Tag Archives: Ecclesiastes

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?


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.


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.


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.


“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?
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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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:


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!)

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.

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.


Francis and Edith Schaeffer


Francis Schaeffer pictured below


Francis Schaeffer on David Friedrich Strauss and religious rationalism.


We would like to include a word about rationalism. The Enlightenment was a revolution in thought which took place in the eighteenth century in Europe. One of its main ideas was that man is autonomous; that is, man starts out from himself and measures all things by himself. Thus, there was no place for revelation. The philosophers felt that reason (man’s) should be supreme, rather than any communication from God.
Looked at from this viewpoint, this movement is called rationalism. This word means that its proponents assumed that man (though finite and limited) can begin from himself and gather all the information needed to explain all things. Rationalism rejects knowledge outside of man himself, especially any knowledge from God. Rationalism led naturally to the present predominant world view we have described at the beginning of this chapter: that is, materialism (only matter exists) or naturalism (no supernatural exists).
Having this as their world view, the rationalists had increasingly no place for things which were said to be “supernatural,” such as miracles, the raising of the dead, and Christ’s Transfiguration. These things were, therefore, first said to be beyond knowledge and thus of little of no value. Later they were arbitrarily said to be impossible. This view did not come because of scientific facts, but was rooted in the rationalist world view which they accepted.
Influenced by this thinking, the philosophers and rationalistic theologians made a division in the Bible between those things which fitted in with their rationalistic ideas and those which did not. Their attitude can be summed up simply: God cannot be known as One who acts in history. Therefore, they tried to divide the Bible roughly into natural and supernatural parts. They felt that the supernatural parts were unworthy to be accepted by “modern man,” that they belonged necessarily to the realm of primitive superstition, that there was nothing objectively true about them.
An example of one who took this approach is the German scholar David Friedrich Strauss who wrote The Life of Jesus in 1835. In it he said that most of the material in the Gospels is “mythical.” Speaking of the Transfiguration, he wrote, “It is impossible to maintain this historical, supernatural interpretation which the New Testament sanctions.” So what he proposed was a thoroughgoing demythologizing of the Gospel story. The real history, he said, had to be separated from this mythology.
Strauss was not the first scholar to state such opinions, but you can see from the date of The Life of Jesus – 1835 – that the revolution took place a long time ago. The movement as a whole has been called “religious liberalism,” because of its “free” approach to the Bible. It grew in momentum during the nineteenth century, and its assumptions are still the assumptions of many scholars in the Protestant world today and of an increasing number of Roman Catholic theologians, too.
What is most disturbing about this approach to the Bible is not that it disagrees with past traditions, but rather that it claims to be “scientific.” We must be clear that Christianity has nothing to fear from modern science. Indeed, Christianity was instrumental in the origin of science. Tradition and authority should not be just blindly accepted, but examined to see if the things previously believed are indeed true. What is dangerous is the misuse of the claim to be “scientific.” We do not think it is too strong to speak of this as “deception.”
By using the word scientific, the religious liberalists gave the impression of the same type of certainty and objectivity that had become accepted in regard to the physical sciences. Using this claim, they proposed their various theories of how the Bible had actually come into existence, and on the basis of these theories altered the teaching that Christians had previously accepted. They rejected the Bible’s accounts of miracles, such as the feeding of the 5,000 or Jesus’ walking on the water. But they went much further than that. For example, they rejected the idea of a coming judgement for mankind, of salvation through the substitutionary work of Christ, of the divinity of Christ, of the Resurrection, of the Virgin Birth, and so on. What was left was a religion of morality, called by some the “Religion of the Sermon on the Mount” (though this itself was a serious misrepresentation, for the Sermon on the Mount, as well as teaching a very high moral code, also teaches quite explicitly such things as future judgement by Jesus Himself).
