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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 27, 1975)
Fanaticism: hold your breath, pinch your nostrils
Timothy L. Davy in a guest opinion column (Daily Nebraskan,
Jan. 24) urged us "to hear a logically-based, intellectually sound
speaker on Christianity" named Josh McDowell.
Hopefully, by the time this column reaches print 1 will have
followed his advice; not because' it's good, but because I have never
seen a "Christian Intellectual." As far as I'm concerned, a
"Christian Intellectual" is a contradiction in terms.
Since I cannot write about McDowell before I've heard him, I
will do Davy one better and address myself to the writings of a
man much more famous and prestigious in the Jesus movement
than Josh McDowell. That man's name is Francis A.Schaeffer.
Schaeffer is probably the best known and most widely read
"defender of the faith" in the Jesus movement. He has written a
raft of books, one of which is entitled The God Who is There.
The theme of this book is that modern man has experienced a
"change in the concept of truth." This change has been a
movement from a belief in absolutes to one of relativity.
Unfortunately, relativity leads to despair, for which the only
answer, according to Schaeffer, is Christ.
The author manages, in his mind, to deal with this large topic in
only 191 pages. In reality, the book is a shallow series of
nonsequitures finally culminating in a mishmash of rhetorical
For example, he criticized Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus
incessantly for being unable to live consistently within their
There is no serious attempt to analyze their philosophies, only
this ad hominem attack. Schaeffer never realizes that attacking the
man and not his argument is a logical fallacy for which you would
fail any philosophy class. '
Another major weakness in the book is Schaeffer's argument
concerning the Christian existentialist, Soren Kierkegaard.
He criticizes Kierkegaard tor being unable to communicate the
experience of his "leap into the absurd" (as if Schaeffer could
communicate the experience of his salvation) and then a hundred
pages later says that Christianity is "the only explanation which
can fit the facts of their (existentialists) own experience."
I can only wonder how Schaeffer can state that Christianity
answers Kierkegaard's experience after complaining that
Kierkegaard can't convey the facts of that experience.
These are only two of the innumerable examples of poor logic,
irrationality and just plain stupidity which grace almost every page
of this ridiculous book.
The best way to read it is to play the "substitution game." Just
put the words Muhammed, Allah and Muslim wherever Schaeffer
uses Christ, God and Christian. His essays are so meaningless and
illogical, Davy, that almost any words will fit quite nicely.
The reason Schaeffer is so big with the Jesus Freaks is that he
clothes his ignorance in eloquencePart of his finery is a knack at
name-dropping when, in fact, he knows very little of the ideas of
the men to whom those names belong.
Lastly, he decorates his narrative with, supposedly humble, but
dramatic conflicts and arguments he has had with atheists, Hinduis,
Muslims, and Catholics. Of course, super-saint Schaeffer always
shows them the great white way to Jesus.
Schaeffer, however, is not alone in his ignorance. I have talked
to several hundred Jesus Freaks in the past five or six years and
ignorance characterizes almost all of them.
I have asked scores if they were familiar with Karl Barth,
Rudolph Bultman or any one of a number of Biblical scholars.
Invariably I have gotten the same answer No. (These men are as
famous in Biblical scholarship as Muhammed Ali is to boxing.)
Perhaps the U.S. Catholic Conference of 1973 summed it up
best when they said the Jesus movement "tends to be simplistic,
emotional, antirational and naive."
But please don't get me wrong. The Jesus Freaks will surely win
a few converts. They put on an advertising campaign that would
make Madison Avenue twinge with envy. Besides, this season of the
year is always a good time to save a few unsuspecting freshmen,
who, facing a dreary February and feeling guilty about their first
sex and drug experiences of last semester, are easily swayed.
It is untortunate that the rest ot us will have to put up with
fanaticism's latest Elmer Gantry, but we've seen it before and I'm
sure if we simply hold our breaths and pinch our nostrils, it will all
eHE6K IT OUT
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A LESBIAN PANEL DISCUSSION
WOMEN & LEGISLATION
YVONNE LEUNG OF WOMEN'S LOMUY, INC. DISCUSSES LEGISLATION
BEYOND 20TI1 CENTURY FEMINISM
WHY FEMINISM MAY FAIL IN THIS CENTUHY BY PAIU naivuis.
FEMINISM & THE BLACK WOMAN
BLACK WOMEN DISCUSS THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT
CANCER IN WOMEN
JOY YORK OF THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY
FOUND WOMAN: GRACE ABBOTT
A PROGRAM ON NEB i ASK AN GRACE ABBOTT
(Thursday) MEN & WOMEN: CHANGING HOLES IN A CHANGING WORLD
ar. 18 WOMEN a THERAri
PRESENTATION BY THE HOMESTEAD INSTITUTE
PANEL DISCUSSION ON VARIOUS LIFESTYLES FOR WOMEN
ON THE RE-EDUCATION Of SOPHIE
SARAH HOAGLAND SPEAKS AGAINST WOMEN'S STUDIES DEPTS.
WOMEN IN HISTORY
JANE HOOD AND ANN KLEIMOLA OF THE HISTORY DEPT.
PSYCHOLOGY DEFINES WOMAN
JULIE HORNEY OF THE UNL PSYCHOLOGY DEPT.
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