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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to Think
To my mind there are a lot of alienated, thinking Protestants (not that they would use the "P" word)-- far outside of or on the fringes of the institutional church (whatever that is) who nevertheless have active minds, open hearts and hungry souls. Once there was a retreat area in the Swiss alps called L'Abri or "The Shelter" run by Francis and Edith Schaeffer that these...
Published on May 4, 2006 by Gord Wilson

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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A well-intentioned but often inscrutable treatise
Schaeffer was a sincere, devout, extremely intelligent, and supremely compassionate man. Having a heart that was broken over the nihilism of the 1960s-70s, he tried valiantly to appeal to the reason of the cynics who were privately hopeless. But in this volume his reach sometimes exceeded his grasp. Many of his conclusions are more than valid, but his means of arriving at...
Published on January 7, 2002 by J. SHARP


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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time to Think, May 4, 2006
This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
To my mind there are a lot of alienated, thinking Protestants (not that they would use the "P" word)-- far outside of or on the fringes of the institutional church (whatever that is) who nevertheless have active minds, open hearts and hungry souls. Once there was a retreat area in the Swiss alps called L'Abri or "The Shelter" run by Francis and Edith Schaeffer that these seekers would be drawn to. Outside of that hands-on culture Schaeffer's books seem somewhat out of context. InterVarsity Press, which published most of them, once displayed them in its own rotating in-store rack, but now they are lost on the shelves (if they're in stores at all) amid much more viscerally-aimed, issues-oriented books about the crisis of the week or the conspiracy of the month. Not much for the thoughtful reader.

(Re)enter Francis Schaeffer, probably the author that seeking readers would like to seek out. Should they do so, however, one immediately finds two dozen or so books, with no idea where to start or how they're supposed to go together. Reading the many negative reviews, it seems that this book is especially misunderstood. But to my mind it remains one of his best.

This is the third book of a trilogy which begins in a non-obvious way with a tiny but densely written book called Escape From Reason. That book briefly traces the history of the split between nature and grace, lamenting it and, as many have pointed out, wrongly attributing it to St. Thomas Aquinas, who also lamented it. The second volume is a larger book called The God Who is There, which can be read on its own and which many readers have found quite engrossing.

This third book, which also stands on its own, is a very brief examination of epistemology (how we know and how we know we know). I took a philosophy class once which studied the exact same questions and I used to bring up Schaeffer's points in class. The instructor thought those were valid and interesting arguments, and I would suggest that the reviewers who don't like this book either have no taste for philosophy or don't like Schaeffer's style, or both.

Either impersonal forces created us as personal beings, or a personal creator did so. The other choice, that we are somehow impersonal beings resulting from one of the above options makes no sense but has nevertheless been argued by behaviorist B.F. Skinner in Beyond Freedom and Dignity and elsewhere. Schaeffer helps us see that there are really very few answers to this dilemma, and like Pascal, we must wager on one or the other. This book could be titled "Think Along with Schaeffer". For those who'd rather read the results of his thinking, they are laid out more simply in one of his best books, True Sprituality.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I'm a believer, May 14, 2008
By 
Jordan M. Poss (South Carolina, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
After years of hearing about Francis Schaeffer's work, I finally picked up How Should We Then Live? last winter. I was not impressed, though I could see a sharp and brilliant mind at work in the book. My friends still insisted that Schaeffer was worth reading, and so shortly thereafter I read A Christian Manifesto, which I liked more, though still with misgivings. He is There and He is Not Silent, however, made me a believer in Schaeffer's work.

In less than 100 pages, Schaeffer distills the essences of the major modern philosophical movements into their most basic parts in the areas of metaphysics, morality, and epistemology--the three critical factors that shape what a person believes and how they will act. He then describes the logical ends of the competing views--such as the utter hopelessness of knowledge stemming from existentialism or the whirling, self-defeating frenzy of what he calls "linguistic analysis." All of the systems Schaeffer examines fall apart on some point, or lead to despair or cynicism.

The reason, Schaeffer points out, is all these systems exist to fill a void that is only completely and adequately filled by Christianity. Each exists not beside Christianity, but against it. Schaeffer shows the necessity of belief in a God who is not only there--existing--but not silent--he not only created the world but is constantly involved with it.

