Tag Archives: crimes and misdemeanors

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 20 Woody Allen and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Ida Applebroog)

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Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

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Woody Allen on Ingmar Bergman and the death.

Woody Allen et Marshall McLuhan

Woody Allen et Marshall McLuhan : « If life were only like this! »

What Makes Life Worth Living? – Answered by Woody Allen.

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Diane Keaton et Woody Allen dans "Annie Hall"

Diane Keaton et Woody Allen

What Makes Life Worth Living?

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How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

10 Worldview and Truth

Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100

Francis Schaeffer Whatever Happened to the Human Race (Episode 1) ABORTION

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

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Diane Keaton et Woody Allen dans "Annie Hall"

 

Woody Allen – Sleeper (final scene)

 

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I have spent alot of time talking about Woody Allen films on this blog and looking at his worldview. He has a hopelessmeaningless, nihilistic worldview that believes we are going to turn to dust and there is no afterlife. Even though he has this view he has taken the opportunity to look at the weaknesses of his own secular view. I salute him for doing that. That is why I have returned to his work over and over and presented my own Christian worldview as an alternative.

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

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

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

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

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Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000 years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” episode 6 “The Scientific Age” episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” ,  episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” . My favorite episodes are number 7 and 8 since they deal with modern art and culture primarily.(Joe Carter rightly noted, “Schaefferwho always claimed to be an evangelist and not a philosopher—was often criticized for the way his work oversimplified intellectual history and philosophy.” To those critics I say take a chill pill because Schaeffer was introducing millions into the fields of art and culture!!!! !!! More people need to read his works and blog about them because they show how people’s worldviews affect their lives!

J.I.PACKER WROTE OF SCHAEFFER, “His communicative style was not thaof a cautious academiwho labors foexhaustive coverage and dispassionate objectivity. It was rather that of an impassioned thinker who paints his vision of eternal truth in bold strokes and stark contrasts.Yet it is a fact that MANY YOUNG THINKERS AND ARTISTS…HAVE FOUND SCHAEFFER’S ANALYSES A LIFELINE TO SANITY WITHOUT WHICH THEY COULD NOT HAVE GONE ON LIVING.”

Francis Schaeffer’s works  are the basis for a large portion of my blog posts and they have stood the test of time. In fact, many people would say that many of the things he wrote in the 1960’s  were right on  in the sense he saw where our western society was heading and he knew that abortion, infanticide and youth enthansia were  moral boundaries we would be crossing  in the coming decades because of humanism and these are the discussions we are having now!)

Francis Schaeffer in Art and the Bible noted, “Many modern artists, it seems to me, have forgotten the value that art has in itself. Much modern art is far too intellectual to be great art. Many modern artists seem not to see the distinction between man and non-man, and it is a part of the lostness of modern man that they no longer see value in the work of art as a work of art.” 

Many modern artists are left in this point of desperation that Schaeffer points out and it reminds me of the despair that Solomon speaks of in Ecclesiastes.  Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has 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.” THIS IS EXACT POINT SCHAEFFER SAYS SECULAR ARTISTS ARE PAINTING FROM TODAY BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED ARE A RESULT OF MINDLESS CHANCE.

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

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God and Carpeting: The Theology of Woody Allen by David Mishkin of Jews for Jesus

March 1, 1993

This is an archived article. It originally appeared on March 1, 1993. Some information may be outdated.

A red-haired boy sits next to his mother in the psychiatrist’s office. She is describing her son’s problems and expressing her disappointment in him. Why is he always depressed? Why can’t he be like other boys his age? The doctor turns to the boy and asks why he is depressed. In a hopeless daze the boy replies, “The universe is expanding, and if the universe is everything…and if it’s expanding…someday it will break apart and that’s the end of everything…what’s the point?”

His mother leans over, slaps the kid and scolds: “What is that your business!”

This scene from Annie Hall typifies Woody Allen’s quest for understanding! Allen touches on various topics and themes in all his cinematic works, but three subjects continually resurface: the existence of God, the fear of death and the nature of morality. These are all Jewish questions or at least theological issues. Woody Allen is a seeker who wants answers to the Ultimate Questions. His movie characters differ, yet they are all, in some way, asking these questions he wants answered. They are all “Woody Allens” wrestling with the same issues. He explains:

Maybe it’s because I’m depressed so often that I’m drawn to writers like Kafka, Dostoevski and to a filmmaker like Bergman. I think I have all the symptoms and problems that their characters are occupied with: an obsession with death, an obsession with God or the lack of God, the question of why we are here. Almost all of my work is autobiographical—exaggerated but true.1

But Woody Allen does not allow himself to dwell too long on these universal problems. The mother’s response to her red-haired son’s angst is typical of the comedic lid the filmmaker presses over his depressing outlook to close the issue. True, Woody Allen has made his mark by asking big questions. But it is the absence of satisfactory answers to those questions that causes much of the angst—and humor—we see on the screen. Off screen we see little difference.

Allen’s (authorized) biography, published in 1991, sheds some light on his life and times. Woody Allen, whose given name was Allan Konigsberg, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Allen describes his Jewish family and neighborhood as being from “the heart of the old world, their values are God and carpeting.”2 While he did not embrace the religion of his youth, his Jewishness is ever present in his characters, plots and dialogue. Jewish thought is intrinsic to his life and work.

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One can see this in the 1977 film Annie Hall, where Allen’s character, Alvy, is put in contrast to his Midwestern, gentile girlfriend. In one scene he is visiting Annie’s parents. Her grandmother stares at him, picturing him as a stereotypical Chasidic Jew with side locks, black hat and a long coat. The screen splits as Alvy imagines his family on the right and hers on the left. Her parents ask what his parents will be doing for “the holidays”:

“We fast, to atone for our sins,” his mother explains.

Annie’s mother is confused. “What sins? I don’t understand.”

Alvy’s father responds with a shrug: “To tell you the truth, neither do we.”

Nothing worth knowing can be understood by the mind.3

Allen suggests that the greatest thinkers in history died knowing no more than he does now.

In Crimes and Misdemeanors Woody Allen tackles the issue of morality on a much more serious level. Wealthy ophthalmologist Judah Rosenthal has been having an extramarital affair for two years. When he attempts to end his illicit relationship, his mistress threatens to tell his wife. When backed into an impossible corner and offered an easy way out, Judah finds himself thinking the unthinkable.

Judah’s moral confusion is presented against a backdrop of the religion of his youth. Though he has long since rejected the Jewish religion, he is continually confronted with memories that activate his conscience. He remembers the words of his childhood rabbi:

“The eyes of God are on us always.”

Judah later speaks with another rabbi, a contemporary of his. The rabbi remarks on their contrasting worldviews:

“You see it [the world] as harsh and empty of values and pitiless. And I couldn’t go on living if I didn’t feel with all my heart a moral structure with real meaning and forgiveness and some kind of higher power and a reason to live. Otherwise there is no basis to know how to live.”

These words are ultimately pushed aside, as Judah succumbs to the simple solution of hiring a hit-man to murder his demanding lady in waiting. After the crime, Judah experiences gut-wrenching guilt. Judah Rosenthal finds the case for morality so strong that after the murder he blurts out:

“Without God, life is a cesspool!”

His conscience pushes him to great despair as, again, he examines the situation from a past vantage point. He envisions a Passover seder from his childhood. The conversation becomes a family debate over the importance of the celebration. Some of the relatives don’t believe in God and consider the ritual a foolish waste of time. The head of the extended family stoutly defends his faith, saying, “If necessary, I will always choose God over truth.”

Perhaps this is why Judah rejected his religion—he could not see faith as anything other than some sort of noble delusion for those who refuse to accept life’s ugly truths. As Judah continues to dwell on his crime, he has another vision in which his rabbi friend challenges him with the question: “You don’t think God sees?”

“God is a luxury I can’t afford,” Judah replies. There is a final ring to the statement as Judah decides to put the entire incident behind him.

