Let us not, however, in our haste to condemn Reno for his imprudent practical advice, ignore the truth of the underlying point. Religious believers hold that there is more to existence than this material life.
Ironically, by searching for the self, we also lose ourselves. The more intently we look within, the more elusive our sense of self becomes.
Elevated figures in church history have a great deal to teach us, but we should not forget that we can also learn from the early, run-of-the-mill Christians who were as ordinary as we are, yet who, as the collective body of Christ, experienced vibrant faith and incredible growth in an inhospitable environment.
Heidegger’s life and work are a lesson to so many confused, angry, and lonely young Western people today who feel out of place in a toxic post-millennial world torn by ethnic and religious strife and who are attracted to various strains of noxious neo-pagan and hate-filled thought.
We are limited beings distinct from God, but our earthly nature becomes beautified when it participates in the infinite. Christ’s humanity was thought to make it possible for every person to share in the divine life without ceasing to be human.
In short, we need to rely less on building rigid ideological superstructures and more on our guts, guts kept healthy by a diverse diet of conversation and friendship. We need to have more personal encounters and trust in the general “goodness” of people. In other words, we need to take the seriousness with which we treat this Left-Right stuff down a notch and lighten up!
Christian monastic pioneers saw that books left on the windowsill are more likely to make an impression on those outside than on those within.