My Open Letter to Woody Allen Discussing his film RIFKIN’S FESTIVAL Part 4 MORT: A genius in a rough. We used to have the most amazing discussions. Books, the theater, serious music. That summer in Newport! (Woody, I think you point to LEARNING as a potential solution to mankind’s BIG QUESTIONS! ARE THE MOST INTELLIGENT PEOPLE THE HAPPIEST OR THE MOST UNSATISFIED?)

Dear Woody,

MORT: A genius in a rough. We used to have
the most amazing discussions. Books, the theater, serious music. That summer in Newport.

Woody, I think you point to LEARNING as a potential solution to mankind’s BIG QUESTIONS! ARE THE MOST INTELLIGENT PEOPLE THE HAPPIEST OR THE MOST UNSATISFIED? This reminds of a speech Francis Schaeffer made in 1982:

As a matter of fact, this is their damnation, this is their tension, that they have to live in the light of their existence, the light of reality – the total reality in all these areas –and they do live there, and yet they have no sufficient explanation for any of these areas.  So, the wiser they are, the more honest they are, the more they feel that tension, and that is their present damnation.   I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT WOODY ALLEN WOULD BE AN ABSOLUTELY PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THIS WHOLE THING.

 Adrian Rogers visiting with President Reagan above

(Quote below from Adrian Rogers 1931-2005)

Did you know that all atheists are not atheists because of intellectual problems? They’re atheists because of moral problems. You say, “But I know some brilliant people who are atheists.” Well, that may be so, but I know some brilliant people who are not. You say, “I know some foolish people who believe in God.” Well, I know everyone who doesn’t believe in God is foolish.

Blaise Pascal was one of the most brilliant scientists of all time and a believer

Image result for solomon ecclesiastes vanity of vanity education

I have also  corresponded with many intellectuals such as you who were committed humanists. For example,    (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-), Daniel Dennett (1942- ), and   Gordon Stein (1941-1996).

I know your secular philosophy is based on your scientific understanding of the world. Mine is too. That is why I have corresponded with many scientists too. For example, Carl Sagan (1934-1996),  Ernest Mayr (1904-2005), George Wald (1906-1997),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-), and  Michael A. Crawford (1938-).

Today I want to ask you to match your wit with King Solomon’s words from 3000 years ago.


I want to start looking at the 6 L words that Solomonpursued UNDER THE SUN to try to get meaning and satisfaction in this life without God in the picture in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Today’s word  is LEARNING. Can one find a lasting meaning to life  in the area of education? Solomon had a lot to say about that in the Book of Ecclesiastes.

WHAT DOES SOLOMON HAVE TO SAY ABOUT PURSUING LEARNING in the Book of Ecclesiastes?

Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholars have 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.” 

As you know Solomon was searching for  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.

 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.

In an earlier letter to you I quoted Psalms chapter 22. 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.


Let me quote from a July 13, 2013 article by Jonas E. Alexis entitled God and the Intellectuals (Part II)

Formerly an atheist, Alister McGrath didn’t come to believe in God until he went to Oxford and began to rethink things he had taken for granted. He soon discovered that neither the intellectual foundation nor the existential description for atheism could stand up to reality.[68]

Antony Flew, one of the most trenchant and articulate atheists in the twentieth century, renounced his atheistic beliefs late in life.[69] Lee Strobel was a staunch atheist throughout his time at Yale, until he began to reexamine the claims of Christianity.

Francis Collins, former head of the Genome Project, did not become a Christian until he started practicing medicine.[70]Cosmologist Frank Tipler started his career as “a convinced atheist,” but changed his views when he seriously studied Christianity.[71]

And the list of individuals throughout history who believed in God is long. Let’s just name a few here:

Antiseptic Surgery, Joseph Lister (1827-1912)

Bacteriology Louis, Pasteur (1822-1895)

Calculus, Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Celestial Mechanics, Johann Kepler (1571-1630)

Chemistry, Robert Boyle (1627-1691)

Comparative Anatomy, Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)

Computer Science, Charles Babbage (1792-1871)

Dimensional Analysis, Lord Rayleigh (1842-1919)

Electrodynamics, James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)

Electromagnetics, Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

Electronics, Ambrose Fleming (1849-1945)

Entomology of Living Insects, Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

Field Theory, Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

Fluid Mechanics, George Stokes (1819-1903)

Galactic Astronomy, William Herschel (1738-1822)

