(RNS) According to the title of his new book, Frank Schaeffer is an atheist.

Frank Schaeffer's new book, "Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God," explores love, loss and the author's journey to finding peace. RNS image courtesy Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer’s new book, “Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God,” explores love, loss and the author’s journey to finding peace. RNS image courtesy Frank Schaeffer


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

But he prays every day. And he goes to church every weekend. Catch him on the right day and he’ll admit he believes in God.

Schaeffer, 62, is comfortable with the confusion. Formerly evangelical royalty — he and his preacher-theologian father, Francis Schaeffer, helped found the religious right — he eschews easy definitions and embraces belief and doubt, certainty and uncertainty, life and all its messiness.

“The fact that I have had a transformative journey has meant one thing,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in western Massachusetts. “I reject labels. The way I identify is as a human being. Life is a journey, not a series of conclusions, and I know that I have changed my mind on things before.”

And how. He’s gone from steeped-in-the-blood Christian to vocal nonbeliever, from Christian conservative to liberal Democrat, from Hollywood director to novelist, from angry young man to slightly less angry older man — chronicled in two best-sellers, “Crazy for God” and “Sex, Mom & God.”

But the new book, “Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God,” is less memoir and more distillation of wisdom he’s culled from his own journey. He spells it out in the subtitle: “How to Give Love, Create Beauty and Find Peace.”

“I do not always believe let alone know if God exists,” Schaeffer writes in the book. “I do not always know he, she or it does not exist either, though there are long patches in my life when it seems God never did exist. What I know is that I see the Creator in Jesus or nowhere. What I know is that I see Jesus in my children and grandchildren’s love. What I know is that I rediscover hope again and again through (his wife) Genie’s love. … What I know is that sometimes something too good to be true, is true.”

Fuzzy declarations like that give many atheists the heebie-jeebies. Not Schaeffer. While he sometimes writes lines that could have spilled from the pen of arch-atheist Richard Dawkins — he calls the Bible “disgustingly misogynistic” — on other pages he seems to borrow an idea from liberal Christians like Jim Wallis.

Frank Schaeffer. RNS photo by Dina Rudick, courtesy Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer. RNS photo by Dina Rudick, courtesy Frank Schaeffer

“I also believe that the spiritual reality hovering over, in and through me calls me to love, trust and hear the voice of my Creator,” he writes. “It seems to me that there is an off-stage and an onstage quality to my existence. I live onstage, but I sense another crew working off stage. Sometimes I hear their voices singing in a way that’s as eerily beautiful as the off-stage chorus in an opera.”

So who is this book for? The atheist or the believer? Not surprisingly, Schaeffer won’t commit. But one audience he does want to capture is one he used to belong to and embrace — the young evangelical.

“One of my aims is to unhook them from allegiance to the Bible as something they follow instead of their conscience or, ironically, the example of Jesus,” he said. “That’s the choice you have to make if you are going to be a humanist Christian. I want to introduce younger evangelicals to the idea that they have to recalibrate their loyalty. They can live by the Bible or live by Jesus. They can’t do both.”

That’s a conclusion Schaeffer came to in his own life. Where once he flew around the country in Jerry Falwell’s private plane, was a regular on “The 700 Club” and helped link Republican ideology to the pro-life movement, he now sees those times as a terrible mistake.

“I am very sorry about what we did in the ’70s and the ’80s,” he said. “When an abortion doctor gets shot there is a direct line from that bullet to what we did in the ’80s. When a gay person gets beat up in an alley, there is a direct link to what we did then. I am very sorry about that.”

That kind of honesty and frankness has brought the book a lot of advance kudos. Blurbing the book, Phyllis Tickle, author of numerous books on spirituality and prayer, said, “Part of the impact here, admittedly, is a result of who Frank Schaeffer is. … Schaeffer’s openness about his own wrestling with the concepts of God and god-ness which he inherited from his parents is heartrending at times, but it is also deadly honest and always unshielded.”

Schaeffer’s dedication to honesty as he sees it led him down another new path. Though he said he had two religious publishers and one secular publisher eager for “Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God,” they wanted changes to make it more “atheist” or more “Christian.” So, he said, he fired his agent of 12 years and published it on his own.

“I will go anywhere, do anything, for this book,” he said. “It’s that important to me.”

