FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 449 Responding to Dan Barker’s book LIFE DRIVEN PURPOSE ( In order to fix all the bugs in the God task—the problem of EVIL…—believers need to cobble together inelegant Rube Goldberg kluges, apologetics, theologies, and theodicies to keep it clunking along. ) FEATURED ARTIST IS Liu Xiaodong

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:


Earlier I shared a portion of a letter and today I want to share the rest of the letter.

On October 16, 1995 I sent a letter to Ward and Barbara Tabler concerning the problem of evil which I had been corresponding with them about. Here is a portion of my letter: 

Dear Tablers, 

Thank you for sending me the article by Kaz Dziamka which appeared in the July/August 1995 Issue of the FREE MIND. You stated that this article properly represented your views. I would agree with James W. Sire who said this issue concerning the problem of evil is the toughest question thoughtful Christians ever have to answer. 


Kaz Dziamka starts off by saying, “If I were a Christian  I would like to believe in a god of mercy, of love, of compassion — of compassion, in particular. If I were a Christian, I would be left dubfounded, paralyzed, speechless by the horro of the Oklahoma City bomb explosion.”


Kaz Dziamka puts forth the classical argument that if God is absolutely powerful and ultimately good, He would deal with evil now and not allow the mad bombers of the world to exist. I also feel the pain as I watch those tragic scenes on T.V. . in fact, my pastor’s brother performed 3 funerals for children in his church who died in that blast. However, Kaz Dziamk is incorrect in the assumption that just because evil is not destroyed now that it will never be destroyed. God is all=good therefore He will destroy evil one day in the future. 
Romans 5:12 sheds some light on this issue of evil. It states, “Wherefore as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by in, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”  Maybe Kaz Dziamka doesn’t believe in sin. May humanists believe man is born in a state of moral neutrality. R.C. Sproul asks, How then can we account for the universality of human imperfection? Surely some percentage of persons would be able to make it through life without sinning. There would be no reason why anyone would ever sin, not to mention the majority or, worse yet, everybody. How did society become corrupt in the first place? Why are there no morally perfect societies or even societies where half of the peoples are perfect? Diagenes” quest for the honest man continues to this day. If the Bible never mentioned original sin, we could easily postulate it from a study of history and human society.” 

Francis Schaeffer.jpg


Francis Schaeffer has rightly said, “Christianity’s answer (to the problem of evil) rests in the historic, spacetime, real and complete Fall. “the True Christian position is that, in space and time and history, there was an unprogrammed man who made a choice, and actually rebelled against God…without Christianity’s answer that God made a significant man in a significant history with evil being the result of Satan’s and then man’s historic space-time revolt, there is no answer but to accept Baudelaire’s answer [‘If there is a God, He is the devil’] with tears.”

(Greg Koukl seen below)

God is absolute good. Greg Koukl has pointed out that, “Evil is a value judgment that must be measured against a morally perfect standard in order to be meaningful. In other words, something is evil in that it departs from a perfect standard of good. C.S.Lewis made the point, ‘My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.’ He also goes on to point out that a portrait is as good or a bad likeness depending on how it compares with the ‘perfect’ original. So to talk about evil, which is a departure from good, actually presumes something that exists that is absolutely good. If there is no God there’s no perfect standard, no absolute right or wrong, and therefore, no departure from that standard. So if there is no God, there can’t be any evil, only personal likes and dislikes–what I prefer morally and what I don’t prefer morally.”


Dr. Walter Martin studied Philosophy under Sidney Hook at New York University. Below is a talk he gave in 1989 to a group of college students:


THE BATTLE OF RELATIVISM


These are the people who say you can’t have any absolutes. Everything is relativistic; all cultures, all societies make things relative. I was appreaing on the LONG JOHN NEVILE PROGRAM one night in New York. The man I was to appear with was an atheist who had a very deep antagonism toward Christianity, and when we got on the subject along with a Rabbi and a couple of other people it got pretty hot program around 2:30 am. The atheist was Jewish. The Rabbi obviously was. The moderator of the program was an agnostic fallen from grace lutheran. We had a Christian Scientist who really didn’t know what was going on ad myself and of course I was on the hot seat. They were asking me the questions. A fascinating thing took place at this particular juncture. I was trying to think of someway to get through this relativism…They were hammering away on relativistic cultures and the rest. I said to the Jewish philosopher because he didn’t believe in God, “Can I ask you a question?” He said,”Go ahead.” I said, “Your thesis is that all cultures are relativistic. There are no absolutes. The culture determines morality, and truth and right and wrong and that no one has any right to interfere with the cultural pattern of a given society. I can’t tell the aborigines not to head hunt in the name of Jesus because obviously I am imposing a Christian culture.” “Right!”he responded, and I went on and he continually responded “Right” down the line. He said, “That is what i am getting at, no absolutes.” 


