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Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 1 “The Roman Age” (Schaeffer Sundays)

The Roots of the Emergent Church by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part1)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 2)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 3)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 4)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 5)

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

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

10 Worldview and Truth

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

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

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

_________________

Today I am starting a series that really had a big impact on my life back in the 1970’s when I first saw it. There are ten parts and today is the first.

Francis Schaeffer takes a look at Rome and why it fell. It fell because of inward problems. We have many of these same problems today in the USA.

The late Francis Schaeffer wrote of the significance of one’s world view, which, in the final analysis, represents one’s doctrinal perspective about God and life:

There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind—what they are in their thought world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity …

People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By presuppositions we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic world view, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People’s presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and their basis for their decisions.

“As a man thinketh, so is he,” is really most profound. An individual is not just the product of the forces around him. He has a mind, an inner world …

Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches measles. But people with more understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of what world view is true …

It is important to realize what a difference a people’s world view makes in their strength as they are exposed to the pressure of life. That it was the Christians who were able to resist religious mixtures, syncretism, and the effects of the weakness of Roman culture speaks of the strength of the Christian world view. This strength rested on God’s being an infinite-personal God and his speaking in the Old Testament, in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, and in the gradually growing New Testament. He had spoken in ways people could understand. Thus the Christians not only had knowledge about the universe and mankind that people cannot find out by themselves, but they had absolute, universal values by which to live and by which to judge the society and the political state in which they lived …1

Apathy was the chief mark of the late Empire. One of the ways the apathy showed itself was in a lack of creativity in the arts. One easily observed example of the decadence of officially sponsored art is that the fourth-century work on the Arch of Constantine in Rome stands’ in poor contrast to its second-century sculptures which were borrowed from monuments from the period of Emperor Trajan. The elite abandoned their intellectual pursuits for social life. Officially sponsored art was decadent, and music was increasingly bombastic. Even the portraits on the coins became of poor quality. All of life was marked by the predominant apathy.

As the Roman economy slumped lower and lower, burdened with an aggravated inflation and a costly government, authoritarianism increased to counter the apathy. Since work was no longer done voluntarily, it was brought increasingly under the authority of the state, and freedoms were lost. For example, laws were passed binding small farmers to their land. So, because of the general apathy and its results, and because of oppressive control, few thought the old civilization worth saving.

Rome did not fall because of external forces such as the invasion by the barbarians. Rome had no sufficient inward base; the’ barbarians only completed the breakdown — and Rome gradually became a ruin.

It is important to realize what a difference a people’s world view makes in their strength as they are exposed to the pressure of life. That it was the Christians who were able to resist religious mixtures, syncretism, and the effects of the weaknesses of Roman culture speaks of the strength of the Christian world view. This strength rested on God’s being an infinite-personal God and his speaking in the Old Testament, in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, and in the gradually growing New Testament. He had spoken in ways people could understand. Thus the Christians not only had knowledge about the universe and mankind that people cannot find out by themselves, but they had absolute, universal values by which to live and by which to judge the society and the political state in which they lived. And they had grounds for the basic dignity and value of the individual as unique in being made in the image of God.

Perhaps no one has presented more vividly to our generation the inner weakness of imperial Rome than has Fellini (1920-) in his film Satyricon. He reminds us that the classical world is not to be romanticized, but that it was both cruel and decadent as it came to the logical conclusion of its world view.

A culture or an individual with a weak base can stand only when the pressure on it is not too great. As an illustration, let us think of a Roman bridge. The Romans built little humpbacked bridges over many of the streams of Europe. People and wagons went over these structures safely for centuries, for two millennia. But if people today drove heavily loaded trucks over these bridges, they would break. It is this way with the lives and value systems of individuals and cultures when they have nothing stronger to build on than their own limitedness, their own finiteness. They can stand when pressures are not too great, but when pressures mount, if then they do not have a sufficient base, they crash-just as a Roman bridge would cave in under the weight of a modern six-wheeled truck. Culture and the freedoms of people are fragile. Without a sufficient base, when such pressures come only time is needed and often not a great deal of time-before there is a collapse.

E P I S O D E 1

ROMAN AGE

I. Introduction

A. Problem: dilemma of social breakdown and violence leading to authoritarianism which limits freedom.

B. We are, however, not helpless. Why?

C. Answer approached through consideration of the past.

D. Any starting point in history would be good; we start with Rome because it is direct ancestor of modern West.

II. Rome: The Empire Triumphant

A. Size and military strength of Empire.

B. Imperial sway evoked by Aventicum (Avenches), Switzerland.

III. Rome: Cultural Analysis

A. Greece and Rome: cultural influences and parallels.

1. Society as the absolute, to give meaning to life.

2. Finite gods as ground of accepted values.

B. Problems arising from Roman culture.

1. No infinite reference point as base for values and society.

2. Collapse of civic ideals therefore inevitable.

C. Results of collapse of ideals.

1. Dictatorship of Julius Caesar a response to civil disorder.

2. Firmly established authoritarian rule of Augustus.

D. Characteristics of regime introduced by Augustus.

1. Claim to give peace and the fruits of civilization.

2. Care to maintain facade of republican constitution.

3. People ready to accept absolute power in return for peace and prosperity.

4. Religious sanction for emperor-dictators: the emperor as God.

E. Christian persecution

1. Religious toleration in the Empire.

2. Christians persecuted because they would worship only the infinite-personal God and not Caesar also. They had an absolute whereby to judge the Roman state and its actions.

F. Viability of presuppositions facing social and political tension.

1. Christians had infinite reference point in God and His revelation in the Old Testament, the revelation through Christ, and the growing New Testament.

2. Christians could confront Roman culture and be untouched by its inner weakness, including its relativism and syncretism.

3. Roman hump-backed bridge, like Roman culture, could only stand if not subjected to overwhelming pressures.

IV. Rome: Eventual Decline and Fall

A. Growth of taste for cruelty.

B. Decadence seen in rampant sexuality and lust for violence.

C. General apathy, as seen in decline in artistic creativity.

D. Economic decline, more expensive government, and tighter centralization.

E. Successful barbarian invasions because of internal rot.

V. Conclusion

There is no foundation strong enough for society or the individual life within the realm of finiteness and beginning from Man alone as autonomous.