Later this month, he will appear in Hot Springs, N.C., at the Wild Goose Festival, a kind of Burning Man for the religiously liberal crowd, and will discuss the central message of the book.

“Richard Dawkins, you are in the same boat I am in,” he said. “You don’t have any revealed truth either. I wish we would all just admit that. I embrace that paradox. That is the human condition. Deal with it.”

YS/MG END WINSTON

58 Comments

    • I wonder how many priests had similar messy doubts as Schaeffer’s
      As they fired up the timbers under the poor witches they had tied at the stake?

      Religion is the worst, most corrupting idea ever invented.
      And books like Schaeffer’s attempt to give religion a credibility it most definitely does not deserve.

      • Here’s the scary part Max: I can trust YOU for rational consistency far more than I can trust Frank Schaffer.

        At least YOU know where you stand, and why you’re standing there. Same for Richard Dawkins.

        But Schaffer, unlike his late father, has flat-out melted into a ball of confusion. The situation is a pure mess, and now Schaffer wants to pass the virus on to young evangelicals so THEY can share his disease.

        Good way to get revenge on Daddy, yes, but otherwise it’s a tragedy on steroids.

          • @Shawnie,

            I didn’t take you for being that ignorant or dishonest. You’ve set a new low bar for yourself.

            HUNDREDS of Priests KILLED PEOPLE in RWANDA!
            1994 – look it up!

            Priests have killed in thousands of other wars and battles for Jesus!
            Open up your eyes to your Jesus!

            Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka lives just outside of Paris – he was notorious during the 1994 genocide of 800,000 Tutsis for wearing a gun on his hip and colluding with the Hutu militia that murdered hundreds of people sheltering in his church. He was convicted of genocide and sentenced in absentia. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda can’t get to hime because the Catholic church in France is protecting him.

            After the genocide, a network of CATHOLIC clergy and church organisations brought priests and nuns with blood on their hands to Europe and sheltered them.

            This includes Father Athanase Seromba who ordered the bulldozing of his church with 2,000 Tutsis INSIDE. Catholic monks helped him get to Italy, change his name and SEROMBA become a parish priest in Florence!!!!!

            After Seromba was exposed AS A MURDERER OF 2000 PEOPLE, the international tribunal’s chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, accused the Vatican of obstructing his extradition to face trial.

            THE POPE told her the priest was “doing good works” in Italy!!!
            Yet more criminal cover-ups from the criminal Catholic church!

            Another Rwanda priest taken on in Italy is facing charges of overseeing the massacre of disabled Tutsi children.
            CHILDREN!!!

            Archbishop Vincent Nsengiyumva implemented the policies of discrimination and DEMONIZATION that laid the ground for genocide.

            He was well placed to try to urge the regime to stop the killing in 1994 Instead, he was incapable even of calling the massacres a genocide let alone condemning the politicians and military officers leading them!

            The archbishop became so compromised that he stood by as Tutsis were taken to be murdered!

            Many of Nsengiyumva’s bishops and priests were apologists for the killers.
            The indictment by the tribunal was clear:
            “This stance was easily interpreted by ordinary Christians as an implicit endorsement of the killings, as was the close association of church leaders with the leaders of the genocide… ” and the report goes on from there.

            IGNORANCE IS NOT A VIRTUE!

          • No moving of goalposts, please. You were very clearly talking about medieval Europe. Priests never carried out executions. Secular kings outlawed heresy (and witchcraft along with it) in a misguided effort to unify their domains, and accused heretics were sent to ecclesiastical courts to determine whether they were actually heretics or not. In the case of a finding of heresy (these were actually not common) the accused would be sent back to the secular authorities for execution.

          • @Shawnie,

            You said, “Priests never carried out executions.”

            Nonsense.
            I have no reason to believe that priests did not light the kindling that burned the witches and every reason to believe they did. The philosophy that supported witch burnings was created by, preached by, incited by AND ENFORCED BY priests who ran the churches.

            The line between who lights the final match absolves no priest of personal culpability and responsibility.

          • Priests never carried out executions? You’ve never heard of the Office of the Inquisition? Priests sentence thousands of people to death. Do you mean that the secular authorities technically lit the match that burned these people to death? That matters not one bit.

        • @Bendertonj,

          Nonsense
          Rwanda was practically yesterday. A few years ago.
          800,000 dead at the hands of Catholics!