Judah almost turns himself in; however, the price is too high and so he chooses denial, the most common escape. “In reality,” he says in the last scene, “we rationalize, we deny or else we couldn’t go on living.”

Another character, Professor Levy, speaks on morality in one of the film’s subplots. Levy is an aging philosopher much admired by the character played by Woody Allen, a filmmaker. The filmmaker is planning a documentary based on Levy’s life, and we first see the professor on videotape, discussing the paradox of the ancient Israelites:

“They created a God who cares but who also demands that you behave morally. This God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, who is beloved to him.…After 5,000 years we have not succeeded to create a really and entirely loving image of God.”

Levy eventually commits suicide. Despite his great learning, his final note discloses nothing more than the obvious: “I’ve gone out the window.”

Professor Levy’s suicide leaves Allen’s character stunned. Still, his humor ameliorates the situation as the filmmaker protests,

“When I grew up in Brooklyn, nobody committed suicide; everyone was too unhappy.”

The final comment on Levy’s suicide is a surprising departure from Allen’s security blanket of humor:

“No matter how elaborate a philosophical system you work out, in the end it’s gotta be incomplete.”

Remember, all of the dialogue is written by Woody Allen. Though his own character supplies comic relief to this dark film, his conclusions are just as bleak. Everyone is guilty of something whether it’s considered a crime or a misdemeanor.

Yet, Allen’s theological questions rarely address the nature of that guilt. The word “sin” is reserved for the grossest offenses—the ones that make the evening news—or would, if they were discovered. Judah Rosenthal’s crime is easily recognizable as sin, while various other infidelities and compromises are mere misdemeanors.

Sin against God is not something Allen appears to take seriously in any of his films. When evangelist Billy Graham was a guest on one of Allen’s 1960s television specials, the comedian was asked (not by Graham) to name his greatest sin. He responded:

“I once had impure thoughts about Art Linkletter.”24

However, when he distances himself from the personal nature of sin and looks to crimes or sins against humanity, Allen speaks with a passion.

In Hannah and Her Sisters the viewer is introduced to the character of Frederick, an angry, isolated artist who is disgusted with the conditions of the world. Of Auschwitz, Frederick remarks to his girlfriend:

“The real question is: ‘Given what people are, why doesn’t it happen more often?’ Of course, it does, in subtler forms.…”

In Allen’s theology, all have fallen short to a greater or lesser degree, but ironically, his view of human imperfection never appears in the same discussion as his thoughts about God.

He does admit to being disconnected with the universe:

“I am two with nature.”25

But he doesn’t mention a connection with a personal God because he doesn’t see a correlation between human failures and the question of connectedness to God.

While Allen is a unique thinker, he seems to be pedestrian when it comes to wrestling with problems of immorality and even inhumanity. While he calls the existence of God into question, he does not deal with our responsibility in acknowledging God if he does exist.

It is simple to analyze sin on a human level. The more people get hurt, the bigger the sin. But the biblical perspective is quite different: Any and all sin causes separation from God. One cannot view such a cosmic separation as large or small based on degrees of sin. Ironically, one of Allen’s short stories underscores the foolishness of comparison degrees of sin:

“Astronomers talk of an inhabited planet named Quelm, so distant from earth that a man traveling at the speed of light would take six million years to get there, although they are planning a new express route that will cut two hours off the trip.”26

The biblical perspective of separation from God is similar. Having “better morals” than the drug pusher, the rapist or the ax murderer makes a big difference—in our society. We should all strive to be the best people we can be, if only to improve the overall quality of life. But in terms of a relationship with God, doing the best one can is like being two hours closer to Quelm. God is so removed from any unrighteousness that the difference between “a little unrighteous” and a lot is irrelevant.

The question his films and essays never ask is: Could being alienated from God be the root cause of our alienation from one another…and even our alienation from our own selves?

“It’s hard to get your heart and your head to agree in life. In my case they’re not even friendly.”27

Woody Allen has a unique way of expressing the uneasy terms on which many people find their heads and their hearts. Perhaps that is why he has received 14 Academy Award nominations. Allen will shoot a scene as many as twenty times, hoping to capture the actors and scenery perfectly. His biographer says “he doesn’t like to go to the next thing until what he’s working on is perfect—a process that guarantees self-defeat.”28

Is filmmaking Woody Allen’s escape from the world at large? His biographer notes, “He assigns himself mental tasks throughout the day with the intent that not a moment will pass without his mind being occupied and therefore insulated from the dilemma of eschatology.”29

It is a continual process—writing takes his mind off of the ultimate questions, yet the characters he creates are always obsessed with those very same questions. Allen determines their fate, occasionally handing out a happy ending. And he seems painfully aware that he will have little to say about the ending of his own script.

There is much to be appreciated and enjoyed in Woody Allen’s humor, but it also seems as if he uses jokes to avoid taking the possibility of God’s existence very seriously. Maybe Woody Allen is afraid to find that God doesn’t exist, or on the other hand maybe he’s afraid to find that he does. In either case, he seems to need to add a comic edge to questions about God to prove that he is not wholehearted in his hope for answers.

Will Woody Allen tackle the problem of his own halfhearted search for God in a serious way in some future film or essay? Maybe, but if the Bible can be believed, it’s an issue that God has already dealt with. The prophet Jeremiah quotes the Creator as saying: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13).

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Endnotes

  1. Eric Lax, Woody Allen, (New York: Knopf Publishing, 1991), p. 179.
  2. Ibid., p. 166.
  3. Manhattan, 1979.
  4. Lax, p. 141.
  5. Stardust Memories, 1980.
  6. Lax, p. 150.
  7. Sleeper, 1973.
  8. Hannah and Her Sisters, 1986.
  9. Woody Allen, “My Speech to the Graduates,” Side Effects, (New York: Random House Publ., 1980), p. 82.
  10. Sleeper.
  11. Lax, p. 183.
  12. Woody Allen, “Death (A Play),” Without Feathers, (New York: Random House Publ., 1975), p. 106.
  13. Woody Allen, “My Philosophy,” Getting Even, (New York: Warner Books, 1971), p. 25.
  14. Allen, “Early Essays,” Without Feathers, p. 108.
  15. Allen, “Selections From the Allen Notebook,” Without Feathers, p. 10.
  16. Allen, “My Apology,” Side Effects, p. 54.
  17. Stardust Memories.
  18. Allen, “My Speech to the Graduates,” Side Effects, p. 82.
  19. Sleeper.
  20. Allen, “Selections From the Allen Notebook,” Without Feathers, p. 8.
  21. Allen, “Examining Psychic Phenomena,” Without Feathers, p. 11.
  22. Lax, p. 41.
  23. Love and Death, 1975.
  24. Lax, p. 132.
  25. Ibid., p. 39.
  26. Allen, “Fabulous Tales and Mythical Beasts,” Without Feathers, p. 194.
  27. Crimes and Misdemeanors, 1989.
  28. Lax, p. 322.
  29. Ibid., p. 183.

Earlier I wrote a post about the “golden age fallacy” that Woody Allen destroys in his film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. The thinking that things would be better if we lived in a different time or a different place. However, Allen is still searching for meaning in life and deep down he knows in his heart that God made him for a special reason and not to just live a life without any lasting meaning. That is the reason he keeps bringing up these issues in his films.

Here I wanted to make three further suggestions to Mr. Allen myself: 


1. You may not have as much resources as  Solomon but you can still start on a spiritual search for the afterlife. .
 So, go to the Grand Canyon and see if you can deny the outward witness of God’s handiwork. That leads me to the scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “…{God} has planted eternity in the human heart…”


2. Read John 3:1-21 and see what happened when Jesus spoke to a true seeking skeptic of his day named Nicodemus. .
John 3:1-21

1 There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”  3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again,[a] you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”  5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.[b] 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.[c] 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”  9 “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.  10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? 11 I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man[e] has come down from heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.[f]  16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.  18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.[g]

3. Search for yourself and see if the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in history. There is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.