To ordinary people, these developments were bewildering. However, for many the radical conclusions of the scholars seemed to be irresistable, for they were presented as the result of careful and objective scientific scholarship. To disagree with the scholars was to be obscurantist. To maintain the traditional ideas simply indicated a refusal to follow the truth wherever the truth led.
From where we stand today, it is easy to see how naive these views really are. For what has happened since that time is, first, that the internal weaknesses of the so-called scientific theories have become apparent. Second, literally tons of archaeological materials have been unearthed from the periods and the geographic locations covered by the Bible. Archaeology as a science has made huge strides in the last hundred years.
The scholars fail at this point because they are not scientific enough! They have fallen into the same trap which they accuse those who preceeded them of falling into – of bringing preconceived ideas about God’s revelation to bear on the discipline of biblical criticism. Because of their world view they refuse to accept the possibility that God could have communicated to man in such a way that what is contained in the Bible is reliable. They caricature this idea with such terms as the “dictation theory of inspiration.” By this they act as though the scholars through the centuries (who have held that God has given us truth through the Bible) have taught (and must teach) that God used the human writers of the Bible like typewriters, simply typing out what He wanted man to understand. But, while some may have taught the dictation theory of inspiration, it was not the generally held concept.
The generally held concept was that God used people in the writing of the Bible without destroying their individuality and their significance. What they finally wrote, however, was what God knew was necessary for people to have as a written authority. Each writer was “himself,” so to speak, but as each wrote – in a different style from others, in a different historical context, in different literary forms, and sometimes in different languages – he was led by God to write what God intended to be written. Thus, truth was given in all the areas the Bible touches upon.
The critics have continued the tradition received from the last century, which argued that God could not work into the world supernaturally. As Strauss said, “It is impossible to maintain as historical the supernatural interpretations the New Testament sanctions.” Strauss was correct on one point here. What the New Testament (including the teaching of Christ) teaches about the supernatural happenings in observable history is exactly what Strauss and the other liberal theologians have denied.
It is this sort of thinking which still underlies so much liberal scholarship. Why is it impossible, for example, for God to have effected the Virgin Birth when Jesus was born? After all, since God designed the birth process in the first place, why can He not in one case interrupt the normal action of cause and effect that He created and initiate something different? In the same way, if God created everything at the beginning, why can He not also give life to the dead and raise up Jesus’ body from the tomb? The only reason these things and others like them are so categorically denied is that the rationalist or naturalist world view has already been accepted.
When you hear people being critical about the Bible, remember that what seems to be scientific is not always so, and what are claimed to be the “assured results of scholarship” are not always so assured.
Let us give a recent example relating to the dating of the New Testament documents. For over a hundred years the ideas has circulated among many scholars that the documents of the New Testament (or most of them) could not have been written at, or soon after, the time of Jesus’ ministry. These scholars suggested in some cases that the Gospels were written about 150 years later and were therefore quite unreliable. In the same way, it was common for scholars to suggest that letters supposedly written by Paul or Peter of John were not written by them but by unknown writers who used the apostles’ names many years after they died to gain acceptance for what they had written.
A New Testament scholar, the ex-Bishop of Woolwich, John Robinson, now dean of Trinity College, Cambridge, has written a book called Redating the New Testament (1976). What is striking is that previously this author had taken a very “liberal” position. At the outset of his book on the dating of the New Testament, he says he first began to question the late dates assigned to the New Testament writers when he realized how “much more than is generally recognised, the chronology of the New Testament rests upon presuppositions rather than facts.” And he quotes the following from a letter from a famous New Testament scholar, C. H. Dodd: “I should agree with you that much of this late dating is quite arbitrary, even wanton, the offspring not of any argument that can be presented.”


