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MUSIC MONDAY The Punk Band Black Flag

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This post includes a lot of material that is very depressing, but don’t stop reading until you get to the end of this long post. There is hope.

Francis Schaeffer noted:

I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.”

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below in 1971 at L Abri

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Lyrics to the song DEPRESSION by Blag Flag:

Right here, all by myself
I ain’t got no one else
The situation is bleeding me
There’s no relief for a person like me
Depression’s got a hold of me
Depression, gotta break free
Depression’s got a hold of me
Depression’s gonna kill me
I ain’t got no friends to call my own
I just sit here all alone
There’s no girls that want to touch me
I don’t need any of your f?$&@ing sympathy
Depression’s got a hold of me
Depression, I gotta break free
Depression’s got a hold of me
Depression’s g-gonna kill me
Everybody just get away
I’m gonna boil over inside today
They say things are gonna get better
All I know is they f$&@?g better
Depression’s got a hold of me
Depression, gotta break free
Depression’s got a hold of me
Depression’s gonna kill me
Aah, aah, depression’s got a hold of me
Depression, gotta break free
Depression’s got a hold of me
Depression’s gonna kill me
Aah, aah!
Source: LyricFind

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Wikipedia
Search

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Black Flag is an American punk rock band formed in 1976 in Hermosa Beach, California. Initially called Panic, the band was established by Greg Ginn, the guitarist, primary songwriter, and sole continuous member through multiple personnel changes in the band. They are widely considered to be one of the first hardcore punk bands as well as one of the pioneers of post-hardcore. After breaking up in 1986, Black Flag reunited in 2003 and again in 2013.[2] The second reunion lasted well over a year, during which they released their first studio album in over two decades, What The… (2013). The band announced their third reunion in January 2019.[3]Brandon Pertzborn was replaced by Isaias Gil on drums for the rest of the tour. [4] [5]

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Francis Schaeffer noted:

I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.”

“They are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one…
The result is a relativistic value system. A lack of a final meaning to life — that’s first. Why does human life have any value at all, if that is all that reality is? Not only are you going to die individually, but the whole human race is going to die, someday. It may not take the falling of the atom bombs, but someday the world will grow too hot, too cold. That’s what we are told on this other final reality, and someday all you people not only will be individually dead, but the whole conscious life on this world will be dead, and nobody will see the birds fly. And there’s no meaning to life.

As you know, I don’t speak academically, shut off in some scholastic cubicle, as it were. I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” And I must say, that on the basis of what they are being taught in school, that the final reality is only this material thing, they are not wrong. They’re right! On this other basis there is no meaning to life and not only is there no meaning to life, but there is no value system that is fixed, and we find that the law is based then only on a relativistic basis and that law becomes purely arbitrary.

OUTLINE OF ECCLESIATES BY SCHAEFFER

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William Lane Craig on Man’s predicament if God doesn’t exist

Read Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. During this entire play two men carry on trivial conversation while waiting for a third man to arrive, who never does. Our lives are like that, Beckett is saying; we just kill time waiting—for what, we don’t know.

Thus, if there is no God, then life itself becomes meaningless. Man and the universe are without ultimate significance.

Francis Schaeffer looks at Nihilism of Solomon and the causes of it!!!

Notes on Ecclesiastes by Francis Schaeffer

Solomon is the author of Ecclesiastes and he is truly an universal man like Leonardo da Vinci.

Two men of the Renaissance stand above all others – Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and it is in them that one can perhaps grasp a view of the ultimate conclusion of humanism for man. Michelangelo was unequaled as a sculptor in the Renaissance and arguably no one has ever matched his talents.

The other giant of the Renaissance period was Leonardo da Vinci – the perfect Renaissance Man, the man who could do almost anything and does it better than most anyone else. As an inventor, an engineer, an anatomist, an architect, an artist, a chemist, a mathematician, he was almost without equal. It was perhaps his mathematics that lead da Vinci to come to his understanding of the ultimate meaning of Humanism. Leonardo is generally accepted as the first modern mathematician. He not only knew mathematics abstractly but applied it in his Notebooks to all manner of engineering problems. He was one of the unique geniuses of history, and in his brilliance he perceived that beginning humanistically with mathematics one only had particulars. He understood that man beginning from himself would never be able to come to meaning on the basis of mathematics. And he knew that having only individual things, particulars, one never could come to universals or meaning and thus one only ends with mechanics. In this he saw ahead to where our generation has come: everything, including man, is the machine.

Leonardo da Vinci compares well to Solomon and they  both were universal men searching for the meaning in life. Solomon was searching for a meaning in the midst of the details of life. His struggle was to find the meaning of life. Not just plans in life. Anybody can find plans in life. A child can fill up his time with plans of building tomorrow’s sand castle when today’s has been washed away. There is  a difference between finding plans in life and purpose in life. Humanism since the Renaissance and onward has never found it and it has never found it since. Modern man has not found it and it has always got worse and darker in a very real way.

We have here the declaration of Solomon’s universality:

1 Kings 4:30-34

English Standard Version (ESV)

30 so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. 33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. 34 And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

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Here is the universal man and his genius. Solomon is the universal man with a empire at his disposal. Solomon had it all.

Ecclesiastes 1:3

English Standard Version (ESV)

What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?

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.

(Added by me:The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias 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.” )

Man is caught in the cycle

Ecclesiastes 1:1-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

All Is Vanity

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
    “See, this is new”?
It has been already
    in the ages before us.

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Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it. Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Ecclesiastes 1:4

English Standard Version (ESV)

A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.

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Ecclesiastes 4:16

English Standard Version (ESV)

16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

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In verses 1:4 and 4:16 Solomon places man in the cycle. He doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is only cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age. With this in mind Solomon makes this statement.

Ecclesiastes 6:12

12 For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

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There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man. 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 and I felt as man as God. 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.

THIS IS SOLOMON’S FEELING TOO. The universal man, Solomon, beyond our intelligence with an empire at his disposal with the opportunity of observation so he could recite these words here in Ecclesiastes 6:12, “For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?”

Lack of Satisfaction in life

In Ecclesiastes 1:8 he drives this home when he states, “All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell itThe eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing.” Solomon is stating here the fact that there is no final satisfaction because you don’t get to the end of the thing. THERE IS NO FINAL SATISFACTION. This is related to Leonardo da Vinci’s similar search for universals and then meaning in life. 

In Ecclesiastes 5:11 Solomon again pursues this theme, When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?”  Doesn’t that sound modern? It is as modern as this evening. Solomon here is stating the fact there is no reaching completion in anything and this is the reason there is no final satisfaction. There is simply no place to stop. It is impossible when laying up wealth for oneself when to stop. It is impossible to have the satisfaction of completion. 

Pursuing Learning

Now let us look down the details of his searching.

In Ecclesiastes 1: 13a we have the details of the universal man’s procedure. “And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven.”

So like any sensible man the instrument that is used is INTELLECT, and RAITIONALITY, and LOGIC. It is to be noted that even men who despise these in their theories begin and use them or they could not speak. There is no other way to begin except in the way they which man is and that is rational and intellectual with movements of that is logical within him. As a Christian I must say gently in passing that is the way God made him.

So we find first of all Solomon turned to WISDOM and logic. Wisdom is not to be confused with knowledge. A man may have great knowledge and no wisdom. Wisdom is the use of rationality and logic. A man can be very wise and have limited knowledge. Here he turns to wisdom in all that implies and the total rationality of man.

Works of Men done Under the Sun

After wisdom Solomon comes to the great WORKS of men. Ecclesiastes 1:14,  “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is [p]vanity and striving after wind.” Solomon is the man with an empire at this disposal that speaks. This is the man who has the copper refineries in Ezion-geber. This is the man who made the stables across his empire. This is the man who built the temple in Jerusalem. This is the man who stands on the world trade routes. He is not a provincial. He knew what was happening on the Phonetician coast and he knew what was happening in Egypt. There is no doubt he already knew something of building. This is Solomon and he pursues the greatness of his own construction and his conclusion is VANITY AND VEXATION OF SPIRIT.

Ecclesiastes 2:18-20

18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20 Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.

He looked at the works of his hands, great and multiplied by his wealth and his position and he shrugged his shoulders.

Ecclesiastes 2:22-23

22 For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.

Man can not rest and yet he is never done and yet the things which he builds will out live him. If one wants an ironical three phrases these are they. There is a Dutch saying, “The tailor makes many suits but one day he will make a suit that will outlast the tailor.”

God has put eternity in our hearts but we can not know the beginning or the end of the thing from a vantage point of UNDER THE SUN

Ecclesiastes 1:16-18

16 I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.

Solomon points out that you can not know the beginnings or what follows:

Ecclesiastes 3:11

11 He has made everything  appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Ecclesiastes 1:11

11 There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance among those who will come later still.

Ecclesiastes 2:16

16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!

You bring together here the factor of the beginning and you can’t know what immediately follows after your death and of course you can’t know the final ends. What do you do and the answer is to get drunk and this was not thought of in the RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KAHAYYAM:

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.

The Daughter of the Vine:

You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Translation by Edward Fitzgerald)

A perfectly good philosophy coming out of Islam, but Solomon is not the first man that thought of it nor the last. In light of what has been presented by Solomon is the solution just to get intoxicated and black the think out? So many people have taken to alcohol and the dope which so often follows in our day. This approach is incomplete, temporary and immature. Papa Hemingway can find the champagne of Paris sufficient for a time, but one he left his youth he never found it sufficient again. He had a lifetime spent looking back to Paris and that champagne and never finding it enough. It is no solution and Solomon says so too.

Ecclesiastes 2:4-11

I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself MALE AND  FEMALE SINGERS AND THE PLEASURES OF MEN–MANY CONCUBINES.

Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10 All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor.11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.

He doesn’t mean there is no temporary profit but there is no real profit. Nothing that lasts. The walls crumble if they are as old as the Pyramids. You only see a shell of the Pyramids and not the glory that they were. This is what Solomon is saying. Look upon Solomon’s wonder and consider the Cedars of Lebanon which were not in his domain but at his disposal.

Ecclesiastes 6:2

a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction.

Can someone stuff himself with food he can’t digest? Solomon came to this place of strife and confusion when he went on in his search for meaning.

 Oppressed have no comforter

Ecclesiastes 4:1

 Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

Between birth and death power rules. Solomon looked over his kingdom and also around the world and proclaimed that right does not rule but power rules.

Ecclesiastes 7:14-15

14 In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

15 I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 8:14

14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility.

We could say it in 20th century language, “The books are not balanced in this life.”

Pursuing Ladies

If one would flee to alcohol, then surely one may choose sexual pursuits to flee to. Solomon looks in this area too.

Ecclesiastes 7:25-28

25 I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. 26 And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.

27 “Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28 I have looked for other answers but have found none. I found one man in a thousand that I could respect, but not one woman. (Good News Translation on verse 28)

One can understand both Solomon’s expertness in this field and his bitterness.

I Kings 11:1-3 (New American Standard Bible) 

11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.

An expert but also the reason for his bitterness. Certainly there have been many men over the centuries who have daydreamed of Solomon’s wealth in this area [of women], but at the end it was sorry, not only sorry but nothing and less than nothing. The simple fact is that one can not know woman in the real sense by pursuing 1000 women. It is not possible. Woman is not found this way. All that is left in this setting if one were to pursue the meaning of life in this direction is this most bitter word found in Ecclesiastes 7:28, “I have looked for other answers but have found none. I found one man in a thousand that I could respect, but not one woman.” (Good News Translation on verse 28) He was searching in the wrong way. He was searching for the answer to life in the limited circle of that which is beautiful in itself but not an answer finally in sexual life. More than that he finally tried to find it in variety and he didn’t even touch one woman at the end.

Relative truth/ Chance and time/ death comes to fool and wiseman/ tried pagan religions

He plunged in such a scientific procedure finally into the thought of final relative truth.

Ecclesiastes 8:6-7

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?

In such a setting he is led into misery. Relative truth is also expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” He is not saying this in a positive sense, but it is in a negative sense here. Relative truth in light of Ecclesiastes 8:6-7. When you come to the concept of relative truth only one more step remains and that is that chance rules. Chance is king.

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Ecclesiastes 9:11

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Chance rules. If a man starts out only from himself and works outward it must eventually if he is consistent seem so that only chance rules and naturally in such a setting you can not expect him to have anything else but finally a hate of life.

Ecclesiastes 2:17-18a

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun…

That first great cry “So I hated life.” Naturally if you hate life you long for death and you find him saying this in Ecclesiastes 4:2-3:

And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

He lays down an order. It is best never have to been. It is better to be dead, and worse to be alive. But like all men and one could think of the face of Vincent Van Gogh in his final paintings as he came to hate life and you watch something die in his self portraits, the dilemma is double because as one is consistent and one sees life as a game of chance, one must come in a way to hate life. Yet at the same time men never get beyond the fear to die. Solomon didn’t either. So you find him in saying this.

Ecclesiastes 2:14-15

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.

The Hebrew is stronger than this and it says “it happens EVEN TO ME,” Solomon on the throne, Solomon the universal man. EVEN TO ME, even to Solomon.

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.[n] 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?

What he is saying is as far as the eyes are concerned everything grinds to a stop at death.

Ecclesiastes 4:16

16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

That is true. There is no place better to feel this than here in Switzerland. You can walk over these hills and men have walked over these hills for at least 4000 years and when do you know when you have passed their graves or who cares? It doesn’t have to be 4000 years ago. Visit a cemetery and look at the tombstones from 40 years ago. Just feel it. IS THIS ALL THERE IS? You can almost see Solomon shrugging his shoulders.

Ecclesiastes 8:8

There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. (King James Version)

A remarkable two phrase. THERE IS NO DISCHARGE IN THAT WAR or you can translate it “no casting of weapons in that war.” Some wars they come to the end. Even the THIRTY YEARS WAR (1618-1648) finally finished, but this is a war where there is no casting of weapons and putting down the shield because all men fight this battle and one day lose. But more than this he adds, WICKEDNESS WON’T DELIVER YOU FROM THAT FIGHT. Wickedness delivers men from many things, from tedium in a strange city for example. But wickedness won’t deliver you from this war. It isn’t that kind of war. More than this he finally casts death in the world of chance.

Ecclesiastes 9:12

12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

Death can come at anytime. Death seen merely by the eye of man between birth and death and UNDER THE SUN. Death too is a thing of chance. Albert Camus speeding in a car with a pretty girl at his side and then Camus dead. Lawrence of Arabia coming up over a crest of a hill 100 miles per hour on his motorcycle and some boys are standing in the road and Lawrence turns aside and dies.

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Woody Allen has embraced NIHILISM but he continues marching on.

Image result for woody allen

In the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS the idea of nihilism is clearly taught.

(Disclaimer: I am friends with atheists who live very good lives and have  embraced life. I am not accusing  all atheists of embracing nihilism, but just that some like Woody Allen have nihilistic tendencies. However, a few have taken the logic of NIHILISM a step further and that could possibly lead to SUICIDE.)

Adriana and Gil Pender in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

In the movie Gertrude Stein says to Gil, “Now, about your book,it’s very unusual, indeed.I mean, in a way, it’s almost like science fiction….The artist’s job is not to succumb to DESPAIR,but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.You have a clear and lively voice. Don’t be such a defeatist.”

Also in the film we find this exchange:

ADRIANA: I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night.

GIL PENDER: No, you can’t. You couldn’t pick one. I mean,I can give you a checkmate argument for each side.You know, I sometimes think,”How’s anyone gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony or a sculpture that can compete with a great city?”You can’t, ’cause, like,you look around, every…every street, every boulevard is its own special art form.And when you think that in the cold,violent, meaningless universe,that Paris exists, these lights…I mean, come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune,but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafe’s, people drinking, and singing…I mean, for all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.

Annie Hall – The Opening Scene [HD]

Manhattan

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer two months before he died said if he was talking to a gentleman he was sitting next to on an airplane about Christ he wouldn’t start off quoting Bible verses. Schaeffer asserted:

I would go back rather to their dilemma if they hold the modern worldview of the final reality only being energy, etc., I would start with that. I would begin as I stress in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE about their own [humanist] prophets who really show where their view goes. For instance, Jacques Monod, Nobel Prize winner from France, in his book NECESSITY AND CHANCE said there is no way to tell the OUGHT from the IS. In other words, you live in a totally silent universe. 

The men like Monod and Sartre or whoever the man might know that is his [humanist] prophet and they point out quite properly and conclusively what life is like, not just that there is no meaningfulness in life but everyone according to modern man is just living out some kind of game plan. It may be knocking 1/10th of a second off a downhill ski run or making one more million dollars. But all you are doing is making a game plan within the mix of a meaningless situation. WOODY ALLEN exploits this very strongly in his films. He really lives it. I feel for that man, and he has expressed it so thoroughly in ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN and so on.

Francis Schaeffer is correct about Woody Allen and that Allen has embraced nihilism. I hope that many will read below at the bottom of this post about the men Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren of the rock group KANSAS who also came to the end of themselves but they turned away from nihilism and found meaning to their lives.

Image result for kansas dust in the wind

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A suicide attempt appears in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS when Zelda Fitzgerald goes to the Seine River with the intention of jumping and Gil Pender stops her. It seems the nihilist worldview of Woody Allen keeps him putting suicides into his films.

Remember Professor Levy from the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANOR? After addressing the question  IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE AN OPTIMISTIC SECULAR HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD OR AN AFTERLIFE? Levy jumps out a window!!!

After Levy committed suicide, Cliff reviewed a clip from the documentary footage in which Levy states: “But we must always remember that when we are born we need a great deal of love to persuade us to stay in life. Once we get that love, it usually lasts us. But the universe is a pretty cold place. It’s we who invest it with our feelings. And under certain conditions, we feel that the thing isn’t worth it anymore.”

Hearing the news of Levy’s death, Halley says, “No matter how elaborate a philosophical system you work out, in the end it’s got to be incomplete.”

Professor Levy seen below:

Crimes e Pecados

What is Woody Allen’s main outlook on life? Francis Schaeffer described it as existentialism. 

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  Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era

So some humanists act as if they have a great advantage over Christians. They act as if the advance of science and technology and a better understanding of history (through such concepts as the evolutionary theory) have all made the idea of God and Creation quite ridiculous.
This superior attitude, however, is strange because one of the most striking developments in the last half-century is the growth of a profound pessimism among both the well-educated and less-educated people. The thinkers in our society have been admitting for a long time that they have no final answers at all.
Take Woody Allen, for example. Most people know his as a comedian, but he has thought through where mankind stands after the “religious answers” have been abandoned. In an article in Esquire (May 1977), he says that man is left with:
… alienation, loneliness [and] emptiness verging on madness…. The fundamental thing behind all motivation and all activity is the constant struggle against annihilation and against death. It’s absolutely stupefying in its terror, and it renders anyone’s accomplishments meaningless. As Camus wrote, it’s not only that he (the individual) dies, or that man (as a whole) dies, but that you struggle to do a work of art that will last and then you realize that the universe itself is not going to exist after a period of time. Until those issues are resolved within each person – religiously or psychologically or existentially – the social and political issues will never be resolved, except in a slapdash way.
Allen sums up his view in his film Annie Hall with these words: “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”

 
     
  Reason Is Dead

However, our intention here is neither to go into the history of irrationalism, nor to examine the proponents of existentialism in our own century, but rather to concentrate on its main thesis. It is this that confronts us on all sides today, and it is impossible to understand modern man without understanding this concept.
Because we shall be using several terms a great deal now, we would ask the reader to attend carefully. When we speak of irrationalism or existentialism or the existential methodology, we are pointing to a quite simple idea. It may have been expressed in a variety of complicated ways by philosophers, but it is not a difficult concept.
Imagine that you are at the movies watching a suspense film. As the story unfolds, the tension increases until finally the hero is trapped in some impossible situation and everyone is groaning inwardly, wondering how he is going to get out of the mess. The suspense is heightened by the knowledge (of the audience, not the hero) that help is on the way in the form of the good guys. The only question is: will the good guys arrive in time?
Now imagine for a moment that the audience is slipped the information that there are no good guys, that the situation of the hero is not just desperate, but completely hopeless. Obviously, the first thing that would happen is that the suspense would be gone. You and the entire audience would simply be waiting for the axe to fall.
If the hero faced the end with courage, this would be morally edifying, but the situation itself would be tragic. If, however, the hero acted as if help were around the corner and kept buoying himself up with this thought (“Someone is on the way!” – “Help is at hand!”), all you could feel for him would be pity. It would be a means to keep hope alive within a hopeless situation. The hero’s hope would change nothing on the outside; it would be unable to manufacture, out of nothing, good guys coming to the rescue. All it would achieve would the hero’s own mental state of hopefulness rather than hopelessness.
The hopefulness itself would rest on a lie or an illusion and thus, viewed objectively, would be finally absurd. And if the hero really knew what the situation was, but consciously used the falsehood to buoy up his feelings and go whistling along, we would either say, “Poor guy!” or “He’s a fool.” It is this kind of conscious deceit that someone like Woody Allen has looked full in the face and will have none of.
Now this is what the existential methodology is about. If the universe we are living in is what the materialistic humanists say it is, then with our reason (when we stop to think about it) we could find absolutely no way to have meaning or morality or hope or beauty. This would plunge us into despair. We would have to take seriously the challenge of Albert Camus (1913-1960) in the first sentence of The Myth of Sisyphus: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.”92 Why stay alive in an absurd universe? Ah! But that is not where we stop. We say to ourselves – “There is hope!” (even though there is no help). “We shall overcome!” (even though nothing is more certain than that we shall be destroyed, both individually at death and cosmically with the end of all conscious life). This is what confronts us on all sides today: the modern irrational-ism.

(Scott and Zelda pictured below)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro)

Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of Truth & History (part 2)

Ernest Hemingway and  both his good friend Scott Fitzgerald and Scott’s wife Zelda tried to blot it all out with alcohol and later in the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we see Zelda trying to commit suicide.  She actually was in different stages of mental distress the last 15 years of her life which ended at age 48 when a fire killed 9 people at Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina (according to Wikipedia). Unfortunately her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald died 8 years earlier in 1940 from alcoholism.  Ernest Hemingway ended his life on  July 2, 1961 by shooting himself with his favorite shotgun.
(An older Zelda in 1942 seen below)
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(Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald with friend Ernest Hemingway, left)
 

midnight in paris – Fitzgeralds and Hemingway

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ZELDA FITZGERALD: You look lost!-

GIL PENDER: Oh, yeah!- You’re an American?-

ZELDA FITZGERALD: If you count Alabama as America, which I do.I miss the bathtub gin. What do you do?-

GIL PENDER: Me? I’m a writer.-

ZELDA FITZGERALD: Who do you write?-

GIL PENDER: Oh, right now I’m working on a novel.- Oh, yes?

ZELDA FITZGERALD: I’m Zelda, by the way. Oh, Scott! Scott!- Yes, what it is, sweetheart?- Here’s a writer, from, um… where?-

GIL PENDER: California.

SCOTT FITZGERALD: Scott Fitzgerald, and who are you, old sport?

GIL PENDER: Gil…the… You havethe same names as…As what? Scott Fitzgerald and…Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

SCOTT FITZGERALD:The Fitzgeralds. Isn’t she beautiful?

GIL PENDER: Yes. Yes! Yeah, that’s… that’sa coincidence…like….uh…

ZELDA FITZGERALD: You have a glazed look in your eye. Stunned.Stupefied. Anesthetized. Lobotomized

GIL PENDER: I…I…keep looking at the man playing piano, and I believe it or not, recognize hisface from some old sheet music.

ZELDA FITZGERALD: I know I can be one of the great writers of musical lyrics- not that I can write melodies, and I try,and then I hear the songs he writes, and then I realize: I’ll never write a great lyric,- and MY TALENT REALLY LIES IN DRINKING.-

SCOTT FITZGERALD: Sure does.

Later in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we find Zelda attempting to jump in the Seine river and end her life.
 GIL PENDER:God, is that who I think it is?
ADRIANA: What is she doing here,staring into the water?Oh my God! Zelda, what are you doing?!- Please?
ZELDA: I don’t want to live!-
ADRIANA: Stop!- What is it?-
ZELDA: Scott and that beautiful countess.They were– It was so obvious they were whispering about me,and the more they drank, the more he fell in love with her!
GIL PENDER: He…Scott loves only you.- I can tell you that with absolute certainty.-
ZELDA: No.- He’s tired of me!-
GIL PENDER: You’re wrong. You’re wrong. I know.-
ZELDA: How?-
GIL PENDER: Trust me. I know.- Sometimes you get a feel for people, and I get…-
ZELDA: My skin hurts!-
ADRIANA: What do you mean?-
ZELDA: I don’t wanna…I hate the way I look!
ADRIANA:Don’t do that!-
GIL PENDER: Here. Take this.-
ZELDA:What is this?
GIL PENDER: It’s a Valium. It’llmake you feel better.-
ADRIANA:You carry medicine?-
GIL PENDER: No, not normally.It’s just since I’vebeen engaged to Inez,I’ve been having panic attacks, but I’msure they’ll subside after the wedding.
ADRIANA: I’ve never heard of Valium. What is this?
GIL PENDER:It’s the…pill of the future.
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I have posted this article below earlier but I wanted to include a portion of it today.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Philosophical Atheist, Before you Commit Suicide Read Ecclesiastes

People interested in truth often look to philosophy for answers. However, atheist philosophies offer more questions than answers, and this has serious consequences. Statistics show that atheists end up more prone to suicide than people who have a spiritual foundation.[1] One woman, Sharon Rocha, ended up committing suicide after reading an article at the Raving Atheists blog. In her suicide note, Rocha stated “I have been stripped of my delusions… The universe is a cold, uncaring place in which life is short, meaningless and full of suffering.”[2] If you are an atheist thinking of suicide or just seriously interested in the meaning of life, I recommend reading Solomon’s book Ecclesiastes. The book outlines the deceptions of a false perception of reality and the delight of knowing the God who created the universe for a good purpose.

