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Escape from Reason (IVP Classics)

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Truth used to be based on reason. No more. What we feel is now the truest source of reality. Despite our obsession with the emotive and the experiential, we still face anxiety, despair, and purposelessness. How did we get here? And where do we find a remedy? In this modern classic, Francis A. Schaeffer traces trends in twentieth-century thought and unpacks how key ideas have Truth used to be based on reason. No more. What we feel is now the truest source of reality. Despite our obsession with the emotive and the experiential, we still face anxiety, despair, and purposelessness. How did we get here? And where do we find a remedy? In this modern classic, Francis A. Schaeffer traces trends in twentieth-century thought and unpacks how key ideas have shaped our society. Wide-ranging in his analysis, Schaeffer examines philosophy, science, art and popular culture to identify dualism, fragmentation and the decline of reason. Schaeffer's work takes on a newfound relevance today in his prescient anticipation of the contemporary postmodern ethos. His critique demonstrates Christianity's promise for a new century, one in as much need as ever of purpose and hope.


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Truth used to be based on reason. No more. What we feel is now the truest source of reality. Despite our obsession with the emotive and the experiential, we still face anxiety, despair, and purposelessness. How did we get here? And where do we find a remedy? In this modern classic, Francis A. Schaeffer traces trends in twentieth-century thought and unpacks how key ideas have Truth used to be based on reason. No more. What we feel is now the truest source of reality. Despite our obsession with the emotive and the experiential, we still face anxiety, despair, and purposelessness. How did we get here? And where do we find a remedy? In this modern classic, Francis A. Schaeffer traces trends in twentieth-century thought and unpacks how key ideas have shaped our society. Wide-ranging in his analysis, Schaeffer examines philosophy, science, art and popular culture to identify dualism, fragmentation and the decline of reason. Schaeffer's work takes on a newfound relevance today in his prescient anticipation of the contemporary postmodern ethos. His critique demonstrates Christianity's promise for a new century, one in as much need as ever of purpose and hope.

30 review for Escape from Reason (IVP Classics)

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    Schaeffer writes that man's desire for autonomous freedom began with Aquinas's theology which argued that though man fell in Eden, his intellect did not. This created a system in philosophy that argued that man's reason was autonomous--meaning free and independent of any constraint. This opened the door to later philosophers to build philosophic arguments independent of God. But the problem is that man's desire for autonomy cannot be reconciled to the constraining forces in this world. Through r Schaeffer writes that man's desire for autonomous freedom began with Aquinas's theology which argued that though man fell in Eden, his intellect did not. This created a system in philosophy that argued that man's reason was autonomous--meaning free and independent of any constraint. This opened the door to later philosophers to build philosophic arguments independent of God. But the problem is that man's desire for autonomy cannot be reconciled to the constraining forces in this world. Through reason man has come to understand that nature is a deterministic force that eliminates any hope for autonomy. This realization leads to the despair of modern man who believes he is but a mere machine in a mechanistic world and any 'meaning' is ultimately absurd because it doesn't exist--it can only be imagined or hoped for--hence man has escaped from reason and is irrational. A good, short, yet profound work.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alex Szatmary

    I love Schaeffer, the person, but I totally disagree with half of what he says. His review of the western intellectual history is quick and accessible, and his great insight in this book is to point to Aquinas' fault of placing reason "upstairs"--assuming that human reason is immune to the fall. While, factually, Schaeffer, seems to present most thinkers accurately, he does not fully get modern philosophy. Yes, he gets the despair of modernity; however, his defense of Biblical Christianity as a r I love Schaeffer, the person, but I totally disagree with half of what he says. His review of the western intellectual history is quick and accessible, and his great insight in this book is to point to Aquinas' fault of placing reason "upstairs"--assuming that human reason is immune to the fall. While, factually, Schaeffer, seems to present most thinkers accurately, he does not fully get modern philosophy. Yes, he gets the despair of modernity; however, his defense of Biblical Christianity as a relevant modern worldview is ill-posed. This is most clear to me in his treatment of Kierkegaard. Schaeffer rejects Kierkegaard's understanding of God, that God is fundamentally other from reason; this is a tragedy. Kierkegaard's understanding of God as impossible and transcendent is relatable to the modern man, and may inspire him to seek out God, with God revealing himself as immanent, on his own terms. I would absolutely recommend this book, as long as it's read critically, by someone who knows not just what modern thinkers are saying, but why and how they're communicating.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mark Jr.

    I have heard others cast doubt on the particulars of Schaeffer's analysis in sweeping books like these. I haven't read enough Aquinas, de Sade, Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Foucault, Malraux, Heidegger, etc. to say. But Schaeffer's overall synthesis—his many different upper- and lower-story diagrams—seem right to me. If indeed he's right, the overall analysis, the big picture, may be more important than the particulars. It does seem as if Western man has done just what Schaeffer says: we've remov I have heard others cast doubt on the particulars of Schaeffer's analysis in sweeping books like these. I haven't read enough Aquinas, de Sade, Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Foucault, Malraux, Heidegger, etc. to say. But Schaeffer's overall synthesis—his many different upper- and lower-story diagrams—seem right to me. If indeed he's right, the overall analysis, the big picture, may be more important than the particulars. It does seem as if Western man has done just what Schaeffer says: we've removed grace from the upper story, replaced it with freedom or faith or other things, and then finally cut it off completely.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christian Barrett

    This short book is a fantastic overview of philosophical thought and how it has changed over the years concerning the area of knowing truth. Schaeffer focuses highly on how God’s truth and natural truth have been separated throughout the years leading up to the point where God’s truth is thrown out all together. Thus, thinkers have abandoned any hope for rational and reason in the world we live in. This book was written in the 20th century, which means the post modern thought we see today is the This short book is a fantastic overview of philosophical thought and how it has changed over the years concerning the area of knowing truth. Schaeffer focuses highly on how God’s truth and natural truth have been separated throughout the years leading up to the point where God’s truth is thrown out all together. Thus, thinkers have abandoned any hope for rational and reason in the world we live in. This book was written in the 20th century, which means the post modern thought we see today is the logical conclusion of what Schaeffer is warning here. In the end he calls for us to return to reason and stand on the truth of God’s Word. I highly encourage this read as it will give you a better understanding of how we have gotten to the place we are in now.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Daniel Veer

    This book is amazing. It deconstructs a lot of what you usually take for granted, which I love!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amy Edwards

