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HUGH HEFNER WAS A MODERN DAY KING SOLOMON AND I TOLD HIM THAT OVER AND OVER (PART 4) Letter from 5-26-16

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Image result for hugh hefner laughing

Over and over I have read that Hugh Hefner was a modern day King Solomon and Hefner’s search for satisfaction was attempted by adding to the number of his sexual experiences. Richard Zowie makes the same comparison below:

King Solomon would disagree with Gene Simmons about Hugh Hefner

Gene Simmons, echoing a statement he made a few years ago when blogging about attending a party at the Playboy Mansion, expressed his reverence for “Hef” (Mr. Hefner, I understand, dislikes his first name and prefers the nickname “Hef”). The Israeli-born rocker/businessman said in a recent documentary on Hefner: “Show me any guy, of any age, anywhere in the world, at any time in history, today or tomorrow, that wouldn’t give his left [testicle] to be Hugh Hefner.”

Yoo-hoo, Gene! Over here!

<Richard waves both his hands and tries to get Simmons’ attention>

Simmons and Hefner are more than entitled to do as they wish with their lives, and as long as their actions are with other consenting adults, I prefer to stay out of it.

That being said, with all due respect, Mr. Simmons, speak for yourself. I get the feeling an ancient Hebrew king might say the same thing.

Besides, about 2,900 years before there was ever a Hugh M. Hefner, there was a Hebrew king named Solomon. Reading through First Kings and Second Chronicles indicates that Solomon could’ve easily schooled Hefner on women: Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. We can only imagine the other sex partners he had whenever he went to a party and had his selection of any woman he wanted.

I wonder if Solomon would’ve given his left testicle to be Hefner. It’s a pointless question, because Solomon not only was Hefner, but he no doubt was bigger than Hefner. When you read about Solomon and his downfall, you get the strong feeling his appetite for women was absolutely insatiable. In fact, he was probably the guy Hefner would’ve aspired to be.

This is funny, of course, because Ecclesiastes is a book where Solomon looks back on his life of money, sex, power, fame, sex, wisdom, knowledge and sex and utters this in verse two:

“Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

Or:

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

In other words, Solomon–the Original Hugh Hefner with his bottomless harem of wives, concubines and one-night stands–had every man’s ultimate sexual fantasy.

And Solomon couldn’t have been more miserable.

The last thing I want to do is use this blog as a soapbox to attack Mr. Hefner and his lifestyle or to attack Simmons for glamorizing it, but I wonder if either is truly happy. If Solomon was miserable in a life where he strayed off his path with God, I suspect these two men are also.

Richard Zowie is a Christian writer, who considers Ecclesiastes to be one of his favorite books of the Bible. Post comments here or drop a line to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

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Many of the sermons that I heard or read that inspired me to write Hugh Hefner were from this list of gentlemen:  Daniel Akin, Brandon Barnard,Matt Chandler, George Critchley,  Steve Gaines, Norman L. Geisler, Greg Gillbert, Billy Graham, Mark Henry, Dan Jarrell, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., R. G. Lee,  Chris Lewis, Kerry Livgren, Robert Lewis,    Bill Parkinson, Ben Parkinson,Vance Pitman, Nelson Price, Adrian Rogers, Philip Graham Ryken, Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel, Bill Wellons, Kirk Wetsell,  Ken Whitten, Ed Young , and Ravi Zacharias, Tom Zobrist, Richard Zowie.

The letter I wrote to Hugh Hefner that is featured today is based primarily on a sermon by Steven Gaines. See it below:

Image result for steve gaines adrian rogers

(Adrian Rogers wasting the feet of Steve Gaines pictured above at Bellevue Baptist where Rogers was the pastor from  1972 to 2004 and Gaines is now)

Image result for steve gaines bellevue baptist church

May 26, 2016

Hugh Hefner
Playboy Mansion  
10236 Charing Cross Road
Los Angeles, CA 90024-1815

Dear Mr. Hefner,

I understand you were longtime friends with Tony Curtis and that he even took up a long-term residence at the Playboy Mansion at one time.  Actually over his long life he suffered from alcoholism, drug addiction and what he called an “addiction to women.” Francis Schaeffer observed concerning King Solomon, “You can not know woman by knowing 1000 women.” Since it was your philosophy that produced these results in countless homes in modern times do you feel somewhat responsible to those children who have been disenfranchised by the broken homes?

Tony had fling with Monroe

Wife number one: Janet Leigh, who Curtis married in 1951

Wife number one: Janet Leigh, who Curtis married in 1951

Curtis family seen above

In the article, “The worst father in the world? Tony Curtis neglected his children. Now they’re having to sue for a share of his £37million fortune” By ALISON BOSHOFF FOR THE DAILY MAIL

To his millions of fans he was the last of the great matinee idols, the most handsome of all Hollywood stars and a man whose incredible sexual career encompassed a fling with Marilyn Monroe and a period of taking showgirls ‘two a day’ like vitamin pills.

But to his family, life with Tony Curtis — who had six children and six wives — was a more fraught affair. His actress daughter Jamie Lee Curtis has declared numerous times that he ‘wasn’t a father’ to her, and he admitted candidly that he had been a lousy dad…

Meanwhile Allegra, the black sheep among the children, who posed for Playboy in her youth, has recently written a book describing her father as a drug-addicted ‘demon’, and bemoaning the fact that he never gave her a chance to be his daughter.

‘My father was a victim of his fame, and I am the victim of my father, the global star. I got to learn about the dark side of the spotlight,’ she said. ‘My life with him was always unstable.’

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Happier times: Tony Curtis and first wife Janet Leigh pose with their daughters Kelly and Jamie Lee

Happier times: Tony Curtis and first wife Janet Leigh pose with their daughters Kelly and Jamie Lee

From the movie SOME LIKE IT HOT

Wife number two: Christine Kaufmann was mother of Alexandra and Allegra (who is pictured in 1967)

Wife number three: Leslie Allen bore Curtis two sons, one of whom died

Wife number four: Actress Andrea Savio was Curtis' next wife

Wife number four: Actress Andrea Savio was Curtis’ next wife

Wife number five: Lawyer Lisa Deutsch, who he married in 1993

Wife number five: Lawyer Lisa Deutsch, who he married in 1993

Wife number six: Jill Vandenberg was married to Curtis until his death

Wife number six: Jill Vandenberg was married to Curtis until his death

I grew up at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee and recently I got to listen to a CD with the sermon entitled WHY AM I HERE? by Steve Gaines the current pastor of Bellevue Baptist. This sermon really does describe those who like TONY CURTIS who are looking for life’s meaning in liquor, luxuries or lust. Here is an excerpt:

Today we are going to do a very quick overview of the Book of Ecclesiastes. If you want to describe Ecclesiastes then you could describe it with these words BEEN THERE DONE THAT, NOW WHAT?

Ecclesiastes was written by a frustrated old man who had wasted his life on this earth. Solomon wrote three books. He wrote THE SONG OF SOLOMON when he was a young man in love and he was in love with a precious wife and would to God that he would have stayed in that vein. Then as an older man he wrote Book of Proverbs and he showed that he was indeed a very wise man at the moment he wrote those words inspired by the Holy Spirit. But at the end of his life when he had turned his heart from the Lord and he had married all these women from many different religions and he had all these different concubines and he had tried everything in life then he sat down and wrote his opus call Ecclesiastes. It is a book of frustration written by a man who had wasted his life.

Let’s look first at why we are not here.

FIRST, we are not here primarily for scholarship or learning.

Ecclesiastes 1:12-13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

12 I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my [a]mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is [b]a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. 14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is [c]vanity and striving after wind.

SECONDLY, we are not here primarily for possessions and pleasure.

Ecclesiastes 2:3-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

 I explored with my [c]mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my [d]mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men [e]to do under heaven the few [f]years of their lives. 4 I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves and I had [g]homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.

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

(Verse 8 is put this way by THE MESSAGE, “I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song,     and—most exquisite of all pleasures— voluptuous maidens for my bed.”)

THIRDLY, we are not here primarily for work.

Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

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

FOURTHLY, we are not here primarily for money.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is [a]vanity. 11 When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to [b]look on? 12 The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the [c]full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.

If we are not here primarily for scholarship, possessions, pleasures, work or money then what are we here for?

We are here primarily for God.

Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

12 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”;

13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

You see Solomon is the one who wrote in Proverbs:

Proverbs 9:10 Amplified Bible (AMP)

10 The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of wisdom [its starting point and its essence],
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding and spiritual insight.

But then Solomon wasted his life. He didn’t fear and revere  and serve the living God, and then he comes back full circle and says he was right when he first wrote Proverbs 9:10.

Jesus said we are here to focus on the king and his kingdom.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matt 6:33). Jesus when he was praying to the Father said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent,” (John 17:3).

My life is supposed to be about Jesus.

Matthew 22:35-38 English Standard Version (ESV)

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.

We are here everyday to enjoy God and to have fellowship with God. To get to know God, to worship God, to serve God and to prepare to meet our God and who we are going to stand before and give account of the life he has given us. That is why we are here. Not primarily for scholarship, possessions, money and career.

Let me read something:

If any one person were to be singled out as the most influential promoter of hedonism in modern times, it would surely have to be Hugh Hefner. His Playboy magazine, first published in the mid-1950s has had an unusually large circulation – especially among college and university people – in the intellectual community. Playboy has also had the second largest circulation of all American magazines in all of Western Europe, preceded only by the Reader’s Digest.[6] Through Playboy‚ Hefner has produced a slackening of moral standards, an excessive freedom of profane expression, and a much less disciplined world.

The destructive nature of Hefner’s philosophy, endorsed and promoted by the networks, hasn’t escaped some of the secular press. Chicago Tribune‚ columnist Bob Greene makes some startling and intriguing personal assessments in an article on Hefner. Green credits him with being one of the two most influential Americans in the second half of the twentieth century.[8]

Green says, “Hugh Hefner let Americans know that they could behave in any way they pleased. Conventional ideas of morality didn’t matter; the standards of one’s parents didn’t matter; the approval of one’s peers didn’t matter. All that mattered was that feeling good became an end in itself.”[9] To say that Hugh Hefner is the originator of the immoral revolution we’ve witnessed in recent decades would be incorrect. However, to say that no one person in modern times has more effectively exploited immorality than has Hugh Hefner would not be inaccurate. He took advantage of the fact that, for most Americans, moral standards had already been emptied of their Godly authority.

When a personal sense of duty, responsibility and a sense of moral righteousness is no longer rooted in a belief that God holds all men accountable for their actions, then human behavior is often regulated by one’s own personal pleasures. In the name of freedom, Hefner championed pleasure. By calling for individual freedom, Hefner promoted individual selfishness and social irresponsibility that worked havoc on our cultural morality and especially on the institution of marriage.

