Escape From Reason Years ago I read the first of the trilogy of essential books by Christian philosopher, Francis Schaeffer. I’ve had it in mind to conEscape From Reason Years ago I read the first of the trilogy of essential books by Christian philosopher, Francis Schaeffer. I’ve had it in mind to continue with this book ever since, but just finally got around to it this year. Now I can’t believe I waited so long! One of the things that I love the most about Schaeffer’s writing is that it walks you through the fundamental philosophies that undergird our society and contrasts them with those of Christianity. The result, then, is that the reader is able to build from these ideas to form appropriate applications in every sphere of life.
In the foreword, Schaeffer emphasizes his belief that, “If we are to communicate the Christian faith effectively…we must know and understand the thought-forms of our own generation.” We don’t have to spend years studying every false religion or worldly philosophy, but if we learn to peel away the layers and expose the thought processes themselves, we can communicate effectively with any person on any topic.
Schaeffer leads the reader through the historical evolution of the relationship between Grace, the higher, and Nature, the lower. The essence of modern philosophy is that we create a dichotomy, rather than a unity, between the upper and lower so that we separate our physical being from our spiritual ideas. This separation is merely philosophical, though, because in reality “men act the way they think.” Later, Schaeffer emphasizes, “What makes modern man modern man is the existence of this dichotomy and not the multitude of types of things he places, as a leap, in the upper story. No matter what expression he places there, secular or religious, it still amounts to the same thing if it is rooted in this dichotomy.” This is a critical insight, for even Christians have a tendency to relegate God and His Word to spiritual matters that reside in the upper-story. But if we do this we are no different fundamentally than another who seeks meaning through any other leap from rational thought to pursuit of a philosophical ideal. Instead, we must recognize that “Christianity…provides a unified answer for the whole of life” and “God made the whole man and is interested in the whole man, and the result is a unity.” Therein lies the truth and beauty and meaning of life!
He Is There and He Is Not Silent As soon as I finished Escape From Reason I couldn’t wait to start this third and final book of Francis Schaeffer’s trilogy. This statement, about a third of the way through the short 75-page book, expresses the heart of the message: “It is God Himself and His character who is the moral absolute of the universe…He must indeed not only be there, but He must have spoken. And He must have spoken in a way which is more than simply a quarry for emotional, upper-story experiences. We need propositional facts. We need to know who He is, and what His character is, because His character is the law of the universe.”
Schaeffer breaks down the big questions of life into the proposed answers to eventually conclude that Christianity is the only rational choice. He says, “The truth of Christianity is that it is true to what is there.” He addresses The Metaphysical Necessity, The Moral Necessity, and The Epistemological Necessity, and in each instance arrives at the conclusion that Christianity is not the best answer; it is the only answer. Truly a fascinating work that helps clarify your understanding and equip you to communicate more effectively with those who have questions about life and faith. ...more