    This is a slender volume and in that way a quick overview of the history of philosophy with regard to God and man, grace and nature, freedom and nature, and the non-rational and the rational. First published in 1968 (the edition that I read), many of these ideas are incorporated into Schaffer's How Shall We Then Live? book, which was published later. To read this book now, however, in the context of an American culture that is rapidly aiming its fiercest attacks at Christians, is to read a proph This is a slender volume and in that way a quick overview of the history of philosophy with regard to God and man, grace and nature, freedom and nature, and the non-rational and the rational. First published in 1968 (the edition that I read), many of these ideas are incorporated into Schaffer's How Shall We Then Live? book, which was published later. To read this book now, however, in the context of an American culture that is rapidly aiming its fiercest attacks at Christians, is to read a prophet. What we are experiencing today is the inevitable outcome of where intellectual thought was taking us four decades ago. Too many of us fail to grasp how powerfully and subtly popular culture has carried the torch of atheist and nihilistic thinking and too many evangelicals cannot recognize anti-Christian thinking that is everywhere. The current situation with homosexual marriage highlights this problem.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Hawkins

    Concerning the trilogy, previously I thought this book was skippable. I even have told many people such. But this time reading through, I wouldn’t say so. I would say it’s another retelling of TGWIT, but he certainly adds details to make his argument even more persuasive. But even more important that the extra detail is his final chapter in this book. It undoubtedly is the best single chapter summary of the trilogy. He basically gives his second-half of TGWIT in one chapter. As a result, I’m glad Concerning the trilogy, previously I thought this book was skippable. I even have told many people such. But this time reading through, I wouldn’t say so. I would say it’s another retelling of TGWIT, but he certainly adds details to make his argument even more persuasive. But even more important that the extra detail is his final chapter in this book. It undoubtedly is the best single chapter summary of the trilogy. He basically gives his second-half of TGWIT in one chapter. As a result, I’m glad I read it. It added detail to the philosophical history of TGWIT, but then it also added summative clarity to the second half of TGWIT in chapter 7. So I’d recommend anyone reading the trilogy to *not* skip it. It’s short, not a hard read, and worth it, especially for chapter 7.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    Excellent. Also read in November 1980.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David

    Escape from Reason is an easy book to read, which I liked. It was written for the common man or woman. This is the first book that I have read by Schaeffer and I like it for what it tries to do. Schaeffer spends a majority of the book tracking how societies world view has been changing and who were some of the primary influences/people that caused this. He starts with Aquinas and proceeds from there. He covers, art, music, poetry and more. The important part of this book is near the end when he ti Escape from Reason is an easy book to read, which I liked. It was written for the common man or woman. This is the first book that I have read by Schaeffer and I like it for what it tries to do. Schaeffer spends a majority of the book tracking how societies world view has been changing and who were some of the primary influences/people that caused this. He starts with Aquinas and proceeds from there. He covers, art, music, poetry and more. The important part of this book is near the end when he ties it all together. Up to this book I was thinking that it was just a good history lesson. The point that he makes is that we must understand our current culture so that we can communicate the gospel most clearly. This is our responsibility as Christians. He also addresses some of the mistakes Christians have made in the process in the past such that we can learn from them. It is a short easy to read book that I would suggest if you are interested in this topic.

  10. 4 out of 5

    H

    highly elucidating apologetics through a historical delineation of philosophy, existentialism, and art from Aquinas' time (the beginning of divorce between Grace and Nature) up to nihilism and the absurd. recommended reading for anyone interested in why the last several generations have been part of a psychology of despair and where a lot of christianity today has gone wrong in representing itself. this is not a watered-down tract like most christian works, nor is it a guidebook to conversion. it highly elucidating apologetics through a historical delineation of philosophy, existentialism, and art from Aquinas' time (the beginning of divorce between Grace and Nature) up to nihilism and the absurd. recommended reading for anyone interested in why the last several generations have been part of a psychology of despair and where a lot of christianity today has gone wrong in representing itself. this is not a watered-down tract like most christian works, nor is it a guidebook to conversion. it's an argument for deducible truth taking its place following the line of hegel, kierkegaard, sartre, camus, jaspers, barth, gauguin, van gogh. convincing in its renunciation of existentialism. unfortunately our generation has already moved past it and is capable of accepting sundry, dialogic truths of which christian tradition has a dearth.

  11. 5 out of 5

    NinaB

    From the Forward by J.P. Moreland: Escape from Reason brings together a staggering array of academic disciplines, cultural trends and influential thinkers, and provides an integrative, mature analysis and critique of their ideas from within an historic Christian worldview. (p. 9). Escape from Reason is a must-read Christian classic that is a short introduction to the history of philosophy and how it has affected our culture and general thought processes. It starts with Thomas Aquinas and his intr From the Forward by J.P. Moreland: Escape from Reason brings together a staggering array of academic disciplines, cultural trends and influential thinkers, and provides an integrative, mature analysis and critique of their ideas from within an historic Christian worldview. (p. 9). Escape from Reason is a must-read Christian classic that is a short introduction to the history of philosophy and how it has affected our culture and general thought processes. It starts with Thomas Aquinas and his introduction of the autonomous intellect of man (though his will is fallen). This opened a can of worms that eventually led to our current post-modern world where rationality is thrown out the door. Throughout history, man has proposed this dichotomy (soul vs body, grace vs nature, irrational vs rational), all the while searching for a unified field of knowledge that their logic couldn’t provide. When this dichotomy is accepted, it leads to a wrong belief of who we are, who God is. When man becomes autonomous, when his logic is the final authority to what is truth, he becomes nothing, is without hope or meaning. Relativism rules and “the absurd” ensues. This is contrary to what the Bible says that teaches man is created in God’s image, therefore, he has significance. God created a universe and objective truth that we can know. Christians must reject this dichotomy since God created the whole of man. However, we must learn to navigate and engage our culture who believes in the dichotomy. There is no part of man that is autonomous. The Bible is rational and offers all the answers to the big philosophical questions that have plagued man from the beginning. We need to communicate God’s truth in terms understandable to the hearers. Philosophy is very interesting. It could make you go wander off and delve into existentialism and other man-centered -isms, but Christianity is the only one to provide rationality and answers to the big philosophical questions. Sadly, Christians shy away from philosophy that I feel like we’ve given up in that discipline, when we have so much to offer because we have the ultimate truth in Scripture that the philosophers are seeking. This is why I highly recommend this book to be read by every Christian, preferably with someone, since so much of this book is better understood when discussed with others. It has helped me understand the cultural trends of our time, including what is propagated by well-meaning, yet still in error Christians and the pseudo-truths that even the world embraces. This book educates the Christian in the areas of philosophy, history and spiritual discernment that are helpful when we engage our community for the Gospel.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joey Kaching

