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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 168 George Harrison’s song AWAITING ON YOU ALL Part B (Featured artist is Michelle Mackey )

 

George Harrison – Awaiting On You All (Backing Track – Early Take)

George Harrison – ‘Awaiting On You All’ – Original Audio

Francis Schaeffer in his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? gives us some insight into a possible answer to that question WHY WAS DRUG-TAKING AND EASTERN RELIGIONS SO POPULAR IN THE 1960’s IN USA?

The younger people and the older ones tried drug taking but then turned to the eastern religions. Both drugs and the eastern religions seek truth inside one’s own head, a negation of reason. The central reason of the popularity of eastern religions in the west is a hope for a nonrational meaning to life and values. The reason the young people turn to eastern religion is simply the fact as we have said and that is that man having moved into the area of nonreason could put anything up there and the heart of the eastern religions  is a denial of reason just exactly as the idealistic drug taking was. So the turning to the eastern religions today fits exactly into the modern existential  methodology, the existential thinking of modern man, of trying to find some optimistic hope in the area of nonreason when he has given up hope on a humanistic basis of finding any kind of unifying answer to life, any meaning to life in the answer of reason. 

An article calledHoly Wars” was based on Francis Schaeffer’s writings primarily and it noted:

Then came the Beatles. John Lennon had declared that his group was more popular than Jesus. But they weren’t willing to stop there. They sought to supplant the true God with everything false. After the rock icons returned from India they brought with them not only the music of the Hindu guru Ravi Shankar, but also his religion as taught by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They were so impressed with that guru’s Transcendental Meditation woo woo that they just had to convert the whole Western World to it. The counterculturalists took it all in, hook line and sinker.

George Harrison – Awaiting On You All – Lyrics

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FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2013

Awaiting on You All

On the way home from work one afternoon I listened to the George Harrison song Awaiting on You All that I had copied along with other songs by this artist from his album All Things Must Pass. Hearing this song after so many years (it was on a CD that I had lost and just found again) was an interesting experience, and as often happens when you unearth some part of your past and compare it with your present, I heard it almost with fresh ears. I am not the same person that I was then. I was in my twenties when I followed George Harrison both musically and spiritually. Though the Eastern religious views he espoused most of his public life were similar to mine at that age, it didn’t take long for me to outgrow them. ‘Outgrow’ is not exactly the right word, though. I didn’t really outgrow them. You could say I traded them in, new lamps for old. I never struck a better deal.

Still, listening to the song I was amazed just how spot on he was in much of what he was saying. I can still relate to almost all of it. I don’t think that either of us, George or I, was aware of the fuzzy thinking that made us combine devotion and belief in Krishna and Jesus without noticing the two aren’t the same. I’m not talking about doctrinal or religious differences. Hinduism and Christianity are distinct religions, granted, but anyone who believes in God knows, ‘God is God. There is no thing you can compare to God. God is God.’ We tend to believe that at best other religions are wrong in the details but right in the big picture. This may be true, but no one can say so without denying his faith community. In youth, I think we were bored with dogmatic strongholds, and wanted the freedom to meet God on our terms, not according to those of our ancestors. How little did we understand that ‘the ancestors in stone armor calling for loyalty untrue’ seeking ‘to make a zigzag of the arrow’s flight’ were doing no such thing.

No, they knew that the shortest path between two points is rarely a straight line, though arrows may fly to their mark, being projectiles aimed at a target. Unfortunately people are not projectiles, and our destination is not really a target, no matter how much we wish we could hit the bullseye. We are beings fashioned in the Divine image and likeness. We live in more than three, more even than four, dimensions, and the paths we tread cannot be traced, planned or prophesied by mortal logic or the magic of music. They are no more than mere beginnings, our thoughts and feelings, before we bump into the aweful reality which we glibly like to call ‘God.’ Meet Him on our terms? Hardly possible, unless He allows it, and only as a sign that He is there, hidden behind our wall, waiting for us to…
No, that is also just what we glibly like to think, as George Harrison sings in his song…

You don’t need no love in
You don’t need no bed pan
You don’t need a horoscope or a microscope
To see the mess that you’re in
If you open up your heart
You will know what I mean
We’ve been polluted so long
Now here’s a way for you to get clean

By chanting the names of the Lord, and you’ll be free
The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see…

You don’t need no passport

And you don’t need no visas
You don’t need to designate or to emigrate
Before you can see Jesus
If you open up your heart
You’ll see he’s right there
Always was and will be
He’ll relieve you of your cares

You don’t need no church house
And you don’t need no Temple
You don’t need no rosary beads or them books to read
To see that you have fallen
If you open up your heart
You will know what I mean
We’ve been kept down so long
Someone’s thinking that we’re all green

… The Lord is awaiting on you all to awaken and see
By chanting the names of the Lord, and you’ll be free

I purposely left out the stanza about the pope owning controlling interest in General Motors and not being qualified to quote us anything but the Stock Exchange. This is childish talk and hatchets all the good things he has to say. This, I find, is true of youthful thinkers in every generation. It’s true of otherwise noble and idealistic youth today. It was true of me as a Vietnam War draft resister. We ‘let the cat out of the bag’ about ourselves when we pounce on anyone, especially an authority figure we don’t approve of, and show that, however pure we think our motives, however lofty our ideals, we’re still no better than the fallen heroes we no longer believe in. What George Harrison says in this song I still agree with. Where I have a problem, is what he proposes as a solution to the mess we find ourselves in. As much as I enjoyed chanting Hare Krishna, it didn’t save me, or the world, and it never will.

But the rest is, amazingly, true, as I have found out in the intervening years. The words about Jesus are almost straight out of the Bible. The words about churches and temples, the same. Somebody went to Sunday School as a child. Yes, you’re right. I did.
I know that for sure, and guess what? It stuck. What started out as an incomprehensible religious upbringing somehow became comprehensible when it finally collided with what I was made for.

Yes, my parachute failed to open, and the earth received my bruised and broken body. I was alive for just a moment, just long enough for me to realize I was about to die. Then His gentle hands slipped under my head and shoulders as He lifted me up from what should have been my grave. He had already been there, aeons before I came to birth or leapt to my unintended death. No, this did not literally happen. I’ve never used a parachute. But His hands are real.

Awaiting on You All, a great song,
but He is waiting only from our point of view.
On His side, we are either already with Him, or without Him.

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Featured Artist: Michelle Mackey

By

Editor

01/03/2013Posted in: Featured Artist, Painters

'Fence Climber'. Oil on Canvas. 36"x36".

‘Fence Climber’. 2005. Oil on Canvas. 36″x36″.

Michelle Mackey is a painter who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Dallas, TX.  She has exhibited extensively in both of those locations, as well as other places inside of and outside of the United States.  In 1999, she received an MFA from Pratt Institute.  Her work has been featured in several publications, including The Christian Century and New American Paintings.

A variety of everday textures, surfaces and structures make up the visual repository from which Mackey’s paintings emerge.  She describes her process in this way:

The story of my process is embedded in layers of paint (layers of choices) visible on the canvas: a trail of past decisions shutting off certain paths to allow other possibilities. I’m searching, tweaking, scratching, both my mind and the image on the canvas, to uncover what I am really seeing and the process of how I see. On my microcosmic-level, I am looking into a larger system beyond the individual. I do not believe in chance or events without purpose, so I do feel that my search will reveal certain truths or aspects of a larger truth.

How do you paint a memory?  Memory is a constant theme in Mackey’s work.  We all have some idea of what it might mean to paint from our memories, but Mackey’s paintings are more like the memories themselves.

Like a memory, one peers into the amorphous forms that haunt her canvases, and one has the sense of staring backward into time.  These images are often vague and nebulous, and they tantalize us with the distance between what could be and what really is. Her 2011 Black Series (see Intermezzo below) is an excellent example.  Although these paintings are bare and monotone, Mackey achieves a remarkable sense of depth and ambiguity.  Forms emerge and disappear.  Mackey gives us representation with one hand, while she simultaneously takes it away with the other.

Like a memory, viewing one of Mackey’s paintings can be spatially disorienting.  Her collages of textures, surfaces and structures do not obey the laws of the physical universe.  One texture bleeds into another.  What appears, at first glance, to be up may on a second viewing strike us as upside down.  In Fashion Awards (below), the lines and structures that appear are actually old blueprints for television-show scenery.  These plans, which no longer serve any function, are so covered that spatial orientation and dimension is difficult to decipher.  They are the remains of a television image; a memory of a memory.

Like a memory, Mackey’s paintings are layered.  Our deepest memories are colored and warped by the passage of time.   What they mean to us change and shift along with us.  A painting like Blue Spring (below) is suggestive of process of layering that builds up over time.  Although much is covered, there is very little in this painting that seems dispensable.

Memories form an essential component of our sense of identity.  Who we believe our selves to be, and what we believe ourselves to be capable of becoming, is inextricably connected to our own memories and the memories that have been handed down to us.  For many of us, these memories bear the dead weight of regret and failure, and they tell us that history will only ever repeat itself.  Mackey’s process suggests, to the contrary, that we are free to explore our memories and that we are graciously and mysteriously free to imagine new ways of relating to our memories.

Memory is really only one aspect of a very rich body of work.  If you would like to learn more about Mackey’s work, I encourage you to visit her website.  There, you can view online galleries, an artist statement, video of her painting process and more.

'Intermezzo'. Acrylic and Enamel on Resin Coated Panel. 47"x47".

‘Intermezzo’. 2011. Acrylic and Enamel on Resin Coated Panel. 47″x47″.

'Fashion Awards'. 2009. Acrylic and Pencil on Paper, Mounted on Panel. 9.5"x11".

‘Fashion Awards’. 2009. Acrylic and Pencil on Paper, Mounted on Panel. 9.5″x11″.

'Blue Spring'. 2003. Oil on Linen. 24"x24".

‘Blue Spring’. 2003. Oil on Linen. 24″x24″.

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This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible by Nicholas Reilly

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I was a big Roger Moore fan over the years and  I  loved each James Bond movie he was in. Sean Connery was an outstanding  Bond too.

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BREAKING: Roger Moore Dies, Legendary James Bond Star Dead at 89

Sir Roger Moore Tribute

 

A View To A Kill – Eiffel Tower

Octopussy (1983) – Intro (1/2)

 

Octopussy (1983) – Intro (2/2)

The Spy Who Loved Me – Skiing Opening Scene

Crocodile Farm Escape (Live And Let Die)

 

LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) Crocodile Jump Attempts (Behind the Scenes)

Published on Sep 19, 2014

Ross Kananga secured the feet of three crocodiles to the shallow pond’s bottom, leaving their jaws and tails free. After removing the other reptiles from the pond, Kananga attempted the dangerous cross. He slipped into the water on the first four tries, but fortunately fell out of the crocodiles snapping jaws. On the fifth attempt, he executed the stunt flawlessly.

Live and Let Die (1973) – Intro

Blofeld’s Death: James Bond 007 – For Your Eyes Only 1981 – Helicopter Dropoff – 1080p HD

This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible

This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible
Sir Roger Moore died earlier today (Picture: WENN)

Sir Roger Moore has died after a battle with cancer – and his passing marks the departure of a bonafide screen legend.

But while his heroic on screen credentials are unquestionable, it seems that he was every bit a brilliant man off screen too.

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Scriptwriter Marc Haynes gave proof of this by sharing his experience of meeting Sir Roger Moore on two separate occasions.

The first came during the 1980s, when Marc was a young boy and spotted Sir Roger Moore at Nice Airport – before pleading with his granddad to ask the Bond star for an autograph.

The second meeting, of which we won’t divulge too much, comes decades later – and it is an exchange that shows Sir Roger to be a man of unquestionable class.

Here’s his incredible story.

This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible

This story about Sir Roger Moore meeting a fan is incredible

What a man. What a legend.

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WOODY WEDNESDAY Woody Allen Movies on You Tube

WHATEVER WORKS

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The Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen) 1985 English

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Crimes and Misdemeanors 1989 Woody Allen

What’s Up Tiger Lily? (1966)

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___________

Woody Allen on The Jack Paar Show (re-sync)

FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Like Milton Friedman Rand Paul is standing against other Republicans who want to add to government overspending!!!

Like Milton Friedman Rand Paul is standing against other Republicans who want to add to government overspending!!!

Milton Friedman – A Limit On Spending

__

Rand Paul Defects on Proposed Health Law Repeal

Republican senator says measure to begin process of repealing Affordable Care Act adds too much to federal budget deficit

Sen. Rand Paul, shown at an event on Oct. 27, says the Republicans’ measure to begin repealing the Affordable Care Act would add $9.7 trillion in debt over 10 years to the federal budget.ENLARGE
Sen. Rand Paul, shown at an event on Oct. 27, says the Republicans’ measure to begin repealing the Affordable Care Act would add $9.7 trillion in debt over 10 years to the federal budget. PHOTO: TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON—Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said Wednesday that he would oppose the budget measure Republicans are counting on to begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act, leaving the effort in danger of derailing if any other GOP senators defect.

The Senate on Wednesday took its first procedural vote on the budget measure, a vehicle that Republicans can use to repeal the 2010 health-care law with a simple majority vote. Republicans now hold only 52 seats in the Senate, where most legislation needs 60 votes to pass.

Mr. Paul said Wednesday he would vote against the budget measure because it adds too much to the federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2017.

“I’m a no,” he said in a brief interview. “It adds $9.7 trillion in debt over 10 years.”

Other Senate Republicans, including Susan Collins of Maine and Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee, have voiced concerns about repealing the health-care law before the GOP has settled on a plan to replace it. However, all three voted to advance the budget in an early procedural vote Wednesday, which passed 51-48, allowing the Senate to consider the measure.

Mr. Paul was the only Republican to join the entire Democratic caucus in voting not to move forward with the budget blueprint. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) didn’t vote.

Other senators could still raise objections ahead of the final vote—on either the plan to repeal the health-care law or on the budget itself.

Aware of the razor-thin margins, GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida wrote Tuesday in a joint letter to GOP Senate leaders that while they understood the budget was “primarily a mechanism to advance [the health law’s] repeal,” the Senate should still abstain from any budget devices that they oppose.

“Our votes in favor of the ‘Obamacare Repeal Resolution’ do not indicate in any way our support for the revenue, spending, and deficit numbers therein, nor for the use of those numbers as the basis for future federal budgets,” the three senators wrote, using the GOP nickname for the budget blueprint.

The next fiscal year’s budget, expected to pass this spring and help Republicans overhaul the tax code, must balance the federal budget in 10 years, they wrote.

Budget blueprints are nonbinding documents used by political parties to signal how they think federal dollars should be spent. The budget document introduced in the Senate Tuesday also starts the process of repealing the health-care law.

The Senate’s budget resolution directs four relevant committees, two in the Senate and two in the House, to write legislation by Jan. 27 that reconciles spending and tax policy with the budget blueprint for the coming fiscal year. Embedded in the committees’ legislation will be provisions that repeal much of the health law.

Democrats, who have paid a heavy political price for the health law’s unpopularity, said Republicans will now bear responsibility for any attempts to gut and replace it.

“Now, they’re gonna own it, and all the problems in the health-care system are going to be on their backs,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Wednesday.

Write to Kristina Peterson at kristina.peterson@wsj.com and Siobhan Hughes at siobhan.hughes@wsj.com

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 120 Caroline Humphrey , Asian Anthropology, King’s College, “Though I am not very active now;  I think the culture of religion or what religious people have done in our history is so huge and enormous, I mean it is so much the background of being an European person that you can’t ignore it”

 

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

 

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

Interview with Caroline Humphrey

Published on Sep 4, 2012

Caroline Humphrey interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 5th August 2010.

All revenues are donated to the World Oral Literature Project: http://www.oralliterature.org/

For a full, higher quality, downloadable version, please see http://www.alanmacfarlane.co

Wikipedia notes:

Caroline Humphrey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dame Caroline Humphrey, Lady Rees of Ludlow, DBE, FBA (née Waddington, born 1 September 1943) is a British anthropologist and academic.

Biography[edit]

Humphrey’s father was the biologist Conrad H. Waddington.[1]

Humphrey received her BA in Social Anthropology from Girton College, Cambridge. Her PhD, completed in 1973, was entitled Magical Drawings in the Religion of the Buryat. She received the Rivers Memorial Medal in 1999,[2] and, in 2003, an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Mongolia.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1967, Caroline Waddington married Nicholas Humphrey; they had no children and divorced in 1977. In 1986, she married Martin Rees, and became Lady Rees after her husband was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 1992.[4]

Research and Positions[edit]

Humphrey has conducted extensive research in Siberia, Nepal, India, Mongolia, China (Inner Mongolia), Uzbekistan and Ukraine. In 1966, she was one of the first anthropologists from a western country to be allowed to do fieldwork in the USSR. Her PhD (1973) focussed on Buryat religious iconography, and ensuing research topics have included Soviet collective farms, the farming economy in India and Tibet, Jainist culture in India, and environmental and cultural conservation in Inner Asia.[5]

Between 1971 and 1978, she undertook research and official fellowships at Girton College, Cambridge and at the Scott Polar Research Institute. From 1978 to 1983 she lectured at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, before becoming a Director of Studies in Archaeology and Anthropology in 1984-89, and 1992-96. Humphrey has held the posts of University Reader in Asian Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 1995-98; University Professor of Asian Anthropology, 1998–2006; Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, 2000; and Rausing Professorship of Collaborative Anthropology, 2006–10.

She co-founded the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit (MIASU) in 1986 at Cambridge. She retired from her post as Sigrid Rausing Professor of Collaborative Anthropology at the University of Cambridge to become Voluntary Research Director of MIASU in October 2010.[6]

She has been a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge since 1978. In 2010, she completed the manuscript of a monograph, jointly authored with Hurelbaatar Ujeed, entitled A Monastery in Time: the Making of Mongolian Buddhism. The book was the culmination of much fieldwork and visits, from 1995, to Mergen Monastery in the Urad region of Inner Mongolia (China), where a distinctive form of Mongolian-language Buddhism has been upheld since the 18th century.

In  the second video below in the 72nd clip in this series are her words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

 

Below is a letter I wrote to her responding to the quote:

March 17, 2015

Professor Caroline Humphrey, Asian Anthropology, King’s College,

Dear Dr. Humphrey,

I was very honored on the 13th day January of 2015 to get this email back from your husband:

Your letter and its attachments has arrived. Sincerest thanks for getting in touch. Yes, I have had the privilege of knowing Owen Gingerich for many years and have recently read his excellent new book. I share emotions of mystery and wonder with religious people, but don’t have any ‘beliefs’ — and indeed wouldn’t expect human brains to be capable of more than a very incomplete and metaphorical understanding of deep reality – even a single atom is hard for most people to understand! Regards and thanks Martin Rees

Your husband was very gracious to take the time to get back to me and he is a classy guy!!!! I actually sent him a  CD called IS THE BIBLE TRUE? that discusses the historical accuracy of the Bible and it is the same exact message  that I sent in cassette tape form to Antony Flew in 1994 and Dr. Flew said he enjoyed it and we corresponded several times in the 1990’s. It is truly ironic to me that the same Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee where I bought that original cassette tape in 1994 is the same church in 2007 where I bought Antony Flew’s book THERE IS A GOD.

