COMING TO KNOW CHRIST

Monday, December 26, 2005

WILL DURANT AND BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST

WILL AND ARIEL DURANT

Will Durant was born on November 5, 1885 in North Adams, Massachusetts. A prominent 20th century historian/ philosopher, he decided as a young man to study for the priesthood. Before fulfilling this calling, he broke with the Catholic Church, abandoning the commitment of intellectual and physical celibacy for the alternative of studies in philosophy and the natural comforts of marriage.


Will Durant taught school in New York City where he met his wife, Ariel. They married in 1913 and collaborated in their mutual intellectual endeavors over the next seventy eight years. Their lives ended within weeks of each other in the Fall of 1981, terminating a remarkable relationship memorialized by their commercially successful literary works dedicated to the recapitulation and analysis of history.

Authors of the “The Story of Civilization”, both Will and Ariel Durant were praised for their efforts in writing what some critics hailed “the most impressive history produced in the 20th century.” The Durants received the Pulitzer prize for “Rousseau and the Revolution”, the 10th volume of their splendid comprehensive work.

“The Lessons of History” culminated their lifetime journey in the study of history and philosophy. This journey was commercially popularized by the wide distribution of “The History of Civilization” by the Book of the Month Club.

A “reluctant” atheist, Will Durant’s conclusions on Christianity and religion, articulated in a gentle satirical style in his “Story of Civilization” and “Lessons of History,” provide a formidable and authentic view by which one may learn, and possibly understand, the atheistic “persuasion” regarding disbelief in God. This historic view quietly enumerates a philosophic disbelief in God by specifying the collusive role religion and the state have played in controlling humanity. The effect of this domination is the constraint of the individual free will and, as a consequence, individual freedom as actualized by the mesmerization of the civilized masses through the cynical manipulation of power by secular governing institutions.

Durant’s writings, as excellent as they are, raise the question as to how objective can a historian be when prejudiced by a philosopher’s calling that concludes that God does not exist in assessing the history of mankind? At least as far as Durant is concerned, the answer to this question has a very interesting resolution, an answer the reader will hopefully discern by the patient reading of the following.

The subsequent seven selections of Durant’s writings are accompanied with appropriate rebuttals regarding Durant’s “objective” assessment of history and his conclusions on religion and Christianity.

CHRISTIANITY’S DECLINE

Selection 1: The Lessons of History; Will and Ariel Durant;
1968: Chapter VII; Religion and History; Page 48

“The replacement of Christian with secular institutions is the culminating and critical result of the Industrial Revolution. That states should attempt to dispense with theological supports is one of the many crucial experiments that bewilder our brains and unsettle our ways today. Laws which were once presented as the decrees of a god-given king are now frankly the confused commands of fallible men. Education, which was the sacred province of god-inspired priests, becomes the task of men and women shorn of theological robes and awe, and relying on reason and persuasion to civilize young rebels who fear only the policeman and may never learn to reason at all. Colleges once allied to churches have been captured by businessmen and scientists. The propaganda of patriotism, capitalism, or Communism succeeds to the inculcation of a supernatural creed and moral code. Holydays give way to holidays. Theaters are full even on Sundays, and even on Sundays churches are half empty. In Anglo-Saxon families religion has become a social observance and protective coloration; in American Catholic families it flourishes; in upper- and middle- class France and Italy religion is “a secondary sexual characteristic of the female.”

"A thousand signs proclaim that Christianity is undergoing the same decline that fell upon the old Greek religion after the coming of the Sophists and the Greek Enlightenment.”

Durant’s thesis is that Christianity, and religion in general, is experiencing a decline as a function of the lessening of man’s dependence on nature resulting from the coincident emergence of knowledge and the industrial society. The evidence of this, Durant concludes, is that Christianity is in decline.

Durant’s attitude is historically confirmed, in a verifiable sense, in that it emulates the repeated “moanings” of the nonbelieving intellectual over the past five hundred years, to the effect, that God does not exist.

