Eric Metaxas on cynicism and the human need for heroes

Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer and Amazing Grace, was interviewed on this week’s episode of the Relevant Podcast about his most recent book, 7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness. I’ve never read any of Metaxas’ work, so I can’t vouch for his writing, but in the interview he shared some worthwhile thoughts about Western culture’s over-cynicism toward heroes:

We’ve fallen into a place in the culture in the last forty or so years, really since the 60s, where we’re anti-heroic—we’re looking for the worm in every apple, every authority figure is suspect, everybody who looks like they have their lives all buttoned up, ‘Oh, they’re hiding something.’—this general negative narrative. And it doesn’t mean that there’s no truth in it, but if that’s the only narrative you put forward, you are lying, basically. Because there are great men and women in history. . . .

We’ve been in this terrible cycle of, we know everything that’s wrong with America, we know everything that’s wrong with the church, we know everything that’s wrong with every hero from George Washington on. Well, that’s not right, because what you do is you denigrate things to the point of being unable to appreciate what’s great about them, and at that point, you really are telling a lie. You don’t want people to deify heros . . . but you can go too far in the other direction. And I’ve argued many times . . . that we’ve gone so far in the other direction that young men and women are genuinely confused about, “What am I supposed to be? Who am I?” The way human beings are created, we need models. . . . Human beings were made to be inspired by other people’s lives.

You can listen to the whole interview here. It begins at 79:00.

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