This is the legacy of HUGH HEFNER, a modern day Solomon…Can you imagine what it will be like for HUGH HEFNER to stand before the judgment seat of God with a wasted life and having led so many boys and men into pornography and destroyed so many marriages all for hedonism. All for living for pleasure just like Solomon did way back when and I am telling you friend there is no (satisfaction you derive from ) it. What is real is knowing God.

Colossians 1:15-16 English Standard Version (ESV)

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[a] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Money, possessions, hedonistic pleasures, clubbing around, pornography, food, alcohol, drugs, work, or career will NOT satisfy you . Your ultimate reason for being on this planet is to come to know God. He created this world as a paradise. With sin we messed it all up but he wouldn’t leave us un-reconciled. He kicked out ancestors out of the garden, but then he sent his own son back to this earth to redeem us and reconcile us, to die as an atoning sacrifice for our sins to bring us back to himself so everyday we could wake up and say good morning father. We can know our sins are forgiven. We can know in this broken world that we have been healed of our brokenness by the one who entered into our suffering, not a God who is distant from our suffering but a God who loved us enough to enter into our suffering to give eternal abundant life. That is what life is about, a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Would you today give Him your life?

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Steve Gaines mentioned that Christ came and laid his life down to die for our sins. Let me share some Old Testament prophecy that indicates the Bible is true concerning Christ being executed on a cross. Some 400 years before crucifixion was invented, both Israel’s King David and the prophet Zechariah described the Messiah’s death in words that perfectly depict that mode of execution. Further, they said that the body would be pierced and that none of the bones would be broken, contrary to customary procedure in cases of crucifixion (Psalm 22 and 34:20; Zechariah 12:10). Again, historians and New Testament writers confirm the fulfillment: Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross, and his extraordinarily quick death eliminated the need for the usual breaking of bones. A spear was thrust into his side to verify that he was, indeed, dead.

Psalm 22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For the choir director; upon [a]Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David (Solomon’s father)

22 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
[b]Far from my deliverance are the words of my [c]groaning.
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but [d]I have no rest.
But I am a worm and not a man,

A reproach of men and despised by the people.
7 All who see me [g]sneer at me;
They [h]separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
[i]Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

12 Many bulls have surrounded me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
13 They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within [l]me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me [m]in the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded me;
[n]A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
[o]They pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
18 They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

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

PS: HUGH I have written you 37 TIMES and many of those letters have been from the sermons at my church in Little Rock but today was a little different since the sermon was from the church that I grew up in. Steve Gaines is the pastor of Bellevue Baptist in Memphis and there have only been 4 pastors at Bellevue since you were born in 1926. Robert G. Lee till 1959 and then Ramsey Pollard till 1972 and Adrian Rogers till 2004 and Steve Gaines since then.

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HUGH HEFNER WAS A MODERN DAY KING SOLOMON AND I TOLD HIM THAT OVER AND OVER (PART 3) letter from 5-16-16

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Image result for hugh hefner laughing

Over and over I have read that Hugh Hefner was a modern day King Solomon and Hefner’s search for satisfaction was attempted by adding to the number of his sexual experiences.

Rankin Wilbourne noted: 

Imagine a man more brilliant that Albert Einstein, more wealthy than Bill Gates, more powerful than Barack Obama, the spiritual pedigree of Billy Graham, but more of a hedonist that Hugh Hefner. That’s King Solomon, who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes – who chased  “if only” in terms of power, money, sex, fame and learning – but who concluded, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!”

Many of the sermons that I heard or read that inspired me to write Hugh Hefner were from this list of gentlemen:  Daniel Akin, Brandon Barnard,Matt Chandler, George Critchley,  Steve Gaines, Norman L. Geisler, Greg Gillbert, Billy Graham, Mark Henry, Dan Jarrell, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., R. G. Lee,  Chris Lewis, Kerry Livgren, Robert Lewis,    Bill Parkinson, Ben Parkinson,Vance Pitman, Nelson Price, Adrian Rogers, Philip Graham Ryken, Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel, Bill Wellons, Kirk Wetsell,  Ken Whitten, Ed Young ,  Ravi Zacharias, Tom Zobrist, and Richard Zowie.

 

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Image result for hugh hefner younger days

 

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Today I have quoted in my letter to Hugh Hefner extensively from sermons from Ken Whitten of Idlewild Baptist of Tampa, Florida, and Brandon Barnard of Fellowship Bible Church of Little Rock, Arkansas. Plus I quoted Francis Schaeffer concerning some Biblical Archaeology that indicates the Bible is accurate concerning historical details.

 

Image result for francis schaeffer

 May 16, 2016
Hugh Hefner
Playboy Mansion  
10236 Charing Cross Road
Los Angeles, CA 90024-1815
Dear Mr. Hefner,

Just a few weeks ago I congratulated you on your 90th birthday and today I am turning 55 years old today and many people call that middle age but how many 110 year old people you see walking around?    I also  have started to think about the end of my life in recent days since it is fast approaching all of us. King Solomon in his book of ECCLESIASTES talks about death quite a lot and he wrote a passage in chapter 2 that I wanted to quote and then I wanted to include some comments from the preacher Ken Whitten in his sermon HAUNTED BY DEATH:Ken Whitten pastor of Tampa’s Idlewild Baptist Church

 

King Solomon gives us a little key to his heart in the Book of Ecclesiastes when he said he looked for everything imaginable to find satisfaction UNDER THE SUN.  Now folks anytime you look for satisfaction UNDER THE SUN it means you have an earthly view of life and if all you have is an earthly view of life you are going to be discouraged. You can tell Solomon is cynical. In Ecclesiastes 2 it says Solomon has tried LEARNING, LABOR, LEISURE, LUST, LAUGHTER, and LIQUOR but it is just like chasing the wind. It was like a little bubble that a kid would blow and then he catches it and there is nothing left there.

12 So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done? 13 And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both. 15 Then I said [j]to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So [k]I said to myself, “This too is vanity.” 16 For there is no [l]lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17 So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was [m]grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.

Solomon is saying no matter if you are a fool or a wise-man it has nothing to do with removing the reality of death. It is an universal experience and it is going to happen to everyone. The Bible says it “befalls” or overtakes them all. Death overtakes us all.

Solomon looks at life like a race. At the beginning of life and when you are younger you look over your shoulder and in the far distance you see that someone is chasing you and he is in the race with you but you don’t pay much attention to him and there is no sense looking back since you are so far ahead. You think he will never catch you. Then you get a little older and guess what you notice. He seems to be going a little faster and you seem to be going a little slower. And you notice that while you continue to move you are starting to hear the footsteps and you starting failing.

Something is happening to us and we are deteriorating physically. In verse 14 Solomon says one fate  befalls both the fool and the wise and that is they both die. The rich is gonna die and the poor is gonna die. The actors, athletes, entertainers and the movie stars are gonna die.

Solomon doesn’t like this very much and he says in verses 16-17:

16 For there is no [l]lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17 So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was [m]grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.

Solomon is saying that he doesn’t like this. It doesn’t matter how famous you get because there will be very little remembrance of you. Regardless of how famous you become there are people behind you who are going to be famous and they need your space in the history books and they will take it.

The rich and poor are gonna die. It doesn’t matter what is in your pocketbook but only what is in your heart. If you died tonight where would you spend eternity?

(End of sermon by Ken Whitten)

Below Ken is pictured with his wife Ginny

Image result for ken whitten idlewild

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Image result for ken whitten idlewild

You might said that this letter is a real downer but I have some good news to share with you. On Easter morning March 27, 2016 at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH our teaching pastor Brandon Barnard delivered the message THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING based on I Corinthians chapter 15 and I wanted to share a portion of that sermon with you today.

Teaching pastor at my church, Brandon Barnard, Fellowship Bible Church

 

This day is the day that changes everything. The resurrection changes everything and that is why we are gathered here today to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ because it changes everything.

Some of you are going to be blown away by the opportunity before you this Easter morning because the resurrection of Jesus Christ stands at the very heart of Christianity. If what we we are gathered here to celebrate did not happen then people need to pity us as believers.  They need to feel sorry for you and me more than anyone on earth because we have set our hopes firmly on a lie.

But if the resurrection really did happen, then we need to repent and we need to believe in Jesus and we need to rejoice that we have hope in this life and the life to come. 

Paul wrote this to the believers in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 15:3-6, 13-21 English Standard Version (ESV)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.19 If in Christ we have hope[a] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

If Christ hasn’t been raised then these facts are true:

  1. PREACHING AND FAITH ARE IN VAIN.
  2. WE ARE FALSE WITNESSES
  3. WE ARE STILL IN OUR SINS.
  4. THOSE WHO DIED IN FAITH ARE STILL DEAD
  5. WE ARE TO BE PITIED MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD.

Verse 20 says, “but Christ has been raised!!! Therefore, these things are true:

  1. Our faith is significant, valuable and eternal.
  2. we are truth tellers!!
  3. we are forgiven of our sins.
  4. death is not our final stop.
  5. don’t pity us but join us in believing in Jesus Christ.

(End of Sermon from Brandon)

A lot of people say they do not believe in an afterlife. However, would you agree that if the Bible is correct in regards to history then Jesus did rise from the grave? Let’s take a closer look at evidence concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

I know that you highly respected Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and he co-authored with Francis Schaeffer the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? Below is a piece of evidence from that book:

Surgeon General C. Everett Koop

Francis Schaeffer

 

 

We should take one last step back into the history of the Old Testament. In the previous note we looked first at the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to around 100 B.C. Then we went back to the period of the Late Monarchy and looked first at the siege of Hezekiah in Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 B.C. and also at the last years of Judah down to about 600 B.C. Then we went further back to about 850 B.C., to Ahab and Jezebel, the ivory house, the Black Obelisk, the Moabite Stone and so on–then back again to about 950 B.C., to the time of Solomon and his son Rehoboam and the campaign by Shishak, the Egyptian pharaoh.

This should have built up in our minds a vivid impression of the historic reliability of the biblical text, including even the seemingly obscure details such as the ration tablets in Babylon. We saw, in other words, not only that the Bible gives us a marvelous world view that ties in with the nature of reality and answers the basic problems which philosophers have asked down through the centuries, but also that the Bible is completely reliable, EVEN ON THE HISTORICAL LEVEL.

The previous notes looked back to the time of Moses and Joshua, the escape from Egypt, and the settlement in Canaan. Now we will go back further–back as far as Genesis 12, near the beginning of the Bible.

Do we find that the narrative fades away to a never-never land of myths and legends? By no means. For we have to remind ourselves that although Genesis 12 deals with events a long time ago from our moment of history (about 2000 B.C. or a bit later), the civilized world was already not just old but ancient when Abram/Abraham left “Ur of the Chaldeans” (see Genesis 11:31).

