The central neurosis of our time

One of the best known sceptics of the twentieth century was Bertrand Russell. Though born into Christian home he rejected faith and became an atheist. His daughter Katherine said of him, ‘Somewhere at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul, there was an empty space that once had been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it.’ The great psychologist Carl Jung said that the central neurosis of our time is emptiness, and Victor Frankl talked about how clinics are crowded with people suffering from a new kind of neurosis, a sense of total and ultimate meaninglessness of life. But I think it was Saint Augustine who explained it best. Speaking of God he said, ‘You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.’

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