Gas Dynamics, Robert Boyle (1627-1691)

Genetics, Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)

Glacial Geology, Louis Agassiz (1807-1873)

Gynecology, James Simpson (1811-1870)

Hydraulics, Leonardo de Vinci (1452-1519)

Hydrography, Mattew Maury (1806-1873)

Hydrostatics, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Ichthyology, Louis Agassiz (1807-1873)

Isotopic Chemistry, William Ramsay (1851-1916)

Model Analysis, Lord Rayleigh (1842-1919)

Natural History, John Ray (1627-1705)

Non-Euclidean, Geometry Bernhard Riemann (1826-1866)

Oceanography, Matthew Maury (1806-1873)

Optical Mineralogy, David Brewster (1781-1868)

Paleontology, John Woodward (1665-1728)

Pathology, Rudolph Virchow (1821-1902)

Physical Astronomy, Johann Kepler (1571-1630)

Reversible Thermodynamics, James Joule (1818-1889)

Statistical Thermodynamics, James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)

Stratigraphy, Nicholas Steno (1631-1868)

Systematic Biology, Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778)

Thermodynamics, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)

Thermokinetics, Humphrey Davy (1778-1829)

Vertebrate Paleontology, Georges Cuvier (1769-1832)

Absolute Temperature, Scale Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)

Actuarial Tables, Charles Babbage (1792-1871)

Barometer, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

Biogenesis, Law Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

Calculating Machine, Charles Babbage (1792-1871)

Chloroform, James Simpson (1811-1870)

Classification System, Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778)

Double Stars, William Herschel (1738-1822)

Electric Generator, Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

Electric Motor, Joseph Henry (1797-1878)

Ephemeris Tables, Johann Kepler (1571-1630)

Galvanometer, Joseph Henry (1797-1878)

Global Star Catalog, John Herschel (1792-1871)

Kaleidoscope David Brewster (1781-1868)

Pasteurization, Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)

Reflecting Telescope, Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Self-Induction, Joseph Henry (1797-1878)

Telegraph, Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872)

Thermionic Valve, Ambrose Fleming (1849-1945)

Mathematical Analysis, Leonhard Euler (1707-1883)

Number Theory, Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855)

Botanist and Inventor, George Washington Carver (1864-1943)

Mathematician and Astronomer, Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806)

And who can talk about the world of literature and classical music without William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Franz Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt, among others?

Are all these people deluded? And if so, what is so powerful about Christianity

that it can deceive so many brilliant people throughout the centuries? As Francis Collins pointed out,

“If faith was a psychological crutch, it must be a powerful one.”[72]

This psychological crutch has also kept noted figures such as John Polkinghorne into intellectual bondage for far too long.[73] Polkinghorne, who played an instrumental role in the discovery of quark and other theoretical particles, did not become an idiot by accepting Christianity.[74]

—-

WOODY DO YOU WANT EVIDENCE THAT THE BIBLE IS HISTORICALLY TRUSTWORTHY?

Adrian Rogers observed 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!

The answer to finding 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.

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

PS: When I watched RIFKIN’S FILM FESTIVAL I noticed how many times you talked about writing a great novel and reminded me of Gil in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. I wrote 34 posts on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org on the historical characters mentioned in that movie. In fact, if you google CHARACTERS REFERENCED IN MIDNIGHT IN PARIS then it will bring you to my blog! The movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS offers many of the same themes we see in Ecclesiastes. The second post looked at the question: WAS THERE EVER A GOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT?

In the third post in this series we discover in Ecclesiastes that man UNDER THE SUN finds himself caught in the never ending cycle of birth and death. The SURREALISTS make a leap into the area of nonreason in order to get out of this cycle and that is why the scene in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel works so well!!!! These surrealists look to the area of their dreams to find a meaning for their lives and their break with reality is  only because they know that they can’t find a rational meaning in life without God in the picture.

The fourth post looks at the solution of WINE, WOMEN AND SONG and the fifth and sixth posts look at the solution T.S.Eliotfound in the Christian Faith and how he left his fragmented message of pessimism behind. In the seventh post the SURREALISTS say that time and chance is all we have but how can that explain love or art and the hunger for God? The eighth  post looks at the subject of DEATH both in Ecclesiastes and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. In the ninth post we look at the nihilistic worldview of Woody Allen and why he keeps putting suicides into his films.

