FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 440 Responding to Dan Barker’s book LIFE DRIVEN PURPOSE ( How does it follow if there is no “ultimate significance,” life is meaningless?) FEATURED ARTIST IS Whistler

Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning

I have read articles for years from Dan Barker, but recently I just finished the book Barker wrote entitled LIFE DRIVEN PURPOSE which was prompted by Rick Warren’s book PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE which I also read several years ago.

Dan Barker is the  Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, And co-host of Freethought Radio and co-founder of The Clergy Project.

On March 19, 2022, I got an email back from Dan Barker that said:

Thanks for the insights.

Have you read my book Life Driven Purpose? To say there is no purpose OF life is not to say there is no purpose IN life. Life is immensely meaningful when you stop looking for external purpose.

Ukraine … we’ll, we can no longer blame Russian aggression on “godless communism.” The Russian church, as far as I know, has not denounced the war.

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In the next few weeks I will be discussing the book LIFE DRIVEN PURPOSE which I did enjoy reading. Here is an assertion that Barker makes that I want to discuss:

In his book Reasonable Faith, Craig claims that if purpose is not “ultimate,” it is worthless. “If each person passes out of existence when he dies,” he asks, “then what ultimate meaning can be given to his life?” He replies with the nonsequitur, “Thus, if there is no God, then life itself becomes meaningless. Man and the universe are without ultimate significance.” How does it follow that if there is no “ultimate significance,” life is meaningless? Craig doesn’t make the connection. He seems to be confusing meaning with “ultimate meaning” (whatever that is). He thinks we are hammers. This is very much like Rick Warren conflating the two different usages of purpose. Purpose and meaning scurry through Craig’s book like greased piglets. He never defines purpose (as I do) or meaning (as I will in the final chapter). He sloppily treats them as synonyms. Neither does he directly define absurd: “For if there is no God, then man’s life becomes absurd.” What does absurd mean? “It means that the life we have is without ultimate significance, value, or purpose.”25 So life is absurd if there is no ultimate meaning, but life lacks meaning because without God it is absurd. He is talking in a circle. According to believers like Craig who are unhappy with blunt reality, life needs to be more than it is, otherwise it is absurd, and since we can’t possibly allow life to be absurd, then life must be more than it is! As an atheist, I think that is absurd.

I had an interesting correspondence with Dr. John Hospers on this very subject and let me share some of our discussion:

Here is a link to an interesting article by John Hospers on his presidential race in 1972.

sent a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers on Evolution to John Hospers in May of 1994 which was the 10th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s passing and I promptly received a typed two page response from Dr. John Hospers. Dr. Hospers had both read my letter and all the inserts plus listened to the whole sermon and had some very angry responses. If you would like to hear the sermon from Adrian Rogers and read the transcript then refer to my earlier post at this link.  Over the last few weeks I have posted  portions of Dr. Hospers’ letter and portions of the cassette tape that he listened to back in 1994, but today I want  to look at some other comments made on that cassette tape that John Hospers listened to and I will also post a few comments that Dr. Hospers made in that 2 page letter.

Image result for john hospers

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

In another letter I wrote about Francis Schaeffer’s experience when he compares it to King Solomon in ECCLESIASTES:

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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!

—-

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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.

Here is a portion of Hospers’ June 2, 1994 letter to me that refers to the song DUST IN THE WIND specially to his message that WE ARE JUST DUST IN THE WIND ultimately:

Then follows one of the countless non sequiturs in your missive: IF LIFE HAS MEANING BECAUSE OF RELATIONSHIPS, DOES LIFE HAVE ETERNAL MEANING ONLY IF WE HAVE ETERNAL RELATIONSHIPS?

First, does life have meaning only because of relationships? with whom? are animals included? books? anyway, why should life be MEANINGFUL only because of relationships? A very doubtful premise.

Second, nothing follows from this about ETERNAL RELATIONSHIPS, as any elementary student of logic knows. Why should relationships be eternal? Our lives can have profound meaning thru various activities and relationships; why do they have to be eternal? Why is it so uncomfortable for you to realize that all things pass?  They are none the less real and noble because they are temporary. In another couple of thousand years. the earth will undergo another ice age; in another 6 billion years the sun will be extinguished and life on earth no longer possible. That’s just a fact; can’t you face facts? why do you have to spin fancies to feed your wishes, and make things other than they are? Can’t you take reality straight? The child demands the universe to be as he wishes it; I would think we would get over that delusion by the time we become adults.

I sent Dr. John Hospers a cassette tape that started off with this song  DUST IN THE WIND by Kerry Livgren of the group KANSAS which was a hit song in 1978 when it rose to #6 on the charts because so many people connected with the message of the song. It included these words, “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.”

Kerry Livgren himself said that he wrote the song because he saw where man was without a personal God in the picture. Solomon pointed out in the Book of Ecclesiastes that those who believe that God doesn’t exist must accept three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. The Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

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 shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Kerry Livgren of the rock group KANSAS and writer of the song DUST IN THE WIND

Kansas in the 1970s, from left: Kerry Livgren, Phil Ehart, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Steve Walsh and Dave Hope.

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.

Kerry Livgren/Dave Hope: 700 Club Interview (Kansas) Part 1

Francis Schaeffer

Image result for francis schaeffer roman bridge

How Should We Then Live | Season 1 | Episode 7 | The Age of Non-Reason


How Should We Then Live | Season 1 | Episode 8 | The Age of Fragmentation

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 1 | Abortion of the Human…

Whatever Happened To The Human Race? | Episode 4 | The Basis for Human D…

1984 SOUNDWORD LABRI CONFERENCE VIDEO – Q&A With Francis & Edith Schaefer

James McNeill Whistler: A collection of 239 paintings (HD)

James Abbot McNeill Whistler - Selbstportrat - 1834-1903

JAMES ABBOT MCNEILL WHISTLER (1834-1903)

Along with Winslow Homer, the great figure of the American painting of his time. Whistler was an excellent portraitist, which is shown in the fabulous portrait of his mother, considered one of the great masterpieces of the American painting of all time


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