Questions

1. Dr. Schaeffer claims that, through looking at history, we can see how presuppositions determine events. Does his discussion bear this out and, if so, how?

2. How can a survey of Roman history in one-half hour be either useful or responsible? Discuss.

3. “History does not repeat itself.” —The parallels between the history of Rome and the twentieth century West are many and obvious.” How may these statements be reconciled?

Key Events and Persons

Julius Caesar: 100-44 B.C.

Augustus Caesar (Octavian): 63 B.C.-A.D. 14

Declared Pontifex Maximus: 12 B.C.

Diocletian: (Emperor) A.D. 284-305

Further Study

Here, as in succeeding suggestions for further study, it will be assumed that if you want to devote a great deal of time to a topic you can consult a library or a good bookstore. Suggestions given below are made on the basis of relevance to the text, readability, and availability.

Not all the books will necessarily agree at all—or in all details—with Dr. Schaeffer’s presentation. But as in the general conduct of life, so in matters of the mind, one must learn to discriminate. If you avoid reading things with which you disagree, you will be naive about what most of the world thinks. On the other hand, if you read everything—but without a critical mind—you will end up accepting by default all that the world (and especially your own moment of history) thinks.

J.P.V.D. Balsdon, Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome (1969).

E.M. Blaiklock, The Christian in Pagean Society (1956).

Samuel Dill, Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire (1962).

E.M.B. Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (1970).

Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans: A Selection (1972).

Virgil, The Aeneid (1965).

Film: Fellini, Satyricon (1969).

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)

Uploaded on Oct 3, 2010

No description available.

In about A.D. 60, a Jew who was a Christian and who also knew the Greek and Roman thinking of his day wrote a letter to those who lived in Rome. Previously, he had said the same things to Greek thinkers while speaking on Mars Hill in Athens. He had spoken with the Acropolis above him and the ancient marketplace below him, in the place wherethe thinkers of Athens met for discussion. A plaque marks that spot today and gives his talk in the common Greek spoken in his day. He was interrupted in his talk in Athens, but his Letter to the Romans gives us without interruption what he had to say to the thinking people of that period.

He said that the integration points of the Greek and Roman world view were not enough to answer the questions posed either by the existence of the universe and its form, or by the uniqueness of man. He said that they deserved judgment because they knew that they did not have an adequate answer to the questions raised by the universe or by the existence of man, and yet they refused, they suppressed, that which is the answer. To quote his letter:

The retribution of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Because that which is known of God is evident within them [that is, the uniqueness of man in contrast to non-man], for God made it evident to them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived by the things that are made [that is, the existence of the universe and its form], even his eternal power and divinity; so that they are without excuse. [Roman 1:18ff.]

Here he is saying that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man speak the same truth that the Bible gives in greater detail. That this God exists and that he has not been silent but has spoken to people in the Bible and through Christ was the basis for the return to a more fully biblical Christianity in the days of the Reformers. It was a message of the possibility that people could return to God on the basis of the death of Christ alone. But with it came many other realities, including form and freedom in the culture and society built on that more biblical Christianity. The freedom brought forth was titanic, and yet, with the forms given in the Scripture, the freedoms did not lead to chaos. And it is this which can give us hope for the future. It is either this or an imposed order.

As I have said in the first chapter, people function on the basis of their world view more consistently than even they themselves may realize. The problem is not outward things. The problem is having, and then acting upon, the right world view — the world view which gives men and women the truth of what is.

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Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” (Schaeffer Sundays)

E P I S O D E 1 0

________________

FINAL CHOICES

I. Authoritarianism the Only Humanistic Social Option

One man or an elite giving authoritative arbitrary absolutes.

A. Society is sole absolute in absence of other absolutes.

B. But society has to be led by an elite: John Kenneth Galbraith, Robert Theobald.

C. Daniel Bell’s prophecy of technocratic elite.

D. Bell’s warning of cultural contradiction: no absolute ethic to accompany absolute power.

II. Nature of the New Authoritarianism

A. Do not think of the model of Hitler and Stalin.

B. Probably a manipulative, authoritarian elite.

III. Possible Forms of Manipulation

A. Review from Episode Six: Koestler—chemical agents; Krantz—birth control in world’s drinking supply; Clark—political leaders should take anti-aggression pills; Lee—psychological tests for public officials; Skinner—reinforcers to modify behavior.

B. Genetic condition: Francis Crick.

1. He advocates:

a) That some group of people is to decide who should be the parents of the next generation and who should be born.

b) That some group of people should determine what kind of people they want in the future and will set out genetically to make them.

2. Once Man is no longer seen as made in God’s image, there is no reason not to “tinker” with Man genetically.

C. The mass media.

1. TV conditions by selective editing. Illustration: simulated riot filmed in San Jose.

2. No collusion needed if views of elite and newsmakers coincide. Media not monolithic, but total control not needed to achieve manipulation.

IV Authoritarianism in Government. Illustration: United States

A. The dilemma of people who speak out for civil liberties but are also committed to the government’s having a responsibility to solve every problem.

B. Christian freedoms without Christian base produce chaos.

C. In the United States an authoritarian, manipulating government could come from the administrative (executive) side, the legislature, or from the courts functioning on variable, sociological law.

V. Threat of Authoritarianism

A. Leftist or Rightist authoritarianism are only two roads to the same end.

B. With the loss of Christian consensus, no reason for young or old committed to apathy not to give in if promised personal peace and affluence.

C. Roman bridge simile: humanist values collapse under pressure.

D. Some overwhelming pressures which progressively tend to prepare modern people to accept a manipulative, authoritarian government:

1. Economic breakdown.

a) Spiral of inflation leads to economic recession.

b) Fear of economic breakdown swamps concern for liberty.

2. Random violence and political terrorism. Fear can be so great than any compromise is worth security.

3. Threat of War between the West and expansionist Communist Block. Fear of war opens the way for many to accept authoritarianism as lesser evil.

