Thinking as a Hobby

Get Email Updates
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

3476863 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (35)

I heard someone recently ask the question:

Where do nonbelievers/agnostics find their hope? Or what do they put their hope in?

Well, that's an easy one to answer. If hope is the desire (but not necessarily the expectation) that things will get better, there are plenty of (nonreligious) sources of hope, on both a large and personal level.

I have many personal goals, even though I don't normally state them overtly or scribble them down. They relate to writing (obviously an ideal would be to earn a living from writing), to intellectual growth, to developing and strengthening relationships.

On a larger scale, it's quite easy to look at society to day and see real progress that's been made. Look at American society even a hundred years ago. Would you honestly rather live then, or now? There was widespread discrimination against blacks and women, the life expectancy was much lower, healthcare was abysmal, the education level of the average American was paltry compared to today's standards, and on and on. Over the past hundred years, I think we've actually moved closer to the ideals inherent in our Constitution, notions of freedom and equality, as well as the pursuit of happiness.

If you're a postmodernist, perhaps you'd say that the notion of progress is an illusion, one promulgated by cultural bias. If you're devoutly religious, perhaps you think values such as individual liberty and quality of life are essentially irrelevant, since this life is only a prologue to an eternity full of happiness and bliss up in the sky. I happen to revile both these views as morally and intellectually bankrupt.

I would counterpose the question: If you fall into one of these camps, where do you find hope? Especially if you're religious, does your hope simply derive from the wish that you've somehow gotten all A's on your cosmic scorecard, that you've believed the right things, said the right words, performed the right acts to please god enough to let you through the pearly gates? Is that what you live for? If not, then what?

To ask the question of where an agnostic gets hope seems to me to be the less imaginative question. As stated above, I have many sources of hope, for myself and for humankind. Because I believe in intellectual, cultural, and moral progress. Because I think this life is the only one we get, and consequently that it's much more precious. And because I can look at my life and the world around me and realize how they could be better.

Read/Post Comments (35)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.