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Escape from Reason: A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thoughts (Ivp Classics) [Paperback]

By Francis A. Schaeffer (Author) & J. P. Moreland (Foreword by)
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Item description for Escape from Reason: A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thoughts (Ivp Classics) by Francis A. Schaeffer & J. P. Moreland...

Tracing trends in 20th century thought, Schaeffer shows that Christianity offers meaning where there is purposelessness, and hope where there is despair.

Publishers Description
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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Item Specifications...

Studio: IVP Books
Pages   123
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.04" Width: 4.28" Height: 0.38"
Weight:   0.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 6, 2007
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
Series  IVP Classics  
ISBN  0830834052  
ISBN13  9780830834051  

Availability  12 units.
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More About Francis A. Schaeffer & J. P. Moreland

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Recognized internationally for his work in Christianity and culture, Francis A. Schaeffer authored more than twenty books, which have been translated into a score of languages and sold millions worldwide. He and his wife, Edith, founded L'Abri Fellowship international study and discipleship centers. Schaeffer passed away in 1984, but his influence and legacy continue worldwide.

Udo W. Middelmann is president of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation. He is a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and a longtime worker at Swiss L'Abri. Udo and Debbie Middelmann have five children and three grandchildren.

Lane T. Dennis is president and publisher of Crossway Books and Good News Tracts. Dr. Dennis earned his BS in business from Northern Illinois University, an MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary, and a PhD in religion from Northwestern University. Before joining Good News Publishers in 1974, he served as a pastor in campus ministry at the University of Michigan (Sault Ste. Marie) and as the Managing Director of Verlag Grosse Freude in Switzerland. He is the author and/or editor of three books, including the Gold Medallion-award-winning book Letters of Francis A. Schaeffer, and he is the former Chairman of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Dr. Dennis serves as the Chairman of the ESV (English Standard Version) Bible Translation Oversight Committee and as the Executive Editor of the ESV Study Bible. Lane and his wife, Ebeth, live in Wheaton, Illinois.

Francis A. Schaeffer has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Bible Commentary for Layman
  2. IVP Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( S ) > Schaeffer, Francis
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Apologetics
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Science & Religion

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Reviews - What do customers think about Escape from Reason: A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thoughts (Ivp Classics)?

Poor Thomas  Jul 12, 2006
As I read this work, I couldn't but help notice how often Reformed writers blame Aquinas for current philisophical thought. They blame the others, and Schaeffer simply says that ever since Aquinas, men lost hope in finding a unifying principle that would make sense of both matter and spirit, body and soul, love and sex. And modern man (defined: 1200s to present), had since Aquinas messed it up, have failed at unification and despaired of ever achieving this end. And that failure, felt not only by the intellectual elite, has also drifted and seeped into the average man's life. The man on the street no longer has an authoritative voice--it used to be the Catholic church but no longer. C.S. Lewis also alludes to this in Miracles. Modern man has tried to search for unification in something other than the Scriptures.

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.

In sum, Shaeffer's work is a small overview of what he believes are the causes of modern thought (Aquinas, Kierkegaard) and its implications on modern culture. It is very interesting and a little depressing. You would never have guessed that you had such a longing for a theory or principle of unification and are really deppressed being stuck in the bottom storey. I don't believe Schaeffer realized that what was happening (maybe still), was no more than philisophical learning in any other age. Philosophy is the aim to unify all into one system with corresponding logic-based cohesion. But every system (so far) fails at unification. And modern culture or the man on the street is no more "irrational" than the medieval Catholic man for going along with the dominant thought of his respective age.

Despite its weaknesses, Escape from Reason is a vital little book because of its brevity and lucidity. He does a wonderful job of at least introducing his readers to the human side of an age old debate.

