FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 447 Responding to Dan Barker’s book LIFE DRIVEN PURPOSE ( How does it follow if there is no “ultimate significance,” life is meaningless?) Francis Schaeffer retorts: “However, we are not allowed to forget all these BIG questions. IN REALITY THESE ARE THE VERY THINGS ON WHICH OUR LIVES ARE BASED! We are being totally infiltrated with the whole concept of the uniformity of natural cause in a closed system and totally infiltrated with the concept that man is mechanical and that man is only a machine and if we don’t have a North Star to keep our balance then either we or our children will be sweep away. Even if we don’t ask the big questions then our children and others around us will!!!! We will be forced to face the results of these big questions!” FEATURED ARTIST IS THEODORE GÉRICAULT (1791-1824)

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.


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)

Francis Schaeffer answered a similar question. Here is the question:

Last week one the points you developed concerning the evolutionary view and you insisted that the perspective of life that is based on man being produced by time and chance is one that only lead to despair. I can visualize that some could respond to this that there is no need for despair because there are still pleasures to life. One can still enjoy life even though man is really insignificant in the whole movement of the cosmos.

Francis Schaeffer answers:

What I would say is that we can live in a small, small area and we can enjoy life, but when we begin to think we are thrown into this problem. We can say why don’t we just live and forgot all these BIG QUESTIONS and the serious cinema like Ingmar Bergman, Fellini and Antonioni. However, we are not allowed to forget all these BIG questions. In reality these are the very things on which our lives are based. We are being totally infiltrated with the whole concept of the uniformity of natural cause in a closed system and totally infiltrated with the concept that man is mechanical and that man is only a machine and if we don’t have a North Star to keep our balance then either we or our children will be sweep away. Even if we don’t ask the big questions then our children and others around us will!!!! We will be forced to face the results of these big questions. Rather than being a meaningless exercise to consider these questions in reality these are the most important questions we can ask for ourselves and for our children.

Is Propositional Revelation Nonsense?

August 08, 2020by: Francis A. Schaeffer

Revelation and Infallibility

There are two ways to consider the question of propositional revelation and infallibility. The first is through consideration of the presuppositions involved; the second is through consideration of the detailed problems. This article will deal with the first. However, until the first is in place, the second cannot be sensibly pursued. 

To modern man, and much modern theology, the concept of propositional revelation and the historic Christian view of infallibility is not so much mistaken as meaningless. It is so in the same way, and for the same basic reasons, that for most modern men and most modern theology the concept of sin and guilt, in any real moral sense, is meaningless. But, of course, one must ask if their presupposition is the proper and adequate one.

The Christian presupposition is that there was a personal beginning to all things—someone has been there and made all the rest. This someone would have to be big enough, and this means being infinite. One still has the question of the personal-infinite someone always having been there; but if this were the case, the other problems would no longer exist. And everyone has to explain the fact that the universe and he, the individual, does exist; thus, something has “been there.”

Now if this personal-infinite someone always having been there is the case, everything else would be limited in contrast to his own enough-ness, or infiniteness. But just suppose that he made something limited, but on his own wavelength—let’s say in his own image—then one would have both an infinite, noncreated Personal and a limited, created personal. On this presupposition, the personality of the limited, created personal would be explained. On this same presupposition, why could not the noncreated Personal communicate to the created personal if he wished? Of course, if the infinite, uncreated Personal communicated to the finite, created personal, he would not exhaust himself in his communication; but two things are clear here:

He Is There and He Is Not Silent

He Is There and He Is Not Silent

Francis A. Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer invites readers into a deeper understanding of the philosophical issues that plague the post-modern world by investigating the Christian perspective of who they are, who God is, and how they know what they know.

  1. Even communication between one created person and another is not exhaustive; but that does not mean that for that reason it is not true. Thus, the problem of communication from the uncreated Personal to the created personal would not have to be of a qualitatively different order from the communication between one created personal being and another. It would not be exhaustive, but that would not make it untrue, any more than the created-person to created-person communication would be untrue, unless the uncreated Personal were a liar or capricious. 
  2. If the uncreated Personal really cared for the created personal, it could not be thought unthinkable for him to tell the created personal things of a propositional nature; otherwise, as a finite being, the created personal would have numerous things he could not know if he just began with himself as a limited, finite reference point.

In such a case, there is no intrinsic reason why the uncreated Personal could only communicate some vaguely true things, but could not communicate clear propositional truth concerning the world surrounding the created personal—let’s say, truth about the cosmos. Or why he could not communicate propositional truth concerning the sequence that followed the uncreated Personal’s original creation—let’s call that history. There is no reason why he could not communicate these two types of propositions. The communication would not be exhaustive, but can we think of any reason why it would not be true?

The above is, of course, what the Bible claims for itself concerning propositional revelation. 

If the uncreated Personal wished to give these communications through individual created personalities in such a way that they would write (in their own individual style, etc.) the exact things the uncreated Personal wanted them to write in the areas of religious truth and things of the cosmos and history—then by this time it is impossible to make an absolute and say that he could not or would not. And this, of course, is the Bible’s claim concerning inspiration. 

How God Communicates

Within this framework, why would it be unthinkable that the noncreated Personal should communicate with the created personal in verbalized form, if the noncreated Personal made the created personal a language-communicating being? And we are (even if we do not know why) language-communicating beings. There is only one reason to rule out as unthinkable the fact that Jesus gave a propositional communication to Saul in verbalized form in the Hebrew language, using normal words and syntax (Acts 26:14), or that God did so to the Jews at Sinai—that is, to have accepted the other set of presuppositions—even if, by using religious terminology, one obscures that one has accepted the naturalistic presuppositions. 