Then I said, “Now  I want you to listen for just 5 minutes and don’t interrupt me. The time is 1938. The place is Nazi Germany. you are a Jewish philosopher teaching at the University of Berlin, and I am the head of the Gestapo. I have called you down to headquarters for a little talk. We are discussing your future.”


Then I said, “This is our dialogue: You are a Jew. The Jews are a subculture. You betrayed the fatherland in 1918. You have undermined the structure of the Reich. The Fuhrer has decreed that the Jewish problem be committed to us for elimination, and it is necessary for us to inform you that you will be taken out at 6 am to Dachau and shot, and there disposed of. —What do you say to me?” 


He said, “This is preposterous.” I said, “No, it isn’t. We are in a historical context, 1938 in Berlin and I said that to you, and it has been said. So it is nothing that I invented. What do you say to me?” Then he said, “You can’t kill me.” I said, I am going to shoot you.”


Well, you see all of sudden the theoretical disappeared and it became personal. I really was the head of the Gestapo and he really was arguing for his life. He said, “It is wrong to kill.” I said, “Really, why? You are in our state. The Fuhrer has decreed that our cultural background is that the Jews are a race that is inferior and must be removed from the face of the earth. It is our cultural imperialism that you die. Why shouldn’t I kill you?” 


He said, “I am not talking about these things.” I said, “I am putting your theory into practice. There are no absolutes. You can’t tell me that I can’t kill you because you are in my ballpark, in my political system and I have the right to kill as long as you have no higher authority than my culture.” 
He said, “I don’t understand why you have to use this illustration.” I said, “Because there are 6 million people who went through it and it is people like you, with minds like yours that made it possible.” 

Nietzsche187a.jpg

Nietzsche in Basel, Switzerland, c. 1875

He looked at me and said, “What do you mean by that?” I said, “I am going to tell you. 15 minutes ago you said something that I let go by. You said that Christianity has been responsible for the deaths of multiple thousands of human beings in the inquisitions and the things that have gone on through the ages. I never said a word. Do you how many the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx have killed in 40 years?—57 million….You have the gall to look at the church of Jesus Christ and say we are responsible for the deaths through the ages. You haven’t got one single argument why as the head of the Gestapo I shouldn’t shoot you, and you know it. Give me one if you got one?”

(Karl Marx in 1875)

Karl Marx 001.jpg


He said, “It is morally in the context of all humanity!” I said, “The context of all humanity is kill or be killed according to you. How are you going to appeal to those cultures? The aborigines would have you for dinner. Somebody else would put your head up on a pole. You want to get into the transcultural problem; You got the problem, not us. Our gospel changes people from head hunters, killers, murders, thieves, prostitutes, and drug addicts and makes them responsible, respectable, loving, participating members of society.” 


Then afterwards the Rabbi said to me: “I don’t agree with the illustration. I think it is a little too strong, but we simply do have to admit the imperative THOU SHALT NOT KILL does not originate with man.” I said, “I said it originates with God.”


You see what I am talking about now. You got to reel the tape back into a historical context and force these people to live it to its logical conclusions, and when you do it falls apart.(End of Walter Martin message)

Francis Schaeffer

Image result for francis schaeffer roman bridge

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FEATURED ARTIST IS Liu Xiaodong (b. 1963)

Liu Xiaodong, perhaps one of the greatest painters of all time, is known for his strong brushwork, rich colours, and precise forms. He started out with traditional brushwork to create extremely realistic subjects, but later changed his approach and started working with cropped framing, an unusual use of perspective, and the use of colours to strengthen emotion. Liu paints his subjects in their natural settings, capturing everyday people in complex places such as Israel-Palestine, Tibet, and rural China. His intimate, on-location approach and sensitivity to his subjects are what make his painting style so moving and powerful when compared to works by other contemporary artists.

Liu Xiaodong

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

William Hogarth - Self-Portrait - 1697-1764

WILLIAM HOGARTH (1697-1764)

A list of the great portrait painters of all time should never miss the name of William Hogarth, whose studies and sketches could even qualify as “pre-impressionist

William Hogarth: A collection of 207 paintings (HD)


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