I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

Recently I noticed these comments by you in that wonderful in-depth interview by Dr. Alan Macfarlane:

(FIRST PARAGRAPH) My grandmother was a Fabian and quite an  intellectual – Amber Pember Reeves; she read moral sciences at Newnham and she  was a big influence on my life: she had an affair with H.G. Wells when she was  a student which was a big scandal at the time; she became pregnant so my aunt  is her daughter by H.G. Wells; as he was not going to marry her, to her rescue  came a nice young lawyer, my grandfather, who made her respectable; his name  was Blanco-White…

(SECOND PARAGRAPH) …I do remember in my teens thinking  I ought to sneak out and actually go to churches to see what went on in them; I  did try to look inside some churches in Edinburgh, but it was a pretty frosty  city and the churches were not places you could drop into; I suppose I was  rather ignorant of all that and remain so to some extent; when, here in  Cambridge, people go to chapel, and I have to do so now for various reasons,  everybody lustily sings hymns that they all know, but I don’t know them; I  think perhaps this thwarted early interest was why I became interested in  shamanism and other religious faiths; I also did become interested in  Christianity, and for a period was quite religious; I did get Confirmed in the  Church of England in middle-age,so it is a dimension of life that I have some  feeling for, though I am not very active now;  I think the culture of religion or what religious people have done in our history is so huge and enormous, I mean it is so much the background of being an European person that you can’t ignore it, and to understand it you have to know what it is to be religious….

(THIRD PARAGRAPH) …I think science can disprove many of  the claims of people who are religious – the absurdity of particular dates of  creation, or miracles – but I don’t think science could do anything about what  people feel about essential mysteries which we don’t understand and may never  understand, yet we have intimations that there are things that maybe our brains  are not capable of appreciating; at any rate there does seem to be some order  behind things that we don’t have an explanation for; all of that kind of thing  is part of being human, and I don’t think that science is going to disprove it  or prove it;

___________

You will notice I actually took three different quotes from your lengthy interview from Alan Macfarlane because I wanted to comment on all three parts.

In the second paragraph you noted that you used to involved in the Christian faith but like Darwin you now consider yourself an agnostic. I wondered if you have struggled with the same issues that Darwin did while losing his faith? In the first  paragraph you noted your family’s connection to the historian H.G.Wells and in the third paragraph you asserted that some claims of the Bible can be disproved by science. I totally agree that could be the cause. Take a look at this quote below.

ADRIAN ROGERS FROM HIS MESSAGE ON “DARWINISM” (which I sent to you today):

H. G. Wells, the brilliant historian who wrote The Outlines of History, said this—and I quote: “If all animals and man evolved, then there were no first parents, and no Paradise, and no Fall. If there had been no Fall, then the entire historic fabric of Christianity, the story of the first sin, and the reason for the atonement, collapses like a house of cards.” H. G. Wells says—and, by the way, I don’t believe that he did believe in creation—but he said, “If there’s no creation, then you’ve ripped away the foundation of Christianity.”

Now, the Bible teaches that man was created by God and that he fell into sin. The evolutionist believes that he started in some primordial soup and has been coming up and up. And, these two ideas are diametrically opposed. What we call sin the evolutionist would just call a stumble up. And so, the evolutionist believes that all a man needs—he’s just going up and up, and better and better—he needs a boost from beneath. The Bible teaches he’s a sinner and needs a birth from above. And, these are both at heads, in collision.

__________

You should realize that if there was no Garden of Eden then all the historicity of the Bible crumbles with it. Therefore, I wanted to challenge you to google some of these historical events and see what you find:  1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

Now lets move on to two passions of your father and they are  art and science. Does the world fit the chance universe that your famous father C.H. Waddington envisioned? As you know John Cage and him tried to combine them!!!!!

Recently I read that John Cage was invited by C.H. Waddington to speak at a symposium back in the 1970’s entitled, “Biology and the History of the Future” sponsored by the International Union of Biological Sciences in an attempt to “promote reciprocity between the arts and sciences.” His contributions to the symposium were edited by Waddington and published by Edinburgh University Press in 1972.

I wanted to share a paragraph I read in the article “NOWHERE ELSE TO TURN:CHANCE VERSUS DESIGN:” 

In THE GOD WHO IS THERE, Francis Schaeffer refers to the American composer John Cage who believes that the universe is impersonal by nature and that it originated only through pure chance.  In an attempt to live consistently with this personal philosophy, Cage composes all of his music by various chance agencies.  He uses, among other things, the tossing of coins and the rolling of dice to make sure that no personal element enters into the final product.  The result is music that has no form, no structure and, for the most part, no appeal.  Though Cage’s professional life accurately reflects his belief in a universe that has no order, his personal life does not, for his favorite pastime is mycology, the collecting of mushrooms, and because of the potentially lethal results of picking a wrong mushroom, he cannot approach it on a purely by-chance basis.  Concerning that, he states: “I became aware that if I approached mushrooms in the spirit of my chance operations, I would die shortly.”  John Cage “believes” one thing, but practices another.  In doing so, he is an example of the person described in Romans 1:18 who “suppresses the truth of God,” for when faced with the certainty of order in the universe, he still clings to his theory of randomness.

This  from  John Cage made me think of you and your father  when I read the book Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters  because of what Darwin said on this same issue of intelligent design. IS THIS WORLD A RESULT OF TIME AND CHANCE OR WAS IS CREATED BY A DESIGNER? I am going to quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. I have also enclosed a CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism.

Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D.2 Apr 1873

“It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide…Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. I am aware that if we admit a First Cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came, and how it arose.”

Francis Schaeffer noted:

What he is saying is if you say there is a first cause, then the mind says, “Where did this come from?” I think this is a bit old fashioned, with some of the modern thinkers, this would not have carry as much weight today as it did when Darwin expressed it. Jean Paul Sartre said it as well as anyone could possibly say it. The philosophic problem is that something is there and not nothing being there. No one has the luxury of beginning with nothing. Nobody I have ever read has put forth that everything came from nothing. I have never met such a person in all my reading,or all my discussion. If you are going to begin with nothing being there, it has to be nothing nothing, and it can’t be something nothing. When someone says they believe nothing is there, in reality they have already built in something there. The only question is do you begin with an impersonal something or a personal something. All human thought is shut up to these two possibilities. Either you begin with an impersonal and then have Darwin’s own dilemma which impersonal plus chance, now he didn’t bring in the amount of time that modern man would though. Modern man has brought in huge amounts of time into the equation as though that would make a difference because I have said many times that time can’t make a qualitative difference but only a quantitative difference. The dilemma is it is either God or chance. Now you find this intriguing thing in Darwin’s own situation, he can’t understand how chance could have produced these two great factors of the universe and its form and the mannishness of man.

From Charles Darwin, Autobiography (1876), in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, vol. 1 (London: John Murray, 1888), pp. 307 to 313.

“Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting, I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species, and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt…”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

On the basis of his reason he has to say there must be an intelligent mind, someone analogous to man. You couldn’t describe the God of the Bible better. That is man is made in God’s image  and therefore, you know a great deal about God when you know something about man. What he is really saying here is that everything in my experience tells me it must be so, and my mind demands it is so. Not just these feelings he talked about earlier but his MIND demands it is so, but now how does he counter this? How does he escape this? Here is how he does it!!!

Charles Darwin went on to observe:  —can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

So he says my mind can only come to one conclusion, and that is there is a mind behind it all. However, the doubt comes because his mind has come from the lowest form of earthworm, so how can I trust my mind. But this is a joker isn’t it?  Then how can you trust his mind to support such a theory as this? He proved too much. The fact that Darwin found it necessary to take such an escape shows the tremendous weight of Romans 1, that the only escape he can make is to say how can I trust my mind when I come from the lowest animal the earthworm? Obviously think of the grandeur of his concept, I don’t think it is true, but the grandeur of his concept, so what you find is that Darwin is presenting something here that is wrong I feel, but it is not nothing. It is a tremendously grand concept that he has put forward. So he is accepting the dictates of his mind to put forth a grand concept which he later can’t accept in this basic area with his reason, but he rejects what he could accept with his reason on this escape. It really doesn’t make sense. This is a tremendous demonstration of the weakness of his own position.

Darwin also noted, “I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us, and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.”

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

What a stupid reply and I didn’t say wicked. It just seems to me that here is 2 plus 2 equals 36 at this particular place.

Darwin, C. R. to Graham, William 3 July 1881

Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance.* But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

Francis Schaeffer observed:

Can you feel this man? He is in real agony. You can feel the whole of modern man in this tension with Darwin. My mind can’t accept that ultimate of chance, that the universe is a result of chance. He has said 3 or 4 times now that he can’t accept that it all happened by chance and then he will write someone else and say something different. How does he say this (about the mind of a monkey) and then put forth this grand theory? Wrong theory I feel but great just the same. Grand in the same way as when I look at many of the paintings today and I differ with their message but you must say the mark of the mannishness of man are one those paintings titanic-ally even though the message is wrong and this is the same with Darwin.  But how can he say you can’t think, you come from a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s conviction, so how can you trust me? Trust me here, but not there is what Darwin is saying. In other words it is very selective. 

Now we are down to the last year of Darwin’s life.

* The Duke of Argyll (Good Words, April 1885, p. 244) has recorded a few words on this subject, spoken by my father in the last year of his life. “. . . in the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilisation of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms,and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature—I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin’s answer. He looked at me very hard and said, ‘Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,’ and he shook his head vaguely, adding, ‘it seems to go away.'”

Francis Schaeffer summarized :

And this is the great Darwin, and it makes you cry inside. This is the great Darwin and he ends as a man in total tension.

Francis Schaeffer noted that in Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography that Darwin he is going to set forth two arguments for God in this and again you will find when he comes to the end of this that he is in tremendous tension. Darwin wrote, 

At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons.Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body; but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

Now Darwin says when I look back and when I look at nature I came to the conclusion that man can not be just a fly! But now Darwin has moved from being a younger man to an older man and he has allowed his presuppositions to enter in to block his logic. These things at the end of his life he had no intellectual answer for. To block them out in favor of his theory. Remember the letter of his that said he had lost all aesthetic senses when he had got older and he had become a clod himself. Now interesting he says just the same thing, but not in relation to the arts, namely music, pictures, etc, but to nature itself. Darwin said, “But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions  and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind…” So now you see that Darwin’s presuppositions have not only robbed him of the beauty of man’s creation in art, but now the universe. He can’t look at it now and see the beauty. The reason he can’t see the beauty is for a very, very , very simple reason: THE BEAUTY DRIVES HIM TO DISTRACTION. THIS IS WHERE MODERN MAN IS AND IT IS HELL. The art is hell because it reminds him of man and how great man is, and where does it fit in his system? It doesn’t. When he looks at nature and it’s beauty he is driven to the same distraction and so consequently you find what has built up inside him is a real death, not  only the beauty of the artistic but the beauty of nature. He has no answer in his logic and he is left in tension.  He dies and has become less than human because these two great things (such as any kind of art and the beauty of  nature) that would make him human  stand against his theory.

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DO THESE WORDS OF DARWIN APPLY TO YOU TODAY? “I am like a man who has become colour-blind.”

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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? I sent you a CD that starts off with 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.

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.

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

PS: I understand that you studied under the famous professor Edmund Leach. Some have said that he was a poor lecturer but I understand you liked his lectures. 

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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Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

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American Masters John Cage- I Have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying It

John Cage – 4’33”

Uploaded on Oct 1, 2010

John Cage’s most famous musical composition is called 4’33”.

It consists of the pianist going to the piano, and not hitting any keys for four minutes and thirty-three seconds (he uses a stopwatch to time this). In other words, the entire piece consists of silences — silences of different lengths, they say…

(c) John Cage

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The John Lennon and the Beatles really were on a long search for meaning and fulfillment in their lives  just like King Solomon did in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon looked into learning (1:12-18, 2:12-17), laughter, ladies, luxuries, and liquor (2:1-2, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). He fount that without God in the picture all […]

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS! Max Perutz, Cambridge, molecular biologist, “I don’t think we should upset those people who [believe in religion] , who are a very large number of reasonable and decent people”

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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

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Louise Antony, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John Dunn, Ken EdwardsBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan Greenfield, Stephen Jay GouldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan Haidt, Chris Hann,  Theodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Peter HiggsRobert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Sir Andrew Fielding HuxleyGareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo Llinas, Seth Lloyd,  Elizabeth Loftus,  Alan Macfarlane, Colin McGinnDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin Banaji, Michael MannPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax Tegmark, Michael Tooley,  Neil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

Max Perutz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Max Perutz
Max Perutz.jpg

Perutz in 1962, age 52
Born Max Ferdinand Perutz
19 May 1914
Vienna, Austria-Hungary
Died 6 February 2002 (aged 87)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire,England
Nationality British
Fields Molecular biology,Crystallography
Institutions University of Cambridge,Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Alma mater University of Vienna
Peterhouse, Cambridge
Doctoral advisor J.D. Bernal
Doctoral students Francis Crick; John Keith Moffat
Known for Heme-containing proteins
Notable awards
Spouse Gisela Clara Peiser (m. 1942; 2 children)

Max Ferdinand Perutz OM CH CBE FRS (19 May 1914 – 6 February 2002)[1] was an Austrian-born British molecular biologist, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with John Kendrew, for their studies of the structures of hemoglobin and myoglobin. He went on to win the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1971 and the Copley Medal in 1979. At Cambridge he founded and chaired (1962–79) The Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, fourteen of whose scientists have won Nobel Prizes. Perutz’s contributions to molecular biology in Cambridge are documented in The History of the University of Cambridge: Volume 4 (1870 to 1990) published by the Cambridge University Press in 1992.

Early life[edit]

Perutz was born in Vienna, the son of Adele “Dely” (Goldschmidt) and Hugo Perutz, a textile manufacturer.[2][3] His parents were Jewish by ancestry, but had baptized Perutz in the Catholic religion.[4][5][6] Although Perutz rejected religion and was an atheist in his later years, he was against offending others for their religious beliefs.[7][8]

Career[edit]

His parents hoped that he would become a lawyer, but he became interested in chemistry while at school. Overcoming his parents’ objections he enrolled as a chemistry undergraduate at the University of Vienna and completed his degree in 1936. Made aware by lecturer Fritz von Wessely of the advances being undertaken at the University of Cambridge into biochemistry by a team led by Gowland Hopkins, he asked Professor Marks who was soon to visit Cambridge to make inquiries to Hopkins about whether there would be a place for him. However Marks forgot. However he had visited J.D. Bernal, who was looking for a research student to assist him with studies into X-ray crystallography.[9] Perutz was dismayed as he knew nothing about the subject. Marks countered by saying that he would soon learn. Bernal accepted him as a research student in his crystallography research group at Cavendish Laboratory. His father had deposited ₤500 with his London agent to support him. He learnt quickly. Bernal encouraged him to use the X-ray diffraction method to study the structure of proteins. As protein crystals were difficult to obtain he used horse haemoglobin crystals, and began his doctoral thesis on its structure. Haemoglobin was a subject which was to occupy him for most of his professional career. He completed his PhD. under William Lawrence Bragg.

Rejected by Kings and St John’s colleges he applied to and became a member of Peterhouse, on the basis that it served the best food. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse in 1962. He took a keen interest in the Junior Members, and was a regular and popular speaker at the Kelvin Club, the College’s scientific society.

World War 2[edit]

When Hitler took over Austria in 1938 Perutz’s parents managed to escape to Switzerland, but lost all of their money. As a result, Perutz lost their financial support. With his ability to ski, experience in mountaineering since childhood and his knowledge of crystals Perutz was accepted as a member of a three-man team to study the conversion of snow into ice in Swiss glaciers in the summer of 1938. His resulting article for the Proceedings of the Royal Society made him known as an expert on glaciers.[10]

Lawrence Bragg who was head of the Professor of Experimental Physics at Cavendish, thought that Perutz’s research into haemoglobin had promise and encouraged him to apply for a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to continue his research. The application was accepted in January 1939 and with the money Perutz was able to bring his parents from Switzerland in March 1939 to England.[10]

On the outbreak of World War II Perutz was rounded up along with other persons of German or Austrian background, and sent to Newfoundland (on orders from Winston Churchill).[11] After being interned for several months he returned to Cambridge. Because of his previous research into the changes in the arrangement of the crystals in the different layers of a glacier before the War he was asked for advice on whether if a battalion of commandos were landed in Norway, could they be hidden in shelters under glaciers. His knowledge on the subject of ice then lead to him in 1942 being recruited for Project Habakkuk. This was a secret project to build an ice platform in mid-Atlantic, which could be used to refuel aircraft. To that end he investigated the recently invented mixture of ice and woodpulp known as pykrete. He carried out early experiments on pykrete in a secret location underneath Smithfield Meat Market in the City of London.

Establishment of the Molecular Biology Unit[edit]

After the War he returned briefly to glaciology. He demonstrated how glaciers flow.[12][13][14][15][16]

In 1947 Perutz, with the support of Professor Bragg was successful in obtaining support from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to undertake research into the molecular structure of biological systems. This financial support allowed him to establish the Molecular Biology Unit at the Cavendish Laboratory.[17] Perutz’s new unit attracted researchers who realized that the field of molecular biology had great promise, among them was Francis Crick in 1949 and James D. Watson in 1951.

In 1953 Perutz showed that diffracted X-rays from protein crystals could be phased by comparing the patterns from crystals of the protein with and without heavy atoms attached. In 1959 he employed this method to determine the molecular structure of the protein hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood.[citation needed] This work resulted in his sharing with John Kendrew the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Nowadays the molecular structures of several thousand proteins are determined by X-ray crystallography every year.

After 1959, Perutz and his colleagues went on to determine the structure of oxy- and deoxy- hemoglobin at high resolution. As a result, in 1970, he was at last able to suggest how it works as a molecular machine: how it switches between its deoxygenated and its oxygenated states, in turn triggering the uptake of oxygen and then its release to the muscles and other organs. Further work over the next two decades refined and corroborated the proposed mechanism. In addition Perutz studied the structural changes in a number of hemoglobin diseases and how these might affect oxygen binding. He hoped that the molecule could be made to function as a drug receptor and that it would be possible to inhibit or reverse the genetic errors such as those that occur in sickle cell anemia. A further interest was the variation of the hemoglobin molecule from species to species to suit differing habitats and patterns of behavior. In his final years Perutz turned to the study of changes in protein structures implicated in Huntington and other neurodegenerative diseases. He demonstrated that the onset of Huntington disease is related to the number of glutamine repeats as they bind to form what he called a polar zipper.[18]

DNA structure and Rosalind Franklin[edit]

Perutz with his wife Gisela at the 1962 Nobel ball

During the early 1950s, while Watson and Crick were determining the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), they made use of unpublished X-ray diffraction images taken by Rosalind Franklin, shown at meetings and shared with them by Maurice Wilkins, and of Franklin’s preliminary account of her detailed analysis of the X-ray images included in an unpublished 1952 progress report for the King’s College laboratory of Sir John Randall. Randall and others eventually criticized the manner in which Perutz gave a copy of this report to Watson and Crick.

