As I mentioned this past Friday in a post called “Atheism is Good for Christians,” there are things to learn from those who don’t believe in God. And those things can be insightful and helpful in our relationship with God.
I read a terrific piece on great books being published this year which led off with some very important words by Nietzsche. Before you read it, think of how many times you criticized some author without having read them. Also, consider how many times slow, meditative thinking seemed impractical, a veritable waste of time. Last, note in the second paragraph of the Nietzsche quote how we Americans are so frantic that the almost equally frantic pace of Eurpopeans looks slow by comparison. And by all means, get off the train!
In Human, All Too Human, Friedrich Nietzsche lamented, “Because there is no time for thinking, and no rest in thinking, we no longer weigh divergent views; we are content to hate them. With the tremendous acceleration of life, we grow accustomed to using our mind and eye for seeing and judging incompletely or incorrectly, and all men are like travelers who get to a land and its people from the train.”
“The farther West one goes, the greater modern agitation becomes; so that to Americans the inhabitants of Europe appear on the whole to be peace-loving, contented beings, while in fact they too fly about pell-mell, like bees and wasps. This agitation is becoming so great that the higher culture can no longer allow its fruits to ripen; it is as if the seasons were following too quickly on one another. From lack of rest, our civilization is ending in a new barbarism. Never have the active, which is to say the restless, people been prized more. Therefore, one of the necessary correctives that must be applied to the character of humanity is a massive strengthening of the contemplative element. And every individual who is calm and steady in his heart and head, already has the right to believe that he possesses not only a good temperament, but also a generally useful virtue, and that in preserving this virtue, he is even fulfilling a higher duty.”
For those who are interested, Christopher Benson’s thoughtful reflections on important, new books, can be found at: