The Human Heart & The Human Condition – Searching for Answers

“The account of these friends on the Emmaus road is, admittedly, sparse.  We seem to be told only what we need to know.  Yet their discussion, joined by a third man – a stranger – comes to us with singular force.  What follows is a layman’s reflection on the meaning of that exchange, a story of hope, despondence, and faith.  It is a story latent with insight for the believer, as well as the honest skeptic.

Its significance seems especially important for our own day, a period marked not only by religious zealotry, but also by massive indifference to matters of the spirit.  Many people seem too content with the quality of their faith, certain that nothing should disturb it.  For them, their beliefs require no examination.  Others,though, have given up hope of discovering truths about God that they can hang on to.  For them, there are no certainties in the realm of religion; it seems best to muddle through without them.  Menachem Mendel, a Rabbi in the nineteenth century, put it this way: “For the believer there are no questions, and for the unbeliever there are no answers.”

That claim, however, doesn’t ring true for most of us.  Life has a way of forcing painful questions upon us, whether we welcome them or not.  And the human heart has a way of keeping alive in us the longing for answers.  To extinguish this hope, either through neglect or cold rationality, would seem to diminish what it means to be human.  The road to Emmaus, after all, is a road all of us find ourselves on – eventually.  It is the path of every pilgrim who tries to make sense of the wilderness of the world around him.”

From The Searchers, by Joseph Loconte

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