Unfortunately, as will be seen, Durant is betrayed by his own questionable objectivity and admissions that religion per se, and Christianity specifically, is real in terms of the role it plays, and the contributions it has historically made, as a continuing positive influence on mankind and civilization over time (a fact acknowledged by Durant in the following).

CHRISTIANITY’S END

Selection 2: Chapter XII; Growth and Decay; Page 92 - 93;

“As education spreads, theologies lose credence, and receive an external conformity without influence upon conduct or hope. Life and ideas become increasingly secular, ignoring supernatural explanations and fears. The moral code loses aura and force as its human origin is revealed, and as divine surveillance and sanctions are removed. In ancient Greece the philosophers destroyed the old faith among the educated classes; in many nations of modern Europe the philosophers achieved similar results. Protagorus became Voltaire, Diogenes Rousseau, Democritus Hobbes, Plato Kant, Thrasymachus Nietzche, Aristotle Spencer, Epicurus Diderot. In antiquity and modernity alike, analytical thought dissolved the religion that had buttressed the moral code. New religions came, but they were divorced from the ruling classes, and gave no service to the state. An age of weary skepticism and epicureanism followed the triumph of rationalism over mythology in the last century before Christianity, and follows a similar victory today in the first century after Christianity.”

Durant proclaims Christianity is ended (“in the first Century after Christianity”). He concludes that, within the last one hundred years, industrial civilization has supplanted the needs formerly addressed by religion. This thesis is refuted by the present resurgence of Christian momentum, sometimes callously exploited by misdirected opportunists (The discredited TV evangelists). This fact strongly supports mankind’s continued reaching for and worship of God.

Durant’s conclusion suggests that something happened before the emergence of Christianity almost two thousand years ago. And, that happening is being repeated today. Could this suggest a misreading by Durant that the events preceding Christianity, repeated today, presage another event equal to the significance of Christ’s first coming? Could it portend of the prophetic predictions of the Bible telling mankind of the second coming of Christ?

Because education spreads, the study of theology may be a smaller fraction of the total of all studies. This does not denote theology is diluted or has less credence. The moral code is no less understood or observed today than yesterday. These sweeping generalizations by Durant can not be defended. They seem to emanate from a tired self serving rationalization offered as casual conversation at a cocktail party rather than being the product of a disciplined academic conclusion.

DOCTRINES THAT REASON SMILES AT

Selection 3: Chapter VII; Religion and History; Page 45

“History has justified the Church in the belief that the masses of mankind desire a religion rich in miracle, mystery, and myth. Some minor modifications have been allowed in ritual, in ecclesiastical costume, and in episcopal authority; but the Church dares not alter the doctrines that reason smiles at, for such changes would offend and disillusion the millions whose hope have been tied to inspiring and consolatory imaginations. No reconciliation is possible between religion and philosophy except through the philosopher’s recognition that they have found no substitute for the moral function of the Church, and the ecclesiastical recognition of religious and intellectual freedom.”

A great error of all Christian religions is the intransigent position on doctrines that reach beyond the cannon of Scripture. These reachings are sometimes formerly characterized as church traditions. They represent the major doctrinal division points that fractures Christ’s Church on earth. Durant’s conclusion that “reason smiles” at this intransigence bears truth as it pertains to the doctrines evolved by tradition. But this truth does not extend to the basic doctrines that are supported by God’s Word, the Bible. Those critical of this “fundamentalist” conclusion may be intolerant of the fact that the Bible is the complete and only revelation of God.

There is no way that any nonbelieving historian, hoisting the flag of reason, can defend his badge of objectivity in judging the “miracle, mystery and myth” of the Church. Why? The nonbelieving historian is not objective! The prejudice and ignorance gained by the lack of belief is, by itself, conclusive. To know the Truth one must believe in the Truth. And if one does not know the Truth how can one judge the truth, especially the Truth held in God’s Word, the Bible. This “truth” holds even for a creditable well loved, well meaning but confused historian/philosopher?

Durant concludes, “No reconciliation is possible between religion and philosophy except through the philosopher’s recognition that they have found no substitute for the moral function of the Church, and the ecclesiastical recognition of religious and intellectual freedom.” What does Durant mean by this statement?

Is this an admission that there is “no substitute for the moral function of the Church?” Is this the Lesson of History? If this is the conclusion, and the words strongly suggest that it is, Durant is truly an astute historian. He has confirmed the obvious although Marx would differ.

Philosophy, simply defined, is man’s definition of the universe and his place in it. Webster instructs that it is based on “an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs.” The conclusion that “no reconciliation is possible between religion and philosophy” assumes that the philosophy espoused ignores God. Where the philosophy embraces the reality of God’s Word, as revealed in the Bible, no reconciliation is needed.

One must understand that Durant is, first and foremost, to be considered a philosopher, that speculative discipline being his first academic love. Writing histories proved more lucrative even though his “The Story of Philosophy,” first published in 1926, was a significant commercial success. Nevertheless, the numbers of philosophers professionally rank behind historians in making a living. And historians rank well behind those professionally serving God.

To write history was probably a resolve encouraged by his publisher.
Durant’s conclusions on history are biased by his philosophic belief, a condition that suggests a significant impairment to objectively analyze and judge history overall, a particularly critical deficiency when considering the requirement of the objective ability to assess Christianity’s role, status and future utility to mankind. Why is this true?

A professed atheist can not make an impartial objective assessment about a Christian God if he denies that God’s existence. Durant’s conclusions on history are biased by his philosophic belief that there is no God. This bias suggests a significant impairment to objectively analyze and judge history overall. It is a particularly critical deficiency when considering the requirement to objectively assess Christianity.

There should be no confusion about this in either an academic or intellectual context. There is a serious fallacy here. Why? Objective history turns to speculative, philosophic history when it is based on “an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs” (Webster) where the “fundamental beliefs” expressed are based on disbelief in God! And when this happens, philosophic history is stripped of all objectivity and becomes an admitted bias founded on disbelief in God. It is supposition, a form of mere presumptive opinion.

These blemishes did not deny Durant commercial success or the reverence of critics and scholars no matter how much he missed the mark on certain truths. For, in balance, his contributions have been truly outstanding. But something plagued Durant - perhaps an impediment bread of his youthful Catholic background and aborted quest to become a member of the cloth. Some cracks in the intellectual dike will follow.

DOES GOD EXIST?

Selection 4: Chapter VII; Religion and History; Page 46

“Does history support a belief in God? If by God we mean not the creative vitality of nature but a supreme being intelligent and benevolent, the answer must be a reluctant negative. Like other departments of biology, history remains at bottom a natural selection of the fittest individuals and groups in a struggle wherein goodness receives no favors, misfortunes abound, and the final test is the ability to survive. Add to the crimes, wars, and cruelties of man the earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, pestilences, tidal waves, and other ‘acts of God’ that periodically desolate human and animal life, and the tand apparently haphazard scenes to which we subjectively ascribe order, splendor, beauty, or sublimity. If history supports any theology this would be dualism like the Zoroastrian or Manichaean: a good spirit and an evil spirit battling for control of the universe and men’s souls. These faiths and Christianity (which is essentially Manichaean) assured their followers that the good spirit would win in the end; but of this consummation history offers no guarantee. Nature and history do not agree with our conception of good and bad; they define good as that which survives, and bad at that which goes under; and the universe has no prejudice in favor of Christ as against Genghis Khan.”

A reluctant negative! Crimes, wars, cruelties! Earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, pestilence, tidal waves, and other acts of God that periodically desolate human and animal life. The good is that which survives; the bad goes under! There is no favor of Christ as against Genghis Kahn?
Is this, then, the judgment of History? Durant’s conclusion should come as no surprise, for even the Bible acknowledges that it is a difficult matter for the natural man to believe in God and, therefore, God’s plan of the ages for this world.

Corinthians 2:14 “
An unspiritual man does not accept the things the Spirit of God teaches, for they are nonsense (foolishness) to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are only appreciated by spiritual insight.”

After understanding and acknowledging this hard view, how does one reconcile the above abject conclusions by Durant with what is to follow?

THE HINT OF CONTRADICTION

Selection 5: Chapter VI; Morals and History; Page 41

“We must remind ourselves that history as usually written is quite different from history as usually lived: the historian records the exceptional because it is interesting - because it is exceptional. If all those individuals who had no Boswell had found their numerically proportionate place in the pages of historians we should have a duller but juster view of the past and of man. Behind the red facade of war and politics, misfortune and poverty, adultery and divorce, murder and suicide, were millions of orderly homes, devoted marriages, men and women kindly and affectionate, troubled and happy with children. Even in recorded history we find so many instances of goodness, even of nobility, that we can forgive, though not forget the sins. The gifts of charity have almost equaled the cruelties of battlefields and jails. How many times, even in our sketchy narratives, we have seen men helping another - Farinelli providing for the children of Domenico Scarlatti, divers people succoring young Haydn, Conte Litta paying for Johann Christian Bach’s studies at Bologna, Joseph Black advancing money repeatedly to James Watt, Puchberg patiently lending and lending to Mozart. Who will dare to write a history of human goodness?”

How does one reconcile the following apparent contradictory statements from Durant’s Lessons of History? Read and examnine what follows very carefully!

Chapter VII; Religion and History

“Add to the crimes, wars, and cruelties of man the earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, pestilences, tidal waves, and other ‘acts of God’ that periodically desolate human and animal life, and the total evidence suggests either a blind or an impartial fatality, with incidental and apparently haphazard scenes to which we subjectively ascribe order, splendor, beauty, or sublimity.”

Chapter VI; Morals and History

“Behind the red facade of war and politics, misfortune and poverty, adultery and divorce, murder and suicide, were millions of orderly homes, devoted marriages, men and women kindly and affectionate, troubled and happy with children. Even in recorded history we find so many instances of goodness, even of nobility, that we can forgive, though not forget the sins. The gifts of charity have almost equaled the cruelties of battlefields and jails.”

A careful review of Durant’s summary is crucial for an understanding of what appears to be substantial disparities:

“We must remind ourselves that history as usually written is quite different from history as usually lived.”

The above conclusion is the proper introduction for the conflicts that exist in the preceding two paragraphs. But, more follows:

“The historian records the exceptional because it is interesting.”

This conclusion suggests that the turmoil of crimes, wars, cruelties, earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, pestilence, tidal waves, and “other acts of God” are just that: the exceptional event, not the humdrum of the nonexceptional, the “duller but juster view of the past.”

Durant, by his own statements, suggests that the
“incidental
and apparently haphazard scenes to which we subjectively ascribe order, splendor, beauty, or sublimity”
was confirmed to be, in history, over a long period of time, the province of “millions of orderly homes, devoted marriages, men and women kindly and affectionate, troubled and happy with children.” But these facts are largely ignored since,
"THE HISTORIAN RECORDS THE EXCEPTIONAL BECAUSE IT IS INTERESTING - BECAUSE IT IS EXCEPTIONAL."

Durant asked the question in the previous section: “Does history support a belief in God?” He concludes that it does not. One could determine, in refutation of Durant’s answer to this question, that those “millions of orderly homes, devoted marriages, men and women kindly and affectionate, troubled and happy with children” were a confirmation of God’s role, particularly as displayed by Christianity during the dramatic growth and continuity of Western civilization. (More will follow on this important point.)
Probably rejecting this perspective, Durant would quietly argue that where belief in God does exist, the phenomena is attributable to man’s delusion in seeking a myth that history and agnostic philosophy denies and the state tolerates in its quest to appease the masses (so as not to offend that portion of his reading public who do believe they believe).