It is debatable whether Watson and Crick should have been granted access to Franklin’s results without her knowledge or permission, and before she had a chance to publish a detailed analysis of the content of her unpublished progress report. It is also not clear how important the content of that report had been for Watson and Crick’s modeling. In an effort to clarify this issue, Perutz later published the report, arguing that it included nothing that Franklin had not said in a talk she gave in late 1951, which Watson had attended. Perutz also added that the report was addressed to an MRC committee created in order to “establish contact between the different groups of people working for the Council”. Randall’s and Perutz’s labs were both funded by the MRC.

The author[edit]

In his later years, Perutz was a regular reviewer/essayist for The New York Review of Books on biomedical subjects. Many of these essays are reprinted in his 1998 book I wish I had made you angry earlier.[19] In August 1985 The New Yorker also published his account tiled “That Was the War: Enemy Alien” of his experiences as an internee during World War 2. Perutz’s flair for writing was a late development. His relative Leo Perutz, a distinguished writer, told Max when he was a boy that he would never be a writer, an unwarranted judgement, as demonstrated by Perutz’s remarkable letters written as an undergraduate. They are published in What a Time I Am Having: Selected Letters of Max Perutz. Perutz was delighted to win the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science in 1997.

The scientist-citizen[edit]

Perutz attacked the theories of philosophers Sir Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn and biologist Richard Dawkins in a lecture given at Cambridge on ‘Living Molecules’ in 1994. He criticised Popper’s notion that science progresses through a process of hypothesis formation and refutation, saying that hypotheses are not necessarily the basis of scientific research and, in molecular biology at least, they are not necessarily subject to revision either. For Perutz, Kuhn’s notion that science advances in paradigm shifts that are subject to social and cultural pressures is an unfair representation of modern science.

These criticisms extended to scientists who attack religion, in particular to Richard Dawkins. Statements which offend religious faith were for Perutz tactless and simply damage the reputation of science. They are of quite a different order to criticism of the demonstrably false theory of creationism. He concluded that “even if we do not believe in God, we should try to live as though we did.”[20]

Within days of the 11 September attacks in 2001, Perutz wrote to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, appealing to him not to respond with military force: “I am alarmed by the American cries for vengeance and concerned that President Bush’s retaliation will lead to the death of thousands more innocent people, driving us into a world of escalating terror and counter-terror. I do hope that you can use your restraining influence to prevent this happening.”[21]

Honours and awards[edit]

Perutz was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1954.[1] In addition to the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1962, which he shared with John Kendrew for their studies of the structures of hemoglobin and myoglobin, Max Perutz received a number of other important honours: he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963, received the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art in 1967, the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1971, appointed a Companion of Honour in 1975, received the Copley Medal in 1979 and the Order of Merit in 1988.

Perutz was made a Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 1964, received an Honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna (1965) and received the Wilhelm Exner Medal in 1967.[22]

Lectures[edit]

In 1980 he was invited to deliver the Royal Institution Christmas Lecture on The Chicken, the Egg and the Molecules.

Personal life[edit]

In 1942, Perutz married Gisela Clara Mathilde Peiser (1915-2005), a medical photographer. They had two children, Vivien (b. 1944), an art historian; and Robin (b. 1949), a professor of Chemistry at the University of York. Gisela was a refugee from Germany (she was a Protestant whose own father had been born Jewish).[23]

He was cremated on 12 February 2002 at Cambridge Crematorium (Cambridgeshire) and his ashes interred with his parents Hugo Perutz and Dely Perutz in the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.[24] His wife was cremated on 28 December 2005 and her ashes were interred in the same grave.

Books by Max Perutz[edit]

  • 1962. Proteins and Nucleic Acids: Structure and Function. Amsterdam and London. Elsevier
  • 1989. Is Science Necessary? Essays on science and scientists. London. Barrie and Jenkins. ISBN 0-7126-2123-7
  • 1990. Mechanisms of Cooperativity and Allosteric Regulation in Proteins. Cambridge. Cambridge University PressISBN 0-521-38648-9
  • 1992. Protein Structure : New Approaches to Disease and Therapy. New York. Freeman (ISBN 0-7167-7021-0)
  • 1997. Science is Not a Quiet Life : Unravelling the Atomic Mechanism of Haemoglobin. Singapore. World Scientific. ISBN 981-02-3057-5
  • 2002. I Wish I’d Made You Angry Earlier.Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. ISBN 978-0-87969-674-0
  • 2009. What a Time I Am Having: Selected Letters of Max Perutz edited by Vivien Perutz. Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. ISBN 978-0-87969-864-5

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In  the second video below in the 77th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

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Max Perutz asserted:   “….we should fight creationism and when asked say we don’t believe in religion. I don’t think we should upset those people who do, who are a very large number of reasonable and decent people.”

Sometimes people like Max Perutz get mad at people like Richard Dawkins but I see where Dawkins is coming from because he feels strongly about what he feels is the truth.

Let me respond with three points.

FIRST, Christ commands us Christians to tell everyone about the gospel because there is a day of Judgment coming.

Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Revelation 14:6-7: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’”

My former pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church, Adrian Rogers in his sermon A PLACE CALLED HELL noted:

The late, great Dr. Robert G. Lee, who was the pastor of this church, said this, and I wrote it down, he said, ”I know some people call the preacher who stands squarely upon the teaching of Christ and his apostles narrow, harsh, cruel.” then he said, ”as to being narrow, I have no desire to any broader than was Jesus. As to being cruel, is it cruel to tell a man the truth? Is a man to be called cruel who declares the whole counsel of God and points out to men their danger? Is it cruel to arouse sleeping people to the fact that the house is on fire? Is it cruel to jerk a blind man away from the rattlesnake in the coil? Is it cruel to declare to people the deadliness of disease and tell them which medicine to take?” and then dr. Lee said this; he said, ”I had rather be called cruel for being kind, than to be called kind for being cruel.”

The cruelest thing a man could do would be to fail to warn people about what the bible has to say about hell. To speak sneeringly, disparagingly about a preacher who believes in hell, to ridicule a preacher who warns of hell would be the same as to ridicule a doctor who warns of cancer. It’s not a pleasant subject, but it is a fact. And I’m going to tell you, dear friend, that the idea of hell is ridiculed today. And, I know why it is ridiculed today, because people don’t like the idea and they try to laugh it away. You can laugh your way into hell, but you can’t laugh your way out once you’re there.

SECOND, 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 and a person can investigate some evidence that the Bible is accurate at this link.

THIRD, without God in the picture everything is permitted. Woody Allen demonstrated this brilliantly in his 1989 film CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS. I bring this up because I read this below:

  • “All is lawful.”
    – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  • “Viper will eat viper, and it would serve them both right!”
    – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  • “If you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral; everything would be lawful, even cannibalism.”
    – Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“Scientists may not believe in God, but they should be taught why they ought to behave as if they did.”(9)

Max Perutz, with a Nobel prize in chemistry, made this statement several years ago in response to critical remarks about Cambridge University establishing a Lectureship in Theology and Natural Science. Richard Dawkins, outspoken biologist and atheist, could barely contain himself in an editorial letter about the same lectureship: “The achievements of theologians don’t do anything, don’t affect anything, don’t achieve anything. What makes you think that ‘theology’ is a subject at all?”(10)

Julian Huxley evidently agreed with Perutz because Huxley also wrote, “God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” Woody Allen addressed the same point in his movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS and I have written this same subject over and over and over  again on this blog.

Francis Schaeffer’s comments on Huxley’s quote:

Relieving the Tension in the West

In  both the East and the West, however, there are attempts to relieve the tension of seeming to be nothing, while in fact being something very real – a person in a real world which has a definite form. On the materialist side, Sir Julian Huxley (1887-1975) has clarified the dilemma by acknowledging, though he was an atheist, that somehow or other – against all that one might expect – a person functions better if he acts as though God exists. “So,” the argument goes, “God does not in fact exist, but act as if He does!” As observed by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) in The Wild Duck: “Rob the average man of his life-illusion, and you rob him of his happiness at the same stroke.” In other words, according to Huxley, you can function properly only if you live your whole life upon a lie. You act as if God exists, which to the materialist is false. At first this sounds like a feasible solution for relieving the tension produced by a materialist world-view. However, a moment’s reflection shows what a terrible solution it is. You will find no deeper despair than this for a sensitive person. This is no optimistic, happy, reasonable, brilliant answer. It is darkness and death.
Another way the tension is relieved is through the theory of evolution, the idea that by chance there is an increasing advance. People are given an impression of progress – up from the primeval slime and the amoeba, up through the evolutionary chain, with life developing by chance from the simple carbon molecule to the complex, right up to the pinnacle, mankind.
This is not the place to discuss evolutionary theory, but it surprises us how readily people accept it, even on the scientific side, as if it had no problems. There are problems, even if these are not commonly realized or discussed.89 The primary point we are interested in, however, is not evolution itself but the illusion of “progress” which has been granted by it. By chance, this amazing complexity called “man” has been generated out of the slime. So, of course, there is progress! By this argument people are led into imagining that the whole of reality does have purpose even if, as we have said, there is no way that it really can have purpose within the humanistic world-view.
Evolution makes men and women feel superior and at the top of the pile, but in the materialistic framework, the whole of reality is meaningless; the concept of “higher” means nothing. Even if, within the humanist world-view, people are more complex than plants and animals, both “higher” and “lower” have no meanings. We are left with everything being sad and absurd.
Thus, the concept of progress is an illusion. Only some form of mystical jump will allow us to accept that personality comes from impersonality.90 No one has offered to explain, let alone demonstrate it to be feasible, how the impersonal plus time plus chance can give personality. We are distracted by a flourish of words – and, lo, personality has appeared out of a hat.
Imagine a universe made up of only liquids and solids, one containing no free gases. A fish is swimming in this universe. This fish, quite naturally, is conformed to its environment so that it is able to exist quite happily. Let us suppose, then, that by blind chance (as the evolutionists would have us believe) this fish developed lungs as it continued swimming in this universe without any gases. The fish would no longer be able to function and to fulfill its position as a fish. Would it then be “higher” or “lower” in its new state with lungs? Obviously it would be lower, for it would drown.
In the same way, if a person has been kicked up from the impersonal by chance, those things that make him a person – hope of purpose and significance, love, notions of morality and rationality and beauty – are ultimately unfulfillable and are thus meaningless. In such a situation, is man higher or lower? Mankind would then be the lowest creature on the scale, the least conforming to what reality is. Thus we see how hopeless is the illusion of meaning or purpose as derived from evolutionary thought.

______

Why Woody Allen’s movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS blows Perutz and Huxley comments out of the water!!!

DISCUSSING FILMS AND SPIRITUAL MATTERS
By Everette Hatcher III

“Existential subjects to me are still the only subjects worth dealing with. I don’t think that one can aim more deeply than at the so-called existential themes, the spiritual themes.” WOODY ALLEN

Evangelical Chuck Colson has observed that it used to be true that most Americans knew the Bible. Evangelists could simply call on them to repent and return. But today, most people lack understanding of biblical terms or concepts. Colson recommends that we first attempt to find common ground to engage people’s attention. That then may open a door to discuss spiritual matters.

Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS , is an excellent icebreaker concerning the need of God while making decisions in the area of personal morality. In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality. Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah ‘s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie. He continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.

Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt May

Sol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”

Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”

Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”

Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”

Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”

Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life.

The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)

Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)

The secularist can only give incomplete answers to these questions: How could you have convinced Judah not to kill? On what basis could you convince Judah it was wrong for him to murder?

As Christians, we would agree with Judah ‘s father that “The eyes of God are always upon us.” Proverbs 5:21 asserts, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Revelation 20:12 states, “…And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done (their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors) in accordance with what was recorded in the books” (Amplified Version). The Bible is revealed truth from God. It is the basis for our morality. Judah inherited the Jewish ethical values of the Ten Commandments from his father, but, through years of life as a skeptic, his standards had been lowered. Finally, we discover that Judah ‘s secular version of morality does not resemble his father’s biblically-based morality.

Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS forces unbelievers to grapple with the logical conclusions of a purely secular morality. It opens a door for Christians to find common ground with those whom they attempt to share Christ; we all have to deal with personal morality issues. However, the secularist has no basis for asserting that Judah is wrong.

Larry King actually mentioned on his show, LARRY KING LIVE, that Chuck Colson had discussed the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with him. Colson asked King if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice? Either live tormented by guilt, or else kill our conscience and live like beasts?” (BREAKPOINT COMMENTARY, “Finding Common Ground,” September 14, 1993)

Later, Colson noted that discussing the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with King presented the perfect opportunity to tell him about Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Colson believes the Lord is working on Larry King. How about your neighbors? Is there a way you can use a movie to find common ground with your lost friends and then talk to them about spiritual matters?

(Caution: CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS is rated PG-13. It does include some adult themes.)

Adrian Rogers is pictured below and Francis Schaeffer above.

Watching the film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? in 1979 impacted my life greatly

Francis Schaeffer in the film WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

Francis and Edith Schaeffer

 

_______

On May 15, 1994 on the 10th anniversary of the passing of Francis Schaeffer I attempted to send a letter to almost every living Nobel Prize winner and I believe  Dr. Max Perutz was probably among that group and here is a portion of that letter below:

I have enclosed a cassette tape by Adrian Rogers and it includes  a story about  Charles Darwin‘s journey from  the position of theistic evolution to agnosticism. Here are the four bridges that Adrian Rogers says evolutionists can’t cross in the CD  “Four Bridges that the Evolutionist Cannot Cross.” 1. The Origin of Life and the law of biogenesis. 2. The Fixity of the Species. 3.The Second Law of Thermodynamics. 4. The Non-Physical Properties Found in Creation.  

Evolution Fact of Fiction Adrian Rogers (same message I put on cassette tape back in 1994)

Uploaded on Nov 13, 2011

The Theory of Evolution Destroyed!!

In the first 3 minutes of the cassette tape is the hit song “Dust in the Wind.” Below I have given you some key points  Francis Schaeffer makes about the experiment that Solomon undertakes in the book of Ecclesiastes to find satisfaction by  looking into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

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

Here the first 7 verses of Ecclesiastes followed by Schaeffer’s commentary on it:

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.  

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.

Solomon doesn’t place man outside of the cycle. Man doesn’t escape the cycle. Man is in the cycle. Birth and death and youth and old age.

There is no doubt in my mind that Solomon had the same experience in his life that I had as a younger man (at the age of 18 in 1930). I remember standing by the sea and the moon arose and it was copper and beauty. Then the moon did not look like a flat dish but a globe or a sphere since it was close to the horizon. One could feel the global shape of the earth too. Then it occurred to me that I could contemplate the interplay of the spheres and I was exalted because I thought I can look upon them with all their power, might, and size, but they could contempt nothing. Then came upon me a horror of great darkness because it suddenly occurred to me that although I could contemplate them and they could contemplate nothing yet they would continue to turn in ongoing cycles when I saw no more forever and I was crushed.

Let me show you some inescapable conclusions if you choose to live without God in the picture. Schaeffer noted that Solomon came to these same conclusions when he looked at life “under the sun.”

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13 “I have seen something else under the sun:  The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them.”)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1; “Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—  and they have no comforter.” 7:15 “In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness,  and the wicked living long in their wickedness. ).
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).
  5. There is no ultimate lasting meaning in life. (1:2)

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture in the final chapter of the book in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “ Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

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. In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had and that “all was meaningless UNDER THE SUN,” and looking ABOVE THE SUN was the only option.  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.

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.  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.

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__________

RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS! Sean Carroll, cosmologist and physics professor at California Institute of Technology, “Darwin to a good extent undercut “DESIGN ARGUMENT]”

 

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

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif AhmedHaroon Ahmed,  Jim Al-Khalili, Louise Antony, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BateSir Patrick BatesonSimon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned BlockPascal BoyerPatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky, Brian CoxPartha Dasgupta,  Alan Dershowitz, Frank DrakeHubert Dreyfus, John Dunn, Ken EdwardsBart Ehrman, Mark ElvinRichard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert FoleyDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan Greenfield, Stephen Jay GouldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan Haidt, Chris Hann,  Theodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Stephen HawkingHermann Hauser, Peter HiggsRobert HindeRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodGerard ‘t HooftCaroline HumphreyNicholas Humphrey,  Herbert Huppert,  Sir Andrew Fielding HuxleyGareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart KauffmanMasatoshi Koshiba,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George Lakoff,  Rodolfo Llinas, Seth Lloyd,  Elizabeth Loftus,  Alan Macfarlane, Colin McGinnDan McKenzie,  Mahzarin Banaji, Michael MannPeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  P.Z.Myers,   Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff, David Parkin,  Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceVS RamachandranLisa RandallLord Martin ReesColin RenfrewAlison Richard,  C.J. van Rijsbergen,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerJohn SulstonBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisMax Tegmark, Michael Tooley,  Neil deGrasse Tyson,  Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter.Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. WatsonFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

Sean M. Carroll

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the biologist, see Sean B. Carroll.
Sean M. Carroll
Seanmcarroll2.jpg

Sean Carroll
Born 5 October 1966 (age 50)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Residence Los Angeles, California
Citizenship United States
Nationality American
Fields Physics, cosmology, astrophysics, general relativity
Institutions California Institute of Technology
Alma mater
Thesis Cosmological Consequences of Topological and Geometric Phenomena in Field Theories (1993)
Doctoral advisor George B. Field
Doctoral students Ignacy Sawicki, Eugene Lim, Mark Hoffman, Jennifer Chen, Heywood Tam, Lotty Ackerman, Kimberly Boddy
Known for Dark electromagnetism
Influences Albert Einstein, Ludwig Boltzmann, Richard Feynman
Notable awards Andrew Gemant Award (2014)
Spouse Jennifer Ouellette
Website
www.preposterousuniverse.com

Sean Michael Carroll (/ˈkærəl/; born 5 October 1966) is a cosmologist and physics professor specializing in dark energy and general relativity. He is a research professor in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology.[1] He has been a contributor to the physics blog Cosmic Variance, and has published in scientific journals and magazines such as Nature, The New York Times, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist.