The name Ecclesiastes is translated from Latin into The Preacher. So what exactly is the connection between philosophy and a preacher preaching the gospel? Well, as I’ve written various articles on Christianity, I’ve found that few atheists are interested in reading them. However, when I’ve pointedly challenged the philosophical roots of atheism, I’ve found some atheists eager to step up and defend their beliefs through dialogue and debate. Philosophical questions and challenges are at the core of the book of Ecclesiastes and there is an undertone of evangelism. There’s a saying “You can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.” But, as we’ll see in Ecclesiastes, you can attract even more bees by prodding the beehive. But you’d better be prepared for what you’re getting into.

Ecclesiastes 12.11 states: “The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd.” (NIV)

Goads are pointed prods that are used to help direct cattle and sheep. Words of truth prick the conscience and help to guide people towards moral and ethical reason. The firmly embedded nails signify the fixed principles of logic and the reality of absolute truth. Words of logic help to pin down people who have developed a false paradigm and a false view of reality. Logic helps people to see that their beliefs are not in harmony with reality.

Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?)

Meaninglessness and Materialism

There is a wealth of insight in the book of Ecclesiastes, but you can break down the main philosophical aspects into three main points:

1. The Emptiness of Worldly Pre-occupations – Eccl. 2:1-11

2. The Brevity of Life – Eccl. 12:1-8

3. The Only Logical Purpose in Life – Eccl. 12:13-14[9]

Solomon begins Ecclesiastes 1.2-3 announcing “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?” How discouraging can you get? The key to understanding the book of Ecclesiastes is to understand that he makes many false statements based upon a materialist perspective, in viewing everything “under the sun” as meaningless. Solomon addresses common materialist idols in society and shows why these are meaningless and empty pursuits. Solomon tries learning, laughter an liquor in an attempt to find satisfaction, but he’s left empty.

Solomon was the perfect candidate to dispel the illusion that wealth and physical pleasure can bring the kind of deep fulfillment we’re searching for in life. As the wealthiest man in history he had everything available at his fingertips. Whatever he desired, he could have. But time after time he was struck by the emptiness of all these material allurements.

Common folks don’t have the money to be able to fulfill whatever whim we may have. In society we are led to believe that if we just had a bigger house, a better job, a more pleasant husband or wife, or whatever it may be, then we would be happy. For us common folks, happiness may seem as though it’s always just around the corner. If only… then I’d be happy. But Solomon became the ultimate object lesson in this regard because he was able to try anything and everything he wanted and he finding out first-hand that materialism represents a sad and vacuous existence compared to theism.

King Solomon of Israel wrote the book of Ecclesiastes after he had backslidden to a certain degree. He had known what was right, but disobeyed God in his life and took on many wives, horse stables and wealth, though these things were forbidden for a king of Israel. Deuteronomy 17:16-17 outlines:

“Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; because Yahweh has said to you, You shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart not turn away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.”

It seems Solomon allowed his great wisdom get to his head, so to speak, and to fill him with pride. His heart gradually became dulled to God’s presence and purpose. But, nevertheless, God disciplined him and allowed him to see his folly. Though he had made mistakes, Solomon offers that truth is still truth and a person should continue to teach the truth as God guides:

“And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.”[10]

Though he learned lessons the hard way, Solomon gave “good heed” to present the truths that he learned and to help teach people his wisdom. It seems he may have been the first “life coach.” In the United States the “pursuit of happiness” is considered a fundamental right from the Declaration of Independence. But this pursuit, in and of itself, can become destructive when relativism rules. A 2011 study shows the 10 countries with the highest suicide rates tend to be countries where atheism has predominated. Most on the list are countries of the former Soviet Union where atheism was enforced by the state for over 70 years.[11] Other statistics bear out the fact that atheists are more prone to suicide than theists. The American Journal of Psychiatry published an article December 2004, Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt, with some basic conclusions:

“CONCLUSIONS: Religious affiliation is associated with less suicidal behavior in depressed inpatients. After other factors were controlled, it was found that greater moral objections to suicide and lower aggression level in religiously affiliated subjects may function as protective factors against suicide attempts. Further study about the influence of religious affiliation on aggressive behavior and how moral objections can reduce the probability of acting on suicidal thoughts may offer new therapeutic strategies in suicide prevention.”[12]

Two key aspects were cited in the AJP article: less aggressive behavior and a moral objection to suicide. The decrease of aggression in spiritual people may have to do with the knowledge that there is in-fact deep meaning in life. Sometimes intellectuals are prone to suicide. Solomon confirmed that materialist knowledge without spiritual truth brings grief: “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”[13]

(Alan Sandage below)

Like Solomon, people who have large IQs can tend to have inflated egos. In 2010, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Stephen Hawking declared that heaven is a “fairy tale” for fearful people.[14] He is correct in one sense that Christians are fearful in that we fear God with a sense of awe and wonder at his majestic wisdom and power. In contrast to Hawking, the Jewish physicist Alan Sandage was an atheist most of his life but simply could not dispel all the evidence he had seen in the cosmos pointing to God’s necessary existence. He became a Christian at age 60, explaining, “I could not live a life full of cynicism. I chose to believe, and a peace of mind came over me.”[15] One of the reasons Sandage believed was the complexity of the universe: “The world is too complicated in all its parts and interconnections to be due to chance alone.”[16]

(Stephen Hawking below in black and white and then a picture from recent movie about Hawking)

It doesn’t take a great mind to understand what Solomon and Sandage knew, it only takes an open mind. Three decades ago, Stephen Hawking declared humanity was on the verge of discovering the “theory of everything”with a 50 per cent chance of knowing it by 2000. But by 2010 Hawking had given up hope.[17] If only Hawking had read the book of Ecclesiastes, he could have saved a lot of wasted time: “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”[18] Hawking is a good example showing that intelligence and wisdom are two very distinct things.

(King Solomon author of Ecclesiastes below

The “one shepherd” mentioned in Ecclesiastes 12.9 seems to portray Jesus. In John 10.11, Jesus is quoted as saying “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” NIV Jesus is also referred to as the “word made flesh.” In this sense Jesus is the source of all truth and spiritual satisfaction, as implied by Psalm 81:16. “I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock”, Jesus being the rock of our salvation.The Logical Conclusions             One of the conclusions of Ecclesiastes is that we can live a live of true joy when God is the foundation of our lives:“It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.”[19]Another conclusion is that there is ultimate justice in the world and this knowledge has ramifications for a healthy personal life and for a healthy society:

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”[20]

We will be less prone to bitterness when we realize God will address all injustice in the future. And we understand why corruption is rampant today in society because many people do not believe there is any kind of accountability to our Creator. People assume that they can do anything they can get away with. Hopefully more people will recognize that atheism neither works as a personal philosophy nor as a good basis for society.

Even Communist China sees that theism is pragmatically more effective and beneficial than an atheistic model of society: “The officially atheist Chinese government is surprisingly open to Christianity, at least partially, because it sees a link between the faith and economic success, said a sought after scholar who has relations with governments in Asia.”[21] Dr. William Jeynes, senior fellow of The Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J., outlined this fact. But the truth is a dangerous thing and has a way of shaking up deceptive paradigms: “Jeynes concluded by saying that the key message he wants to convey is that China is both open to Christianity and nervous about the religion because of the potential problems it could bring to the communist government.”[22]

Endnotes

[1] American Journal of Psychiatry, Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt, Kanita Dervic, M.D., Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., et al., Am J Psychiatry 161:2303-2308, December 2004 (http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/161/12/2303)
[2] Raving Theist, Peterson Mother Commits Suicide After Reading Atheist Blog, (http://ravingatheist.com/2003/05/peterson-mother-commits-suicide-after-reading-atheist-blog/)
[3] Proverbs 24.13, NIV
[4] IN DEFENSE OF NON-NATURAL, NON-THEISTIC MORAL REALISM” Erik Wielenberg FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY, Vol. 26 No. 1 January 2009 (http://philpapers.org/archive/WIEIDO.1.pdf)
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ecclesiastes 6.7 (NIV)
[8] Ecclesiastes 1.8b, KJV
[9] Ecclesiastes: Guide to Evangelism (http://www.discoveret.org/lcoc/news/01n0606.htm)
[10] Ecclesiastes 12.9, KJV
[11] Top 10 Countries With Highest Suicide Rates – 2011, (http://www.top-10lists.com/2011/05/top-10-countries-with-highest-suicide.html)
[12] See American Journal of Psychiatry
[13] Ecclesiastes 1.18
[14] The Guardian, Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’, (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/may/15/stephen-hawking-interview-there-is-no-heaven)
[15] The Telegraph, Allan Sandage (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/science-obituaries/8150004/Allan-Sandage.html)
[16] Leadership U, A Scientist Reflects on Religious Belief (http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth15.html)
[17] New Scientist, Stephen Hawking says there’s no theory of everything,  September 2, 2010,
(http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2010/09/stephen-hawking-says-theres-no-theory-of-everything.html)
[18]  Ecclesiastes 3.11b, NIV
[19] Ecclesiastes. 5:18-20
[20] Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, NIV
[21] The Christian Post, Scholar: China Notices Link Between Christianity, U.S. Economic Success (http://www.christianpost.com/news/scholar-china-notices-link-between-christianity-us-economic-success-50287/)
[22] Ibid.

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If we are left with only time and chance and the view of the UNIFORMITY OF  NATURAL CAUSES in a closed system then our only choice is NIHILISM.  TWO OTHER ALSO HELD THIS SAME view  of uniformity of natural causes in a closed system in 1978 when their hit song DUST IN THE WIND rose to the top 10 in the music charts.

_______________________________________

IF WE ARE LEFT WITH JUST THE MACHINE THEN WHAT IS THE FINAL CONCLUSION IF THERE WAS NO PERSONAL GOD THAT CREATED US? Examine the  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.

Related image

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 in front and Dave Hope in background)

Image result for kerry livgren kansas

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.

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Pre-Order Miracles Out of Nowhere now at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com

About the film:
In 1973, six guys in a local band from America’s heartland began a journey that surpassed even their own wildest expectations, by achieving worldwide superstardom… watch the story unfold as the incredible story of the band KANSAS is told for the first time in the DVD Miracles Out of Nowhere.

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Let me close by talking to you about the ROMAN ROAD TO CHRIST.

  1. Rom. 3:10, “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one . . . “
  2. Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  3. Rom. 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
  4. Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  5. Rom. 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  6. Rom. 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
  7. Rom. 10:13, “For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

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“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 3 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part B, THE SURREALISTS Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel try to break out of cycle!!!)

In the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Woody Allen the best scene of the movie is when Gil Pender encounters the SURREALISTS!!!  This series deals with the Book of Ecclesiastes and Woody Allen films.  The first post  dealt with MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT and it dealt with the fact that in the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon does contend […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 2 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part A, When was the greatest time to live in Paris? 1920’s or La Belle Époque [1873-1914] )

In the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Woody Allen is really looking at one main question through the pursuits of his main character GIL PENDER. That question is WAS THERE EVER A GOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT? This is the second post I have […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 1 MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT)

I am starting a series of posts called ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” The quote from the title is actually taken from the film MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT where Stanley derides the belief that life has meaning, saying it’s instead “nasty, brutish, and short. Is that Hobbes? I would have […]

The Surrealists, Woody Allen, Ecclesiastes, Chance and Absurdity!!!

Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds A Tale of Three Cities Episode:2 Paris 1928 BBC Documentary 2014

Published on Aug 28, 2014

Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds A Tale of Three Cities Episode:2 Paris 1928 BBC Documentary 2014

Dr James Fox tells the story of Paris in 1928. It was a city that attracted people dreaming of a better world after World War I. This was the year when the surrealists Magritte, Dali and Bunuel brought their bizarre new vision to the people, and when emigre writers and musicians such as Ernest Hemingway and George Gershwin came looking for inspiration.

Paris in 1928 was where black musicians and dancers like Josephine Baker found adulation, where Cole Porter took time off from partying to write Let’s Do it, and where radical architect Le Corbusier planned a modernist utopia that involved pulling down much of Paris itself.

Midnight In Paris: A Review

In Film, Reviews on June 16, 2011 at 10:16 am by ERIC PLAAG AND MATT SMITH

Gil, who once lived in Paris briefly, longs for the era of great writing that was the 1920s, when the city was populated by great artists intermingling and collaborating and drinking, like Hemingway, Picasso, Fitzgerald, Dali, and so on. One night after having suffered through another one of Inez’s pseudo-intellectual friend Paul’s (a squirmingly awkward and hilarious turn by Michael Sheen) speeches about art, instead of going dancing with the group, Gil decides to walk back to the hotel and wander the streets at night, gathering some fresh and air and inspiration. He gets lost during this sojourn, and picked up, half drunk, by a couple in an old Peugeot. The people are Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and soon Gil is hobnobbing with everyone from Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso to Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel, and having his novel read and critiqued by Gertrude Stein.

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The wine, women and song of Paris

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a successful screenwriter who wants more from life. While on holiday in Paris with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her stuffy, conservative parents, Gil’s finds himself at a creative impasse, working on his novel about nostalgia. Goaded by Inez to stick to money-making movies, Gil separates himself from the group one night – lost and drunk – and at the stroke of twelve, finds himself back in 1920′s Paris. There, he runs into all the greats including Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. When he meets Picasso’s girlfriend Adriana (Marion Cotillard), Gil’s got to choose between the past and present.

GAC_MidnightInParis

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Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Ecclesiastes 1

Published on Sep 4, 2012

Calvary Chapel Spring Valley | Sunday Evening | September 2, 2012 | Pastor Derek Neider

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Related posts

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 292 Pointing out a weakness to Richard Dawkins in his new book OUTGROWING GOD Featured Artist is Paul Pfeiffer

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Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins

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October 15, 2019

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 enjoyed your latest book Outgrowing God which is one of my favorite books that you have written. 

However, there are some some weak parts of the book. For instance, on page 53 you write: 

Genesis says Abraham owned camels, but archaeological evidence shows that the camel was not domesticated until many centuries after Abraham 

Did Camels Exist in Biblical Times?

5 reasons why domesticated camels likely existedMegan Sauter November 12, 2018  16 Comments 2730 views  Share

Did camels exist in Biblical times?

Some Biblical texts, such as Genesis 12 and 24, claim that Abraham owned camels. Yet archaeological researchshows that camels were not domesticated in the land of Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E.—about a thousand years after the time of Abraham. This seems to suggest that camels in these Biblical stories are anachronistic.

The Caravan of Abram

Abraham’s Camels. Did camels exist in Biblical times? Camels appear with Abraham in some Biblical texts—and depictions thereof, such as The Caravan of Abram by James Tissot, based on Genesis 12. When were camels first domesticated? Although camel domestication had not taken place by the time of Abraham in the land of Canaan, it had in Mesopotamia. Photo: PD-1923.Mark W. Chavalas explores the history of camel domestication in his Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?”published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. Although he agrees that camel domestication likely did not take place in Canaan until the 10th century B.C.E., he notes that Abraham’s place of origin was not Canaan—but Mesopotamia. Thus, to ascertain whether Abraham’s camels are anachronistic, we need to ask: When were camels first domesticated in Mesopotamia?

Chavalas explains that the events in the Biblical accounts of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs (Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Israel and Rachel) have been traditionally dated to c. 2000–1600 B.C.E. (during the Middle Bronze Age). Camels appear in Mesopotamian sources in the third millennium B.C.E.—before this period. However, the mere presence of camels in sources does not necessarily mean that camels were domesticated.

The question remains: When were camels domesticated in Mesopotamia?

In his examination of camel domestication history, Chavalas looks at a variety of textual, artistic, and archaeological sources from Mesopotamia dating to the third and second millennia. We will examine five of these sources here:

1. One of the first pieces of evidence for camel domestication comes from the site of Eshnunna in modern Iraq: A plaque from the mid-third millennium shows a camel being ridden by a human.

2. Another source is a 21st-century B.C.E. text from Puzrish-Dagan in modern Iraq that may record camel deliveries.

3. Third, an 18th-century B.C.E. text (quoting from an earlier third millennium text) from Nippur in modern Iraq says, “the milk of the camel is sweet.” Chavalas explains why he thinks this likely refers to a domesticated camel:

Having walked in many surveys through camel herds in Syria along the Middle Euphrates River, I believe that this text is describing a domesticated camel; who would want to milk a “wild camel”? At the very least, the Bactrian camel was being used for dairy needs at this time.

4. Next, an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal depicts a two-humped camel with riders. Although this seal’s exact place of origin is unknown, it reputedly comes from Syria, and it resembles other seals from Alalakh (a site in modern Turkey near Turkey’s southern border with Syria).

5. Finally, a 17th-century text from Alalakh includes camels in a list of domesticated animals that required food.

syria-camel-seal

Camel Domestication. When were camels first domesticated? This impression of an 18th-century B.C.E. cylinder seal from Syria depicts a two-humped camel with riders. The seal and other archaeological discoveries shed light on camel domestication history, suggesting that camel domestication had occurred in Mesopotamia by the second millennium B.C.E. Photo: ©The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Although domesticated camels may not have been widespread in Mesopotamia in the second millennium, these pieces of evidence show that by the second millennium, there were at least some domesticated camels. Thus, camel domestication had taken place in Mesopotamia by the time of Abraham. Accordingly, Chavalas argues that the camels in the stories of Abraham in Genesis are not anachronistic.

Learn more about the history of camel domestication in Mark W. Chavalas’s Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” published in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.——————

Subscribers: Read the full Biblical Views column “Did Abraham Ride a Camel?” by Mark W. Chavalas in the November/December 2018 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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Francis Schaeffer noted concerning Charles Darwin’s loss of faith:

This is very sad. He lies on his bunk and the Beagle tosses and turns and he makes daydreams, and his dreams and hopes are that someone would find in Pompeii or some place like this, an old manuscript by a distinguished Roman that would put his stamp of authority on it, which would be able to show that Christ existed. This is undoubtedly what he is talking about. Darwin gave up this hope with great difficulty.

Dr. Dawkins, you have a 150 year advantage over your hero Charles Darwin and the archaeologist’s spade has continued to dig. Take a look at this piece of evidence from the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop:

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?)

In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

So the story goes on. We have stopped at only a few incidents in the sweep back to the year 1000 B.C. What we hope has emerged from this is a sense of the historical reliability of the Bible’s text. When the Bible refers to historical incidents, it is speaking about the same sort of “history” that historians examine elsewhere in other cultures and periods. This borne out by the fact that some of the incidents, some of the individuals, and some of the places have been confirmed by archaeological discoveries in the past hundred years has swept away the possibility of a naive skepticism about the Bible’s history. And what is particularly striking is that the tide has built up concerning the time before the year 1000 B.C. Our knowledge about the years 2500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. has vastly increased through discoveries sometimes of whole libraries and even of hitherto unknown people and languages.

There was a time, for example, when the Hittite people, referred to in the early parts of the Bible, were treated as fictitious by critical scholars. Then came the discoveries after 1906 at Boghaz Koi (Boghaz-koy) which not only gave us the certainty of their existence but stacks of details from their own archives!

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.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

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Francis and Edith Schaeffer at their home in Switzerland with some visiting friends

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Schaeffer with his wife Edith in Switzerland.


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Richard Dawkins and John Lennox

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Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Harris 

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Canary Islands 2014: Harold Kroto and Richard Dawkins

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

The Basis of Human Dignity by Francis Schaeffer

Richard Dawkins, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Credit: Don Arnold Getty Images

Francis Schaeffer in 1984

Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer in 1982

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Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Episode 1

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Garik Israelian, Stephen Hawking, Alexey Leonov, Brian May, Richard Dawkins and Harry Kroto

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HENRY F SCHAEFER III
Fritz Schaefer
BORNHenry Frederick Schaefer III
June 8, 1944 (age 73)
Grand RapidsMichiganUnited States
RESIDENCEUnited States
NATIONALITYAmerican
ALMA MATERMassachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University
AWARDSACS Award in Pure Chemistry(1979)Centenary Medal of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry (1992)ACS Award in Theoretical Chemistry (2003)Joseph O. Hirschfelder Prize(2005)ACS Peter Debye Award (2014)
Scientific career
FIELDSComputational Chemistry
INSTITUTIONS
DOCTORAL STUDENTS

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Featured artist is Paul Pfeiffer

Paul Pfeiffer was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1966 but spent most of his childhood in the Philippines. Pfeiffer relocated to New York in 1990, where he attended Hunter College and the Whitney Independent Study Program. Pfeiffer’s groundbreaking work in video, sculpture, and photography uses recent computer technologies to dissect the role that mass media plays in shaping consciousness.

In a series of video works focused on professional sports events—including basketball, boxing, and hockey—Pfeiffer digitally removes the bodies of the players from the games, shifting the viewer’s focus to the spectators, sports equipment, or trophies won. Presented on small LCD screens and often looped, these intimate and idealized video works are meditations on faith, desire, and a contemporary culture obsessed with celebrity. Many of Pfeiffer’s works invite viewers to exercise their imaginations or project their own fears and obsessions onto the art object. Several of Pfeiffer’s sculptures include eerie, computer-generated recreations of props from Hollywood thrillers, such as Poltergeist, and miniature dioramas of sets from films that include The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror.

Pfeiffer is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, and was the inaugural recipient of the Bucksbaum Award, given by the Whitney Museum of American Art (2000). In 2002, Pfeiffer was an artist-in-residence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and at ArtPace in San Antonio, Texas. In 2003, a traveling retrospective of his work was organized by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s List Visual Arts Center and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

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Related posts:

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 48 Nobel Prize Winner and Global Warming Denier Ivar Giaever “I think religion is to blame for a lot of the ills in this world!”

October 20, 2015 – 5:20 am

  On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said: …Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975 and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them. Harry Kroto _________________ Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 78 THE BEATLES (Breaking down the song TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS) Featured musical artist is Stuart Gerber

September 24, 2015 – 5:42 am

The Beatles were “inspired by the musique concrète of German composer and early electronic music pioneer Karlheinz Stockhausen…”  as SCOTT THILL has asserted. Francis Schaeffer noted that ideas of  “Non-resolution” and “Fragmentation” came down German and French streams with the influence of Beethoven’s last Quartets and then the influence of Debussy and later Schoenberg’s non-resolution which is in total contrast […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 42 Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, THE PROBLEM OF EVIL

September 8, 2015 – 5:10 am

  _______ On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said: …Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975 and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them. Harry Kroto _________________ Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize […]

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Bart Ehrman “Why should one think that God performed the miracle of inspiring the words in the first place if He didn’t perform the miracle of preserving the words?”

September 2, 2015 – 8:42 am

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said: …Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975 and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them. Harry Kroto ____________________ Below you have picture of 1996 Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Dr. […]

WOODY WEDNESDAY Open Letter to Woody Allen concerning his view “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable” Part 10

Woody Allen On Bergman

Woody Allen On Bergman

Woody Allen Show

Essay on Woody Allen films

Match point Trailer

Match point

Crimes and misdemeanors

Part 2

Part 3

Woody commenting on Midnight in Paris

______December 15, 2014Woody Allen,  New York, New York 10001Dear Mr. Allen,I wish you would take 2 minutes and google “Woody Allen Francis Schaeffer “

I have spent a lot of time talking about your films on this blog and looking at your worldview. You have said yourself that you have a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. I respect the fact that even though you have this view you have taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of your own secular view.  That is why I have returned to your work over and over again and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative.

My interest in your work is so great that I have a “Woody Wednesday” on my blog www.thedailyhatch.org every week. Also I have done over 30 posts on the historical characters mentioned in his film “Midnight in Paris.” (Salvador DaliErnest Hemingway,T.S.Elliot,  Cole Porter,Paul Gauguin,  Luis Bunuel, and Pablo Picasso were just a few of the characters.) Francis Schaeffer also discussed you several times in his writings on modern culture. Here is a section that again mentions the nihilistic conclusions that Schaeffer says that you have come to and Schaeffer salutes you for being consistent with your Godless worldview unlike many of the optimistic humanists that I have encountered.

Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era
What has produced the inhumanity we have been considering in the previous chapters is that society in the West has adopted a world-view which says that all reality is made up only of matter. This view is sometimes referred to as philosophic materialism, because it holds that only matter exists; sometimes it is called naturalism, because it says that no supernatural exists. Humanism which begins from man alone and makes man the measure of all things usually is materialistic in its philosophy. Whatever the label, this is the underlying world-view of our society today. In this view the universe did not get here because it was created by a “supernatural” God. Rather, the universe has existed forever in some form, and its present form just happened as a result of chance events way back in time.
Society in the West has largely rested on the base that God exists and that the Bible is true. In all sorts of ways this view affected the society. The materialistic or naturalistic or humanistic world-view almost always takes a superior attitude toward Christianity. Those who hold such a view have argued that Christianity is unscientific, that it cannot be proved, that it belongs simply to the realm of “faith.” Christianity, they say, rests only on faith, while humanism rests on facts.
Professor Edmund R. Leach of Cambridge University expressed this view clearly:
Our idea of God is a product of history. What I now believe about the supernatural is derived from what I was taught by my parents, and what they taught me was derived from what they were taught, and so on. But such beliefs are justified by faith alone, never by reason, and the true believer is expected to go on reaffirming his faith in the same verbal formula even if the passage of history and the growth of scientific knowledge should have turned the words into plain nonsense.78
So some humanists act as if they have a great advantage over Christians. They act as if the advance of science and technology and a better understanding of history (through such concepts as the evolutionary theory) have all made the idea of God and Creation quite ridiculous.
This superior attitude, however, is strange because one of the most striking developments in the last half-century is the growth of a profound pessimism among both the well-educated and less-educated people. The thinkers in our society have been admitting for a long time that they have no final answers at all.

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Take Woody Allen, for example. Most people know his as a comedian, but he has thought through where mankind stands after the “religious answers” have been abandoned. In an article in Esquire (May 1977), he says that man is left with:
… alienation, loneliness [and] emptiness verging on madness…. The fundamental thing behind all motivation and all activity is the constant struggle against annihilation and against death. It’s absolutely stupefying in its terror, and it renders anyone’s accomplishments meaningless. As Camus wrote, it’s not only that he (the individual) dies, or that man (as a whole) dies, but that you struggle to do a work of art that will last and then you realize that the universe itself is not going to exist after a period of time. Until those issues are resolved within each person – religiously or psychologically or existentially – the social and political issues will never be resolved, except in a slapdash way.
Allen sums up his view in his film Annie Hall with these words: “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”
Many would like to dismiss this sort of statement as coming from one who is merely a pessimist by temperament, one who sees life without the benefit of a sense of humor. Woody Allen does not allow us that luxury. He speaks as a human being who has simply looked life in the face and has the courage to say what he sees. If there is no personal God, nothing beyond what our eyes can see and our hands can touch, then Woody Allen is right: life is both meaningless and terrifying. As the famous artist Paul Gauguin wrote on his last painting shortly before he tried to commit suicide: “Whence come we? What are we? Whither do we go?” The answers are nowhere, nothing, and nowhere.

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The humanist H. J. Blackham has expressed this with a dramatic illustration:
On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility.79
One does not have to be highly educated to understand this. It follows directly from the starting point of the humanists’ position, namely, that everything is just matter. That is, that which has existed forever and ever is only some form of matter or energy, and everything in our world now is this and only this in a more or less complex form. Thus, Jacob Bronowski says in The Identity of Man (1965): “Man is a part of nature, in the same sense that a stone is, or a cactus, or a camel.” In this view, men and women are by chance more complex, but not unique.
Within this world-view there is no room for believing that a human being has any final distinct value above that of an animal or of nonliving matter. People are merely a different arrangement of molecules. There are two points, therefore, that need to be made about the humanist world-view. First, the superior attitude toward Christianity – as if Christianity had all the problems and humanism had all the answers – is quite unjustified. The humanists of the Enlightenment two centuries ago thought they were going to find all the answers, but as time has passed, this optimistic hope has been proved wrong. It is their own descendants, those who share their materialistic world-view, who have been saying louder and louder as the years have passed, “There are no final answers.”
Second, this humanist world-view has also brought us to the present devaluation of human life – not technology and not overcrowding, although these have played a part. And this same world-view has given us no limits to prevent us from sliding into an even worse devaluation of human life in the future.
So it is naive and irresponsible to imagine that this world-view will reverse the direction in the future. A well-meaning commitment to “do what is right” will not be sufficient. Without a firm set of principles that flows out of a world-view that gives adequate reason for a unique value to all human life, there cannot be and will not be any substantial resistance to the present evil brought on by the low view of human life we have been considering in previous chapters. It was the materialistic world-view that brought in the inhumanity; it must be a different world-view that drives it out.
An emotional uneasiness about abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and the abuse of genetic knowledge is not enough. To stand against the present devaluation of human life, a significant percentage of people within our society must adopt and live by a world-view which not only hopes or intends to give a basis for human dignity but which really does. The radical movements of the sixties were right to hope for a better world; they were right to protest against the shallowness and falseness of our plastic society. But their radicalness lasted only during the life span of the adolescence of their members. Although these movements claimed to be radical, they lacked a sufficient root. Their world-view was incapable of giving life to the aspirations of its adherents. Why? Because it, too – like the society they were condemning – had no sufficient base. So protests are not enough. Having the right ideals is not enough. Even those with a very short memory, those who can look back only to the sixties, can see that there must be more than that. A truly radical alternative has to be found.
But where? And how?

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Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000 years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” episode 6 “The Scientific Age” episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” ,  episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” .

Today I am writing you for two reasons. First, I wanted to appeal to your Jewish Heritage and ask you to take a closer look at some Old Testament scriptures dealing with the land of Israel. Second, I wanted to point out some scientific evidence that caused Antony Flew to switch from an atheist (as you are now) to a theist.  Twenty years I had the opportunity to correspond with two individuals that were regarded as two of the most famous atheists of the 20th Century, Antony Flew and Carl Sagan. (I have enclosed some of those letters between us.) I had read the books and seen the films of the Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer and he had discussed the works of both of these men. I sent both of these gentlemen philosophical arguments from Schaeffer in these letters and in the first letter I sent a cassette tape of my pastor’s sermon IS THE BIBLE TRUE? (CD is enclosed also.) You may have noticed in the news a few years that Antony Flew actually became a theist in 2004 and remained one until his death in 2010. Carl Sagan remained a skeptic until his dying day in 1996.

You will notice in the enclosed letter from June 1, 1994 that Dr. Flew commented, “Thank you for sending me the IS THE BIBLE TRUE? tape to which I have just listened with great interest and, I trust, profit.” It would be a great honor for me if you would take time and drop me a note and let me know what your reaction is to this same message.

Robert Lewis noted that many orthodox Jews believed through the centuries that God would honor the ancient prophecies that predicted that the Jews would be restored to the land of Israel, but then I notice the latest film series on the Jews done by an orthodox Jew seemed to ignore many of these scriptures. Recently I watched the 5 part PBS series Simon Schama’s THE STORY OF THE JEWS, and in the last episode Schama calls Israel “a miracle” but he is hoping that Israel can get along with the non-Jews in the area. Schama noted, “I’ve always thought that Israel is the consummation of some of the highest ethical values of Jewish traditional history, but creating a place of safety and defending it has sometimes challenged those same ethics and values”. There is an ancient book that sheds light on Israel’s plight today, and it is very clear about the struggles between the Jews and their cousins that surround them. It all comes down to what the Book of Genesis had to say concerning Abraham’s son by Hagar.  

Genesis 16:11-12  (NIV)

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
    and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
    toward all his brothers.”The first 90 seconds of episode 5 opened though by allowing us all to experience the sirens and silence of that day in Spring, each year, when Israel halts to mark the Holocaust and I actually wept while I thought of those who had died. Schama noted, “”Today around half the Jews in the world live here in Israel. 6 million people. 6 million defeats for the Nazi program of total extermination.”After World War II Schama tells about the events leading up to the re-birth of Israel.  Here again Schama although a practicing Jewish believer did not bring in scripture to shed light on the issue. David O. Dykes who is pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas has done just that:The nation of Israel was destroyed in 70 A.D…Beginning in the early 20th century Jews started trickling back into Palestine at the risk of their lives. Then after World War II, the British government was given authority over Palestine and in 1948, Israel became a nation again through the action of the United Nations…This should not have come as a surprise to any Bible scholar, because this regathering of Israel is predicted many times in scripture. The prophet Amos wrote in Chapter 9:

14 And I will bring back the exiles of My people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat the fruit of them.

15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be torn up out of their land which I gave them, says the Lord your God.

Some people think the Amos prophecy was referring to the return of Israel after their Babylonian captitvity in 586 B.C. But the nation was uprooted in 70 A.D. And notice God said they would “NEVER AGAIN TO BE UPROOTED.”

Even the preservation of their language is a miracle. For centuries, Hebrew was a dead language spoken nowhere in the world. But within the last century, this dead language has been resurrected and now millions of Israelis speak Hebrew...Have you noticed how often Israel is in the news? They are only a small nation about the size of New Jersey.

I have checked out some of the details that David O. Dykes has provided and they check out. Philip Lieberman is a cognitive scientist at Brown University, and in a letter dated in 1995 he told me that only a few other languages besides Hebrew have ever been revived including some American Indian ones along with Celtic.

Also Zechariah 12:3 also verifies the newsworthiness of Israel now:  And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples; all who lift it or burden themselves with it shall be sorely wounded. And all the nations of the earth shall come and gather together against it.

I do think that Isaiah also predicted the Jews would come from all over the earth back to their homeland Israel. Isaiah 11:11-12 states, “And in that day the Lord shall again lift up His hand a second time to recover (acquire and deliver) the remnant of His people which is left, from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Pathros, from Ethiopia, from Elam [in Persia], from Shinar [Babylonia], from Hamath [in Upper Syria], and from the countries ordering on the [Mediterranean] Sea. And He will raise up a signal for the nations and will assemble the outcasts of Israel and will gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Amplified Bible)

I was reading  THE BOOK OF DANIEL COMMENTARY (Cambridge University Press, 1900) by the Bible critic  Samuel Rolles Driver, and on page 100 Dr. Driver commented that the country of Israel is obviously a thing of the past and has no place in prophecy in the future and the prophet Daniel was definitely wrong about that.  I wonder what Dr. Driver would say if he lived to see the newspapers today?

In fact, my former pastor Robert Lewis at Fellowship Bible Church in his sermon “Let the Prophets Speak” on 1-31-99 noted that even the great Princeton Theologian Charles Hodge erred in 1871 when he stated:

The argument from the ancient prophecies is proved to be invalid because it would prove too much. If those prophecies foretell a literal restoration, they foretell that the temple is to be rebuilt, the priesthood restored, sacrifices again offered, and that the whole Mosaic ritual is to be observed in all its details, (Systematic Theology. [New York: Charles Scribner & Sons, 1871; reprint Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1949], 3:807).__

Robert Lewis went on to point out that the prophet Amos 2700 years ago predicted the destruction of Aram, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab and Israel, but at the end of the Book he said Israel would one day be returned to their land and never removed. We saw from Isaiah 11:11-12 that the Lord “will assemble the outcasts of Israel and will gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” And that certainly did happen after World War II.  I corresponded with some secular Jewish Scholars on this back in the 1990’s such as Irving Kristol and Daniel Bell but they dismissed these type of Old Testament prophecies. In his letter of September 23, 1995, Daniel Bell wrote, “As to the survival of the Jewish people, I think of the remark of Samuel Johnson that there is nothing stronger than the knowledge that one may be hanged the next day to concentrate the mind–or the will.”

After looking at the accuracy of Old Testament, I want to turn my attention to the accuracy of the New Testament. Recently I was reading the book GOD’S NOT DEAD by Rick Broocks and in it he quotes Sir William Ramsay who was a scholar who originally went to Palestine to disprove the Book of Luke. Below is some background info on Ramsay followed by his story.

From Wikipedia:

Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (15 March 1851, Glasgow –20 April 1939) was a Scottish archaeologist and New Testament scholar. By his death in 1939 he had become the foremost authority of his day on the history of Asia Minor and a leading scholar in the study of the New Testament. From the post of Professor of Classical Art and Architecture at Oxford, he was appointed Regius Professor of Humanity (the Latin Professorship) at Aberdeen. Knighted in 1906 to mark his distinguished service to the world of scholarship, Ramsay also gained three honorary fellowships from Oxford colleges, nine honorary doctorates from British, Continental and North American universities and became an honorary member of almost every association devoted to archaeology and historical research. He was one of the original members of the British Academy, was awarded the Gold Medal of Pope Leo XIII in 1893 and the Victorian Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1906. 

Sir William Ramsay

William Mitchell Ramsay was born on March 15, 1851 in Glasgow, Scotland. His father was a lawyer, but died when William was just six. Through the hard work of other family members, William attended the University of Aberdeen, achieving honors. Through means of a scholarship, he was then able to go to Oxford University and attend the college there named for St. John. His family resource also allowed him to study abroad, notably in Germany. It was under one of his professors that his love of history began. After receiving a new scholarship from another college at Oxford, he traveled to Asia Minor.

William, however, is most noted for beliefs pertaining to the Bible, not his early life. Originally, he labeled it as a ‘Book of Fables,’ having only third-hand knowledge. He neither read nor studied it, skeptically believing it to be of fiction and not historical fact. His interest in history would lead him on a search that would radically redefine his thoughts on that Ancient Book…

Some argue that Ramsay was originally just a product of his time. For example, the general consensus on the Acts of the Apostles (and its alleged writer Luke) was almost humouress:

“… [A]bout 1880 to 1890 the book of the Acts was regarded as the weakest part of the New Testament. No one that had any regard for his reputation as a scholar cared to say a word in its defence. The most conservative of theological scholars, as a rule, thought the wisest plan of defence for the New Testament as a whole was to say as little as possible about the Acts.”[1]

It was his dislike for Acts that launched him into a Mid-East adventure. With Bible-in-hand, he made a trip to the Holy Land. What William found, however, was not what he expected…

As it turns out, ‘ole Willy’ changed his mind. After his extensive study he concluded that Luke was one of the world’s greatest historians:

The more I have studied the narrative of the Acts, and the more I have learned year after year about Graeco-Roman society and thoughts and fashions, and organization in those provinces, the more I admire and the better I understand. I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it here [in the Book of Acts—KB]. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s, and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment, provided always that the critic knows the subject and does not go beyond the limits of science and of justice.[2]

Skeptics were strikingly shocked. In ‘Evidence that Demands a Verdict’ Josh Mcdowell writes,

“The book caused a furor of dismay among the skeptics of the world. Its attitude was utterly unexpected because it was contrary to the announced intention of the author years before…. for twenty years more, book after book from the same author came from the press, each filled with additional evidence of the exact, minute truthfulness of the whole New Testament as tested by the spade on the spot. The evidence was so overwhelming that many infidels announced their repudiation of their former unbelief and accepted Christianity. And these books have stood the test of time, not one having been refuted, nor have I found even any attempt to refute them.”[3]

The Bible has always stood the test of time. Renowned archaeologist Nelson Glueck put it like this:

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which conform in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”[4]

1) The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament (1915)
2) Ibid
3) See page 366
4) See page 31 of: Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev (1959)

 Thank you again for your time and I know how busy you are.

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

_________________________

Midnight in Paris trailer

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The mass media turned Picasso into a celebrity, and the public deprived him of privacy and wanted to know his every step, but his later art was given very little attention and was regarded as no more than the hobby of an aging genius who could do nothing but talk about himself in his pictures. Picasso’s late works are an expression of his final refusal to fit into categories. He did whatever he wanted in art and did not arouse a word of criticism.

With his adaptation of “Las Meninas” by Velászquez and his experiments with Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, was Picasso still trying to discover something new, or was he just laughing at the public, its stupidity and its inability to see the obvious.

A number of elements had become characteristic in his art of this period: Picasso’s use of simplified imagery, the way he let the unpainted canvas shine through, his emphatic use of lines, and the vagueness of the subject. In 1956, the artist would comment, referring to some schoolchildren: “When I was as old as these children, I could draw like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to learn to draw like them.”

In the last years of his life, painting became an obsession with Picasso, and he would date each picture with absolute precision, thus creating a vast amount of similar paintings — as if attempting to crystallize individual moments of time, but knowing that, in the end, everything would be in vain.

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.

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!!!

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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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FRIEDMAN FRIDAY ACTON INSTITUTE POWER BLOG 6 Quotes: Milton Friedman on Freedom and Economics by JOE CARTER • July 31, 2015

ACTON INSTITUTE POWERBLOG

6 Quotes: Milton Friedman on Freedom and Economics

by JOE CARTER • July 31, 2015

Aristotle has often been described as the philosopher of common sense. Similarly, Milton Friedman, who would have been 103 years old today, could be described as the economist of common sense. Friedman’s writings are often so clear and straightforward (unusual for modern economists) that when reading him you often find yourself wondering how anyone could disagree. Even the uber-liberal Paul Krugman, admits that Friedman was “One of the most important economic thinkers of all time…”

In honor of his birthday, here are six quotes by Friedman on freedom and economics:

The conditions for freedom: “History only suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.”

On shortages: “We economists don’t know much, but we do know how to create a shortage. If you want to create a shortage of tomatoes, for example, just pass a law that retailers can’t sell tomatoes for more than two cents per pound. Instantly you’ll have a tomato shortage.”

On private property: “Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property.”

On minimum wage laws: “The high rate of unemployment among teenagers, and especially black teenagers, is both a scandal and a serious source of social unrest. Yet it is largely a result of minimum wage laws. We regard the minimum wage law as one of the most, if not the most, anti-black laws on the statute books.”

On freedom and fairness: “’Fair’ is in the eye of the beholder; free is the verdict of the market. The word ‘free’ is used three times in the Declaration of Independence and once in the First Amendment to the Constitution, along with ‘freedom.’ The word ‘fair’ is not used in either of our founding documents.”

On free markets: “What most people really object to when they object to a free market is that it is so hard for them to shape it to their own will. The market gives people what the people want instead of what other people think they ought to want. At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself.”

JOE CARTER Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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TEMIN: We don’t think the big capital arose before the government did? VON HOFFMAN: Listen, what are we doing here? I mean __ defending big government is like defending death and taxes. When was the last time you met anybody that was in favor of big government? FRIEDMAN: Today, today I met Bob Lekachman, I […] By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

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January 20, 2012 – 12:34 am

worked pretty well for a whole generation. Now anything that works well for a whole generation isn’t entirely bad. From the fact __ from that fact, and the undeniable fact that things are working poorly now, are we to conclude that the Keynesian sort of mixed regulation was wrong __ FRIEDMAN: Yes. LEKACHMAN: __ or […] By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 5 of 7)

January 13, 2012 – 12:21 am

MCKENZIE: Ah, well, that’s not on our agenda actually. (Laughter) VOICE OFF SCREEN: Why not? MCKENZIE: I boldly repeat the question, though, the expectation having been __ having been raised in the public mind, can you reverse this process where government is expected to produce the happy result? LEKACHMAN: Oh, no way. And it would […]

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 4 of 7)

January 6, 2012 – 12:18 am

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“Friedman Friday” (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 3 of 7)

December 30, 2011 – 12:12 am

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“Friedman Friday” (Part 16) (“Free to Choose” episode 3 – Anatomy of a Crisis. part 2 of 7)

December 23, 2011 – 12:07 am

  George Eccles: Well, then we called all our employees together. And we told them to be at the bank at their place at 8:00 a.m. and just act as if nothing was happening, just have a smile on their face, if they could, and me too. And we have four savings windows and we […] By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Current Events | Edit | Comments (0)

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 291 “William Jennings Bryan on Evolution” (Schaeffer v. Richard Dawkins) Featured Artist is Raymond Pettibon

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Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins

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Francis and Edith Schaeffer at their home in Switzerland with some visiting friends

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Schaeffer with his wife Edith in Switzerland.


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Richard Dawkins and John Lennox

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DawkinsWard

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Image result for francis schaeffer c. everett koop whatever happened to human race?

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Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Harris 

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Canary Islands 2014: Harold Kroto and Richard Dawkins

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

The Basis of Human Dignity by Francis Schaeffer

Richard Dawkins, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Credit: Don Arnold Getty Images

Francis Schaeffer in 1984

January 29, 2019

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 wanted to comment on something you wrote in your book Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist, and here is the quote on page 133:

Now, it has recently been widely and repeatedly publicized that some modern evolutionists reject ‘gradualism’,

One example that shows why scientists like Stephen Jay Gould rejected gradualism was because of the lack of transitional forms, and that reminds me of the silly evidence of Nebraska Man brought up at the Scopes Trial.

Mr. Bryan on Evolution

by William Jennings Bryan

Evidence for Creation


“He being dead, yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4). The “Great Commoner,” William Jennings Bryan, died over 65 years ago, but he was undoubtedly the most widely known creationist of his generation. The following article, first published in August 1925 soon after the famous Scopes Trial, was written by him shortly before his death, and we believe it should still be read today.


Are those who reject evolution as an unproved hypothesis unreasonable in refusing to accept, as conclusive, the evidence offered by evolutionists in support of a proposition that links every living thing in blood relationship to every other living thing–the rose to the onion, the eagle to the mosquito, the mockingbird to the rattlesnake, the royal palm to the scrub oak, and man to all? Surely, so astounding a proposition should be supported by facts before it becomes binding upon the judgment of a rational being.

It is not unusual for evolutionists to declare that their hypothesis is as clearly established as the law of gravitation or the roundness of the earth. Yet anyone can prove that anything heavier than air, when thrown up into the air, will fall to the ground; anyone can demonstrate the roundness of the earth by traveling around it.

But how about the doctrine that all of the species (Darwin estimated the number at from two to three million–the lowest estimate is one million, about a half million of which have been tabulated) by the operation of interior, resident forces came by slow and gradual development from one or a few germs of life, which appeared on this planet millions of years ago–the estimates varying according to the vigor of the guesser’s imagination and the number of ciphers he has left in his basket? Can that proposition be demonstrated by every one like the law of gravitation or the roundness of the earth? On the contrary, no one has ever been able to trace one single species to another. Darwin admitted that no species had ever been traced to another, but he thought his hypothesis should be accepted even though the “missing links” had not been found. He did not say link, as some seem to think, but links. If there is such a thing as evolution, it is not just one link–the link between man and the lower forms of life–that is missing, but all the millions of links between millions of species. Our case is even stronger; it has been pointed out that evolution, if there is such a force, would act so slowly that there would be an infinite number of links between each two species, or a million times a million links in all, every one of which is missing.

Thomas Huxley also asserted that no species had ever been traced to another; and, while a friend of Darwin, declared that until some species could be traced to another, Darwin’s hypothesis did not rise to the dignity of a theory. Prof. William Bateson, a London biologist, prominent enough to be invited to cross the Atlantic and speak to the members of the American Society for the Advancement of Science, at Toronto two years ago last December, in discussing evolution, took up every effort that had been made to discover the origin of species, and declared that every one had failed–every one! Yet he still asserted faith in evolution, showing how much easier it is for some scientists to have faith along their own line of work than along religious lines.

Why should we believe that all species come one from another when no evidence has yet been found to prove that any species came from another? If evolution were true, every square foot of the earth’s surface would teem with conclusive proof of change. The entire absence of proof is the strongest possible proof that evolution is a myth.

But those who reject evolution have another proof. Chemistry refutes all the claims of the evolutionists, and proves that there is no pushing power to be found anywhere in nature–no progressive force at work in the earth–no eternal urge lifting matter or life from any plane to a higher one. Chemistry has failed to find any trace of force active enough to raise life, step by step up, along the lines of the family tree imagined by Darwin, from “A group of marine animals, resembling the larvae of existing ascidians” to “Man, the wonder and glory of the universe.”

On the contrary, the only active force discovered on the planet as pointed out by Edwin Slosson, is deterioration, decay, death. All the formulae of chemistry are exact and permanent. They leave no room for the guesses upon which evolutionists build other guesses, ad infinitum. Take water, for instance; it must have been on earth before any living thing appeared, because it is the daily need of every living thing. And it has been H2O from the beginning. Every one of the millions of changes of species imagined by the evolutionists have taken place–if they have taken place at all–since water came upon the earth. But water has not changed; neither has anything else ever changed, so far as nature has revealed her processes to man.

When a few bones and a piece of skull are fashioned into a supposed likeness of a prehistoric animal, described as an ape-man, the evolutionists fall down before it and worship it, although it contains a smaller percentage of fact than the one-half percent alcohol permitted in a legal beverage…. Someone searching for fossils in a sand hill in Nebraska came upon a lonely tooth. The body of the animal had disappeared; not even a jaw bone survived. Professor Osborn summoned a few congenial spirits, nearly as credulous as himself, and they held a post mortem examination on this insignificant tooth. After due deliberation, they announced that the tooth was the long-looked-for missing link which the world awaited.

