erich Fromm, The Sane Society (New York: Routledge Books, 1956).
  • R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1967), p. 24.
  • Ibid., p.24.
  • David Cooper, ed., The Dialectics of Liberation (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968).
  • Malcolm Muggeridge, Tread Softly for You Tread on My Jokes (Glasgow: William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd.), p. 28.
  • Ibid., p. 29.
  • Christopher Booker, The Neophiliacs (Glasgow: Fontana, 1970), p. 70.
  • Ibid., p. 44.
  • Ibid., p. 339.
  • Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art, trans. Anna Bostock (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1963).
  • Lewis Feuer, “What Is Alienation? The Career of a Concept,” New Politics, Spring 1962, pp. 116-34.
  • Fischer, p. 80.
  • Erich Frornm, Marx’s Concept of Man (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1961).
  • Hermann Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, 4 vols. (Nutley, N.J.: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1957); The Twilight of Western Thought (Nutley, N.J.: Craig Press, 1960).
  • Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who Is There (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1968); Escape from Reason(Downers Grove, III.: InterVarsity Press, 1968).
  • J. A. Rushdoony, “Preface,” Dooyeweerd, The Twilight of Western Thought, p. 9.
  • Camus, The Rebel, p. 16.
  • Nietzsche in a letter to Gersdorff, November 7, 1970, quoted in Erich Heller, p. 70.
  • Ibid., p.181.
  • Fromm, Sane Society, p. 360.
  • Laing, The Politics of Experience, p. 118.

Author

Os Guinness is an Englishman born in China during the war with Japan and educated at the University of London. He has traveled widely in the East and lectured to student groups in Europe, the United States and Canada. His major work was with Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland.

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Ecclesiastes is a book that is truly a picture of how modern secular man looks at the world. 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.”

Below Francis Schaeffer comments on ECCLESIASTES:


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.

He lays down an order. It is best never have to been. It is better to be dead, and worse to be alive. But like all men and one could think of the face of Vincent Van Gogh in his final paintings as he came to hate life and you watch something die in his self portraits, the dilemma is double because as one is consistent and one sees life as a game of chance, one must come in a way to hate life. Yet at the same time men never get beyond the fear to die. Solomon didn’t either. So you find him in saying this.

Ecclesiastes 2:14-15

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.

The Hebrew is stronger than this and it says “it happens EVEN TO ME,” Solomon on the throne, Solomon the universal man. EVEN TO ME, even to Solomon.

Francis Schaeffer when he was discussing the artwork of Francis Bacon then he skips over to  Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock, and John Cage and compares them to Bacon in their view that possibly that a message break forth  from the impersonal chance universe:

I have an essay on Francis Bacon by John Russell. Methuan published it in London in 1964.

Bacon goes on, “In my case all painting–and the older I get, the more it becomes so–is an accident.” Now this is very important and to think of Jackson Pollock putting on his paint as a pure accident and you may remember my lecture on Paul Klee.

Paul Klee (1879-1940) speaks of some of his paintings as though they were a kind of Ouija board. Klee thinks that the universe can speak through his paintings. Not because he believes there are spirits there to speak, but because he hopes that the universe will push through and cause a kind of automatic writing, this time in painting. It is an automatic writing with no one there, as far as anyone knows, but the hope that the “universe” will speak.We think of John Cage with the universe speaking though chance.

Now Bacon continues and he says something very similar to what Pollock, Cage and Klee believed, “I foresee it and yet I hardly ever carry it out as I foresee it. It transforms itself by the actual paint. I don’t in fact know very often what the paint will do, and it does many things that are very much better than I could make it do. Perhaps one could say it’s not an accident, because it becomes a selective process what part of the accident one chooses to preserve.”

Now here from Francis Bacon’s own viewpoint. An absurd universe in a total sense and in some element of the paint taking on its own personality and a message may come through from impersonal source.

THE FACT IS THAT EVEN THOUGH MODERN MAN HAS COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT WE ARE MACHINES WE STILL ARE SEARCHING FOR A LASTING MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE FOR OUR LIVES. 


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.

I reject the idea that our universe is a result of chance. In the book LIFE ON THE EDGE I read this quote from Isaac Newton:

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

Newton was a believer in the scriptures and Francis Schaeffer points that out in his film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Below is an outline of one of the episodes:

THE SCIENTIFIC AGE

I. Church Attacks on Copernican Science Were Philosophical

Galileo’s and Copernicus’ works did not contradict the Bible but the elements of Aristotle’s teaching which had entered the Church.

II. Examples of Biblical Influence

A. Pascal’s work.

1. First successful barometer; great writing of French prose.

2. Understood Man’s uniqueness: Man could contemplate, and Man had value to God.

B. Newton

1. Speed of sound and gravity.

2. For Newton and the other early scientists, no problem concerning the why, because they began with the existence of a personal God who had created the universe.

C. Francis Bacon

1. Stressed careful observation and systematic collection of information.

2. Bacon and the other early scientists took the Bible seriously, including its teaching concerning history and the cosmos.

D. Faraday

1. Crowning discovery was the induction of the electric current.

2. As a Christian, believed God’s Creation is for all men to understand and enjoy, not just for a scientific elite.

III. Scientific Aspects of Biblical Influence

A. Oppenheimer and Whitehead: biblical foundations of scientific revolution.

B. Not all early scientists individually Christian, but all lived within Christian thought forms. This gave a base for science to continue and develop.

C. The contrast between Christian-based science and Chinese and Arab science.

D. Christian emphasis on an ordered Creation reflects nature of reality and is therefore acted upon in all cultures, regardless of what they say their world view is.

1. Einstein’s theory of relativity does not imply relative universe.

2. Man acts on assumption of order, whether he likes it or not.

3. Master idea of biblical science.

a) Uniformity of natural causes in an open system: cause and effect works, but God and Man not trapped in a process.

b) All that exists is not a total cosmic machine.

c) Human choices therefore have meaning and effect.

d) The cosmic machine and the machines people make therefore not a threat.

IV. Shift in Modern Science

A. Change in conviction from earlier modern scientists.

B. From an open to a closed natural system: elimination of belief in a Creator.

1. Closed system derives not from the findings of science but from philosophy.

2. Now there is no place for the significance of Man, for morals, or for love.

C. Darwin taught that all life evolved through the survival of the fittest.

1. Serious problems inherent in Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism

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You can actually watch this episode on You Tube by searching for “How Should we then Live? The Scientific Age,” and choosing the video that is just over 29 minutes long.


Sincerely,

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

PS: What is the meaning of life? Find it in the end of the open letter I wrote to you on April 23, 2020. 

Below is the workforce of THE TAMBURY GAZETTE 

Seen below is the third episode of AFTERLIFE (season 1) when Matt takes Tony to a comedy club with front row seats to cheer him up but it turns into disaster!!!

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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)”

Mandeep Dhillon as Sandy on her first assignment in ‘After Life’. (Twitter)

A still from ‘After Life’ that captures the vibe of the Tambury Gazette. (Twitter)

Michael Scott of THE OFFICE (USA) with Ricky Gervais 

After Life on Netflix

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

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Psychiatrist played by Paul Kaye seen below.

The sandy beach walk

Tony Johnson with his dog Brandi seen below:

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Francis Schaeffer “The Age of NONREASON”

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