This book reads like all the best parts of How Should We Then Live? without the baggage of misrepresentation and oversimplification that plagued the other book (though he does take a more benign dig at Dante and Thomas Aquinas at one point). While there is, admittedly, a certain amount of simplification required of an 80-page book that treats modern philosophy's problems, the broad-strokes structure of the book is in no way a liability. He is There and He is Not Silent is an apologetic masterpiece. This is one book which I'll read again.

Highly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming In Loud And Clear, December 24, 2006
By 
Jeremy K. Meeks (San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
I'll admit it, I've had this book for almost a year and haven't been able to finish it. The fact it's only 100 pages doesn't help my cause, but in my defense I've tried to finish it a time or two...and I've been really busy. There is no doubt about it, if you aren't used to deep philosophical thinking while reading this book will put you to the test, but it's totally worth it.

This book is a Christian classic, and it deserves every bit of the distinction. Schaeffer is a master of getting to the root of the problem and illuminating the solution so clearly that when he comes to his God-ward logical conclusions you are left dumbfounded. The amazement doesn't come because his answers to some of the toughest problems in life are so blatantly scandalous, but due to the fact they are so simple you are left wondering why you didn't get to the same deductions he did on your own. There is one simple truth that applies to all of Schaeffer's writings, by the time you are done reading, you will understand the problems and their solutions.

In this brief, but weighty book the founder of L'Abri fellowship tackles the utter necessity of Gods existence. His argument for this inevitability is the problem of epistemology, the study of how we know and how we know we know.

Schaeffer points out, with great (albeit sometimes longwinded and repetitive) accuracy that without God there is no foundation for anything. He starts this process by pointing out that "no man can live without a worldview; therefore there is no man who is not a philosopher." He then shows that today's postmodern thought that says objective truth doesn't exist leaves us only with chaos. He states "Sometimes people try to bring a little bit of order; but as soon as you bring in a little bit of order, the first class of answer - that everything is meaningless, everything is irrational - is no longer self consistent, and falls to the ground." There must be meaning, but where do we find it?

The author's conclusion is that only Christianity provides the answer to the epistemological necessity of every human being. "If modern science could be born on the basis of there being a reasonable God, which makes it possible to find out the order by reason, should we be taken by surprise that the knower who is to know and the object which is to be known should have correlation? It is exactly what we should expect. Because we have a reasonable God who made them in the first place there is a reasonable correlation between the subject and the object."

This book is not easy, but with much patience...and perseverance comes great reward. If you have never even heard of presuppositional apologetics this is a good book to get an idea of how such an apologetic works.

Favorite quotes: "All men constantly and consistently act as though Christianity were true."

"Every man is created in the image of God; therefore, no man in his imagination is confined to his own body."

"The only answer in the area of morals, as true morals, including the problem of social evil, turns upon the fact of God's being there."
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christian Classic!, June 15, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
Schaeffer contrasts the silence and despair of modern life with the Christian answer that God can indeed be known because He is there and He is not silent. I believe that this book will profoundly change your life. Schaeffer urges you to know what you believe and why. You will be forced to think things through, which is a good thing.
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25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A well-intentioned but often inscrutable treatise, January 7, 2002
By 
J. SHARP (Alabama - United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
Schaeffer was a sincere, devout, extremely intelligent, and supremely compassionate man. Having a heart that was broken over the nihilism of the 1960s-70s, he tried valiantly to appeal to the reason of the cynics who were privately hopeless. But in this volume his reach sometimes exceeded his grasp. Many of his conclusions are more than valid, but his means of arriving at them are hampered by oversimplification couched in (ironically) complicated technical language and repetition. The last chapter of "He Is There" (which is the true crux of the book and to which all the others serve as laborious prologue) is brilliant. Released by itself as a booklet, it would have been successful. The rest could have been distilled to a preface.

For all that, Schaeffer is still a fascinating man who left a lasting imression on the intellectual seekers of the hippie and anti-establishment culture. He accepted them without judgment but also remained true to his own beliefs. It is important to at least familiarize oneself with this significant Christian mind and heart.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic on Christian Epistemology, June 14, 2006
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This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
Schaeffer's book was a godsend to me, answering and echoing the questions that rang in my mind when trying to figure out what it really means to be a follower of Christ, and whether or not being one entails leaving reason behind in favor of revelation. This work goes a long way in answering the questions of HOW I know what I know; and exposing presuppositions about the nature of the universe that shape our thinking. It prepared me for many onslaughts against a reasonable faith, showing that there is another way other than accepting either the dissolution of absolute truth in postmodernism or the anti-reason/anti intellectualism of certain branches in fundamentalism. This is an excellent help to anyone experiencing a personal paradigm shift in Jesus' direction, or as a primer to exploring and examining competing worldviews.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in logic, May 24, 2008
By 
S. Minter (Houston, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
I have read this book twice and will probably read it again. Schaeffer attempts to confirm Christianity's claim to exclusivity with logic. It is extremely well written but requires some diligence on the part of the reader (at least for me). In my opinion he ultimately fails to prove his point but for anyone interested in the question this book makes a great contribution. If you are trying to understand Christianity and its role in your life and in the world, this is a great book. If you are interested in philosophy and how the various philosophical dead ends have contributed to the dysfuntion of our world, this is a great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encourages reason, April 17, 2008
By 
Scott Walker (Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
Francis Schaeffer in his early life was left to accept agnosticism because of what he was taught by the liberal church. But today he is a warrior for Jesus Christ and a defender of Truth. He says, "the Christian is the real radical of our generation, for he stands against the monolithic modern concept of truth as relative" Schaeffer has come to an understanding that few of us will reach. He brings a new and refreshing perspective in apologetics, backed with powerful arguments; he is able to communicate to the laymen as well as test the Scholar. He tells us, "first I am not an apologete if that means building a safe house to live in, so that we Christians can sit inside with safety and quiescence. Christians should be out in the midst of the world as both witnesses and salt, not sitting in a fortress surrounded by a moat."

Get ready to test your mind. Schaeffer encourages us to reason in a way we weren't trained for. "This book deals with the philosophic necessity of God's being there and not silent----in the areas of metaphysics, morals, and epistemology." This book continues (from his previous book: "Escape from Reason") to focus on the men of the past who still live on in our philosophy today.

Society as a whole, is becoming more, and giving in to more, the irrational: where there is no logical answers, philosophical or other. So, "if we begin with the impersonal [just us], then how do any of the particulars that now exist----including man hold any meaning, any significance? Nobody has given us an answer to that. In all the history of philosophical thought, whether from the East or the West, no one has given us an adequate answer." What this actually is, is pantheism; the word god is meaningless "until content is put into it". And the liberal church is also headed toward this destruction. But Christianity has the answer!----share it!---- "there is only one philosophy, one religion that fills this thought"----that explains the existence of being. And language is the key to our knowledge of being. Contemplate: There would be numerous things we could not know if we begin with ourselves.

Today we struggle between the personal (a creator being) and the impersonal (no meaning----man is zero). Morality becomes relative, an "average of what people are thinking and doing at a given time"----it continually adjusts----its in flux; so then there are really no morals----no universals.

This has also been carried over to the sciences: "because men have lost the objective basis for certainty of knowledge in the areas in which they are working, more and more we are going to find them manipulating science according to their own sociological or political desires rather than standing upon concrete sociological science, where men manipulate the scientific facts. Carl Sagan demonstrates that the concept of a manipulated science is not far-fetched. He mixes science and science fiction constantly." So, compared to the early scientists, these modern men become blurred----they have lost objectivity.

Wish you well
Scott
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a good book, December 24, 2011
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This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
the book is very good. it is something you will need to read a few times the get the most out of it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book For Thinkers, June 18, 2011
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This review is from: He Is There and He Is Not Silent (Paperback)
Francis Schaeffer was one of the 20th century's top Christian philosophers and apologists. In this short book, Schaeffer discusses the philosophical necessity for a metaphysical explanation, a moral explanation, and an epistemological explanation--from a Christian perspective. It is an important and thoughtful work. In honesty though, I'll have to read it a few more times to fully grasp it. The title is a great summary of the book's argument: God exists and he has spoken.
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He Is There and He Is Not Silent
He Is There and He Is Not Silent by Francis A. Schaeffer (Paperback - July 15, 1972)
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