Give science a fact and it is invincible. But no one can guess more wildly than a scientist, when he has no compass but his imagination, and no purpose but to get away from God. Darwin uses the phrase “we may well suppose” 800 times and wins for himself a high place among the unconscious humorists by his efforts to explain things that are not true. For instance, he assumed that man has a brain superior to woman’s brain, and tried to explain it on the theory that our ancestors were brutes and that the males, fighting for female mates, increased their brain power. He also assumed that our ancestors were hairy animals, and tried to explain the disappearance of the hair on the theory that the females selected their companions and, because of a universal preference, selected the least hairy and thus, in the course of ages, bred the hair off. The two explanations would be funny enough, even if each did not make the other impossible–the two sexes could not do the selecting at the same time.

Evolutionists also explain to us that light, beating on the skin, brought out the eye, although the explanation does not tell us why the light waves did not continue to beat until they brought out eyes all over the body. They also tell us that the leg is a development from a wart that accidentally appeared on the belly of a legless animal; and that we dream of falling because our ancestors fell out of trees 50,000 years ago.

It is a calamity that highly educated men should while away their time in idle speculation instead of devoting themselves to the serious problems that demand solution.

Editor’s Addendum: The foregoing article was first published in The Reader’s Digest in August 1925 (Vol. 4, No. 40), less than three years after the Digest first began publication. At that time, the magazine was not as strongly committed to evolutionism as it is today (the editors have adamantly refused to publish creationist articles in recent years).

The article is of particular interest as a brief summary of some of the anti-evolution arguments of 65 years ago–arguments that, for the most part, are as cogent today as they were then.

It is interesting to note Mr. Bryan’s sarcastic critique of the famous tooth which Henry Fairfield Osborn, Director of the American Museum of Natural History, had publicized far and wide as the ancient “Nebraska Man.” Mr. Bryan died shortly before the discovery of a more complete skeleton of the creature, revealing it to have been not an ape-man (nor an ape, nor a man!) but an extinct pig!

Mr. Bryan also noted the significance of the universal law of deterioration. Modern creationists frequently use this same cogent evidence, although it is more accurately known as the law of entropy.

William Jennings Bryan, of course, was the most famous creationist of his day. Although he was not a scientist, his political eminence and oratorical ability impelled him into that role. He was born in 1860, so was 65 at the time of the Scopes Trial. He had been the Democratic candidate for president in 1896, 1900, and 1908, but was defeated each time, although known as one of the finest public speakers who ever lived. He was called “The Great Commoner.” He served as Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson from 1912 to 1915.

Spiritually, he was a Presbyterian, and became an opponent of evolution after realizing the great war (World War I) was a direct outgrowth of evolutionary teaching in Germany, and that evolutionary teaching in American public schools and colleges was contributing significantly to the decline of morals and Christianity in general.

On the other hand, he was not a young-earth creationist, even advocating progressive creationism while being questioned by the ACLU attorney, Clarence Darrow, on the witness stand at the Scopes Trial. This compromise, which is widespread today among evangelicals, earned him no sympathy, however, from either Darrow or the liberal press. The very fact that he believed in God and the Bible was sufficient, in their view, to subject him to ridicule.

Nevertheless, the points made in his Digest article, and in the much longer declamation he had prepared (but was maneuvered out of giving by Darrow and the trial judge) for his trial summary, constitute a strong case against evolution even today. Acts & Facts readers should find it interesting and illuminative.For Further Reading

The Last Message of William Jennings Bryan (Dayton, Tennessee: Bryan College, 1975), 32 pp.

“Their Stage Drew all the World: A New Look at the Scopes Trial,” by R.M. Cornelius, Tennessee Historical Quarterly (Vol. XL, Summer 1981), pp. 129-143

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #95)

Two things should be mentioned about the time of Moses in Old Testament history.

First, consider the archaeological evidence that relates to the period. True, it is not of the same explicitness that we have found, say, in relation to the existence of Ahab or Jehu or Jehoiakim. We have no inscription from Egypt which refers to Moses being taken out of the bulrushes and removed from the waterproof basket his mother had made him. But this does not mean that the Book of Exodus is a fictitious account, as some critics has suggested. Some say it is simply an idealized reading-back into history by the Jews under the later monarchy. There is not a reason why these “books of Moses,” as they are called, should not be treated as history, just as we have been forced to treat the Books of Kings and Chronicles dating 500 years later.

There is ample evidence about the building projects of the Egyptian kings, and the evidence we have fits well with Exodus. There are scenes of brick-making (for example, Theban Tomb 100 of Rekhmire). Contemporary parchments and papyri tell of production targets which had to be met. One speaks of a satisfied official report of his men as “making their quota of bricks daily” (Papyrus Anastasi III vso, p.3, in the British Museum. Also Louvre Leather Roll in the Louvre, Paris, col ii, mentions quotes of bricks and “taskmasters”). Actual bricks found show signs of straw which had to be mixed in with the clay, just as Exodus says. This matter of bricks and straw is further affirmed by the record that one despairing official complained, “There are no men to make bricks nor straw in my area.”

We know from contemporary discoveries that Semites were found at all levels of Egypt’s cosmopolitan society. (Brooklyn Museum, New York, no. 35, 1446. Papyrus Brooklyn). There is nothing strange therefore about Joseph’s becoming so important in the pharaoh’s court.

The store cities of Pithom and Raamses (Rameses) mentioned in Exodus 1:11 are well known in Egyptian inscriptions. Raamses was actually in the east-Delta capital, Pi-Ramses (near Goshen), where the Israelites would have had ample experience of agriculture. Thus, the references to agriculture found in the law of Moses would not have been strange to the Israelites even though they were in the desert at the time the law was given. Certainly there is no reason to say, as some critics do, that these sections on agriculture were an indication of a reading-back from a latter period when the Jews were settled in Canaan.

The form of the covenant made at Sinai has remarkable parallels with the covenant forms of other people at that time. (On covenants and parties to a treaty, the Louvre; and Treaty Tablet from Boghaz Koi (i.e., Hittite) in Turkey, Museum of Archaeology in Istanbul.) The covenant form at Sinai resembles just as the forms of letter writings of the first century after Christ (the types of introductions and greetings) are reflected in the letters of the apostles in the New Testament, it is not surprising to find the covenant form of the second millennium before Christ reflected in what occurred at Mount Sinai. God has always spoken to people within the culture of their time, which does not mean that God’s communication is limited by that culture. It is God’s communication but within the forms appropriate to the time.

The Pentateuch tells us that Moses led the Israelites up the east side of the Dead Sea after their long stay in the desert. There they encountered the hostile kingdom of Moab. We have firsthand evidence for the existence of this kingdom of Moab–contrary to what has been said by critical scholars who have denied the existence of Moab at this time. It can be found in a war scene from a temple at Luxor (Al Uqsor). This commemorates a victory by Ramses II over the Moabite nation at Batora (Luxor Temple, Egypt).

Also the definite presence of the Israelites in west Palestine (Canaan) no later than the end of the thirteenth century B.C. is attested by a victory stela of Pharaoh Merenptah (son and successor of Ramses II) to commemorate his victory over Libya (Israel Stela, Cairo Museum, no. 34025). In it he mentions his previous success in Canaan against Aschalon, Gize, Yenom, and Israel; hence there can be no doubt the nation of Israel was in existence at the latest by this time of approximately 1220 B.C. This is not to say it could not have been earlier, but it cannot be later than this date.

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.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer in 1982

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Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Episode 1

Image result for richard dawkins brief candle in the dark

Garik Israelian, Stephen Hawking, Alexey Leonov, Brian May, Richard Dawkins and Harry Kroto

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Featured artist is Raymond Pettibon

Raymond Pettibon was born in Tucson, Arizona, in 1957. The fourth of five children, Pettibon earned a degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. After graduating from college, Pettibon worked briefly as a high-school math teacher, but soon set out to launch a career as a professional artist.

A cult figure among underground music devotees for his early work associated with the Los Angeles punk rock scene, Pettibon has acquired an international reputation as one of the foremost contemporary American artists working with drawing, text, and artist’s books. Pettibon is as likely to explore the subject of surfing as he is typography; themes from art history and nineteenth-century literature appear in the same breath as 1960s American politics and contemporary pop culture.

In his 1998 anthology, Raymond Pettibon: A Reader, the viewer can read over Pettibon’s shoulder to discover a handful of the artist’s muses: Henry James, Mickey Spillane, Marcel Proust, William Blake, and Samuel Beckett, among others. In the 1990s, Pettibon extended his work beyond the printed page and onto the walls of the exhibition space, creating wall-size drawings and collages.

Retrospectives of his work have been held at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Santa Monica Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 2002, an exhibition of his drawings, “Plots Laid Thick,” was organized by the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain, and traveled to Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, and Haags Gemeentemuseum in the Netherlands. Pettibon’s work was also featured at Documenta XI in Kassel, Germany. Pettibon lives and works in Hermosa Beach, California.

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September 2, 2015 – 8:42 am

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MUSIC MONDAY Punk Rock and Rancid, FRANCIS SCHAEFFER TAKES LOOK AT ECCLESIASTES AND ESCAPING INTO ALCOHOL

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3,000 years ago Solomon looked at the issue of escapism through alcohol or drugs just like Rancid did with their song “Junkie Man.” Here are the lyrics below:

The common man don’t suffer pain like this
Only the soul that has never been kissed
Let us adore our beatiful son
He’s riding on the rivers of Babylon
Booting up and shooting up and bring on the brightness
See the son of God is coming up and I see a likeness
Internalize the lunacy, the misery is showing
When you’re brought up, you’re caught up in a system that is going
No one answers, no one takes that call from you (times 3)
Junkie man, tell me what you’re story is (times 2)
Water I desire
Some parents’ house is on fire
Slowly the house gonna burn to the ground
The neighborhood will watch, they’re gonna sound
Will someone be a witness, please tell me that he’s crazy
But he’s not and they know that and can’t get him ’cause he’s not crazy
Beat him, lock him, knock him, take away his authority
Hit ’em, ship ’em, club ’em, submitted conformity
No one answers, no one takes that call from you
Junkie man, tell me what your story is
My hand went blind
You’re in the vane, clairvoyant
You’re in the vane, clairvoyant
My hand went blind
I make love to my trance sister
My trance sister
And my trance parents see from the balcony
I looked out on the big field
On the big field, it opens like the cover of an old bible
And out come the wolves
Out come the wolves, their paws trampling the snow and the alphabet
I stand on my head watching it all go away
Booting up and shooting up and bring on the brightness
See the son of God is coming up and I see a likeness
Internalize the lunacy, the misery is showing
When you’re brought up, you’re caught up in a system that is going
No one answers, no one takes that call from you
Junkie man, tell me what you’re story is
Source: Musixmatch

Junkie Man Tell me Your Story!

My favorite song on this album would have to be “Junkie Man”.  Honestly, one reason for this was because when I first typed in Rancid on youtube.com, this was the first song I came across to click.  The hook is extremely catchy though, which is the second reason why it is my favorite.  I cannot listen to this song without finding myself chanting, “Junkie Man tell me what your story is.”  Then after the second utterance of the chorus, I finally hear the Junkie man’s story, which is the third reason.  A fragmented story sounding like a scratched record the way it repeated certain lines, I felt like this was one of the strongest moments in the song.   We requested hearing his story and when we actually hear it, in our heads most of us are saying, “WHAT!”  This is the moment when we realize that this is what a junkie probably sounds like.  Their heads are not in their right mind and this is the reason why people ignore them.

The song overall talks about a man rejected by society basically because people think he is crazy.  He is a town local who always has some radical story to tell which most likely sounds barbaric at times and no one in town basically wants to listen to him because of his presumed lunacy.  From the way the song makes him seem, I imagine him as the stereotype old crazy man in movies and he probably looks something like this:

He probably goes around telling 2minute stories like this:

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This is just the image I perceive though.  Whenever I think of a junkie man that no one wants to listen to, I think of the crazy old people that I live around.  I usually try to avoid them by crossing the street or turning around because I know they are going to chat away about nonsense.  Not only that though, but they are usually the senile old man that doesn’t want to cut off their beard.

After listening to this song a few more times however, I actually thought about the meaning of a junkie.  A junkie usually is a drug addict that is at a point where their life is a mess and they may need intensive rehabilitation.   Then I think about how I treat the junkies around my way like the senile old men.  They are also victim to me avoiding them.  Now when I listen to this song, I think of a man named Tony.  He is a crack head who I known from my adolescence.  Nowadays he spends his time on Ocean Avenue spouting pure non-sense on the streets and no one pays any attention to him.  Plus the Junkie in the song sounds “stoned”.  He is putting random images in the listeners head such as making love to his trance sister and the big field opening with wolves running across.  There may be a deeper meaning to his story though.  The wolves may symbolize people coming for him because of his drug problem. His hand going blind would refer to him not being able to see his hand straight because he was high.  His trance sister would be the female he is getting high with and is also within the trance caused by the drug.   There are many further conclusions that can be drawn.  Either way though, with or without a deeper meaning, you get the thought of, “What is he talking about!” ringing in your head.  This is what truly makes this song special to me.

Overall, I rate this song 5 out of 5.  It’s somewhat easier to understand then the others in   the album.  It’s easily relatable to the local junkies in the town.  It is more innovative then the other songs because it adds a little side story to take our thoughts away from the music and instead listen to the junkie man, thus helping us understand the song better.  Lastly, it is just darn right catchy.   Again this song gets 5 out of 5, and is voted as my top favorite of the album.

Interesting Links:  Inspired by this Rancid song, here is a junkie man telling his story!  His story is awfully different than the Junkie in the song in two ways:

  1. He sounds pretty sober to me.
  2. People are listening to him!

Perhaps he is making us think of this song in a different way.  Conveying the message that this is what happens to junkies and that no one is going to be there to help you or even attempt to listen to you.   Anyways, enjoy his story!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpz661CNr4k

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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rancid_(band)

American punk rock band formed in Berkeley, California in 1991. Founded by former members of the band Operation Ivy, Rancid is often credited as being among the wave of bands which revived mainstream interest in punk rock in the United States during the mid-1990s.[7] Over their 28-year career, Rancid remained signed to an independent record label and retained much of its original fan-base, most of which was connected to its underground musical roots.[8]

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Francis Schaeffer noted:

I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.”

“They are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one…
The result is a relativistic value system. A lack of a final meaning to life — that’s first. Why does human life have any value at all, if that is all that reality is? Not only are you going to die individually, but the whole human race is going to die, someday. It may not take the falling of the atom bombs, but someday the world will grow too hot, too cold. That’s what we are told on this other final reality, and someday all you people not only will be individually dead, but the whole conscious life on this world will be dead, and nobody will see the birds fly. And there’s no meaning to life.

As you know, I don’t speak academically, shut off in some scholastic cubicle, as it were. I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” And I must say, that on the basis of what they are being taught in school, that the final reality is only this material thing, they are not wrong. They’re right! On this other basis there is no meaning to life and not only is there no meaning to life, but there is no value system that is fixed, and we find that the law is based then only on a relativistic basis and that law becomes purely arbitrary.

OUTLINE OF ECCLESIATES BY SCHAEFFER

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William Lane Craig on Man’s predicament if God doesn’t exist

Read Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. During this entire play two men carry on trivial conversation while waiting for a third man to arrive, who never does. Our lives are like that, Beckett is saying; we just kill time waiting—for what, we don’t know.

Thus, if there is no God, then life itself becomes meaningless. Man and the universe are without ultimate significance.

Francis Schaeffer looks at Nihilism of Solomon and the causes of it!!!

Notes on Ecclesiastes by Francis Schaeffer

Solomon is the author of Ecclesiastes and he is truly an universal man like Leonardo da Vinci.

Two men of the Renaissance stand above all others – Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and it is in them that one can perhaps grasp a view of the ultimate conclusion of humanism for man. Michelangelo was unequaled as a sculptor in the Renaissance and arguably no one has ever matched his talents.

The other giant of the Renaissance period was Leonardo da Vinci – the perfect Renaissance Man, the man who could do almost anything and does it better than most anyone else. As an inventor, an engineer, an anatomist, an architect, an artist, a chemist, a mathematician, he was almost without equal. It was perhaps his mathematics that lead da Vinci to come to his understanding of the ultimate meaning of Humanism. Leonardo is generally accepted as the first modern mathematician. He not only knew mathematics abstractly but applied it in his Notebooks to all manner of engineering problems. He was one of the unique geniuses of history, and in his brilliance he perceived that beginning humanistically with mathematics one only had particulars. He understood that man beginning from himself would never be able to come to meaning on the basis of mathematics. And he knew that having only individual things, particulars, one never could come to universals or meaning and thus one only ends with mechanics. In this he saw ahead to where our generation has come: everything, including man, is the machine.

Leonardo da Vinci compares well to Solomon and they  both were universal men searching for the meaning in life. Solomon was searching for a meaning in the midst of the details of life. His struggle was to find the meaning of life. Not just plans in life. Anybody can find plans in life. A child can fill up his time with plans of building tomorrow’s sand castle when today’s has been washed away. There is  a difference between finding plans in life and purpose in life. Humanism since the Renaissance and onward has never found it and it has never found it since. Modern man has not found it and it has always got worse and darker in a very real way.

We have here the declaration of Solomon’s universality:

1 Kings 4:30-34

English Standard Version (ESV)

30 so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. 33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. 34 And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

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Here is the universal man and his genius. Solomon is the universal man with a empire at his disposal. Solomon had it all.

Ecclesiastes 1:3

English Standard Version (ESV)

What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?

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.

(Added by me:The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias 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.” )

Man is caught in the cycle

Ecclesiastes 1:1-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

All Is Vanity

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
    “See, this is new”?
It has been already
    in the ages before us.

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Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it. Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Ecclesiastes 1:4

English Standard Version (ESV)

A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.

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Ecclesiastes 4:16

English Standard Version (ESV)

16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

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In verses 1:4 and 4:16 Solomon places man in the cycle. He doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is only cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age. With this in mind Solomon makes this statement.

Ecclesiastes 6:12

12 For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

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There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man. 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 and I felt as man as God. 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.

THIS IS SOLOMON’S FEELING TOO. The universal man, Solomon, beyond our intelligence with an empire at his disposal with the opportunity of observation so he could recite these words here in Ecclesiastes 6:12, “For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?”

Lack of Satisfaction in life

In Ecclesiastes 1:8 he drives this home when he states, “All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell itThe eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing.” Solomon is stating here the fact that there is no final satisfaction because you don’t get to the end of the thing. THERE IS NO FINAL SATISFACTION. This is related to Leonardo da Vinci’s similar search for universals and then meaning in life. 

In Ecclesiastes 5:11 Solomon again pursues this theme, When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?”  Doesn’t that sound modern? It is as modern as this evening. Solomon here is stating the fact there is no reaching completion in anything and this is the reason there is no final satisfaction. There is simply no place to stop. It is impossible when laying up wealth for oneself when to stop. It is impossible to have the satisfaction of completion. 

Pursuing Learning

Now let us look down the details of his searching.

In Ecclesiastes 1: 13a we have the details of the universal man’s procedure. “And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven.”

So like any sensible man the instrument that is used is INTELLECT, and RAITIONALITY, and LOGIC. It is to be noted that even men who despise these in their theories begin and use them or they could not speak. There is no other way to begin except in the way they which man is and that is rational and intellectual with movements of that is logical within him. As a Christian I must say gently in passing that is the way God made him.

So we find first of all Solomon turned to WISDOM and logic. Wisdom is not to be confused with knowledge. A man may have great knowledge and no wisdom. Wisdom is the use of rationality and logic. A man can be very wise and have limited knowledge. Here he turns to wisdom in all that implies and the total rationality of man.

Works of Men done Under the Sun

After wisdom Solomon comes to the great WORKS of men. Ecclesiastes 1:14,  “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is [p]vanity and striving after wind.” Solomon is the man with an empire at this disposal that speaks. This is the man who has the copper refineries in Ezion-geber. This is the man who made the stables across his empire. This is the man who built the temple in Jerusalem. This is the man who stands on the world trade routes. He is not a provincial. He knew what was happening on the Phonetician coast and he knew what was happening in Egypt. There is no doubt he already knew something of building. This is Solomon and he pursues the greatness of his own construction and his conclusion is VANITY AND VEXATION OF SPIRIT.

Ecclesiastes 2:18-20

18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20 Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.

He looked at the works of his hands, great and multiplied by his wealth and his position and he shrugged his shoulders.

Ecclesiastes 2:22-23

22 For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.

Man can not rest and yet he is never done and yet the things which he builds will out live him. If one wants an ironical three phrases these are they. There is a Dutch saying, “The tailor makes many suits but one day he will make a suit that will outlast the tailor.”

God has put eternity in our hearts but we can not know the beginning or the end of the thing from a vantage point of UNDER THE SUN

Ecclesiastes 1:16-18

16 I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.

Solomon points out that you can not know the beginnings or what follows:

Ecclesiastes 3:11

11 He has made everything  appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Ecclesiastes 1:11

11 There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance among those who will come later still.

Ecclesiastes 2:16

16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!

You bring together here the factor of the beginning and you can’t know what immediately follows after your death and of course you can’t know the final ends. What do you do and the answer is to get drunk and this was not thought of in the RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KAHAYYAM:

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.

The Daughter of the Vine:

You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Translation by Edward Fitzgerald)

A perfectly good philosophy coming out of Islam, but Solomon is not the first man that thought of it nor the last. In light of what has been presented by Solomon is the solution just to get intoxicated and black the think out? So many people have taken to alcohol and the dope which so often follows in our day. This approach is incomplete, temporary and immature. Papa Hemingway can find the champagne of Paris sufficient for a time, but one he left his youth he never found it sufficient again. He had a lifetime spent looking back to Paris and that champagne and never finding it enough. It is no solution and Solomon says so too.

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(End of Schaeffer comments)

I want to talk about a subject that is very sad indeed and it is the attempt by many today to find  their meaning in life through drugs and alcohol. Perhaps they are trying to escape the hard realities of life by taking this path. Like everyone around us, I too have many close friends and relatives who have fallen into this trap. I have a great deal of compassion for these individuals. In fact, several times this month I have taken time to drive individuals from a facility that my church sponsors to AA meetings. We want these individuals to overcome their addictions and live in victory.  I can’t do anything to go back and  save those who have passed on in the past, but I can do something to encourage those who have obstacles to overcome today!!!!

Our church FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH sponsors HIDDEN CREEK REENTRY CENTER,  Assisting incarcerated individuals with a successful transition to their community. I have had the joy of giving some of my time to help these gentlemen. Let me share some posts from their Facebook page:

So proud of these guys… They had the honor to go with Mr.Glover yesterday to a school to speak to some children.

Well its been a eye jerker today… great tears of joy!! I have watched these guys grow so much… I pray they continue to grow out there… next month they graduate the program!!

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I have just finished a book about a man who had a tough time breaking drug addition and the it is entitled,  FEARLESS: The undaunted courage and ultimate sacrifice of Navy Seal Team Six Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm.
This is how the book opens:

When Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan—but he was ready….Adam Brown did understand what it meant to disappoint, to feel the shame he’d experienced on a hot, humid August afternoon years earlier when his parents had him arrested.“It’s time for you to face what you’ve done,” his father had told him in 1996, just before Adam was handcuffed and escorted to the backseat of the Garland County sheriff’s cruiser. When the deputy slammed the car door shut, Adam watched his mother’s legs buckle, and as she collapsed, his dad caught her and held her tightly against him. She began to cry, and Adam knew he had broken her heart.That vision—of his mother sobbing into his father’s chest—would haunt him for the rest of his life, but it also sparked the journey that defined who he would become. Officially known as a Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL), Adam Brown was one of the most respected Special Operations warriors in the U.S. Navy.

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Why do so many individuals today turn to drugs or liquor?  There are various reasons, but let us look at the reason Ernest Hemingway became a drunk.
Ernest Hemingway turned to liquor as a device of escapism because he reached the conclusion that life has no lasting meaning.
“Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada.” This quote from Hemingway’s short story A Clean Well Lighted Place shows that Ernest Hemingway embraced nihilism. The Spanish word NADA meaning NOTHING. The old man in the story tried the previous week to commit suicide but was saved by his niece, and he saw it as a temporary saving.
Hemingway also wrote in his last book THE GARDEN OF EDEN,“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”A sensational bestseller when it appeared in 1986, The Garden of Eden is the last uncompleted novel of Ernest Hemingway, which he worked on intermittently from 1946 until his death in 1961.
In you go to You Tube and watch the video Woody Allen talks ‘Midnight in Paris’ which was posted on January 27, 2017 and runs 43 minutes and 37 seconds, you will notice at the 27 minute mark that Woody Allen says:

I have never gotten to the point where I can give an optimistic view of anything. I have these ideas for stories that I hope are entertaining and I am always criticized for being pessimistic or nihilistic. To me this is just a realistic appraisal of life. What I have learned over the years is that there is no other solution to it. There is no satisfying answer. There is no optimistic answer I can give anybody.