He has appeared on the History Channel’s The Universe, Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, and Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. Carroll is the author of Spacetime And Geometry, a graduate-level textbook in general relativity, and has also recorded lectures for The Great Courses on cosmology, the physics of time, and the Higgs boson.[2] He is also the author of three popular books: one on the arrow of time entitled From Eternity to Here, one on the Higgs boson entitled The Particle at the End of the Universe, and one on science and philosophy entitled The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself.

Career

Carroll received his PhD in astronomy and astrophysics in 1993 from Harvard University, where his advisor was George B. Field. His dissertation‘s title is “Cosmological Consequences of Topological and Geometric Phenomena in Field Theories“. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago until 2006 when he was denied tenure.[3] He is now a research professor at Caltech.

His most-cited work, “Is Cosmic Speed-Up Due To New Gravitational Physics?”, was written with Vikram Duvvuri, Mark Trodden, and Michael Turner. With over 1,000 citations, it helped pioneer the study of f(R) gravity in cosmology.[4]

In 2010, Carroll was elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society, for “contributions to a wide variety of subjects in cosmology, relativity, and quantum field theory, especially ideas for cosmic acceleration, as well as contributions to undergraduate, graduate, and public science education”.[5] In 2014 he was awarded the Andrew Gemant Award, a prize given by the American Institute of Physics for “significant contributions to the cultural, artistic or humanistic dimension of physics.”[6] In 2015 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.[7]

Personal life

Carroll is married to Jennifer Ouellette, a science writer and the former director of the Science & Entertainment Exchange.[8]

Research

Carroll has worked on a number of topics in theoretical cosmology, field theory, and gravitation theory. His research papers include models of, and experimental constraints on, violations of Lorentz invariance; the appearance of closed timelike curves in general relativity; varieties of topological defects in field theory; and cosmological dynamics of extra spacetime dimensions. In recent years he has written extensively on models of dark energy and its interactions with ordinary matter and dark matter, as well as modifications of general relativity in cosmology.

Carroll has also worked on the arrow of time problem. He and Jennifer Chen posit that the Big Bang is not a unique occurrence as a result of all of the matter and energy in the universe originating in a singularity at the beginning of time, but rather one of many cosmic inflation events resulting from quantum fluctuations of vacuum energy in a cold De Sitter space. Carroll and Chen claim that the universe is infinitely old, but never reaches thermodynamic equilibrium as entropy increases continuously without limit due to the decreasing matter and energy density attributable to recurrent cosmic inflation. They assert that the universe is “statistically time-symmetric” insofar as it contains equal progressions of time “both forward and backward”.[9][10][11] Some of his work has been on violations of fundamental symmetries, the physics of dark energy, modifications of general relativity, and the arrow of time. Recently he started focusing on issues at the foundations of cosmology, statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics, and complexity.

Views on religion

Carroll is an atheist. He turned down an invitation to speak at a conference sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation, on the grounds that he did not want to appear to be supporting a reconciliation between science and religion.[12] In 2004, he and Shadi Bartsch taught an undergraduate course title at the University of Chicago on the history of atheism. In 2012 he organized the workshop “Moving Naturalism Forward”, which brought together scientists and philosophers to discuss issues associated with a naturalistic worldview. His article, “Does the Universe Need God?” in The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity develops the claim that science no longer needs to posit a divine being to explain the existence of the universe. The article generated significant attention when it was discussed on The Huffington Post.[13] His 2016 book The big picture on the origins of life meaning and the universe itself develops the philosophy of poetic naturalism.

Carroll occasionally takes part in formal debates or discussions with theists. In 2012, Carroll teamed up with Michael Shermer to debate with Ian Hutchinson of MIT and author Dinesh D’Souza at Caltech in an event titled “The Great Debate: Has Science Refuted Religion?”[14] In 2014, Carroll debated with Christian apologist William Lane Craig as part of the Greer-Heard Forum in New Orleans. The topic for the debate was “The Existence of God in Light of Contemporary Cosmology”. Carroll received an “Emperor Has No Clothes” award at the Freedom From Religion Foundation Annual National Convention in October 2014.[15]

 ____

In  the second video below in the 81st clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

________

Below is the letter I wrote to Dr. Carroll with the quote from him and my response to it.

Image result for charles darwin
Darwin age 30
Image result for charles darwin
Darwin in midlife

_________

December 25, 2016

Dr. Sean M. Carroll, Pasadena ,

Dear Dr. Carroll,

I just finished reading the online addition of the book Darwin, Francis ed. 1892. Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters [abridged edition]. London: John Murray. There are several points that Charles Darwin makes in this book that were very wise, honest, logical, shocking and some that were not so wise. The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said of Darwin’s writings, “Darwin in his autobiography and in his letters showed that all through his life he never really came to a quietness concerning the possibility that chance really explained the situation of the biological world. You will find there is much material on this [from Darwin] extended over many many years that constantly he was wrestling with this problem.”

Recently I noticed this comment by you Dr Carroll from the popular You Tube video ANOTHER 50 RENOWNED ACADEMICS SPEAKING ABOUT GOD (Part 2): 

Aristotle would tell you things like if you have an object and you want it to be in motion. You have to keep pushing it because if you stop, it stops. And Aristotle was right. It stopped if I stopped pushing it.

Physicists like to make fun of Aristotle these days but he was right in the context he was talking about.  So if you believe about fundamental stuff in the world, motion only exists when something is pushing it, then you can imagine that these kinds of arguments make sense that the fact that we see things moving in the universe despite the fact the motion requires a mover makes you believe that there must be some prime mover out there behind the whole thing. Then comes along Galileo and Newton and they saw actually if you think about it carefully the natural status for objects is uniform motion. Its just because of friction dissipation and other annoying features of the world that we see things stop

At a fundamental level things want to keep moving and unless you act upon them they will remain in uniform motion.This notion conservation of momentum completely underminded the sort of metaphysical reasoning behind the arguments for the first cause and prime-mover and things like that , and you can actually see the impact on the theological literature,  once they invented Newtonian mechanics, arguments for the existence of God changed their focus from prime-movers, first cause arguments from contingency to the argument from design. They started inventing machines and they said, “It looks like a machine and maybe there is a machinist and so forth.” Then Darwin to a good extent undercut that argument and we are still living in the aftermath of that.

These words of yours made me think about Darwin’s own words which I want to discuss with you in this letter:

They started inventing machines and they said, “It looks like a machine and maybe there is a machinist and so forth.” Then Darwin to a good extent undercut that argument and we are still living in the aftermath of that.

I thought of you recently when I read the book Charles Darwin: his life told in an autobiographical chapter, and in a selected series of his published letters because of what Darwin said on this same issue of intelligent design. I am going to quote some of Charles Darwin’s own words and then include the comments of Francis Schaeffer on those words. Earlier I had sent you  CD with two messages from Adrian Rogers and Bill Elliff concerning Darwinism. If you don’t have the CD let me know and I will be glad to send you another one.

Darwin, C. R. to Doedes, N. D.2 Apr 1873

“It is impossible to answer your question briefly; and I am not sure that I could do so, even if I wrote at some length. But I may say that the impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God; but whether this is an argument of real value, I have never been able to decide…Nor can I overlook the difficulty from the immense amount of suffering through the world. I am aware that if we admit a First Cause, the mind still craves to know whence it came, and how it arose.”

Francis Schaeffer noted:

What he is saying is if you say there is a first cause, then the mind says, “Where did this come from?” I think this is a bit old fashioned, with some of the modern thinkers, this would not have carry as much weight today as it did when Darwin expressed it. Jean Paul Sartre said it as well as anyone could possibly say it. The philosophic problem is that something is there and not nothing being there. No one has the luxury of beginning with nothing. Nobody I have ever read has put forth that everything came from nothing. I have never met such a person in all my reading,or all my discussion. If you are going to begin with nothing being there, it has to be nothing nothing, and it can’t be something nothing. When someone says they believe nothing is there, in reality they have already built in something there. The only question is do you begin with an impersonal something or a personal something. All human thought is shut up to these two possibilities. Either you begin with an impersonal and then have Darwin’s own dilemma which impersonal plus chance, now he didn’t bring in the amount of time that modern man would though. Modern man has brought in huge amounts of time into the equation as though that would make a difference because I have said many times that time can’t make a qualitative difference but only a quantitative difference. The dilemma is it is either God or chance. Now you find this intriguing thing in Darwin’s own situation, he can’t understand how chance could have produced these two great factors of the universe and its form and the mannishness of man.

From Charles Darwin, Autobiography (1876), in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin, vol. 1 (London: John Murray, 1888), pp. 307 to 313.

“Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting, I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species, and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt…”

Francis Schaeffer commented:

On the basis of his reason he has to say there must be an intelligent mind, someone analogous to man. You couldn’t describe the God of the Bible better. That is man is made in God’s image  and therefore, you know a great deal about God when you know something about man. What he is really saying here is that everything in my experience tells me it must be so, and my mind demands it is so. Not just these feelings he talked about earlier but his MIND demands it is so, but now how does he counter this? How does he escape this? Here is how he does it!!!

Charles Darwin went on to observe:  —can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

Francis Schaeffer asserted:

So he says my mind can only come to one conclusion, and that is there is a mind behind it all. However, the doubt comes because his mind has come from the lowest form of earthworm, so how can I trust my mind. But this is a joker isn’t it?  Then how can you trust his mind to support such a theory as this? He proved too much. The fact that Darwin found it necessary to take such an escape shows the tremendous weight of Romans 1, that the only escape he can make is to say how can I trust my mind when I come from the lowest animal the earthworm? Obviously think of the grandeur of his concept, I don’t think it is true, but the grandeur of his concept, so what you find is that Darwin is presenting something here that is wrong I feel, but it is not nothing. It is a tremendously grand concept that he has put forward. So he is accepting the dictates of his mind to put forth a grand concept which he later can’t accept in this basic area with his reason, but he rejects what he could accept with his reason on this escape. It really doesn’t make sense. This is a tremendous demonstration of the weakness of his own position.

Darwin also noted, “I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems. The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us, and I for one must be content to remain an Agnostic.”

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

What a stupid reply and I didn’t say wicked. It just seems to me that here is 2 plus 2 equals 36 at this particular place.

Darwin, C. R. to Graham, William 3 July 1881

Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance.* But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

Francis Schaeffer observed:

Can you feel this man? He is in real agony. You can feel the whole of modern man in this tension with Darwin. My mind can’t accept that ultimate of chance, that the universe is a result of chance. He has said 3 or 4 times now that he can’t accept that it all happened by chance and then he will write someone else and say something different. How does he say this (about the mind of a monkey) and then put forth this grand theory? Wrong theory I feel but great just the same. Grand in the same way as when I look at many of the paintings today and I differ with their message but you must say the mark of the mannishness of man are one those paintings titanic-ally even though the message is wrong and this is the same with Darwin.  But how can he say you can’t think, you come from a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s mind, and you can’t trust a monkey’s conviction, so how can you trust me? Trust me here, but not there is what Darwin is saying. In other words it is very selective. 

Now we are down to the last year of Darwin’s life.

* The Duke of Argyll (Good Words, April 1885, p. 244) has recorded a few words on this subject, spoken by my father in the last year of his life. “. . . in the course of that conversation I said to Mr. Darwin, with reference to some of his own remarkable works on the Fertilisation of Orchids, and upon The Earthworms,and various other observations he made of the wonderful contrivances for certain purposes in nature—I said it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect and the expression of mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin’s answer. He looked at me very hard and said, ‘Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,’ and he shook his head vaguely, adding, ‘it seems to go away.'”

Francis Schaeffer summarized :

And this is the great Darwin, and it makes you cry inside. This is the great Darwin and he ends as a man in total tension.

Francis Schaeffer noted that in Darwin’s 1876 Autobiography that Darwin he is going to set forth two arguments for God in this and again you will find when he comes to the end of this that he is in tremendous tension. Darwin wrote, 

At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons.Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that whilst standing in the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, ‘it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and devotion which fill and elevate the mind.’ I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body; but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind.

Francis Schaeffer remarked:

Now Darwin says when I look back and when I look at nature I came to the conclusion that man can not be just a fly! But now Darwin has moved from being a younger man to an older man and he has allowed his presuppositions to enter in to block his logic. These things at the end of his life he had no intellectual answer for. To block them out in favor of his theory. Remember the letter of his that said he had lost all aesthetic senses when he had got older and he had become a clod himself. Now interesting he says just the same thing, but not in relation to the arts, namely music, pictures, etc, but to nature itself. Darwin said, “But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions  and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become colour-blind…” So now you see that Darwin’s presuppositions have not only robbed him of the beauty of man’s creation in art, but now the universe. He can’t look at it now and see the beauty. The reason he can’t see the beauty is for a very, very , very simple reason: THE BEAUTY DRIVES HIM TO DISTRACTION. THIS IS WHERE MODERN MAN IS AND IT IS HELL. The art is hell because it reminds him of man and how great man is, and where does it fit in his system? It doesn’t. When he looks at nature and it’s beauty he is driven to the same distraction and so consequently you find what has built up inside him is a real death, not  only the beauty of the artistic but the beauty of nature. He has no answer in his logic and he is left in tension.  He dies and has become less than human because these two great things (such as any kind of art and the beauty of  nature) that would make him human  stand against his theory.

Image result for charles darwin
Darwin close to the end of his life
Image result for francis schaeffer
Francis Schaeffer pictured above

________________________

Dr. Carroll can you still look at God’s beautiful creation and say that it just appears to be the work of an intellect? If so then you like Darwin  can say, “I am like a man who has become colour-blind.”

_______________________________________

IF WE ARE LEFT WITH JUST THE MACHINE THEN WHAT IS THE FINAL CONCLUSION IF THERE WAS NO PERSONAL GOD THAT CREATED US? The CD I sent you earlier starts off with 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.”

Image result for kerry livgren dave hope 700 club
Kerry Livgren and Dave Hope on 700 Club

Image result for kerry livgren

Kerry Livgren of Kansas is on left in picture and Dave Hope is on the right

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

Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player Dave Hope of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and Dave Hope had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on You Tube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible ChurchDAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

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

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject and you can google them: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

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.

_____________________________

Adrian Rogers on Darwinism

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Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmas Time

__

Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmas Time

 

Wonderful Christmastime

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Wonderful Christmastime”
62331wct.jpg
Single by Paul McCartney
B-side “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae”
Released 16 November 1979
Format 7-inch 45 rpm
Recorded 30 August 1979, Lower Gate Farm, Sussex
Genre
Length 3:45
Label
Writer(s) Paul McCartney
Producer(s) Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney singles chronology
Eat at Home
(1971)
Wonderful Christmastime
(1979)
Coming Up
(1980)

Wonderful Christmastime” is a 1979 Christmas song by Paul McCartney. It enjoys significant Christmas time popularity around the world.[1] The song was later added as a bonus track on the 1993 CD reissue of WingsBack to the Egg album.[2]

The track was subsequently added as a bonus track to the 2011 reissue of the McCartney II album, with both full and edited versions included. The track was also mixed in 5.1 surround sound for inclusion on the 2007 DVD release The McCartney Years.

Contents

Background and recording

McCartney recorded the song entirely on his own during the sessions for his solo project McCartney II. Although the members of Wings are not on the recording, they do appear in the promotional music video,[3] which was filmed at the Fountain Inn in Ashurst, West Sussex.[4]

“Wonderful Christmastime” can be heard in the 1998 animated film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie during Santa’s takeoff on Christmas Eve. Wings performed the song during their 1979 tour of the UK.[5]

Reception and legacy

Following its release as a stand-alone single in the United Kingdom, “Wonderful Christmastime” peaked at No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart the week ending 5 January 1980.[6] In the United States the single peaked at No. 83 on the Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart and No. 94 on the Record World Singles Chart, but did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100.[7]

In December 1984, the single appeared at No. 10 for two weeks on Billboard‘s Christmas singles chart.[8] It also reached No. 29 on Billboard‘s weekly Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart in early January 1996.[8]

The song continues to receive substantial airplay every year, although some music critics consider it to be one of McCartney’s poorest compositions.[9][10][11] Beatles author Robert Rodriguez has written of “Wonderful Christmastime”: “Love it or hate it, few songs within the McCartney oeuvre have provoked such strong reactions.”[10]

Including royalties from cover versions, it is estimated that McCartney makes $400,000 a year from this song, which puts its cumulative earnings at near $15 million.[12]

Personnel

Cover versions

References

 

 

  1. Steve Oliver (2016-09-03). “Steve Oliver: Part Website, Part Blog”. Thesteveoliverblog.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-15.

External links

 

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 143 Marvin Minsky Part H (Featured artist is James Bishop)

_______

Marvin Minsky

Image result for marvin minsky

I was sorry recently  to learn of the passing of one of the great scholars of our generation. I have written about Marvin Minsky several times before in this series and today I again look at a letter I wrote to him in the last couple of years. It is my practice in my letters to quote from the works of Adrian Rogers or Francis Schaeffer or both in my letters to these scholars.

 

8th letter and final letter to Marvin Minsky was on Polanyi on 9-21-15:

September 21, 2015

Dr. Marvin Minsky c/o MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA

Dear Dr. Minsky,

I enjoyed listening to your Ted Talk the other day and shortly after that I got a chance to listen to John Polanyi’s Ted Talk. Today I am writing you about John’s father.

Recently I had the opportunity to come across a very interesting article by Michael Polanyi, LIFE TRANSCENDING PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY, in the magazine CHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING NEWS, August 21, 1967, and I also got hold of a 1968 talk by Francis Schaeffer based on this article. This article by Michael Polanyi concerns Francis Crick and James Watson and their discovery of DNA in 1953. Polanyi noted:

Mechanisms, whether man-made or morphological, are boundary conditions harnessing the laws of in
animate nature, being themselves irreducible to those laws. The pattern of organic bases in DNA which functions as a genetic code is a boundary condition irreducible to physics and chemistry. Further controlling principles of life may be represented as a hierarchy of boundary conditions extending, in the case of man, to consciousness and responsibility.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Image result for francis schaeffer whatever happened to human race?

I would like to send you a CD copy of this talk because I thought you may find it very interesting. It includes references to not only James D. Watson, and Francis Crick but also  Maurice Wilkins, Erwin Schrodinger, J.S. Haldane (his son was the famous J.B.S. Haldane), Peter Medawar, and Barry Commoner. I WONDER IF YOU EVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO RUN ACROSS THESE MEN OR ANY OF THEIR FORMER STUDENTS?

Below is a portion of the transcript from the CD and Michael Polanyi’s words are in italics while Francis Schaeffer’s words are not:

During the past 15 years, I have worked on these questions, achieving gradually stages of the argument presented in this paper. These are:

  1. Machines are not formed by physical and chemical equilibration. 
  2. The functional terms needed for characterizing a machine cannot for defined in terms of physics and chemistry. 

Polanyi is talking about specific machines but I would include the great cause and effect machine of the external universe that functions on a cause and effect basis. So if this is true of the watch,  then you have to ask the same question about the total machine that Sartre points out that is there, and that is the cause and effect universe. Polanyi doesn’t touch on this and he doesn’t have an answer, and I know people who know him. Yet nevertheless he sees the situation exactly as it is. And I would point out what  Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) and J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904–1967) said and that it needed a Christian consensus to produce modern science because it was the Christian consensus that gave the concept that the world being created by a reasonable God and that it could be found out and discovered by reason. So the modern science when it began with Copernicus and Galileo and all these men conceived that the cause and effect system of the universe would be there on the basis that it was created by a reasonable God, and that is Einstein’s big dilemma and that is why he became a mystic at the end of life…What Polanyi says here can be extended to the watch, and the bridge and the automobile but also to the big cause and effect universe. You have to give some kind of answer to this too and I would say this to Michael Polanyi if I ever have a chance to talk to him. You need another explanation too Polanyi.

3. No physical chemical topography will tell us that we have a machine before us and what its functions are. 

In other words, if you only know the chemicals and the physics you don’t know if you have a machine. It may just be junk. So nobody in the world could tell if it was a machine from merely the “physical chemical-topography.” You have to look at the machineness of the machine to say it is a machine. You could take an automobile and smash it into a small piece of metal with a giant press and it would have the same properties of the automobile, but the automobile would have disappeared. The automobile-ness of the automobile is something else than the physical chemical-topography.

4. Such a topography can completely identify one particular specimen of a machine, but can tell us nothing about a class of machines. 

5. And if we are asked how the same solid system can be subject to control by two independent principles, the answer is: The boundary conditions of the system are free of control by physics and can be controlled therefore by nonphysical, purely technical, principles. 

In other words you have to explain the engineering by something other than merely physical principles and of course it is. You can’t explain the watchness of the watch merely by this. You can explain it on the basis of engineering principles in which the human mind conceives of a use for the machine and produces the machine. But notice where Polanyi is and that is in our argument of a need of personality in the universe though Polanyi doesn’t draw this final conclusion, though I thought that is the only explanation.

If you look at the watch a man has made it for the purpose of telling time. When you see the automobile a man has made it for the purpose of locomotion and the explanation of the difference is not in the chemical and physical properties but in the personality of a man to make these two different machines for two different purposes out of the same material. So what you are left here is the need of personality in the universe.

____

Thank you for your time. I know how busy you are and I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher,

P.O. Box 23416, Little Rock, AR 72221, United States, cell ph 501-920-5733, everettehatcher@gmail.com

__ Featured artist today is James Bishop

Guided Tour of James Bishop with the artist, September 5, 2014

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March 13, 2008–May 4, 2008
Galleries 138–139

James Bishop is an American artist who has lived in France since 1958. His exquisitely rendered, relatively rare drawings and paintings—which American poet and art critic John Ashbery once called “part air, part architecture”—combine European and American traditions of postwar art. His approach is marked by a poetic, reductionist tendency in which he creates form through color alone. Inflected by subtle shading relationships and a geometry that abandons the hard-edge abstraction used by many of his contemporaries, his work is grounded in the physical process of painting and in the interplay of color.

In the mid-1960s, Bishop painted his first large-format square paintings. He divided the pictures, which measure nearly six foot square, into progressively smaller planes—halves, quarters, and eighths. By pouring thinned oil paint and tilting the canvases, Bishop controlled the flow of paint into these drawn guidelines, achieving subtle structure within veils of finely saturated pigment. Some of these paintings evidence architectural structure suggestive of a house or building. In 1986, the artist stopped working with large-scale canvas in favor of small paper supports.

This Focus exhibition brings together a small group of paintings and roughly 100 works on paper from the artist’s personal collection as well as from private collections in Germany, Switzerland, and the United States. It is the first substantial selection of Bishop’s work to be seen outside of Europe.

Organizer

This exhibition was organized at the Art Institute of Chicago in collaboration with Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, and Josef Albers Museum Quadrat Bottrop, Germany,

Sponsor

This exhibition is made possible by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Ongoing support for focus exhibitions is provided by the Alfred L. McDougal and Nancy Lauter McDougal Fund for Contemporary Art.

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Image result for james bishop artist

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Image result for james bishop artist

James Bishop (artist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
James Bishop
Born October 7, 1927 (age 88)[1]
Neosho, Missouri, United States[1]
Nationality United States
Education Syracuse University (1950)
Washington University in St. Louis (1954)
Black Mountain College (1953)[1]
Alma mater Columbia University (1956)[1]
Style Painting
Movement Abstract expressionism

James Bishop (born 1927) is an American painter.

Life[edit]

Bishop was born in Neosho, Missouri.[2] He attended college and worked in New York, New York before moving to Paris, France in 1958. Currently, he works in Blevy, France.[1]

Notable exhibitions[edit]

Notable collections[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h “James Bishop”. Annemarie Verna Gallery. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  2. Jump up^ “Bishop, James”. Union List of Artist Names Online. Getty. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  3. Jump up^ “James Bishop”. Explore Modern Art. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  4. Jump up^ “Untitled, 1980”. Collections. Art Institute Chicago. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  5. Jump up^ “Untitled”. The Collection. Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 26 July 2015.

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Below is a Ted Talk that he gave that touched on population control and then it is followed by a lengthy article by William Lane Craig. Craig’s article includes these words:

As I remarked earlier, Francis Schaeffer (1912–1984) is the thinker most responsible for crafting a Christian apologetic based on the so-called modern predicament….Schaeffer’s efforts against abortion may be seen as a logical extension of this apologetic. Once God is denied, human life becomes worthless, and we see the fruit of such a philosophy in the abortion and infanticide now taking place in Western society. Schaeffer warns that unless Western man returns to the Christian world and life view, nothing will stop the trend from degenerating into population control and human breeding. Only a theistic worldview can save the human race from itself.

Below you will notice that both population and human breeding are mentioned in the video below.

Marvin Minsky: Health, population and the human mind

Uploaded on Sep 29, 2008

http://www.ted.com Listen closely — Marvin Minsky’s arch, eclectic, charmingly offhand talk on health, overpopulation and the human mind is packed with subtlety: wit, wisdom and just an ounce of wily, is-he-joking? advice.

From the website SCIENTIFICHUMANISM.BLOGSPOT.COM is the following:

http://wwwscientifichumanism.blogspot.com/2016/01/marvin-minsky-has-passed-away.html

Monday, January 25, 2016

Marvin Minsky has passed away

Here’s a link to a video and short article –> Marvin Minsky Reflects on a Life in AI

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How Should We Then Live – Episode 9 – The Age of Personal Peace & Affluence

Feature Article. This is chapter 2 of the latest edition of William Lane Craig’s book Reasonable Faith. Used by permission of Crossway, copyright © 2008.

One of the apologetic questions that contemporary Christian theology must treat in its doctrine of man is what has been called “the human predicament,” that is to say, the significance of human life in a post-theistic universe. Logically, this question ought, it seems to me, to be raised prior to and as a prelude to the question of God’s existence.

 

Historical Background

The apologetic for Christianity based on the human predicament is an extremely recent phenomenon, associated primarily with Francis Schaeffer. Often it is referred to as “cultural apologetics” because of its analysis of post-Christian culture. This approach constitutes an entirely different sort of apologetics than the traditional models, since it is not concerned with epistemological issues of justification and warrant. Indeed, in a sense it does not even attempt to show in any positive sense that Christianity is true; it simply explores the disastrous consequences for human existence, society, and culture if Christianity should be false. In this respect, this approach is somewhat akin to existentialism: the precursors of this approach were also precursors of existentialism, and much of its analysis of the human predicament is drawn from the insights of twentieth-century atheistic existentialism.

Blaise Pascal

One of the earliest examples of a Christian apology appealing to the human predicament is the Pensées of the French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). Having come to a personal faith in Christ in 1654, Pascal had planned to write a defense of the Christian faith entitled L’Apologie de la religion chrétienne, but he died of a debilitating disease at the age of only thirty-nine years, leaving behind hundreds of notes for the work, which were then published posthumously as the Pensées.1

Pascal’s approach is thoroughly Christocentric. The Christian religion, he claims, teaches two truths: that there is a God whom men are capable of knowing, and that there is an element of corruption in men that renders them unworthy of God. Knowledge of God without knowledge of man’s wretchedness begets pride, and knowledge of man’s wretchedness without knowledge of God begets despair, but knowledge of Jesus Christ furnishes man knowledge of both simultaneously. Pascal invites us to look at the world from the Christian point of view and see if these truths are not confirmed. His Apology was evidently to comprise two divisions: in the first part he would display the misery of man without God (that man’s nature is corrupt) and in the second part the happiness of man with God (that there is a Redeemer).2 With regard to the latter, Pascal appeals to the evidences of miracle and especially fulfilled prophecy. In confirming the truth of man’s wretchedness Pascal seeks to unfold the human predicament.

For Pascal the human condition is an enigma. For man is at the same time miserable and yet great. On the one hand, his misery is due principally to his uncertainty and insignificance. Writing in the tradition of the French skeptic Montaigne, Pascal repeatedly emphasizes the uncertainty of conclusions reached via reason and the senses. Apart from intuitive first principles, nothing seems capable of being known with certainty. In particular, reason and nature do not seem to furnish decisive evidence as to whether God exists or not. As man looks around him, all he sees is darkness and obscurity. Moreover, insofar as his scientific knowledge is correct, man learns that he is an infinitesimal speck lost in the immensity of time and space. His brief life is bounded on either side by eternity, his place in the universe is lost in the immeasurable infinity of space, and he finds himself suspended, as it were, between the infinite microcosm within and the infinite macrocosm without. Uncertain and untethered, man flounders in his efforts to lead a meaningful and happy life. His condition is characterized by inconstancy, boredom, and anxiety. His relations with his fellow men are warped by self-love; society is founded on mutual deceit. Man’s justice is fickle and relative, and no fixed standard of value may be found.

Despite their predicament, however, most people, incredibly, refuse to seek an answer or even to think about their dilemma. Instead, they lose themselves in escapisms. Listen to Pascal’s description of the reasoning of such a person:

I know not who sent me into the world, nor what the world is, nor what I myself am. I am terribly ignorant of everything. I know not what my body is, nor my senses, nor my soul and that part of me which thinks what I say, which reflects upon itself as well as upon all external things, and has no more knowledge of itself than of them.
I see the terrifying immensity of the universe which surrounds me, and find myself limited to one corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am set down here rather than elsewhere, nor why the brief period appointed for my life is assigned to me at this moment rather than another in all the eternity that has gone before and will come after me. On all sides I behold nothing but infinity, in which I am a mere atom, a mere passing shadow that returns no more. All I know is that I must soon die, but what I understand least of all is this very death which I cannot escape.
As I know not whence I come, so I know not whither I go. I only know that on leaving this world I fall for ever into nothingness or into the hands of a wrathful God, without knowing to which of these two states I shall be everlastingly consigned. Such is my condition, full of weakness and uncertainty. From all this I conclude that I ought to spend every day of my life without seeking to know my fate. I might perhaps be able to find a solution to my doubts; but I cannot be bothered to do so, I will not take one step towards its discovery.3

Pascal can only regard such indifference as insane. Man’s condition ought to impel him to seek to discover whether there is a God and a solution to his predicament. But people occupy their time and their thoughts with trivialities and distractions, so as to avoid the despair, boredom, and anxiety that would inevitably result if those diversions were removed.

Such is the misery of man. But mention must also be made of the greatness of man. For although man is miserable, he is at least capable of knowing that he is miserable. The greatness of man consists in thought. Man is a mere reed, yes, but he is a thinking reed. The universe might crush him like a gnat; but even so, man is nobler than the universe because he knows that it crushes him, and the universe has no such knowledge. Man’s whole dignity consists, therefore, in thought. “By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like a mere speck; by thought I comprehend the universe.” Man’s greatness, then, lies not in his having the solution to his predicament, but in the fact that he alone in all the universe is aware of his wretched condition.

What a chimaera then is man, what a novelty, what a monster, what chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, yet an imbecile earthworm; depositary of truth, yet a sewer of uncertainty and error; pride and refuse of the universe. Who shall resolve this tangle?4

Pascal hopes that by explaining man’s greatness as well as his misery, he might shake people out of their lethargy to think about their condition and to seek a solution.

Pascal’s analysis of the human predicament leads up to his famous Wager argument, by means of which he hopes to tip the scales in favor of theism.5 The founder of probability theory, Pascal argues that when the odds that God exists are even, then the prudent man will gamble that God exists. This is a wager that all men must make—the game is in progress and a bet must be laid. There is no opting out: you have already joined the game. Which then will you choose—that God exists or that he does not? Pascal argues that since the odds are even, reason is not violated in making either choice; so reason cannot determine which bet to make. Therefore, the choice should be made pragmatically in terms of maximizing one’s happiness. If one wagers that God exists and he does, one has gained eternal life and infinite happiness. If he does not exist, one has lost nothing. On the other hand, if one wagers that God does not exist and he does, then one has suffered infinite loss. If he does not in fact exist, then one has gained nothing. Hence, the only prudent choice is to believe that God exists.

Now Pascal does believe that there is a way of getting a look behind the scenes, to speak, to determine rationally how one should bet, namely, the proofs of Scripture of miracle and prophecy, which he discusses in the second half of his work. But for now, he wants to emphasize that even in the absence of such evidence, one still ought to believe in God. For given the human predicament of being cast into existence and facing either eternal annihilation or eternal wrath, the only reasonable course of action is to believe in God: “for if you win, you win all; if you lose, you lose nothing.”6

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Another apologetic based on the human predicament may be found in the magnificent novels of the great nineteenth-century Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881). (May I add that I think the obsession of contemporary evangelicals with the writings of authors like C. S. Lewis to the neglect of writers like Dostoyevsky is a great shame? Dostoyevsky is a far, far grander writer.) The problem that tortured Dostoyevsky was the problem of evil: how can a good and loving God exist when the world is filled with so much suffering and evil? Dostoyevsky presented this problem in his works so persuasively, so poignantly, that certain passages of his, notably “The Grand Inquisitor” section from his Brothers Karamazov, are often reprinted in anthologies as classic statements of the problem of evil. As a result, some people are under the impression that Dostoyevsky was himself an atheist and that the viewpoint of the Grand Inquisitor is his own.

Actually, he sought to carry through a two-pronged defense of theism in the face of the problem of evil. Positively, he argued that innocent suffering may perfect character and bring one into a closer relation with God. Negatively, he tried to show that if the existence of God is denied, then one is landed in complete moral relativism, so that no act, regardless how dreadful or heinous, can be condemned by the atheist. To live consistently with such a view of life is unthinkable and impossible. Hence, atheism is destructive of life and ends logically in suicide.

Dostoyevsky’s magnificent novels Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov powerfully illustrate these themes. In the former a young atheist, convinced of moral relativism, brutally murders an old woman. Though he knows that on his presuppositions he should not feel guilty, nevertheless he is consumed with guilt until he confesses his crime and gives his life to God. The latter novel is the story of four brothers, one of whom murders their father because his atheist brother Ivan had told him that moral absolutes do not exist. Unable to live with the consequences of his own philosophical system, Ivan suffers a mental collapse. The remaining two brothers, one of whom is unjustly accused of the parricide and the other a young Russian orthodox priest, find in what they suffer the perfection of their character and a nearness to God.

Dostoyevsky recognizes that his response to atheism constitutes no positive proof of Christianity. Indeed, he rejects that there could be such. Men demand of Christ that he furnish them “bread and circuses,” but he refuses to do so. The decision to follow Christ must be made in loneliness and anxiety. Each person must face for himself the anguish of a world without God and in the solitude of his own heart give himself to God in faith.

Søren Kierkegaard

The Danish existentialist of the late nineteenth century, Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), also presents a sort of negative apologetic for the Christian faith. He thinks of life as being lived on three different planes or stages: the aesthetic stage, the ethical stage, and the religious stage. Man in the aesthetic stage lives life only on the sensual level, a life that is self- and pleasure-centered. This need not be a gross hedonism. Man on this level could be very cultivated and even circumspect; but nevertheless his life revolves around himself and those material things—whether sex, art, music, or whatever—that bring him pleasure. The paradox of life on this level is that it leads ultimately to unhappiness. The self-centered, aesthetic man finds no ultimate meaning in life and no true satisfaction. Thus, the aesthetic life leads finally to boredom, a sort of sickness with life.

But this is not the end, for only at this point is a person ready to live on the second plane of existence, the ethical plane. The transition to the ethical stage of life is a sort of leap motivated by dissatisfaction to a higher level, where one affirms transpersonal moral values and guides life by those objective standards. No longer is life lived only for self and for pleasure; rather one is constrained to seek the ethical good and to change one’s conduct to bring it into conformity with that good. Thus, man in the ethical stage is the moral man. But life on this level, too, ends in unhappiness. For the more one tries sincerely to bring one’s life into conformity with the objective standards of the good, the more painfully aware one is that one cannot do it. Thus, the ethical life, when earnestly pursued, leads ultimately to guilt and despair.

But there is one more stage along life’s way: the religious stage. Here one finds forgiveness of sins and a personal relationship with God. Only here, in intimate communion with one’s Creator, does man find authentic existence and true fulfillment. Again, Kierkegaard represents the transition to this stage from the ethical as a leap. The decision to believe is a criterionless choice, a leap of faith into the dark. Although man can be given no rational grounds to leap, unless he does so, he will remain in despair and inauthentic existence.

Francis Schaeffer

As I remarked earlier, Francis Schaeffer (1912–1984) is the thinker most responsible for crafting a Christian apologetic based on the so-called modern predicament. According to Schaeffer, there can be traced in recent Western culture a “line of despair,” which penetrates philosophy, literature, and the arts in succession. He believes the root of the problem lies in Hegelian philosophy, specifically in its denial of absolute truths. Hegel developed the famous triad of thesis-antithesis-synthesis, in which contradictions are seen not as absolute opposites, but as partial truths, which are synthesized in the whole. Ultimately all is One, which is absolute and non-contradictory. In Schaeffer’s view, Hegel’s system undermined the notion of particular absolute truths (such as “That act is morally wrong” or “This painting is aesthetically ugly”) by synthesizing them into the whole. This denial of absolutes has gradually made its way through Western culture. In each case, it results in despair, because without absolutes man’s endeavors degenerate into absurdity. Schaeffer believes that the Theater of the Absurd, abstract modern art, and modern music such as compositions by John Cage are all indications of what happens below the line of despair. Only by reaffirming belief in the absolute God of Christianity can man and his culture avoid inevitable degeneracy, meaninglessness, and despair.

