Friday, December 12, 2014

Escape from Reason by Francis Schaeffer

In Escape from Reason, Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) breaks down philosophy into the simplest terms. He begins with the 13th century ideas of Aquinas which separated the world into upper (grace, spiritual matters) and lower (nature, material) categories. He explains how subsequent philosphers used these distinctions to separate man completely from his Creator. This autonomy, instead of bringing freedom, brought chaos to every field of knowledge.

A Christian world view elevates man to the upper region since he is made in the image of God. The secular world view pulls him down to the lower level, since “man apart from a biblical understanding can only go down to the animals.” (p. 26)

Have you ever wondered how people who scoff at the “nonsense” of Christianity can believe in UFOs? Schaeffer explains, “Man made in the image of God cannot live as though he is nothing and thus he places in the upper story all sorts of desperate things.” (p. 53)

Another quote: “The Bible teaches that, though man is hopelessly lost, he is not nothing. Man is lost because he is separated from God, his true reference point, by true moral guilt. But he will never be nothing. Therein lies the horror of his lostness. For man to be lost, in all his uniqueness and wonder, is tragic.” (p. 90)

Escape from Reason was written in 1968 and is part of a trilogy of the philosphical basis of all Schaeffer’s writings. (The other two books are The God Who Is There, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent.)

It  is very dry, but mercifully short and I am glad I made the effort to read it. I was challenged by Schaeffer’s immersion in modern-day thought (1960’s) in an effort to point his listeners to truth. He wrote that it is overwhelmingly selfish to not learn the language (world view) of the people you are trying to reach. 

May we learn to think more carefully and express more thoughtfully what we believe.


dawn said...

Have you read Nancy Pearcey's Total Truth? Not dry and sounds like it condenses a lot of these ideas ...

Nice review.

Unknown said...

Thank you for this review. I really enjoyed reading last year his How Should We Then Live?. It really made me think. Very interesting quote about selfishness!!!

Farm Girl said...

I have the third book, and have tried to read it. I need to get the first and second book. I think it would read easier for me.
I do like Francis Shaeffer, and How Should We Then Live is one of my favorites but it has been a long time. Thanks for the reminder for that. It is always interesting to see what you are reading week to week.