          Just a few weeks ago innocent children accused of being ‘witches’ were burned alive in Africa.

          Do actually READ THE NEWS? Or do you just comment mindlessly against Atheists?

          • Shawnie5…you are right… He completely moved the goalpost. Unfortunately it is not possible to have a discussion when somebody does that. you commented on his reference to priests and witches which is obviously medieval. I haven’t heard anybody that night that religions can be a source of terror.

  1. Thanks again Kimberly.

    But Shaeffer’s argument is deeply immoral sophistry. He has gone off the deep end.

    Atheism is the LACK of belief in a God. That is what it is.

    Want to believe Jesus is a moral teacher? Fine.
    But don’t then call him God and yammer on about divinity – while you just said you were an ATHEIST!

    This is dishonesty.

    He says of holy people: “They can live by the Bible or live by Jesus. They can’t do both.”

    Again, he is being dishonest! Jesus IS the Gospel.
    To say otherwise is pure sophistry!

    And What a tragic corruption that Shaeffer can’t even see his family!
    He is so indoctrinated and infected by religion that he ‘sees Jesus’ in his grandchildren!?

    What a shockingly sad thing.
    Jesus has nothing to do with his family and it is disgusting that he thinks it does.

    This is Jesus:

    “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! …what constraint I am under until it is completed!
    Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth?
    No, I tell you, but division.” – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)
    “The Master shall cut him to pieces.” – Jesus (Luke 12)
    “Execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)
    “If you deem [them] unworthy, remove your blessings of peace.” – Jesus (Matt. 10:13)

    I think it is a disgrace that Shaeffer sees this monster in his grandchildren.
    Shame on Shaeffer for his lack of courage.

    • Max your a little fruity, that’s the way he feels and that’s that. You feel and believe what you do and that’s that. Maybe you should dismount your computer chair for awhile and get a life.

      It’s always obvious the fake athiests which you are and obviously you have a belief in god that you are fighting.

      Aside from all that you should be ashamed of getting fired up about frank, he moves from one emotional ideology to the next. He has never been able to make up his mind on anything or be the least bit stable.

      • @footlicker,

        Yeah, but here’s the deal.
        I’m calling BS wherever i see it.
        And when it comes to religion it is like playing ‘whack-a-mole’. That’s why I’m so busy around RNS.

        You say, I have a ‘belief in god’ which ‘I am fighting’ ?
        Believe that too if you like. But try something original next time. I’ve heard that one a few times…today.

        I care about what is true.
        And I think there are far too many Christians
        like you, who don’t really care about the dangers of these damn fools like Frank Schaeffer.

        Religion is bunk. And it needs to be abandoned.
        And Frank is exhibit A.

    • Max – tell the world – you are the first one to find out that Jesus was really an intensely evil man. Funny how nobody had noticed this in over 2000 years of reading the scriptures. You are the first.

      • @bendertonj,

        “FUNNY HOW NOBODY NOTICED how Jesus was evil in over 2000 years”

        NOT TRUE:

        …bring to me those who would not have me as their king
        and EXECUTE THEM in front of me. – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

        Galileo noticed.
        Taiping China Noticed! – 45 Million people killed by Jesus’ command.
        Those accused of witchcraft noticed – 500,000 dead.
        The Jews Noticed – 6 million dead at the hands of the Catholic Hitler alone.
        The Muslims noticed – 2 Million dead in the first Crusades alone.
        The Spanish Noticed – 400,000 dead in the Inquisition.

        500 MILLION PEOPLE NOTICED!
        THEY HAVE BEEN KILLED BY JESUS-LOVING Christians.


        War on Aids – 20 Million Dead – Catholics obstructed condoms over a 20 year period through their clinics as women begged to be saved from their husbands (“Aids is bad but condoms are worse” – the Pope)


        Spanish Inquisitions – 400,000 dead (Catholic Fascists)

        The Crusades (1095 c.e. -1291 c.e.) 2 Million dead – Catholics
        Anti-Semitism – 5 millions dead over 2000 years excluding the Holocaust

        Witch Hunts – 500,000 dead

        Ireland – 600,000 dead (Catholic vs. Protestant)

        Rwanda 1994 (Catholic Facists killed 1,000,000 with machetes)

        Taipeng Rebellion in China (1850 – 1864) 45 million dead (Christian Fascists)
        Boznia-Herzegovina (Catholic Facists)

