The Sins of the Renaissance, or The History That Shaped Michele Bachmann’s Worldview

Dur­ing the 1970s, Fran­cis A. Scha­ef­fer, an evan­gel­i­cal the­olo­gian, wrote and nar­rat­ed How Should We Then Live?, a ten-part film series that traced the his­to­ry of West­ern cul­ture and thought. Lots of art and phi­los­o­phy were put on dis­play. But the real nar­ra­tive focused on some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent — the his­to­ry of human­i­ty’s lapse from God and a Bib­li­cal world­view. The film became a sen­sa­tion at evan­gel­i­cal church­es across Amer­i­ca, some­times draw­ing 5,000 peo­ple per screen­ing. And, as Ryan Liz­za writes in a New York­er pro­file pub­lished this week, the film had a life-alter­ing effect on Michele Bach­mann, the US Rep­re­sen­ta­tive now vying for the pres­i­den­cy.

For Scha­ef­fer, the big turn­ing point came dur­ing the Renais­sance. That’s when things went wrong. He laments (start­ing around the 10:45 mark above):

At the begin­ning of the Renais­sance, it could have gone either way. Nature could have had its prop­er place. Man could have been in his prop­er place, and it would have been absolute­ly beau­ti­ful. But at a cer­tain point in the Renais­sance, the scales tipped, and man put him­self at the cen­ter absolute­ly, and this opened the door com­plete­ly to the whole destruc­tive force of human­ism that fol­lowed down through the Enlight­en­ment [oth­er­wise called “The Age of Non Rea­son”] and into our own day.

If you want to see where this destruc­tive force brings us, you need only turn to the last seg­ment “Final Choic­es.” (Part 1Part 2Part 3) Accord­ing to Scha­ef­fer, we end up under the con­trol of an author­i­tar­i­an elite that impos­es its arbi­trary will on the peo­ple, some­times inject­ing birth con­trol into the water sup­ply, and some­times decid­ing who will be born, and who won’t. The author­i­tar­i­an elite resides in no one place. It’s shad­owy, doing its work in many places. But one place you def­i­nite­ly find it? The Supreme Court that gave us Roe v. Wade.

Should you wish, you can watch the remain­ing seg­ments via the links below.

Episode I — The Roman Age
Episode II — The Mid­dle Ages
Episode III — The Renais­sance
Episode IV — The Ref­or­ma­tion
Episode V — The Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Age
Episode VI — The Sci­en­tif­ic Age
Episode VII — The Age of Non Rea­son
Episode VIII — The Age of Frag­men­ta­tion
Episode IX — The Age of Per­son­al Peace & Afflu­ence
Episode X — Final Choic­es (Part 1 — Part 2 — Part 3)

via The LA Times

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Comments (6)
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  • Since she is a con­ser­v­a­tive she must be a lunatic.….I get it. We must not allow diver­si­ty of thought, which is the only true diver­si­ty by the way.

  • Bobbie says:

    Ha Ha Ha the age of non rea­son!! It is this kind of think­ing that IS non reason..When fear is extrap­o­lat­ed the way this film does then it sim­ply becomes para­noia. Para­noia is not par­tic­u­lar­ly par­ti­san, it shows up on both sides of the isle but it is non rea­son in a nut­shell!

  • Dagwood says:

    Mr Writ­ing seems to think that if one does­n’t agree with a per­son, or if one things that the per­son­’s ideas are laugh­able or loonie, one is there­by favor­ing ban­ning that view. That’s loonie (but I defend Mr Writ­ing’s right to offer pre­postrous opin­ions to his heart’s con­tent).
    Many peo­ple, the world over, agree that life since the mid­dle ages has been on the decline and would pre­fer “tra­di­tion­al”, God-cen­tered soci­ety.
    Oth­er of us dis­agree. Each camp will try to per­suade peo­ple. I don’t think the dark ages are appeal­ing. Mr Writ­ing and folks like Bin Laden do.

  • stefanie lorimer says:

    Hope­ful­ly the type of peo­ple who are pre­dom­i­nate­ly inter­est­ed in Open­Cul­ture are intel­lec­tu­al­ly curi­ous and hon­est. I appre­ci­ate the post­ing of mate­r­i­al from all and var­i­ous world­views. Study­ing how oth­ers think is impor­tant, inter­est­ing and instruc­tive. I do not, how­ev­er, appre­ci­ate cheap pro­pa­gan­da and attempt at ‘opin­ion mak­ing’ in the title and body of this “arti­cle”.

  • Hugh Dontknow Tolerance says:

    Toss­ing in your an infan­tile swipe at your polit­i­cal ene­my in the title mere­ly demon­strates you real­ly don’t under­stand what is required for an “open cul­ture” to work.

  • Oliver says:

    Thank what­ev­er deities there may or may not be, that Michele Bach­man will nev­er be Pres­i­dent.

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