Ur itself was excavated some fifty years ago. In the British Museum, for example, one can see the magnificent contents of a royal burial chamber from Ur. This includes a gold headdress still in position about the head of a queen who died in Ur about 2500 B.C. It has also been possible to reconstruct from archaeological remains what the streets and buildings must have been like at the time.

Like Ur, the rest of the world of the patriarchs (that is, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) was firm reality. Such places as Haran, where Abraham went first, have been discovered. So has Shechem from this time, with its Canaanite stone walls, which are still standing, and its temple.

Genesis 12:5-9New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the [a]persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they [b]set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the[c]oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your [d]descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord andcalled upon the name of the Lord. Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the[e]Negev.

Haran and Shechem may be unfamiliar names to us but the Negrev (or Negeb) is a name we have all read frequently in the news accounts of our own day. 

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

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

PS: HUGH I have written you 36 TIMES and many of those letters have been from the sermons at my church in Little Rock. HUGH you may not think the  Bible is correct about the existence of an afterlife. However, are you willing to take a look at some evidence that demonstrates the Bible is historically accurate and trustworthy?

Haran pictured below

UR of the Chaldees was the port of CHALDEA (Babylonia), a major trade and commerce post.

Headdress of Queen Puabi of Ur, Mesopotamia, 2550 BCE:

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HUGH HEFNER WAS A MODERN DAY KING SOLOMON AND I TOLD HIM THAT OVER AND OVER (PART 2) Letter from 5-14-16

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Image result for hugh hefner younger days

Over and over I have read that Hugh Hefner was a modern day King Solomon and Hefner’s search for satisfaction was attempted by adding to the number of his sexual experiences.  

Well, the readers of the book would remember the story of King Solomon, the king who had it all. He had more wisdom than anyone, more wealth, more pleasure (remember he had hundreds of wives and concubines). He was, speaking anachronistically and a bit flippantly, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Hugh Hefner all rolled up into one. But all that wealth, wisdom, and pleasure was not enough for Solomon, who ended his life a sad apostate. The message for the reader of Ecclesiastes, then, is a warning not to live with the illusion that “if I only had more” (money, wisdom, pleasure), then I would be satisfied with life.

Many of the sermons that I heard or read that inspired me to write Hugh Hefner were from this list of gentlemen:  Daniel Akin, Brandon Barnard,Matt Chandler, George Critchley,  Steve Gaines, Norman L. Geisler, Greg Gillbert, Billy Graham, Mark Henry, Dan Jarrell, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., R. G. Lee,  Chris Lewis, Kerry Livgren, Robert Lewis,    Bill Parkinson, Ben Parkinson,Vance Pitman, Nelson Price, Adrian Rogers, Philip Graham Ryken, Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel, Bill Wellons, Kirk Wetsell,  Ken Whitten, Ed Young ,  Ravi Zacharias, Tom Zobrist, and Richard Zowie.

Image result for hugh hefner younger days

 

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Image result for kerry livgren

In this letter I tell the story of Kerry Livgren who had the world at his feet when he was writing hit songs for KANSAS in the 1970’s but he found that there was an emptiness in his heart. As a result, he wrote the song DUST IN THE WIND which reached #6 in the pop music charts in 1978. I later saw him on THE 700 CLUB give his testimony how he found peace in Christ. I can think of no other song that ties in better with Ecclesiastes than the song DUST IN THE WIND.

Image result for kerry livgren 700 club

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Image result for kerry livgren

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Image result for adrian rogers

In this letter below I quoted the sermon outline from Adrian Rogers when I wrote, “Hugh you remind me of Solomon because you are looking for  lasting meaning in your life and you are looking in the same  6 areas that King Solomon did in what I call the 6 big L words. He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).” I also quoted Ravi Zacharias when I wrote, “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.”

Image result for ravi zacharias ecclesiastes

Plus I quoted Francis Schaeffer’s discussion of what Woody Allen said concerning the meaning of life. Allen says that man is left with:
“… alienation, loneliness [and] emptiness verging on madness….” 

This ties in with Ecclesiastes perfectly. 

Image result for francis schaeffer

May 14, 2016

Hugh Hefner
Playboy Mansion  
10236 Charing Cross Road
Los Angeles, CA 90024-1815

Dear Mr. Hefner,

Last week when I wrote you I mentioned that I got to attend the Paul McCartney concert on April 30, 2016 in Little Rock and I really enjoyed the song BLACKBIRD that Paul played.  My family and I really appreciated that  stand that Paul took back in the 1960’s by writing that song. I wanted to tell you something that I really appreciate about both your life and also Paul’s.  YOU BOTH HAVE ALWAYS STOOD FOR RACIAL EQUALITY!!!!

This week I wanted to talk to you about COMEDY and your personal friend LENNY BRUCE. Lenny Bruce took shots at racists. “Annabelle’s gone off and married a New York actor fellow.” Governor Faubus at his home would respond, “What is his name?” HARRY BELAFONTE!!! “Italian fellow, huh?” What laughs, and such a wonderful guy to nail, you know. I mean I am in for cruelty when you are making jokes about a guy like that.

I’ve been accused of bad taste, and I’ll go down to my grave accused of it and always by the same people, the ones who eat in restaurants that reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.

_

Lenny Bruce in 1959 on TV with Hugh Hefner

Gov Faubus in 1957 in Little Rock

 

HUGH, there was a dark side to Lenny’s comedy too. Lenny said, “All my humor is based upon destruction and despair. If the whole world were tranquil, without disease and violence, I’d be standing on the breadline right in back of J. Edgar Hoover.”

Bob Dylan in his song LENNY BRUCE wrote, “He’s on some other shore, he didn’t wanna live anymore, Lenny Bruce is dead but he didn’t commit any crime, He just had the insight to rip off the lid before its time.”    HUGH, do you have the guts to take a long hard look at the big questions before it is your time to pass on and I hope you come up with a positive solution instead of the nihilistic viewpoint that so many others in the secular world embrace. 

Francis Schaeffer quoted your good friend Woody Allen in his book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? (co-authored by Dr. C. Everett Koop who I know you respected):

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

Woody Allen and Hugh Hefner in London

 

To sum up Schaeffer is saying, “If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” (Francis Schaeffer in THE GOD WHO IS THERE)
Image result for hugh hefner laughing
HUGH, you have been around the best comics in the world but HAS COMEDY PROVIDED YOU ANY ANSWERS? 3000 years ago Solomon pursued six “L” words in his search for the meaning of life and probing the area of LAUGHTER was one of his first places to start. In Ecclesiastes 2:2 he starts this quest but he concludes it is not productive to be laughing the whole time and not considering the serious issues of life. “I said of laughter, “It is foolishness;” and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” (2:2).   Then Solomon  asserted the nihilistic statement in Ecclesiastes 2:17: “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

In the Book of Ecclesiastes what are all of the 6 “L” words that Solomon looked into? He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” This puts him in the same place that you find yourself. 

You are an atheist and you have a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest you because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect you.

FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)

These two verses below  take the 3 elements mentioned in a naturalistic materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)

THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)

Image result for king solomon

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” Ecclesiastes 8:14; “ Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.”

Solomon had all the resources in the world and he found himself searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. However, it seems every door he tries to open is locked. Today men try to find satisfaction in learning, liquor, ladies, luxuries, laughter, and labor and that is exactly what Solomon tried to do too.  None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). You have to wait to the last chapter in Ecclesiastes to find what Solomon’s final conclusion is.

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

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren’s words to that of the late British humanist H.J. Blackham:

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“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

_____________________________________

The rock group KANSAS

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

YOU believe  three things. FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. In contrast, DAVE HOPE believes death is not the end and the Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

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

PS: This is the 35th letter I have written to you and I hope you enjoyed your 90th birthday. However, I was sad when I read about the passing of your brother Keith. I know what a close friend he was of yours.

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HUGH HEFNER WAS A MODERN DAY KING SOLOMON AND I TOLD HIM THAT OVER AND OVER (PART 1) Letter from 6-6-16

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Image result for hugh hefner younger days

Over and over I have read that Hugh Hefner was a modern day King Solomon and Hefner’s search for satisfaction was attempted by adding to the number of his sexual experiences.

Jamie Francis noted:

 

A Modern Day Solomon

Hefner’s life sounds a lot like Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, doesn’t it? The former King of Israel experienced many of the same pleasures as Hugh Hefner did, and it never completely satisfied him either. Their lives were strikingly similar, at least in Solomon’s early years. But Solomon learned from his folly, and wrote about what he learned. He passed it on through the written Word of God. Readers, pay close attention. Here is the some of the gold Solomon passed down……..

I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:8-11)

Many of the sermons that I heard or read that inspired me to write Hugh Hefner were from this list of gentlemen:  Daniel Akin, Brandon Barnard,Matt Chandler, George Critchley,  Steve Gaines, Norman L. Geisler, Greg Gillbert, Billy Graham, Mark Henry, Dan Jarrell, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., R. G. Lee,  Chris Lewis, Kerry Livgren, Robert Lewis,    Bill Parkinson, Ben Parkinson,Vance Pitman, Nelson Price, Adrian Rogers, Philip Graham Ryken, Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel, Bill Wellons, Kirk Wetsell,  Ken Whitten, Ed Young Ravi Zacharias, Tom Zobrist, and Richard Zowie.

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In this letter below I quoted the sermon outline from Adrian Rogers when I wrote, “Hugh you remind me of Solomon because you are looking for  lasting meaning in your life and you are looking in the same  6 areas that King Solomon did in what I call the 6 big L words. He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).” I also quoted Ravi Zacharias when I wrote, “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.”

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Plus I quoted Francis Schaeffer concerning comparing both Leonardo da Vinci and King Solomon to what he called the UNIVERSAL MAN. I added Hugh Hefner and Ted Turner to the list of UNIVERSAL MEN because like Solomon  they had empires at their disposal, and with those empires they tried to find satisfaction and meaning from life and like Solomon they found life’s answers UNDER THE SUN unsatisfactory without God in the picture.

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In this letter of June 6, 2016 to Hugh Hefner, I also quoted from a book I read called BEEN THERE. DONE THAT. NOW WHAT? (THE MEANING OF LIFE MAY SURPRISE YOU) by Ed Young written in 1994. Below is the letter.

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 June 6, 2016

Hugh Hefner
Playboy Mansion  
10236 Charing Cross Road
Los Angeles, CA 90024-1815

Dear Mr. Hefner,

In the article MAKE LOVE NOT WAR  you asserted, “I had been promoting the basic premises that became the sexual revolution from the very beginning and from early 1960 with the Playboy philosophy…”

Hugh you are an universal man in a way since you have succeeded in business and are recognized throughout the world as a leader in the sexual revolution. However, have you found a lasting meaning?