        The Ivory Coast civil wars (Catholic Facists)

        Franco, the Spanish Civil War (Catholic Facists)

        Cypriat War (Catholics)

        East Timor civil war

        Sri Lankan civil war

        Syria vs. Israel

        Kashmir civil war

        Chechnya civil war

        Sudan

        Thirty Years War (Protestants VS. Catholics)

        WW1 – War of Christendom (37 Million dead)

        WW2 Nazi Anti-Semitism, “Gott Mit Uns” Axis powers – 50 Million dead

        Albigensian Crusade, 1208-49
        Algeria, 1992-
        Baha’is, 1848-54
        Bosnia, 1992-95
        Boxer Rebellion, 1899-1901

        Constantinian Empire & Christian Romans, 30-313 CE
        Croatia, 1991-92
        English Civil War, 1642-46
        Huguenot Wars, 1562-1598
        India, 1992-2002
        India: Suttee & Thugs
        Indo-Pakistani Partition, 1947

        Iran, Islamic Republic, 1979-

        Iraq, Shiites, 1991-92

        Jews, 1348

        Jonestown, 1978

        Lebanon 1860 / 1975-92
        Molucca Is., 1999-
        Mongolia, 1937-39

        Northern Ireland, 1974-98

        Russian pogroms 1905-06 / 1917-22

        St. Bartholemew Massacre, 1572

        Shang China, ca. 1300-1050 BCE

        Shimabara Revolt, Japan 1637-38

        Sikh uprising, India, 1984-91

        Spanish Inquisition, 1478-1834
        Taiping Rebellion, 1850-64

        Tudor England

        Vietnam, 1800s

        Witch Hunts, 1400-1800
        Xhosa, 1857

        Arab Outbreak, 7th Century CE

        Arab-Israeli Wars, 1948-

        Al Qaeda, 1993-

        Dutch Revolt, 1566-1609

        Nigeria, 1990s, 2000s

        If you add up all of the lives that were lost in the name of Jesus and you come up with a staggering figure very close to One Billion
        800,000,000 people dead JUST BECAUSE OF RELIGION.


        Yet God doesn’t appear to exist, nor does he
        seem to take a side in these battles.

        .

        For shame that YOU DON’T SEEM TO NOTICE!

        .

        • Max, almost everyone recognizes pasted atheist website propaganda riddled with error. Do you actually think you’re advancing your cause with this nonsense?

          • PASTED?
            That is your complaint?

            Atheist websites? This data is relevant. Should I just make claims without providing the backup information now???

            Jesus is evil. And the fact that you would cry about connecting relevant data to a rebuttal is a sign that you are under the spell of this Jesus nonsense.

            Do you understand what killing is? Do you understand the evil you defend?

            Yes. Somebody better pay attention at some point.
            The world is in danger because of religion.

          • @Shawnie,

            You are being ridiculous!
            What the *%#@& is “ATHEIST propaganda”?

            EVERY WORD of the Bible is propaganda and it says so!

            “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah” (JOHN 20:31)

            JOHN MIGHT AS WELL BE SELLING USED CARS!
            “This pamphlet is written so you will love the Mazda X-10″

            Atheism isn’t the sales pitch!
            Atheism is the RESPONSE to the SALES PITCH !
            Religion is garbage.

        • All those people were indeed murdered by organizations that claim to represent God and Jesus. But Jesus himself said that MANY would say they did powerful works and miracles in his name, and yet he never knew them.

          The Catholic Church and its offspring churches are rotten because they all come from those who left Jesus’ teachings to put themselves in high places of authority.

          Wasn’t it Jesus who told Peter to put his sword back in its sheath, for those who take up the sword would die by the sword? And at what time? Precisely when his life was at stake.

          “Christianity” as history books know it has been a disgrace since late in the 1st century, when the apostles died and wicked men took over. But there are those who still live by Jesus’ teachings today.

          You posted earlier about the massacre in Rwanda. Please investigate about what Jehovah’s Witnesses did during that terrifying conflict. If you are honest, you’ll notice the stark contrast between “Christendom” and them.

          • @Wes Mordine,

            Wrong.
            Jesus is the greatest lie ever told.

            And you are wrong about RWANDA.
            Many of the killers were priests and that should shut down any argument that Christianity leads to some sort of improvement of someone’s morals. That is a disgrace.