Durant seems trapped in a mode of rationalism common to most prominent intellectuals. Their power of reason overcomes the truth as made obvious by the evidence of God’s existence. More will come on this when we address the subject of Skepticism.

Nevertheless, the leak in the dike is there. And the hole widens:

THE EMERGING CONTRADICTION

Selection 6: 1968: Chapter VI; Morals and History; Page 51

“There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion. France, the United States, and some other nations have divorced their governments from all churches, but they have had the help of religion in keeping social order. Only a few Communist states have not merely dissociated themselves from religion but have repudiated its aid; and perhaps the apparent and provisional success of this experiment in Russia owes much to the temporary acceptance of Communism as the religion (or, as skeptics would say, the opium) of the people, replacing the church as the vendor of comfort and hope. If the socialist regime should fail in its efforts to destroy relative poverty among the masses, this new religion may lose fervor and efficacy, and the state may wink at the restoration of supernatural beliefs as an aid in quieting discontent. As long as there is poverty there will be Gods.”

The important conclusion that, “there is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion” helps the reader further delimit the factual importance of religion, per se, and Christianity specifically, as a stabilizing agent, a strong moral force, aiding those millions of unexciting happy homes and their exploitive secular governing institutions. Certainly, there is nothing in the Bible that contradicts this.

But, the troubling prejudice reflected in Durant’s words that, “Russia owes much to the temporary acceptance of Communism as the religion (or, as skeptics would say, the opium) of the people, replacing the church as the vendor of comfort and hope” is allied to a basic Darantian conclusion that ties poverty to belief in God. The supposition is that man’s economic condition may be controlled by the state as a function of man’s propensity for religious delusion. The truth here is that this conclusion is not confirmed history and as history is being developed today.

Durant’s comments remind the writer of the pretended ragings of two other great thinkers of the past, Hegel and Marx: one a historical dialectical idealist, the other a historical dialectical materialist. Siding with Marx, Durant’s conclusion appears to be abject Skepticism.

We may look to the awakening of the Christian Orthodox Church in Communist Russia for a direction of the sinister intent to exercise religion as a part of its control. Is this a movement by the Russian leaders to console their poor so they may be released in their delusion to be defocused of their troubles? Has this been the lesson learned in Communist Poland or the Ukrain, that the Church has been an unwitting ally of the past atheistic Communistic dictatorship to control the poor? Is this the experience and lesson to be learned in Central and South America? That it wasn’t United Fruit after all, it was the conspiracy between Catholic Bishops and opportunistic dictators.

If Durant is right, the experience in Russia is the cynical exercise of state control where the “ state may wink at the restoration of supernatural beliefs as an aid in quieting discontent.” Peristroika/Glastnost and the recent events in Russia appear to be something else. The Russian masses and those peoples in the Eastern Block countries are smoking a different opium than that implied by Marx. Change has taken place and a new world order emerges. Christianity is reasserting itself. The Truth can not be denied. The hole in the dike widens!

Judge what follows on Durant’s assessment of the historicity of Jesus Christ and the founding movement by His disciples that lead to the start of the Christian Church and the writing of God’s revelation in the New Testament.

THE “LESSONS OF HISTORY”

Selection 7: The History of Civilization; Will Durant; 1944:
Volume III; Caesar and Christ

The following constitutes one of the most amazing and convicting witnesses in history on Jesus Christ. It is especially significant considering what has been said before. It is as though the “truth” in the end seeped forth from a well of denial, that His Spirit finally took charge through the elegant and precise pen and soul of one who, by philosophic reason, denied Him, but, in the end, provided an authenticating witness that Jesus Christ is God and is the savior of mankind.