Now one may obscure what one has done in accepting naturalistic presuppositions by using religious terminology and saying or implying, “Jesus (without in this case having any way to know what or who that really is) gave to Saul some form of a first-order, noncontentful experience, in which the words used in the biblical text to express this inexpressible are just words which reflect views of life, history, and the cosmos which were then current.” If one does this, however, one is left with a faith which is equivalent to saying, “I believe . . .” without ever finishing, or being able to finish, the sentence—or even knowing if a definite or an indefinite article comes next in the sentence. 

Further, if the noncreated Personal placed the communication he gave man in a book of history, why would it then be unlikely that the noncreated Personal would communicate truly concerning the space-time history in that book? How strange that if the noncreated Personal is not a liar or capricious, that he should give “religious truth” in a book in which the whole structural framework, implicitly and explicitly, is historic, and yet that history be false or confused. Surely, except on the preconceived presupposition that that book can only be “man feeling upward” within the framework of the uniformity of natural causes, such an idea would be peculiar beyond measure. This is especially so, as the book itself gives no indication of two levels; it gives no indication of a “religious truth” out of contact with the history in the book. It repeatedly appeals to the history open to verification as a proof of the truth of what is given; and it gives no indication of the enveloping space-time history being only so much errorconditioned incrustation.

Why could not the noncreated Personal teach the created personal truly on the level of knowledge which is the basis of so much of what we know on the created personal level: namely, one who knows, telling one who does not know—not exhaustively, yet truly? Surely this is how we have our knowledge from other created personal sources. Further, why could not the noncreated Personal also tell about Himself truly (though not exhaustively)—unless we have already accepted the presupposition that that which is the “noncreated” must be the “philosophic other.” If we begin with a noncreated Personal creating man in His own image, what rules out the statement of the Westminster Larger Catechism that God made known to us, through the Scripture, what God is? Is there any reason why the noncreated Personal could not so tell us truly about Himself, though not exhaustively? 

Dealing with the Nonsense Connotation

By this stage, two things should be obvious: first, that from the presupposition that all things started from mass or energy, the idea of either revelation or infallibility is unthinkable; and second, that from the presupposition of a personal beginning, these ideas are not unthinkable or nonsense at all. The reasonableness of the matter thus rests totally on which way one begins—that is, on which presupposition one adopts at the outset.

The Christian presupposition is that there was a personal beginning to all things—someone has been there and made all the rest. 

If one starts with the impersonal everything, then the question naturally has nothing to do with even the possibility of an uncreated Personal communicating to a created personal; that, from the premise, is nonsense. Yet if one does begin with a nonpersonal everything, there is a question that now really shouts: Is not manto-man communication equally nonsense? 

With this presupposition no one has discovered a way to find meaning either in man’s speaking to man or in man’s hearing, except through an act of faith against his whole basic presuppositional structure. Worse yet, for those who hold this other presupposition, the little men (I and the others) are not content to think that they do not speak meaningfully; and furthermore everything in experience convinces us that the others hear truly, though not exhaustively. 

By this time, is this not something like a Francis Bacon painting? One must scream, but the whole situation is a lostness and a damnation, including the scream. 

Well now, in the light of this total confusion to which the other presupposition (the impersonal + time + chance) leads us, the presupposition of a personal beginning is worth another very careful look. If everything did begin with that uncreated Personal beginning, then neither communication from the created personal to the created personal, nor from the noncreated Personal to the created personal is unthinkable. Nor is it even intrinsically unlikely.

The importance of all this is that most people today (including some who still call themselves evangelical) who have given up the historical and biblical concept of revelation and infallibility have not done so because of the consideration of detailed problems objectively approached, but because they have accepted, either in analyzed fashion or blindly, the other set of presuppositions. Often this has taken place by means of cultural injection, without their realizing what has happened to them. 

Having accepted the other presupposition against the evidence of true, though not exhaustive, man-to-man communication, I wonder what would make them listen? It is strange to communicate the concept that one rejects the concept of a noncreated Personal “being there,” when there is no way then to know the how, why, or what of communication with my own kind. And the strangeness continues if one says that it is unreasonable per se to consider the fact of the noncreated Personal being there, when that would explain the how, why, and what of the communication I do have with my own kind! 

Having come to this point, we are in a position to consider the detailed problems—the so-called “critical problems.” But the historic view of the Bible and of the Church about revelation and infallibility is no longer nonsense per se; and even most of the detailed problems look very different once the nonsense connotation is dealt with.

This article is adapted from He Is There and He Is Not Silent by Francis A. Schaeffer.

Francis A. Schaeffer

Francis A. Schaeffer(1912–1984) authored more than twenty books, which have been translated into several languages and have sold millions globally. He and his wife, Edith, founded the L’Abri Fellowship international study and discipleship centers. Recognized internationally for his work in Christianity and culture, Schaeffer passed away in 1984 but his influence and legacy continue worldwide.

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

Image result for king solomon

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


Image result for francis schaeffer

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:


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


Theodore Gericault - Portrait of a Kleptomaniac - 1791-1824


Key figure in romanticism, revolutionary in his life and works despite his bourgeois origins. In his masterpiece, “The raft of the Medusa”, Gericault creates a painting that we can define as “politically incorrect”, as it depicts the miseries of a large group of castaways abandoned after the shipwreck of a French naval frigate

James Abbot McNeill Whistler - Selbstportrat - 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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