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Paperback How Should We Then Live? : The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture Book

ISBN: 0891072926

ISBN13: 9780891072928

How Should We Then Live? : The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture

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A Christian Who Engages Culture

The idea of the project How Should We Then Live?, both as a film documentary and as a book, was conceived in 1974 and completed in 1976. In the Acknowledgments, Francis Schaeffer writes about the idea behind the project: "Using my study, over the past forty years, of Western thought and culture as a base, we could attempt to present the flow and development which have led to twentieth-century thinking, and by so doing hope to show the essential answers." The subtitle to How Should We Then Live? is "The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture." Starting from ancient Roman times, tracing man's development throughout the Middle Ages, going to the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment, he shows the steps which led to the modern era. CHAPTER SUMMARIES Chapter One-Ancient Rome The finite Graeco-Roman gods were not a sufficient inward base for the Roman society: Rome crumbled from within, and the invasions of the barbarians only completed the breakdown. Chapter Two-The Middle Ages The Middle Ages were the post-Roman age: a time of uncertainty in which there were great advances of the church but also great distortions of Biblical truth, eventually leading to the Renaissance and the Reformation. Chapter Three-The Renaissance Although the Renaissance revived the realization that man and nature are important, it went overboard by making man the measure of all things-and by that destroyed the importance of man. Chapter Four-The Reformation Like the Renaissance, the Reformation sought to bring freedom to man, yet unlike the Renaissance it did not lose sight of the Bible and absolute values. Chapter Five-The Reformation-Continued The impact of the Reformation on society at large was the opportunity of freedom without chaos. Chapter Six-The Enlightenment The Enlightenment believed in the perfectibility of society, and sought to bring it about mainly by the means of revolution. Chapter Seven-The Rise of Modern Science Modern science could only have arisen from a Christian foundation: namely, that man is not part of a closed system but can observe and act into the system. Chapter Eight-The Breakdown of Philosophy and Science The foundation in Philosophy and Science was changed from antithetical thinking to dialectic thinking-and because of it reason became more and more pessimistic. Chapter Nine-Modern Philosophy and Modern Theology Due to the pessimistic view on reason, Philosophy and Theology started to seek meaning in the irrational. Chapter Ten-Modern Art, Music, Literature, and Films What began in Philosophy now made itself felt in the Arts: the abandonment of reason and increased fragmentation. Chapter Eleven-Our Society We have come full circle, since our society has become like the declining Roman Empire of old: it is marked by the love of affluence, a widening gap between rich and poor, an obsession with sex, freakishness in the arts, and an increased desire to live off the state. Chapter Twelve-Manipulation and the New Elite B

A Life Changing Book

Not many people know that there was a 10 episode film series with the same title, and that there is a paper back study guide that compliments this book. I first read this book 22 years ago when I was trying to figure out why the world was going to hell in a handbasket. It answered a lot of my questions and made me ask more questions. I rate this as one of the 10 most important books I've read in my lifetime, and I'm getting to be an old lady now. I'm getting ready to read it again because I feel it has a new relevance for our time in light of the persecution of Christianity in the public arena. I also bring to your attention his book, A Christian Manifesto. If you seek true wisdom born of knowledge, this is your book!

The Rise & Decline of Western Thought & Culture

"People's presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions."Schaeffer does an amazing job in tracing the coarse of ideas, where they came from, who originated them, and what they eventual lead to. Schaeffer's walk through time gives the modern reader a clear understanding of our own world, as we are able to clearly see where ideas came from and how they developed.Though Schaeffer does not ever directly answer the question of "how should we then live," he does raise the question in the readers mind as he shows how we do live. Schaeffer traces the history of philosophy, religion, and science in the Western World. He begins with Rome (with the incorporation of Greek values) and proceeds through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Industrialism, Modernity and the post-modern world.This is a very basic history covering the past 2000 years. However, there is substantial depth in this book. Schaeffer is able to extract the most important people and events that spurred the dominant ideas that have shaped Western Civilization, past and present, in a clear and concise manner.I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in History, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Art, Culture and or Ideas. Schaeffer also provides an excellent chronological index for quick referencing along with over sixty pictures of notable people, places, and works of art.

Wow

This has to be one of the best books on this subject available thus far. It's *very* easy to understand, and it's not long or drawn out. Basically Schaeffer divides man and his view on the world into two categories; belief in an infinite God vs. humanism (belief in the absence of an infinite deity). The first creates a solid basis for morales, ethics and right and wrong. Man has *meaning* and a *purpose* in the world, something to hold on to and develop a strong sense of direction from. The latter induces that the world is of random chance (the big bang theory) and that man is nothing more than a machine. Morales are subjective to each person, a personal decision. There is no base for right or wrong, or good or evil. Man loses his sense of direction and ultimately, he falls. Schaeffer also provides a deep analysis of how science, in it's infancy, was based on the belief of and infinite God and how the early scientists were almost all Christian, like Newton. He describes the failure of the humanistic scientist back then and it's defeat against the Christian science and it's transition into the vice-versa of modern day. A fantastic read!

The Intellectual Foundation of the Modern Christian Right

If you want to understand the terms of the culture war, and why so many people are dedicated to restoring Christian values in our society, read this book. Schaeffer explains his world view in terms of a divinely inspired Bible, it's truths, and why they are true. There's more, too. Even for the skeptic, this book provides an excellent background (used as supporting evidence) in Western culture, arts, philosophy, music, and architecture from the Roman Empire days until present. Schaeffer, in his 40 years of study and skepicism himself found the truth of the Bible and God's revelation alive in just about all mankind does. An excellent book. An excellent reference. Schaeffer is in the same league as C.S. Lewis and "Mere Christianity".
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