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Escape from Reason [Paperback]

Francis A. Schaeffer , J. P. Moreland
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 26 2006 IVP Classics
Truth used to be based on reason. No more. What we 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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Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars THE ESCAPE OF REASON FROM REASON – A BOOK REVIEW March 28 2013
Format:Paperback
Escape from Reason. Francis A. Schaeffer. InterVarsity Press, 1974. 96pp. ISBN 0-87784-538-7.

Francis Schaeffer has been widely recognized as one of the twentieth century’s greatest Christian apologists. In his book Escape from Reason, Schaeffer proposes to help the reader to interact, on a more meaningful level, with the current culture. Why? “We must realize that we are facing a rapidly changing historical situation, and if we are going to talk to people about the gospel we need to know what is the present ebb and flow of thought-forms. Unless we do this the unchangeable principles of Christianity will fall on deaf ears. And if we are going to reach the intellectuals and the workers, both groups right outside our middle-class churches, then we shall need to do a great deal of heart-searching as to how we may speak what is eternal into a changing historical situation.” In order to help the reader to properly understand his current cultural situation, Schaeffer proposes to explain why people think the way they do today, and how we got to this point. Unless we understand the cause, we will be unable to know the effect fully. Schaeffer proposes, as a starting point, that the entire contemporary situation finds its starting place in a number of doctrines that he claims were proposed by Thomas Aquinas, namely: a distinction between nature and grace, and a partial fall of humanity by which humans retained some form of autonomy from their creator. “What is wrong? Again, it goes back to Thomas Aquinas’s insufficient view of the Fall which gives certain things an autonomous structure. When nature is made autonomous it soon ends up by devouring God, grace, freedom and eventually man.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Schaeffer evidently didn't read primary sources Sept. 10 2001
Format:Paperback
First, I have to express appreciation for Schaeffer. When I was in high school, I read through all of his books with great interest and avidity. He (along with C. S. Lewis) was a great example to me that you could be a Christian and still have a brain. I thought. Unfortunately, his books led to actually read the individuals he discussed. I went on to attend Yale University and the University of Chicago, studying theology and philosophy at both places. At Yale I met several Christian grad students who, like me, initially became interested in philosophy through reading Schaeffer. Every single one of us was grateful to Schaeffer. Every single one of us agreed: Schaeffer probably never read any of the people he discusses.
If you have just a little background in philosophy or the history of theology, and you look carefully through the footnotes of any of Schaeffer's books, it becomes fairly obvious that his reading was restricted almost entirely to secondary sources. He didn't read Aquinas so much as books about Aquinas. He seems to have been especially indebted to books by Dutch Reformed scholars. Most of his discussions of the great figures in the history of the church are travesties of their actual thought.
An example: Kierkegaard. Most of my graduate work both at Yale and Chicago was on Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard is a widely misunderstood scholar, but virtually everyone who has studied his work at any length will acknowledge that he was not a theological innovator, that he in no sense was trying to undermine Christian faith, and that he was utterly orthodox in his thought. It is impossible to find a single orthodox Christian doctrine that Kierkegaard attacks. In no sense is Kierkegaard an opponent of Christianity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still fills a vacuum in evangelical thought Jan. 8 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Schaeffer's understandings of Kierkegaard and Barth are right on the money. His "rationalism" (i.e. belief in a rational God Whose Logos became incarnate in Jesus Christ) is in fact the only proper and possible harmonization of Christianity and reason. Neither one can last long without the other.

If God isn't "bound" by "human" logic and if the Bible can contain genuine paradoxes (a la Barth), then why do we bother defending the quaint and outmoded doctrine that the Bible is free of contradictions? Or do those who damn Schaeffer with faint praise wish to dispense with that doctrine too?

That there are still some readers who think Barth was "orthodox" proves only that Schaeffer's book is just as timely now as it was early in the twentieth century.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The prophet of the 20th Century speaks Oct. 3 2000
By WTM
Format:Paperback
This is a rather small book. Including the index, it has only 96 pages. But the contents of 'Escape From Reason' delivered on its claim as a penetrating analysis of trends in modern thought.
Francis A. Schaeffer had the insight to see into the near future by analyzing popular thought and showing that by bringing them to their logical conclusions, they usher in an era of chaos and moral irresponsibility. He demonstrated how the escapism of modernism and post-modernism only leads to absurdity and madness. The only way Schaeffer saw that anyone can transcend the absurd is the belief in a personal God who loves, expressing this love in God's Son Jesus. Good advice from a legendary saint.
I recommend this book to the student of philosophy, history, apologetics, and any Christian who wants to see a clear and well thought out discourse of Christian thought.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A prescient work
A penetrating analysis of trends in modern thought. We now realize Schaeffer was writing about Postmodernism -- as a Christian well ahead of his time. This is truly classic. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2001 by "discerningreader"
5.0 out of 5 stars Schaeffer diagnoses modern-day ills and prescribes cure
Do you value liberty, reason, science, individualism and progress? If so, read this short book by Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer to learn why these and other western... Read more
Published on Sept. 28 2000 by Steven P. Sawyer
3.0 out of 5 stars Schaeffer filled a void in the 80's, but not anymore
Francis Schaeffer's books filled a huge vacuum in evangelical thought. In the 1980's, Schaeffer broke new ground by giving Christian fundamentalism an intellectual voice that it... Read more
Published on May 26 2000 by Clarke H. Morledge
4.0 out of 5 stars Is God Personal?
"Escape from Reason" is a clear and straightforward look at modern thought and reason or the lack thereof. It is a powerful argument for the validity of christian ideas. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2000 by Aaron Wallis
1.0 out of 5 stars confirms that christianity is superstition
I was given this book by a Christian who tries to convert me by claiming that Christianity is the only rational choice for those who think. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is highly thought provocing.
Schaeffer has unlocked the thought proccess of western society. His understanding and research is tight. Read more
Published on July 22 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor
This is a very poor book. Schaffer's analysis of Aquinas is fundamentally wrong and his contention that Aquinas is responsible for issuing in the modern age and reason's revolt... Read more
Published on June 23 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic
In spite of the forgoing lenghty review it is plain from the reading that this is a timeless and helpful book. Read more
Published on Feb. 26 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book to get a general overview of the major thoughts
This book is a good start for those who would like to get a general overview of the major thoughts and trends that shaped the Western thought since the Renaissance to the present. Read more
Published on July 16 1998
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