Why we wrestle with Philosophers

The concluding section of McGrath’s critique of Heidegger reads like my own testimony in the study of Philosophy (except that he’s a better writer, and he’s got a doctorate).

The intuitive reader will have concluded that I am some kind of personalist, some kind of humanist, and some kind of Christian. This philosophical/theological orientation preceded my doctoral work on Heidegger; what I discovered in Heidegger only confirmed and allowed me to refine it. By ruthlessly attacking it, Heidegger continually reminds me of what, if anything, I still hold sacred. Christian reactionaries (Catholic and Protestant), antimodernists, conservatives, and fundamentalists have the opposite effect on me: rather than “building up” my faith, they leave me with less than I had before. Heidegger, on the other hand, awakens me to the urgency of an ever-present need to review, reappraise, repeat, or reject my deepest convictions. To what degree I am willing and able to own the philosophical and theological traditions that have governed my education, thinking, and spiritual life since I began to speak? By so violently overthrowing them Heidegger forces me to choose: Will I follow him or some other post-Christian prophet, or will I hold on to something that I deem too precious to surrender, something that perhaps has been misrepresented, and that I am not only willing to own but also ready to defend?
(McGrath, Heidegger, 125)

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