            Christianity is not only based on a lie – it is a fascist, murderous enterprise. And religion even constructs its own terms for things.
            “Sin” is a religious term for going against God’s supposed laws.

            Supposedly, these would be some sins according to the Bible:
            Hate,
            bigotry,
            Not forgiving,
            Incitement to violence,
            attacking a foe,
            weaponizing for battle,
            disparaging one’s neighbors,
            telling lies,
            stealing, cursing,
            killing out of vengeance,
            judging others, racism….etc…

            Yet JESUS DID ALL THOSE THINGS!

            JESUS LIED. Isn’t lying a sin?

            “‘Go to the festival yourselves.
            I AM NOT GOING to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.’ After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone to the festival, THEN HE ALSO WENT not publicly but as it were IN SECRET.” (John 7.8-10).

            JESUS COVETED HIS NEIGHBORS GOODS AND INSTRUCTED FOLLOWERS TO STEAL – Isn’t coveting and stealing a sin?
            “untie them” ..”bring them to me” (Matt. 21:2-3)

            JESUS DIDN’T FORGIVE – he sent them to Hell! (Mark 16:16)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS CURSED his enemies – “Thou Fools!”(Matt. 23:17)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS DESTROYED HIS ENEMIES WITH VENGEANCE –
            “bring to me my enemies….execute them in front of me” (Luke 19:27)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS DID NOT LOVE MOST OF HIS NEIGHBORS
            – They are ‘Dogs’! (Matthew 15:26)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO JUDGE OTHERS HARSHLY – “If you deem them unworthy…Remove your blessings of Peace”!(Matt 10:14)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS WAS BIGOTED – “They are swine” (Matthew 7:6)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS VIOLENTLY WHIPPED PEOPLE – “He made a whip of cords and attacked them” (John 2:5)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS CAME TO INCITE VIOLENCE – “I do not bring peace.”(Matt 10:34)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS PREPARED FOR WAR – “if you have money, buy a sword” (Luke 22:36-37)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO IGNORE THE LOVE OF PARENTS – “hate your mother and father…hate your very life” (Luke 14:26)
            Isn’t that a sin?

            JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO KILL THEIR CHILDREN – doesn’t that sound like a sin?
            “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ (Matthew 15:3).

            JESUS INCITED VIOLENCE AND WAS IMPATIENT – “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!….and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but CONFLICT.” – Jesus – (Luke 12:49-51)

            Is this not the sin of pride? Isn’t patience a Virtue?
            —–
            Your Jesus was meaner than most of the Atheists I ever met!
            And that is according to the laws within the Bible.

            SO ….JESUS WAS A SINNER.

            DID JESUS REPENT OF HIS SINS?
            DID JESUS ASK FORGIVENESS?
            IS JESUS IN HELL?

            Jesus’ contempt for the laws of Yahweh, while ENFORCING THEM (o_O)
            is the most two-faced, obvious garbage in the history of religious nonsense.

            Which is saying a lot!
            Christianity is contradictory, horse poop.

          • Stephan Casey

            I actually think the atheist has a point.

            If you want to believe in a peaceful perfect god then you have no business believing in the god of the bible.

            The god you are seeking is essentially one that wouldn’t treat you any different for being a non believer.

            If you believe in the god of the Bible at some point you have to make peace with the fact that they are selfish and put themselves first.

    • Agree! He’s descending into madness! lol His whole background is religion, so of course he sees Jesus in his grandchildren. Who do Muslims see in their grandchildren? Who do Hindus see in their grandchildren? We all see things and then fit them into our learned “worldview.” People that write things like this stuff are so incomprehensible that it makes you want to scream. There’s a reason humans tend to put things in categories. It helps us not go crazy. Labels come in handy, even when we know it’s not that simple.

  2. I was enjoying reading the article because I like people who buck the trend and are a bit rebellious (in a good way). But when I reached the part about you can either follow the Bible or follow Jesus but you can’t do both, just quit. Have we made such a mess of the bible in Christianity today that people actually believe this is a valid choice??? The Bible itself won’t let you do that. Jesus won’t let you do that. But I guess if you prefer to indulge your own opinions and let them validate your life rather that the Bible, then you will end up with some off the wall and biblically indefensible positions.