    Excellent book. 4.5/5.0. This book has become widely known as something of a classic in certain evangelical circles, evidenced by its recent republishing within the 'IVP Classics' series. However, I have not been a part of those circles for the large part of my life and have only come into contact with this household name in recent months. Schaeffer's thought largely revolves around what might well fall within the category of Christian apologetics. As he demonstrates within this book, he spent hi Excellent book. 4.5/5.0. This book has become widely known as something of a classic in certain evangelical circles, evidenced by its recent republishing within the 'IVP Classics' series. However, I have not been a part of those circles for the large part of my life and have only come into contact with this household name in recent months. Schaeffer's thought largely revolves around what might well fall within the category of Christian apologetics. As he demonstrates within this book, he spent his life committed to communicating the gospel in a faithful, understandable and effective way to the current generation. Being involved in evangelism to university students through the ministry of the Christian Unions and involved in public evangelism myself, I was very excited to become familiar with his writings and this book was to be my first encounter of many more. In this area, this book displays how Schaeffer did not hold to the popular division between apologetics and evangelism that is common to evangelicals today. He saw the intellect as a crucial contact point for the conversion of the whole person and invested his life in evangelising curious intellects with well-reasoned and academic arguments. This was the mission and birth of L'abri Fellowship, and this approach certainly comes across in this book.This little book is probably the best well-known of all Schaeffer's writings and takes the form of an essay. The essay is relatively short and aims to provide the reader with a critical survey of the development of the dominant modern thought-form. The essay covers an incredible amount of ground in such a short amount of space and so is expectantly very brief. However this should not be seen as a weakness. For the book clearly states a poignant critique of modern man and his intellectual pursuit of an unified understanding of himself and his place in the world. The book is relatively accessible, written for a large evangelical Christian audience. Yet, I would think that one requires at least some familiarity with philosophy and the history of ideas to be able to follow the arguments presented. I enjoyed the book. Although I found it unexpectedly unique. The overarching thesis of the book was not unfamiliar to me, but I found the way in which this critique was formulated to be rather unique and that it did not fit well within any categories of apologetics that I have encountered before. It could be that the debate has moved on since the book was written in the early 70's and has now established categories for arguments, or it could just be that I am unread; whatever the case it seems that Schaeffer was an innovative thinker and certainly on the frontline of public evangelism. He was clearly a prudent analyser of culture and public defender of the Christian gospel (from its attacks both within and without the 'church'). Due to this uniqueness though I did find the flow of the argument hard to follow at times and his thinking very philosophical, abstract and conceptual. Like all good apologists, Schaeffer does three distinct things: diagnoses the issue with lost man; then persuasively demonstrates how the gospel of Jesus Christ is the solution to the diagnosed issue, communicated in a way that appeals to the audiences frame of reference throughout. The book describes itself as 'a penetrating analysis of trends in modern thought'. This is an accurate description of the aims of the book. The book diagnoses what it sees as a modern tragedy, 'the escape from reason'. However, the reader familiar with postmodern ideas would be wrong to think that Schaeffer is attacking postmodernism's ambition to throw off of the shackles of modernist rationalism. Schaeffer's project is much more nuanced than that. Schaeffer reckons the escape from reason to begin far before postmodernism and begins his essay with Aquinas. Schaeffer suggests that the reason for the current tendency within postmodern thought forms to disregard traditional modes of rationality - the verification of truth claims through thesis and antithesis - and the resulting despair of a unifying explanatory model (unified thought form) is found in the formation of a two-story thought-form emerging from the dichotomy drawn between faith and reason. He traces the origin of this dichotomy to Aquinas' work on nature and grace. By constructing the intellect as an autonomous seeker, Aquinas', Schaeffer reckons, establishes nature as a separate and autonomous realm to grace. [For Aquinas, the intellect was able to pursue the knowledge of God through natural revelation and thus did not depend of the direct action of God in scripture]. From Aquinas, Schaeffer traces the continuing maturation and expansion of this two-tier structure of modern thought through the trends in painting, writing, science, theatre, film, television, and even pornography. Schaeffer concludes with a strong commendation of historic, biblical, evangelical Christianity as the single unifying explanatory system which the modern man is in great desperate need of and has yet given up all hope of finding, settling with the dichotomy between the real and the hoped for, the above and below the "line of despair". He argues strongly that the Christian world-view as dependent upon God's self-disclosure of propositional truth in scripture (a distinctly 'evangelical' - some of the time might say 'fundamentalist' - as opposed to 'liberal' view of scripture) is the only lens for a completely integrated life - an entirely honest and coherent and consistent one where no 'leap of irrational faith' is required to relieve oneself from the gloom of despair. This is tremendously great news. The gospel is good news. It is good news for the hopeless and lost 'modern man'. Schaeffer shows us well that, whether religious or secular, the man who accepts the two-story thought form of modern man is 'lost', without hope in the world' and doomed to live a disintegrated life, with the 'leap of irrational faith' his only relief from living below the 'line of despair'. The new theological left offers no hope but only synthesises this thought form into theology, emptying the term 'Jesus' of all its scriptural and historical content into an inclusive banner of nothingness. 'Jesus the undefined banner' is to Schaeffer another Jesus from the biblical and real One, an 'anti-Jesus', a false gospel offering no hope from man's lost-ness and despair. An encounter with the real Lord Jesus can never just be an isolated mystical experience within the higher story but must be integrated well within the reason of real life.Although I agree with Schaeffer here, I would like to see the poignant argument balanced with a recognition of the necessary experiential element to conversion and discipleship. Schaeffer's critique of religion exclusively in the upper story, without a recognition of an equally grave danger of the false gospel lying exclusively in the lower story of rationalism, may demonstrate an unhealthy focus of Schaeffer on the intellect, and a deprioritising of the experiential and spiritual element of conversion.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Declan Ellis