4. World food shortage and change in world distribution of wealth and goods.

a) Threat of lower living standards alters basic attitudes.

b) Authoritarianism more likely to be accepted in a descending spiral of prosperity and a country’s place of power.

E. As in the days of Caesar Augustus (Episode One), authoritarianism is most easily accepted if it is brought in while seeming to keep the outward forms of constitutionality.

VI. Two Alternatives to Chaos:

Either authoritarianism—or society’s affirming once again the original source of freedom, God’s revelation in the Bible, and His revelation through Christ.

A. Reconsidering the second alternative.

1. Nonpragmatic nature of biblical Christianity.

a) Christianity not a superior utilitarianism to mend society; Christianity is truth that gives a unity to all of knowledge and all of life.

b) Stems from the infinite-personal God who exists and who was the Maker of the heavens and the earth.

c) The acceptance of Christ as Savior and Lord, living under the absolutes which the Bible gives.

d) Christians have a responsibility to influence society across its whole spectrum and the entire spectrum of life.

e) Christians can influence consensus without being a majority.

2. The message of Paul to the Greek and Roman world applied.

a) Classical-humanist answers insufficient.

b) World is guilty of suppressing God’s truth and living accordingly. The universe and its form and the mannishness of Man speak the same truth that the Bible gives in greater detail.

c) Biblical Christianity is a message that people can return to God on the basis of Christ’s work alone, but it also gives the base for form and freedom in society.

d) It is this which can give us a hope for the future.

e) It is either this or an imposed order.

B. A reminder about presuppositions.

1. People act out their thoughts, whether they know it or not.

2. All depends on the world view one accepts and lives upon.

Questions

1. The theory of human biological manipulation, granted its premises, is entirely consistent. Outline these premises and the way in which various programs of manipulation are derived from them.

2. In a world moving steadily towards authoritarian regimes, does the relative slowness of Western democracies to lose their freedoms increase or decrease the likelihood of the West’s political survival? Give reasons.

3. Can you think of ways in which you and your church’s attitudes to society betray the utilitarian approach to the world? Does this approach reflect ignorance about the Truth and guilt about our failure to live it? What is the alternative approach and what does it reflect?

Key Events and Persons

Paul’s speech in Athens: c. A.D. 53

Paul’s Epistle to the Romans: c. A.D. 60

J.K. Galbraith: 1908-

Francis Crick: 1916-

Daniel Bell: 1919-

The Coming of the Post-Industrial Society: 1973

Robert Theobald: 1929-

Further Study

As an exercise, you might find it valuable to collect clippings which deal with the subjects discussed and see what attitudes are betrayed by the authors. To pool such clippings in a group for the purpose of joint examination would be very illuminating.

Daniel Boorstin, The Image (1961).

Jacques Ellul, Propaganda (1965).

Francis Crick, Of Molecules and Men (1967).

Francis Crick, Origins of the Genetic Code (1968).

Gordon R. Taylor, The Biological Time-Bomb (1969).

Daniel Bell, The Coming of the Post-Industrial Society (1973).

E.M.B. Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (1970).

Francis A. Schaeffer, Death in the City (1969).

Nevil Shute, On the Beach (1952).

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Communism: A Legacy of Terror (1975).

Richard M. Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences (1965.)

The Roots of the Emergent Church by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part1)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 2)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 3)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 4)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 5)

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

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

10 Worldview and Truth

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

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

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

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Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 4 of transcript and video)

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 4 of transcript and video)

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 4 of 6.