Schaeffer’s efforts against abortion may be seen as a logical extension of this apologetic. Once God is denied, human life becomes worthless, and we see the fruit of such a philosophy in the abortion and infanticide now taking place in Western society. Schaeffer warns that unless Western man returns to the Christian world and life view, nothing will stop the trend from degenerating into population control and human breeding. Only a theistic worldview can save the human race from itself.

Assessment

The Loss of God and Immortality

Man, writes Loren Eiseley, is the Cosmic Orphan. He is the only creature in the universe who asks, “Why?” Other animals have instincts to guide them, but man has learned to ask questions.

“Who am I?” he asks. “Why am I here? Where am I going?” Since the Enlightenment, when modern man threw off the shackles of religion, he has tried to answer these questions without reference to God. But the answers that have come back were not exhilarating, but dark and terrible. “You are the accidental by-product of nature, a result of matter plus time plus chance. There is no reason for your existence. All you face is death.”

Modern man thought that when he had gotten rid of God, he had freed himself from all that repressed and stifled him. Instead, he discovered that in killing God, he had only succeeded in orphaning himself.

For if there is no God, then man’s life becomes absurd.

If God does not exist, then both man and the universe are inevitably doomed to death. Man, like all biological organisms, must die. With no hope of immortality, man’s life leads only to the grave. His life is but a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers, and dies forever. Compared to the infinite stretch of time, the span of man’s life is but an infinitesimal moment; and yet this is all the life he will ever know. Therefore, everyone must come face to face with what theologian Paul Tillich has called “the threat of non-being.” For though I know now that I exist, that I am alive, I also know that someday I will no longer exist, that I will no longer be, that I will die. This thought is staggering and threaten-ing: to think that the person I call “myself” will cease to exist, that I will be no more!

I remember vividly the first time my father told me that someday I would die. Somehow, as a child, the thought had just never occurred to me. When he told me, I was filled with fear and unbearable sadness. And though he tried repeatedly to reassure me that this was a long way off, that did not seem to matter. Whether sooner or later, the undeniable fact was that I would die and be no more, and the thought overwhelmed me. Eventually, like all of us, I grew to simply accept the fact. We all learn to live with the inevitable. But the child’s insight remains true. As the French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre observed, several hours or several years make no difference once you have lost eternity.

Whether it comes sooner or later, the prospect of death and the threat of non-being is a terrible horror. I met a student once who did not feel this threat. He said he had been raised on the farm and was used to seeing the animals being born and dying. Death was for him simply natural—a part of life, so to speak. I was puzzled by how different our two perspectives on death were and found it difficult to understand why he did not feel the threat of non-being. Years later, I think I found my answer in reading Sartre. Sartre observed that death is not threatening so long as we view it as the death of the other, from a third-person standpoint, so to speak. It is only when we internalize it and look at it from the first-person perspective—”my death: I am going to die”—that the threat of non-being be-comes real. As Sartre points out, many people never assume this first-person perspective in the midst of life; one can even look at one’s own death from the third-person standpoint, as if it were the death of another or even of an animal, as did my friend. But the true existential significance of my death can only be appreciated from the first-person perspective, as I realize that I am going to die and forever cease to exist.

And the universe, too, faces a death of its own. Scientists tell us that the universe is expanding, and the galaxies are growing farther and farther apart. As it does so, it grows colder and colder, and its energy is used up. Eventually all the stars will burn out, and all matter will collapse into dead stars and black holes. There will be no light at all; there will be no heat; there will be no life; only the corpses of dead stars and galaxies, ever expanding into the endless darkness and the cold recesses of space—a universe in ruins. This is not science fiction. The entire universe marches irreversibly toward its grave. So not only is the life of each individual person doomed; the entire human race is doomed. The universe is plunging toward inevitable extinction—death is written throughout its structure. There is no escape. There is no hope.

The Absurdity of Life without God and Immortality

If there is no God, then man and the universe are doomed. Like prisoners condemned to death, we await our unavoidable execution. There is no God, and there is no immortality. And what is the consequence of this? It means that life itself is absurd. It means that the life we have is without ultimate significance, value, or purpose. Let’s look at each of these.

NO ULTIMATE MEANING WITHOUT GOD AND IMMORTALITY

If each individual person passes out of existence when he dies, then what ultimate meaning can be given to his life? Does it really matter whether he ever existed at all? It might be said that his life was important because it influenced others or affected the course of history. But this shows only a relative significance to his life, not an ultimate significance. His life may be important relative to certain other events, but what is the ultimate significance of any of those events? If all the events are meaningless, then what can be the ultimate significance of influencing any of them? Ultimately it makes no difference.

Look at it from another perspective: Scientists say that the universe originated in an explosion called the “Big Bang” about thirteen billion years ago. Suppose the Big Bang had never occurred. Suppose the universe had never existed. What ultimate difference would it make? The universe is doomed to die anyway. In the end it makes no difference whether the universe ever existed or not. Therefore, it is without ultimate significance.

The same is true of the human race. Mankind is a doomed race in a dying universe. Because the human race will eventually cease to exist, it makes no ultimate difference whether it ever did exist. Mankind is thus no more significant than a swarm of mosquitoes or a barnyard of pigs, for their end is all the same. The same blind cosmic process that coughed them up in the first place will eventually swallow them all again.

And the same is true of each individual person. The contributions of the scientist to the advance of human knowledge, the researches of the doctor to alleviate pain and suffering, the efforts of the diplomat to secure peace in the world, the sacrifices of good people everywhere to better the lot of the human race—all these come to nothing. In the end they don’t make one bit of difference, not one bit. Each person’s life is therefore without ultimate significance. And because our lives are ultimately meaningless, the activities we fill our lives with are also meaningless. The long hours spent in study at the university, our jobs, our interests, our friendships—all these are, in the final analysis, utterly meaningless.

In his poem “The End of the World” Archibald MacLeish portrays life as an idiotic circus, until one day the show is over:

Quite unexpectedly, as Vasserot
The armless ambidextrian was lighting
A match between his great and second toe,
And Ralph the lion was engaged in biting
The neck of Madame Sossman while the drum
Pointed, and Teeny was about to cough
In waltz-time swinging Jocko by the thumb
Quite unexpectedly the top blew off:
And there, there overhead, there, there hung over
Those thousands of white faces, those dazed eyes,
There in the starless dark, the poise, the hover,
There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,
There in the sudden blackness the black pall
Of nothing, nothing, nothing—nothing at all.7

This is the horror of modern man: because he ends in nothing, he is nothing.

But it’s important to see that it is not just immortality that man needs if life is to be meaningful. Mere duration of existence does not make that existence meaningful. If man and the universe could exist forever, but if there were no God, their existence would still have no ultimate significance. I once read a science-fiction story in which an astronaut was marooned on a barren chunk of rock lost in outer space. He had with him two vials: one containing poison and the other a potion that would make him live forever. Realizing his predicament, he gulped down the poison. But then to his horror, he discovered he had swallowed the wrong vial—he had drunk the potion for immortality. And that meant that he was cursed to exist forever—a meaningless, unending life. Now if God does not exist, our lives are just like that. They could go on and on and still be utterly without meaning. We could still ask of life, “So what?” So it’s not just immortality man needs if life is to be ultimately significant; he needs God and immortality. And if God does not exist, then he has neither.

Twentieth-century man came to understand this. 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. In a tragic portrayal of man, Beckett wrote another play in which the curtain opens revealing a stage littered with junk. For thirty long seconds, the audience sits and stares in silence at that junk. Then the curtain closes. That’s all.

French existentialists Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus understood this, too. Sartre portrayed life in his play No Exit as hell—the final line of the play are the words of resignation, “Well, let’s get on with it.” Hence, Sartre writes elsewhere of the “nausea” of existence. Man, he says, is adrift in a boat without a rudder on an endless sea. Camus, too, saw life as absurd. At the end of his brief novel The Stranger, Camus’s hero discovers in a flash of insight that the universe has no meaning and there is no God to give it one. The French biochemist Jacques Monod seemed to echo those sentiments when he wrote in his work Chance and Necessity, “Man finally knows he is alone in the indifferent immensity of the universe.”

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

NO ULTIMATE VALUE WITHOUT GOD AND IMMORTALITY

If life ends at the grave, then it makes no difference whether one has lived as a Stalin or as a saint. Since one’s destiny is ultimately unrelated to one’s behavior, you may as well just live as you please. As Dostoyevsky put it: “If there is no immortality, then all things are permitted.” On this basis, a writer like Ayn Rand is absolutely correct to praise the virtues of selfishness. Live totally for self; no one holds you accountable! Indeed, it would be foolish to do anything else, for life is too short to jeopardize it by acting out of anything but pure self-interest. Sacrifice for another person would be stupid. Kai Nielsen, an atheist philosopher who attempts to defend the viability of ethics without God, in the end admits,

We have not been able to show that reason requires the moral point of view, or that all really rational persons, unhoodwinked by myth or ideology, need not be individual egoists or classical amoralists. Reason doesn’t decide here. The picture I have painted for you is not a pleasant one. Reflection on it depresses me…. Pure practical reason, even with a good knowledge of the facts, will not take you to morality.8

But the problem becomes even worse. For, regardless of immortality, if there is no God, then any basis for objective standards of right and wrong seems to have evaporated. All we are confronted with is, in Jean-Paul Sartre’s words, the bare, valueless fact of existence. Moral values are either just expressions of personal taste or the by-products of socio-biological evolution and conditioning. In the words of one humanist philosopher, “The moral principles that govern our behavior are rooted in habit and custom, feeling and fashion.”9 In a world without God, who is to say which actions are right and which are wrong? Who is to judge that the values of Adolf Hitler are inferior to those of a saint? The concept of morality loses all meaning in a universe without God. As one contemporary atheistic ethicist points out, “To say that something is wrong because … it is forbidden by God, is … perfectly understandable to anyone who believes in a law-giving God. But to say that something is wrong … even though no God exists to forbid it, is not understandable….” “The concept of moral obligation [is] unintelligible apart from the idea of God. The words remain but their meaning is gone.”10 In a world without a divine lawgiver, there can be no objective right and wrong, only our culturally and personally relative, subjective judgments. This means that it is impossible to condemn war, oppression, or crime as evil. Nor can one praise brotherhood, equality, and love as good. For in a universe without God, good and evil do not exist—there is only the bare valueless fact of existence, and there is no one to say that you are right and I am wrong.

NO ULTIMATE PURPOSE WITHOUT GOD AND IMMORTALITY

If death stands with open arms at the end of life’s trail, then what is the goal of life? To what end has life been lived? Is it all for nothing? Is there no reason for life? And what of the universe? Is it utterly pointless? If its destiny is a cold grave in the recesses of outer space, the answer must be yes—it is pointless. There is no goal, no purpose, for the universe. The litter of a dead universe will just go on expanding and expanding—forever.

And what of man? Is there no purpose at all for the human race? Or will it simply peter out someday, lost in the oblivion of an indifferent universe? The English writer H. G. Wells foresaw such a prospect. In his novel The Time Machine Wells’s time traveler journeys far into the future to discover the destiny of man. All he finds is a dead earth, save for a few lichens and moss, orbiting a gigantic red sun. The only sounds are the rush of the wind and the gentle ripple of the sea. “Beyond these lifeless sounds,” writes Wells, “the world was silent. Silent? It would be hard to convey the stillness of it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives—all that was over.”11 And so Wells’s time traveler returned. But to what?—to merely an earlier point on the purposeless rush toward oblivion. When as a non-Christian I first read Wells’s book, I thought, “No, no! It can’t end that way!” But if there is no God, it will end that way, like it or not. This is reality in a universe without God: there is no hope; there is no purpose. It reminds me of T.S. Eliot’s haunting lines:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.12

What is true of mankind as a whole is true of each of us individually: we are here to no purpose. If there is no God, then our life is not fundamentally different from that of a dog. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true. As the ancient writer of Ecclesiastes put it: “The fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All come from the dust and all return to the dust” (Eccles. 3:19–20 AT). In this book, which reads more like a piece of modern existentialist literature than a book of the Bible, the writer shows the futility of pleasure, wealth, education, political fame, and honor in a life doomed to end in death. His verdict? “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (1:2 ESV). If life ends at the grave, then we have no ultimate purpose for living.

But more than that: even if it did not end in death, without God life would still be without purpose. For man and the universe would then be simple accidents of chance, thrust into existence for no reason. Without God the universe is the result of a cosmic accident, a chance explosion. There is no reason for which it exists. As for man, he is a freak of nature—a blind product of matter plus time plus chance. Man is just a lump of slime that evolved rationality. There is no more purpose in life for the human race than for a species of insect; for both are the result of the blind interaction of chance and necessity. As one philosopher has put it: “Human life is mounted upon a subhuman pedestal and must shift for itself alone in the heart of a silent and mindless universe.”13

What is true of the universe and of the human race is also true of us as individuals. Insofar as we are individual human beings, we are the result of certain combinations of heredity and environment. We are victims of a kind of genetic and environmental roulette. Biologists like Richard Dawkins regard man as an electro-chemical machine controlled by its mindless genes. If God does not exist, then you are just a miscarriage of nature, thrust into a purposeless universe to live a purposeless life.

So if God does not exist, that means that man and the universe exist to no purpose—since the end of everything is death—and that they came to be for no purpose, since they are only blind products of chance. In short, life is utterly without reason.

Do you understand the gravity of the alternatives before us? For if God exists, then there is hope for man. But if God does not exist, then all we are left with is despair. Do you understand why the question of God’s existence is so vital to man? As Francis Schaeffer aptly put it, “If God is dead, then man is dead, too.”

Unfortunately, the mass of mankind do not realize this fact. They continue on as though nothing has changed. I’m reminded of Nietzsche’s story of the madman who in the early morning hours burst into the marketplace, lantern in hand, crying, “I seek God! I seek God!” Since many of those standing about did not believe in God, he provoked much laughter. “Did God get lost?” they taunted him. “Or is he hiding? Or maybe he has gone on a voyage or emigrated!” Thus they yelled and laughed. Then, writes Nietzsche, the madman turned in their midst and pierced them with his eyes.

“Whither is God?” he cried, “I shall tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night and more night coming on all the while? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? … God is dead…. And we have killed him. How shall we, the murderers of all murderers, comfort ourselves?”14

The crowd stared at the madman in silence and astonishment. At last he dashed his lantern to the ground. “I have come too early,” he said. “This tremendous event is still on its way—it has not yet reached the ears of man.” People did not yet truly comprehend the consequences of what they had done in killing God. But Nietzsche predicted that someday people would realize the implications of their atheism; and this realization would usher in an age of nihilism—the destruction of all meaning and value in life. The end of Christianity, wrote Nietzsche, means the advent of nihilism. This most gruesome of guests is standing already at the door. “Our whole European culture is moving for some time now,” wrote Nietzsche, “with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade, as toward a catastrophe: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.”15

Most people still do not reflect on the consequences of atheism and so, like the crowd in the marketplace, go unknowingly on their way. But when we realize, as did Nietzsche, what atheism implies, then his question presses hard upon us: how shall we, the murderers of all murderers, comfort ourselves?

The Practical Impossibility of Atheism

About the only solution the atheist can offer is that we face the absurdity of life and live bravely. Bertrand Russell, for example, wrote that we must build our lives upon “the firm foundation of unyielding despair.”16 Only by recognizing that the world really is a terrible place can we successfully come to terms with life. Camus said that we should honestly recognize life’s absurdity and then live in love for one another.

The fundamental problem with this solution, however, is that it is impossible to live consistently and happily within such a worldview. If one lives consistently, he will not be happy; if one lives happily, it is only because he is not consistent. Francis Schaeffer has explained this point well. Modern man, says Schaeffer, resides in a two-story universe. In the lower story is the finite world without God; here life is absurd, as we have seen. In the upper story are meaning, value, and purpose. Now modern man lives in the lower story because he believes there is no God. But he cannot live happily in such an absurd world; therefore, he continually makes leaps of faith into the upper story to affirm meaning, value, and purpose, even though he has no right to, since he does not believe in God. Modern man is totally inconsistent when he makes this leap, because these values cannot exist without God, and man in his lower story does not have God.

Let’s look again, then, at each of the three areas in which we saw that life is absurd without God, in order to show how modern man cannot live consistently and happily with his atheism.

MEANING OF LIFE

First, the area of meaning. We saw that without God, life has no meaning. Yet philosophers continue to live as though life does have meaning. For example, Sartre argued that one may create meaning for his life by freely choosing to follow a certain course of action. Sartre himself chose Marxism.

Now this is utterly inconsistent. It is inconsistent to say that life is objectively absurd and then to say that one may create meaning for his life. If life is really absurd, then man is trapped in the lower story. To try to create meaning in life represents a leap to the upper story. But Sartre has no basis for this leap. Without God, there can be no objective meaning in life. Sartre’s program is actually an exercise in self-delusion. For the universe does not really acquire meaning just because I happen to give it one. This is easy to see: for suppose I give the universe one meaning, and you give it another. Who is right? The answer, of course, is neither one. For the universe without God remains objectively meaningless, no matter how we regard it. Sartre is really saying, “Let’s pretend the universe has meaning.” And this is just fooling ourselves.

The point is this: if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends that life has meaning. But this is, of course, entirely inconsistent—for without God, man and the universe are without any real significance.

VALUE OF LIFE

Turn now to the problem of value. Here is where the most blatant inconsistencies occur. First of all, atheistic humanists are totally inconsistent in affirming the traditional values of love and brotherhood. Camus has been rightly criticized for inconsistently holding both to the absurdity of life and to the ethics of human love and brotherhood. The two are logically incompatible. Bertrand Russell, too, was inconsistent. For though he was an atheist, he was an outspoken social critic, denouncing war and restrictions on sexual freedom. Russell admitted that he could not live as though ethical values were simply a matter of personal taste, and that he therefore found his own views “incredible.” “I do not know the solution,” he confessed.17 The point is that if there is no God, then objective right and wrong cannot exist. As Dostoyevsky said, “All things are permitted.”

But Dostoyevsky also showed in his novels that man cannot live this way. He cannot live as though it is perfectly all right for soldiers to slaughter innocent children. He cannot live as though it is all right for dictatorial regimes to follow a systematic program of physical torture of political prisoners. He cannot live as though it is all right for dictators like Pol Pot or Saddam Hussein to exterminate millions of their own countrymen. Everything in him cries out to say these acts are wrong—really wrong. But if there is no God, he cannot. So he makes a leap of faith and affirms values anyway. And when he does so, he reveals the inadequacy of a world without God.

