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Escape From Reason: A Penetrating Analysis Of Trends In Modern Thought (1968)

af Francis A. Schaeffer

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1,194812,508 (3.86)14
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.… (mere)
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I should have read this book a decade ago. It is simpler and a faster read than some of Schaeffer's other works. I would recommend that anyone read Escape from Reason before The God Who is There, because The God Who is There expands on a lot of the points in this book.

I also recommend this for any Christian taking a philosophy or art class. It gives some great long-term perspective. ( )
1 stem Shockleyy | Jun 6, 2021 |
Escape from Reason is Schaeffer’s masterpiece of postmodern analysis. He unpacks humanism’s presuppositions and pushes post-modernism to its logical conclusion–total meaninglessness. But in that despair, he counters with the answer to modern man’s existential crisis—the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Take on a deeper and more insightful understanding of Christianity’s response to post-modernism with Escape from Reason, free this month.
Schaeffer analyzes 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—a century in need of purpose and hope now more than ever.
  Jonatas.Bakas | Apr 25, 2021 |
Schaeffer is incredibly difficult to pin down. He has been described as a (compassionate, inconsistent and modified) presuppositionalist , an inconsistent empiricist and a verificationist– this is, I suspect, because he is more an evangelist and apologist than an academic philosopher. Schaeffer's books have been incredibly influential, not least his trilogy of which Escape from Reason (EfR) is the second part – the first being The God Who is There and the final part He is There and He is not Silent. EfR is the shortest of the two and has sometimes been mistaken for the introduction to the trilogy.

Reading Schaeffer is a bitter sweet experience. I rejoice at his desire to see the lordship of Christ expressed over every area of life, but get frustrated at his broad brush strokes that often over-simplify. Schaeffer is rarely subtle!

The villain of this piece is Aquinas. It’s perhaps an understatement to say that Schaeffer is a little hard on Aquinas; a better Reformed analysis of Aquinas is found in Arvin Vos’s Aquinas, Calvin, and Contemporary Protestant Thought. Nevertheless, Schaeffer does highlight the problems scholastic dualism has caused Christianity.

He sees the most crucial problem facing Christians today as being rooted in the Middle Ages and in Aquinas in particular. It was Aquinas that opened the way for autonomous rationality. According to Schaeffer, Aquinas claimed that the human will but not human intellect is fallen. This assumption, once popularised, provided the fertile soil for the belief that humans could become independent, autonomous.

In EfR 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.

Schaeffer had a way of communicating Christianity to modern culture – we need more like him today. He awoke his generation to the presence of secular humanism and showed that it was possible to think and be a Christian at the same time. This book provides an excellent introduction to his ideas, though it shows its origin in the lecture format: there are few footnotes and references. His analysis is often derivative of the Dutch Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. Schaeffer's close friend Hans Rookmaaker once remarked that ‘Escape from Reason is Schaeffer's version of what Dooyeweerd develops in [In the Twilight of Western Thought].'1

It is a shame that this book is not illustrated, for Schaeffer makes some excellent points regarding grace and nature using descriptions of art works and having them illustrated would have greatly enriched the reading experience.

This version has a brief foreword by James Moreland and a two-page index. It is a welcome addition to the IVP Classics series.

1 ‘A Dutch view of Christian philosophy’ in The Complete Works of Hans Rookmaaker edited by Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker Vol 6 Part III The L'Abri Lectures. (Piquant, 2005). ( )
  stevebishop.uk | Jul 23, 2020 |
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.
  Ponygroom | Dec 17, 2016 |
This book has been described as "a penetrating analysis of trends in modern thought", and it certainly is!

Written in 1968 by Francis Schaeffer, this is a deep and fascinating look at how the concept of reason has changed over the centuries, to the point where people not only think differently, but claim that truth cannot be known, there are no absolutes.

It took me several days to work though the ideas inside this small book, but it was worth it, and gave me much to meditate upon.

I think I'll reread it, soon, too. ( )
1 stem fuzzi | Feb 2, 2015 |
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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 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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