Image result for king solomon

Below are the comments of Francis Schaeffer on Solomon and the Book of Ecclesiastes:

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

Image result for Leonardo da Vinci

We have here the declaration of Solomon’s universality:

1 Kings 4:30-34

English Standard Version (ESV)

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

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

Ecclesiastes 1:3

English Standard Version (ESV)

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

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

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The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

Hugh you have your sexual exploits just like Solomon did, but also you have thrown your efforts into your business too. Sadly Solomon also found the pursuit of great works in his labor just as empty. In Ecclesiastes 2:11 he asserted, “THEN I CONSIDERED ALL THAT MY HANDS HAD DONE AND THE TOLL I HAD EXPENDED IN DOING IT, AND BEHOLD, ALL WAS VANITY AND A STRIVING AFTER WIND, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”

Hugh you have been under the impression that all of your efforts have been an effort to pioneer something new.  But Solomon noted in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

Hugh you remind me of Solomon because you are looking for  lasting meaning in your life and you are looking in the same  6 areas that King Solomon did in what I call the 6 big L words. He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

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In the Playboy of August 1978 there appeared the interview, “Turner a candid conversation about big-time sports, sex, money and the media with Atlanta’s hip-shooting team owner and america’s cup winner.”

PLAYBOY: After college in Rhode Island, did you go to work for your father?

TURNER: Well, I was in the Coast Guard for six months first. Then I went into my father’s outdoor-advertising business. I had been putting up billboards with a hammer in my hand every summer since I was about 12, anyway. One summer, my father started making me pay for my room and board at home. Charged me $40 a month. When I complained, he suggested I look around town for something cheaper. So I stayed. But I admired my father a lot.

PLAYBOY: It wasn’t long before you took over the company, right?

TURNER: That’s right. My father committed suicide when I was 24 years old. Blew his brains out. I think he made the mistake of limiting his horizons. When he was a boy in Mississippi, he had told his mother that someday he would make $1,000,000. And when he did that, he had nowhere to go from there. When he killed himself, he was extended for about $5,000,000 or $6,000,000 and had assets of only about $2,000,000. But the situation was not hopeless.

PLAYBOY: How did you handle it?

TURNER: Well, just before he shot himself, he had actually sold the company. But I wanted to keep it. So I had to return the down payment, plus a penalty to the guys who had bought it, to annul the deal. Everybody said I was crazy. I could have taken that money and started something else. Those were very bad times in outdoor advertising. Television was killing billboards. 

Did you notice how Ted Turner totally missed the point of the question “How did you handle it?’ because the interviewer was really asking about the aftermath of Turner’s father’s suicide and Ted just told how he financially guided the company?  It seems money has blurred the Turners’ vision of what is really important in life  Ed Young will specifically comment on that later in this letter!!!!!

Image result for hugh hefner ted turner

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(Clockwise from top right: Turner with his first wife, Judy Nye; his second wife, Jane Smith; and his father)

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Image result for Buhrman-Pharr Hardware

In 1983 I visited Buhrman-Pharr Hardware in Texarkana which was one of our customers here in Arkansas and the owner Stanley Jones told me a very interesting story about who his grand kids were.  His daughter was married to Ted Turner and his three grand kids lived in Atlanta. Since that date I have taken to read up on Ted Turner’s life and I came upon this passage in the book BEEN THERE. DONE THAT. NOW WHAT? (THE MEANING OF LIFE MAY SURPRISE YOU) by Ed Young written in 1994:

One of the world’s wealthiest men, Ted Turner, has amassed a personal fortune estimated to exceed $3 billion. In 1980, Turner confided to his business adviser that he had four great ambitions for his life: to turn station WTCG into a national network, to go into the movie business, to be the country’s wealthiest man, and to be president of the United States. 

Eighteen-year-old Turner enrolled in Brown University in the 1950’s and majored in the classics, to his businessman father’s disgust. While he did well academically, he was eventually expelled and went to work for his father’s business, Turner Advertising in Charleston, South Caroline. He married for the first time in 1960 and divorced his wife while she was pregnant with their first child. Two years later he married again. By this time, his parents had separated and in 1963, his father (a millionaire himself by age fifty) committed suicide and left the family business to his son.

Strategically building his empire one block at a time, Turner never looked back–or so it seemed. But in 1982, in front of thousands of Georgetown University students, the man who appeared bullet-proof exposed a deep, deep heartbreak: “In the middle of a rip-roaring speech about entrepreneurship, Ted pulled out a well-worn copy of SUCCESS magazine, the journal his father used to read to him in the car on those long trips to inspect their billboards. His own face was on the cover. His booming voice trickled to a whisper, and he stared up into the rafters: ‘Is this enough?’ he asked in a hoarse voice.’Is this enough for you, Dad?'”

If you have a love affair with money you will never discover true riches because you will never have them. If you have a love affair with money, you will not enjoy your meals as much or sleep as well as the man who does not share your mistress of mammon. If you have a love affair with money and horde it, you will do so at your own peril. And finally, as Turner’s father proved, if you have a love affair with money you will not have anything but money to leave your family–and you can be sure of one thing: it is as likely to hurt them as it is to help. 

Wealth does not last. That’s right. It doesn’t last. “As he had come naked from his mother’s womb” said Solomon, ” so he will return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. And this also is a grievous evil–exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So, what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind?” (Ecclesiastes 5:15-16). 

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HUGH do you agree with fellow universal man Solomon that UNDER THE SUN there is no advantage for man when he toils for the wind? Naked we all came into the world and naked we will leave.

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

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

PS: This was the 39th letter I have written you and today I not only compared you to King Solomon but also to Ted Turner who took time at the peak of his success to give Playboy an in depth interview. Do you think Ted ever found satisfaction UNDER THE SUN when Solomon admitted that he certainly didn’t?

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( The Playboy Interview: Moguls eBook: Jeff Bezos, Playboy, Steve Jobs, Lee Iacocca, Bill Gates, David Geffen Malcolm Forbes Ted Turner)

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(A young Ted Turner with his father)

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Answering my Humanist Friends concerning the Problem of Evil (Plus Atheist Ricky Gervais says he embraces the Golden Rule)

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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SoF: (Full Series Playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…)
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Don Cupitt’s 1984 BBC documentary “Sea of Faith” Episode 3 Going by the Book
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SoF David Friedrich Struass, David Strauss The Life of Jesus, Critically Examined. Das Leben Jesu, kritisch bearbeitet, the Life of Christ, Historical Jesus, Albert Schweitzer Lambaréné mission. Gabon, Liberal Theology, Philosophy, Religion, History, Christianity, Historical Jesus, western thought, Philosophy, God, Scriptural analysis, Philosophy, Theology, God.

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

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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!)

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.

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Francis and Edith Schaeffer

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Francis Schaeffer pictured below

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Francis Schaeffer on David Friedrich Strauss and religious rationalism.

Notes

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.”

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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

 

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Today my featured artist is Roni Horn:

 

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Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

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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.

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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:
channel.louisiana.dk/about

Supported by Nordea-fonden.

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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.

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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.

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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!!!!

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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?…

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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:
http://www.vernissage.tv

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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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Richard Dawkins, Alister McGrath, D. James Kennedy. Francis Schaeffer and Ravi Zacharias (March 26, 1946- May 19, 2020) discuss the problem of evil!!!

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115. Filosofia: Richard Dawkins Vs Alister McGrath

Published on Dec 21, 2012

Neste vídeo: Richard Dawkins Vs Alister McGrath
Curta nossa página no facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/multiversosp…

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At the 40 minute mark Richard Dawkins and Alister McGrath discuss Deena Burnett’s assertion that her husband Tom was an instrument carrying out God’s will in stopping the plane from hitting the White House.

Wikipedia noted:

United Airlines Flight 93[edit]

On September 11, 2001, while on board United Airlines Flight 93, Burnett sat next to passenger Mark Bingham. Burnett called his wife, Deena, after hijackers took control of the plane. During his second call to her, she relayed to him that the Towers of the World Trade Center had collapsed.[7] Upon learning of the situation, Deena, a former flight attendant, recalled her training and urged Burnett to sit quietly and not draw attention to himself, but Burnett instead informed her that he and three other passengers, Mark BinghamTodd Beamer and Jeremy Glick, were forming a plan to take the plane back from the hijackers, and leading other passengers in this effort.[5][6][8] He also told Deena not to worry.[9] Burnett and several other passengers stormed the cockpit, foiling the hijackers’ plan to crash the plane into the White House or Capitol Building,[5][10] and forced it to crash in a Pennsylvania field, killing all 44 people on board.[5][6]

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Let me make a few points here. I am told that Tom and Deena used to attend Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock when they were visiting her parents in Little Rock. Deena actually grew up in a Southern Baptist Church like I did.  It is a common view in many evangelical circles that the problem of evil must be explained in light of the events of Genesis chapter 3 and the fall  of man. You can see this pointed out in the Evangelism Explosion leader’s guide written by Dr. D. James Kennedy. Francis Schaeffer and Ravi Zacharias  have written much on this subject too and some their work is below:

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So many tragic things happen in this world and many ask ” 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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In his article “A Conversation with an Atheist,” Rick Wade notes:

The problem of evil is a significant moral issue in the atheist’s arsenal. We talk about a God of goodness, but what we see around us is suffering, and a lot of it apparently unjustifiable. Stephanie said, “Disbelief in a personal, loving God as an explanation of the way the world works is reasonable–especially when one considers natural disasters that can’t be blamed on free will and sin.”{17}

One response to the problem of evil is that God sees our freedom to choose as a higher value than protecting people from harm; this is the freewill defense. Stephanie said, however, that natural disasters can’t be blamed on free will and sin. What about this? Is it true that natural disasters can’t be blamed on sin? I replied that they did come into existence because of sin (Genesis 3). We’re told in Romans 8 that creation will one day “be set free from its slavery to corruption,” that it “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” The Fall caused the problem, and, in the consummation of the ages, the problem will be fixed.

Second, I noted that on a naturalistic basis, it’s hard to even know what evil is. But the reality of God explains it. As theologian Henri Blocher said,

The sense of evil requires the God of the Bible. In a novel by Joseph Heller, “While rejecting belief in God, the characters in the story find themselves compelled to postulate his existence in order to have an adequate object for their moral indignation.” . . . When you raise this standard objection against God, to whom do you say it, other than this God? Without this God who is sovereign and good, what is the rationale of our complaints? Can we even tell what is evil? Perhaps the late John Lennon understood: “God is a concept by which we measure our pain,” he sang. Might we be coming to the point where the sense of evil is a proof of the existence of God?{18}

So,… if there is no God, there really is no problem of evil. Does the atheist ever find herself shaking her fist at the sky after some catastrophe and demanding an explanation? If there is no God, no one is listening.