“In summary, it is clear that there are many contradictions between one gospel and another, many dubious statements of history, many suspicious resemblances to the legends told of pagan gods, many incidents apparently designed to prove the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, many passages possibly aiming to establish a historical basis for some later doctrine or ritual of the Church. The evangelist shared with Cicero, Sallust, and Tacitus the conception of history as a vehicle for moral ideas. And presumably the conversations and speeches reported in the Gospels were subject to the frailties of illiterate memories, and the errors or emendations of copyists.

All this granted, much remains. The contradictions are of minutiae, not substance; in essentials the synoptic gospels agree remarkably well, and form a consistent portrait of Christ. In the enthusiasm of its discoveries the Higher Criticism has applied to the new testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies - e.g., Hammurabi, David, Socrates - would fade into legend (Says a great Jewish scholar, perhaps too strongly: ‘If we had ancient sources like those in the Gospels for the history of Alexander or Caesar, we should not cast any doubt upon them whatsoever.’ - Klausner., From Jesus to Paul, 260.). Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed - the competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their flight after Jesus’ arrest, Peter’s denial, the failure of Christ to work miracles in Galilee, the references of some auditors to his possible insanity, his early uncertainty as to his mission, his confessions of ignorance as to the future, his moments of bitterness, his despairing cry on the cross; no one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them.

That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels. After two centuries of Higher Criticism the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ, remain reasonablyclear, and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man.”

In his attempt to define the historicity of Jesus Christ, Durant concludes that the writings of the New Testament are valid and have been subjected to tests of scrutiny so severe that many other conclusions of history, if so tested, would not survive. He makes the authenticating judgment that, “Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed.”

Regardless of his prior conclusion in his Lessons of History that God doesn’t exist, Durant states in his History of Civilization, “That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle for more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.”

Yes, there is a leak in that dike! This is a statement acknowledging the historicity of Jesus Christ and God even though Durant has concluded in his Lessons of History that God does not exist. It is a statement by an “objective historian” who is not objective in that he can not consistently assess the history relating to God’s existence because he does not share in the belief demanded by philosophic disciplines to ascertain and verify the truth! Durant is caught in a contradictory posture in that he sees the effect but he denies the cause.

Durant’s prior conclusions state, “Nature and history do not agree with our conception of good and bad; they define good as that which survives, and bad at that which goes under; and the universe has no prejudice in favor of Christ as against Genghis Khan.” Does the above paragraph on Christ support this conclusion? Does it support that “the universe has no prejudice in favor of Christ as against Genghis Kahn?” Is it a valid conclusion that those “million of orderly homes, devoted marriages, men and women kindly affectionate, troubled with happy children” are the bad that goes under or the good that survives? Are they the exploited poor mesmerized by religion?

If one was to accept Durant’s challenge, “Who will dare to write a history of human goodness?” Would these millions be in the book? Would Jesus Christ be in the book? Would the author of this human history of goodness consider as a source or reference the Bible?

When one strips away Durant’s entertaining literary style and seriously contemplates his philosophic prejudice, one may reach different conclusions than those adduced by this well loved and respected author. It should be obvious to the reader that this writer has.

But, of course, one can also challenge the writer’s objectivity since he believes in God. But this really is not the point. What is relevant is that one who believes in God may be objectively and fairly critical of Durant’s conclusions. That stands by itself.

The critical assessment, however, is not primarily based on a disagreement with his conclusions even though a basic disagreement is obvious and does exist. The critical and primary assessment is positively framed in the context that Durant does in fact contradict himself! That’s the hole in Durant’s intellectual dike. And since he has departed this life, there is no apologetic finger to plug it.

When considering Durant’s contribution of popularizing history, he ends with an arguably sad epitaph (the atheist would disagree).

His brilliant gift was limited by a classic veil of rationalized Skepticism that denied God. This limitation was probably shaped by the relative poverty of his youth, his denial of Catholicism as a maturing young man, an elitist professional ambition inspired by his intellectual pursuits, and a commercial opportunism encouraged by both his publishers and the jealousy of his academic peers who begrudgingly acknowledged his success.