Ernest Hemingway in one of his stories ( A FAREWELL TO ARMS)is looking at a burning log with ants running on it. This is the kind of thinking that has over powered me over the years and slips into my stories.

Drinking was a large part of Hemingway’s life. Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes also takes a long look at liquor and tries to see if it will bring any satisfaction UNDER THE SUN.

In fact, Solomon  filled his home with the best wine (Eccl 2:3).

Concerning the Book of Ecclesiastes Francis Schaeffer noted:

Solomon was searching for a meaning in the midst of the details of life. His struggle was to find the meaning of life.  Humanism since the Renaissance and onward has never found it and it has never found it. Modern man has not found it and it has always got worse and darker in a very real way.

Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life UNDER THE SUN between birth and death and the answers this would give.

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In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me thatKerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, like Solomon and Coldplay, they realized death comes to everyone and “there must be something more.”

Livgren wrote:

“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.”

Both Kerry Livgren and 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 youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. Hope is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

The movie maker Woody Allen has embraced the nihilistic message of the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. David Segal in his article, “Things are Looking Up for the Director Woody Allen. No?” (Washington Post, July 26, 2006), wrote, “Allen is evangelically passionate about a few subjects. None more so than the chilling emptiness of life…The 70-year-old writer and director has been musing about life, sex, work, death and his generally futile search for hope…the world according to Woody is so bereft of meaning, so godless and absurd, that the only proper response is to curl up on a sofa and howl for your mommy.”

The song “Dust in the Wind” recommends, “Don’t hang on.” Allen himself says, “It’s just an awful thing and in that context you’ve got to find an answer to the question: ‘Why go on?’ ”  It is ironic that Chris Martin the leader of Coldplay regards Woody Allen as his favorite director.

Lets sum up the final conclusions of these gentlemen:  Coldplay is still searching for that “something more.” Woody Allen has concluded the search is futile. Livgren and Hope of Kansas have become Christians and are involved in fulltime ministry. Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

You can hear Kerry Livgren’s story from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Ecclesiastes 1

Published on Sep 4, 2012

Calvary Chapel Spring Valley | Sunday Evening | September 2, 2012 | Pastor Derek Neider

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Related posts

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 290 “Was Hitler a Christian?” (Schaeffer v. Richard Dawkins) Featured Artist is Nick Hallett

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Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins

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Francis and Edith Schaeffer at their home in Switzerland with some visiting friends

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Schaeffer with his wife Edith in Switzerland.


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Richard Dawkins and John Lennox

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DawkinsWard

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January 22, 2019

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 wanted to comment on something you wrote in 2010 in the Gaurdian Newspaper:

Even if Hitler had been an atheist–as Joseph Stalin more surely was–how dare Ratzinger suggest that atheism has any connection whatsoever with their horrific deeds? Any more than Hitler and Stalin’s non-belief in leprechauns or unicorns. … There is no logical pathway from atheism to wickedness.

Was Hitler a Christian?

  • DINESH D’SOUZA

Leading atheists are arguing that Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime were theist and specifically Christian.

Christopher Hitchens in God Is Not Great depicts Hitler as a pagan polytheist — not exactly a conventional theist but still a theist. Atheist websites routinely claim that Hitler was a Christian because he was born Catholic, he never publicly renounced his Catholicism, and he wrote in Mein Kampf, “By defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” Atheist writer Sam Harris writes that “the Holocaust marked the culmination of…two hundred years of Christian fulminating against the Jews” and therefore “knowingly or not, the Nazis were agents of religion.”

How persuasive are these claims? My New York Timesbestseller What’s So Great About Christianity has the full story and the requisite citations but here’s the condensed version. Hitler was born Catholic just as Stalin was born into the Russian Orthodox Church and Mao was raised as a Buddhist. These facts prove nothing as many people reject their religious upbringing, as these three men did. From an early age, historian Allan Bullock writes, Hitler “had no time at all for Catholic teaching, regarding it as a religion fit only for slaves and detesting its ethics.”

How then do we account for Hitler’s claim that in carrying out his anti-Semitic program he was an instrument of divine providence? During his ascent to power, Hitler needed the support of the German people — both the Bavarian Catholics and the Prussian Lutherans — and to secure this he occasionally used rhetoric such as “I am doing the Lord’s work.” To claim that this rhetoric makes Hitler a Christian is to confuse political opportunism with personal conviction. Hitler himself says in Mein Kampf that his public statements should be understood as propaganda that bears no relation to the truth but is designed to sway the masses.

The Nazi idea of an Aryan Christ who uses the sword to cleanse the earth of the Jews — what historians call “Aryan Christianity” — was obviously a radical departure from the traditional Christian understanding and was condemned as such by Pope Pius XI at the time. Moreover, Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not religious, it was racial. Jews were targeted not because of their religion — indeed many German Jews were completely secular in their way of life — but because of their racial identity. This was an ethnic and not a religious designation. Hitler’s anti-Semitism was secular.

Hitler’s Table Talk, a revealing collection of the Fuhrer’s private opinions, assembled by a close aide during the war years, shows Hitler to be rabidly anti-religious. He called Christianity one of the great “scourges” of history, and said of the Germans, “Let’s be the only people who are immunized against this disease.” He promised that “through the peasantry we shall be able to destroy Christianity.” In fact, he blamed the Jews for inventing Christianity. He also condemned Christianity for its opposition to evolution.

Hitler reserved special scorn for the Christian values of equality and compassion, which he identified with weakness. Hitler’s leading advisers like Goebbels, Himmler, Heydrich and Bormann were atheists who hated religion and sought to eradicate its influence in Germany.

In his multi-volume history of the Third Reich, historian Richard Evans writes that “the Nazis regarded the churches as the strongest and toughest reservoirs of ideological opposition to the principles they believed in.” Once Hitler and the Nazis came to power, they launched a ruthless drive to subdue and weaken the Christian churches in Germany .

Recognizing the absurdity of equating Nazism with Christianity, Christopher Hitchens seeks to push Hitler into the religious camp by portraying his ideology as a “quasi-pagan phenomenon.” Hitler may have been a polytheist who worshipped the pagan gods, Hitchens suggests, but polytheism is still theism. This argument fails to distinguish between ancient paganism and modern paganism. It’s true that Hitler and the Nazis drew heavily on ancient archetypes — mainly Nordic and Teutonic legends — to give their vision a mystical aura. But this was secular mysticism, not religious mysticism.

The ancient Germanic peoples truly believed in the pagan gods. Hitler and the Nazis, however, relied on ancient myths in the modern form given to them by Nietzsche and Wagner. For Nietzsche and Wagner, there was no question of the ancient myths being true. Wagner no more believed in the Norse god Wotan than Nietzsche believed in Apollo. For Hitler and the Nazis, the ancient myths were valuable because they could give depth and significance to a secular racial conception of the world.

In his multi-volume history of the Third Reich, historian Richard Evans writes that “the Nazis regarded the churches as the strongest and toughest reservoirs of ideological opposition to the principles they believed in.” Once Hitler and the Nazis came to power, they launched a ruthless drive to subdue and weaken the Christian churches in Germany. Evans points out that after 1937 the policies of Hitler’s government became increasingly anti-religious.

The Nazis stopped celebrating Christmas, and the Hitler Youth recited a prayer thanking the Fuhrer rather than God for their blessings. Clergy regarded as “troublemakers” were ordered not to preach, hundreds of them were imprisoned, and many were simply murdered. Churches were under constant Gestapo surveillance. The Nazis closed religious schools, forced Christian organizations to disband, dismissed civil servants who were practicing Christians, confiscated church property, and censored religious newspapers. Poor Sam Harris cannot explain how an ideology that Hitler and his associates perceived as a repudiation of Christianity can be portrayed as a “culmination” of Christianity.

If Nazism represented the culmination of anything, it was that of the nineteenth-century and early-twentieth century ideology of social Darwinism. Read historian Richard Weikart’s revealing study, From Darwin to Hitler. As Weikart documents, both Hitler and Himmler were admirers of Darwin and often spoke of their role as enacting a “law of nature” that guaranteed the “elimination of the unfit.” Weikart argues that Hitler himself “drew upon a bountiful fund of social Darwinist thought to construct his own racist philosophy” and concludes that while Darwinism is not a “sufficient” intellectual explanation for Nazism, it is a “necessary” one. Without Darwinism, quite possibly there would not have been Nazism.

The Nazis also drew on the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, adapting his atheist philosophy to their crude purposes.Nietzsche’s vision of the ubermensch and his elevation of a new ethic “beyond good and evil” were avidly embraced by Nazi propagandists. Nietzsche’s “will to power” almost became a Nazi recruitment slogan. I am not for a moment suggesting that Darwin or Nietzsche would have approved of Hitler’s ideas. But Hitler and his henchmen approved of Darwin’s and Nietzsche’s ideas. Harris simply ignores the evidence of the Nazis’ sympathies for Darwin, Nietzsche, and atheism. So what sense can we make of his claim that the leading Nazis were “knowingly or unknowingly” agents of religion? Clearly, it is nonsense.

So in addition to the mountain of corpses that the God-hating regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pot Pot and others have produced, we must add the body count of the God-hating Nazi regime. The Nazis, like the Communists, deliberately targeted the churches and the believers because they wanted to create a new man and a new utopia freed from the shackles of traditional religion and traditional morality. In an earlier blog, I asked what is atheism’s contribution to civilization? One answer to that question: Genocide.

Weikart summarizes the seven major aspects of Nazi ideology that were heavily influenced by Darwinism, but on which churchian anti-Judaism had no influence:

  1. Nazi eugenics policies, which led to the compulsory sterilization of 200,000 disabled people, forced abortions for the disabled, and in 1939 killing the disabled (about 200,000 disabled people were murdered).
  2. The drive for population expansion (Darwin claimed in Descent of Man that the birthrate should not be limited, because a higher birthrate was advantageous for evolution). Hitler often expressed the same view.
  3. The need for living space or Lebensraum (this was one cause of World War II, not just a minor feature). Hitler often expressed the need for living space in evolutionary terms.
  4. Racial inequality—Darwin and Haeckel argued for human inequality on the basis of Darwinian evolution.
  5. Anti-Marxism—the leading German Darwinist Haeckel argued that Darwinism disproved Marxism.
  6. History as a racial struggle for existence.
  7. The evolution of moral traits—Hitler believed that Jews had evolved bad moral traits, while Aryans had evolved good moral traits.

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

So the story goes on. We have stopped at only a few incidents in the sweep back to the year 1000 B.C. What we hope has emerged from this is a sense of the historical reliability of the Bible’s text. When the Bible refers to historical incidents, it is speaking about the same sort of “history” that historians examine elsewhere in other cultures and periods. This borne out by the fact that some of the incidents, some of the individuals, and some of the places have been confirmed by archaeological discoveries in the past hundred years has swept away the possibility of a naive skepticism about the Bible’s history. And what is particularly striking is that the tide has built up concerning the time before the year 1000 B.C. Our knowledge about the years 2500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. has vastly increased through discoveries sometimes of whole libraries and even of hitherto unknown people and languages.

There was a time, for example, when the Hittite people, referred to in the early parts of the Bible, were treated as fictitious by critical scholars. Then came the discoveries after 1906 at Boghaz Koi (Boghaz-koy) which not only gave us the certainty of their existence but stacks of details from their own archives!

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.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

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Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Harris 

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Canary Islands 2014: Harold Kroto and Richard Dawkins

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

The Basis of Human Dignity by Francis Schaeffer

Richard Dawkins, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Credit: Don Arnold Getty Images

Francis Schaeffer in 1984

Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer in 1982

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Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Episode 1

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Garik Israelian, Stephen Hawking, Alexey Leonov, Brian May, Richard Dawkins and Harry Kroto

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Featured artist is Nick Hallett

Shana Moulton & Nick Hallett Stage An Opera | ART21 “New York Close Up”

Nick Hallett

Nick Hallett was born in 1974 in Boston, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.  A composer and vocalist, Hallett works in the overlapping worlds of music, visual art, and performance. He draws on a wide range of seemingly contrasting musical genres—from indie rock to early Romantic to electronica to opera—to create arrangements that deploy the voice as an instrument. Hallett’s first opera, Whispering Pines 10, was composed in collaboration with Shana Moulton. This and his second opera, To Music, are created for multimedia environments, part of Hallett’s cultivation of connections between the music and visual-art worlds.

Links:
Artist’s website
Artist on Facebook
@nick_hallett on Instagram
@NickHallett on Twitter

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MUSIC MONDAY Punk Rock and Dead Kennedys, FRANCIS SCHAEFFER TAKES LOOK AT ECCLESIASTES AND THE ISSUE OF DEATH AND SUICIDE!!

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This post includes a lot of material that is very depressing, but don’t stop reading until you get to the end of this long post. There is hope.

Francis Schaeffer noted:

I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.”

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below in 1971 at L Abri

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Lyrics from Dead Kennedys song SOUP IS GOOD FOOD below:

We’re sorry
But you’re no longer needed
Or wanted
Or even cared about here
Machines can do a better job than you
This is what you get for asking questions
The unions agree
‘Sacrifices must be made’
Computers never go on strike
To save the working man you’ve got to put him out to pasture
Looks like we’ll have to let you go
Doesn’t it feel fulfilling to know
That you-the human being-are now obsolete
And there’s nothing in hell we’ll let you do about it
Soup is good food-(We don’t need you any more)
You made a good meal-(We don’t need you any more)
Now how do you feel-(We don’t need you any more)
To be s$&@ out our ass
And thrown in the cold like a piece of trash
We’re sorry
You’ll just have to leave
Unemployment runs out after just six weeks
How does it feel to be a budget cut?
You’re snipped
You no longer exist
Your number’s been purged from our central computer
So we can rig the facts
And sweep you under the rug
See our chart? Unemployment’s going down
If that ruins your life that’s your problem
Soup is Good Food, Etc.
We’re sorry
We hate to interrupt
But it’s against the law to jump off this bridge
You’ll just have to kill yourself somewhere else
A tourist might see you
And we wouldn’t want that
I’m just doing my job, you know
So say uncle
And we’ll take you to the mental health zoo
Force feed you mind-melting chemicals
Til even the outside world looks great
In hi-tech science research labs
It costs too much to bury all the dead
The mutilated disease-injected
Surplus rats who can’t be used anymore
So they’re dumped (with no minister present)
In a spiraling corkscrew dispose-all unit
Ground into sludge and flushed away
Aw geez
Soup is good food
You made a good meal, etc:.
We know how much you’d like to die
We joke about it on our coffee breaks
But we’re paid to force you to have a nice day
In the wonderful world we made just for you
“Poor Rats”, we human rodents chuckle
At least we get a dignified cremation
At yet
At 6:00 tomorrow morning
It’s time to get up and go to work
Source: LyricFind

I don’t need your way of life
I can’t stand your attitudes
I can do without your strife
I don’t need this f$&@$gworld
I don’t need this f&$@$g world
This world brings me down
Gag with every breath
This world brings me down
I’m looking forward to death
It seems so unreal to me
So much hate and so mouch pity
I can’t take another day
It’s such a bore
It gets me really sore
I don’t need this f&$@&g world
I don’t need this f$&@$g world
This world brings me down
Gag with every breath
This world brings me down
I’m looking forward to death
Looking forward to death
Looking forward to death
Source: LyricFind

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Dead Kennedys are an American punk rock band that formed in San Francisco, California, in 1978. The band was one of the defining hardcore punk bands during its initial eight-year run.[4]

Dead Kennedys’ lyrics were usually political in nature, satirizing establishment political figures (liberal and conservative) and authority in general, as well as popular culture and even the punk movement itself. During their initial incarnation between 1978 and 1986, they attracted considerable controversy for their provocative lyrics and artwork. Several stores refused to stock their recordings, provoking debate about censorship in rock music; in the mid-1980s, vocalist and primary lyricist Jello Biafra became an active campaigner against the Parents Music Resource Center. This culminated in an obscenity trial between 1985 and 1986, which resulted in a hung jury.

The group released a total of four studio albums and one EP before disbanding in 1986. Following the band’s dissolution, Biafra continued to collaborate and record with other artists including D.O.A., NoMeansNo and his own bands Lard and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, as well as releasing several spoken word performances.

In 2000 (upheld on appeal in 2003), Biafra lost an acrimonious legal case initiated by his former Dead Kennedys band mates over songwriting credits and unpaid royalties. In 2001, the band reformed without Biafra; various singers have since been recruited for vocal duties.

HistoryEdit

Formation of the band (1978–79)Edit

Dead Kennedys formed in June 1978 in San Francisco, California, when East Bay Ray (Raymond Pepperell) advertised for bandmates in the newspaper The Recycler, after seeing a ska-punkshow at Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco. The original band lineup consisted of Jello Biafra (Eric Reed Boucher) on vocals, East Bay Ray on guitar, Klaus Flouride (Geoffrey Lyall) on bass, 6025 (Carlos Cadona) on rhythm guitar and Ted (Bruce Slesinger) on drums and percussion. This lineup recorded their first demos. Their first live show was on July 19, 1978 at Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, California. They were the opening act on a bill that included DV8 and Negative Trend with The Offs headlining.

Dead Kennedys played numerous shows at local venues afterwards. Due to the provocative name of the band, they sometimes played under pseudonyms, including “The DK’s”, “The Sharks”, “The Creamsicles” and “The Pink Twinkies”. The band’s real name generated controversy. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen wrote in November 1978, “Just when you think tastelessness has reached its nadir, along comes a punk rock group called ‘The Dead Kennedys’, which will play at Mabuhay Gardens on Nov. 22, the 15th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.” Despite mounting protests, the owner of Mabuhay declared, “I can’t cancel them NOW—there’s a contract. Not, apparently, the kind of contract some people have in mind.”[5] However, despite popular belief, the name was not meant to insult the Kennedy family, but according to Biafra, “to bring attention to the end of the American Dream”.[6]

6025 left the band in March 1979 under somewhat unclear circumstances, generally considered to be musical differences. In June, the band released their first single, “California Über Alles“, on Biafra and East Bay Ray’s independent label, Alternative Tentacles. The band followed with a poorly attended East Coast tour, being a new and fairly unknown band at the time, without a full album release.

Francis Schaeffer noted:

I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.”

“They are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one…
The result is a relativistic value system. A lack of a final meaning to life — that’s first. Why does human life have any value at all, if that is all that reality is? Not only are you going to die individually, but the whole human race is going to die, someday. It may not take the falling of the atom bombs, but someday the world will grow too hot, too cold. That’s what we are told on this other final reality, and someday all you people not only will be individually dead, but the whole conscious life on this world will be dead, and nobody will see the birds fly. And there’s no meaning to life.

As you know, I don’t speak academically, shut off in some scholastic cubicle, as it were. I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” And I must say, that on the basis of what they are being taught in school, that the final reality is only this material thing, they are not wrong. They’re right! On this other basis there is no meaning to life and not only is there no meaning to life, but there is no value system that is fixed, and we find that the law is based then only on a relativistic basis and that law becomes purely arbitrary.

OUTLINE OF ECCLESIATES BY SCHAEFFER

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William Lane Craig on Man’s predicament if God doesn’t exist

Read Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. During this entire play two men carry on trivial conversation while waiting for a third man to arrive, who never does. Our lives are like that, Beckett is saying; we just kill time waiting—for what, we don’t know.

Thus, if there is no God, then life itself becomes meaningless. Man and the universe are without ultimate significance.

Francis Schaeffer looks at Nihilism of Solomon and the causes of it!!!

Notes on Ecclesiastes by Francis Schaeffer

Solomon is the author of Ecclesiastes and he is truly an universal man like Leonardo da Vinci.

Two men of the Renaissance stand above all others – Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and it is in them that one can perhaps grasp a view of the ultimate conclusion of humanism for man. Michelangelo was unequaled as a sculptor in the Renaissance and arguably no one has ever matched his talents.

The other giant of the Renaissance period was Leonardo da Vinci – the perfect Renaissance Man, the man who could do almost anything and does it better than most anyone else. As an inventor, an engineer, an anatomist, an architect, an artist, a chemist, a mathematician, he was almost without equal. It was perhaps his mathematics that lead da Vinci to come to his understanding of the ultimate meaning of Humanism. Leonardo is generally accepted as the first modern mathematician. He not only knew mathematics abstractly but applied it in his Notebooks to all manner of engineering problems. He was one of the unique geniuses of history, and in his brilliance he perceived that beginning humanistically with mathematics one only had particulars. He understood that man beginning from himself would never be able to come to meaning on the basis of mathematics. And he knew that having only individual things, particulars, one never could come to universals or meaning and thus one only ends with mechanics. In this he saw ahead to where our generation has come: everything, including man, is the machine.

Leonardo da Vinci compares well to Solomon and they  both were universal men searching for the meaning in life. Solomon was searching for a meaning in the midst of the details of life. His struggle was to find the meaning of life. Not just plans in life. Anybody can find plans in life. A child can fill up his time with plans of building tomorrow’s sand castle when today’s has been washed away. There is  a difference between finding plans in life and purpose in life. Humanism since the Renaissance and onward has never found it and it has never found it since. Modern man has not found it and it has always got worse and darker in a very real way.

We have here the declaration of Solomon’s universality:

1 Kings 4:30-34

English Standard Version (ESV)

30 so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. 33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. 34 And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

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Here is the universal man and his genius. Solomon is the universal man with a empire at his disposal. Solomon had it all.

Ecclesiastes 1:3

English Standard Version (ESV)

What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?

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.

(Added by me:The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias 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.” )

Man is caught in the cycle

Ecclesiastes 1:1-7

English Standard Version (ESV)

All Is Vanity

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
    vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
    and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
    and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
    but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
    there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness;
    a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
    nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
    and what has been done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
    “See, this is new”?
It has been already
    in the ages before us.

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Solomon is showing a high degree of comprehension of evaporation and the results of it. Seeing also in reality nothing changes. There is change but always in a set framework and that is cycle. You can relate this to the concepts of modern man. Ecclesiastes is the only pessimistic book in the Bible and that is because of the place where Solomon limits himself. He limits himself to the question of human life, life under the sun between birth and death and the answers this would give.

Ecclesiastes 1:4

English Standard Version (ESV)

A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.

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Ecclesiastes 4:16

English Standard Version (ESV)

16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

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In verses 1:4 and 4:16 Solomon places man in the cycle. He doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is only cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age. With this in mind Solomon makes this statement.

Ecclesiastes 6:12

12 For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

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There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man. 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 and I felt as man as God. 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.

THIS IS SOLOMON’S FEELING TOO. The universal man, Solomon, beyond our intelligence with an empire at his disposal with the opportunity of observation so he could recite these words here in Ecclesiastes 6:12, “For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?”

Lack of Satisfaction in life

In Ecclesiastes 1:8 he drives this home when he states, “All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell itThe eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing.” Solomon is stating here the fact that there is no final satisfaction because you don’t get to the end of the thing. THERE IS NO FINAL SATISFACTION. This is related to Leonardo da Vinci’s similar search for universals and then meaning in life. 

In Ecclesiastes 5:11 Solomon again pursues this theme, When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?”  Doesn’t that sound modern? It is as modern as this evening. Solomon here is stating the fact there is no reaching completion in anything and this is the reason there is no final satisfaction. There is simply no place to stop. It is impossible when laying up wealth for oneself when to stop. It is impossible to have the satisfaction of completion. 

Pursuing Learning

Now let us look down the details of his searching.

In Ecclesiastes 1: 13a we have the details of the universal man’s procedure. “And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven.”

So like any sensible man the instrument that is used is INTELLECT, and RAITIONALITY, and LOGIC. It is to be noted that even men who despise these in their theories begin and use them or they could not speak. There is no other way to begin except in the way they which man is and that is rational and intellectual with movements of that is logical within him. As a Christian I must say gently in passing that is the way God made him.

So we find first of all Solomon turned to WISDOM and logic. Wisdom is not to be confused with knowledge. A man may have great knowledge and no wisdom. Wisdom is the use of rationality and logic. A man can be very wise and have limited knowledge. Here he turns to wisdom in all that implies and the total rationality of man.

Works of Men done Under the Sun

After wisdom Solomon comes to the great WORKS of men. Ecclesiastes 1:14,  “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is [p]vanity and striving after wind.” Solomon is the man with an empire at this disposal that speaks. This is the man who has the copper refineries in Ezion-geber. This is the man who made the stables across his empire. This is the man who built the temple in Jerusalem. This is the man who stands on the world trade routes. He is not a provincial. He knew what was happening on the Phonetician coast and he knew what was happening in Egypt. There is no doubt he already knew something of building. This is Solomon and he pursues the greatness of his own construction and his conclusion is VANITY AND VEXATION OF SPIRIT.

Ecclesiastes 2:18-20

18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20 Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.

He looked at the works of his hands, great and multiplied by his wealth and his position and he shrugged his shoulders.