Sir William Ramsay

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Today’s featured artist is Ida Applebroog

Ida Applebroog is a good choice since she has focused her work on much of the evil and pain and suffering we find in the world today and that seems to be the emphasis of Woody Allen’s films too (especially my favorite film CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS).

Ida Applebroog has said, “My work has always been about fragmentation even the work is not comfortable work…I do a lot of work on murders, and rapes and age-ism and sexism and AIDS and child abuse. I live in this world. This is what is going on around me and I can’t change that.”

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Ida Applebroog is pictured below.

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Ida Applebroog | Art21 | Preview from Season 3 of “Art in the Twenty-First Century” (2005)

Uploaded on May 21, 2008

Ida Applebroog propels her paintings and drawings into the realm of installation by arranging and stacking canvases in space, exploding the frame-by-frame logic of comic-book and film narrative into three-dimensional environments. Strong themes in her work include gender and sexual identity, power struggles, and the pernicious role of mass media in desensitizing the public to violence.

Ida Applebroog is featured in the Season 3 episode “Power” of the Art21 series “Art in the Twenty-First Century”.

Learn more about Ida Applebroog: http://www.art21.org/artists/ida-appl…

© 2005-2008 Art21, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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You’re rat food:

<br />”You’re rat food” (1986)” />

Ida Applebroog
“You’re rat food” (1986)

Elizabeth Hess art critic also in this clip

Ida Applebroog (excerpt, ART/new york no. 36)

Uploaded on Feb 21, 2011

This program features the work of Ida Applebroog at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York City. Applebroog paints stark images of everyday people engaged in the ordinary and often painful and trying business of survival in the 90’s. She uses generic images, multiple canvases and unusual techniques to create unique and powerfully haunting work. Interviews are with IDA APPLEBROOG, ELIZABETH HESS, art critic for the Village Voice and RONALD FELDMAN, her dealer.

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Ida Applebroog: Inspiration | Art21 “Exclusive”

Uploaded on Jul 9, 2009

Episode #064: Ida Applebroog discusses her life as an “image scavenger” in her New York studio, while working on her “Photogenetics” series—a blend of photography, sculpture, painting and digital media.

Ida Applebroog propels her paintings and drawings into the realm of installation by arranging and stacking canvases in space, exploding the frame-by-frame logic of comic-book and film narrative into three-dimensional environments. Strong themes in her work include gender and sexual identity, power struggles, and the pernicious role of mass media in desensitizing the public to violence.

Learn more about Ida Applebroog: http://www.art21.org/artists/ida-appl…

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera & Sound: Mead Hunt and Merce Williams. Editor: Mary Ann Toman . Artwork Courtesy: Ida Applebroog.

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New in ARTstor from UArts Visual Resources: Ida Applebroog

“ooze/whose” 1991

Ida Applebroog is an American artist. Born in New York in 1929 and educated in Chicago, her work became well known in the 1970s. Her success has continued since then and she is still currently producing art. She has received several awards and has had her work displayed in some of the most prominent museums in the U.S.

“Now Then” (detail) 1980

Her artworks have very powerful connotations, which address issues of feminism, morality and social consciousness, and she often juxtaposes cartoonish images with far more serious subject matters.

If you would like to see more works by Ida Applebroog, click on an image to be taken directly to ARTstor. For more information about the artist, please visit Grove Art Online.

“Marginalia (Isaac Stern) 1992

This entry was posted in UArts Visual Resources and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
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Death and nonreason rule in her short books.

Nobody ever dies of it: The artists’ books of Ida Applebroog

by Anne Evenhaugen

Ida Applebroog’s artists’ books have a way of making you feel slightly uncomfortable without really knowing why. At least that is the effect her small books have on me. My first encounter with them had me feeling generally uncertain, thinking not only “What are these things?” but also “Why are these things?” Even after reading several of her books, I still did not understand exactly what her images represented. I had to read about Applebroog’s books to better understand.

Ida Applebroog “It is my lunch hour”

The Smithsonian American Art/Portrait Gallery Library has a dozen of Applebroog’s artists’ books in the collection. Applebroog self-published her series of cheap, black and white books in the 1970s.  They were printed in large runs of 400-500, though the idea behind each book originated from a unique art work in which she drew on and cut vellum panels of images and text. Applebroog mailed her books to friends, acquaintances and to other artists whose work she admired. In the 1960s and 70s, mail art, performance art and artists’ books were all becoming more popular means of creating and sharing art, and Applebroog took elements from each and combined them in her works. She has said she received a lot of hate mail from her books, and just as many people asking her to stop sending them as others requesting to be added to her mailing list.

Most consist of just a few pages stapled together, with the same simple cartoon-like image repeated several times, sometimes interspersed with inexplicable blank pages, sometimes with just a few words. They resemble flip books or film stills initially, but it is difficult to determine which part of the story is being portrayed. She gave each book the subtitle of “A Performance,” lending to the sense that the characters in her images were acting.

Applebroog’s “It doesn’t sound right”

For example, the book “It Doesn’t Sound Right” shows a woman standing by a bed hugging herself, framed by a picture window. This image repeats nine times, interrupted on one page with the sentence “she says ‘YOU ARE KILLING ME’” and then again with “it doesn’t sound right” followed a few pages later by the final sentence in bold capital letters “NOBODY EVER DIES OF IT”. Who is “she” and which part doesn’t sound right, and nobody ever dies of what?!?

The window frame puts the reader in the position of voyeur, looking into a woman’s bedroom, but we don’t know who is talking or whom they are addressing. The stage feels like a hospital setting, but I realize that I may only be interpreting it as such after reading the last sentence. The images, though they are the same throughout each book, seem to take on new meaning after reading Applebroog’s inserted phrases.

Applebroog's "It doesn't sound right"

Applebroog’s “It doesn’t sound right”

Applebroog’s “Say Something”

Another example is “Say Something” in which a couple, a headless man and a nude woman, crouch on the floor, seen through a similar window frame. The image repeats over the pages of the book, broken up first by the question “Don’t you want me?” and later “Say something”. Characteristic of Ida Applebroog’s artists’ books, what the couple is doing is unclear and the narrator is again unknown.

And like so many of the artist’s other works, the action and words seem to fit perfectly, if uncomfortably, together.________________________________

Biography « previous artist | next artist »
Ida Applebroog was born in the Bronx, New York in 1929, and lives and works in New York. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received an honorary doctorate from New School University/Parsons School of Design. Applebroog has been making pointed social commentary in the form of beguiling comic-like images for nearly half a century. She has developed an instantly recognizable style of simplified human forms with bold outlines. Anonymous ‘everyman’ figures, anthropomorphized animals, and half human-half creature characters are featured players in the uncanny theater of her work. Applebroog propels her paintings and drawings into the realm of installation by arranging and stacking canvases in space, exploding the frame-by-frame logic of comic-book and film narrative into three-dimensional environments. In her most characteristic work, she combines popular imagery from everyday urban and domestic scenes, sometimes paired with curt texts, to skew otherwise banal images into anxious scenarios infused with a sense of irony and black humor. Strong themes in her work include gender and sexual identity, power struggles both political and personal, and the pernicious role of mass media in desensitizing the public to violence. In addition to paintings, Applebroog has also created sculptures; artist’s books; several films (including a collaboration with her daughter, the artist Beth B); and animated shorts that appeared on the side of a moving truck and on a giant screen in Times Square. Applebroog has received many awards, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the College Art Association. Her work has been shown in many one-person exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, among others.For additional biographic & bibliographic information:
Ida Applebroog’s Web Site  |  Hauser & Wirth
Ida Applebroog on the Art21 blog

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Ida Applebroog has said, “I do a lot of work on murders, and rapes and age-ism and sexism and AIDS and child abuse. I live in this world. This is what is going on around me and I can’t change that.”

Ida can not change the world around her but she can understand why there is evil in the world today because the Bible tells us why.