He wrote for a non-critical, reasonably literate audience that knew no better than to applaud his writings and conclusions as an entertaining historical summary because of their pseudo-intellectual appeal. It was and is an audience of the “world” as the world is known to believers, that is: it is a world of religious fence sitters who either have a marginal belief or affect one for cultural and /or social reasons. It is a world where the thinking nonbeliever’s religious expectation is largely based upon a vacant yet popular thesis that God is a myth or an ignored mystery invented and cultivated by man, a pseudo-metaphysical phenomena to be selectively acknowledge at birth, marriage, death and seasonal family-centered events during the year such as when celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

This audience was the predominant buying market for his works, as exemplified by the long-term promotion by the Book of the Month Club in offering a complete set of his History of Civilization as an incentive to prospective new members.

Durant’s history, written with an atheistic prejudice, is confused by the reality of God’s historic presence. It is hard to dismiss this truth, this lesson of history!

In a very special, a very marvelous sense, his writings are a testimony to the real Truth, that while blindness characterizes the unsaved world, Christians who walk with God know a very different dimension of history and life as compared to the erroneous conclusions articulated by the honored and beloved historian/philosopher, Will Durant.

He “reluctantly” chose not to embrace the wonder and truth of God’s magnanimous grace that each true believer knows. He ended in a trap. His attitude and views were caught in a significant contradiction where his true objectivity became compromised by a real hypocrisy.

Yet, it is hoped that this assessment is too harsh. That in the final stages of his life the seeds of the contradictions dignified herein may have blossomed into a greater wisdom that finally acceded to God in love and faith. That is certainly the writer’s hopeful prayer.

Nevertheless, Will Durant serves the nonbeliever seeking God! Since by knowing the truth regarding these widely held views, one may come to know the real Truth, God and God’s revelations as taught to us by Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit’s inspired teachings articulated by His Apostles in the New Testament.


3 Comments:

  • Hi
    I am a fellow christian and have heard of durant but never had a chance to read him.
    In the section where you give a rebuttal of the "reason smiles" quote, i am surprised to see that you have spent a lot of time on establishing the money oreinted motive of the book. surely you do not need to do that. that to me does not seem to sconfirm to the "reply in love" of peter or "judge not" of jesus. What i would expect is an academic argument not one that can be raised by soemoene who is out to defame the author. yoyu also make a point that an atheist cannot amke a neutral historical study, pray tell me can anyone? is not history as we know it now more partial than neutral?
    I am ivolved in apologetics in my workplace among students and someting i always watch out for is charecter-assasination in the stead of argument-deconstuctoin

    i hope you will consider my comment and make changes

    In christ
    Anand Philip
    CMC Vellore, India

    By Blogger TGN, At 3:47 AM  

  • Thanks for the comment, Anand Philip. I have the greatest regard for Durant. Durant was motivated by money. His estate at death is reported to be in many millions of dollars. I do not believe I "defamed" Durant by the fact that I criticized his views.
    The fact I wrote on his works was an ackowledgement of his contribution to my "coming to Christ." Thanks again Anand Philip.

    By Blogger Otis Sherman Page Jr, At 8:37 AM  

  • I just wanted to say that I think you've made an important contribution to the Christian community with this particularly thorough bit about Durant.

    I've long been a fan of Durant's writings but have had to read them with a vigilant awareness of his biases against religion and most specifically against Christianity.

    I was just thinking about those biases when I began an internet search to see if anyone else had the same thoughts regarding his historiography. It's unfortunate that his history is the best to be had.

    When I came upon this blog the title gave me the false hope that Durant had actually come to faith in Jesus Christ and that it had been documented. Alas.

    I like your blog site in general as I too have been an amateur theologian and apologist over the years. Loved the story of how you were filled with the Holy Spirit. What a blessing! Keep up the good work. Writing to the ether is an act of faith. One never knows what sort of impact is being had as a result of musings like this.

    By Blogger hach, At 9:03 PM  

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