David Friedrich Strauss

David Friedrich Strauss

David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1874), the German historian and the most controversial Protestant theologian of his time, was one of the first to make a clear distinction between Jesus the historical figure and Jesus the subject of Christian belief.

David Strauss was a highly intelligent student at the famous Tübinger Stift, the school at which G. W. F. Hegel, Friedrich Hölderlin, and F. W. J. von Schelling had studied. As a theologian, he employed the dialectical method of Hegel. In 1835-1836 he wrote the book on the subject which was to concern him for the greater part of his life, the Life of Jesus. His main thesis was that the Jesus of biblical writings is not the real Jesus of history but a person transformed by the religious consciousness of Christians. Therefore, he stated that the basis of Christian belief and theology cannot be explained by scientific methods since Christianity is not based upon historical knowledge but upon a myth. Furthermore, it is impossible to analyze the life of Jesus under the aspects of a historical person and save his divine nature.

This book was a challenge to the entire Protestant theology of the time, and Strauss became intensely involved in polemics and discussions. Due to his reputation he was unable to obtain a teaching position at any university. He defended his theological position in many pamphlets, yet began to compromise to satisfy his critics. However, in a new book, Christian Doctrine in Its Historical Development and Its Struggle against Modern Science (1840-1841), he again stressed the scientific point of view in evaluating the Bible, the Church, and dogmas. He was convinced that the positions of Church and science could not be unified.

After 1841 he separated from his wife, withdrew from theology, and began a career as a writer. He concentrated on biographies of poets from southern Germany and history. Among his elegantly written biographies we find essays on A. J. Kerner, Eduard Mörike, J. L. Uhland, C. F. Schubart, and Voltaire. During the French-German war in 1870-1871, he corresponded with the French historian Ernest Renan. These letters were published and publicly discussed.

In 1864 Strauss again tried to cope with the problem of the life of Jesus but in a more moderate way. He accepted many of the arguments of his earlier enemies. But this new Life of Jesus was not challenging and did not attract the same attention as his work of 1836. In 1872 he again attacked the basis of Christian theology. His last book, The Old and New Faith, ordered his thoughts under four questions: Are we still Christians? Have we still religion? How do we conceive the world? How do we arrange our life? He denied that Christianity had any relevance for a modern, educated man. For religious feelings he substituted worship of the universe. The world should be understood in a scientific and materialistic way. Human life should be ordered by a concern for the good of man. This book was rejected almost unanimously by friends and opponents. The most famous attack was led by Friedrich Nietzsche. This reaction was the disappointment of Strauss’s last years. He died in Ludwigsburg, the place of his birth, on Feb. 8, 1874.

Further Reading

Recommended for the study of the life and thought of Strauss are the relevant chapters in the following works: Sidney Hook, From Hegel to Marx (1936); Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of Its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede, translated by W. Montgomery (1948); Karl Barth,Protestant Thought: From Rousseau to Ritschl, translated by B. Cozens (1959); and Karl Löwith, From Hegel to Nietzsche: The Revolution in Nineteenth-century Thought, translated by David E. Green (1964).

Additional Sources

Cromwell, Richard S., David Friedrich Strauss and his place in modern though, Fair Lawn, N.J., R. E. Burdick 1974. □

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“David Friedrich Strauss.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (March 28, 2014).http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3404706190.html




Today my featured artist is Roni Horn:


Roni Horn: Water | Art21 “Exclusive”

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Episode #081: Artist Roni Horn discusses the paradoxical identity and dependency of water, paired with scenes of Icelandic landscapes. Water and Iceland serve as both subjects and metaphors in the artists work, coming together most recently in “Vatnasafn/Library of Water,” a building designed by the artist in Stykkishólmur, Iceland.

Roni Horn explores the mutable nature of art through sculptures, works on paper, photography, and books. Horn describes drawing as the key activity in all her work because drawing is about composing relationships. Horn crafts complex relationships between the viewer and her work by installing a single piece on opposing walls or in adjoining rooms.

Learn more about Roni Horn: http://www.art21.org/artists/roni-horn

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Terry Doe & Mead Hunt. Sound: Ron Garson & Mark Mandler. Editor: Jenny Chiurco. Special Thanks: Hauser & Wirth, London.


Roni Horn: Saying Water

Published on May 21, 2013

Have you ever stood by a river and stared into the black water? In this video acclaimed artist Roni Horn takes us down by the riverside, performing a powerful 40 minute monologue based on her associations with water, including tales of sex and murder.