 
Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools
Transcript:
It seems to me that if one is truly interested in liberty, which I think is the ultimate value that Milton Friedman talks about, one has to be very careful how he structures the kinds of subsidies that are proposed for education so that you do not wind up with the poor in one kind of school and the rich all in the other, and very little liberty for low-income people left over, which is what is what I think he has in mind. That is, I don’t think he has that result in mind. He has the hope in mind of liberty, but that it’s going to need a certain kind of tailoring before it works that way.
SHANKER: I think your remarks about free competition are very unfair for a very simple reason. You cannot have free competition where one group of schools must accept every single student who comes along, no matter what his physical or emotional handicaps or other problems; whereas the very essence of a private school and your voucher school is that they’re going to be able to keep out the students and the finest schools that you saw in that film were schools that deliberately kept out the most difficult students. Of course you can have a wonderful school if you pick students whose parents __
(Several talking at once)
SHANKER: __ no, no. Whose parents are so highly motivated that they’re willing to spend more money and willing to go out of their way to do something like that. Now the public schools have to take the handicapped, must provide bilingual education, must engage in bussing or other programs in terms of integration, must do all of these things. Whereas the private school can come along and say, well if your child has no problems, you know what we can do? We can offer you a school where you don’t have to sit next a child with these other problems. We’re gonna put you next to other children who are advantaged.
SHANNON: I think in the real world there is no competition between private schools and public schools because private schools, especially parochial schools, do not have to comply with Federal and State mandates and constitutional limitations and things of that sort.
McKENZIE: Dr. Anrig.
ANRIG: I think the part of the film that speaks to the greater parental involvement, I agree with very enthusiastically. However, I think the solution is the wrong solution for the problem that you identify. I think the role of public education in a democracy is not akin to that of the marketplace. The purpose for the common school is not the same as the purpose for the marketplace. We are trying in our public schools to create a democracy, to create an educated electorate. If you’re going to do that, you have to have the common school.
McKENZIE: How far do you accept his analysis of the present condition of the public education system? A pretty drastic analysis.
ANRIG: Well, I think he’s established three straw men that I think have to be challenged with all respect, Professor Friedman. The first is that there is a profession of education out there which has run amuck. We have the most decentralized system in the world in the American education. Sixteen thousand school districts that are governed not by the profession, but by elected citizen representatives, most of whom are parents. Secondly, you long, as I would, for the good old days of the one-room school in Vermont. That school served a small proportion of the youngsters for a short period of time, and those days will never come back. Third, you as an example of American education, a troubled high school in an urban center.
McKENZIE: In your bailiwick.
ANRIG: In my bailiwick, which is not typical of where the American student goes to school, first of all; and secondly is not typical of the City of Boston. And I do think it’s important to point out that that particular school, at the time that you took filming there, or your production crew did, was in the middle of a desegregation process that was not anywhere remarked about in the film. So it was not a typical example either of education in America or of education in Boston.
McKENZIE: The one unsurprising thing about these comments is that all of the opposition to allowing the market work comes from people who have a very strong vested interest in the present public school system. I am not proposing, we are not proposing to destroy the public school system. We are only asking that the public school system should be free to compete, should be open to competition, if it is really as good as you people make it out to be, it has nothing to worry about. Now, in terms of your comment, of course there’s a great deal of decentralization. We showed a very good school in this film as well as a very bad school. There are many good schools, and the more decentralized the control, in my opinion, the more satisfactory is the schooling. The real problem is concentrated in those areas where decentralization is broken down. Where you have moved to much greater centralization, much greater control, and the main trouble areas are in the large cities. That’s why we picked that school to show. In response to the question of the excellence of the schooling that’s coming, I think there is nobody who can question the declining SAT scores, the declining scores on exams, the declining performance in the schools, the fact that there is widespread dissatisfaction, that many schools, not all schools, some schools, in urban areas are more accurately described as centers to keep people off the street than as educational institutions.
SHANKER: When you have a free market, there are dangers that go along with that market. Now, we know that there are people in our society who buy consumer’s reports, and there are people who do a great deal of research before they buy something, and there are other people who are taken in by the Crest commercials and instant appeal to give them some sort of a gimmick with a thing. And I think that the evidence is pretty clear that if you take middle class and wealthier families they are gonna do a good deal of research. They may very well be able to invest some additional money of their own to take some inconvenience. And if you have an open system of this sort it may very well be that the poorest parents are gonna have to take what is most convenient for them. What is going to fit in with their own work schedules, what is not going to require additional sums of money. And there is no doubt in my mind that you set up a system of free choice of this sort, you’re going to end up with the poor in one set of schools of their own on the basis of a good deal of gimmicks that will be offered to them.
COONS: They can’t learn, right? They’re __
FRIEDMAN: Excuse me, Mr. Shanker. I want to ask you one question: How do you explain the fact that there is no area of the free market, no area of the private market, in which the poor people who live in the ghettos of our major cities are as disadvantaged as they are with respect to the kind of schooling they can get. I want you to name me any aspect in the kind of supermarkets they can go to. They’re not as disadvantaged even in the kind of housing they can occupy as they are in respect of the kind of schooling their children can go to. How does __
SHANKER: What’s your evidence for that? I don’t think you have any evidence for that.
COONS: But, they’re trying to get out.
FRIEDMAN: They’re trying desperately to get out. Families with very low incomes are trying to get into the parochial schools that you’re talking about.
SHANKER: Exactly. And they’re trying to get out of the slums, and they’re trying to get into different neighborhoods __
FRIEDMAN: They are trying to, sure.
SHANKER: __ they’re trying to do all sorts of things.
FRIEDMAN: They’re doing better on that. They’re doing better on that. And instead, in a free choice system you would have more heterogeneous schools in my opinion, far less segregation by social and economic class than you now have. Because __
(Several talking at once.)
McKENZIE: Dr. Anrig.
ANRIG: It just doesn’t hold up by the very examples he’s used.
FRIEDMAN: Excuse me. It so happens that right now, the parochial schools are the only alternative really available to low-income people.
SHANKER: Do they take all the children who want to get in?
FRIEDMAN: And the reason for that is that it’s very hard to sell something when other people are giving it away. Anybody who wants to send his child to a nonpublic school has to pay twice for it. Once in the form of taxes and once in the form of tuition. Under the kind of voucher scheme that Jack Coons and I would support, that difficulty would be eliminated. You would now have a situation in which the low-income people would have the kind of bargaining power, the kind of possibility of choice, that those of us who are in the upper-income groups have had all along. (Several talking at once.)
McKENZIE: I want to move __ Jack Coons. Jack Coons, I want you to come in now. I know you’re in principle advocating the voucher system. Could you give us the case as you see it. I know you’ve got your differences with Milton on it, but let’s have the case.
COONS: What we are doing in California is establishing a form of change, possible change, proposing a change, in which lower-income people will get information along with the opportunity to go to any school of their choice and transportation to get there. Of course they need information. Anybody needs information in a market. And they need information from independent sources, not from the schools themselves, and that’s the way the initiative is designed, to come from independent sources. Now, we believe that ordinary people can make the best judgments for their children about where they should go, if they’re given good professional advice. And it also helps teachers because they can, for the first time, be professionals. They can act like real professionals, because they don’t have a captive audience. They don’t dominate their client, they respect their client, and they deal with them on the basis of a contract. What could be better for teachers than for the first time to become people who are dealing in a democratic and respectful way with clientele instead of with captives.
SHANNON: I am concerned that a voucher system will lead towards havens for white flight, will lead towards a duel school system in the sense that you have one school system operating under one set of rules, the other school system, public school system, operating under carefully articulated educational policy in any given state. And that’s why I think it’s __
COONS: Exactly, in Los Angeles County the movement to private schools last year was less, a smaller percentage than in the statewide pattern.
SHANKER: You may have five or ten percent of the students __
FRIEDMAN: Right, right.
SHANKER: __ you have very severe problems and come from families with very severe problems, and those students take up 95 percent of the time of the teachers and the administrators and the other children aren’t getting an education. Now, you’re gonna set up your voucher school. Are your voucher schools going to accept these tough children?

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 2 of transcript and video)

Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “What is wrong with our schools?” (Part 2 of transcript and video)

Here is the video clip and transcript of the film series FREE TO CHOOSE episode “What is wrong with our schools?” Part 2 of 6.