escape from reason  May 18, 2006
this book is short and brief (100 pages or so), that is its intended appeal. it is not and does not claim to be a comprehensive analysis of all theological and philosophical thought-- just a very thoughtful and broad view of the impact of thought, art, industry, etcetera and its culmination on the state of our current society. to this end the book is fullfilling.
Schaeffer's brilliance offends the pseudo-intellectuals  Aug 20, 2005
Schaeffer is clearly one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century. His works are often criticized by pseudo-intellectual elitists who think they are the only ones who understand what is going on. Sadly, many pseudo-intellectuals are irrelevant as they stand on the sidelines while Schaeffer clearly threw himself into battle. His pro-life advocacy and clarion prophecies about the declining value of life embarrass the self-serving (and feckless) armchair philosophers. According to the late Dr. David Breese, even Soren Kierkegaard, the "Melancholy Dane" received an estate large enough from his father that he "never needed to work. In fact, he never did." Schaeffer did indeed work and his work has gone on to inspire D. James Kennedy, Os Guinness, and many other leading Christian thinkers. This is a great read.
5 stars for creativity  May 26, 2005
When reading Schaeffer, we have to bear in mind that he was dealing primarily with effects rather than intentions the discussed authors in his book produced in the Western world. Instead of discussing motives and intentions of the mentioned authors, Schaeffer was interested in understanding of the concepts as accepted and processed by the Western intellectual establishment. Schaeffer was interested in conceptual understanding of the history of philosophy and the development of the Western culture, and how such mentality reflects on communication of Christian message. We might say, he was interested in how rationality supports our lives and why it fails to keep us existentially stabile. This intention has been effectively reflected in Escape from Reason. Following his intention, I think it would be useless to read Escape from Reason outside this conceptual framework. It simply wouldn't suffice as it exceeds the scope of his project.

Personally, I've come across Schaeffer quite late in my Christian career. It's a great pity I haven't found him much earlier in my Christian walk when I needed such encouragement and conceptual engagement. Until recently - more precisely, until Plantinga's encouragement and strong leadership - conservative Christian intellectuals demonstrated an inherent inability to engage popular culture. Lack of confidence and a certain disorientation with respect to limits and conceptual permissions characterised a lot of apologetic Christian thought in the 20th century. Why? Simply because most prominent Christian and ex-Christian thinkers, as part of the same culture, did not feel a burden to defend their faith. Instead, they felt the need to explore their faith in a critical way. As a result, they were co-responsible for producing such culture in the first place in their attempts to understand the world and our place in it.

Schaeffer is a thinker who expressed his view as to the conceptual understating of the ideological coordinates by which we live. He engaged pop culture of his day analytically giving us better knowledge and the incentive, even permission, so to speak, to re-contextualise our own understanding and analyses of pop culture. To me, he is what Slavoj Zizek is to theoretical psychoanalysts: a progressive thinker who is willing to take unconventional and highly controversial turns. Like Zizek, he sometimes fails to do justice to the subject-matter under discussion. But who does? That's why it is unnecessary to accuse him of misunderstanding of certain authors such as Kierkegaard as well as other individual thinkers. It is equally wrong to say that he didn't read primary sources. As I mentioned earlier, Schaeffer is interested in the effects produced by the analysed authors. He is not so much interested in their motives and intentions. For example, in his discussion on Hegel, Schaeffer perceptively observed what effects Hegel's thinking exerted on the Western world. I paraphrase: Hegel caused compression of individual identity into an excessive and all-encompassing rational Identity, which by default renders accessible and regulatory every aspect of one's life. Finally, driven by desire for utter regulation and overrationalisation of human behaviour, Hegelian system failed to accommodate subjective forms of individual expression. Notice, he is not discussing what Hegel really intended and what his motives were. He is interested in the effects. In this sense, it is possible to say that he developed a commentary on secondary sources.

How, then, should we read Schaeffer's Escape from Reason? My answer is simple: as part of a dialogue on contemporary culture. All of us who think and write about popular issues know that we provide only partial and subjective representations of facts and reality. In fact, we all exist in interaction with one another in which we express our views and opinions on what the world is or isn't, or what it should be like. So it is OK to accept Schaeffer as a conceptual thinker who expresses his views in a cultural dialogue. I encourage all thinking individuals who both agree and disagree with Schaeffer to read Escape from Reason thus informing their choices in matters pertaining to rationality and its failures. I guarantee they'll be motivated to examine the same authors with more focus and interest. Moreover, they'll certainly better understand the development of the Western culture and its current themes.

Highly Literate Sophomorism  Jan 16, 2005
This is a well written but ultimately sophomoric disquisition on the concept that if you don't have faith in the supernatural, you have no reason for hope.

According to this book, the rational world is such an unpleasant place that, if you are not religious as Schaeffer defines religious, "[t]he only way of escape lies in a nonrational fantasy world of experience, drugs, absurdity, pornography, an elusive "final experience," madness... ."


Throughout history, a great many people found life to be good without resorting to either madness or Schaeffer's brand of religion. And indeed, religion and rationality need not be foes, as frequently demonstrated by scientists and science writers, such as Isaac Asimov and Stephen Jay Gould. Reduces our choices to "religion or madness" is just silly.

Schaeffer in this book champions not religion or spirituality, but authoritarianism with a clerical face. His fans won't like that characterization, but my job as a reviewer is to tell you what's in the book; if you seek comfort in authoritarian religion, this book's skillful wordcraft makes it is a good place to start.

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