    This is a great work of philosophy and theology. Francis Schaeffer engages with some of the deepest questions that have ever faced humans in a book not even 100 pages long. While many Christians simply dismiss "philosophy," Schaeffer delves into it, translating the gospel into the language of his days' intellectual elite. What is stunning is that Schaeffer exactly nails the direction in which secular philosophy is heading... in 1966. You can see him expound on the roots of postmodernism; this bo This is a great work of philosophy and theology. Francis Schaeffer engages with some of the deepest questions that have ever faced humans in a book not even 100 pages long. While many Christians simply dismiss "philosophy," Schaeffer delves into it, translating the gospel into the language of his days' intellectual elite. What is stunning is that Schaeffer exactly nails the direction in which secular philosophy is heading... in 1966. You can see him expound on the roots of postmodernism; this book explains why it is a natural progression in the history of Western thinking. Another thing I liked about Schaeffer's style is his use of art, literature and music to support his argument. These elements of culture deeply capture truth about our reality, and Schaeffer's appreciation of them is to his credit. I have a few minor complaints about this book. Sometimes Schaeffer's terminology is confusing and poorly defined. Furthermore, I don't think he engages with eastern philosophy very profoundly. Nevertheless, this is a great little book overall. I'll definitely be reading more Schaeffer. Highly recommended

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mwrogers

    This book was recommended to me as an understanding of how truth used to be based on reason and how that has morphed into our post modern world where truth is based on emotions and there is no one truth. Basically, this book was way over my head. I really did not want to read an essay about the history of philosophy. I know it is interesting to some, but I don’t really care. And I either didn’t get my questions answered or maybe I did and it’s just not that important to me. At the end of the boo This book was recommended to me as an understanding of how truth used to be based on reason and how that has morphed into our post modern world where truth is based on emotions and there is no one truth. Basically, this book was way over my head. I really did not want to read an essay about the history of philosophy. I know it is interesting to some, but I don’t really care. And I either didn’t get my questions answered or maybe I did and it’s just not that important to me. At the end of the book, Schaeffer states that we cannot speak our eternal and unchanging truth to our children because our thought forms are different from theirs and it is as if we are speaking a foreign language. The truth of that grabbed me and I expectantly turned the page for answers and…. that was the end of the book. I’m giving the book 3 stars because it is probably over most peoples heads. I’m not giving it fewer stars, although I really hated it, because I should be reading a different book and that’s on me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Absolutely recommended for every Believer! This was very helpful in learning to evaluate past and modern culture with precision and clarity, in order to both see the flaws of man’s attempts at wisdom apart from God, and seeking to engage others knowledgeably and bringing real hope and answers to the existentialist/ relativistic atmosphere our current generation is drowning in. I will definitely be reading more Schaefer in the future!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Bierig

    Super fascinating. A bit ham fisted at points, and some serious hot takes going on, but his overall thesis is compelling...especially if you analyze his thesis in light of freezing it in the zone of the late 60s.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nikhil Gupta