Many have asked during this tough time: How can a good God allow evil and suffering?

Their thinking is that either God is not powerful enough to prevent evil or else God is not good. He is often blamed for tragedy. “Where was God when I went through this, or when that happened.”  God is blamed for natural disasters, Even my insurance company describes them as “acts of God.” How to handle this one-  (O.N.E.) a. Origin of evil— man’s choice- God created a perfect world… b. Nature of God—He forgives, I John 1:9—He uses tragedy to bring us to Himself, C.S. Lewis, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains:  it is His megaphone to arouse a deaf world.” c. End of it all—Bible teaches that God will one day put an end to all evil, and pain and death. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).As Christians we have this hope of Heaven and eternity. Share how it has made a tremendous difference in your life and that you know for sure that when you die you are going to spend eternity in Heaven. Ask the person, “May I ask you a question? Do you have this hope? Do you know for certain that when you die you are going to Heaven, or is that something you would say you’re still working on?”How could a loving God send people to Hell? (O.N.E.) a. Origin of hell—never intended for people. Created for Satan and his demons. Jesus said, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41). Man chooses to sin and ignore God. The penalty is death (eternal separation from God) and, yes, Hell. But God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, we choose it by refusing or ignoring God in attitude and action. b. Nature of God—“ God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He is so loving that He sent His own Son to die and pay the penalty for our sin so that we could avoid Hell and have the assurance of Heaven. No one in Hell will be able to blame God. He doesn’t send people there, it’s our own choice. We must choose to repent, to stop ignoring God in attitude and action, accepting His salvation and yielding to His leadership.c. End of it all—Bible teaches that God will one day put an end to all evil, pain, death, and penalty of Hell. “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).As Christians , we need not worry about Hell. The Bible says, “these things have been written . . . so that you may know you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).  I have complete confidence that when I die, I’m going to Heaven.  May I ask you a question?___________________________-
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Answering my Humanist Friends concerning the Problem of Evil (Plus Atheist Ricky Gervais says he embraces the Golden Rule)

Ricky Gervais: Christians Haven’t Got A Monopoly On Good

Josh Wilson – Before The Morning (Official Music Video)

One of my favorite songs  is called “Before the Morning” and it is by  the Christian singer Josh Wilson. The lyrics start out: “Why do you have to feel the things that hurt you? If there’s a God who loves you where is He now?” Over the years I have corresponded with several atheists and many times they confront me on this  very issue such as this letter did from Dr. Brian Charlesworth, Dept of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago in letter dated May 10, 1994:

Thank you for your various communications. I am afraid that I formed the view many years ago that there is no foundation for any belief in a benevolent creator of the world. For me, there is too much suffering in the world to be compatible with the existence of such a being. 

Let me make three points concerning the problem of evil and suffering. First, the problem of evil and suffering hit this world in a big way because of Adam and what happened in Genesis Chapter 3. Second, if there is no God then there is no way to distinguish good from evil and there will be no ultimate punishment for Hitler and Josef Mengele. Third. Christ came and suffered and will destroy all evil from this world eventually forever.

Recently I went to see the movie GOD’S NOT DEAD in a local theater and that prompted me to read the book of the same name by Rice Broocks. In the movie the problem of evil and suffering is discussed just like it is in the book  and would love to interact further with anyone who would like to see the film is a big hit in theaters this year. On page 5 on the book you will find these words:
Atheists claim that the universe isn’t what you would expect
if a supernatural God existed. All this death and suffering, they say,
are plain evidence that a loving, intelligent God could not be behind
it all. The truth is that God has created a world where free moral
agents are able to have real choices to do good or evil. If God had
created a world without that fundamental choice and option to do
evil, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. God made a world
where choices are real and humanity is affected by the choices of
other humans. Drunk drivers kill innocent people. Some murder
and steal from their fellow men. Though God gave clear com-
mandments to humanity, we have for the most part ignored these
directives. The mess that results is not God’s fault. It’s ours.
We are called to follow God and love Him with all our hearts
and minds. This means we have to think and investigate. Truth
is another word for reality. When something is true it’s true
everywhere. The multiplication tables are just as true in China
as they are in America. Gravity works in Africa the way it does
in Asia. The fact that there are moral truths that are true every-
where points to a transcendent morality that we did not invent
and from which we cannot escape (C.S.Lewis, MERE CHRISTIANITY,[1952:
New York: Harper Collins, 2001], p. 35).
As Creator, God has placed not only natural laws in the earth
but also spiritual laws. For instance, lying is wrong everywhere.
So is stealing. Cruelty to children is wrong regardless of what
culture you’re in or country you’re from. When these laws are
broken, people are broken. Not only does violating these spiritual
laws separate us from God, but it causes pain in our lives and
in the lives of those around us. The big question becomes, what
can be done about our condition? When we break these spiritual
laws, whom can we call for help? How can we be reconciled to
God as well as break free from this cycle of pain and dysfunction?

Francis Schaeffer in his fine book about modern man ESCAPE FROM REASON  states,

“the True Christian position is that, in space and time and history, there was an unprogrammed man who made a choice, and actually rebelled against God…without Christianity’s answer that God made a significant man in a significant history with evil being the result of Satan’s and then man’s historic space-time revolt, there is no answer but to accept Baudelaire’s answer [‘If there is a God, He is the devil’] with tears. Once the historic Christian answer is put away, all we can do is to leap upstairs and say that against all reason God is good.”(pg. 81)

Someone I knew in 1985 grew up in Germany and was part of the Hitler Youth Program, Was he wrong in his beliefs? 

On what basis does the atheist have to say “Hitler was wrong!!!”

Early in his career Hitler was popular and many of the German people bought into his anti-semetic views. Does the atheist have an intellectual basis to condemn Hitler’s actions?

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My friend who grew up in Germany  believed until his dying day that Hitler was right. I had a basis for knowing that Hitler was wrong and here it is below.
It is my view that according the Bible all men are created by God and are valuable.  However, the atheist has no basis for coming to this same conclusion. Francis Schaeffer put it this way:
We cannot deal with people like human beings, we cannot deal with them on the high level of true humanity, unless we really know their origin—who they are. God tells man who he is. God tells us that He created man in His image. So man is some- thing wonderful.
In 1972 Schaeffer wrote the book “He is There and He is Not Silent.” Here is the statement that sums up that book:

One of philosophy’s biggest problems is that anything exists at all and has the form that it does. Another is that man exists as a personal being and makes true choices and has moral responsibility. The Bible gives sufficient answers to these problems. In fact, the only sufficient answer is that the infinite-personal triune God is there and He is not silent. He has spoken to man in the Bible.

In the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS the basic question Woody Allen is presenting to his own agnostic humanistic worldview is: If you really believe there is no God there to punish you in an afterlife, then why not murder if you can get away with it?   The secular humanist worldview that modern man has adopted does not work in the real world that God has created. God “has planted eternity in the human heart…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This is a direct result of our God-given conscience. The apostle Paul said it best in Romans 1:19, “For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God  has shown it to them” (Amplified Version).

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.). Humanists don’t really have an intellectual basis for saying that Hitler was wrong, but their God-given conscience tells them that they are wrong on this issue.

Here is fine film by Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop that makes the case for human dignity.

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

Also here is the link for  another fine article on this same issue by Chuck Colson.

Crimes? What Crimes?

The Grand ‘Sez Who’

Let us take a close look at how you are going to come up with morality as an atheist. When you think about it there is no way around the final conclusion that it is just your opinion against mine concerning morality. There is no final answers. However, if God does exist and he has imparted final answers to us then everything changes.