“Watching the water, I am stricken with the vertigo of meaning.” One of many vivid lines by American artist Roni Horn quotable from this video, where she examines water as an unknown.

In this video Roni Horn explains how water shows us who we are. How it is ambiguous. And makes us extended. How it can be a dark fluid making us disappear. How it is a soft entrance to not being. “When you talk of the water, are you talking of yourself, or the weather?” Horn asks. The river surrounds you, and takes you away, she explains. Dark water makes you invisible, while also relieving you from the demands of sight. “Thinking about water, is thinking about the future.” And importantly, water is sexy. Because it is powerful, vulnerable, energetic, fragile, she says: “Near it. Immersed in it. Deeper into it. Washing all over me.”

Roni Horn (b.1955) wrote Saying Water during her stay at the one-bedroom installation ‘A Room for London’, October 2012; a riverboat resting on top of the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall by the river Thames. “The Thames has the highest level of suicides of any urban river. Or at least, it looks like it does.” Horn tells us of suicides and murders, real and fictitious, taking place by the river, and she wonders what it is about the Thames that makes people travel from far away to commit suicide in it. Black water is always violent, she says, because it’s alluring. “Between grief and nothing, I will take grief”.

Roni Horn is an American visual artist and writer from New York. Her work encompasses sculpture, drawing, photography, language, and site-specific installations. An underlying theme running through Horn’s work is her relationship and associations with water.

Recorded at the Two days art-festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, in May 2012

Edited by Kamilla Bruus & Troels Kahl

Camera: Troels Kahl

Produced by Christian Lund, 2013

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Meet more artists at channel.louisiana.dk

Louisiana Channel is a non-profit video channel for the Internet launched by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in November 2012. Each week Louisiana Channel will publish videos about and with artists in visual art, literature, architcture, design etc.

Read more:

Supported by Nordea-fonden.



She talks a lot about water and it reminds me of Ecclesiastes and Solomon when he wrote about water. Solomon had a great scientific understanding of water and the evaporation process.

Ecclesiastes 1:4-10

New International Version (NIV)

Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.


Ray Stedman wrote:

– the endless cycles of life. The Searcher’s theme is stated in Verse 4: Humanity is transient, but nature is permanent. A generation goes and a generation comes — the human race passes on from this life, comes into life, lives its term and goes on — but the earth remains forever.

He has three proofs of this, the first of which is the circle of the sun. The sun rises in the east, runs across the heavens, apparently, and sets in the west; then it scurries around the dark side of the earth while we are sleeping, and there it is in the east again in the morning. That has been going on as long as time has been counted, as far back as we can read in human history. It is endless; it repeats itself again and again.

Then he speaks of the circuit of the winds, south to north. This is unusual, because we have no evidence that men understood scientifically the fact that the wind, the clouds and the great jet streams of earth run in circles. This is evident to us in our day because we can see from a satellite picture in any news broadcast the great circles of the winds. How they knew this back then I do not know. But Solomon knew it, though the scientific world of that day did not seem to understand it.

His third proof is the circuit of the evaporative cycle. Thirteen elders and pastors from this church have just returned from a backpack trip to the Sierras. There the mountain peaks were milking moisture from the clouds which passed over all you dry people down here. We had torrents of rain, hail, and even snow falling upon us while we were huddling in our little plastic tents, enjoying this backpack experience. Where does all the water which endlessly drops out of the sky come from? The answer, of course, is that it comes from the ocean. Out here to the west an invisible evaporative process is at work by which the water that runs into the sea never raises the level of the sea because there is an invisible raising of that water back up into the clouds. These clouds then move east by the circuit of the winds and drop their moisture again, and this goes on forever.

The writer is suggesting that there is something wrong in this. It is backwards, somehow. Man ought to be permanent and nature ought to be transient, he suggests. There is something within all of us that says this. We feel violated that we learn all these great lessons from life, but just as we have begun to learn how to handle life it is over, and the next generation has to start from scratch again.