    Check Visit: http://nikhilrajgupta.blogspot.in/201... Francis Schaeffer has been widely recognized as one of the twentieth century’s greatest Christian apologists. Francis August Schaeffer (1912-1984) was an American Christian theologian, philosopher, apologist, and Presbyterian pastor, as well as the founder of the L'Abri community in Switzerland. In this book Schaeffer has two noble aims; first to analyze the evolution of philosophy from the Christian Middle-Ages up to the Atheist existentialism Check Visit: http://nikhilrajgupta.blogspot.in/201... Francis Schaeffer has been widely recognized as one of the twentieth century’s greatest Christian apologists. Francis August Schaeffer (1912-1984) was an American Christian theologian, philosopher, apologist, and Presbyterian pastor, as well as the founder of the L'Abri community in Switzerland. In this book Schaeffer has two noble aims; first to analyze the evolution of philosophy from the Christian Middle-Ages up to the Atheist existentialism of Sartre and second to show that Atheism and Mysticism are inadequate before Christianity. Schaeffer starts off with the rise of modernity (ch.1). Then he moves on with the reformation view (ch.2) before he finally arrives with the birth and characteristics of post-modernity (ch.3) and its impacts in science, art, morality and theology (ch.4-7). According to Schaeffer it was Aquinas that opened the way for autonomous rationality (in fact the villain of this play is Aquinas). According to Schaeffer, Aquinas claimed that the human will but not human intellect is fallen. This assumption, once popularized, provided the fertile soil for the belief that humans could become independent, autonomous. The outcome was, as Schaeffer puts it, that "nature eats up grace" (p.10), that leads to a modern presupposition of a universe operating under a closed-system excluding any supernatural effects and agents. But Schaeffer aptly describes the problem that "if you begin with an autonomous rationality, what you come to is mathematics (that which can be measured), and mathematics only deals with particulars, not universals. Therefore, you never get beyond mechanics" (p.13). In first chapter Schaeffer he examines the relationship between ‘grace’ and ‘nature’. He argues that nature has slowly been ‘eating up’ grace. Yet a ‘line’ or ‘gap’ exists between the supposed upper realm of grace and the lower realm of nature. Western society has gone below this line and it has led to despair. This despair is revealed first in philosophy; subsequently, it spreads to art, then music and general culture, before reaching theology.When nature is made autonomous it soon ends up by devouring God, grace, freedom and ultimately man. In chapter two and three, Schaeffer proposes a history of human philosophy and theology and gives an explanation of contemporary thought, and how to approach it. He traces a line through the renaissance, the reformation, the development of science, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, contemporary existentialism, into contemporary culture. In his analysis of culture he considers the different domains of science, philosophy, and, primarily, the arts. Furthermore in third chapter, Schaeffer shows how the work of the existentialist philosophers such as Sartre and Heidegger have influenced our society, and indeed the Christian church, more than what most people realize. One of the conclusions that the reader will inevitably draw, after reading this book, is that, in order to be able to successfully present the gospel, we need to truly understand our culture.He repeats his starting point on numerous occasions; namely, that Aquinas's distinction between nature and grace is the source of a dichotomy that has been influencing and destroying culture ever since. On the other hand, his critiques of Kierkegaard and Heidegger are a little bit more interesting, as he shows how these contemporary philosophers have had an enormous influence on our current society. In fifth chapter Schaeffer contends that since man has failed to unify experience in nature and since also modern man has long since abandoned "grace" or "heaven" or "Scriptures" as the principle of experiential (i.e. existential and ontological and epistemological) unification, he has nothing left but despair. So now, man is trying mysticism, pornography, drugs, death and other forms of ways to 'leap' into something else that can provide meaning. Modern man has given up on dualism. The universe is not rational, it is an impersonal machine and man a part of that. But man is a personality and personhood according to Schaffer cannot be found in a mechanistic universe. As per my opinion Aquinas taught that there are things that can be known from the light of reason. This is of course, self-evident and it is even biblical (see Romans 1:20 where St. Paul even asserts that the existence of God can be known from the knowledge of created things, so that all have knowledge of God, even those without Divine Revelation in the Scriptures). So Schaffer is a bit mistaken here from a biblical point of view. Overall despite of this flaw, it’s a wonderful read. Single most pivotal aim is,perhaps he says it best at the conclusion of the book, “Every generation of Christians has this problem and responsibility of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age" (p.5). "What is said in this book is not a matter of intellectual debate. It is not of interest only to academics. It is utterly crucial of those of us who are serious about communicating the Christian gospel in the twentieth century" (p.67).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    The Challenge Schaeffer identifies an ongoing challenge in the Foreword: "Every generation of Christians has this problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age." The original universe consisted of two simple yet distinct realms, which Schaeffer diagrams by writing two words separated by a horizontal line. Grace on top; Nature on bottom. Grace is the universal and Nature is the particulars. The upper level contains the higher things: God; heaven and heavenly things; the unseen and its The Challenge Schaeffer identifies an ongoing challenge in the Foreword: "Every generation of Christians has this problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age." The original universe consisted of two simple yet distinct realms, which Schaeffer diagrams by writing two words separated by a horizontal line. Grace on top; Nature on bottom. Grace is the universal and Nature is the particulars. The upper level contains the higher things: God; heaven and heavenly things; the unseen and its influence on the Earth; man's soul; unity. The lower level contains these: the created; earth and earthly things; the visible and what nature and man do on earth; man's body; diversity. Modern Man The emergence of the "modern man" can be traced back to early philosophers and artists like Thomas Aquinas (13th c.) and Leonardo da Vinci (15th-16th c.). Aquinas maintained that "man's will ha[d] fallen, but not his intellect." The Fall explains why man is so wonderful yet so flawed; man can do so many unique things but is also so horrible. (p. 22). Da Vinci came closer to being a modern man than any before him. Perhaps the first modern mathematician, he saw that "if you begin with an autonomous rationality, what you come to is mathematics that which can be measured), and mathematics only deals with particulars, not universals. Therefore you never get beyond mechanics." Leonardo craved a unification of the universal with the particulars, so "he tried to paint the soul." The soul is "not the Christian soul; the soul is the universal--the soul, for example, of the sea or of the tree." The Italian philosopher Giovanni Gentile later claimed that da Vinci died in despondency because he would not let go of the hope of a rational unity between the particulars and the universal (p. 18). Progressing through history, Schaeffer discusses how early modern science both shaped and was shaped by Christian thought. "Early modern science was started by those who lived in the consensus and setting of Christianity." Non-Christians too have understood this. For instance, J. Robert Oppenheimer "said that Christianity was needed to give birth to modern science." Citing an essay entitled "On Science and Culture", the author emphasizes O's position that "Christianity was necessary for the beginning of modern science for the simple reason that Christianity created a climate of thought which put men in a position to investigate the form of the universe." And then came Francis Bacon (16th-17th c.), who said in Novum Organum Scieniarum: 'Man by the Fall fell at the same time from his state of innocence and from his dominion over nature. Both of these losses, however, can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by religion and faith, the latter by the arts and sciences.' Thus (Schaeffer says), "science as science (and art as art) was understood to be, in the best sense, a religious activity. Notice in the quotation the fact that Francis Bacon did not see science as autonomous, for it was placed within the revelation of the Scriptures at the point of the Fall. Yet, within that 'form', science (and art) was free and of intrinsic value before both men and God." Moreover, "the early scientists also shared the outlook of Christianity in believing that there is a reasonable God, who had created a reasonable universe, and thus man, by use of his reason, could find out the universe's form." This investigation continued after the Renaissance-Reformation period with Kant and Rousseau who continued to develop Aquinas's sense of the autonomous. At this time (18th c.),"rationalism was now well developed and entrenched, and there was no concept of revelation in any area. Consequently, the problem was now defined, not in terms of 'nature' and 'grace', but of 'nature' and 'freedom', with freedom in the upper domain and nature still in the lower. He goes on to explain "autonomous freedom": "It means a freedom in which the individual is the centre of the universe. Autonomous freedom is a freedom that is without restraint. Therefore, as man begins to feel the weight of the machine pressing upon him, Rousseau and others swear and curse, as it were, against the science which is threatening their human freedom. The freedom that they advocate is autonomous in that it has nothing to restrain it. It is freedom without limitations. It is freedom that no longer fits into the rational world. It merely hopes and tries to will that the finite individual man will be free--and all that is left is individual self-expression." These thoughts evolved into what Schaeffer defines as "modern modern science." "Under the influence of the presupposition of the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system, the machine does not merely embrace the sphere of physics, it now encompasses everything. Early thinkers would have rejected this totally. Leonardo da Vinci understood the way things were going...he understood that if you begin rationalistically with mathematics, all you have is particulars and therefore you are left with mechanics. Having understood this, he hung on to his pursuit of the universal. But, by the time to which we have come in our study, the autonomous lower storey has eaten up the upstairs completely. The modern modern scientists insist on a total unity of the downstairs and the upstairs, and the upstairs disappears. Neither God (grace) nor freedom are there any more--everything is in the machine. In science the significant change came about therefore as a result of a shift in emphasis from the uniformity of natural causes to the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system." The Leap The leap was the philosophical transition that severed any possible connection between the upper and lower spheres. According to Schaeffer, Kierkegaard exemplifies the leap because his assessment totally severed any possible unity between the already extensive gap, previously widened by Kant and others, between nature and the universals. The diagram he uses contains "Optimism must be non-rational" on the top and "All rationality equals pessimism" on the bottom. Per Schaeffer, the significant thing here is that "rationalistic, humanistic man began by saying that Christianity was not rational enough. Now he has come around in a wide circle and ended as a mystic--though a mystic of a special kind. He is a mystic with nobody there. The old mystics always said that there was somebody there, but the new mystic says that that does not matter, because faith is the important thing. It is faith in faith, whether expressed in secular or religious terms. The leap is the thing and not the terms in which the leap is expressed. The verbalization, i.e. the symbol systems, can change; whether the systems are religious or non-religious; whether they use one word or another is incidental. Modern man is committed to finding his answer upstairs, by a leap, away from rationality and away from reason." Art Schaeffer discusses the purpose and power of art. "On the basis of rationality man has no hope, yet you look to art as art to provide it. It affords an integration point, a leap, a hope for freedom in the midst of what your mind knows is false." Faith and Rationality Schaeffer ends by discussing the evolution of his beliefs. "This is the way I became a Christian. I had gone to a 'liberal' church for many years. I decided that the only answer, on the basis of what I was hearing, was agnosticism or atheism. On the basis of liberal theology I do not think I have ever made a more logical decision in my life. I became an agnostic, and then I began to read the Bible for the first time-in order to place it against some Greek philosophy I was reading. I did this as an act of honesty in so far as I had given up what I thought was Christianity but had never read the Bible through. Over a period of about six months I became a Christian because I was convinced that the full answer which the Bible presented was alone sufficient to the problems I then know, and sufficient in a very exciting way." Through his own experience and interpretation he continues to amplify the thrill in biblical study: "Let us notice that the system of the Bible is excitingly different from any other, because it is the only system in religion or philosophy that tells us what a person may do what every man must do, that is, begin with himself. There is, in fact, no other way to begin apart from ourselves--each man sees through his own eyes--and yet this involves a real problem. What right have I to begin here? No other system explains my right to do so. But the Bible gives me an answer as to why I can do what I must do, that is to begin with myself...When we talk about the possibility of man beginning from themselves to understand the meaning of life and the universe, we must be careful to define clearly what we mean. There are two concepts or ideas of knowing which must be kept separate. The first is the rationalistic or humanistic concept, namely that man, beginning totally independent and autonomous of all else, can build a bridge towards ultimate truth--as if attempting to build a cantilever bridge out from himself across an infinite gorge. This is not possible because man is finite and, as such, he has nothing toward which he can point with certainty. He has no way, beginning form himself, to set up sufficient universals."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    In Schaeffer’s other works he shows you step by step on how to “take the roof off” of a stoned-up hippie. He doesn’t do that in this one. This is more of a Dooyeweerdian (though he never acknowledges it) deconstruction of the nature-grace dualisms. I think he succeeds, though there are a few howlers. Along the way he gives brilliant insights, but the frustrating thing is that they are all in passing and are never developed. Most of the book is a summary of He is there and He is Not Silent and The In Schaeffer’s other works he shows you step by step on how to “take the roof off” of a stoned-up hippie. He doesn’t do that in this one. This is more of a Dooyeweerdian (though he never acknowledges it) deconstruction of the nature-grace dualisms. I think he succeeds, though there are a few howlers. Along the way he gives brilliant insights, but the frustrating thing is that they are all in passing and are never developed. Most of the book is a summary of He is there and He is Not Silent and The God Who is There. Still, as a summary it avoids most (but not all) of Schaeffer’s weak points and the argument is forced to be tighter. Aquinas as Fall He wants to blame Aquinas for everything. I’m sympathetic to that idea, and there is much wrong with Aquinas, though I don’t think we can pin every problem on him, at least not as regards art. Aquinas’ focus on particulars opened up the world of nature in art. Previously, art focused on the universal. Artists after Aquinas began to focus more on nature. The danger was that nature was autonomous and ate up the upper storey of grace. Schaeffer writes, “Aquinas lived from 1225 to 1274, thus these influences were quickly felt in the field of art” (Schaeffer 12). Who is he talking about? He means Cimabue (1240-1302). Thus, with Cimabue we see Aquinas’s focus on the particular. Strictly speaking, this is a logical fallacy. It reads: If Aquinas’s focus on particulars, then we will see the influence of Cimabue’s paintings on nature. We see the influence of Cimabue’s paintings on nature. Therefore, Aquinas is the influence. This is the fallacy of affirming the consequent. In any case, it’s doubtful that Aquinas’s monastic writings would have been mainstreamed in the art community. Nevertheless, Schaeffer offers a number of diagrams that demonstrate this nature-grace fall (which I will show at the end of the review). Reformation man didn’t have this duality of nature and grace, since God’s propositional revelation spoke to both storeys. Therefore, even though nature isn’t grace, we have a unified propositional revelation from God. The Modern Era There is Schaeffer’s notorious section on Hegel, notorious in the sense that he gets everything wrong. But this also reveals that Schaeffer misplaces the antithesis. We commend Schaeffer for his take on the law of non-contradiction. We just reject this as the antithesis. If this is the point of antithesis, and if the Greeks upheld it as Schaeffer maintains, then on his gloss the Greeks were quite biblical in epistemology. This is unacceptable. His analysis of modern art is quite good, or so I imagine. I don’t know much about modern art, except that most of the stuff in the National Endowment of Arts is trash. Critique I like this book better than the others in his trilogy. I read it in one sitting. It’s very well-written. And the diagrams are great. My main problem is that it reads too much like a genealogical critique. What I mean is that Schaeffer traces the problem of a thought by seeing the problems in its predecessor’s thought. This is very close to the genetic fallacy. But there is another problem. Let’s grant that Schaeffer’s analysis is correct. This can’t substitute for the hard work in epistemology and metaphysics that the budding apologist has to do. Diagrams Schaeffer’s project represents the “two-storey” universe. God is up top. Man on the bottom. Unhinged from biblical revelation this means that the world of “universals” is above and the world of particulars below. They either never meet or one eats up the other. Set 1. Grace ------- Nature [Renaissance art] Grace (universals) ----------- Nature (particulars) [Kant and Rousseau] Freedom ------------ Nature Schaeffer has a brilliant point there. Reformation man posited the uniformity of nature within an open system. Apostate man believes in the uniformity of nature within a closed system, and is left with a mechanical determinism when it comes to human freedom. [Kierkegaard and the New Theology] Faith ----- Rationality [Secular Existentialism] Optimism must be non-rational ------------------------------ All rationality = pessimism