The horror of a world devoid of value was brought home to me with new intensity several years ago as I viewed a BBC television documentary called “The Gathering.” It concerned the reunion of survivors of the Holocaust in Jerusalem, where they rediscovered lost friendships and shared their experiences. Now I had heard stories of the Holocaust before and had even visited Dachau and Buchenwald, and I thought I was beyond shocking by further tales of horror. But I found that I was not. Perhaps I had been made more sensitive by the recent birth of our beautiful baby girl, so that I applied the situations to her as they were related on the television. In any case, one woman prisoner, a nurse, told of how she was made the gynecologist at Auschwitz. She observed that pregnant women were grouped together by the soldiers under the direction of Dr. Mengele and housed in the same barracks. Some time passed, and she noted that she no longer saw any of these women. She made inquiries. “Where are the pregnant women who were housed in that barracks?” “Haven’t you heard?” came the reply. “Dr. Mengele used them for vivisection.”

Another woman told of how Mengele had bound up her breasts so that she could not suckle her infant. The doctor wanted to learn how long an infant could survive without nourishment. Desperately this poor woman tried to keep her baby alive by giving it pieces of bread soaked in coffee, but to no avail. Each day the baby lost weight, a fact that was eagerly monitored by Dr. Mengele. A nurse then came secretly to this woman and told her, “I have arranged a way for you to get out of here, but you cannot take your baby with you. I have brought a morphine injection that you can give to your child to end its life.” When the woman protested, the nurse was insistent: “Look, your baby is going to die anyway. At least save yourself.” And so this mother felt compelled to take the life of her own baby. Dr. Mengele was furious when he learned of it because he had lost his experimental specimen, and he searched among the dead to find the baby’s discarded corpse so that he could have one last weighing.

My heart was torn by these stories. One rabbi who survived the camp summed it up well when he said that at Auschwitz it was as though there existed a world in which all the Ten Commandments were reversed: “Thou shalt kill, thou shalt lie, thou shalt steal …” Mankind had never seen such a hell.

And yet, if God does not exist, then in a sense, our world is Auschwitz: there is no right and wrong; all things are permitted. But no atheist, no agnostic, can live consistently with such a view of life. Nietzsche himself, who proclaimed the necessity of living “beyond good and evil,” broke with his mentor Richard Wagner precisely over the issue of the composer’s anti-Semitism and strident German nationalism. Similarly Sartre, writing in the aftermath of the Second World War, condemned anti-Semitism, declaring that a doctrine that leads to extermination is not merely an opinion or matter of personal taste, of equal value with its opposite.18 In his important essay “Existentialism Is a Humanism,” Sartre struggles vainly to elude the contradiction between his denial of divinely pre-established values and his urgent desire to affirm the value of human persons. Like Russell, he could not live with the implications of his own denial of ethical absolutes.

Neither can Richard Dawkins. For although he solemnly pronounces, “There is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference…. We are machines for propagating DNA,”19 he is a patent moralist. He declares himself mortified that Enron executive Jeff Skilling regards Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene as his favorite book because of its perceived Social Darwinism.20 He characterizes “Darwinian mistakes” like pity for someone unable to pay us back or sexual attraction to an infertile member of the opposite sex as “blessed, precious mistakes” and calls compassion and generosity “noble emotions.”21 He denounces the doctrine of original sin as “morally obnoxious.”22 He vigorously condemns such actions as the harassment and abuse of homosexuals, religious indoctrination of children, the Incan practice of human sacrifice, and prizing cultural diversity in the case of the Amish over the interests of their children.23 He even goes so far as to offer his own amended Ten Commandments for guiding moral behavior, all the while marvelously oblivious to the contradiction with his ethical subjectivism.24

A second problem for the atheist is that if God does not exist and there is no immortality, then all the evil acts of men go unpunished and all the sacrifices of good men go unrewarded. But who can live with such a view? Richard Wurmbrand, who has been tortured for his faith in communist prisons, says,

The cruelty of atheism is hard to believe when man has no faith in the reward of good or the punishment of evil. There is no reason to be human. There is no restraint from the depths of evil which is in man. The communist torturers often said, “There is no God, no Hereafter, no punishment for evil. We can do what we wish.” I have heard one torturer even say, “I thank God, in whom I don’t believe, that I have lived to this hour when I can express all the evil in my heart.” He expressed it in unbelievable brutality and torture inflicted on prisoners.25

The English theologian Cardinal Newman once said that if he believed that all the evils and injustices of life throughout history were not to be made right by God in the afterlife, “Why I think I should go mad.” Rightly so.

And the same applies to acts of self-sacrifice. A number of years ago, a terrible mid-winter air disaster occurred when a plane leaving the Washington, D.C., airport smashed into a bridge spanning the Potomac River, plunging its passengers into the icy waters. As the rescue helicopters came, attention was focused on one man who again and again pushed the dangling rope ladder to other passengers rather than be pulled to safety himself. Six times he passed the ladder by. When they came again, he was gone. He had freely given his life that others might live. The whole nation turned its eyes to this man in respect and admiration for the selfless and good act he had performed. And yet, if the atheist is right, that man was not noble—he did the stupidest thing possible. He should have gone for the ladder first, pushed others away if necessary in order to survive. But to die for others he did not even know, to give up all the brief existence he would ever have—what for? For the atheist there can be no reason. And yet the atheist, like the rest of us, instinctively reacts with praise for this man’s selfless action. Indeed, one will probably never find an atheist who lives consistently with his system. For a universe without moral account-ability and devoid of value is unimaginably terrible.

PURPOSE OF LIFE

Finally, let’s look at the problem of purpose in life. Unable to live in an impersonal universe in which everything is the product of blind chance, atheists sometimes begin to ascribe personality and motives to the physical processes themselves. It is a bizarre way of speaking and represents a leap from the lower to the upper story. For example, the brilliant Russian physicists Zeldovich and Novikov, in contemplating the properties of the universe, ask, why did “Nature” choose to create this sort of universe instead of another? “Nature” has obviously become a sort of God-substitute, filling the role and function of God. Francis Crick halfway through his book The Origin of the Genetic Code begins to spell nature with a capital N and elsewhere speaks of natural selection as being “clever” and as “thinking” of what it will do. Sir Fred Hoyle, the English astronomer, attributes to the universe itself the qualities of God. For Carl Sagan the “Cosmos,” which he always spelled with a capital letter, obviously fills the role of a God-substitute. Though these men profess not to believe in God, they smuggle in a God-substitute through the back door because they cannot bear to live in a universe in which everything is the chance result of impersonal forces.

Moreover, the only way that most people who deny purpose in life live happily is either by making up some purpose—which amounts to self-delusion as we saw with Sartre—or by not carrying their view to its logical conclusions. Take the problem of death, for example. According to Ernst Bloch, the only way modern man lives in the face of death is by subconsciously borrowing the belief in immortality that his forefathers held to, even though he himself has no basis for this belief, since he does not believe in God. Bloch states that the belief that life ends in nothing is hardly, in his words, “sufficient to keep the head high and to work as if there were no end.” By borrowing the remnants of a belief in immortality, writes Bloch, “modern man does not feel the chasm that unceasingly surrounds him and that will certainly engulf him at last. Through these remnants, he saves his sense of self-identity. Through them the impression arises that man is not perishing, but only that one day the world has the whim no longer to appear to him.” Bloch concludes, “This quite shallow courage feasts on a borrowed credit card. It lives from earlier hopes and the support that they once had provided.”26 Modern man no longer has any right to that support, since he rejects God. But in order to live purposefully, he makes a leap of faith to affirm a reason for living.

Finding ourselves cast into a mindless universe with no apparent purpose or hope of deliverance from thermodynamic extinction, the temptation to invest one’s own petty plans and projects with objective significance and thereby to find some purpose to one’s life is almost irresistible. Thus, the outspoken atheist and Nobel Prize–winning physicist Steven Weinberg at the close of his much acclaimed popularization of contemporary cosmology The First Three Minutes, writes:

However all these problems may be solved, and whichever cosmological model proves correct, there is not much comfort in any of this. It is almost irresistible for humans to believe that we have some special relation to the universe, that human life is not just a more-or-less farcical outcome of a chain of accidents reaching back to the first three minutes, but that somehow we were built in from the beginning…. It is very hard to realize that this is all just a tiny part of an overwhelmingly hostile universe. It is even harder to realize that this present universe has evolved from an unspeakably unfamiliar early condition, and faces a future extinction of endless cold or intolerable heat. The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.
But if there is no solace in the fruits of our research, there is at least some consolation in the research itself. Men and women are not content to comfort themselves with tales of gods and giants, or to confine their thoughts to the daily affairs of life; they also build telescopes and satellites and accelerators and sit at their desks for endless hours working out the meaning of the data they gather. The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.27

There is something strange about Weinberg’s moving description of the human predicament: tragedy is an evaluative term. Weinberg sees the pursuit of scientific research as raising human life above the level of farce to the level of tragedy. But on naturalism, what is the basis for such an evaluative differentiation? Weinberg evidently sees a life devoted to scientific pursuits as truly meaningful, and therefore it’s too bad that so noble a pursuit should be extinguished. But why on naturalism should the pursuit of science be any different from slouching about doing nothing? Since there is no objective purpose to human life, none of our pursuits has any objective significance, however important and dear they may seem to us subjectively.

Daniel Dennett recently betrayed a similar inconsistency. Speaking at a conference in New Orleans, Dennett opened his talk by showing a short film that encapsulated what he wanted to convey. It showed a group of young African men playing with a soccer ball, kicking it into the air and adroitly catching it on their feet in quite amazing ways, while never letting the ball touch the ground. Meanwhile a silent narration played across the screen, describing the unfathomable vastness of the cosmos in space and time and contrasting the tininess and brevity of human existence. We are here for a mere twinkling of the eye and then gone forever. The punch line of the film finally came: “We’d better not blow it.” That was the end. “What a strange film!” I thought to myself. What does it mean on an atheistic view to “blow it”? If there is no objective purpose for the human race, then how can one miss that purpose? Like tragedy, “blowing it” is an evaluative notion which finds no foothold in an atheistic universe. The boys’ skill and evident joy in playing football is no more meaningful a pursuit on atheism than some other kid’s staying home and drinking himself into a stupor. But even atheists recognize that some of life’s pursuits are more objectively meaningful and worthwhile than others.

While participating in a conference on Intelligent Design two years ago, I had the opportunity to have dinner with the agnostic philosopher of science Michael Ruse one evening at an Atlanta steakhouse. During the course of the meal, Michael asked me, “Bill, are you satisfied with where you are in your career as a philosopher?’’ I was rather surprised by the question and said, “Well, yes, basically, I guess I am—how about you?” He then related to me that when he was just starting out as a philosopher of science, he was faced with the choice of vigorously pursuing his career or just taking it rather easy. He said that he then thought of the anguished words of the character played by Marlin Brando at the close of the film On the Waterfront: “I coulda been a contender!” Michael told me that he decided he didn’t want to reach the end of his life and look back in regret and say, “I coulda been a contender!” I was struck by those words. As a Christian I am commanded by the Lord “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3 ESV). But what point is there for an atheist or agnostic to be a “contender”—a contender for what? Since there is no objective purpose in life, the only answer can be, to contend for one’s own made-up purposes—hence, the irresistible tendency to treat career advancement and fame as though they really were objectively important ends, when in fact they are nothing.

The Human Predicament

The dilemma of modern man is thus truly terrible. The atheistic worldview is insufficient to maintain a happy and consistent life. Man cannot live consistently and happily as though life were ultimately without meaning, value, or purpose. If we try to live consistently within the framework of the atheistic worldview, we shall find ourselves profoundly unhappy. If instead we manage to live happily, it is only by giving the lie to our worldview.

Confronted with this dilemma, modern man flounders pathetically for some means of escape. In a remarkable address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 1991, Dr. L. D. Rue, confronted with the predicament of modern man, boldly advocated that we deceive ourselves by means of some “Noble Lie” into thinking that we and the universe still have value.28 Claiming that “the lesson of the past two centuries is that intellectual and moral relativism is profoundly the case,” Dr. Rue muses that the consequence of such a realization is that one’s quest for personal wholeness (or self-fulfillment) and the quest for social coherence become independent from one another. This is because on the view of relativism the search for self-fulfillment becomes radically privatized: each person chooses his own set of values and meaning. “There is no final, objective reading on the world or the self. There is no universal vocabulary for integrating cosmology and morality.” If we are to avoid “the madhouse option,” where self-fulfillment is pursued regardless of social coherence, and “the totalitarian option,” where social coherence is imposed at the expense of personal wholeness, then we have no choice but to embrace some Noble Lie that will inspire us to live beyond selfish interests and so achieve social coherence. A Noble Lie “is one that deceives us, tricks us, compels us beyond self-interest, beyond ego, beyond family, nation, [and] race.” It is a lie, because it tells us that the universe is infused with value (which is a great fiction), because it makes a claim to universal truth (when there is none), and because it tells me not to live for self-interest (which is evidently false). “But without such lies, we cannot live.”

This is the dreadful verdict pronounced over modern man. In order to survive, he must live in self-deception. But even the Noble Lie option is in the end unworkable. For if what I have said thus far is correct, belief in a Noble Lie would not only be necessary to achieve social coherence and personal wholeness for the masses, but it would also be necessary to achieve one’s own personal wholeness. For one cannot live happily and consistently on an atheistic worldview. In order to be happy, one must believe in objective meaning, value, and purpose. But how can one believe in those Noble Lies while at the same time believing in atheism and relativism? The more convinced you are of the necessity of a Noble Lie, the less you are able to believe in it. Like a placebo, a Noble Lie works only on those who believe it is the truth. Once we have seen through the fiction, then the Lie has lost its power over us. Thus, ironically, the Noble Lie cannot solve the human predicament for anyone who has come to see that predicament.

The Noble Lie option therefore leads at best to a society in which an elitist group of illuminati deceive the masses for their own good by perpetuating the Noble Lie. But then why should those of us who are enlightened follow the masses in their deception? Why should we sacrifice self-interest for a fiction? If the great lesson of the past two centuries is moral and intellectual relativism, then why (if we could) pretend that we do not know this truth and live a lie instead? If one answers, “for the sake of social coherence,” one may legitimately ask why I should sacrifice my self-interest for the sake of social coherence. The only answer the relativist can give is that social coherence is in my self-interest—but the problem with this answer is that self-interest and the interest of the herd do not always coincide. Besides, if (out of self-interest) I do care about social coherence, the totalitarian option is always open to me: forget the Noble Lie and maintain social coherence (as well as my self-fulfillment) at the expense of the personal wholeness of the masses. Generations of Soviet leaders who extolled proletarian virtues while they rode in limousines and dined on caviar in their country dachas found this alternative quite workable. Rue would undoubtedly regard such an option as repugnant. But therein lies the rub. Rue’s dilemma is that he obviously values deeply both social coherence and personal wholeness for their own sakes; in other words, they are objective values, which according to his philosophy do not exist. He has already leapt to the upper story. The Noble Lie option thus affirms what it denies and so refutes itself.

The Success of Biblical Christianity

But if atheism fails in this regard, what about biblical Christianity? According to the Christian worldview, God does exist, and man’s life does not end at the grave. In the resurrection body man may enjoy eternal life and fellowship with God. Biblical Christianity therefore provides the two conditions necessary for a meaningful, valuable, and purposeful life for man: God and immortality. Because of this, we can live consistently and happily. Thus, biblical Christianity succeeds precisely where atheism breaks down.

Now I want to make it clear that I have not yet shown biblical Christianity to be true. But what I have done is clearly spell out the alternatives. If God does not exist, then life is futile. If the God of the Bible does exist, then life is meaningful. Only the second of these two alternatives enables us to live happily and consistently. Therefore, it seems to me that even if the evidence for these two options were absolutely equal, a rational person ought to choose biblical Christianity. It seems to me positively irrational to prefer death, futility, and destruction to life, meaningfulness, and happiness. As Pascal said, we have nothing to lose and infinity to gain.

Practical Application

The foregoing discussion makes clear the role I conceive cultural apologetics to play: it is not one’s whole apologetic but rather an introduction to positive argumentation. It serves to lay out in a dramatic way the alternatives facing the unbeliever in order to create a felt need in him. When he realizes the predicament he is in, he will see why the gospel is so important to him; and many a non-Christian will be impelled by these considerations alone to give his life to Christ.

In sharing this material with an unbeliever, we need to push him to the logical conclusions of his position. If I am right, no atheist or agnostic really lives consistently with his worldview. In some way he affirms meaning, value, or purpose without an adequate basis. It is our job to discover those areas and lovingly show him where those beliefs are groundless. We need not attack his values themselves—for they are probably largely correct—but we may agree with him concerning them, and then point out only that he lacks any foundation for those values, whereas the Christian has a foundation. Thus, we need not make him defensive by a frontal attack on his personal values; rather we offer him a foundation for the values he already possesses.

I have found the appeal to moral values to be an especially powerful apologetic to university students. Although students may give lip service to relativism, my experience is that 95 percent can be very quickly convinced that objective moral values do exist after all. All you have to do is produce a few illustrations and let them decide for themselves. Ask what they think of the Hindu practice of suttee (burning widows alive on the funeral pyres of their husbands) or the ancient Chinese custom of crippling women for life by tightly binding their feet from childhood to resemble lotus-blossoms. Point out that without God to provide a transcultural basis for moral values, we’re left with socio-cultural relativism, so that such practices are morally unobjectionable—which scarcely anyone can sincerely accept.

Of course, sometimes you find hard-liners, but usually their position is seen to be so extreme that others are repulsed by it. For example, at a meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature a few years ago, I attended a panel discussion on “Biblical Authority and Homosexuality,” in which all the panelists endorsed the legitimacy of homosexual activity. One panelist dismissed scriptural prohibitions of such activity on the grounds that they reflect the cultural milieu in which they were written. Since this is the case for all of Scripture’s commands (it wasn’t written in a vacuum), he concluded that “there are no timeless, normative, moral truths in Scripture.” In discussion from the floor, I pointed out that such a view leads to socio-cultural relativism, which makes it impossible to criticize any society’s moral values, including those of a society which persecutes homosexuals. He responded with a fog of theological double-talk and claimed that there’s no place outside Scripture where we can find timeless moral values either. “But that just is what we mean by moral relativism,” I said. “In fact, on your view there’s no content to the notion of the goodness of God. He might as well be dead. And Nietzsche recognized that the death of God leads to nihilism.” At this point another panelist came in with that knockdown refutation: “Well, if you’re going to get pejorative, we might as well not discuss it.”

I sat down, but the point wasn’t lost on the audience. The next man who stood up said, “Wait a minute. I’m rather confused. I’m a pastor and people are always coming to me, asking if something they have done is wrong and if they need forgiveness. For example, isn’t it always wrong to abuse a child?” I couldn’t believe the panelist’s response. She replied: “What counts as abuse differs from society to society, so we can’t really use the word ‘abuse’ without tying it to a historical context.” “Call it whatever you like,” the pastor insisted, “but child abuse is damaging to children. Isn’t it wrong to damage children?” And still she wouldn’t admit it! This sort of hardness of heart ultimately backfires on the moral relativist and exposes in the minds of most people the bankruptcy of such a worldview.

