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  • James Rowell

Hope Ideas and Realism

Religion is an idea rooted in hope. Between waking and sleep we are caught between a world of hope and despair. The world of hope has dream clouds lit with silver lining, illumined by a sun that does not falter. In this world our religion is true, love wins, and we are happy with those we love. In the world of despair, a gloomy night hangs over us like a fog that does not lift. All the grimmest details of life glare at us like skulls in sharp relief. Neither the dreamiest ideals nor the dimmest realities possess us for too long; for we are somewhere betwixt and between. We cannot cave in to doubt nor be misled by a too sugary optimism.

This is I think our human predicament: we are between an idealist hope that we cannot let go of, and a pessimistic realism. Religion is the idealism that gives us hope, and atheism the skeptical doubt that tells us to look only at what is. I cannot imagine giving in wholly to one nor the other, but being led by a torch of religious idealism, and a good roadmap of sober realism.


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