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tim Ponygroom

    People tend to love this book or hate it. There are fans of every philosophy, and many fans not only cheer for their team, they boo the other teams. Instead of being for or against, I hope the reader sees this as a tour through some powerful ideas that have been important to Western cultural development. Any understanding we gain from this book improves our perspective. If nothing else, perspective is what this book is all about. I read this while taking a college course in Psychology, but it wa People tend to love this book or hate it. There are fans of every philosophy, and many fans not only cheer for their team, they boo the other teams. Instead of being for or against, I hope the reader sees this as a tour through some powerful ideas that have been important to Western cultural development. Any understanding we gain from this book improves our perspective. If nothing else, perspective is what this book is all about. I read this while taking a college course in Psychology, but it was not assigned reading. I found it while looking for something else. I had already read some Marx, Kierkegaard, Hegel, Plato, and other Western philosophy. When I loan this out, it does not come back to me. I might get it again someday. Read the book, not the reviews, and make up your own mind.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sioned

    Read this a few years back, and it was SUCH an eye-opener in terms of how (atheistic) philosophical assumptions have changed over time, and how society has moved from the 'upper room'. (I think that was the term he used) Yep, this was a really thought-provoking read but only in the sense that it gave me even more reasons to back up my belief in how atheism, as a way of life and world-view, does not work, and has not over centuries in which it has changed and evolved at the same time that society Read this a few years back, and it was SUCH an eye-opener in terms of how (atheistic) philosophical assumptions have changed over time, and how society has moved from the 'upper room'. (I think that was the term he used) Yep, this was a really thought-provoking read but only in the sense that it gave me even more reasons to back up my belief in how atheism, as a way of life and world-view, does not work, and has not over centuries in which it has changed and evolved at the same time that society has.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elisha Lawrence

    Every Schaeffer book I read, I start to understand him a little bit more. He is brilliant and has studied in a number of areas where I know very little, particularly philosophy and art. So Schaeffer speaks to those areas with such familiarity that it's hard to follow his arguments for me at times. However, the overall point he was trying to make in this book really shined through even with my lack of experience in the areas where he gave illustrations. I've basically read his books in order and Every Schaeffer book I read, I start to understand him a little bit more. He is brilliant and has studied in a number of areas where I know very little, particularly philosophy and art. So Schaeffer speaks to those areas with such familiarity that it's hard to follow his arguments for me at times. However, the overall point he was trying to make in this book really shined through even with my lack of experience in the areas where he gave illustrations. I've basically read his books in order and I think this is his third. He sets out to show why parents don't understand their children. He shows the way that thinking has changed for the modern generation, which for him was the 1960s. He talks about the upper and lower story a lot (can see where Nancy Pearcey has developed that thinking out further with her books) and how this has changed over time. From Aquinas up to his present time he traces the origins of dualistic thinking. Schaeffer wants us to see that when you begin to separate life into a dualism, the system always fails. He illustrates this throughout the entire book with philosophy, literature, art and film. The last chapter helped me bring this book together honestly. He talked about how Christianity is a unified system of thought about life. It is objectively true and rooted in space and time history. This is different from the way we talk about modern theology and life. Everyone can have their own truth for us. Schaeffer argues against this way of thinking. He even helps us see that we really have to understand what someone means when they say "Jesus" or "the gospel". Because words have usages and not meanings (there you go Trevor), someone can mean something entirely different than what you mean when you say Jesus or the gospel. Schaeffer talks about how he has been able to have conversations with those who are far off from Christ in an intelligent and amiable manner. He says he sees the unity of Christianity and the truth of it as a bulwark he can hold on to when he enters conversations. He thinks that because Christianity is unified and true, it can stand on its own in the marketplace of ideas. And he believes that Christians of every generation must engage with the culture to help them see how Christianity offers a better way than any of other system of thought. This idea is why I LOVE Francis Schaeffer. I started to love him because of people he discipled like Jerram Barrs, Nancy Pearcey and Chuck Colson. And after finishing my third book of his, I can see clearly the beauty of his influence in both those Christians and many others who are following in his footsteps.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ty Lukasiewicz

    Escape from reason is the second book in Francis Schaeffer's trilogy. It is basically his lectures to his students and an elaboration/continuation on his first book The God who is there. Its really enjoyable. however I think I enjoyed his first book better. Probably because in a way this second book felt very much like a repeat of the first. FS once again speaks over subjects such as existentialism, mysticism, determinism, and rationalism. however, in this book he brings new concepts into light Escape from reason is the second book in Francis Schaeffer's trilogy. It is basically his lectures to his students and an elaboration/continuation on his first book The God who is there. Its really enjoyable. however I think I enjoyed his first book better. Probably because in a way this second book felt very much like a repeat of the first. FS once again speaks over subjects such as existentialism, mysticism, determinism, and rationalism. however, in this book he brings new concepts into light such as grace over nature, where again he speaks on the rational and the mystical or universal over particulars. he again goes through historian artists, musicians, and philosophers, but this time adds science and theater to his discussion. FS explains the views of these subjects and their hopes to find a universal within the rational basis for logic. But all to no avail, they died in despair. This time around he defenantly stresses the unified answer even more. He states that: "This despair arises form an abandonment of the hope of a unified answer". FS answer to a unified answer is stated: "Christianity is not just a vague set of incommunicable experiences, on a totally unverifiable leaping in the dark. Conversion nor spirituality should be such a leap. Both are family related to the God who is there and the knowledge he has given us and both involve the whole man". in the end, "the book is not merely a matter of intellectual debate. it is not of interest only to academics. it is utterly crucial for those of us who are serious about communicating Christian gospel twentieth century". great book recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jerrod

    Well...'Escape from Reason' lived up to its name. If the book was not fifty or sixty years old I would be inclined to write book against all the garbage it spouts. The entire book is predicated on the 'fact' that the bible is a single unit, as if there was never a council of Nicaea, as if the Gnostics never existed, as if the Nag Hammadi scriptures never existed...As if there were no Apocryphal books of the bible. Whilst there were certain philosophers whom I had little experience in and reading Well...'Escape from Reason' lived up to its name. If the book was not fifty or sixty years old I would be inclined to write book against all the garbage it spouts. The entire book is predicated on the 'fact' that the bible is a single unit, as if there was never a council of Nicaea, as if the Gnostics never existed, as if the Nag Hammadi scriptures never existed...As if there were no Apocryphal books of the bible. Whilst there were certain philosophers whom I had little experience in and readings of, there were many whom I know are terrible over simplifications. The author at best never read these philosophers, at worse perverted their points in order to use as propaganda. But again... Escape from Reason sums it up well. As a value judgement... reason is all that matters. Without reason, you could easily say that if you want to have sex with a woman, rape her, but if you don't marry her after you are a criminal... oh shit wait that is literally in the old testament... if you don't value reason you might be convinced that the old covenant and the new covenant are two separate books... but then you come to have two separate 'gods' a god of the old covenant and a god of the new... If the bible contains value, it is in the teachings of Jesus. Not Peter, but in the teachings of Jesus. If you pick and choose what books from this period of writing are for keeping and what books are apocryphal you do not have a single unit. Human, all too human.