In sharing this material with an unbeliever, it’s important also to ask ourselves exactly what part of our case his objections are meant to refute. Thus, if he says that values are merely social conventions pragmatically adopted to ensure mutual survival, what does this purport to refute? Not that life without God really is without value, for this the objection admits. Therefore, it would be a mistake to react by arguing that values are not social conventions but are grounded in God. Rather the objection is really aimed at the claim that one cannot live as though values do not exist; it holds that one may live by social conventions alone.

Seen in this light, however, the objection is entirely implausible, for we have argued precisely that man cannot live as though morality were merely a matter of social convention. We believe certain acts to be genuinely wrong or right. Therefore, one ought to respond to the unbeliever on this score by saying, “You’re exactly right: if God does not exist, then values are merely social conventions. But the point I’m trying to make is that it’s impossible to live consistently and happily with such a worldview.” Push him on the Holocaust or some issue of popular concern like ethnic cleansing, apartheid, or child abuse. Bring it home to him personally, and if he’s honest and you are not threatening, I think he will admit that he does hold to some absolutes. Thus, it’s very important to analyze exactly what the unbeliever’s objection actually attacks before we answer.

I believe that this mode of apologetics can be very effective in helping to bring people to Christ because it does not concern neutral matters but cuts to the heart of the unbeliever’s own existential situation. I remember once, when I was delivering a series of talks at the University of Birmingham in England, that the audience the first night was very hostile and aggressive. The second night I spoke on the absurdity of life without God. This time the largely same audience was utterly subdued: the lions had turned to lambs, and now their questions were no longer attacking but sincere and searching. The remarkable transformation was due to the fact that the message had penetrated their intellectual facade and struck at the core of their existence. I would encourage you to employ this material in evangelistic dorm meetings and fraternity/sorority meetings, where you can compel people to really think about the desperate human predicament in which we all find ourselves.

 

Literature Cited or Recommended

Historical Background

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Translated by C. Garnett. Foreword by M. Komroff. New York: New American Library, Signet Classics, 1957.
———. Crime and Punishment. Translated by C. Garnett. Introduction by E. Simmons. New York: Modern Library, 1950.
Kierkegaard, Søren. Either/Or. Translated by D. F. Swenson and L. M. Swenson. Princeton: Princeton University, 1944. Volume 1 describes the first stage of life and Volume 2 the second.
———. Fear and Trembling. Edited and translated with an introduction and notes by H. V. Hong and E. N. Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983. This handles the religious stage.
Morris, Thomas V. Making Sense of It All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1992.
Pascal, Blaise. Pensées. Edited by Louis Lafuma. Translated by John Warrington. Everyman’s Library. London: Dent, 1960.
Schaeffer, Francis. Escape from Reason. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1968.
———. The God Who Is There. Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1968.
———. How Should We Then Live? Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1976.

Assessment

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. New York: Grove, 1956.
Bloch, Ernst. Das Prinzip Hoffnung. 2nd ed. 2 vols. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1959.
Camus, Albert. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays. Translated by J. O’Brien. New York: Vintage, 1959.
———. The Stranger. Translated by S. Gilbert. New York: Vintage, 1958.
Crick, Francis. “Why I Study Biology.” Washington University Magazine. Spring 1971, 20–24.
Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion. New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 2006.
———. River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life. New York: Basic Books, 1996.
———. “The Ultraviolet Garden,” Lecture 4 of 7 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (1992), http://physicshead.blogspot.com/2007/01/richard-dawkins-lecture-4-ultraviolet.html.
———. Unweaving the Rainbow. London: Allen Lane, 1998.
Eliot, T. S. “The Hollow Men.” In The Complete Poems and Plays. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1934.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th ed. Propaedia, s.v. “The Cosmic Orphan,” by Loren Eiseley.
Hocking, W. E. Types of Philosophy. New York: Scribner’s, 1959.
Hoyle, Fred. From Stonehenge to Modern Cosmology. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1972.
Kaufmann, Walter, ed. “Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre.” In Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre. 2nd ed., edited by W. Kaufmann, 11–51. New York: New American Library, Meridian, 1975.
Kurtz, Paul. Forbidden Fruit. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1988.
Monod, Jacques. Chance and Necessity. Translated by A. Wainhouse. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971.
Moreland, J. P. Scaling the Secular City, chap. 4. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1987.
Moreland, J. P. and Kai Nielsen. Does God Exist? Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990. Repr. ed.: Prometheus Books, 1993. Part 2 is an excellent debate over ethics without God.
Nielsen, Kai. “Why Should I Be Moral? Revisited.” American Philosophical Quarterly 21 (1984): 81–91.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. “The Gay Science.” In The Portable Nietzsche, edited and translated by W. Kaufmann, 93–102. New York: Viking, 1954.
———. “The Will to Power.”  Translated by Walter Kaufmann. In Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre. 2nd ed., edited with an introduction by W. Kaufmann, 130–32. New York: New American Library, Meridian, 1975.
Novikov, I. D., and Ya B. Zeldovich. “Physical Processes Near Cosmological Singularities.” Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 11(1973): 387–410.
Rue, Loyal D. “The Saving Grace of Noble Lies.” Unpublished address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, February 1991.
Russell, Bertrand. “A Free Man’s Worship.” In Why I Am Not a Christian, edited by P. Edwards, 104–16. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957.
———. Letter to the Observer, 6 October 1957.
Sagan, Carl. Cosmos. New York: Random House, 1980.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. Being and Nothingness. Translated with an introduction by H. E. Barnes. New York: Washington Square, 1966.
———. “Existentialism Is a Humanism.” Translated by P. Mairet. In Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre. 2nd ed., edited with an introduction by W. Kaufmann, 345–69. New York: New American Library, Meridian, 1975.
———. Nausea. Translated by L. Alexander. London: H. Hamilton, 1962.
———. No Exit. Translated by S. Gilbert. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963.
———. “Portrait of the Antisemite.” Translated by M. Guggenheim. In Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre. 2nd ed., edited with an introduction by W. Kaufmann, 329–45. New York: New American Library, Meridian, 1975.
———. “The Wall.”  Translated by L. Alexander. In Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre. 2nd ed., edited with an introduction by W. Kaufmann, 281–99. New York: New American Library, Meridian, 1975.
Taylor, Richard. Ethics, Faith, and Reason. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1985. An excellent illustration of the desperate lengths to which an ethicist is driven once a divine moral law giver is denied.
Wells, H. G. The Time Machine. New York: Berkeley, 1957.
Wolpert, Lewis. Six Impossible Things before Breakfast. London: Faber and Faber, 2006.
Wurmbrand, Richard. Tortured for Christ. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1967.

1. The definitive ordering and numbering of these notes is that of Louis Lafuma, and the Pensées are cited in reference to the number of each fragment.
2. Blaise Pascal, Pensées 29.
3. Ibid., 11.
4. Ibid., 217, 246.
5. Ibid., 343.
6. Ibid.
7. In Major American Poets, ed. Oscar Williams and Edwin Long (New York: New American Library, 1962), 436.
8. Kai Nielsen, “Why Should I Be Moral?” American Philosophical Quarterly 21 (1984): 90.
9. Paul Kurtz, Forbidden Fruit (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1988), 73.
10. Richard Taylor, Ethics, Faith, and Reason (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1985), 90, 84.
11. H. G. Wells, The Time Machine (New York: Berkeley, 1957), chap. 11.
12. T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men,” in Collected Poems 1909–1962 (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1934). Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
13. W. E. Hocking, Types of Philosophy (New York: Scribner’s, 1959), 27.
14. Friedrich Nietzsche, “The Gay Science,” in The Portable Nietzsche, ed. and trans. W. Kaufmann (New York: Viking, 1954), 95.
15. Friedrich Nietzsche, “The Will to Power,” trans. W. Kaufmann, in Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre , 2nd ed., ed. with an introduction by W. Kaufmann (New York: New American Library, Meridian, 1975), 130–31.
16. Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship,” in Why I Am Not a Christian, ed. P. Edwards (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957), 107.
17. Bertrand Russell, Letter to the Observer, October 6, 1957.
18. Jean-Paul Sartre, “Portrait of the Antisemite,” trans. M. Guiggenheim, in Existentialism, 330.
19. Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow (London: Allen Lane, 1998), cited in Lewis Wolpert, Six Impossible Things before Breakfast (London: Faber and Faber, 2006), 215. Unfortunately, Wolpert’s reference is mistaken. The quotation seems to be a pastiche from Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic, 1996), 133, and Richard Dawkins, “The Ultraviolet Garden,” Lecture 4 of 7 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (1992), http://physicshead.blogspot.com/2007/01/ richard-dawkins-lecture-4-ultraviolet.html. Thanks to my assistant Joe Gorra for tracking down this reference.
20. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 2006), 215.
21. Ibid., 221.
22. Ibid., 251.
23. Ibid., 23, 313–17, 326, 328, 330.
24. Ibid., 264.
25. Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1967), 34.
26. Ernst Bloch, Das Prinzip Hoffnung, 2nd ed., 2 vols. (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Ver-lag, 1959), 2:360–1.
27. Steven Weinberg, The First Three Minutes (London: Andre Deutsch, 1977), 154–55.
28. Loyal D. Rue, “The Saving Grace of Noble Lies,” address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, February 1991.
Excerpted from Reasonable Faith, copyright 1994, by William Lane Craig. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of GoodNews Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois. http://www.crosswaybooks
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Artist featured today is Vija Celmins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vija Celmins
Born Vija Celmiņa
October 25, 1938 (age 77)
Riga, Latvia
Nationality American
Education John Herron School of Art
UCLA
Known for Painting, Graphic art, Printmaking
Movement Abstract, Minimalism, Photorealism
Awards Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, American Academy of Arts and Letters,Carnegie Prize, MacArthur Fellowship
Patron(s) Edward R. Broida

Vija Celmins is an important[1][2] LatvianAmerican visual artist best known for photo-realistic paintings and drawings of natural environments and phenomena such as the ocean, spider webs, star fields, and rocks. Her earlier work included popsculptures and monochromatic representational paintings. Based in New York City, she has been the subject of over forty solo exhibitions since 1965, and major retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Biography[edit]

Vija Celmins (pronounced VEE-ya SELL-muns)[3] was born on October 25, 1938, in Riga, Latvia.[4] Upon the Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940, her parents and older sister Inta[5] fled to Germany, survived the refugee-despising Nazi regime, and then lived in a United Nations supported Latvian refugee camp in Esslingen am Neckar,Baden-Württemberg. After World War II, in 1948, the Church World Service relocated the family to the United States, briefly in New York City, then in Indianapolis, Indiana. Sponsored by a local Lutheran church,[5] her father found work as a carpenter, and her mother in a hospital laundry.[6] Vija was ten, and spoke no English, which caused her to focus on drawing, leading her teachers to encourage further creativity and painting.[7]

In 1955, she entered the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, where she has said that for the first time in her life, she did not feel like an outsider.[6] In 1961 she won a Fellowship to attend a Summer session at Yale University, where she met Chuck Close and Brice Marden, who would remain close friends.[6] It was during this time she began to study Italian monotone still life painter Giorgio Morandi, and painted abstract works. In 1962 she graduated from Herron with a BFA, and moved to Venice, Los Angeles, to pursue an MFA at the University of California at Los Angeles, graduating in 1965. At UCLA, she enjoyed freedom, being far from her parents, leading to further artistic exploration.[6] She lived in Venice until 1980, painting and sculpting, and working as an instructor at California State College, the University of California, Irvine andCalifornia Institute of the Arts, in Valencia.

In 1981, first drawn East by an invitation to teach at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, she moved permanently to New York City, wanting to be closer to the artists and art that she liked. She also returned to painting, which she had abandoned for twelve years, working during that time mainly in pencil. She later switched to using woodcuts, and then to eraser and charcoal, and added printmaking to her repertory. Since that time, she has worked out of a cottage in Sag Harbor, New York, and a studio loft on Crosby Street in Soho, Manhattan. During the 1980s, she also taught at Cooper Union and Yale School of Art.[8]

Work[edit]

Working in California in the 1960s, Vija Celmins’ early work, generally in photorealistic painting and pop-inspired sculpture, was representational. She recreated commonplace objects such as TVs, lamps, pencils, erasers,[9] and the painted monochrome reproductions of photographs. A common underlying theme in the paintings was violence or conflict, such as war planes, handguns and riot imagery. A retrospective of the 1964–1966 work was organized by the Menil Collection in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2010.[10] She has cited Malcolm Morley and Jasper Johns as influences in this period.[11][12]

In the late 1960s through the 1970s, she abandoned painting, and focused on working in graphite pencil,[13] creating highly detailed photorealistic drawings, based on photographs of natural elements such as the ocean’s or moon’s surface, the insides of shells, and closeups of rocks.[14] Critics frequently compare her laborious approach to contemporaries Chuck Close and Gerhard Richter,[15] and she has cited Giorgio Morandi, a master of the pale grey still life, as a major influence.[13] These works also share with Richter’s an apparent randomness and thus apparently dispassionate attitude. It is as if any photograph would do as a source for a painting, and the choice is apparently unimportant. This is of course not the case, but the work contains within it the impression that the image is chosen at random from an endless selection of possible alternative images of similar nature.[citation needed]

At the end of this period, from 1976 to 1983, Celmins also returned to sculpture in a way that incorporated her interest in photorealism. She produced a series of bronze cast, acrylic painted stones, exact replicas of individual stones she found near her cottage in Sag Harbor, with eleven examples held at the MoMA (see photos).[16] By 1981, she abandoned the pencil completely, and returned to painting, from this point forward working also with woodcuts and printing, and substantially in charcoal with a wide variety of erasers – often exploring negative space, selectively removing darkness from images,[11] and achieving subtle control of grey tones.[8]

From the early 1980s forward, Celmins focused on the constellations, moon and oceans using these various techniques, a balance between the abstract and photorealism.[17] By 2000, she had begun to produce haunting and distinctive spider webs, again negative images in oil or charcoal, to much critical acclaim,[18][19] with particular note of her meticulous surface development and luminosity.[20] She has said that all these works are based on photographs, and she imparts substantial effort on the built-up surfaces of the images.[13] In a 1996 review of her 30 year retrospective at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art, The Independent cited her as “American art’s best-kept secret.”[21]

Critics have often noted that Celmins’ works since the late 1960s – the moon scapes, ocean surfaces, star fields, shells, and spider webs, often share the characteristic of not having a reference point: no horizon, depth of field, edge or landmarks to put them into context. The location, constellation, or scientific name are all unknown – there is no information imparted.[22][23][24]

From 2008, Celmins returned to objects and representative work, with paintings of maps and books, as well as many uses of small graphite tablets – hand held black boards.[8] She also produced series prints of her now well-known waves, spiderwebs, shells and desert floors, many of which were exhibited at the McKee Gallery in June 2010.[17][25]

Exhibitions[edit]

Celmins’ works have been the subject of over forty solo exhibitions around the world since 1965, hundreds of group exhibitions. After her longtime dealer, McKee Gallery in New York, announced its closing in 2015, Celmins is currently represented by Matthew Marks Gallery.[3]

Collections[edit]

Celmins’s works are held in the collections of over twenty public museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Baltimore Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Art,Centre Pompidou, Paris, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, High Museum of Art, Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX, Museum of Modern Art, New York, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.[26]

In 2005, a major collector of her work, real estate developer Edward R. Broida, donated 17 pieces, covering 40 years of her career, to the Museum of Modern Art, as part of an overall contribution valued at $50 million ($50,000,000). Especially noteworthy were the early and late paintings.[27]

Recognition[edit]

 

External links[edit]

Profile: Vija Celmins
Affiliated Movements: Conceptual Art. Minimalism, Pop Art

Affiliated Artists:
Marcel Duchamp
Andy Warhol
Carl André
Robert Smithson
Richard Serra
Anish Kapoor

* The placement of other artists in the same category is purely for didactic purposes – any number alternate criteria could result in a different choice. This list is chosen by suggesting other artists, mostly working at the same point in time and whose work might evoke similar questions in the viewer.

Portrait of Vija Celmins

Vija Celmins:
Beyond Rendering

Apart from being an incredibly accomplished ‘technician’, which is perhaps MOST of the reason that attention is bestowed upon Vija Celmins, there is a tenacious – even obsessive quality seen in her works – at least in the aggregate.  And so, syntactically – they fascinate. That is to say that seeing a collection of her work over time is rewarding… to explore the variations in treatment, framing, subject matter and technique. And it is a fascinating exploration, a controlled one at that, into the psyche of an artist and a human being. This is perhaps the most powerful aspect of her work -and the aspect that you will RARELY hear being talked about.  This is where we discuss thematics.  There are several enduring themes running through her work which appear time an again – all loosely intimating a sense of mortality – the ocean(water)… the night sky… the spider web… disasters.  The universality of such existential tropes resonate soundly with all of us.

But it’s not even so simple. The degree to which craft is exercised embeds a layer of communication, a layer of intimacy – in her work which is all but absent in the conceptual musings of the last 20-30 years of efforts by our best artists.  She exposes us to a level of mastery and that is haunting that we wish not acknowledge nor discuss because it’s not convenient to the narrative of the ‘contemporary’. I think that Celmins’ work provides a reminder of the soulful aspect of art that is all too often missing these decades. It is a challlenge that needs to be answered.

Vija Celmins- Leap into the Void (Saut dans le Vide)

The ‘Ocean’ Paintings

Vija Celmins- Ocean 2003Ocean , 2003 Vija Celmins- Ocean 2005Ocean , 2005 vija celmins- ocean 1975Ocean, 1975 Vija Celmins- monocrhome painting IKB22 Blue 1957Ocean Surface I, 2006
Vija Celmins- monocrhome painting IKB Blue 1961Ocean with Cross I, 2005
Vija Celmins- monocrhome painting IKB Blue 1961Ocean SurfaceI, 2000
Vija Celmins- monocrhome painting IKB Blue 1961Big Sea I, 1969 Vija Celmins- monocrhome painting IKB45 Blue 1960Big Sea II, 1969

Vija Celmins- monocrhome painting IKB Blue 1961 to left: Large Desert, 1975. Collection of JP Morgan Chase.

The ‘Night Sky’ Paintings

Vija Celmins- Night Sky 2000Night Sky , 2000 Vija Celmins- December 1984December 1984 , 1985 vija celmins- mount holyoke 1987Mount Holyoke 1987, 1987 Vija Celmins- night sky 19Night Sky 19, 1998
Vija Celmins- Night Sky - WoodcutNight Sky Woodcut, 1997
Vija Celmins- Untitled Night Sky 8 WoodcutUntitled No.8, Woodcut
Vija Celmins- Night Sky Reversed I, 2002Night Sky Reversed I, 2002 Vija Celmins- Night Sky Reversed II, 2005Night Sky Reversed II, 2005
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