In the tenth post I show how Woody Allen pokes fun at the brilliant thinkers of this world and how King Solomon did the same thing 3000 years ago. In the eleventh post I point out how many of Woody Allen’s liberal political views come a lack of understanding of the sinful nature of man and where it originated. In the twelfth post I look at the mannishness of man and vacuum in his heart that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God.

In the thirteenth post we look at the life of Ernest Hemingway as pictured in MIDNIGHT AND PARIS and relate it to the change of outlook he had on life as the years passed. In the fourteenth post we look at Hemingway’s idea of Paris being a movable  feast. The fifteenth and sixteenth posts both compare Hemingway’s statement, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know…”  with Ecclesiastes 2:18 “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The seventeenth post looks at these words Woody Allen put into Hemingway’s mouth,  “We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all.”

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘swords, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it? The nineteenth post looks at the tension felt both in the life of Gil Pender (written by Woody Allen) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and in Mark Twain’s life and that is when an atheist says he wants to scoff at the idea THAT WE WERE PUT HERE FOR A PURPOSE but he must stay face the reality of  Ecclesiastes 3:11 that says “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” and  THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING! Therefore, the secular view that there is no such thing as love or purpose looks implausible. The twentieth post examines how Mark Twain discovered just like King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is no explanation  for the suffering and injustice that occurs in life UNDER THE SUN. Solomon actually brought God back into the picture in the last chapter and he looked  ABOVE THE SUN for the books to be balanced and for the tears to be wiped away.

The twenty-first post looks at the words of King Solomon, Woody Allen and Mark Twain that without God in the picture our lives UNDER THE SUN will accomplish nothing that lasts. Thetwenty-second post looks at King Solomon’s experiment 3000 years that proved that luxuries can’t bring satisfaction to one’s life but we have seen this proven over and over through the ages. Mark Twain lampooned the rich in his book “The Gilded Age” and he discussed  get rich quick fever, but Sam Clemens loved money and the comfort and luxuries it could buy. Likewise Scott Fitzgerald  was very successful in the 1920’s after his publication of THE GREAT GATSBY and lived a lavish lifestyle until his death in 1940 as a result of alcoholism.

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In the twenty-third post we look at Mark Twain’s statement that people should either commit suicide or stay drunk if they are “demonstrably wise” and want to “keep their reasoning faculties.” We actually see this play out in the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with the character Zelda Fitzgerald. In the twenty-fourthtwenty-fifth and twenty-sixth posts I look at Mark Twain and the issue of racism. In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we see the difference between the attitudes concerning race in 1925 Paris and the rest of the world.

The twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth posts are summing up Mark Twain. In the 29th post we ask did MIDNIGHT IN PARIS accurately portray Hemingway’s personality and outlook on life? and in the 30th post the life and views of Hemingway are summed up.

In the 31st post we will observe that just like Solomon Picasso slept with many women. Solomon actually slept with  over 1000 women ( Eccl 2:8, I Kings 11:3), and both men ended their lives bitter against all women and in the 32nd post we look at what happened to these former lovers of Picasso. In the 33rd post we see that Picasso  deliberately painted his secular  worldview of fragmentation on his canvas but he could not live with the loss of humanness and he reverted back at crucial points and painted those he loved with all his genius and with all their humanness!!! In the 34th post  we notice that both Solomon in Ecclesiastes and Picasso in his painting had an obsession with the issue of their impending death!!!

___________

Related posts:

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December 23, 2015 – 4:15 am

Woody Allen believes that we live in a cold, violent and meaningless universe and it seems that his main character (Gil Pender, played by Owen Wilson) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS shares that view. Pender’s meeting with the Surrealists is by far the best scene in the movie because they are ones who can […]

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December 16, 2015 – 4:56 am

In the last post I pointed out how King Solomon in Ecclesiastes painted a dismal situation for modern man in life UNDER THE SUN  and that Bertrand Russell, and T.S. Eliot and  other modern writers had agreed with Solomon’s view. However, T.S. Eliot had found a solution to this problem and put his faith in […]

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December 9, 2015 – 4:41 am

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Gil Pender ponders the advice he gets from his literary heroes from the 1920’s. King Solomon in Ecclesiastes painted a dismal situation for modern man in life UNDER THE SUN  and many modern artists, poets, and philosophers have agreed. In the 1920’s T.S.Eliot and his  house guest Bertrand Russell were two of […]

“Woody Wednesday

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