 
Volume 6 – What’s Wrong with our Schools
Transcript:

Groups of concerned parents and teachers decided to do something about it. They used private funds to take over empty stores and they set up what became known as store front schools. One of the first and most successful was Harlem Prep. It was designed to cater to students for whom conventional education had failed. Many of the teachers didn’t have the right pieces of paper to qualify for employment in public schools. That didn’t stop them from doing a good job here. A lot of the students had been misfits and dropouts. Here they found the sort of teaching they wanted. After all, they had made a deliberate choice to come to Harlem Prep. It was a very successful school. Many students went on to college and some to leading colleges.

But after some years, the school ran short of cash. The board of education offered Ed Carpenter, the head of the school and one of its founders, tax money, provided he would conform to their regulations. After a long battle to preserve independence, he finally gave in. The school was taken over by bureaucrats.
Ed Carpenter, Former Principal, Harlem Preparatory School: I felt that a school like Harlem Prep would certainly die and not prosper under the rigid bureaucracy of a board of education. We had to see what was going to happen. I didn’t believe it was going to be good. I am right. What has happened since we have come to the board of education is not all good __ it is not all bad __ but it is more bad than good.
Friedman: The school may not look different yet, but 30 of the former teachers have gone. Ed Carpenter has resigned. The school is being moved to a traditional school building. No one, except maybe the bureaucrats, is very optimistic about its future.
Unfortunately, the strangling of successful experiments by bureaucrats is not unusual. The same thing happened in California, at a place called Alum Rock. For three years parents at this school could choose to send their children to any of several specially created mini-schools, each with a different curriculum. The experiment was designed to restore a choice to those who were most closely involved, the parents and the teachers.
Don Ayers, Former Principal, Millard McCollam Elementary School: Probably the most significant thing that happened was that the teachers, for the first time, had some power and they were able to build the curriculum to fit the needs of the children as they saw it. The state and local school board did not dictate the kind of curriculum that was used in the McCollam School. The parents became more involved in this school. They attended more meetings. They also had a power to pull their child out of that particular mini-school if they chose another mini-school
Friedman: Giving parents greater choice had a dramatic effect on educational quality. In terms of test scores, this school went from 13th to 2nd place among the schools in its district, but the experiment is now over. When school resumed after the summer vacation, this was just another public school, back in the hands of the bureaucrats.
Giving parents a choice is a good idea, yet it always meets with opposition from the educational establishment. This is Ashford, a town in the south of England. For four years, there have been efforts here to introduce an experiment in greater parental choice. Parents would be given vouchers covering the cost of schooling. They could use the voucher to send their child to any school of their choice. I have long believed that children, teachers, all of us, would benefit from a voucher system. But the head master here, who happens also to be secretary of the local teacher’s union, has very different views about introducing vouchers.
Mr. Dennis Gee, Headmaster, Newtown Primary School: We see this as a barrier between us and the parent. This sticky little piece of paper in their hand, coming in and under due writ you will do this or else. We make our judgment because we believe it is in the best interest of every Willy and every little Johnny that we have got, and not because someone is going to say, if you don’t do it, we will do that. It is this sort of philosophy of the marketplace that we object to.
Friedman: In other words, Mr. Gee objects to giving the customer, in this case the parent, anything to say about the kind of schooling his child gets. Instead, the bureaucrats should decide.
Mr. Gee: We are answerable to parents and to our government bodies, through the inspectorate of the county council and through her Majesty’s inspectorate to the secretary of state. These are professionals who are able to make professional judgments.
Friedman: But things look very different from the point of view of parents. Jason Walton’s parents had to fight the bureaucracy, the professionals, for a year before they could get him into the school that they thought was best suited to his needs.
Maurice Walton, Parent: As the present system stands, I think virtually parents have got no freedom of choice whatsoever. They are told what is good for them by the teachers and are told that the teachers are doing a great job, and I just got no sign at all. If the voucher system were introduced, I think it would bring teachers and parents together, I think closer. A parent that is worried about his child would remove their child from the school that wasn’t giving a good service and take it to one that was. And if a school is going to crumble because it’s got nothing but vandalism, it is generally slack on discipline, and the children aren’t learning well, then it is a good thing from my point of view.
Friedman: Even good schools like this would benefit from a voucher system. From having to shape up or see parents take children elsewhere, but that is not how it looks to the head master.
Gee: I am not sure that parents know what is best educationally for their children. They know what is best for them to eat, they know the best environment they can provide at home, but we’ve been trained to ascertain the problems of children, to detect their weaknesses, and put light in things that need putting light, and we want to do this freely, with the cooperation of parents, and not under any undue strains.
Walton: I can understand the teacher saying yes, it is a gun at my head, but they have got the same gun at the parents’ head at the moment. The parent goes up to the teacher and says, well I am not satisfied with what you are doing, and the teacher can say, well tough, you can’t take him away, you can’t remove him, you can’t do what you like so go away and stop bothering me. That can be the attitude of some teachers today __ it often is. But now that the positions are being reversed and the roles are changed, I can only say tough on the teachers __ let them pull their socks up and give us a better deal and let us participate more.
Friedman: In America there is one part of education where the market has had extensive scope, that is higher education. These students attend Dartmouth College, a private school founded in 1769. The college is supported entirely by private donations, income from endowment, and student fees. It has a high reputation and a fine record. Ninety-five percent of the students who enroll here complete their undergraduate course and get a degree.
The students here pay high fees, fees which cover most of the cost of the schooling which they get. Most of them get the money from their parents, but some are on scholarships provided either by Dartmouth or by outside sources. Still others take out loans to pay the costs of schooling, loans which they will have to pay back years later. Still others work either during the school year or during the summer to pay the costs. Many students work in the college’s own hotel. This girl is helping to pay her own way which is pretty good evidence that she is serious about getting an education.
Parents of perspective students come here on shopping expeditions to check out the product before they buy.
What you have here is a private market in education and the college is selling schooling. The students are buying schooling. And as in most such markets, both sides have a strong incentive to serve one another.
For the college, it has a strong incentive to provide the kind of schooling that its students want. 

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 3 of transcript and video)

Friedman Friday” Free to Choose by Milton Friedman: Episode “Created Equal” (Part 3 of transcript and video)

Liberals like President Obama want to shoot for an equality of outcome. That system does not work. In fact, our free society allows for the closest gap between the wealthy and the poor. Unlike other countries where free enterprise and other freedoms are not present.  This is a seven part series.