    It is so trendy today to let your experience, desires, feelings, etc. guide you, but that is one reason we have the Bible – to tell us imperfect people that not everything we believe or that pops into our heads is good. I appreciate that people doubt and have good, hard questions about faith and God, and I enjoy working through tough issues and resisting pat answers. People need that and far too often the church had doled out pat answers and resisted valid questioning. I hate that. But this is sensationalism with a faith bow on it. It must be fun to be the latest person to express doubts, write a book about it, get some interviews and then watch people scurry about in response. Oh well, that’s what I did. Moving on now…..

    • Well, at least he’s coming out and questioning the Bible. Actually all people pick and choose from the Bible and do their interpretation of the Bible while supposedly worrying constantly about whether things are biblical or not. I see what you’re saying-he’s choosing Jesus over the Bible and that makes no sense. But he’s really acknowledging what people actually do in real life. I came from fundamentalism where you do start to wonder-are they worshiping the Bible or Jesus or God? Gets mighty confusing.

  3. The Great God Pan

    This is where I realized what he was up to, and where he went from amusingly addlepated to offensive:

    “When an abortion doctor gets shot there is a direct line from that bullet to what we did in the ’80s. When a gay person gets beat up in an alley, there is a direct link to what we did then. I am very sorry about that.”

    He isn’t sorry enough, and he isn’t forgiven. The fact that he so breezily moved on from the allegedly deeply-held convictions that led him to force his ideology on others makes his actions worse, not better. This guy is a grifter, and he’s hawking a can of chicken soup for the soul that is suspiciously dented and bloated-looking. Beware.

    And if I’m wrong about that, his position on god is still remarkably incoherent.

  4. Franks book is great there are so many wonderful reflections and painstaking realizations. I love how he basically says there is no absolute truth, if there is it’s love and that love is the love he experiencing with helping to raise his grandchildren and question his own identity and psyche. I was raised in the church my mom was a member of PTL and a part of Jimmy Swagerts ministry I know first hand the trauma that he discusses and I also empathise with him over making the world a worse place, by allowing the church to mold me into a hater of Gays, Others that were not in the church and my own friends and family that disagreed with me. I’m older now and know the difference between ideology and practice of faith. I would be an atheist but my belief in Matthew 25:31-46 has me here still speaking about God but from a new lense. I’m a seminary student and I entertain all faiths. I want everyone to know that whether you believe in God or not we are all humans and deserve love and acceptance. So I’m Gay affirming and believe in radical love. Thanks Frank. Everything is not cut and dry and thank “god” for that.

    • Matthew 25:33-37.
      “When the Son of Man comes in his glory….For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’”

      It is fine lesson in Humanitarianism.
      And yet it is nothing more than the Golden Rule, which requires no God.

      Too bad the most horrific words
      are attributed to Jesus’ ‘Return’ also:
      “….bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their king and execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (19:27)

      The context of the Parable of the 10 Minas shows that Jesus (as the Nobleman) is much too complicated to simplify into a message of love since obedience and fear are dominant.

      The bible is too dangerous a toy for modern weaponry. We must put this stuff in its place – The Bible is too dangerous to be taught and too dangerous to be played with.

    • The Great God Pan

      Not everything is cut and dry, but some things are. A light is not on if it’s off, and Frank Schaeffer is not an atheist if he believes in a deity.

    • A little fuzzy JP Ross on the statement about there is no absolute truth. It would seem from your response, that love is an absolute truth since you refer to it immediately and the rest of your response is based on love as something everyone deserves. It sounds like your making love an absolute. Also, would you consider God as an absolute truth (God is love, right?)? As you are in seminary and studying God, you must have a position on whether or not God is truth (Jesus – the way, the truth and the life, right?). If so, then the rest of your experience there may have you searching for that truth and then determining whether you believe the Bible communicates that truth in a way that we humans can understand and respond to. This is basic and cannot remain fuzzy, for your own benefit and for that of others you influence. I do hope your seminary experience is really good and helpful for you. Mine was.

  5. Frank Schaeffer certainly is a person still attracted–or attached–to emotions about what he claims are his former beliefs. “Fuzzy” is a very good adjective to describe his lack of certainty about some old beliefs and his remaining emotional attachment to them.

