FRANCIS SCHAEFFER versus RICHARD DAWKINS on Bach (OPEN LETTER TO DAWKINS)

XXXX

How Should We Then Live | Season 1 | Episode 4 | The Reformation | Franc…

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

The Best of Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach.jpg

May 1, 2021

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 recently read this article about your love of Bach’s music.

If any example proves this point, it is the confession of evolutionary biologist and self-professed “militant atheist,” Richard Dawkins. Dawkins recalls an appearance he had on Desert Island Discs, a British radio show. When asked to choose the eight records he would take with him on a desert island, he included “Mache dich mein Herze rein” from J. S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion. “The interviewer was unable to understand how I could choose religious music without being religious,” Dawkins recalls. “You might as well say, how can you enjoy Wuthering Heights when you know perfectly well that Cathy and Heathcliff never really existed?”

In your book The God Delusion on page 111 you stated:

I once was the guest of the week on a British radio show called Desert Island Discs. You have to choose the eight records you would take with you if marooned on a desert island. Among my choices was ‘Mache dich mein Herze rein’ from Bach’s St Matthew Passion. The interviewer was unable to understand how I could choose religious music without being religious. You might as well say, how can you enjoy Wuthering Heights when you know perfectly well that Cathy and Heathcliff never really existed?

But there is an additional point that I might have made, and which needs to be made whenever religion is given credit for, say, the Sistine Chapel or Raphael’s Annunciation. Even great artists have to earn a living, and they will take commissions where they are to be had. I have no reason to doubt that Raphael and Michelangelo were Christians – it was pretty much the only option in their time – but the fact is almost incidental. Its enormous wealth had made the Church the dominant patron of the arts. If history had worked out differently, and Michelangelo had been commissioned to paint a ceiling for a giant Museum of Science, mightn’t he have produced something at least as inspirational as the Sistine Chapel? How sad that we shall never hear Beethoven’s Mesozoic Symphony, or Mozart’s opera The Expanding Universe.

2 RESPONSES TO YOUR ASSERTION THAT AN EARLIER ACCEPTANCE OF EVOLUTION WOULD HAVE ENRICHED MUSIC AND THE ARTS.

First, we have the testimony of Charles Darwin himself concerning this.

Second, we have the actual details from Bach’s life.

Let us take a quick look at your idea of Mozart’s opera THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE. When I read the book  Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published lettersI also read  a commentary on it by Francis Schaeffer and I wanted to both  quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words to you and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words.

 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, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, 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 dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did…

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. A man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

Francis Schaeffer commented:

This is the old man Darwin writing at the end of his life. What he is saying here is the further he has gone on with his studies the more he has seen himself reduced to a machine as far as aesthetic things are concerned. I think this is crucial because as we go through this we find that his struggles and my sincere conviction is that he never came to the logical conclusion of his own position, but he nevertheless in the death of the higher qualities as he calls them, art, music, poetry, and so on, what he had happen to him was his own theory was producing this in his own self just as his theories a hundred years later have produced this in our culture. I don’t think you can hold the evolutionary position as he held it without becoming a machine. What has happened to Darwin personally is merely a forerunner to what occurred to the whole culture as it has fallen in this world of pure material, pure chance and later determinism. Here he is in a situation where his mannishness has suffered in the midst of his own position.

Let’s take a closer look at the music by Bach that you call your favorite.

NO LUTHER, NO BACH

NOVEMBER 18, 20127 COMMENTS

From Francis Schaeffer’s How Should We Then Live? (p. 92):

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) was certainly the zenith of the composers coming out of the Reformation. His music was a direct result of the Reformation culture and the biblical Christianity of the time, which was so much a part of Bach himself. There would have been no Bach had there been no Luther. Bach wrote on his score initials representing such phrases as: “With the help of Jesus” – “To God alone be the glory” – “In the name of Jesus.” It was appropriate that the last thing Bach the Christian wrote was “Before Thy Throne I Now Appear.” Bach consciously related both the form and the words of his music to biblical truth. Out of the biblical context came a rich combination of music and words and a diversity of unity. This rested on the fact that the Bible gives unity to the universal and the particulars, and therefore the particulars have meaning. Expressed musically, there can be endless variety and diversity without chaos. There is variety yet resolution.

And this is why I love Bach.

In THE GOD WHO IS THERE Francis Schaeffer makes great point:

In a different but related way this is also true of a man like Bernard Berenson (1865-1959). He was the world’s greatest expert on Renaissance art during his lifetime. He graduated from Harvard and lived most of his later life in Florence. He was such an authority on his subject that when he dated and priced a picture, it was generally accepted as decisive. He was a truly “modern” man and accepted sexual amorality. Therefore when he took Mary Costelloe (sister of the American essayist Logan Pearsall Smith) away from her husband, he lived with her for a number of years until her husband died and then married her (the Costelloes’ marriage was Roman Catholic, and so a divorce could not be arranged). When Berenson eventually married her, they had an agreement that they would both be free to engage in extramarital affairs, and both took advantage of the agreement many times. They lived this way for forty-five years. When anyone chided Berenson, he would simply say, “You are forgetting the animal basis of our nature.” Thus he was perfectly willing in his private life to accept a completely animal situation. 