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The Personal Origin of Man
The Scriptures tell us that the universe exists and has form and meaning because it was created purposefully by a personal Creator. This being the case, we see that, as we are personal, we are not something strange and out of line with an otherwise impersonal universe. Since we are made in the image of God, we are in line with God. There is continuity, in other words, between ourselves, though finite, and the infinite Creator who stands behind the universe as its Creator and its final source of meaning.
Unlike the evolutionary concept of an impersonal beginning plus time plus chance, the Bible gives an account of man’s origin as a finite person make in God’s image, that is, like God. We see then how man can have personality and dignity and value. Our uniqueness is guaranteed, something which is impossible in the materialistic system. If there is no qualitative distinction between man and other organic life (animals or plants), why should we feel greater concern over the death of a human being than over the death of a laboratory rat? Is man in the end any higher?
Though this is the logical end of the materialistic system, men and women still usually in practice assume that people have some real value. All the way back to the dawn of our investigations in history, we find that man is still man. Wherever we turn, to the caves of the Pyrenees, to the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, and even further back to Neanderthal man’s burying his dead in flower petals, it makes no difference: men everywhere show by their art and their accomplishments that they have been and have considered themselves to be unique. They were unique, and people today are unique. What is wrong is a world-view which fails to explain that uniqueness. All people are unique because they are made in the image of God.
The Bible tells us also, however, that man is flawed. We see this to be the case both within ourselves and in our societies throughout the world. People are noble and people are cruel; people have heights of moral achievement and depths of moral depravity.
But this is not simply an enigma, nor is it explained in terms of “the animal in man.” The Bible explains how man is flawed, without destroying the uniqueness and dignity of man. Man is evil and experiences the results of evil, not because man is non-man but because man is fallen and thus is abnormal.
This is the significance of the third chapter of Genesis. Some time after the original Creation (we do not know how long), man rebelled against God. Being made in the image of God as persons, Adam and Eve were able to make real choices. They had true creativity, not just in the area we call “art” but also in the area of choice. And they used this choice to turn from God as their true integration point. Their ability to choose would have been equally validated if they had chosen not to turn away from God, as their true integration point, but instead they used their choice to try to make themselves autonomous. In doing this, they were acting against the moral absolute of the universe, namely, God’s character – and thus evil among people was born.
The Fall brought not only moral evil but also the abnormality of (1) each person divided from himself or herself; (2) people divided from other people; (3) mankind divided from nature; and (4) nature divided from nature. This was the consequence of the choice made by Adam and Eve some time after the Creation. It was not any original deformity that made them choose in this way. God had not made them robots, and so they had real choice. It is man, therefore, and not God, who is responsible for evil.
We have to keep pointing out, because the idea is strange to a society by which the Bible has been neglected or distorted, that Christianity does not begin with a statement of Christ as Savior. That comes later in its proper setting. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created….” Christianity begins with the personal and infinite God who is the Creator. It goes on to show that man is made in God’s image but then tells us that man is now fallen. It is the rebellion of man that has made the world abnormal. So there is a broken line as we look back to the creation of man by God. A chasm stands there near the beginning, the chasm which is the Fall, the choice to go against God and His Word.
What follows from this is that not everything that happens in the world is “natural.” Unlike modern materialistic thought on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Christianity does not see everything in history as equally “normal.” Because of the abnormality brought about by man, not everything which occurs in history should be there. Thus, not all that history brings forth is right just because it happens, and not all personal drives and motives are equally good. Here, then, is a marked difference between Christianity and almost all other philosophies. Most other philosophies do not have the concept of a present abnormality. Therefore, they hold that everything now is normal; things are now as they always have been.
By contrast, Christians do not see things as if they always have been this way. This is of immense importance in understanding evil in the world. It is possible for Christians to speak of things as absolutely wrong, for they are not original in human society. They are derived from the Fall; they are in that sense “abnormal.” It also means we can stand against what is wrong and cruel without standing against God, for He did not make the world as it now is.
This understanding of the chasm between what mankind and history are now and what they could have been – and should have been, from the way they were made – gives us a real moral framework for life, one which is compatible with our nature and aspirations. So there are “rules for life,’ like the signs on cliff tops which read: DANGER – KEEP OUT. The signs are there to help, not hinder us. God has put them there because to live in this way, according to His rules, is the way for both safety and fulfillment. The God who made us and knows what is for our best good is the same God who gives us His commands. When we break these, it is not only wrong, it is also not for our best good; it is not for our fulfillment as unique persons made in the image of God.

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  • Below is a transcript of the discussion between a student at Nottingham and Ravi Zacharias about evil and morality and it also discussed in the video clip above.

Student: There is too much evil in this world; therefore, there cannot be a God!
Speaker: Would you mind if I asked you something? You said, “God cannot exist because there is too much evil.” If there is such a thing as evil, aren’t you assuming that there is such a thing as good?
Student: I guess so.
Speaker: If there is such a thing as good, you must affirm a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil.
Speaker: In a debate between the philosopher Frederick Copleston and the atheist Bertrand Russell, Copleston said, “Mr. Russell, you do believe in good and bad, don’t you?” Russell answered, “Yes, I do.” “How do you differentiate between good and bad?” challenged Copleston. Russell shrugged his shoulders and said, “On the basis of feeling – what else?” I must confess, Mr. Copleston was a kindlier gentleman than many others. The appropriate “logical kill” for the moment would have been, “Mr. Russell, in some cultures they love their neighbors; in other cultures they eat them, both on the basis of feeling. Do you have any preference?”
Speaker: When you say there is evil, aren’t you admitting there is good? When you accept the existence of goodness, you must affirm a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. But when you admit to a moral law, you must posit a moral lawgiver. That, however, is
who you are trying to disprove and not prove. For if there is no moral lawgiver, there is no moral law. If there is no moral law, there is no good. If there is no good, there is no evil. What, then, is your question?
Student: What, then, am I asking you?

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The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported on Sept 10:

When Deena Burnett Bailey spoke of the last time she heard her late husband’s voice, the rattle of silverware against china, the whispers and the general noise of a luncheon ceased.

Bailey is the widow of Tom E. Burnett, who led resistance efforts on United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

Deena Burnett Bailey, widow of Tom Burnett who orchestrated the resistance against the terrorists aboard Flight 93, talks during the Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary's God Bless America Luncheon on Wednesday at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn.PHOTO BY JIM WEBER
BUY THIS PHOTO »Deena Burnett Bailey, widow of Tom Burnett who orchestrated the resistance against the terrorists aboard Flight 93, talks during the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary’s God Bless America Luncheon on Wednesday at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn.

The story of Burnett’s heroism is still a difficult one to tell, Bailey said, especially so close to the anniversary. But she wants to share it to inspire others, she said.

Bailey is the co-author of “Fighting Back: Living Life Beyond Ourselves,” a book about her husband and the others who took action against the terrorists who held the passengers hostage on Flight 93.

Bailey and former New York City police officer Jim Shepherd spoke Wednesday at a Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary luncheon.

Bailey, now remarried and living in Little Rock, was living in California on Sept. 11. She was waiting with their three daughters for her husband to return from a business trip.

As Bailey watched the two terrorist-controlled planes collide with the World Trade Center in New York, Burnett called and told her he was on a third plane that had been hijacked, and that the hijackers had “already knifed a guy.” He told her to call the authorities.

Bailey called 911 and was eventually connected with the FBI.

Her husband called again, asking questions about the World Trade Center, and then a third time to tell her passengers were hatching a plan to overtake the plane.

He called one last time to say the passengers were waiting until the plane was over a rural area before moving in on the hijackers. While everyone on the airplane was ultimately killed, no one on the ground was injured when Flight 93 went down.

Now, Burnett is honored as an American hero. Bailey says it’s a word her husband felt was overused. She says he believed in making good choices and making a difference in the lives of others.

“Tom’s last words to me were ‘Do something.’ They ring true for each of us to stand up, fight back, do something,” she said.

For Shepherd, who now lives in Memphis, the fateful day began as he drank coffee at the gym. He saw the first airplane circle but assumed it was out of its flight pattern and looking for an airport.

“At the last moment I thought, ‘Oh my God I hope he misses the buildings,’” Shepherd said.

By the time he reached his precinct, the second plane had hit the South Tower.

Later, rescuers found three stories of the building compacted into a pile only 12 feet high, with easily distinguishable layers of concrete floor, carpet and debris, he said.

Shepherd thanked the Salvation Army, which marched quietly into New York and got to work.

“You really felt like you weren’t alone,” he said. “You had another army behind you to help.”

Tom Burnett: A Hero on Flight 93 | An interview with Deena Burnett, author (with Anthony Giombetti) of Fighting Back: Defining Moments in the Life of an American Hero, Tom Burnett 

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Fighting Back is the timely and inspiring story of Thomas Burnett, the ringleader of the small group of courageous men that fought back against the terrorists on United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, that crashed in the fields in Pennsylvania. His wife Deena tells about the incredible details ofthat horrific day, the now famous four cell phone calls her husband made to her from the plane, his quick assessment of the alarming suicidal flight plan, and his decision to “do something.” She tells about all that happened to her and her children in the days and months after that devastating day, and how the love, faith and strength of her departed husband helped her to fight back to find purpose and joy in her life again.

She also tells about Tom’s life story, showing how he was an ordinary American who was deeply patriotic, a very good athlete, a loving father and husband, a successful businessman, and a devout Catholic and daily communicant. This powerful book reveals the inspiring courage, character, faith and integrity that Tom Burnett showed in all the aspects of his life as a father, husband and businessman, and how his valor and leadership in that perilous plane were the result of how he lived his life every day. His story will strengthen and inspire all “ordinary” Americans, and Catholics, to imitate this man’s life of commitment to excellence, patriotism, devotion to family, and love of God. It is a story of suffering, sacrifice and of rebirth.

Carl E. Olson, editor of IgnatiusInsight.com, recently spoke with Deena Burnett about her late husband, the events of 9/11, and her faith in God.

IgnatiusInsight.com: When and how did you first decide to write Fighting Back?

Deena Burnett: I was approached right after Tom had died, and my first reaction was, “No, I don’t want to write anything.” But after a few months I realized that it would be important to write it down for my children. In January [of 2006], Anthony [Giombetti] and I got together and started writing. He would interview me and record the interviews, and then he would transcribe those interviews and then we would get together and edit it. That’s really when we started. And the idea was to chronicle Tom’s life and what had happened on September 11th, and talk about what he did and why he did it. In my mind, it was for my children, to record it, so that they would not forget. Then it evolved into something that I believe with inspire the reader to make a difference.

IgnatiusInsight.com: What do you hope readers will learn from reading the book?

Deena Burnett: Actually, just that; I hope that they are inspired to make a difference, that they see the value of having faith in God and know the importance of passing that faith on to their children.

IgnatiusInsight.com: A central theme of the book is that seemingly ordinary people can do extraordinary things. How did Tom exemplify that it in his ordinary life and in his extraordinary actions on Flight 93? 