Ecclesiastes 2:22-23

22 For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.

Man can not rest and yet he is never done and yet the things which he builds will out live him. If one wants an ironical three phrases these are they. There is a Dutch saying, “The tailor makes many suits but one day he will make a suit that will outlast the tailor.”

God has put eternity in our hearts but we can not know the beginning or the end of the thing from a vantage point of UNDER THE SUN

Ecclesiastes 1:16-18

16 I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.

Solomon points out that you can not know the beginnings or what follows:

Ecclesiastes 3:11

11 He has made everything  appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Ecclesiastes 1:11

11 There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance among those who will come later still.

Ecclesiastes 2:16

16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!

You bring together here the factor of the beginning and you can’t know what immediately follows after your death and of course you can’t know the final ends. What do you do and the answer is to get drunk and this was not thought of in the RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KAHAYYAM:

Ecclesiastes 2:1-3

I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.

The Daughter of the Vine:

You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Translation by Edward Fitzgerald)

A perfectly good philosophy coming out of Islam, but Solomon is not the first man that thought of it nor the last. In light of what has been presented by Solomon is the solution just to get intoxicated and black the think out? So many people have taken to alcohol and the dope which so often follows in our day. This approach is incomplete, temporary and immature. Papa Hemingway can find the champagne of Paris sufficient for a time, but one he left his youth he never found it sufficient again. He had a lifetime spent looking back to Paris and that champagne and never finding it enough. It is no solution and Solomon says so too.

Ecclesiastes 2:4-11

I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself MALE AND  FEMALE SINGERS AND THE PLEASURES OF MEN–MANY CONCUBINES.

Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10 All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor.11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.

He doesn’t mean there is no temporary profit but there is no real profit. Nothing that lasts. The walls crumble if they are as old as the Pyramids. You only see a shell of the Pyramids and not the glory that they were. This is what Solomon is saying. Look upon Solomon’s wonder and consider the Cedars of Lebanon which were not in his domain but at his disposal.

Ecclesiastes 6:2

a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction.

Can someone stuff himself with food he can’t digest? Solomon came to this place of strife and confusion when he went on in his search for meaning.

 Oppressed have no comforter

Ecclesiastes 4:1

 Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

Between birth and death power rules. Solomon looked over his kingdom and also around the world and proclaimed that right does not rule but power rules.

Ecclesiastes 7:14-15

14 In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider—God has made the one as well as the other so that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

15 I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 8:14

14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility.

We could say it in 20th century language, “The books are not balanced in this life.”

Pursuing Ladies

If one would flee to alcohol, then surely one may choose sexual pursuits to flee to. Solomon looks in this area too.

Ecclesiastes 7:25-28

25 I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. 26 And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.

27 “Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28 I have looked for other answers but have found none. I found one man in a thousand that I could respect, but not one woman. (Good News Translation on verse 28)

One can understand both Solomon’s expertness in this field and his bitterness.

I Kings 11:1-3 (New American Standard Bible) 

11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.

An expert but also the reason for his bitterness. Certainly there have been many men over the centuries who have daydreamed of Solomon’s wealth in this area [of women], but at the end it was sorry, not only sorry but nothing and less than nothing. The simple fact is that one can not know woman in the real sense by pursuing 1000 women. It is not possible. Woman is not found this way. All that is left in this setting if one were to pursue the meaning of life in this direction is this most bitter word found in Ecclesiastes 7:28, “I have looked for other answers but have found none. I found one man in a thousand that I could respect, but not one woman.” (Good News Translation on verse 28) He was searching in the wrong way. He was searching for the answer to life in the limited circle of that which is beautiful in itself but not an answer finally in sexual life. More than that he finally tried to find it in variety and he didn’t even touch one woman at the end.

Relative truth/ Chance and time/ death comes to fool and wiseman/ tried pagan religions

He plunged in such a scientific procedure finally into the thought of final relative truth.

Ecclesiastes 8:6-7

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?

In such a setting he is led into misery. Relative truth is also expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” He is not saying this in a positive sense, but it is in a negative sense here. Relative truth in light of Ecclesiastes 8:6-7. When you come to the concept of relative truth only one more step remains and that is that chance rules. Chance is king.

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Ecclesiastes 9:11

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Chance rules. If a man starts out only from himself and works outward it must eventually if he is consistent seem so that only chance rules and naturally in such a setting you can not expect him to have anything else but finally a hate of life.

Ecclesiastes 2:17-18a

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun…

That first great cry “So I hated life.” Naturally if you hate life you long for death and you find him saying this in Ecclesiastes 4:2-3:

And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

He lays down an order. It is best never have to been. It is better to be dead, and worse to be alive. But like all men and one could think of the face of Vincent Van Gogh in his final paintings as he came to hate life and you watch something die in his self portraits, the dilemma is double because as one is consistent and one sees life as a game of chance, one must come in a way to hate life. Yet at the same time men never get beyond the fear to die. Solomon didn’t either. So you find him in saying this.

Ecclesiastes 2:14-15

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.

The Hebrew is stronger than this and it says “it happens EVEN TO ME,” Solomon on the throne, Solomon the universal man. EVEN TO ME, even to Solomon.

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.[n] 20 All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?

What he is saying is as far as the eyes are concerned everything grinds to a stop at death.

Ecclesiastes 4:16

16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

That is true. There is no place better to feel this than here in Switzerland. You can walk over these hills and men have walked over these hills for at least 4000 years and when do you know when you have passed their graves or who cares? It doesn’t have to be 4000 years ago. Visit a cemetery and look at the tombstones from 40 years ago. Just feel it. IS THIS ALL THERE IS? You can almost see Solomon shrugging his shoulders.

Ecclesiastes 8:8

There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it. (King James Version)

A remarkable two phrase. THERE IS NO DISCHARGE IN THAT WAR or you can translate it “no casting of weapons in that war.” Some wars they come to the end. Even the THIRTY YEARS WAR (1618-1648) finally finished, but this is a war where there is no casting of weapons and putting down the shield because all men fight this battle and one day lose. But more than this he adds, WICKEDNESS WON’T DELIVER YOU FROM THAT FIGHT. Wickedness delivers men from many things, from tedium in a strange city for example. But wickedness won’t deliver you from this war. It isn’t that kind of war. More than this he finally casts death in the world of chance.

Ecclesiastes 9:12

12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

Death can come at anytime. Death seen merely by the eye of man between birth and death and UNDER THE SUN. Death too is a thing of chance. Albert Camus speeding in a car with a pretty girl at his side and then Camus dead. Lawrence of Arabia coming up over a crest of a hill 100 miles per hour on his motorcycle and some boys are standing in the road and Lawrence turns aside and dies.

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Woody Allen has embraced NIHILISM but he continues marching on.

Image result for woody allen

In the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS the idea of nihilism is clearly taught.

(Disclaimer: I am friends with atheists who live very good lives and have  embraced life. I am not accusing  all atheists of embracing nihilism, but just that some like Woody Allen have nihilistic tendencies. However, a few have taken the logic of NIHILISM a step further and that could possibly lead to SUICIDE.)

Adriana and Gil Pender in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

In the movie Gertrude Stein says to Gil, “Now, about your book,it’s very unusual, indeed.I mean, in a way, it’s almost like science fiction….The artist’s job is not to succumb to DESPAIR,but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.You have a clear and lively voice. Don’t be such a defeatist.”

Also in the film we find this exchange:

ADRIANA: I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night.

GIL PENDER: No, you can’t. You couldn’t pick one. I mean,I can give you a checkmate argument for each side.You know, I sometimes think,”How’s anyone gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony or a sculpture that can compete with a great city?”You can’t, ’cause, like,you look around, every…every street, every boulevard is its own special art form.And when you think that in the cold,violent, meaningless universe,that Paris exists, these lights…I mean, come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune,but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafe’s, people drinking, and singing…I mean, for all we know, Paris is the hottest spot in the universe.

Annie Hall – The Opening Scene [HD]

Manhattan

Image result for francis schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer two months before he died said if he was talking to a gentleman he was sitting next to on an airplane about Christ he wouldn’t start off quoting Bible verses. Schaeffer asserted:

I would go back rather to their dilemma if they hold the modern worldview of the final reality only being energy, etc., I would start with that. I would begin as I stress in the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE about their own [humanist] prophets who really show where their view goes. For instance, Jacques Monod, Nobel Prize winner from France, in his book NECESSITY AND CHANCE said there is no way to tell the OUGHT from the IS. In other words, you live in a totally silent universe. 

The men like Monod and Sartre or whoever the man might know that is his [humanist] prophet and they point out quite properly and conclusively what life is like, not just that there is no meaningfulness in life but everyone according to modern man is just living out some kind of game plan. It may be knocking 1/10th of a second off a downhill ski run or making one more million dollars. But all you are doing is making a game plan within the mix of a meaningless situation. WOODY ALLEN exploits this very strongly in his films. He really lives it. I feel for that man, and he has expressed it so thoroughly in ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN and so on.

Francis Schaeffer is correct about Woody Allen and that Allen has embraced nihilism. I hope that many will read below at the bottom of this post about the men Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren of the rock group KANSAS who also came to the end of themselves but they turned away from nihilism and found meaning to their lives.

Image result for kansas dust in the wind

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A suicide attempt appears in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS when Zelda Fitzgerald goes to the Seine River with the intention of jumping and Gil Pender stops her. It seems the nihilist worldview of Woody Allen keeps him putting suicides into his films.

Remember Professor Levy from the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANOR? After addressing the question  IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE AN OPTIMISTIC SECULAR HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD OR AN AFTERLIFE? Levy jumps out a window!!!

After Levy committed suicide, Cliff reviewed a clip from the documentary footage in which Levy states: “But we must always remember that when we are born we need a great deal of love to persuade us to stay in life. Once we get that love, it usually lasts us. But the universe is a pretty cold place. It’s we who invest it with our feelings. And under certain conditions, we feel that the thing isn’t worth it anymore.”

Hearing the news of Levy’s death, Halley says, “No matter how elaborate a philosophical system you work out, in the end it’s got to be incomplete.”

Professor Levy seen below:

Crimes e Pecados

What is Woody Allen’s main outlook on life? Francis Schaeffer described it as existentialism. 

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  Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era

So some humanists act as if they have a great advantage over Christians. They act as if the advance of science and technology and a better understanding of history (through such concepts as the evolutionary theory) have all made the idea of God and Creation quite ridiculous.
This superior attitude, however, is strange because one of the most striking developments in the last half-century is the growth of a profound pessimism among both the well-educated and less-educated people. The thinkers in our society have been admitting for a long time that they have no final answers at all.
Take Woody Allen, for example. Most people know his as a comedian, but he has thought through where mankind stands after the “religious answers” have been abandoned. In an article in Esquire (May 1977), he says that man is left with:
… alienation, loneliness [and] emptiness verging on madness…. The fundamental thing behind all motivation and all activity is the constant struggle against annihilation and against death. It’s absolutely stupefying in its terror, and it renders anyone’s accomplishments meaningless. As Camus wrote, it’s not only that he (the individual) dies, or that man (as a whole) dies, but that you struggle to do a work of art that will last and then you realize that the universe itself is not going to exist after a period of time. Until those issues are resolved within each person – religiously or psychologically or existentially – the social and political issues will never be resolved, except in a slapdash way.
Allen sums up his view in his film Annie Hall with these words: “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”

 
     
  Reason Is Dead

However, our intention here is neither to go into the history of irrationalism, nor to examine the proponents of existentialism in our own century, but rather to concentrate on its main thesis. It is this that confronts us on all sides today, and it is impossible to understand modern man without understanding this concept.
Because we shall be using several terms a great deal now, we would ask the reader to attend carefully. When we speak of irrationalism or existentialism or the existential methodology, we are pointing to a quite simple idea. It may have been expressed in a variety of complicated ways by philosophers, but it is not a difficult concept.
Imagine that you are at the movies watching a suspense film. As the story unfolds, the tension increases until finally the hero is trapped in some impossible situation and everyone is groaning inwardly, wondering how he is going to get out of the mess. The suspense is heightened by the knowledge (of the audience, not the hero) that help is on the way in the form of the good guys. The only question is: will the good guys arrive in time?
Now imagine for a moment that the audience is slipped the information that there are no good guys, that the situation of the hero is not just desperate, but completely hopeless. Obviously, the first thing that would happen is that the suspense would be gone. You and the entire audience would simply be waiting for the axe to fall.
If the hero faced the end with courage, this would be morally edifying, but the situation itself would be tragic. If, however, the hero acted as if help were around the corner and kept buoying himself up with this thought (“Someone is on the way!” – “Help is at hand!”), all you could feel for him would be pity. It would be a means to keep hope alive within a hopeless situation. The hero’s hope would change nothing on the outside; it would be unable to manufacture, out of nothing, good guys coming to the rescue. All it would achieve would the hero’s own mental state of hopefulness rather than hopelessness.
The hopefulness itself would rest on a lie or an illusion and thus, viewed objectively, would be finally absurd. And if the hero really knew what the situation was, but consciously used the falsehood to buoy up his feelings and go whistling along, we would either say, “Poor guy!” or “He’s a fool.” It is this kind of conscious deceit that someone like Woody Allen has looked full in the face and will have none of.
Now this is what the existential methodology is about. If the universe we are living in is what the materialistic humanists say it is, then with our reason (when we stop to think about it) we could find absolutely no way to have meaning or morality or hope or beauty. This would plunge us into despair. We would have to take seriously the challenge of Albert Camus (1913-1960) in the first sentence of The Myth of Sisyphus: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.”92 Why stay alive in an absurd universe? Ah! But that is not where we stop. We say to ourselves – “There is hope!” (even though there is no help). “We shall overcome!” (even though nothing is more certain than that we shall be destroyed, both individually at death and cosmically with the end of all conscious life). This is what confronts us on all sides today: the modern irrational-ism.

(Scott and Zelda pictured below)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro)

Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of Truth & History (part 2)

Ernest Hemingway and  both his good friend Scott Fitzgerald and Scott’s wife Zelda tried to blot it all out with alcohol and later in the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we see Zelda trying to commit suicide.  She actually was in different stages of mental distress the last 15 years of her life which ended at age 48 when a fire killed 9 people at Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina (according to Wikipedia). Unfortunately her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald died 8 years earlier in 1940 from alcoholism.  Ernest Hemingway ended his life on  July 2, 1961 by shooting himself with his favorite shotgun.
(An older Zelda in 1942 seen below)
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(Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald with friend Ernest Hemingway, left)
 

midnight in paris – Fitzgeralds and Hemingway

______________

ZELDA FITZGERALD: You look lost!-

GIL PENDER: Oh, yeah!- You’re an American?-

ZELDA FITZGERALD: If you count Alabama as America, which I do.I miss the bathtub gin. What do you do?-

GIL PENDER: Me? I’m a writer.-

ZELDA FITZGERALD: Who do you write?-

GIL PENDER: Oh, right now I’m working on a novel.- Oh, yes?

ZELDA FITZGERALD: I’m Zelda, by the way. Oh, Scott! Scott!- Yes, what it is, sweetheart?- Here’s a writer, from, um… where?-

GIL PENDER: California.

SCOTT FITZGERALD: Scott Fitzgerald, and who are you, old sport?

GIL PENDER: Gil…the… You havethe same names as…As what? Scott Fitzgerald and…Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

SCOTT FITZGERALD:The Fitzgeralds. Isn’t she beautiful?

GIL PENDER: Yes. Yes! Yeah, that’s… that’sa coincidence…like….uh…

ZELDA FITZGERALD: You have a glazed look in your eye. Stunned.Stupefied. Anesthetized. Lobotomized

GIL PENDER: I…I…keep looking at the man playing piano, and I believe it or not, recognize hisface from some old sheet music.

ZELDA FITZGERALD: I know I can be one of the great writers of musical lyrics- not that I can write melodies, and I try,and then I hear the songs he writes, and then I realize: I’ll never write a great lyric,- and MY TALENT REALLY LIES IN DRINKING.-

SCOTT FITZGERALD: Sure does.

Later in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we find Zelda attempting to jump in the Seine river and end her life.
 GIL PENDER:God, is that who I think it is?
ADRIANA: What is she doing here,staring into the water?Oh my God! Zelda, what are you doing?!- Please?
ZELDA: I don’t want to live!-
ADRIANA: Stop!- What is it?-
ZELDA: Scott and that beautiful countess.They were– It was so obvious they were whispering about me,and the more they drank, the more he fell in love with her!
GIL PENDER: He…Scott loves only you.- I can tell you that with absolute certainty.-
ZELDA: No.- He’s tired of me!-
GIL PENDER: You’re wrong. You’re wrong. I know.-
ZELDA: How?-
GIL PENDER: Trust me. I know.- Sometimes you get a feel for people, and I get…-
ZELDA: My skin hurts!-
ADRIANA: What do you mean?-
ZELDA: I don’t wanna…I hate the way I look!
ADRIANA:Don’t do that!-
GIL PENDER: Here. Take this.-
ZELDA:What is this?
GIL PENDER: It’s a Valium. It’llmake you feel better.-
ADRIANA:You carry medicine?-
GIL PENDER: No, not normally.It’s just since I’vebeen engaged to Inez,I’ve been having panic attacks, but I’msure they’ll subside after the wedding.
ADRIANA: I’ve never heard of Valium. What is this?
GIL PENDER:It’s the…pill of the future.
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I have posted this article below earlier but I wanted to include a portion of it today.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Philosophical Atheist, Before you Commit Suicide Read Ecclesiastes

People interested in truth often look to philosophy for answers. However, atheist philosophies offer more questions than answers, and this has serious consequences. Statistics show that atheists end up more prone to suicide than people who have a spiritual foundation.[1] One woman, Sharon Rocha, ended up committing suicide after reading an article at the Raving Atheists blog. In her suicide note, Rocha stated “I have been stripped of my delusions… The universe is a cold, uncaring place in which life is short, meaningless and full of suffering.”[2] If you are an atheist thinking of suicide or just seriously interested in the meaning of life, I recommend reading Solomon’s book Ecclesiastes. The book outlines the deceptions of a false perception of reality and the delight of knowing the God who created the universe for a good purpose.

The name Ecclesiastes is translated from Latin into The Preacher. So what exactly is the connection between philosophy and a preacher preaching the gospel? Well, as I’ve written various articles on Christianity, I’ve found that few atheists are interested in reading them. However, when I’ve pointedly challenged the philosophical roots of atheism, I’ve found some atheists eager to step up and defend their beliefs through dialogue and debate. Philosophical questions and challenges are at the core of the book of Ecclesiastes and there is an undertone of evangelism. There’s a saying “You can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.” But, as we’ll see in Ecclesiastes, you can attract even more bees by prodding the beehive. But you’d better be prepared for what you’re getting into.

Ecclesiastes 12.11 states: “The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd.” (NIV)

Goads are pointed prods that are used to help direct cattle and sheep. Words of truth prick the conscience and help to guide people towards moral and ethical reason. The firmly embedded nails signify the fixed principles of logic and the reality of absolute truth. Words of logic help to pin down people who have developed a false paradigm and a false view of reality. Logic helps people to see that their beliefs are not in harmony with reality.

Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?)

Meaninglessness and Materialism

There is a wealth of insight in the book of Ecclesiastes, but you can break down the main philosophical aspects into three main points:

1. The Emptiness of Worldly Pre-occupations – Eccl. 2:1-11

2. The Brevity of Life – Eccl. 12:1-8

3. The Only Logical Purpose in Life – Eccl. 12:13-14[9]

Solomon begins Ecclesiastes 1.2-3 announcing “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’ What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?” How discouraging can you get? The key to understanding the book of Ecclesiastes is to understand that he makes many false statements based upon a materialist perspective, in viewing everything “under the sun” as meaningless. Solomon addresses common materialist idols in society and shows why these are meaningless and empty pursuits. Solomon tries learning, laughter an liquor in an attempt to find satisfaction, but he’s left empty.

Solomon was the perfect candidate to dispel the illusion that wealth and physical pleasure can bring the kind of deep fulfillment we’re searching for in life. As the wealthiest man in history he had everything available at his fingertips. Whatever he desired, he could have. But time after time he was struck by the emptiness of all these material allurements.

Common folks don’t have the money to be able to fulfill whatever whim we may have. In society we are led to believe that if we just had a bigger house, a better job, a more pleasant husband or wife, or whatever it may be, then we would be happy. For us common folks, happiness may seem as though it’s always just around the corner. If only… then I’d be happy. But Solomon became the ultimate object lesson in this regard because he was able to try anything and everything he wanted and he finding out first-hand that materialism represents a sad and vacuous existence compared to theism.

King Solomon of Israel wrote the book of Ecclesiastes after he had backslidden to a certain degree. He had known what was right, but disobeyed God in his life and took on many wives, horse stables and wealth, though these things were forbidden for a king of Israel. Deuteronomy 17:16-17 outlines:

“Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; because Yahweh has said to you, You shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart not turn away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.”

It seems Solomon allowed his great wisdom get to his head, so to speak, and to fill him with pride. His heart gradually became dulled to God’s presence and purpose. But, nevertheless, God disciplined him and allowed him to see his folly. Though he had made mistakes, Solomon offers that truth is still truth and a person should continue to teach the truth as God guides:

“And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.”[10]

Though he learned lessons the hard way, Solomon gave “good heed” to present the truths that he learned and to help teach people his wisdom. It seems he may have been the first “life coach.” In the United States the “pursuit of happiness” is considered a fundamental right from the Declaration of Independence. But this pursuit, in and of itself, can become destructive when relativism rules. A 2011 study shows the 10 countries with the highest suicide rates tend to be countries where atheism has predominated. Most on the list are countries of the former Soviet Union where atheism was enforced by the state for over 70 years.[11] Other statistics bear out the fact that atheists are more prone to suicide than theists. The American Journal of Psychiatry published an article December 2004, Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt, with some basic conclusions:

“CONCLUSIONS: Religious affiliation is associated with less suicidal behavior in depressed inpatients. After other factors were controlled, it was found that greater moral objections to suicide and lower aggression level in religiously affiliated subjects may function as protective factors against suicide attempts. Further study about the influence of religious affiliation on aggressive behavior and how moral objections can reduce the probability of acting on suicidal thoughts may offer new therapeutic strategies in suicide prevention.”[12]

Two key aspects were cited in the AJP article: less aggressive behavior and a moral objection to suicide. The decrease of aggression in spiritual people may have to do with the knowledge that there is in-fact deep meaning in life. Sometimes intellectuals are prone to suicide. Solomon confirmed that materialist knowledge without spiritual truth brings grief: “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”[13]

(Alan Sandage below)

Like Solomon, people who have large IQs can tend to have inflated egos. In 2010, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Stephen Hawking declared that heaven is a “fairy tale” for fearful people.[14] He is correct in one sense that Christians are fearful in that we fear God with a sense of awe and wonder at his majestic wisdom and power. In contrast to Hawking, the Jewish physicist Alan Sandage was an atheist most of his life but simply could not dispel all the evidence he had seen in the cosmos pointing to God’s necessary existence. He became a Christian at age 60, explaining, “I could not live a life full of cynicism. I chose to believe, and a peace of mind came over me.”[15] One of the reasons Sandage believed was the complexity of the universe: “The world is too complicated in all its parts and interconnections to be due to chance alone.”[16]

(Stephen Hawking below in black and white and then a picture from recent movie about Hawking)

It doesn’t take a great mind to understand what Solomon and Sandage knew, it only takes an open mind. Three decades ago, Stephen Hawking declared humanity was on the verge of discovering the “theory of everything”with a 50 per cent chance of knowing it by 2000. But by 2010 Hawking had given up hope.[17] If only Hawking had read the book of Ecclesiastes, he could have saved a lot of wasted time: “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”[18] Hawking is a good example showing that intelligence and wisdom are two very distinct things.

(King Solomon author of Ecclesiastes below

The “one shepherd” mentioned in Ecclesiastes 12.9 seems to portray Jesus. In John 10.11, Jesus is quoted as saying “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” NIV Jesus is also referred to as the “word made flesh.” In this sense Jesus is the source of all truth and spiritual satisfaction, as implied by Psalm 81:16. “I would satisfy you with wild honey from the rock”, Jesus being the rock of our salvation.The Logical Conclusions             One of the conclusions of Ecclesiastes is that we can live a live of true joy when God is the foundation of our lives:“It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.”[19]Another conclusion is that there is ultimate justice in the world and this knowledge has ramifications for a healthy personal life and for a healthy society:

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”[20]

We will be less prone to bitterness when we realize God will address all injustice in the future. And we understand why corruption is rampant today in society because many people do not believe there is any kind of accountability to our Creator. People assume that they can do anything they can get away with. Hopefully more people will recognize that atheism neither works as a personal philosophy nor as a good basis for society.