    Schaeffer decries the bible. I agree, some of it is downright evil, but it must be recognized that even the New Testament story about Jesus, to which Schaeffer remains strongly attached. is a latter day part of the same mythology as the Old Testament and Genesis that Schaeffer appears to have been able to drop more thoroughly, more easily.

    Religious–or “spiritual”–evolution is very different in all ways in every person. Frank Schaeffer appears to be someone who has been more easily able to “put off the old man,” but still struggling with the fit of Jesus, a latter day stage of the same mythology from religion originated.

    Perhaps Frank Schaeffer is struggling in an agnosticism between a remnant of theism and the living search that might lead to non-theism? It is not easy. All of those who were “brain-washed” with theism as young children find themselves in that seeming predicament when they are forced to confront new knowledge, science, sociology, and psychology, in an enlarged background of history.

    Those who claim or seem to be untouched by religion are always growing in ways relating to meaning and value, even if those ways are not considered religion. We study. We learn. We think. Thinking requires that we constantly weigh our younger selves in the changes of a continuous, personal evolution. No one is immune to growing. Growing is living.

  6. there is such a gulf between those who take God to be an Entity in human form, a bigger, better more powerful human with capacity for extreme love, kindness and violence in the name of justice …. and those who come to know the Mystic Reality of the Divine, to apprend God as the living consciousness of everything that manifests with the qualities of the Divine, beyond our usual conditioned minds … and heaven forbid if someone dares attempt to cross this gulf into the Divine Mystery … where the first commandment reigns supreme … where no form or word, including the bible … can truly convey the wondrous mystery of all that is … and comes to understand the door to crossing the gulf is in the love of a grandchild, the glory of a sunset, and not the word of the man made Bible, where even the chapters of the Bible and how it came to be, … its actual history is full of human conceit, deceit mixed with divine wisdom ….

  7. the image of Jesus spitting any one out … is so beyond my comprehension, I just do not understand how the Lord of Love is being used in our society to rationalize, justify such vile negativity, anger and hatred … maybe this is what is meant by the Anti-Christ, using the Lord’s teachings for Hatred, negativity and judgement ?

    • He’s quoting the Bible. Do you know why everybody has their own image of what Jesus was like? One reason is they don’t know their Bible.

      For example, most people say that God loves you. But Westboro Baptist says that actually God hates you. And they have tons of scripture to back it up. They know their Bible.

  8. Schaeffer doesn’t believe in god but goes to church? Believes in women’s equality, but joined the Orthodox church, which doesn’t ordain women? Believes in gay rights, but is Orthodox, which doesn’t allow the openly gay to be clergy? Believes in marriage equality, but joined the Orthodox church, which denies its priests the right to get married after they’re ordained and if they’re either divorced or widowed and denies the right of marriage to all its bishops?
    Seriously? This makes sense to him?

    • Loved daddy’s book until I read about daddy.
      If daddy is Franklin Schaeffer, who lived in Switzerland to avoid notoriety, what are you gonna do–call ghost busters.
      Seriously-watch The Life of Brian and see how some people NEED a center not of themselves. WAKE up. You have a brain-use it to help your fellow souls-animal/vegetable/human!

    • Who knows what most church-going people believe on all these subjects. Church feeds their soul and warms their hearts and is a community that sometimes does good works. I can see the appeal. There’s also the factor of when your whole life has revolved around church-that’s a deep, deep implant in your brain and hard to give up for long periods-no matter what you think on various subjects or even what you believe re the Bible, God, Jesus, etc.

  9. Connie Wallace

    This book will sell. Honest doubts are expressed. Many of us have them. I would have doubts no matter what belief or non belief I ascribe to. But the title sure is cheesy and exploitative.

  10. 20 years ago, the former darling of the evangelical movement Frank Schaeffer made headlines claiming to be Greek Orthodox, but today he has little if any credibility or influence with most Orthodox Christians. In fact, he’s something of an embarrassment to the church. So now Schaeffer is so desparate to appear relevant and trend that he wants to latch onto the hipster athiests? Please. I’ve read two of his books, and was quite disgusted with them. Schaeffer seems to thrive on providing shock value, and I think it’s a real shame that he allows his unrelenting adolescent-like anger at his parents (particularly his father) drive everything he does and writes about, The whole thing makes him seem vulgar and pathetic and at the end of the day, he’s really quite uninteresting. If this book is more of the same sort of aging bad boy stuff, I’ll take a pass, thank you.

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