Thursday, February 15, 2007

back to freedom and dignity

I've mentioned a few times, back in the archives somewhere, that no one had more of an influence on me spiritually than Francis and Edith Schaeffer. As a new Christian back in the days of the Jesus Movement, his influence was felt from teenagers like me from an "unchurched" home to men and women in Science, the Arts, Medicine, Politics, Education, and beyond. I can't tell you how many times I've dropped to my knees and thanked my Creator for calling me to Himself, putting me in the Spiritual Kindergarten of people like Schaeffer as a new Christian.

I finished reading back to freedom and dignity yesterday afternoon between checking the roast in the Crock Pot and placing scoops of chocolate chip cookies on cookie sheets and into the oven. That's Mommy-Grammie philosophy, if one can't go from deep thinking to the kitchen and back, philosophical thought doesn't happen!

I don't know why I hadn't read this book before, I isn't very big. I've had it with my other Schaeffer books since the 70s and I've held on to it. (I've given away many Schaeffer books to young people in the ministry to uh...influence...the newer generation.)

In this little book, Schaeffer talks mainly about the recent (at the time in the early 70s) writings of two social scientists, Jacques Monod and B. F. Skinner. The words are chilling, especially to one who remembers how popular Skinner's book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, was to my generation. That book, in a nutshell, teaches that man is basically a combination of chemicals who is what he is due to his environment and has no soul or spirit to set him apart. After reading it, one comes away understanding how those who have a more liberal and non evangelical mindset have a different view of life than those of us who believe we were created in the image of a living and personal God.

I also found it interesting that Skinner comes from a Christian family and Schaeffer's warning to parents is profound...the Christianity we live before our children must never be one of only rules and fear as was the Christianity in which Skinner was raised and rejected.

Here is the final paragraph in this little book, full of big ideas, written in 1972:

"What has happened to man? We must see him as one who has torn himself away both from the infinite-personal God who created him as finite but in his image, and from God's revelation to him. Made in God's image, man was made to be great, he was made to be beautiful and he was made to be creative in life and art. But his rebellion has led him into making himself into nothing but a machine."



Anonymous said...

Thought provoking ... heavy ... truer words were never spoken. Thank you for this post.

Jenny said...

"rules and fear" That resonates with me. My Muslim in-laws gave my husband and me a book about diseases of the heart (greed, envy, etc.) and how to go about overcoming those diseases -- the Muslim way. I read it and skimmed over the Koranic references, and was left feeling so hopeless for them. So many rules, different sets of prayers at certain times of day... and to top it all off -- being warned over and over of the "hellfire" that awaits for those who don't live up to the perfect standard.

I also remember thinking how this sounds a lot like "fire and brimstone", legalistic Christianity.

Two things I love about Christianity (as I learned it, saw it lived, and live it today) are the simplicity and joy. I do fear God (it's only respectable), but I know him as a loving God. I emulate Jesus not because of my fear of hellfire, but because I find it a joy to do so.

Great post, Brenda!