Created Equal [1/7]. Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980)

This is his busines3 headquarters in Las Vegas, empty except for the idea that he shares with his partner who will handle the production end of the venture when things really get going.

Lance von Allmen: Well, the idea is that if you have an oil spill in the ocean or in the river, you want to try to get it under control. What I am going to simulate here __ I am going to put some of this oil down __ there is your oil spill of major proportions. This product, what I can do is unfortunately what I can’t show you here is if you put this product down with an application system, you ring the oil spill in such a manner. The application system will make it much finer and it will control this. I don’t know if you can see what is happening to the oil yet, but it is just literally being drawn into this stuff as I spray it across the top. It is starting to draw it in. I have way more than I need. This controls ten times its weight in oil and it will not sink. It has been chemically treated __ it is cellulose __ it has been chemically treated so that it will in fact not do anything with the water __it hates water but it loves oil. I don’t know if you can see we have containment devices and that is what we are going to use this with. You can see that it has just taken a very little amount of this oil absorbing product which we call Oileater, to pick this up. The nice thing about it is that after that oil spill, we have the system to do what I am doing with my hand and that is pick all this up. There is the oil out of the product.

Now, if you want the oil back, that is not a big problem, if I can keep it all under control. The oil will come out and there we go, allowing it, I don’t know if you can see. What I have done is I have quit my regular job, I have mortgaged everything I’ve got, and it is quite a risk to do this, but the product works. You can see it works.

And when it goes I am going to make millions. It’s compatible with a lot of other products and a lot of other systems that are on the market. So, the money factor is the main thing. Its the kind of thing that when you see it you want to take the risk, it’s just that kind of thing. You know you’re going to make a lot of money. People talk to me and they will say, yeah, but you are crazy, you don’t have a job; you don’t know where the next pay check is going to come from; as a matter of fact, I think I have $10.00 in my pocket right now, but I don’t worry about it. I get up in the morning and it is my world. I own it. I can sit back and say I am losing, or I can sit back and say I am winning. I can go out and change the odds in my favor.

Friedman: People who are afraid, make their own choices. These two men do a dangerous, noisy, filthy job. They don’t do it because they like it. They do it because it is well paid. That is their choice.

This young man has given up any thought of a steady, well paid career in order to take a job on a golf course. He wants to become a professional golfer. It is a big gamble but it is one that he has decided to take.

When people are free, they are able to use their own resources most effectively and you will have a great deal of productivity, a great deal of opportunity. The major beneficiaries are always the small man. The man who has power who is at the top of society, he is going to do well whatever kind of society you have. It is the society which gives the small man the opportunity to go his way which is going to benefit him the most. That is why if you ask where in the world do ordinary people have the greatest opportunity for themselves and their children, it is not in Russian, it is not on the other hand in India __ it is in places like the United States, like Hong Kong, like Britain as it was, not so clearly Britain as it is.

For much of this century, the British have tried to use the law to impose equality, with very indifferent results. The failure of the drive for equality is not because the wrong measures were adopted; not because they were badly administered; not because the wrong people administered it. The failure is much more fundamental. It is because that drive goes against the most basic instinct of all human beings.

In the words of Adam Smith, the uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition, to improve his own lot and to make a better world for his children and his children’s children. When the law interferes with that pursuit, everyone will try to find a way around. He will try to evade the law. He will break the law or he will emigrate from the country. All of those things have happened in Great Britain. There is no moral code that justifies laws fixing prices or fixing wages, or preventing a man from earning a living unless he joins a union and submits himself to the disciplines of the union, or forcing you to buy more expensive goods at home when cheaper goods are available from abroad. When the law prohibits things that most people regard as moral and proper, they are going to break the law. Only fear of punishment, not a sense of justice will cause them to obey the law and when people start breaking one set of laws, there’s a strong tendency for the lack of respect for the law to extend to all. Even to those which everyone regards as moral and proper. Laws against violence, theft, and vandalism. Hard as it may be to believe. The growth of crude criminality in Britain owes much to the drive for equality. In addition, that has driven some of the ablest, best trained, most vigorous people out of Britain much to the benefit of the United States and other countries that have given them a greater opportunity to use their talents for their own benefit. And finally, who can doubt the effect which the drive for equality has had on efficiency and productivity. Surely that is one of the main reasons why Britain has fallen so far behind its continental neighbors, the United States, Japan and other countries in the improvement of the economic lot of the ordinary man over the past 30 years.

Everywhere and at all times, economic progress has meant far more to the poor than to the rich. Wherever progress has been achieved, it has relieved the poor from backbreaking toil. It has also enabled them to enjoy the comforts and conveniences that have always been available to the rich.

Chicago style politics from President Obama?

Ford Director of U.S. Marketing Discusses Ford “Press Conference” Commercials

Uploaded by on May 1, 2011

http://www.yourlocalforddealers.com/

Matt VanDyke, Ford Director of U.S. Marketing, describes the evolution of the Ford “Drive One” campaign and the latest series of TV Spot

______________________________

We have all heard about the forceful way the old school style of politics was in Chicago. I wonder after reading this story below if President Obama has brought that way of doing business to the White House? Brummett complains about attack dogs here in Arkansas verbally accusing the other party of misdeeds, but at least we don’t have the Chicago style politics thing going on like President Obama.

Ongoing Ripples from the Auto Bailout

Posted by Daniel Ikenson

A couple of weeks ago I suggested that the person responsible for Ford’s anti-bailout ads was deserving of a raise. Today, I wonder how that extra income will be spent…in Siberia. According to media accounts seemingly originating with the Detroit News, Ford has pulled that ad after learning the Putin Obama White House was none too pleased.

It is unclear from the Detroit News article whether overt threats, implied repercussions, or mild expressions of regret best characterize the communications from the White House to Ford. Regardless, something spooked Ford enough to prompt it to pull the popular ad (no longer available on YouTube), which sought to differentiate the Ford brand over the “bailout” characteristic, which is not insignificant to auto purchasing decisions.

