How Should We Then Live? Francis Schaeffer

link to Book on Amazon

How Should We Then Live?


Francis Schaeffer’s book How Should We Then Live? This is one of the modern classics of Christian thought. Schaeffer follows the development of Western thought and our various worldviews from the time of Roman civilization to modern times. He frames this development in the attempt of philosophers to explain our world starting with either absolutes or particulars. He gives dozens of examples of the various philosophic schools of thought playing out in art, music, and architecture.

The Reformation in Northern Europe found freedom for creation under the Bible and in its balance of universals and particulars found true freedom. The Renaissance in Southern Europe adopted the humanistic view with particulars only, and therefore had no basis for transcendent growth. As humanism began to infiltrate into the scientific thinking and philosophy of the 1700s and 1800s and on into today, people were faced with the problem of drawing absolute principles starting with particulars. This turned out to be impossible. Trying to come up with a unified, cohesive philosophy of life starting with human experience takes people nowhere.

As he closes the book, Schaeffer lists several pressures that are facing societies today which could push them to accept authoritarian rule instead of chaos. These pressures include: economic breakdown, war or serious threat of war, the chaos of violence including terrorism, the radical redistribution of the wealth of the world, a shortage of food or other natural resources in the world. As these pressures mount people will feel more compelled to give up freedom so that they can have some measure of peace and order. And as the Christian worldview base evaporates from societies in the West, people will have no basis to argue or think otherwise. A modern example played out in Germany when the people cried out for order from the economic collapse of the Weimar Republic and gave Hitler dictatorial power in their country. Not long after as the Germans rose in power under this dictatorship, Chamberlain signed over Czechoslovakia eventually losing most of Europe in World War II. They were hoping for “peace in our time.” What is the proper response? Do we succumb to the breakdown of society and imposed order, or do we as Christians affirm the Christian base that provided the freedoms upon which our nation was originally founded? This can only happen if individual people discover that Christian base in their own lives and then act to influence the consensus. “Such Christians do not need to be a majority in order for this influence on society to occur.” Christians were not in the majority when they changed the entire Western civilization.

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About Conservative Educator
Conservative Christian Elementary Tech Teacher making a difference for students and teachers.

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