Even Communist China sees that theism is pragmatically more effective and beneficial than an atheistic model of society: “The officially atheist Chinese government is surprisingly open to Christianity, at least partially, because it sees a link between the faith and economic success, said a sought after scholar who has relations with governments in Asia.”[21] Dr. William Jeynes, senior fellow of The Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J., outlined this fact. But the truth is a dangerous thing and has a way of shaking up deceptive paradigms: “Jeynes concluded by saying that the key message he wants to convey is that China is both open to Christianity and nervous about the religion because of the potential problems it could bring to the communist government.”[22]

Endnotes

[1] American Journal of Psychiatry, Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt, Kanita Dervic, M.D., Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., et al., Am J Psychiatry 161:2303-2308, December 2004 (http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/161/12/2303)
[2] Raving Theist, Peterson Mother Commits Suicide After Reading Atheist Blog, (http://ravingatheist.com/2003/05/peterson-mother-commits-suicide-after-reading-atheist-blog/)
[3] Proverbs 24.13, NIV
[4] IN DEFENSE OF NON-NATURAL, NON-THEISTIC MORAL REALISM” Erik Wielenberg FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY, Vol. 26 No. 1 January 2009 (http://philpapers.org/archive/WIEIDO.1.pdf)
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ecclesiastes 6.7 (NIV)
[8] Ecclesiastes 1.8b, KJV
[9] Ecclesiastes: Guide to Evangelism (http://www.discoveret.org/lcoc/news/01n0606.htm)
[10] Ecclesiastes 12.9, KJV
[11] Top 10 Countries With Highest Suicide Rates – 2011, (http://www.top-10lists.com/2011/05/top-10-countries-with-highest-suicide.html)
[12] See American Journal of Psychiatry
[13] Ecclesiastes 1.18
[14] The Guardian, Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’, (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/may/15/stephen-hawking-interview-there-is-no-heaven)
[15] The Telegraph, Allan Sandage (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/science-obituaries/8150004/Allan-Sandage.html)
[16] Leadership U, A Scientist Reflects on Religious Belief (http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth15.html)
[17] New Scientist, Stephen Hawking says there’s no theory of everything,  September 2, 2010,
(http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2010/09/stephen-hawking-says-theres-no-theory-of-everything.html)
[18]  Ecclesiastes 3.11b, NIV
[19] Ecclesiastes. 5:18-20
[20] Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, NIV
[21] The Christian Post, Scholar: China Notices Link Between Christianity, U.S. Economic Success (http://www.christianpost.com/news/scholar-china-notices-link-between-christianity-us-economic-success-50287/)
[22] Ibid.

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If we are left with only time and chance and the view of the UNIFORMITY OF  NATURAL CAUSES in a closed system then our only choice is NIHILISM.  TWO OTHER ALSO HELD THIS SAME view  of uniformity of natural causes in a closed system in 1978 when their hit song DUST IN THE WIND rose to the top 10 in the music charts.

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IF WE ARE LEFT WITH JUST THE MACHINE THEN WHAT IS THE FINAL CONCLUSION IF THERE WAS NO PERSONAL GOD THAT CREATED US? Examine the  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.

Related image

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 in front and Dave Hope in background)

Image result for kerry livgren kansas

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.

You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

Kansas – Dust in the Wind (Official Video)

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Pre-Order Miracles Out of Nowhere now at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com

About the film:
In 1973, six guys in a local band from America’s heartland began a journey that surpassed even their own wildest expectations, by achieving worldwide superstardom… watch the story unfold as the incredible story of the band KANSAS is told for the first time in the DVD Miracles Out of Nowhere.

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Let me close by talking to you about the ROMAN ROAD TO CHRIST.

  1. Rom. 3:10, “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one . . . “
  2. Rom. 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
  3. Rom. 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
  4. Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  5. Rom. 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
  6. Rom. 10:9-10, “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
  7. Rom. 10:13, “For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

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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 […]

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Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald left the prohibitionist America for wet Paris in the 1920’s and they both drank a lot. WINE, WOMEN AND SONG  was their motto and I am afraid ultimately wine got the best of Fitzgerald and shortened his career. Woody Allen pictures this culture in the first few clips in the […]

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Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds A Tale of Three Cities Episode:2 Paris 1928 BBC Documentary 2014

Published on Aug 28, 2014

Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds A Tale of Three Cities Episode:2 Paris 1928 BBC Documentary 2014

Dr James Fox tells the story of Paris in 1928. It was a city that attracted people dreaming of a better world after World War I. This was the year when the surrealists Magritte, Dali and Bunuel brought their bizarre new vision to the people, and when emigre writers and musicians such as Ernest Hemingway and George Gershwin came looking for inspiration.

Paris in 1928 was where black musicians and dancers like Josephine Baker found adulation, where Cole Porter took time off from partying to write Let’s Do it, and where radical architect Le Corbusier planned a modernist utopia that involved pulling down much of Paris itself.

Midnight In Paris: A Review

In Film, Reviews on June 16, 2011 at 10:16 am by ERIC PLAAG AND MATT SMITH

Gil, who once lived in Paris briefly, longs for the era of great writing that was the 1920s, when the city was populated by great artists intermingling and collaborating and drinking, like Hemingway, Picasso, Fitzgerald, Dali, and so on. One night after having suffered through another one of Inez’s pseudo-intellectual friend Paul’s (a squirmingly awkward and hilarious turn by Michael Sheen) speeches about art, instead of going dancing with the group, Gil decides to walk back to the hotel and wander the streets at night, gathering some fresh and air and inspiration. He gets lost during this sojourn, and picked up, half drunk, by a couple in an old Peugeot. The people are Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and soon Gil is hobnobbing with everyone from Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso to Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel, and having his novel read and critiqued by Gertrude Stein.

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The wine, women and song of Paris

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a successful screenwriter who wants more from life. While on holiday in Paris with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her stuffy, conservative parents, Gil’s finds himself at a creative impasse, working on his novel about nostalgia. Goaded by Inez to stick to money-making movies, Gil separates himself from the group one night – lost and drunk – and at the stroke of twelve, finds himself back in 1920′s Paris. There, he runs into all the greats including Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. When he meets Picasso’s girlfriend Adriana (Marion Cotillard), Gil’s got to choose between the past and present.

GAC_MidnightInParis

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Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Ecclesiastes 1

Published on Sep 4, 2012

Calvary Chapel Spring Valley | Sunday Evening | September 2, 2012 | Pastor Derek Neider

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Richard Dawkins’ mother has passed away and of her Dawkins said, “I learned from my mother that Christianity was one of many religions and they contradicted each other. They couldn’t all be right”

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Richard Dawkins:

“My beloved mother died today, a month short of her 103rd birthday. As a young wartime bride she was brave and adventurous. Her epic journey up Africa, illegally accompanying my father, is recounted in passages from her diary, reproduced in An Appetite for Wonder. Rest in Peace.”

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Transcript

  • 11:06:54MS. KATTY KAYThanks for joining us. I’m Katty Kay of the BBC sitting in for Diane Rehm. Diane is out this week on a cause dear to her heart. She’ll be in California to star in a play to benefit Alzheimer’s research. She looks forward though to being back here with you next Monday.
  • 11:07:10MS. KATTY KAYThis year Richard Dawkins was voted the world’s top thinker in Prospect Magazine’s poll of 10,000 readers in more than 100 countries. The author of “The Selfish Gene” and “The God Delusion” has just published the first of a two-volume memoir titled “An Appetite For Wonder.” Richard Dawkins joins us now from the studio at NPR’s New York bureau. Mr. Dawkins, thank you for joining the program.
  • 11:07:36MR. RICHARD DAWKINSThank you and I love your music by the way.
  • 11:07:37KAYJust for you.
  • 11:07:38DAWKINSYes.
  • 11:11:16KAYYour mother is, I think I’m right, 96?
  • 11:11:22DAWKINSShe’s 96.
  • 11:11:23KAYGood for her. Is this the moment then to be asking those questions about where you came from and what your childhood was like?
  • 11:11:29DAWKINSWell, yes. I mean, she has been very helpful to me and I have talked to her about memories of my early life. I also read from her own diaries, which were extremely helpful to me. She’s a very good writer, a very vivid writer.
  • 11:11:45KAYAnd you cite them a lot in the book. They’re lovely.
  • 11:11:46DAWKINSI cite them a lot in the book, yes. And she’s also a very good artist and there are some of her pictures in the book as well.

10. Evocation of his early family life in Africa and, later, England. His “ceaselessly creative” father and language-loving mother lighted the fires of curiosity about the world in a small boy. Young Richard loved imaginary pretend games: “Mummy, I’m an owl being a water wheel.”

9. The diaries of his mother Jean. Dawkins quotes from these with disarming openness. When Dawkins was 5, he and his parents visited home by way of a post-war sea voyage. Jean wrote:

When we got to England [Richard] was quite a sad little boy, and had lost all his bounce. While we were looking out of the ship at Liverpool docks in the dark rain … he asked wonderingly, “Is that England?” and then quickly asked “When are we going back [to Africa]?”
—-From the book Appetite for Wonder: 
 Makwapala is the site of my earliest coherent memories, and also of many of my parents’ recordings of

my sayings and activities. Here are just two of many:

Come and look Mummy. I’ve found where the night goes to sleep when it’s sun-times [darkness
under the sofa].

I measured Sally’s bath with my ruler, and it said seven and ninepence, so she’s very late for her
bath.

Like all small children I was obsessed with pretending.

No, I think I’ll be an accelerator.

Now you stop being the sea Mummy.

I am an angel, and you’re Mr Nye, Mummy. You say Good morning Angel. But angels don’t talk,
they just grunt. Now this angel’s going to sleep. They always go to sleep with their heads under
their toes.

I also enjoyed second-order meta-pretends:

Mummy, let me be a little boy pretending to be Richard.

Mummy, I’m an owl being a water wheel.

There was a water wheel near where we lived, which fascinated me. My three-year-old self tried to
put together some instructions for how to make a water wheel:

Tie a bit of string on the sticks all round, and have a ditch near and very fast water in it. Now get a
bit of wood and put a bit of tin on it for a handle and use it for the water to come. Then get some
bricks for the water to go rushy down, and get a bit of wood and make it round and make a lot of
things sticking out of it, then put it onto a long stick and that’s a water wheel and it goes round in
the water and makes a big BANG BANG BANG noise.

I suppose the following is zero-order pretending, for my mother and I both had to pretend to be
ourselves:

Now you be Mummy and I’ll be Richard and we’re going to London in this garrimotor [most
likely this Anglo-Indianism entered my family through my colonial grandparents and great-
grandparents, but it may have spread from India throughout the Empire].

In February 1945, when I was nearly four, my parents recorded that I had ‘never been known to draw
anything recognizable’. This may have been a disappointment to my artistically gifted mother, who had
been hired to illustrate a book when she was sixteen, and later attended art school.

(Dawkins pictured with his daughter Juliet)

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LATER IN BOOK:

I and two friends in my house became militandy anti-religious in our last year, when we were
seventeen. We refused to kneel down in chapel and sat with folded arms and closed lips, defiantly upright
like proud, volcanic islands in the sea of bowed and mumbling heads. As you’d expect of Anglicans, the
school authorities were very decent and never complained, even when I took to skipping chapel
altogether. But here I need to go back and trace my loss of religious faith.

I had arrived at Oundle a confirmed Anglican, and I even went to Holy Communion a few times in my
first year. I enjoyed getting up early and walking through the sunlit churchyard listening to the blackbirds
and thrushes, and I basked in righteous hunger for breakfast afterwards. The poet Alfred Noyes (1880-
1958) wrote: Tf ever I had any doubts about the fundamental realities of religion, they could always be
dispelled by one memory – the light upon my father’s face as he came back from early communion.’ It’s a
spectacularly silly piece of reasoning for an adult, but it sums me up at the age of fourteen.

I’m happy to say it wasn’t long before I reverted to earlier doubts, first planted at the age of about nine
when I learned from my mother that Christianity was one of many religions and they contradicted each
other. They couldn’t all be right, so why believe the one in which, by sheer accident of birth, I happened
to be brought up? At Oundle, after my brief phase of going to Communion, I gave up believing in
everything that was particular about Christianity, and even became quite contemptuous of all particular
religions. 

Outgrowing Facts: Inaccuracies in Richard Dawkins’ new book

George Heath-Whyte | September 26th 2019

Richard Dawkins was asked by journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy in an interview recently, “If you could change the world, how would you change it?” His answer was that he would rid us of “anything that’s not evidence based, where factual knowledge is concerned”. 

Unfortunately for Dawkins, that may mean he needs to start ripping pages from his new book.

I’m an Assyriologist, which means I study the languages, history, and cultures of ancient Mesopotamia (including Assyria and Babylonia, both in modern day Iraq). I was reading Dawkins’ book “Outgrowing God”, wrinkling my nose at various dubious claims and assertions he had been making about topics I didn’t quite know quite enough about to pinpoint what smelt fishy, when I got to a paragraph that was actually about my own academic field – and that doesn’t happen very often as an Assyriologist! My nose suddenly stopped wrinkling and my jaw dropped. It was riddled with factual errors that anyone who had done more than a couple of minutes of research would not have made.

He had just been claiming that most of the Old Testament was written during the period of the Babylonian captivity (in the 6th century BC) and then he writes:

“What, then, can we say about the myths from the beginning of Genesis? Adam and Eve? Or Noah’s Ark? The Noah story comes directly from a Babylonian myth, the legend of Utnapishtim – which isn’t surprising, since Genesis was written during the Babylonian captivity. The Utnapishtim story in turn comes from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. Arguably the world’s oldest work of literature, it was written two thousand years earlier than the Noah story. The Sumerians were polytheists. Their flood legend says the gods couldn’t get to sleep because humans made so much noise. Fed up with the racket, the gods decided to drown everybody in a great flood. But one of the gods, the water god Enki, took pity on a man called Utnapishtim (Ziusudra in an older version) and warned him to build a huge boat, to be called ‘The Preserver of Life’. The rest of the story is pretty much the same as the Noah version: animals of every kind taken on board, a dove, a swallow and a raven released from the ark to see if there was any land coming up, and so on, including the spectacular rainbow finish. It was another god, Ishtar, who put up the rainbow as a sign that there would be no more catastrophic floods.” (pg 53-54)

Oh dear. Where to begin? 

A language problem

Let’s start with the claim that “The Utnapishtim story … comes from the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh.” You might need some background knowledge, so here we go. 

Sumerian is an ancient Mesopotamian language, one of the first written languages in the world that we know of. Sometimes the word ‘Sumerian’ is also used to describe the people whose language it was. The language stopped being spoken on the streets of southern Iraq at some point around 2000 BC, although it continued to be used by priests and scholars for two millennia afterwards (a bit like how Latin was used in medieval Europe) right up to the first century AD. When Sumerian died out as a spoken language around 2000 BC, it was the Akkadian language with its two dialects (Babylonian in the south, Assyrian in the north) that took over as the main language of Mesopotamia. 

The version of the Epic of Gilgamesh that Dawkins is talking about – the version that contains the story of a man called Utnapishtim who built a boat and was saved from a great flood – is not written in Sumerian as he seems to think, nor was it written at a time at which you could describe the people of the region as “Sumerian”. It was in fact written in the Babylonian dialect of the Akkadian language. Ok, it might seem very pedantic of me to point out such a minor error, but it’s the first clue we get that he has not done his research into the supposed relationship between the story of Noah and Mesopotamian flood stories.

A dating problem

As well as the language, it seems as though Dawkins has confused the plot of the flood story found in the Epic of Gilgamesh with the plot of another Babylonian flood story, about a man called Atrahasis. Some parts of these two stories are word-for-word the same, but not all. It’s in the story of Atrahasis, which is quite a few centuries older than that found in Gilgamesh, that the Babylonian gods send the flood because humanity is making too much noise. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, this reason is not given. 

Whichever of these flood stories Dawkins was thinking of, neither of them are “Arguably the world’s oldest work of literature” as Dawkins suggests. They also weren’t “written two thousand years earlier than the Noah story”, that is, unless the Noah story was written long after the time of Jesus! 

Again, maybe I’m being pedantic, but so far he’s got the language of the story he’s talking about wrong, he’s got the date of the story he’s talking about wrong, and he’s mixed two stories together and treated them as the same. He’s also stated, as if it is an undebatable fact, that Genesis “was written during the Babylonian captivity”. So far this doesn’t really affect the “argument” of the paragraph, but for an Oxford professor who has described himself as an “evangelist for the truth”, we might have expected more.

The next set of mistakes is far more concerning. 

A reading problem

Dawkins starts giving his confused account of this Atrahasis-Gilgamesh-hybrid story, before writing: “The rest of the story is pretty much the same as the Noah version: animals of every kind taken on board, a dove, a swallow and a raven released from the ark to see if there was any land coming up, and so on, including the spectacular rainbow finish.” Wow, that’s quite a list of similarities, isn’t it?! Quite a troubling list. Maybe Dawkins has a point? 

Don’t panic! What this list seems to show is that not only has he not read the Babylonian flood stories, but he’s not even read the biblical flood story! The dove, swallow, and raven are part of the Gilgamesh flood story, but have a read of Genesis 8:6-12. There’s no swallow in the biblical version: a raven gets sent out, then a dove, then a dove for a second time. Now, if you have access to a translation, have a read of Atrahasis and the Epic of Gilgamesh. Any mention of a rainbow? If you didn’t head off and read it, let me save you some time. There is no rainbow mentioned anywhere in either of them. 

It gets worse. Contrary to what Dawkins writes in the final sentence of his paragraph, the goddess Ishtar is nowhere to be found in the aftermath of the flood in the Babylonian stories. No god puts a rainbow anywhere, and there’s no mention of anything being done so that there would be “no more catastrophic floods”. So where on earth did he get such a fictitious idea from? Well, a quick google search suggests that it may have been a rather old, rather cute website called historwiz.com. Maybe it was another dodgy website, but it certainly wasn’t any reputable source, and certainly not a scholarly translation of any of the relevant texts.

The suggestion that the flood story of Genesis is based on the flood story found in the Epic of Gilgamesh is far older than Dawkins, and pointing out the inaccuracies in this paragraph doesn’t defeat the general argument. But, to use a phrase Dawkins seems to be very fond of in this book, “no serious scholar” should make factual errors as blatant as these.

Dawkins’ problem with evidence

The first six chapters of “Outgrowing God” (there are twelve in total) are devoted to theological, philosophical, and historical arguments as to why we should, as the title suggests, outgrow belief in God. His lack of understanding of such subjects probably won’t come as a surprise to many. Dawkins has said himself that he doesn’t bother to read theological scholarship, even tweeting in 2013, “I’m told theology is outside my field of expertise. But is theology a “field” at all? Is there anything in “theology” to be expert ABOUT?”. When asked why he doesn’t engage with this theological literature by atheist YouTuber CosmicSkeptic in an interview about the new book, Dawkins replied, “I’ve got better things to do. I do Science.” Later in the same interview he also admits, “I’m not well read in the history of philosophy.” 

I’ve only gone through one paragraph here, but his treatment of ancient history in general would seem to be similarly poorly researched. Sadly my Assyriological concerns won’t stop the popularity of this book, but at least they can arm you to challenge any readers you meet about the accuracy of its evidence.

The Oxford Apologetics Series grapples with major modern objections to the Christian faith. In the latest addition to the series, Is Jesus History? Dr John Dickson unpacks how the field of history works, giving readers the tools to evaluate for themselves what we can confidently say about figures like the Emperor Tiberius, Alexander the Great, Pontius Pilate, and, of course, Jesus of Nazareth. Find out more here

IMAGE: “Richard Dawkins no Fronteiras do Pensamento Porto Alegre”by fronteirasweb is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins

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Francis and Edith Schaeffer at their home in Switzerland with some visiting friends

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Schaeffer with his wife Edith in Switzerland.


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Richard Dawkins and John Lennox

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March 19, 2019

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 wanted to comment on something you wrote in your book Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist, and here is the quote on page 309: 

How have we come to the point where reason needs a rally to defend it? To base your life on reason means to base it on evidence and logic.

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In this article WHO WOULD RALLY AGAINST REASON? You argue over and over that one must follow the evidence where it leads!!!!

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?)

A much more dramatic story surrounds the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the present century. The Dead Sea Scrolls, some of which relate to the text of the Bible, were found at Qumran, about fifteen miles from Jerusalem.

Most of the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek. Many people have been troubled  by the length of time that has elapsed between the original writing of the documents and the present translations. How could the originals be copied from generation to generation and not be grossly distorted in the process? There is, however, much to reassure confidence in the text we have.

In the case of the New Testament, there are codes of the whole New Testament (that is, manuscripts in book form, like the Codes Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus, dated around the fourth and fifth centuries respectively) and also thousands of fragments, some of them dating back to the second century. The earliest known so far is kept in the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England. It is only a small fragment, containing on one side John 18:31-33 and on the reverse, verses 37 and 38. It is important, however, both for its early date (about A.D.125) and for the place where it was discovered, namely Egypt. This shows that John’s Gospel was known and read in Egypt at that early time. There are thousands of such New Testament texts in Greek from the early centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection.

In the case of the Old Testament, however, there was once a problem. There were no copies of the Hebrew Old Testament in existence which dated from before the ninth century after Christ. This did not mean that there was no way to check the Old Testament, for there were other translations in existence, such as the Syriac and the Septuagint (a translation into Greek from several centuries before Christ). However, there was no Hebrew version of the Old Testament from earlier than the ninth century after Christ–because to the Jews the Scripture was so holy it was the common practice to destroy the copies of the Old Testament when they wore out, so that they would not fall into disrespectful use.

Then in 1947, a Bedouin Arab made a discovery not far from Qumran, which changed everything. While looking for sheep, he came across a cave in which he discovered some earthenware jars containing a number of scrolls. (There jars are now in the Israeli Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.) Since that time at least ten other caves in the same vicinity have yielded up other scrolls and fragments. Copies of all the Old Testament books except Esther have been discovered (in part or complete) among these remains. One of the most dramatic single pieces was a copy of the Book of Isaiah dated approximately a hundred years before Christ. What was particularly striking about this is the great closeness of the discovered text tothe Hebrew text, whicch we previously had, a text written about a thousand years later!

On the issue of text, the Bible is unique as ancient documents go. No other book from that long ago exists in even a small percentage of the copies we have of the Greek and Hebrew texts which make up the Bible. We can be satisfied that we have a copy in our hands which closely approximates the original. Of course, there have been some mistakes in copying, and all translation lose something of the original language. That is inevitable. But the fact that most of us use translations into French, German, Chinise, English, and so on does not mean that we have an inadequate idea of what was written originally. We lose some of the nuances of the language, even when the translation is good, but we do not lose the essential content and communication.

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.comhttp://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221, United States

DawkinsWard

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Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Harris 

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Canary Islands 2014: Harold Kroto and Richard Dawkins

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

The Basis of Human Dignity by Francis Schaeffer

Richard Dawkins, founder of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Credit: Don Arnold Getty Images

Francis Schaeffer in 1984

Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer in 1982

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Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Episode 1

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Garik Israelian, Stephen Hawking, Alexey Leonov, Brian May, Richard Dawkins and Harry Kroto

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Featured artist is Judy Pfaff

Judy Pfaff was born in London, England, in 1946. She received a BFA from Washington University, Saint Louis (1971), and an MFA from Yale University (1973). Balancing intense planning with improvisational decision-making, Pfaff creates exuberant, sprawling sculptures and installations that weave landscape, architecture, and color into a tense yet organic whole.

A pioneer of installation art in the 1970s, Pfaff synthesizes sculpture, painting, and architecture into dynamic environments, in which space seems to expand and collapse, fluctuating between the two- and three-dimensional. Pfaff’s site-specific installations pierce through walls and careen through the air, achieving lightness and explosive energy. Pfaff’s work is a complex ordering of visual information, composed of steel, fiberglass, and plaster as well as salvaged signage and natural elements such as tree roots. She has extended her interest in natural motifs in a series of prints integrating vegetation, maps, and medical illustrations, and has developed her dramatic sculptural materials into set designs for several theatrical stage productions.

Pfaff has received many awards, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award (2004); a Bessie (1984); and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1983) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1986). She has had major exhibitions at Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison (2002); Denver Art Museum (1994); St. Louis Art Museum (1989); and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (1982). Pfaff represented the United States in the 1998 Bienal de São Paulo. Pfaff lives and works in Kingston and Tivoli, New York.

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MUSIC MONDAY Blink 182, Francis Schaeffer: I have lots of young people and as they realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.”

This post takes a look at the song ADAM’S SONG which is about suicide but don’t stop reading there but continue to the end of the post where there is some hope!!