But in contrast to this, he expressed a completely different view where his real love and true integration point—Renaissance art—was concerned. “Bernard Berenson found that modern figure painting in general was not based on seeing, on observing, but on exasperation and on the preconceived assumption that the squalid, the sordid, the violent, the bestial, the misshapen, in short . . . low life was the only reality!”1 In the area of sexual morals he was perfectly willing to live consistently to his view of life as an animal. But in the area which had become his attempt to find an integration point, that of art, he was prepared to say that he disliked modern art because it is bestial! No man like Berenson can live with his system. Every truly modern man is forced to accept some sort of leap in theory or practice, because the pressure of his own humanity demands it. He can say what he will concerning what he himself is; but no matter what he says he is, he still is man. These kinds of leaps, produced in desperation as an act of blind faith, are totally different from the faith of historic Christianity. On the basis of biblical Christianity a rational discussion and consideration can take place, because it is fixed in the stuff of history. When Paul was asked whether Jesus was raised from the dead, he gave a completely nonreligious answer, in the twentieth-century sense. He said: “There are almost 500 living witnesses; go and ask them!”2 This is the faith that involves the whole man, including his reason; it does not ask for a belief into the void. As the twentieth-century mentality would understand the concept of religion, the Bible is a nonreligious book.

Richard you love talking about EVIDENCE!! You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. 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 Jerusalem, 2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism), 4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites, 6.Shishak Smiting His Captives, 7. Moabite Stone, 8. Black 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.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com

http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander 72002


Related posts:


I love Woody Allen’s latest movie “Midnight in Paris”
June 12, 2011 – 11:52 pm

“Woody Wednesday” A 2010 review of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall

February 27, 2013 – 7:34 am

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” In 2009 interview Woody Allen talks about the lack of meaning of life and the allure of younger women

February 20, 2013 – 1:58 am

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

Woody Allen video interview in France talk about making movies in Paris vs NY and other subjects like God, etc

February 20, 2013 – 12:49 am

Woody Allen video interview in France Related posts: “Woody Wednesdays” Woody Allen on God and Death June 6, 2012 – 6:00 am Good website on Woody Allen How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter? If Jesus Christ came back today and […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons

February 13, 2013 – 7:48 am

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham (Woody Wednesday)

February 6, 2013 – 1:49 am

A surprisingly civil discussion between evangelical Billy Graham and agnostic comedian Woody Allen. Skip to 2:00 in the video to hear Graham discuss premarital sex, to 4:30 to hear him respond to Allen’s question about the worst sin and to 7:55 for the comparison between accepting Christ and taking LSD. ___________________ The Christian Post > […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Allen Wednesdays” can be seen on the www.thedailyhatch.org

February 4, 2013 – 4:54 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 If you like Woody Allen films as much as I do then join me every Wednesday for another look the man and his movies. Below are some of the posts from the past: “Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Great Documentary on Woody Allen

January 30, 2013 – 7:35 am

I really enjoyed this documentary on Woody Allen from PBS. Woody Allen: A Documentary, Part 1 Published on Mar 26, 2012 by NewVideoDigital Beginning with Allen’s childhood and his first professional gigs as a teen – furnishing jokes for comics and publicists – WOODY ALLEN: A DOCUMENTARY chronicles the trajectory and longevity of Allen’s career: […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 6)

January 23, 2013 – 12:36 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca______________ One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Uncategorized | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 5)

January 16, 2013 – 12:35 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 2 of 3: ‘What Does The Movie Tell Us About Ourselves?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _________________- One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed it earlier but […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

In 2009 interview Woody Allen talks about the lack of meaning of life and the allure of younger women

January 14, 2013 – 6:52 am

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Allen Wednesdays” can be seen on the www.thedailyhatch.org

January 13, 2013 – 4:55 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 If you like Woody Allen films as much as I do then join me every Wednesday for another look the man and his movies. Below are some of the posts from the past: “Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

Woody Allen on the Emptiness of Life by Toby Simmons

January 10, 2013 – 2:48 pm

I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopeless, meaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 4)

January 9, 2013 – 12:32 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 1 of 3: ‘What Does Judah Believe?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _____________ One of my favorite films is this gem by Woody Allen “Crimes and Misdemeanors”: Film Review By […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Uncategorized | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 3)

January 2, 2013 – 12:30 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 3 of 3: ‘Is Woody Allen A Romantic Or A Realist?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca______________ One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 2)

December 26, 2012 – 12:27 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 2 of 3: ‘What Does The Movie Tell Us About Ourselves?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _________________- One of my favorite Woody Allen movies and I reviewed it earlier but […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Woody Wednesday” Discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Part 1)

December 19, 2012 – 7:05 am

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1 Uploaded by camdiscussion on Sep 23, 2007 Part 1 of 3: ‘What Does Judah Believe?’ A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest. By Anton Scamvougeras. http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/ antons@mail.ubc.ca _____________ Today I am starting a discusssion of the movie “Crimes and Misdemeanors” by Woody Allen. This 1989 […]By Everette Hatcher III | Posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: