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How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture by Francis A. Schaeffer Review

Title: How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture

Author: Francis A.


First published January 1, 1975

288 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780891072928 (ISBN10: 0891072926)

Rating: 4.16


With forty years of research in theology, philosophy, history, sociology, and arts, Francis A. Schaeffer presents a thought-provoking analysis of the Western Thought and Culture.

In “How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture”, Schaeffer delves into the root causes of the modern society’s decline and advocates for the complete acceptance and affirmation of the Bible’s morals, values, and significance.

This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the current state of Western society and the role of faith in shaping our values and worldviews.

About the Author

Francis August Schaeffer, a Presbyterian pastor and philosopher, gained widespread recognition for his writings and the founding of the L’Abri community in Switzerland. He was a proponent of historic Protestant faith and a presuppositional approach to Christian apologetics.

Schaeffer rejected theological modernism and believed that his approach would provide answers to the questions of his time.

Schaeffer’s personal life included his wife and children, although further details are not provided.

Editoral Review

“How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture” by Francis A.

Schaeffer is an incisive analysis of the historical and cultural trends that have shaped Western civilization. First published in 1975, this book has become a classic of Christian apologetics and cultural criticism, exploring the historical roots of modern ideas and exposing the nihilistic tendencies of contemporary thought.

Schaeffer, a prominent evangelical theologian, traces the philosophical and cultural currents that have shaped Western civilization from the ancient Greeks to the present day. He argues that the decline of Western culture can be traced to a series of intellectual and moral crises that have eroded the basic values and beliefs that underpin society.

Through his analysis of various historical epochs, Schaeffer identifies the key cultural trends that have contributed to Western civilization’s decline. His thesis is that modernity has brought with it a fragmentation of knowledge and a loss of any overarching sense of purpose or meaning, leading to a breakdown in moral and social order.

Schaeffer’s writing style is lucid and accessible, with a clear and forceful narrative that connects various historical events and ideas into a coherent framework. The book is richly researched, drawing on a wide range of sources from literature, art, philosophy, and history.

Schaeffer also offers a Christian perspective on the issues he explores, providing a compelling argument for the relevance of faith in the modern world. One of the book’s strengths is Schaeffer’s ability to connect the past with the present, uncovering the roots of contemporary cultural and intellectual trends.

His analysis of the impact of modern science on culture, for example, is particularly insightful, drawing on the work of thinkers such as Darwin and Freud to show how science has been used to undermine traditional values and beliefs. One weakness of the book, however, is its tendency to oversimplify complex issues, particularly when it comes to cultural analysis.

Schaeffer’s arguments can sometimes come across as reductionist, as if he is trying to force a complex and multifaceted world into a neat, all-encompassing framework. Overall, “How Should We Then Live?” is a thought-provoking and insightful book, offering a sweeping overview of the cultural currents that have shaped Western civilization.

It is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of ideas, and will appeal particularly to those with an interest in Christian theology and apologetics. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommended for readers interested in cultural criticism and Christian apologetics.