Deena Burnett: I think that is found throughout the whole book. You certainly see that I try to stress that it wasn’t just what he did on September 11th, but that he lived his life with integrity, and I think that it was certainly his upbringing in the Faith that made him kind and attentive and concerned about other people. And I think that those are the values that he brought into the way that he lived, that helped him be a hero everyday of his life, and not just on September 11th.

 

Deena Burnett: Well, as early as the morning of September 11th, I was requesting to hear the cockpit voice recorder. I felt like it would just give me some answers as to what happened in those final moments. I didn’t know how to go about finding someone who could allow me to hear it. Anyone who had anything to do with the government, I’d just ask them, “Help me.” Very early on I met a lady, Ellen Tauscher, a representative from California, who really took me on as her project and helped me. She helped me go through the channels, writing the letters and making the phone calls and putting the pressure on different channels within the FBI and our government to release that cockpit voice recorder. I have told her so many times, “You know, Ellen, that you did this; it was you, but I’m getting all the credit for it.” And she would just laugh and say, “That’s okay, because I’m just here to help you.” She’s a great lady, absolutely a great lady. She guided me through the channels and made it happen.

We went to New Jersey in April 2002. We were allowed four family members, each family. We went in to hear it and I went through it twice. They had a transcript on the wall that we were able to see and read in sequence with hearing the audio. And I heard Tom’s voice for the first time in several months, and it gave me this incredible sense of peace that I had not expected to find through listening to it. And the peace came because, I think, for the first time in months I knew exactly what had happened by hearing the sounds and being able to visualize what he experienced. After that, it just gave me the energy and the strength to keep moving forward, to keep doing the things that needed to be done, in raising my family and making sure that those responsible for September 11th came to justice.

IgnatiusInsight.com: In the months following 9/11 you gave numerous interviews on high profile televisions programs and dealt with the media quite often. What is your impression, in general of the mainstream media, and how do you think they’ve handled coverage of 9/11 and its aftermath? 

Deena Burnett: I think that almost immediately the press was very respectful, and I was incredibly grateful for that. I initially was very afraid of the media. I kind of laugh about that now because I had a degree in journalism, and yet I was scared to death. But they were very respectful. One thing that I have found during the five years is that they have been very interested in different family members — any family members, it doesn’t matter who they are — who had something to do with September 11th, and they have created this aura of casting 9/11 family members as authorities on different issues, whether it be political issues, or issues dealing with the war on terrorism. Anything happening with our government having to do with immigration laws, the transportation department, or the war on terrorism, the first thing they do is pull a 9/11 family member away and start interviewing them: “What do you think?”

They have cast them in roles of authority, and I think that is odd, that there would be so much interest in the opinion of 9/11 family members. You know, we have this one experience to fall back upon; I’m sure there are people who are far better qualified than we are to answer most of the questions the media asks concerning these issues.

 

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 12 H.J.Blackham and Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era (Feature on artist Arturo Herrera)

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Today I am going to look at H.J. Blackham and the artist featured today is  Arturo Herrera. Herrera’s art interests me because it is based on the idea that accidental chance can bring about something beautiful and that is the same place that materialistic modern men like Blackham have turned to when they have concluded that the origin of our existence can be explained by evolution which the combination of time, chance and matter and no designer needed.

Blackham lived to the age of 105 and died in 2009. During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know the Bible is True,” “The Final Judgement,” “Who is Jesus?” and the message by Bill Elliff, “How to get a pure heart.” I would also send them printed material from the works of Francis Schaeffer and a personal apologetic letter from me addressing some of the issues in their work. After reading Francis Schaeffer’s book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? I was interested in corresponding with H.J. Blackham because of a very powerful and revealing quote of his in Schaeffer’s book. I wrote him in 1994 and sent him the cassette tape mentioned early but never got a response back. Below is the Blackham quote as given by Schaeffer:

The humanist H. J. Blackham had this same message that 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“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

Actually this one quote alone from Blackham made me want to share the message that Christ does provide a lasting meaning to our lives, and that is why I started writing several leading atheists in the 1990’s. In my letters I demonstrated that  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 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.” 

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.

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(Paul Kurtz pictured above)

Paul Kurtz  teamed up with H.J.Blackham and put together the Humanist Manifesto II which they both signed in 1973. I wrote back in 2012 when Paul Kurtz passed away that he was a fine gentleman that I had a chance to correspond with and I read several of his books (Forbidden Fruit was his best effort). One thing I vividly remember from the writings of Paul Kurtz was his love of life and his love for others. However, how can a materialist like Kurtz stay optimistic about his future when he did not believe in God or an afterlife? At the time when I was reading his writings that question kept popping up in my mind.

It is truly ironic to me that a truly outstanding person such as the British Humanist H.J. Blackham who lived such a long and interesting life would make the statement that “…On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing…” In fact, when Norman Geisler quoted this from Blackham in his famous debate with Paul Kurtz on the John Ankerberg Show, Kurtz said he knew Blackham and he was surprised that he would say such a thing, but that had been my contention that a secularist humanist worldview would logically lead to nihilism such as the nihilism that King Solomon discussed in Ecclesiastes (more on that later). How did humanist man get to that pessimistic conclusion? Francis Schaeffer has shed some light on that in his book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

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Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

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Following is the first few pages of the chapter “The Basis for Human Dignity” which is found in the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? by Francis Schaeffer.

Introduction
So far in this book we have been considering an evil as great as any practiced in human history. Our society has put to death its own offspring, millions upon millions of them. Our society has justified taking their lives, even claiming it a virtue to do so. It has been said that this is a new step in our progress toward a liberated humanity.
Such a situation has not come out of a vacuum. Each of us has an overall way of looking at the world, which influences what we do day by day. This is what we call a “world-view.” And all of us have a world-view, whether we realize it or not. We act in accordance with our world-view, and our world-view rests on what to us is the ultimate truth.

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.
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. 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.

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Notes
78. “When Scientists Play the Role of God,” London Times, November 16, 1978.
79. H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

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Francis Crick was in agreement with H.J.Blackham’s materialistic views and he concluded, “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that you—your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules” What if all this is true? What if the cosmos and the chemicals and the particles really are all that there is, and all that we are?

“If man has been kicked up out of that which is only impersonal by chance , then those things that make him man-hope of purpose and significance, love, motions of morality and rationality, beauty and verbal communication-are ultimately unfulfillable and thus meaningless.” —Francis Schaeffer in The God Who Is There

“Eventually materialist philosophy undermines the reliability of the mind itself-and hence even the basis for science. The true foundation of rationality is not found in particles and impersonal laws, but in the mind of the Creator who formed us in His image.” —Phillip E. Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds “Can man live without God? Of course he can, in a physical sense.

Can he live without God in a reasonable way? The answer to that is No!” Then there is the problem the longing for satisfaction that every person feels. This is the same question that Solomon asked 3000 years ago in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He knew there was something more.

The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

These two verses below  take the 3 elements mentioned in a materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen somthing else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brillant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. __________

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

  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 learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

Solomon had all the resources in the world and he found himself searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. However, it seems every door he tries to open is locked. Today people try to find satisfaction in education, alcohol, pleasure, and their work and that is exactly what Solomon tried to do too.  None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). You have to wait to the last chapter in Ecclesiates to find what Solomon’s final conclusion is.

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

Livgren wrote:

“All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009

Music video by Kansas performing Dust In The Wind. (c) 2004 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

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

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

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Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren’s words to that of H.J. Blackham.

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

The humanist H. J. Blackham had this same message that

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“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).

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H. J. Blackham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Harold John Blackham
Harold Blackham (1974).jpg

Harold Blackham (1974)
Born 31 March 1903
BirminghamEngland,
United Kingdom
Died 23 January 2009 (aged 105)
HerefordEngland,
United Kingdom
Occupation Writer and philosopher

Harold John Blackham (31 March 1903 – 23 January 2009) was a leading British humanist philosopher, writer and educationalist. He has been described as the “progenitor of modern humanism in Britain”.[1]

Born in Birmingham, Blackham left school following the end of World War I, and became a farm labourer, before gaining a place at Birmingham University to study divinity and history.[2] He acquired a teaching diploma and was the divinity master atDoncaster Grammar School.[2]

Joining the Ethical Union, Blackham drew the organisation further away from religious forms and played an important part in its formation into the British Humanist Association, becoming the BHA’s first Executive Director in 1963. He was also a founding member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), IHEU secretary (1952–1966), and received the IHEU’s International Humanist Award in 1974, and the Special Award for Service to World Humanism in 1978. In addition he was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto.[3]

His book, Six Existentialist Thinkers, became a popular university textbook.

He died on 23 January 2009 at the age of 105.[4]

Publications[edit]

  • Bury, JB, with an historical epilogue by HJ Blackham. A History of Freedom of Thought (2001). University Press of the Pacific. ISBN 0-89875-166-7
  • The Future of our Past: from Ancient Greece to Global Village (1996). Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-042-8
  • The Fable as Literature (1985). London: Continuum International Publishing Group – Athlone. ISBN 0-485-11278-7
  • Education for Personal Autonomy: Inquiry into the School’s Resources for Furthering the Personal Development of Pupils (editor) (1977). London: Bedford Sq. Press. ISBN 0-7199-0937-6
  • Humanists and Quakers: an exchange of letters (with Harold Loukes) (1969). Friends Home Service. ISBN 0-85245-011-7
  • Humanism (1968). London: Penguin. (published by Harvester in hardback, 1976. ISBN 0-85527-209-0)
  • Religion in a Modern Society (1966). London: Constable
  • Objections to Humanism (editor) (1963). London: Constable. ISBN 0-09-450170-X (published in paperback by Penguin, 1965, ISBN 0-14-020765-1)
  • The Humanist Tradition (1953). London: Routledge.
  • Six Existentialist Thinkers (1952). London: Routledge. ISBN 0-7100-1087-7
  • Living as a Humanist (1950)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Barbara Smoker (2003). “Blackham’s Best”. Blackham’s Best – Selected by Barbara SmokerISBN 095126351X.
  2. Jump up to:a b Barbara Smoker (19 April 2009). “Harold Blackham SPES Memorial Meeting”. SPES Memorial Meeting pamphlet.
  3. Jump up^ “Humanist Manifesto II”. American Humanist Association. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  4. Jump up^ http://www.iheu.org/node/3402

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Featured artist today is Arturo Herrera!!!!!

The reason I am featuring Arturo Herrera today is very simple. He is the best artist I can think of that illustrates where modern man had found himself today.

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Arturo Herrera

(Arturo’s work is based on chance and he is hopefully that something meaningful will bring out of it!!!!)

In this video below Arturo Herrera says, “I believe in being in the studio trying different things and just working through chance accidents...in order to get some kind of result…You know there is something in the image that keeps informing you, keeps teaching you, keeps surprising you and you can’t really put your finger on it. So you put it on the wall close to you with the hope that you will be able to solve it. It becomes your friend, your mentor, it becomes a support system to be able to say there is hope, yet you could do it…That is what keeps me going. It is possible to create an image that will have an impact. The multiplicity of images today with the internet makes the project utterly insane or irrational… If I make an image that hopefully is strong enough for some viewers then my job is done.”