  25. 4 out of 5

    David

    Tough read but well worth it as ever with Schaeffer. In short — Schaeffer’s intent is to show that man, in attempting to maintain his rationalism, has given up on rationality. He traces how the thinking of man has changed from pre-Renaissance times to the present. In doing so he paints a picture of man determined to view nature (the physical creation) autonomously and thus destroying meaning, purpose, man himself, and God. He then reveals how the Bible allows a person to maintain rationality — as Tough read but well worth it as ever with Schaeffer. In short — Schaeffer’s intent is to show that man, in attempting to maintain his rationalism, has given up on rationality. He traces how the thinking of man has changed from pre-Renaissance times to the present. In doing so he paints a picture of man determined to view nature (the physical creation) autonomously and thus destroying meaning, purpose, man himself, and God. He then reveals how the Bible allows a person to maintain rationality — as long as that person is willing to give up his/her rationalism and accept the truth of the divine revelation. I find Schaeffers confidence in Scripture delightful. "It is possible to take the system the Bible teaches, put it down in the marketplace of the ideas of men, and let it stand there and speak for itself".

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    This book may be better than my 2 star rating, but I just really struggled to get into it. It started off strong, but by the end I just wanted it to be over. My goal in reading this was to see how society went from an almost purely mystical and somewhat unified paradigm of reality to our current rational, post modern existentialism. I guess it sort of did that, but certainly took the scenic route. I spent a lot of time googling to try and make sense of things that once I did understand them I di This book may be better than my 2 star rating, but I just really struggled to get into it. It started off strong, but by the end I just wanted it to be over. My goal in reading this was to see how society went from an almost purely mystical and somewhat unified paradigm of reality to our current rational, post modern existentialism. I guess it sort of did that, but certainly took the scenic route. I spent a lot of time googling to try and make sense of things that once I did understand them I didn't care about anyway. Personally, I think about 1/4 of the book was very well written, the rest would maybe make more sense if taking LSD, then reading. An escape from reason, it certainly was....

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Hu

    Pretty cool read! This is basically an intellectual history from Aquinas up to mid-20th century folks such as Picasso, Bernstein, and Heidegger. It was great for getting a snapshot of many existentialists I'd only heard of but never studied or read in depth. The last chapter, which gives advice on evangelism and communication in light of the intellectual background of the 60s, is particularly interesting, as some of the diagnoses Schaeffer makes (e.g. reduction of anything important to a leap of Pretty cool read! This is basically an intellectual history from Aquinas up to mid-20th century folks such as Picasso, Bernstein, and Heidegger. It was great for getting a snapshot of many existentialists I'd only heard of but never studied or read in depth. The last chapter, which gives advice on evangelism and communication in light of the intellectual background of the 60s, is particularly interesting, as some of the diagnoses Schaeffer makes (e.g. reduction of anything important to a leap of faith, religious words having only connotation and no firm definition) seem quite relevant today, despite the 50 years that have passed since. I'd definitely be interested in reading more works in this style applied to the intellectual climate of the early 21st century thus far.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rafael Monchez

    "The Reformation had some tremendous results, and made possible the culture which many of us love- even though our generation is now throwing it away. The Reformation confronts us with an Adam who was, using twentieth-century thought-forms, an unprogrammed man- he was not set up as a punch-card in a computer system. One thing that marks twentieth-century man is that he cannot visualize this, because modern man is infiltrated by a concept of determinism. But the biblical position is clear - man c "The Reformation had some tremendous results, and made possible the culture which many of us love- even though our generation is now throwing it away. The Reformation confronts us with an Adam who was, using twentieth-century thought-forms, an unprogrammed man- he was not set up as a punch-card in a computer system. One thing that marks twentieth-century man is that he cannot visualize this, because modern man is infiltrated by a concept of determinism. But the biblical position is clear - man cannot be explained as totally determined and conditioned - a position that built the concept of the dignity of man" (p. 24).

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I'm not naturally inclined to think philosophically. Reading philosophical works requires a bit of "extra" from my brain, but I'm more willing than ever to engage it and challenge myself and explore it. Jeremy recommended this book to me as I began to ponder epistemology. Its contents are concise, understandable, applicable, and foundational for the Christian. I'll continue to ponder it because I certainly have a ways to go in understanding these things. Here's my own synopsis (written to aid my I'm not naturally inclined to think philosophically. Reading philosophical works requires a bit of "extra" from my brain, but I'm more willing than ever to engage it and challenge myself and explore it. Jeremy recommended this book to me as I began to ponder epistemology. Its contents are concise, understandable, applicable, and foundational for the Christian. I'll continue to ponder it because I certainly have a ways to go in understanding these things. Here's my own synopsis (written to aid my own comprehension): Schaeffer in a nutshell: Aquinas taught that the intellect of man was not fallen. This idea devolved into dominant worldview that rejects God and the things of God (the “upper story”) and promotes the autonomous, individual search for what is true, which inevitably results in relativism. This rejection of God inescapably leads to a deterministic view of nature (the “lower story”), which then leads man to a desperate search for meaning outside of the “machine.” Meaning is sought by going against all reason: a person chooses to “leap” to some sort of experience or belief (a new upper story) that defies rationality but gives a sense of purpose or hope. This is acceptable because “truth” is relative. The only answer for this is The Truth: God is the Creator, personal and infinite, who created man in His own image. Man is endowed with purpose by his Creator, but man rebelled against Him in sin. He can only experience unity between the upper story and lower story by repenting of his sin and trusting in Jesus Christ, God the Son, who made a way for him to be reconciled to the Father.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Scquest

    I will read it again. Overlap with The God who is There, but I appreciated reading them back to back so as to get a better picture. I especially appreciated how he showed how Christianity is the only religion or philosophy which allows the individual to start with themselves and work outward. He goes on to explain that even though we can start with our own selves, we are finite and so much look to the Infinite to find meaning. But we can start with ourselves. This is helpful in conversing with ind I will read it again. Overlap with The God who is There, but I appreciated reading them back to back so as to get a better picture. I especially appreciated how he showed how Christianity is the only religion or philosophy which allows the individual to start with themselves and work outward. He goes on to explain that even though we can start with our own selves, we are finite and so much look to the Infinite to find meaning. But we can start with ourselves. This is helpful in conversing with individuals.

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