Take a look at a portion of this paper by Greg Koukl. In this article he points out that atheists don’t even have a basis for saying that Hitler was wrong:

What doesn’t make sense is to look at the existence of evil and question the existence of God. The reason is that atheism turns out being a self-defeating philosophic solution to this problem of evil. Think of what evil is for a minute when we make this kind of objection. Evil is a value judgment that must be measured against a morally perfect standard in order to be meaningful. In other words, something is evil in that it departs from a perfect standard of good. C.S. Lewis made the point, “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call something crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”] He also goes on to point out that a portrait is a good or a bad likeness depending on how it compares with the “perfect” original. So to talk about evil, which is a departure from good, actually presumes something that exists that is absolutely good. If there is no God there’s no perfect standard, no absolute right or wrong, and therefore no departure from that standard. So if there is no God, there can’t be any evil, only personal likes and dislikes–what I prefer morally and what I don’t prefer morally.

This is the big problem with moral relativism as a moral point of view when talking about the problem of evil. If morality is ultimately a matter of personal taste–that’s what most people hold nowadays–then it’s just your opinion what’s good or bad, but it might not be my opinion. Everybody has their own view of morality and if it’s just a matter of personal taste–like preferring steak over broccoli or Brussels sprouts–the objection against the existence of God based on evil actually vanishes because the objection depends on the fact that some things are intrinsically evil–that evil isn’t just a matter of my personal taste, my personal definition. But that evil has absolute existence and the problem for most people today is that there is no thing that is absolutely wrong. Premarital sex? If it’s right for you. Abortion? It’s an individual choice. Killing? It depends on the circumstances. Stealing? Not if it’s from a corporation.

The fact is that most people are drowning in a sea of moral relativism. If everything is allowed then nothing is disallowed. Then nothing is wrong. Then nothing is ultimately evil. What I’m saying is that if moral relativism is true, which it seems like most people seem to believe–even those that object against evil in the world, then the talk of objective evil as a philosophical problem is nonsense. To put it another way, if there is no God, then morals are all relative. And if moral relativism is true, then something like true moral evil can’t exist because evil becomes a relative thing.

An excellent illustration of this point comes from the movie The Quarrel . In this movie, a rabbi and a Jewish secularist meet again after the Second World War after they had been separated. They had gotten into a quarrel as young men, separated on bad terms, and then had their village and their family and everything destroyed through the Second World War, both thinking the other was dead. They meet serendipitously in Toronto, Canada in a park and renew their friendship and renew their old quarrel.divider

Rabbi Hersch says to the secularist Jew Chiam, “If a person does not have the Almighty to turn to, if there’s nothing in the universe that’s higher than human beings, then what’s morality? Well, it’s a matter of opinion. I like milk; you like meat. Hitler likes to kill people; I like to save them. Who’s to say which is better? Do you begin to see the horror of this? If there is no Master of the universe then who’s to say that Hitler did anything wrong? If there is no God then the people that murdered your wife and kids did nothing wrong.”

That is a very, very compelling point coming from the rabbi. In other words, to argue against the existence of God based on the existence of evil forces us into saying something like this: Evil exists, therefore there is no God. If there is no God then good and evil are relative and not absolute, so true evil doesn’t exist, contradicting the first point. Simply put, there cannot be a world in which it makes any sense to say that evil is real and at the same time say that God doesn’t exist. If there is no God then nothing is ultimately bad, deplorable, tragic or worthy of blame. The converse, by the way, is also true. This is the other hard part about this, it cuts both ways. Nothing is ultimately good, honorable, noble or worthy of praise. Everything is ultimately lost in a twilight zone of moral nothingness. To paraphrase the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer, the person who argues against the existence of God based on the existence of evil in the world has both feet firmly planted in mid-air.

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Ricky Gervais in a You Tube clip from the show Piers Morgan Tonight on  1-20-2011 said that he embraced the golden rule because it made sense to him to be good to others so they would be good to you. However, how would that work if there is no ultimate lawmaker that also is our final judge? Rabbi Hersch’s argument to the secularist Jew Chiam seems to point out that without God in the picture it really does come to : “If a person does not have the Almighty to turn to, if there’s nothing in the universe that’s higher than human beings, then what’s morality? Well, it’s a matter of opinion. I like milk; you like meat. Hitler likes to kill people; I like to save them. Who’s to say which is better?”

Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer pictured above.

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Many crime victims feel forsaken by God. So do many divorced people, war prisoners, and starving refugees. But this young man’s cry of desperation carried added significance because of its historical allusion.
The words had appeared about a thousand years earlier in a song written by a king. The details of the song are remarkably similar to the suffering the young man endured. It said, “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads …. They have pierced my hands and my feet…. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”{2}
Historians record precisely this behavior during the young man’s execution.{3} It was as if a divine drama were unfolding as the man slipped into death.
Researchers have uncovered more than 300 predictions or prophesies literally fulfilled in the life and death of this unique individual. Many of these statements written hundreds of years before his birth-were beyond his human control. One correctly foretold the place of his birth. {4} Another said he would be born of a virgin. {5} He would be preceded by a messenger who would prepare the way for his work, {6} He would enter the capital city as a king but riding on a donkeys back {7} He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of Silver, {8} pierced, {9} executed among thieves, {10} and yet, though wounded, {11} he would suffer no broken bones.{12}
Peter Stoner, a California mathematics professor, calculated the chance probability of just eight of these 300 prophecies coming true in one person. Using conservative estimates, Stoner concluded that the probability is 1 in 10 to the 17th power that those eight could be fulfilled by a fluke.
He says 1017silver dollars would cover the state of Texas two feet deep. Mark one coin with red fingernail polish. Stir the whole batch thoroughly. What chance would a blindfolded person have of picking the marked coin on the first try? One in 1017, the same chance that just eight of the 300 prophecies “just happened” to come true in this man, Jesus. {13}
In his dying cry from the cross Jesus reminded His hearers that His life and death precisely fulfilled God’s previously stated plan. According to the biblical perspective, at the moment of death Jesus experienced the equivalent of eternal separation from God in our place so that we might be forgiven and find new life.
He took the penalty due for all the crime, injustice, evil, sin, and shortcomings of the world-including yours and mine.
Though sinless Himself, He likely felt guilty and abandoned. Then-again in fulfillment of prophecy{14} and contrary to natural law-He came back to life. As somewhat of a skeptic I investigated the evidence for Christ’s resurrection and found it to be one of the best-attested facts in history. {15} To the seeker Jesus Christ offers true inner peace, forgiveness, purpose, and strength for contented living.

SO WHAT?

“OK, great,” you might say, “but what hope does this give the crime or divorce victim, the hungry and bleeding refugee, the citizen paralyzed by a world gone bad?” Will Jesus prevent every crime, reconcile every troubled marriage, restore every refugee, stop every war? No. God has given us free will. Suffering–even unjust suffering–is a necessary consequence of sin.
Sometimes God does intervene to change circumstances. (I’m glad my assailant became nervous and left.) Other times God gives those who believe in Him strength to endure and confidence that He will see them through. In the process, believers mature.
Most significantly we can hope in what He has told us about the future. Seeing how God has fulfilled prophecies in the past gives us confidence to believe those not yet fulfilled. Jesus promises eternal life to all who trust Him for it: “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”{16}
He promised He would return to rescue people from this dying planet.{17}
He will judge all evil.{18}
Finally justice will prevail. Those who have chosen to place their faith in Him will know true joy: “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.”{19}
Does God intend that we ignore temporal evil and mentally float off into unrealistic ethereal bliss? Nor at all. God is in the business of working through people to turn hearts to Him, resolve conflicts, make peace. After my assailant went to prison, I felt motivated to tell him that I forgave him because of Christ. He apologized, saying he, too, has now come to believe in Jesus.
But through every trial, every injustice you suffer, you can know that God is your friend and that one day He will set things right. You can know that He is still on the throne of the universe and that He cares for you. You can know this because His Son was born (Christmas is, of course, a celebration of His birth), lived, died, and came back to life in fulfillment of prophecy. Because of Jesus, if you personally receive His free gift of forgiveness, you can have hope!
Will you trust Him?
Notes
1. Matthew 27:46.
2. Psalm 22.
3. Matthew 27:35-44; John 20:25.
4. Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1.
5. Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 24-25; Luke 1:26-35.
6. Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:1-2.
7. Zechariah 9:9; John 12:15; Matthew 21: 1-9.
8. Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15.
9. Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34, 37.
10. Isaiah 53:12.
11. Matthew 27:38; Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 13:6; Matthew 27:26.
12. Psalm 34:20; John 19:33, 36.
13. Peter Stoner, Science Speaks, pp. 99-112.
14. Psalm 6:10; Acts 2:31-32.
15. Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, pp. 185-273.
16. John 5:24.
17. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
18. Revelation 20:10-15.
19. Revelation 21:4 NAS.
©1994 Rusty Wright. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission from Pursuit magazine (© 1994, Vol. III, No. 3)