Hopefully, some probing journalists will discover the true nature of what transpired. In the meantime, it’s important to reflect on the fact that—contrary to the views of E.J. Dionne and others who cannot contemplate what is not seen—the auto bailout was not a discreet event, which happened and now resides in our memories. It is an ongoing tipping of the scales of competition—intentionally and inadvertently. Ford’s mere perception that the administration might stir up trouble if it didn’t fall into line is a vestige of the bailout.

To the extent that the administration wants to tout the bailout as evidence of its “successful” economic stewardship, it should know that there are plenty of us willing and able to do the auditing on that claim.

“Soccer Saturday” Best Goals 2010 World Cup Part 1

“Soccer Saturday” Best Goals 2010 World Cup Part 1

2010 FIFA World Cup – Best Goals So Far…. Pt 1

Uploaded by on Jun 15, 2010

These are all the best goals scored in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the first 5 days. Please rate, leave a comment, and Subscribe!!!

2010 FIFA World Cup – Best Goals So Far…. Pt 3

Ron Paul “We Just Plain Don’t Mind Our Own Business! That’s Our Problem!” Republican Debate pt 5

Ron Paul “We Just Plain Don’t Mind Our Own Business! That’s Our Problem!” Republican Debate pt 5

MAGGIE HABERMAN comments below on the debate last night: 

Paul also against the debt deal

By MAGGIE HABERMAN | 8/1/11 5:20 PM EDT

With a 12-paragraph statement that came in longer than Newt Gingrich’s, Rep. Ron Paul registers his (unsurprising) disapproval of the debt-ceiling deal, a quarter of which is below:

“While it is good to see serious debate about our debt crisis, I cannot support the reported deal on raising the nation’s debt ceiling. I have never voted to raise the debt ceiling, and I never will.

“This deal will reportedly cut spending by only slightly over $900 billion over 10 years. But we will have a $1.6 trillion deficit after this year alone, meaning those meager cuts will do nothing to solve our unsustainable spending problem. In fact, this bill will never balance the budget. Instead, it will add untold trillions of dollars to our deficit. This also assumes the cuts are real cuts and not the same old Washington smoke and mirrors game of spending less than originally projected so you can claim the difference as a ‘cut’.”

“The plan also calls for the formation of a deficit commission, which will accomplish nothing outside of providing Congress and the White House with another way to abdicate responsibility. In my many years of public service, there have been commissions on everything from Social Security to energy policy, yet not one solution has been produced out of these commissions.”

Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 1 “The Roman Age”

The Roots of the Emergent Church by Francis Schaeffer

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part1)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 2)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 3)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 4)

Francis Shaeffer – The early church (part 5)

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

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

10 Worldview and Truth

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

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

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

Today I am starting a series that really had a big impact on my life back in the 1970’s when I first saw it. There are ten parts and today is the first.

Francis Schaeffer takes a look at Rome and why it fell. It fell because of inward problems. We have many of these same problems today in the USA.

The late Francis Schaeffer wrote of the significance of one’s world view, which, in the final analysis, represents one’s doctrinal perspective about God and life:

There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind—what they are in their thought world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity …

People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By presuppositions we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic world view, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People’s presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and their basis for their decisions.

“As a man thinketh, so is he,” is really most profound. An individual is not just the product of the forces around him. He has a mind, an inner world …

Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches measles. But people with more understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of what world view is true …

It is important to realize what a difference a people’s world view makes in their strength as they are exposed to the pressure of life. That it was the Christians who were able to resist religious mixtures, syncretism, and the effects of the weakness of Roman culture speaks of the strength of the Christian world view. This strength rested on God’s being an infinite-personal God and his speaking in the Old Testament, in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, and in the gradually growing New Testament. He had spoken in ways people could understand. Thus the Christians not only had knowledge about the universe and mankind that people cannot find out by themselves, but they had absolute, universal values by which to live and by which to judge the society and the political state in which they lived …1

Apathy was the chief mark of the late Empire. One of the ways the apathy showed itself was in a lack of creativity in the arts. One easily observed example of the decadence of officially sponsored art is that the fourth-century work on the Arch of Constantine in Rome stands’ in poor contrast to its second-century sculptures which were borrowed from monuments from the period of Emperor Trajan. The elite abandoned their intellectual pursuits for social life. Officially sponsored art was decadent, and music was increasingly bombastic. Even the portraits on the coins became of poor quality. All of life was marked by the predominant apathy.

As the Roman economy slumped lower and lower, burdened with an aggravated inflation and a costly government, authoritarianism increased to counter the apathy. Since work was no longer done voluntarily, it was brought increasingly under the authority of the state, and freedoms were lost. For example, laws were passed binding small farmers to their land. So, because of the general apathy and its results, and because of oppressive control, few thought the old civilization worth saving.

Rome did not fall because of external forces such as the invasion by the barbarians. Rome had no sufficient inward base; the’ barbarians only completed the breakdown — and Rome gradually became a ruin.

It is important to realize what a difference a people’s world view makes in their strength as they are exposed to the pressure of life. That it was the Christians who were able to resist religious mixtures, syncretism, and the effects of the weaknesses of Roman culture speaks of the strength of the Christian world view. This strength rested on God’s being an infinite-personal God and his speaking in the Old Testament, in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, and in the gradually growing New Testament. He had spoken in ways people could understand. Thus the Christians not only had knowledge about the universe and mankind that people cannot find out by themselves, but they had absolute, universal values by which to live and by which to judge the society and the political state in which they lived. And they had grounds for the basic dignity and value of the individual as unique in being made in the image of God.

Perhaps no one has presented more vividly to our generation the inner weakness of imperial Rome than has Fellini (1920-) in his film Satyricon. He reminds us that the classical world is not to be romanticized, but that it was both cruel and decadent as it came to the logical conclusion of its world view.