I never thought I’d die alone
I laughed the loudest who’d have known?
I trace the cord back to the wall
No wonder it was never plugged in at all
I took my time, I hurried up
The choice was mine I didn’t think enough
I’m too depressed to go on
You’ll be sorry when I’m goneI never conquered, rarely came
Sixteen just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn’t wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over, we’d survived
I couldn’t wait till I got home
To pass the time in my room aloneI never thought I’d die alone
Another six months I’ll be unknown
Give all my things to all my friends
You’ll never step foot in my room again
You’ll close it off, board it up
Remember the time that I spilled the cup
Of apple juice in the hall
Please tell mom this is not her faultI never conquered, when you came
Sixteen just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn’t wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over, we’d survived
I couldn’t wait till I got home
To pass the time in my room aloneI never conquered, when you came
Tomorrow holds such better days
Days when I can still feel alive
When I can’t wait to get outside
The world is wide, the time goes by
The tour is over, I’ve survived
I can’t wait till I get home
To pass the time in my room aloneSource: LyricFindSongwriters: Tom De Longe / Mark HoppusAdam’s Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below in 1971 at L Abri

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri Conference, Urbana, 1981

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Reviving the Pop-Punk Innocence of Blink-182

Amanda Petrusich August 2016

A reconfigured version of the nineties band Blink-182—featuring Matt Skiba (standing in for Tom DeLonge), Mark Hoppus, and Travis Barker—is enjoying renewed popularity among a younger generation of fans.
A reconfigured version of the nineties band Blink-182—featuring Matt Skiba (standing in for Tom DeLonge), Mark Hoppus, and Travis Barker—is enjoying renewed popularity among a younger generation of fans.Photograph by Brian Gove / WireImage / Getty

Although pop-punk was not invented in the late nineteen-nineties—in the preceding decades, bands like Bad Religion, Agent Orange, Social Distortion, Hüsker Dü, Green Day, and the Descendents did the strange work of injecting either melody or jocularity, or both, into punk’s staunchness—few musical genres now feel as emblematic of that era. And no era is presently being gazed upon with more pie-eyed approbation than the waning years of the twentieth century. It seems deeply bogus to call that adoration “nostalgia,” as many of the folks now knotting flannel shirts around their midriffs and dipping their pigtails into jars of Manic Panic weren’t even born when, say, the Offspring released “Smash”—but it is earnest, and it is widespread. The nineties, they are Cool.

Which means the melodic pop-punk of yesteryear is having an odd return, if not quite a proper renaissance. While a handful of new bands are making vital-seeming pop-punk records, the genre is not commercially ascendant; rather, it seems to have invaded young hearts and minds as an artifact. To that end, one of pop-punk’s most beloved practitioners, Blink-182—a trio born, in 1992, from the skate parks of Southern California—is enjoying a renewed popularity. When the band released its seventh record, “California,” in July, it débuted atop the pop charts both in the U.K. and in the U.S., where it unseated Drake. (Kelefa Sanneh reviewed the album in the July 25th issue of the magazine.) This month, the band will play a string of shows in and around New York, including Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, and the Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre, in Wantagh.

Punk purists were scandalized by Green Day’s leap, in 1994, from the independent Lookout! Records to Reprise, which is owned by the Warner Music Group, one of the “Big Three” recording conglomerates. But by the time Blink-182 released its third record, “Enema of the State,” in 1999, pop-punk was axiomatically understood as a sovereign entity, a subgenre that—unlike punk, which thrived on subverting notions of palatability—was deliberately engineered for mass pleasure. “Enema of the State” has since become one of the genre’s most canonical documents (though it owes its predecessors everything) and also one of its most adored. It is as apolitical and un-self-serious as its title suggests. The cover features a young lady (Janine Lindemulder, then a star of pornographic videos) wearing blue eyeshadow and a red brassiere, squeezed into a nurse’s costume. She is suggestively stretching a rubber glove over her right hand.

In 1999, the three members of Blink-182—the singer and guitarist Tom DeLonge, the singer and guitarist Mark Hoppus, and the drummer Travis Barker—were in their mid-twenties, and deep into the kind of extended adolescence now presumed of young, privileged American men. I’d dare suggest that the band even helped engineer (or at least further normalize) the practice of rejecting traditional beacons of manhood. Blink-182 was brazenly unconcerned with seeming churlish or wayward. Being a clown incited no shame. A year earlier, the band had titled a tour “PooPoo PeePee.” The notion of embracing adulthood, even begrudgingly—of putting aside childish things, of committing to the sort of life that places a person in orbit of something other than himself, of pumping the brakes just a little on the dick jokes—simply did not register or have currency. Life was about gags, and doing whatever you felt like doing—or at least that was the performance. From the outside, it looked glorious. “Enema of the State” eventually sold more than fifteen million copies worldwide, a success by any measure. Blink-182’s snickering nihilism had legs.

On “Dammit,” an early single about a trying breakup, the chorus goes, “I guess this is growing up.” Hoppus sounds devastated each time he sings the line. It seems he was so bummed out by it that he ultimately decided to try and circumvent the eventuality of aging altogether: by the summer of 1999, “What’s My Age Again?,” a single from “Enema of the State,” had become a frantic anthem for anyone unwilling to go gracefully into adulthood. The song continues to function as such. “My friends say I should act my age,” Hoppus sings, but he just isn’t feeling it; he loses the girl. “That’s about the time she walked away from me,” he shrugs. “Nobody likes you when you’re twenty-three.” This isn’t exactly true—twenty-three is, in fact, squarely within our most coveted and courted age bracket—but part of being a perpetual teen-ager is refusing accountability, enacting an endless shuck and jive around the issue of your own cowardice.

Which is not to say that the band was witless. The video for “All the Small Things,” a sendup of boy bands like the Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync, is startlingly clever, positioning Blink-182 as a petulant, mischievous counterpoint to dopey, manufactured pop music—when in reality those bands share significant musical DNA. It made the band seem fun, carefree, insouciant. Elsewhere on “Enema of the State,” when Blink-182 attempted seriousness—as in “Adam’s Song,” a track nominally about depression and suicide—it lost momentum. Its finest moments are barked in aggrieved-teen shorthand, like this verse from “All the Small Things”: “Late night / Come home / Work sucks / I know.”


The grievances and pleasures Blink-182’s songs express—the dumbness of adults, how weird sex is, how cool jokes are, how lonesome life can be—
are the kinds of things that get worried over most loudly from ages twelve to eighteen. It’s tempting to think that our emotions become more complex and multitudinous when we grow up. But most of us continue following those same early tracks, the ones we gouged in adolescence; the whole spectrum of human experience, all that longing and self-doubt, is perfectly sketched out in those formative years. That’s where pop-punk lives. Its rawness lies not in the music but in the heady newness of those feelings.

This is, I think, at least partially why the band has endured. But I also wonder if we’re clinging to the sound—protecting it—as we would an endangered species. In 2016, a record like “Enema of the State” hits like a shot of oxygen. It’s revitalizing—and comforting, somehow—to revisit the sort of playful, featherbrained temperament made possible only by a decade in which prosperity and safety seemed nearly guaranteed. Most of the kids hollering along to the band’s discography at shows today never even knew a pre-9/11 world. I sometimes wonder, though, if the air has gotten too toxic for Blink-182’s brand of ribald goofiness.

Of course, Blink-182 looks different these days. DeLonge, who turned forty last year, has stopped touring with the band, although it is unclear whether he remains a member. (Matt Skiba, of Alkaline Trio, has been acting as his replacement.) Instead, DeLonge has committed himself to activities involving extraterrestrial life. Lately, he’s been giving loony-sounding quotes to magazines, like in April, when he told Rolling Stone, “I couldn’t tell the band I was working with people in the government. . . . I have ten people that I’m working with that are at the highest levels of the Department of Defense and nasa and the military. Big shit, and no one knows this.” Which is good copy—who wouldn’t delight in the idea that the former guitarist of a terrifically juvenile pop-punk band is now colluding with government officials to untangle the mysteries of space?—until it begins to register that maybe something else is going on.

Or perhaps focussing one’s attention on celestial affairs is a reasonable way to deal with 2016. There is a palpable hunger for balms of any type right now, and, as it gets harder and harder to invent new ones, it makes sense that we’d turn, collectively, toward preëxisting expressions—toward songs or bands or genres that don’t feel marred by a vast pessimism. In that sense, pop-punk—and its ability to express foolishness and, by extension, true joy—feels eternal.

Adam’s song is filled with hope in the last paragraph of lyrics. So many young people stop short of committing suicide and they think more of the hope the future can offer. Take a look at the story below of someone who gave life another chance after he had actually shot himself in a failed suicide attempt.

Last paragraph of lyrics from “Adam’s song: I never conquered, rarely came
Tomorrow holds such better days
Days when I can still feel alive
When I can’t wait to get outside
The world is wide, the time goes by
The tour is over, I’d survived
I can’t wait till I get home
To pass the time in my room alone

Spend It Any Way You Like

by Greg Hartman

Jim Centifanto parked his motorcycle and walked into the Florida woods. He loaded the 12-gauge shotgun he had borrowed and took a deep breath. Holding the shotgun’s barrel in his left hand, he pressed its muzzle into his stomach. Leaning forward, he pulled the trigger with his right hand.

The blast threw him off his feet and left a gaping, fist-sized hole on the left side of his abdomen. Dropping the gun, Jim staggered back to his motorcycle, rode to his mother’s house four miles away, and passed out on her front steps.

Four days later, as he was waking up from a coma, he heard a voice speak to him. “I saved you for a reason,” the voice said. Centifanto looked around, startled. The room was empty.

Centifanto’s father had taught him and his brothers and sisters to respond to problems with violence. Lawrence Centifanto, a career Marine, married his wife, Ysolina, while he was serving in Panama. Soon after Jim was born, his father went to Korea for three years, then to Vietnam for another three years. Centifanto was 6 before he knew his father.

Lawrence Centifanto sent all his money home for the six long years he was at war. He asked his wife to save it up for him, and expected to return home to a sizable nest egg. Instead, she moved her family from New York to Florida and put herself through medical school.

“I’m not sure if he loved my mother,” Jim said, “but I know she didn’t love him. She only married him to get her American citizenship and an education.”

Centifanto’s excitement at meeting his father quickly turned into horror when his father discovered what had happened to his money. He made his children sit on the sofa and watch as he beat and choked their mother.

Living with his father, Centifanto said, was like living with an unpredictable volcano. Lawrence Centifanto viciously beat his wife and children at the slightest provocation or for no reason at all. One time, he tore an earring out of his daughter’s ear. Another time, after being out of town for a month, he pulled up in his driveway and saw Jim pull aside the curtains to look out the front window, excited to see his father. Lawrence responded to his son’s enthusiastic greeting with a savage beating. “He told me I could have gotten dirt on the curtains,” Centifanto said.

Finally, when Centifanto was 9, his mother divorced her husband. Ysolina Centifanto’s solution to her ex-husband’s brutal discipline was to avoid disciplining her children at all. “We went from one end of the scale to the other. She said, ‘This will never happen to us again,’ and she let my brothers and I run totally wild. We did anything we wanted.”

Within a year, Centifanto was expelled from the Catholic school he had been attending and joined a gang with his brother. He began using and dealing drugs.

One day the vice president of Centifanto’s gang, Bobby Hicks, showed up at the gang’s hangout with a short haircut and wearing a suit and tie. “We thought he was going to court,” Centifanto said. “You know, when you have to see a judge you dress up nice and hope maybe he’ll be more lenient. That’s what we thought Bobby was doing.”

Instead, Hicks threw his fellow gang members a curve. “I just got born again!” he announced.

“He could have said, ‘I just went to the moon,’ for as much as we understood him,” Centifanto said. “We just laughed and said, ‘You did what?'”

But when Hicks started preaching at his friends, the gang’s leader stopped laughing and provoked Centifanto to fight Hicks.

“Bobby was 20 — six years older than me,” Centifanto said, “and he weighed about 250 pounds. I’d seen what he did to other guys. I whipped him with a bullwhip and chased him down the street; I totally humiliated him in front of everyone. The day before, he would have killed me. But this time, he wouldn’t fight. I didn’t know what made him act so weird.”

Centifanto soon forgot his former friend’s odd behavior as he sank deeper into his world of drinking and drugs. “I stayed stoned all the time, 24 hours a day,” he said. “I’d take enough drugs at night to keep me stoned until I woke up, then start over again.”

In 1970, when Centifanto was 15, his girlfriend broke up with him. “She was the closest thing to love I had in my life,” he said. “I hated life, just hated it. No one loved me and when she rejected me, too, I couldn’t take it.” He borrowed a shotgun and shot himself in the stomach. Incredibly, he lived.

“I was in a coma for four days,” Centifanto said. “No one expected me to live; they couldn’t believe I’d even managed to ride my bike to my mother’s house.”

Soon after Centifanto awoke from his coma, his mother announced she had had it with him and sent him to live with his father in Chicago. Within a year, his stepmother kicked him out, too. He was 17.

Centifanto got a job at a steel mill and lived with Terry, a co-worker, and his parents. Terry and his father worked at the steel mill with Centifanto. After work, the three of them got drunk almost every night. Then Terry’s mother surprised them all one day: She announced that she had become a Christian.

“She used to try to talk with me about Christ for hours,” Centifanto said, “even though I was usually drunk. I accidentally walked in on her one night and she was praying, just weeping and asking God to have mercy on me. Everyone else had rejected me, and she didn’t have any benefit from trying to reach me. But here she was praying for me. I just couldn’t understand it.”

About two months later, Centifanto joined the Marines, and found he made a good soldier. “I went in there full of bitterness and violence, and they said, ‘Here’s a gun. We like it if you want to hate and kill.'” But peace of mind still eluded him. His drinking continued unabated, landing him in the hospital twice and almost destroying his kidneys.

Two years later, Centifanto was stationed in Hawaii. One night while his platoon was on maneuvers, a soldier from another unit struck up a conversation with him.

“He told me about what Jesus had done for him,” Centifanto said, “and I just started weeping uncontrollably. I could see he’d been where I was and I wanted what he had.” Centifanto asked the man if he could go to church with him, and the man agreed to pick Centifanto up at his barracks the next Sunday morning.

But Centifanto had neglected to get his name, and when he didn’t show up, Centifanto was desperate. Finally, about two months later, Centifanto ran into him again. “I shook him and yelled at him: ‘You said you’d take me to church! You better show up this time!'” Centifanto said with a chuckle. He got the man’s name — Donald Taylor — and eagerly awaited the next Sunday.

Taylor showed up as promised this time, and took Centifanto to church. “I was mad at Don because I thought he told Eugene Stober, the pastor, about me,” Centifanto said. “Every single word that came out of his mouth was about me and my sin.

“When I was 14 and Bobby Hicks got saved, I didn’t understand what he was talking about. I heard God speak to me after I shot myself, but I didn’t listen to that, either. And Terry’s mom explained the gospel to me, but it still didn’t stop me from sinning.

“We have to come to the end of ourselves before we realize how desperately we are in need. I was at the end of myself this time. I was so ripe for the gospel. This time it was different; this time the ring of truth was going through my heart.”

Centifanto began attending church with Taylor. A month later, while supervising the armory guard, he read a magazine article about the end of the world and panicked. “I was convinced Jesus was coming back — tomorrow!” he said. He left his post — a court-martial offense — and hurried to the church. Finding Pastor Stober, he begged him to tell him how to get saved.

Eugene Stober led Centifanto in prayer. That night, Aug. 17, 1974, in Oahu, Hawaii, when he was 19 years old, Jim Centifanto asked Jesus Christ to forgive his sin and be his Lord and Savior.

When they were finished praying, Pastor Stober handed Centifanto a quarter. Confused, he took it. “That’s what salvation is like: a free gift,” Stober said. “And that quarter is just like your life, too: You’re free to spend it any way you like, but you can only spend it once.”

“That’s when what had just happened really hit me,” Centifanto said. “It was like scales fell from my eyes. All the hate and bitterness, the way I hated myself and everyone else and hated life so much — it left me; it was all gone, just like that.”

Centifanto returned to the base, expecting to face a court-martial. To his surprise, his commander said, “Well, don’t let it happen again,” and dismissed him. When he awoke the next morning, he received another surprise: His desire for drugs and alcohol was gone, never to return.

Today Jim Centifanto and his wife and four children are missionaries in Guatemala. “The minute I got saved I started witnessing to everything that moved,” he said. “I could never see any way to live after that but in service to God. When Pastor Stober handed me that quarter, God changed my life forever. He really did change my heart and make me a new creation.”Copyright © 2006 Greg Hartman. Used with permission.

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Francis Schaeffer taught young people at L Abri in Switzerland in the 1950’s till the 1980’s (pictured below)

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Francis Schaeffer noted:

I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.”

Francis Schaeffer pictured

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 “They are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one…
The result is a relativistic value system. A lack of a final meaning to life — that’s first. Why does human life have any value at all, if that is all that reality is? Not only are you going to die individually, but the whole human race is going to die, someday. It may not take the falling of the atom bombs, but someday the world will grow too hot, too cold. That’s what we are told on this other final reality, and someday all you people not only will be individually dead, but the whole conscious life on this world will be dead, and nobody will see the birds fly. And there’s no meaning to life.

As you know, I don’t speak academically, shut off in some scholastic cubicle, as it were. I have lots of young people and older ones come to us from the ends of the earth. And as they come to us, they have gone to the end of this logically and they are not living in a romantic setting. They realize what the situation is. They can’t find any meaning to life. It’s the meaning to the black poetry. It’s the meaning of the black plays. It’s the meaning of all this. It’s the meaning of the words “punk rock.” And I must say, that on the basis of what they are being taught in school, that the final reality is only this material thing, they are not wrong. They’re right! On this other basis there is no meaning to life and not only is there no meaning to life, but there is no value system that is fixed, and we find that the law is based then only on a relativistic basis and that law becomes purely arbitrary.

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Francis Schaeffer also observed:

The peak of the drug culture of the hippie movement was well symbolized by the movie Woodstock. Woodstock was a rock festival held in northeastern United States in the summer of 1969. The movie about that rock festival was released in the spring of 1970Many young people thought that Woodstock was the beginning of a newand wonderful age.

Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970himself was soon to become a symbol of the endBlackextremely talented, inhumanly exploited, he overdosed in September 1970 and drowned in his own vomit, soon after the claim that the culture of which he was a symbol was a new beginning. In the late sixties the ideological hopes based on drug-taking died.

After Woodstock two events “ended the age of innocence,” to use the expression of Rolling Stone magazine. The first occurred at Altamont, California, where the Rolling Stones put on a festival and hired the Hell’s Angels (for several barrels of beer) to police the grounds. Instead, the Hell’s Angels killed people without any cause, and it was a bad scene indeed. But people thought maybe this was a fluke, maybe it was just California! It took a second event to be convincing. On the Isle of Wight, 450,000 people assembled, and it was totally ugly. A number of people from L’Abri were there, and I know a man closely associated with the rock world who knows the organizer of this festival. Everyone agrees that the situation was just plain hideous.

(How Should We Then Live, pp. 209-210)

 In his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Francis Schaeffer noted:

This emphasis on hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups–for example, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Most of their work was from 1965-1958. The Beatles’Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) also fits here. This disc is a total unity, not just an isolated series of individual songs, and for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. As a whole, this music was the vehicle to carry the drug culture and the mentality which went with it across frontiers which were almost impassible by other means of communication.

Here is a good review of the episode 016 HSWTL The Age of Non-Reason of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?, December 23, 2007:

Together with the advent of the “drug Age” was the increased interest in the West in  the religious experience of Hinduism and Buddhism. Schaeffer tells us that: “This grasping for a nonrational meaning to life and values is the central reason that these Eastern religions are so popular in the West today.”  Drugs and Eastern religions came like a flood into the Western world.  They became the way that people chose to find meaning and values in life.  By themselves or together, drugs and Eastern religion became the way that people searched inside themselves for ultimate truth.

Along with drugs and Eastern religions there has been a remarkable increase “of the occult appearing as an upper-story hope.”  As modern man searches for answers it “many moderns would rather have demons than be left with the idea that everything in the universe is only one big machine.”  For many people having the “occult in the upper story of nonreason in the hope of having meaning” is better than leaving the upper story of nonreason empty. For them horror or the macabre are more acceptable than the idea that they are just a machine.

Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?, under footnote #94)

There is also a confirmation of what the Bible says concerning the Egyptian King Tirhakah who came up to oppose the Assyrians. Confirmation of his reality is typified by a sphinx-ram in the British Museum (British Museum Ref. B.B.1779). The small figure between the legs of the ram is a representation of King Tirhakah. The Bible says that when Sennacherib heard that  Tirhakah, king of Eqypt, was coming to fight against him, he sent messengers to tell Hezekiah that help from Egypt would be of no use to him.

2 Kings 19:9, 10 Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has set out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying,10 “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. (Isaiah 37:9-10 also says about the same thing.)

The date of Sennacherib’s campaign in Palestine is 701 B.C., and something which has often puzzled historians is the role of Tirhakah, who was not king of Egypt and Ethiopia until 690 B.C. But the solution to this problem is simple. In 701 B.C. Tirhakah was only a prince at the side of his military brother, the new Pharaoh Shebitku, who sent Tirhakah with an army to help Hezekiah fend off the Assyrian advance. But the story in Kings and Isaiah does not end in 701 B.C. It carries right through to the death of Sennacherib in 681 B.C., which is nine years after Tirhakah had become king of Egypt and Ethiopia. In other words, the biblical narrative, from the standpoint of 681 B.C., mentions Tirhakah by the title he bore at that time (that is, 681 B.C.), not as he was in 701 B.C. This is still done today, using a man’s title as he is known at the time of writing even it one is speaking of a previous time in his personal history.

Unaware of the the importance of these facts, and falling into wrong interpretations of some of Tirhakah’s inscriptions, some Old Testament scholars have stumbled over each in their eagerness to diagnose historical errors in the Books of the Kings and Isaiah. But as the archaeological confirmation shows, they were quite mistaken. What is striking about these archaeological finds is the way they often converge; there is often not just one line of evidence but several in which the biblical account is confirmed. We do not have confirmation of every single detail in the biblical account, by any means. Nor do we need such total confirmation in view of the amount of evidence there is. To insist on confirmation at every point would be to treat the Bible in a prejudiced way, simply because it is the Bible. The fact that is a religious book does not mean that it cannot also be true when it deals with history.

Not all archaeological finds have a convergence of many different interrelated lines like these around the life of Hezekiah, but they are no less striking. For example, take the “ration tablets” discovered in the ruins of Bablyon. The Bible tells us that after the Assyrians had destroyed the nothern kingdom of Samaria (around 721 B.C.), the southern kingdom, Judah, survived for almost another 150 years until approximately 586 B.C. By this time Assyria, one of the greatest military powers of the ancient world, had been defeated by Bablyon, a neighboring state to the east. That was in 609 B.C. Four years later the Babylonian general, Nebuchadnezzar–then the crown prince–came west and completely defeated Necho II, king of Egypt, at the battle of Carchemish. As a result of this victory he laid claim to Judah, which had previously been in the sphere of influence of Egypt. King Jehoiakim of Judah thus now paid tribute to the Babylonians. The Bible tells us that Jehoiakim rebelled three years later: “During Jehoiakim’s reign Nebuchadnezzar king of Bablyon invaded the land, and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years. But then he changed his mind and rebelled against Nebuchnezzar” (II Kings 24:1).

The political background for this step can be understood from the Babylonian Chronicles (British Museum, Ref. 21946, records events from 597 B.C. down to 594). These were a compressed chronological summary of the principal events from the Babylonian court. There had been a crucial battle in 601 B.C. between the Egyptians and the Babylonians. This had left both sides weakened, and Jehoiakim took this opportunity to declare his independence of the Babylonian king. His independence, or rather Judah’s independence, did not last long, for Jehoiakim himself died in 598 B.C., leaving his throne and the crisis to his son, Jehoiachin. Second Kings (II Kings 24:10-12, 17) tells us what happened:

10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to the city while his servants were besieging it, 12 and Jehoiachin the king of Judah gave himself up to the king of Babylon, himself and his mother and his servants and his officials and his palace officials. The king of Babylon took him prisoner in the eighth year of his reign. 17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

The story of Jehoiachin does not end there, however. The royal family were kept at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, and the Bible says that they , like other royal captives, were provided for by the king with rations of grain and oil (II Kings 25:27-30):

27 And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed[a] Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison.28 And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table, 30 and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, as long as he lived.

The records of these allowances referred to in the Bible were unearthed in excavations in Babylon in basement storerooms of the royal palace (in Staat-Liches Museum, East Berlin, Vorderas Abteilung; Babylon 28122 and 28126). These are known as the “ration tablets” and they record who received such “rations.” In these, Jehoiachin is mentioned by name.

We also have confirmation of the Babylonian advance towards Judah in Nebuchadezzar’s first campaign. Among the ruins of Lachish were discovered a number of ostraca. Ostraca are broken pieces of earthenware called postherds, which were used for writing on in ink. (The Lachish ostraca are in the Palestinian Archaeological Museum, Jerusalem.) These brief letters reveal the increasing tensions within the growing state of Judah and tie in well with the picture given in the Bible by the Book of Jeremiah the Prophet. In Ostracon VI, the princes are accused of “weakening our hands” (that is, discouraging the writers), which is the very phraseology used in the Bible by the Judean princes against Jeremiah. Also, the use of fire beacons for signaling is found in both Ostracon IV and Jeremiah 6:1, each using the same terminology.

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