About the Author
Rusty Wright, former associate speaker and writer with Probe Ministries, is an international lecturer, award-winning author, and journalist who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. http://www.rustywright.com/

The Bible and Archaeology (1/5)

The Bible and Archaeology (2/5)

God Is A Luxury I Can’t Afford – From Crimes And Misdemeanors

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Woody Allen films and the issue of guilt (Woody Wednesday)

Woody Allen and the Abandonment of Guilt

Dr. Marc T. Newman : AgapePress

In considering filmmaking as a pure visual art form, Woody Allen would have to be considered a master of the medium. From his humble beginnings as a comedy writer and filmmaker, he has emerged as a major influential force in Hollywood. Actors flock to his projects just to have a chance to work with him. He is funny, creative, and philosophical in his musings about love, life, and death.

Woody Allen is an Oscar award-winning director and screenwriter. His latest film, “Match Point,” has garnered another screenwriting nomination for Allen from the Academy. And while industry buzz is growing behind “Crash” screenwriters Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco to win, Allen’s nomination is not a courtesy nod to an aging dinosaur. Most critics have hailed “Match Point” as Allen’s comeback film – a movie that demonstrates that Allen is still performing at the height of his powers. “Match Point” most closely resembles another of Allen’s Oscar-nominated films – 1990’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Comparing these two critically-acclaimed films shines a light not only on Woody Allen’s dark and cynical writer’s journey, but also on a culture that consistently chooses to honor his work.

Crimes and Misdemeanors – Sin and Struggle

“Crimes and Misdemeanors” is an odd morality tale. Judah Rosenthal is an ophthalmologist who has been carrying on an affair for over two years. When his mistress threatens to call his wife, he contracts to have her killed. Throughout the film, characters attempt to make sense of their moral universe. Judah struggles with his guilt and at one point seems so driven by his belief that he must be punished for his sin that he nearly decides to call the police to turn himself in. He is dissuaded by a veiled threat from his mob-connected brother Jack (who arranged the murder at Judah’s request). As time goes by, Judah finds that he is not punished – not by the secular authorities or by God. After a while, even the guilty feelings fade away. He decides that the idea that evil is always punished is only true in the movies. In real life, people get away with it. Judah pushes aside his guilt, returns to his privileged life and walks off, with his wife, into the sunset.

Allen comes down on the wrong side of the moral equation in “Crimes and Misdemeanors” because he is unwilling, or unable, to take into account the judgment of God in the world to come. His materialist-informed worldview discounts or denies that the reality of eternity is more significant than what happens in this life. What made the film noteworthy was its depiction of the moral struggle that people go through when they sin. What made the film chilling is the knowledge that the rationalism engaged in by Judah in the movie represents more than fiction. Psalms and Proverbs are full of pleas from weary saints who complain to God about the prosperous wicked. We cannot know the mind of God. Some sins are punished swiftly; others apparently are not punished at all in this life. But God declares that one day everything done is darkness will be revealed in the light (1 Corinthians 4-5).

Match Point – No Sin, Just Luck

Fifteen years later, Allen gives audiences “Match Point,” the story of Chris Wilton, a British social-climbing tennis pro who marries for money and prestige, but continues to lust after a poor American actress, Nola Rice, who is dating his future brother-in-law. The affair with Nola begins and ends before Chris’ marriage, but picks up again when Nola returns to England. What begins as animal attraction turns complicated as Nola begins pressuring Chris to leave his wife. Chris is torn between his feelings for Nola and the wealth, power, and privilege that he enjoys by being married to his wife, Chloe. Ultimately he determines that he must be rid of one of them. How best to do it while risking the least for himself? Kill one – but make it look like someone else did it. The audience is left guessing whether he will kill Nola, thereby covering his tracks and keeping his wife, or kill Chloe, inheriting her wealth and gaining the sympathy of her family, and then take up again with Nola. Once the deed is done, there is the crying and terror over the prospect of being found out and punished that must accompany any such act. But when word of the homicide appears in the paper, and the fictional motives that Chris hoped to plant are printed as if they are fact, Chris discovers that he has gotten away with it.

The theme of “Match Point” is hammered into the audience over and over again – the world runs on luck. From Chris’ tennis career, to his marriage to a rich and beautiful woman and into a paternalistic and helpful family, to plot twists involving incriminating evidence, everything just falls his way at crucial moments. And while some characters continue to extol the virtues of hard work and perseverance, Chris recognizes and, in the end, vocalizes that the best attribute to possess is good fortune. There is no justice; there is only the slim divide between being caught and getting away with it. No one is smart enough to cover all the bases, so in the end much of it comes down to luck. Chris has it; his victim did not.

Unlike “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” no great struggle over guilt and sin is played out on the screen. The only scene that looks remotely like remorse occurs right after the act. Beyond that, Chris merely lies to those he knows and stonewalls the police. He is like the boy who kills his parents and then begs the judge for leniency because he is an orphan
– only in this case, he gets off.

“Crimes and Misdemeanors” could be rationalized as a depiction of one side of the sin debate – that sometimes the wicked prosper. The struggle for Judah’s soul is represented by his brothers: the mafia-connected Jack and Judah’s rabbi brother Ben. In this case, Ben loses, but there is, haunting the background, the idea that it could be otherwise. No such spiritual subtext exists in “Match Point.” Audience members can only get out of the film what they bring to it – it is a case brought before us for judgment.. Those who believe in a just God will find Chris to be a calculating killer who rightly needs to be punished. For those who enter the film believing that humans are merely animals seeking to satisfy drives with no true spiritual component; who believe that guilt only exists if you get caught; who believe (whether they know the source or not) that Nietzsche was right when he said that the hallmark of human existence is the will to power – Chris is a kind of hero. He got everything he wanted, succeeded in destroying those who stood in his way, and emerged unscathed because he was favored by a series of uncalculated quirks in the universe. No objection to such assessment is placed in anyone’s way.

The Weaving of Cultural Threads

Thomas Frentz, noted rhetorical critic, argues that by comparing products of our culture over time, we can begin to discern emerging moral patterns. Cultures, Frentz claims, are always moving toward, or away from, some optimal moral end state. If Frentz is right, then looking at these two similar films from Woody Allen can tell us a little about the state of moral struggle. I do not know whether Allen’s film intends to move us, or if it is merely a reflection of the culture as he sees it. Either way, what Allen appears to be saying is that we have moved beyond morals and simply must deal with what is. In his earlier film, Allen asserts that there is no objective moral lens through which to view the world – ignore morality and it will go away. Now he is saying that if you happen to share the world with people who still hold to the “myth” of morality, “hope you are lucky and then you can get away with it.”

But there is yet a ray of hope.

Anyone watching “Match Point” will come to the conclusion that Chris “got away with it.” The concept of “getting away with something” could not exist in a truly amoral world, because the term itself presupposes punishment. If no punishment is objectively due, then there is nothing from which to “get away.” The concept of escape only exists in a world in which something is pursuing. Even conventional laws implicate an overarching moral sensibility of right and wrong. My fear is not that Allen is predicting some evolutionary leap in moral thinking where all codes are abandoned, but that he is rightly illustrating a growing trend – the searing of the western conscience.
Marc T. Newman, PhD (marc@movieministry.com) is the president of MovieMinistry.com – an organization that provides sermon and teaching illustrations from popular film, and helps the Church use movies to reach out to others and connect with people.