A culture or an individual with a weak base can stand only when the pressure on it is not too great. As an illustration, let us think of a Roman bridge. The Romans built little humpbacked bridges over many of the streams of Europe. People and wagons went over these structures safely for centuries, for two millennia. But if people today drove heavily loaded trucks over these bridges, they would break. It is this way with the lives and value systems of individuals and cultures when they have nothing stronger to build on than their own limitedness, their own finiteness. They can stand when pressures are not too great, but when pressures mount, if then they do not have a sufficient base, they crash-just as a Roman bridge would cave in under the weight of a modern six-wheeled truck. Culture and the freedoms of people are fragile. Without a sufficient base, when such pressures come only time is needed and often not a great deal of time-before there is a collapse.

E P I S O D E 1

ROMAN AGE

I. Introduction

A. Problem: dilemma of social breakdown and violence leading to authoritarianism which limits freedom.

B. We are, however, not helpless. Why?

C. Answer approached through consideration of the past.

D. Any starting point in history would be good; we start with Rome because it is direct ancestor of modern West.

II. Rome: The Empire Triumphant

A. Size and military strength of Empire.

B. Imperial sway evoked by Aventicum (Avenches), Switzerland.

III. Rome: Cultural Analysis

A. Greece and Rome: cultural influences and parallels.

1. Society as the absolute, to give meaning to life.

2. Finite gods as ground of accepted values.

B. Problems arising from Roman culture.

1. No infinite reference point as base for values and society.

2. Collapse of civic ideals therefore inevitable.

C. Results of collapse of ideals.

1. Dictatorship of Julius Caesar a response to civil disorder.

2. Firmly established authoritarian rule of Augustus.

D. Characteristics of regime introduced by Augustus.

1. Claim to give peace and the fruits of civilization.

2. Care to maintain facade of republican constitution.

3. People ready to accept absolute power in return for peace and prosperity.

4. Religious sanction for emperor-dictators: the emperor as God.

E. Christian persecution

1. Religious toleration in the Empire.

2. Christians persecuted because they would worship only the infinite-personal God and not Caesar also. They had an absolute whereby to judge the Roman state and its actions.

F. Viability of presuppositions facing social and political tension.

1. Christians had infinite reference point in God and His revelation in the Old Testament, the revelation through Christ, and the growing New Testament.

2. Christians could confront Roman culture and be untouched by its inner weakness, including its relativism and syncretism.

3. Roman hump-backed bridge, like Roman culture, could only stand if not subjected to overwhelming pressures.

IV. Rome: Eventual Decline and Fall

A. Growth of taste for cruelty.

B. Decadence seen in rampant sexuality and lust for violence.

C. General apathy, as seen in decline in artistic creativity.

D. Economic decline, more expensive government, and tighter centralization.

E. Successful barbarian invasions because of internal rot.

V. Conclusion

There is no foundation strong enough for society or the individual life within the realm of finiteness and beginning from Man alone as autonomous.

Questions

1. Dr. Schaeffer claims that, through looking at history, we can see how presuppositions determine events. Does his discussion bear this out and, if so, how?

2. How can a survey of Roman history in one-half hour be either useful or responsible? Discuss.

3. “History does not repeat itself.” —The parallels between the history of Rome and the twentieth century West are many and obvious.” How may these statements be reconciled?

Key Events and Persons

Julius Caesar: 100-44 B.C.

Augustus Caesar (Octavian): 63 B.C.-A.D. 14

Declared Pontifex Maximus: 12 B.C.

Diocletian: (Emperor) A.D. 284-305

Further Study

Here, as in succeeding suggestions for further study, it will be assumed that if you want to devote a great deal of time to a topic you can consult a library or a good bookstore. Suggestions given below are made on the basis of relevance to the text, readability, and availability.

Not all the books will necessarily agree at all—or in all details—with Dr. Schaeffer’s presentation. But as in the general conduct of life, so in matters of the mind, one must learn to discriminate. If you avoid reading things with which you disagree, you will be naive about what most of the world thinks. On the other hand, if you read everything—but without a critical mind—you will end up accepting by default all that the world (and especially your own moment of history) thinks.

J.P.V.D. Balsdon, Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome (1969).

E.M. Blaiklock, The Christian in Pagean Society (1956).

Samuel Dill, Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire (1962).

E.M.B. Green, Evangelism in the Early Church (1970).

Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans: A Selection (1972).

Virgil, The Aeneid (1965).

Film: Fellini, Satyricon (1969).

In about A.D. 60, a Jew who was a Christian and who also knew the Greek and Roman thinking of his day wrote a letter to those who lived in Rome. Previously, he had said the same things to Greek thinkers while speaking on Mars Hill in Athens. He had spoken with the Acropolis above him and the ancient marketplace below him, in the place wherethe thinkers of Athens met for discussion. A plaque marks that spot today and gives his talk in the common Greek spoken in his day. He was interrupted in his talk in Athens, but his Letter to the Romans gives us without interruption what he had to say to the thinking people of that period.

He said that the integration points of the Greek and Roman world view were not enough to answer the questions posed either by the existence of the universe and its form, or by the uniqueness of man. He said that they deserved judgment because they knew that they did not have an adequate answer to the questions raised by the universe or by the existence of man, and yet they refused, they suppressed, that which is the answer. To quote his letter:

The retribution of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Because that which is known of God is evident within them [that is, the uniqueness of man in contrast to non-man], for God made it evident to them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived by the things that are made [that is, the existence of the universe and its form], even his eternal power and divinity; so that they are without excuse. [Roman 1:18ff.]

Here he is saying that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man speak the same truth that the Bible gives in greater detail. That this God exists and that he has not been silent but has spoken to people in the Bible and through Christ was the basis for the return to a more fully biblical Christianity in the days of the Reformers. It was a message of the possibility that people could return to God on the basis of the death of Christ alone. But with it came many other realities, including form and freedom in the culture and society built on that more biblical Christianity. The freedom brought forth was titanic, and yet, with the forms given in the Scripture, the freedoms did not lead to chaos. And it is this which can give us hope for the future. It is either this or an imposed order.

As I have said in the first chapter, people function on the basis of their world view more consistently than even they themselves may realize. The problem is not outward things. The problem is having, and then acting upon, the right world view — the world view which gives men and women the truth of what is.