Arturo Herrera: Powerful Images | Art21 “Exclusive”

Uploaded on Jun 18, 2009

Episode #061: In his Berlin studio, Arturo Herrera discusses his relationship to creating abstract collages and images. Herrera takes the process of abstraction a step further by photographing fragments of his collages, such as in the work “Untitled” (2005), a series of 80 black and white photographs. He submerges the undeveloped film in hot and cold water, coffee, and tea, creating unpredictable results when printed. Editing the photos into a grid of images, Herrera creates a work thats greater than its individual parts.

For Arturo Herrera, abstraction is a language rooted in the practice of assembling and composing fragments. Herrera collects illustrated books, comics, and paint-by-number paintings, cutting and splicing them into new forms. He also creates his own source material by fragmenting drawings, watercolors, and shapes made by applying paint directly from the tube. Herrera collages all of these elements together, pasting them together to create a new whole.

Learn more about Arturo Herrera: http://www.art21.org/artists/arturo-h…

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller and Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera & Sound: Terry Doe and Leigh Crisp. Editor: Jenny Chiurco. Artwork Courtesy: Arturo Herrera.

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DO YOU NOW SEE WHY I HAVE FEATURED ARTURO HERRERA TODAY? HE IS LIVING OUT HIS LIFE AS AN ARTIST DISPLAYING HIS MATERIALISTIC CHANCE WORLDVIEW IN HIS ART!!!! 
Let me repeat what I said that Solomon was trying to say 3000 years ago in the book of Ecclesiastes.

The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.”

These two verses below  take the 3 elements mentioned in a materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen somthing else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brillant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

Arturo Herrera asserted, “I believe in being in the studio trying different things and just working through chance accidents...in order to get some kind of result.”
Fortunately some modern philosophers and scientists are starting to wake up and realize that materialistic chance evolution was not responsible for the origin of the universe but it was started by a Divine Mind. In fact, Antony Flew who was probably the most famous atheist of the 20th century took time to read several letters I sent him the 1990’s which included much material from Francis Schaeffer and he listened to several cassette tapes I sent him from Adrian Rogers and then in 2004 he reversed his view that this world came about through evolution and he left his atheism behind and  because a theist.  I still have several of the letters that Dr. Flew wrote back to me and I will be posting them later on my blog at some point.
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Arturo Herrera: Music | Art21 “Exclusive”

Uploaded on May 7, 2009

Episode #055: Filmed in his Berlin studio, artist Arturo Herrera discusses themes of subjectivity and abstraction while drawing connections between his love of music and his hopes for how audiences come to appreciate his visual work.

For Arturo Herrera, abstraction is a language rooted in the practice of assembling and composing fragments. Herrera collects illustrated books, comics, and paint-by-number paintings, cutting and splicing them into new forms. He also creates his own source material by fragmenting drawings, watercolors, and shapes made by applying paint directly from the tube. Herrera collages all of these elements together, pasting them together to create a new whole.

Arturo Herrera is featured in the Season 3 (2005) episode “Play” of the “Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century” television series on PBS.

Learn more about Arturo Herrera: http://www.art21.org/artists/arturo-h…

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller and Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera & Sound: Terry Doe and Leigh Crisp. Editor: Jenny Chiurco. Artwork Courtesy: Arturo Herrera. Special Thanks: Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.

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Arturo Herrera pictured below:
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Arturo Herrera pictured below:

Arturo Herrera: Assistant Jeff Bechtel | Art21 “Exclusive”

Uploaded on Aug 7, 2009

Episode #068: Arturo Herrera’s assistant Jeff Bechtel describes the process for translating one of the artist’s complex drawings into a refined monochromatic paper collage. Filmed in Herrera’s New York studio, Bechtel discusses how cartoon sources and stock imagery become abstracted into larger systems.

Arturo Herreras work includes collage, work on paper, sculpture, relief, wall painting, photography, and felt wall-hangings. Rooted in the history of abstraction, Herreras playful work taps into the viewers unconscious, often intertwining fragments of cartoon characters with cut-out shapes and partially obscured images that evoke memory and recollection.

Learn more about Arturo Herrera: http://www.art21.org/artists/arturo-h…

VIDEO | Producer Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Eve Moros Ortega. Camera: Mead Hunt. Sound: Roger Phenix. Editor: Jenny Chiurco. Artwork Courtesy: Arturo Herrera. Special Thanks: Jeff Bechtel.

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Arturo Herrera said he took photographs of whatever was lying around in the studio. Americas Society Visual Arts Director Gabriela Rangel said of Herrera’s work: “There is a product of chance very present in the photos.” At the 2:40 point in the below film Arturo Herrera said he hired a computer programmer that created a chance order that his pictures would appear in combination with the music that was playing.

Arturo Herrera: Les Noces (The Wedding)

Uploaded on Mar 4, 2011

Watch a video of artist Arturo Herrera and Curator and Americas Society Visual Arts Director Gabriela Rangel discuss the process of putting together the exhibition Arturo Herrera: Les Noces (The Wedding), at Americas Society art gallery. The artist also gives a tour of selected pieces in the exhibition. Video produced by David Gacs.

To learn more, go to http://www.as-coa.org/VisualArts.

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From PBS:

Arturo Herrera

Home » Artists » Arturo Herrera

About Arturo Herrera

Arturo Herrera was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1959, and lives and works in New York and Berlin, Germany. He received a BA from the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Herrera’s work includes collage, works on paper, sculpture, relief, wall painting, photography, and felt wall hangings. His work taps into the viewer’s unconscious—often intertwining fragments of cartoon characters with abstract shapes and partially obscured images that evoke memory and recollection. Using techniques of fragmentation, splicing, and re-contextualization, Herrera’s work is provocative and open-ended. For his collages, he uses found images from cartoons, coloring books, and fairy tales, combining fragments of Disney-like characters with violent and sexual imagery to make work that borders between figuration and abstraction and subverts the innocence of cartoon referents with a darker psychology. In his felt works, he cuts shapes from a piece of felt and pins the felt to the wall so that it hangs as a tangled form, resembling the drips and splatters of a Jackson Pollock painting. Herrera’s wall paintings also meld recognizable imagery with abstraction, but on an environmental scale that he compares to the qualities of dance and music. Herrera has received many awards including, among others, a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Fellowship. He has had solo exhibitions at Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva; Dia Center for the Arts, New York; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City; among others. His work appeared in the Whitney Biennial (2002).

Links
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
Arturo Herrera on the Art21 Blog

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Arturo Herrera: Abstraction, Chance, and Collage

Arturo Herrera in his Berlin studio, 2005. Production still from the "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 3 episode, "Play," 2005. © Art21, Inc. 2005.Arturo Herrera in his Berlin studio, 2005. Production still from the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season 3 episode, “Play,” 2005. © Art21, Inc. 2005.

ART21: Can you clarify what you mean by [the word] chance, especially with the collages you’ve been photographing?

HERRERA: By chance, I mean (in the photo work) that I usually don’t compose the way I’m photographing. I go through and take three or four photos of the same collage, but I’m not carefully composing what the final shot will be. I’m basically shooting four or five photos in the hope that maybe one of them will work out. I don’t spend a lot of time setting up the drawings or selecting the specific fragments. I’m letting the photograph lead me into this thing.

Once the roll is done, I put it in water, and that’s where much more chance happens. The way the water seeps into the film—if it’s hot water or cold or coffee with ice cubes in it—it will affect the film and the emulsion on the film. After a week or a month there, then it’s taken to the lab, and whatever happens there will be part of the photograph.

After all the photos are done, I go through a very strict system of editing and selection. The process is based on how strong these images are, which ways they please me, and which ways they become challenging to me—and hopefully challenging to the audience. They seem to be very intimate images, and they allow you to go into this state of making connections between the fragments that you see, what they are supposed to be, and what they bring to your memory. So, it’s a fairly subjective process.

ART21: Can you say more about your system of selection?

HERRERA: The system of selection is just based on quality—your own system of quality. Going through hundreds and hundreds of images, you tend to have specific choices or preferences. If I’m happy with them or if I find they are intriguing, then I will include them. Working like this, without focusing on specific compositions when you’re photographing, leaves you with many, many photographs that don’t make the final cut. Sometimes the emulsion gets stuck, or the film gets damaged. So, I don’t really know what’s going to happen to these things until I see them printed.

ART21: What will be the final outcome for these photographs—the final work?

HERRERA: These photographs are made in a series of eighty images. I think, when you see them all together, you tend to create your own kind of viewing or journey or path or choreography. You tend to be taken by specific images, and then you start going from there, back and forth like a ping-pong ball or a pinball machine. This process becomes a very private conversation with these images. What these images tell the viewer, I don’t know; that, to me, remains somewhat secret. They’re satisfying to me, and I hope they’re satisfying to the audience.

Arturo Herrera in his Berlin studio, 2005. Production still from the "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 3 episode, "Play," 2005. © Art21, Inc. 2005.Arturo Herrera in his Berlin studio, 2005. Production still from the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season 3 episode, “Play,” 2005. © Art21, Inc. 2005.

ART21: Is there an associational narrative for you, or is it purely abstract?

HERRERA: Well, the photos deal with the history of photography, modernism, chance operation, surrealism—they’re complex in different ways. But they are also very quiet. They don’t try to undermine or criticize or pay homage; they’re just part of a tradition which I respect. And this is just my participation with these images. I believe that the dialogue with these images is both emotional and intellectual. It’s a one-to-one dialogue, and associative power or juxtaposition is the way to enter the work. As you can see, the photos deal with my own mark making and popular culture. It’s a collage, taken to a photographic level. The fragment is still there, and the juxtapositions and the references are all exploding in front of your face.

It’s kind of a silent cacophony. It’s loud but, at the same time, quiet. I’m interested in this kind of ambiguity about the images. They’re clearly from a tradition, they’re clearly based on fragments, and they’re being juxtaposed. They’re being forced to be together, there’s chance operations, and yet they’re just abstractions. Now, is that pertinent today? I don’t know, but I want to explore the possibility because abstraction is a fairly young language.

ART21: How did your work change when you went to school in Chicago?

HERRERA: I spent eight years traveling and working before that. I traveled in Europe and went back to Venezuela. It was a period of reflecting on what had happened in school and reflecting on what I wanted to do. I decided to go to graduate school in Chicago. That allowed for a very critical training. I think my interest in popular culture, cartoons and signs developed because these elements were easily accessible. They’re inexpensive. They were all around in stores—Salvation Army, Goodwill. So, you could actually make works very cheaply using glue, scissors, and paper. So, that allowed me to be able to cut and find fragments that were richer than the actual pages where they came from. Juxtaposing those fragments created other images with surprising effects. So then, I kept going.