The Scripture confirms that something is wrong. The Bible tells us that man was created to be the crown of creation. He is the one who is in dominion over all things. Man ought to last endlessly and nature ought to be changing, but it is the other way around. Man feels the protest of this in his spirit. We have all felt this. We all protest, inwardly, at least, the injustice of losing the wisdom of a Churchill, the beauty of a Princess Grace, or the charm of a John Kennedy. Something is wrong that all of this is suddenly taken away from us, while the meaningless cycle of nature goes on and on endlessly. Yes, the human spirit feels that strongly. That very pertinent question is going to be developed in the theme of this book.



I have written on the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of the meaning of our lives on several occasions on this blog. In this series on Ecclesiastes I hope to show how secular humanist man can not hope to find a lasting meaning to his life in a closed system without bringing God back into the picture. This is the same exact case with Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Three thousand years ago, Solomon took a look at life “under the sun” in his book of 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.”

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

  1. Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)
  2. Chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)
  3. Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1)
  4. Nothing in life gives true satisfaction without God including knowledge (1:16-18), ladies and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and great building projects (2:4-6, 18-20).

You can only find a lasting meaning to your life by looking above the sun and bring God back into the picture. Without God in the picture will continue to search for a lasting meaning to your life but you will not be able to find it and such is the result of modern art. That is why Ecclesiastes is the perfect book for modern man!!!!




Art:21 Roni Horn

Published on May 30, 2013

Muchas gracias a Marian, miembro del ClubSub que subtituló este video.
Buscamos voluntarios que nos ayuden acá: http://lalulula.tv/ClubSub/index.php?…



Roni Horn: Selected Drawings at Hauser & Wirth Zürich

Published on Jun 19, 2012

http://www.vernissage.tv | The weekend before this year’s Art Basel, the Löwenbräu art center in Zürich (Switzerland) opened its doors so the public could see the renovated and restructured building that houses art galleries and institutions such as Kunsthalle Zürich, Luma Westbau / Pool etc., Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Galerie Freymond-Guth, and Hauser & Wirth.

The first exhibitions that Hauser & Wirth presents back in the Löwenbräu are shows with Hans Arp and Roni Horn. The Roni Horn show features selected drawings produced between 1984 and 2012. It’s the first survey exhibition dedicated solely to the pigment drawings of the New York-based artist. The works range from early pieces which showcase Roni Horn’s initial experimentations with pure pigment and varnish to the recent drawings that are composed of separate drawings, or “plates”.

Roni Horn: Selected Drawings 1984 — 2012 / Hauser & Wirth Zürich. Opening, June 10, 2012.

More videos on contemporary art, design, architecture:



About Roni Horn

Roni Horn was born in New York in 1955, and lives and works in New York. She received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Yale University. Horn explores the mutable nature of art through sculptures, works on paper, photography, and books. She describes drawing as the key activity in all her work, “because drawing is about composing relationships.” Horn’s drawings concentrate on the materiality of the objects depicted. She also uses words as the basis for drawings and other works. Horn crafts complex relationships between the viewer and her work by installing a single piece on opposing walls, in adjoining rooms, or throughout a series of buildings. She subverts the notion of “identical experience,” insisting that one’s sense of self is marked by a place in the “here-and-there” and by time in the “now-and-then.” She describes her artworks as “site-dependent,” expanding upon the idea of site-specificity associated with minimalism. Horn’s work also embodies the cyclical relationship between humankind and nature—a mirror-like relationship in which we attempt to remake nature in our own image. Since 1975, Horn has traveled often to Iceland, whose landscape and isolation have strongly influenced her practice. “Some Thames” (2000), a permanent installation at the University of Akureyri in Iceland, consists of eighty photographs of water, dispersed throughout the university’s public spaces, echoing the ebb and flow of students and learning over time at the university. Roni Horn received the CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts, several National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a Guggenheim fellowship. She has had one-person exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Dia Center for the Arts, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; among others. Her group exhibitions include the Whitney Biennial (1991, 2004), Documenta (1992), and Venice Biennale (1997), among others.

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