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(Part 22, Silvia Beach and the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore) June 30, 2011 – 12:58 am

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Woody Allen interviews Billy Graham (Woody Wednesday)

A surprisingly civil discussion between evangelical Billy Graham and agnostic comedian Woody Allen. Skip to 2:00 in the video to hear Graham discuss premarital sex, to 4:30 to hear him respond to Allen’s question about the worst sin and to 7:55 for the comparison between accepting Christ and taking LSD.

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The Christian Post > International > N.America|Sun, Nov. 20 2011 03:41 PM EDT

Woody Allen, The Faith Behind the Films (VIDEOS of Allen With Billy Graham)

By Kayla Amadis | Christian Post Contributor

American filmmaker, Woody Allen, will be starring in an exclusive two-part documentary film beginning tonight. The “Annie Hall” director and actor is notorious for his privacy. However, this three-and-a-half hour film claims to be a right of entry into the life and art of Woody Allen.

The works of Allen have always been a peculiar one for most viewers throughout generations. He has a touch for making artful flicks with the just enough humor included. His films, sometimes controversial, have also been unique in that they are driven by his distinctive vision and artistry. Allen has never been an artist to succumb to altering a script so it would appeal to mainstream audiences.

Therefore, many have noted reoccurring themes throughout Allen’s work over the years. He often integrates pop culture and religion sub-textually into the content of his writing.

Allen, now 75, grew up in a Jewish household. Now, as an agnostic, many of his films including “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Match Point” have subject matters concerning forgiveness, how to handle sin, finding meaning in life without God, or religious figures.

Many evangelicals including Chuck Colston and Southern Baptist leader, Richard Land are devoted fans of Allen. Although the filmmaker remains disclosed, he continues to be one to speak openly about deep issues in life even outside of his films. Allen has always been honest enough to ask many questions about morality and religion, but never has any of the right answers, Land suggested.

In the archives of Woody Allen appearances, one can find an old talk show video (below) in the 1960’s in which he interviews Billy Graham. Of course, Graham, clearly anchored in his beliefs in God, shared completely different views on life compared to the wisecracking Allen.

The conversation sounds undoubtedly tense upon first hearing. However, both counter-parts handled their discussion with much composure and the heart to agree to disagree.

Allen: “If you come to one of my movies or something, I’ll go to one of your revival meetings.”

Graham: “Well now that is a deal.”

Allen: “You could probably convert me because I’m such a pushover. I have no convictions in any direction and if you make it appealing and promise me some sort of wonderful afterlife with a white robe and wings I would go for it.”

Graham: “I can’t promise you a white robe and wings, but I can promise you a very interesting, thrilling life.”

Allen: “One wing, maybe?”

The dialogue was both light and deep all at once. “I find Woody over the years, and of course this is true of people as they get older, there is more resignation,” Land said to the Washington Post.

“There is a light touch and a confidence in his earlier movies – I’m not dead, I won’t die for a long time so I have a long time to figure this all out. Some of his more recent movies, you can see he’s aware of his own mortality.”

Decades later, one would hope Allen would come around to considering the true answers to all of his moral questioning. Perhaps he would think back to some of the words Graham spoke many years ago. However, Allen remains with doubtful views. “Sooner or later,” he said in a 2010 interview. “…reality sets in, in a crushing way. As it does and will with everybody, including Billy Graham. But it’s nice if you can delude yourself for as long as possible.”

“Woody Allen: A Documentary,’’ directed by Robert B. Weide, will touch on the career of Allen more intimately. Many look forward to understanding the true man behind the art and humor.

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“Woody Wednesday” Allen acts silly in 1971 interview (Part 3)

“Woody Wednesday” Allen acts silly in 1971 interview (Part 3)

Woody Allen interview 1971 PART 3/4

Uploaded by on Jul 21, 2008

Woody Allen interview from 1971, just after the worldwide release of ‘Bananas’

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Looking at the (sometimes skewed) morality of Woody Allen’s best films.

In the late ’60s, Woody Allen left the world of stand-up comedy behind for the movies. Since then, he’s become one of American cinema’s most celebrated filmmakers. Sure, he’s had his stinkers and his private life hasn’t been without controversy. But he’s also crafted some of Hollywood’s most thought-provoking comedies. Philosophical, self-deprecating and always more than a tad pessimistic, Allen adds another title to his oeuvre this Friday with Midnight in Paris. Whether it will be remembered as one of his greatest or another flop is too early to say, but its release gives us a chance to look back at some of his most indispensable works.

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Match Point (2005)

The sanctity of art plays a role in Crimes and Misdemeanors, but it’s a minor one compared to Allen’s interest in the human conscience. Does God exist, his characters wonder, and if He doesn’t, can there still be objective morality? His characters have asked these questions before, but never have the stakes been so high as when Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau), a prominent New York ophthalmologist, finds his life turned upside by an act of violence he’s responsible for. In the aftermath, he’s plagued by guilt but still wonders if a guilty conscience is such a high price to pay for keeping his good name. His transformation as he struggles with this question is chilling to watch.

The same issue is at the heart of Match Point, Allen’s first movie set outside America. The particulars are different, but its trajectory is the same. When Chris Wilton (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) commits murder to preserve his status and good reputation, we wait for him to be caught. But Allen subverts our expectations again, as in Crimes and Misdemeanors—not because he condones murder, but to illustrate his belief that, if there’s no God, life is a crap shoot. Maybe you’ll get caught, maybe you won’t, but either way you’ll have to live with what you’ve done. In both films, he shows more pointedly than most other American filmmakers what hell on earth must look like.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

The human conscience is also the focus of Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, though in a relatively smaller way. He’s also less concerned with the existence of God, but objective morality is still a question lingering in the back of his mind. As the two friends, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) and Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) consider their entanglement with the bohemian Spanish artist, Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem), they’re forced to re-examine the rules they each live by. Even though the movie unquestionably favors moral relativism, the character of Cristina, who was once so proud of her “liberated” spirit, comes away from her search for meaning with a more moral perspective. No longer content to live according to Juan Antonio’s eat-drink-and-be-merry philosophy, she ends her time in Spain determined to find “something else.” That something else isn’t likely to be conventional morality, but neither is it unrestrained passion. While still denying that life has any inherent meaning, Allen forces us to consider whether conventional morality is really so stifling after all.

Overall, Woody Allen can’t be called anything close to a Christian (or even a moral) filmmaker—his films often drip with pessimism (some would say nihilism). But most of his films also give viewers something to chew on, something all too rare at the movies.

Do you have a favorite Woody Allen movie?

Andrew Welch lives in Texas and has written for RELEVANT and Books & Culture.

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“Woody Wednesday” Will Allen and Martin follow same path as Kansas to Christ?

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Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop were prophetic (jh29)

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Good without God?

busad.png

(The signs are up on the buses in Little Rock now and the leader of the movement to put them up said on the radio today that he does not anticipate any physical actions against the signs by Christians. He noted that the Christians that he knows would never stoop to that level.)

Debate: Christianity vs Secular Humanism (1 of 14)

Paul Kurtz pictured above.

August 11, 2011 on the Arkansas Times Blog many nonbelievers ranted about the requirement that an atheist group had to put down a $15,000 deposit in order to advertise the phrase “Are you good without God? Millions are.” (The signs are actually up on the buses now.)

I personally know of many atheists who are very fine moral people who have a wonderful marriage and a great family life. I could go on and name a bunch of names. However, I will mention my good friend John George who passed away a couple of years ago after a battle with cancer.

He wrote a book published by Prometheus which was started by Paul Kurtz. Kurtz was the originator of the Humanist Manifesto II. I have corresponded in the past with him and I have found him to be a very kind man. I highly recommend his debate concerning humanism on the John Ankerberg Show. I have included clips of that show.