ART21: But doesn’t collage mean “to paste,” not “to cut”?

HERRERA: To be able to paste two or three pieces of paper, you have to achieve that through cutting. But I think the most essential part of collage is imposing or juxtaposing—to glue a piece of paper on top of another piece of paper. So, that is the essential aspect of collage. Cutting allows you to concentrate on the essence of the fragment that you want to isolate. But collaging means gluing, that’s really the most important thing. That’s when the images are actually formed, when they’re actually joined together for good.

Arturo Herrera in his New York studio, 2004. Production still from the "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 3 episode, "Play," 2005. © Art21, Inc. 2005.Arturo Herrera in his New York studio, 2004. Production still from the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season 3 episode, “Play,” 2005. © Art21, Inc. 2005.

ART21: Can you talk about fragmentation and the final image?

HERRERA: I’m interested in how an image that is so well composed and so clear and so objective—made out of these disparate fragments—can be glued, forced together to create an image that will have a different reading from what the fragments said. Both sides are part of the image’s ambiguity, of not knowing exactly what I’m looking at, and then the clarity of the way it was composed. This is something intriguing to me.

ART21: How much are you directing the viewer in your work?

HERRERA: You’re on your own when you look at these images. Fragments offer a point of entry that you can identify in the piece. Once you’re there, you are in a complete process of association. And that process is completely different to another person’s process. So, I’m not directing you towards a specific reading. You will be able to form whatever information you want from this image because it allows this field of abstraction, with some subjectivity, and then the objectivity of the image is there, too. So, you shift back and forth without any kind of order or didactic direction from me telling you what to do or how to look at the image.

ART21: What about the impact the scale of your work makes on the viewer?

HERRERA: The collages represent a very intimate scale and actually indicate the way I work and the scale of the table that I work on. I think the scale of the collages allows for an intimate connection. And seeing them in series allows them to inform back and forth. The intimacy of the scale is important because when the wall paintings occur, it’s a completely different situation.

Arturo Herrera, "Keep in Touch (from set #4)," detail, 2004. Installation view at Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, 2005. Production still from the "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 3 episode, "Play," 2005. Artwork courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. Production still © Art21, Inc. 2005.Arturo Herrera, “Keep in Touch (from set #4),” detail, 2004. Installation view at Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, 2005. Production still from the “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season 3 episode, “Play,” 2005. Artwork courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. Production still © Art21, Inc. 2005.

ART21: What propels you to come to the studio every day?

HERRERA: Coming to the studio is time for discovery. As Stravinsky said, “Unless you work for many hours, nothing is going to happen.” So, the muse of invention doesn’t exist; you just have to work. It’s a job, and you just have to come. For me, usually, it happens at the last minute of the last hour: I’m utterly exhausted, and I thought it was a wasted day, and then something happens. So, I believe in just being in the studio, trying different things, playing, experimenting.

Working through chance accidents, it’s hard to be able to get some kind of result. Since I don’t work through specific ideas, I basically have to sit and come up with something. The only way to do that is just to come into the studio and get your hands dirty, get the X-Acto blade cutting paper. Unless I work, I don’t find anything. The more time I spend here, the better.

ART21: But that’s not what propels you to be here.

HERRERA: Right. I come to the studio to be able to create an image that will have a certain impact. All artists look at other artists from the past and admire some artists greatly because they had the courage to try—the power to be able to go into this other scale, or this combination of colors, or what have you. To be able to join them eventually is, first of all, a challenge. You want to get there (maybe I will never get there), but it just keeps you going—that you might be able to participate in this dance with these other people.

If I make an image that is strong enough or generous enough to some viewers, then my job is done. I’m happy with the image; I feel it’s a strong image. And, if it actually provides some kind of emotional and intellectual nourishment or idea to the viewer, then my job is done. That’s what keeps me going.

Is it possible to create an image that will have any impact now, with the multiplicity of images today, with the Internet and digital cameras and film and video? I think there are still images that people have not seen and that will be powerful enough to be able to send different messages. What kind of images these are, I don’t know. I’m trying to get there; I’m trying to find them. I don’t know what they look like. So, I come to the studio to dissect them from other fragments.

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Atheists Charge: “What about the thousands who have been killed in the name of religion?” by Ravi Zacharias (March 26, 1946- May 19, 2020) (from his book “Can Man Live Without God”)

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On Twitter Flippo Angelini wrote, “But the Catholic Church has its own blood on its hands.”

Let me give two responses to this. 1. I am not Catholic. 2. The response below from Ravi is exactly what I believe on the subject.

Atheists Charge: “What about the thousands who have been killed in the name of religion?”

by Ravi Zacharias (from his book “Can Man Live Without God”)

One of the great blind spots of a philosophy that attempts to disavow God is its unwillingness to look into the face of the monster it has begotten and own up to being its creator. It is here that living without God meets its first insurmountable obstacle, the inability to escape the infinite reach of a moral law. Across scores of campuses in our world I have seen outraged students or faculty members waiting with predatorial glee to pounce upon religion, eager to make the oft-repeated but ill-understood charge: What about the thousands who have been killed in the name of religion?

The emotion-laden question is not nearly as troublesome to answer if the questioner first explains all the killing that has resulted from those who have lived without God, such as Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao, et al. The antitheist is quick to excoriate all religious belief by generically laying the blame at the door of all who claim to be religious, without distinction. By the same measure, why is there not an equal enthusiasm to distribute blame for violence engendered by some of the irreligious?

But the rub goes even deeper than that. The attackers of religion have forgotten that these large-scale slaughters at the hands of antitheists were the logical outworking of their God-denying philosophy. Contrastingly, the violence spawned by those who killed in the name of Christ would never have been sanctioned by the Christ of the Scriptures. Those who killed in the name of God were clearly self-serving politicizers of religion, an amalgam Christ ever resisted in His life and teaching. Their means and their message were in contradiction to the gospel. Atheism, on the other hand provides the logical basis for an autonomous, domineering will, expelling morality. Darwin himself predicted this slippery slope of violence if evolutionary theory were translated into a philosophy of life. Nietzche talked of the enshrouding darkness that had fallen over mankind–he saw its ramifications. The Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevski repeatedly wrote of the hell that is let loose when man comes adrift from his Creators moorings and himself becomes god–he understood the consequences. Now, asproof positive, we witness our culture as a whole in a mindless drift toward lawlessness–we live with the inexorable result of autonomies in collision.

In case you fear that I am carrying this too far, I present the following for your consideration. It is not always easy in life to pinpoint moments that dramatically change you for the future. Sometimes, however, in retrospect we are able to look back upon such a moment and say, “For me, that was it.” Let me introduce you to one such experience for me.

A few years ago when I was speaking in Poland I was taken to the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. I shall never be the same. Many, many times in silence I have reflected upon my first visit there, where the words of Hitler envisioning a generation of young people without a conscience are aptly hung on a wall, grimly reminding the visitor of the hell unleashed when his goal was realized.

I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality…. We will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence–imperious, relentless and cruel.

On display for all to behold are thousands of pounds of women’s hair, retrieved and marketed as a commodity by the Nazi exterminators, architects of the final solution that sent multitudes to the gas ovens. The incredible reminders–from rooms filled with pictures of abused and castrated children to the toiletries and clothing that are stacked to the ceiling–cast an overwhelming pall of somberness upon the visitor.

That this was conceived and nurtured in the mind of the most educated nation at that time in history and brought forth on the soil that had also given birth to the Enlightenment almost defies belief. But it was atheism’s legitimate offspring. Man was beginning to live without God.

“Can Man Live Without God” by Ravi Zacharias can be found in Christian book stores.

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Steve Jobs’ view of death and what the Bible has to say about it jh55

(If you want to check out other posts I have done about about Steve Jobs:Some say Steve Jobs was an atheist , Steve Jobs and Adoption , What is the eternal impact of Steve Jobs’ life? ,Steve Jobs versus President Obama: Who created more jobs? ,Steve Jobs’ view of death and what the Bible has to say about it ,8 things you might not know about Steve Jobs ,Steve Jobs was a Buddhist: What is Buddhism? ,Did Steve Jobs help people even though he did not give away a lot of money? )

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

Uploaded by on Mar 7, 2008

Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself — at the university’s 114th Commencement on June 12, 2005.

___________________

Steve Jobs noted:

Remembering Steve Jobs in quotesRemembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. — Steve Jobs, speaking at Stanford University’s commencement, June 2005.

Steve Jobs was a Buddhist and it is my view that this is almost the same as being an atheist. In this clip above he discusses the issue of death. There is one book in the Bible that confronts the view of death and the issue of atheism more than any other book.

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

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Power reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced.

Solomon comes to the realization that powers reigns in this life and the scales are not balanced. Solomon notes, “Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless. (Ecclesiastes 4:1).

People that believe there is no afterlife must concede that Hitler will never face the due punishment for his acts. I am a big Woody Allen movie fan and no other movie better demonstrates Ecclesiastes 4:1 better than the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS because the character Judah was able to get away with murder and in the end of the movie does not fear that God will punish him. 

If you do not have God in the picture then you must come to the same conclusions that Solomon came to and Woody Allen shows that very clearly in his film.

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture.  I am hoping that Woody Allen will also come to that same conclusion that Solomon came to concerning the meaning of life and man’s proper place in the universe in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil

Another chapter in Ecclesiastes takes on the issue of death head on.

Ecclesiastes 9:1-12

The Message (MSG)

Ecclesiastes 9

1-3Well, I took all this in and thought it through, inside and out. Here’s what I understood: The good, the wise, and all that they do are in God’s hands—but, day by day, whether it’s love or hate they’re dealing with, they don’t know.

Anything’s possible. It’s one fate for everybody—righteous and wicked, good people, bad people, the nice and the nasty, worshipers and non-worshipers, committed and uncommitted. I find this outrageous—the worst thing about living on this earth—that everyone’s lumped together in one fate. Is it any wonder that so many people are obsessed with evil? Is it any wonder that people go crazy right and left? Life leads to death. That’s it.

Seize Life!

4-6 Still, anyone selected out for life has hope, for, as they say, “A living dog is better than a dead lion.” The living at least know something, even if it’s only that they’re going to die. But the dead know nothing and get nothing. They’re a minus that no one remembers. Their loves, their hates, yes, even their dreams, are long gone. There’s not a trace of them left in the affairs of this earth.

7-10 Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don’t skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed.

11 I took another walk around the neighborhood and realized that on this earth as it is—

The race is not always to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor satisfaction to the wise,
Nor riches to the smart,
Nor grace to the learned.
Sooner or later bad luck hits us all.

12 No one can predict misfortune.
Like fish caught in a cruel net or birds in a trap,
So men and women are caught
By accidents evil and sudden.

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

Livgren wrote:

“All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

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

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

(part 1 ten minutes)

(part 2 ten minutes)

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