I do not question the fact that many atheists live moral lives. However, this idea that humanists and atheists can come up with a logical moral system that rules out murder is not realistic. Rationally they can not do it. Without God in the picture then you only have this world of time and chance. If evolution teaches us the survival of the fittest then why would “might makes right” ever be wrong?

The movie maker and atheist Woody Allen knows this best.

allen_woody

I am a big Woody Allen movie fan and no other movie better demonstrates man’s need for God more  than Allen’s 1989 film  Crimes and Misdemeanors. This film also brought up the view that Hitler believed that “might made right.” How can an atheist argue against that?  Basically Woody Allen is attacking the weaknesses in his own agnostic point of view!! Take a look at the video clip below when he says in the absence of God, man has to do the right thing. What chance is there that will happen?

Crimes and Misdemeanors is  about a eye doctor who hires a killer to murder his mistress because she continually threatens to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. Afterward he is haunted by guilt. His Jewish father had taught him that God sees all and will surely punish the evildoer.

But the doctor’s crime is never discovered. Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his father had with Judah’s unbelieving Aunt May during a Jewish Sedar dinner  many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazi’s, 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.”

The basic question Woody Allen is presenting to his own agnostic humanistic worldview is: If you really believe there is no God there to punish you in an afterlife, then why not murder if you can get away with it?  The secular humanist worldview that modern man has adopted does not work in the real world that God has created. God “has planted eternity in the human heart…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This is a direct result of our God-given conscience. The apostle Paul said it best in Romans 1:19, “For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God  has shown it to them” (Amplified Version).

Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen – 1989) – Final scenes

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.). Humanists don’t really have an intellectual basis for saying that Hitler was wrong, but their God-given conscience tells them that they are wrong on this issue.

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Paul Kurtz pictured above. Norma Bates noted on the Arkansas Times Blog yesterday The most common justification throughout history – the elephant in everybody’s living room – is religion. “God is on our side.” “We are the chosen people.” “God gave us this land.” “God said to — .” Judaism, Christianity, or that relative Johnny-come-lately […]

 

“Woody Wednesday” How Allen’s film “Crimes and Misdemeanors makes the point that hell is necessary (jh 14)

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1

Adrian Rogers – Crossing God’s Deadline Part 2

Mike-huckabee-091710jpg-717e34428c62cd01

Jason Tolbert provided this recent video from Mike Huckabee:

John Brummett in his article “Huckabee speaks for bad guy below,” Arkansas News Bureau, May 5, 2011 had to say:

Are we supposed to understand and accept that Mike Huckabee is in hell where he has official duties as a greeter,welcoming Osama bin-Laden?

We all suspect strongly, of course, that bin-Laden will spend eternity in hell, whatever his form and whatever hell’s. But we should not embrace a politician’s seeking electoral gain by dictating and announcing after-life dispositions. Those we should defer to a higher power, whose divine authority no mortal man should dare usurp, even for TV ratings or votes, or both.

I really am uncomfortable with all this kind of lighthearted talk about hell. The traditional Christian view of hell is a very serious doctrine. It is a necessary doctrine and today I want to show why.

Take a look at this portion of the article “Hell:The Horrible Choice,” by Patrick Zukeran of Probe Ministries. Here is the fifth installment:

 Why Hell Is Necessary and Just

Is hell necessary? How is this doctrine consistent with a God of love? These are questions I face when I speak on the fate of unbelievers. The necessity and justice of hell can be recognized when we understand the nature of God and the nature of man.

Hell is necessary because God’s justice requires it. Our culture focuses mostly on God’s nature of love, mercy, and grace. However, God is also just and holy, and this must be kept in balance. Justice demands retribution, the distribution of rewards and punishments in a fair way. God’s holiness demands that He separate himself entirely from sin and evil (Habakkuk 1:13). The author of Psalm 73 struggles with the dilemma of the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked. Joseph Stalin was responsible for the death of millions in the Soviet Union, but he died peacefully in his sleep without being punished for his deeds. Since evil often goes unpunished in this lifetime, it must be dealt with at a future time to fulfill God’s justice and holiness.

Notes1. Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL.: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 282.
2. Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Touchstone Books, 1957), 17 – 18.
3. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, ed. Nora Darwin Barlow, with original omissions restored (N.Y.: W. W. Norton, 1993), 87.
4. C. S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan), 69.Woody Allen’s movie Crimes and Misdemeanors does a great job of showing that if God does not exist then people like Stalin and Hitler were “home free” in that they were never going to be punished for what they did. “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

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.

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

Arkansas Times Bloggers: “Are you good without God? Millions are.” (Part 1)

Debate: Christianity vs Secular Humanism (1 of 14)

Christianity vs. Secular Humanism – Norman Geisler vs. Paul Kurtz

Published on Oct 6, 2013

Date: 1986
Location: The John Ankerberg Show

Christian debater: Norman L. Geisler
Atheist/secular humanist debater: Paul Kurtz

For Norm Geisler: http://www.normgeisler.com/

______________________

Origins of the Universe (Kalam Cosmological Argument) (Paul Kurtz vs Norman Geisler)

Published on Jun 6, 2012

Norm Geisler argues via Kalam Cosmological Argument for the origins of the universe with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. No matter how much evidence Geisler gave, Paul Kurtz refused to fully acknowledge the implications of it, while NEVER giving evidence for his own interpretation of the universe’s beginning.

_____________________

Paul Kurtz pictured above.

August 11, 2011 on the Arkansas Times Blog many nonbelievers ranted about the requirement that an atheist group had to put down a $15,000 deposit in order to advertise the phrase “Are you good without God? Millions are.”

I personally know of many atheists who are very fine moral people who have a wonderful marriage and a great family life. I could go on and name a bunch of names. However, I will mention my good friend John George who passed away a couple of years ago after a battle with cancer.

He wrote a book published by Prometheus which was started by Paul Kurtz. Kurtz was the originator of the Humanist Manifesto II. I have corresponded in the past with him and I have found him to be a very kind man. I highly recommend his debate concerning humanism on the John Ankerberg Show. I have included clips of that show.

I do not question the fact that many atheists live moral lives. However, this idea that humanists and atheists can come up with a logical moral system that rules out murder is not realistic. Rationally they can not do it. Without God in the picture then you only have this world of time and chance. If evolution teaches us the survival of the fittest then why would “might makes right” ever be wrong?

The movie maker and atheist Woody Allen knows this best.

allen_woody

I am a big Woody Allen movie fan and no other movie better demonstrates man’s need for God more  than Allen’s 1989 film  Crimes and Misdemeanors. This film also brought up the view that Hitler believed that “might made right.” How can an atheist argue against that?  Basically Woody Allen is attacking the weaknesses in his own agnostic point of view!! Take a look at the video clip below when he says in the absence of God, man has to do the right thing. What chance is there that will happen?

Crimes and Misdemeanors is  about a eye doctor who hires a killer to murder his mistress because she continually threatens to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. Afterward he is haunted by guilt. His Jewish father had taught him that God sees all and will surely punish the evildoer.

But the doctor’s crime is never discovered. Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his father had with Judah’s unbelieving Aunt May during a Jewish Sedar dinner  many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazi’s, 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.”

The basic question Woody Allen is presenting to his own agnostic humanistic worldview is: If you really believe there is no God there to punish you in an afterlife, then why not murder if you can get away with it?  The secular humanist worldview that modern man has adopted does not work in the real world that God has created. God “has planted eternity in the human heart…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This is a direct result of our God-given conscience. The apostle Paul said it best in Romans 1:19, “For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God  has shown it to them” (Amplified Version).

Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen – 1989) – Final scenes

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.). Humanists don’t really have an intellectual basis for saying that Hitler was wrong, but their God-given conscience tells them that they are wrong on this issue.

Debate: Christianity vs Secular Humanism (11 of 14) (How to motivate people to be good without God?)

Debate: Christianity vs Secular Humanism (3 of 14)