Wishful Thinking

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by Alex Petric

Oftentimes, when I watch movies from the 1960’s or read about those years, they come across as a very optimistic time. It’s understandable, as America was still booming in the aftermath of World War II, and research was yielding advancements in technology some had never dreamed of. The possibilities seemed endless. Understandably, people would be very hopeful about the future.

It’s a bit of a contrast to today, where we hear daily about the threats of global warming, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and the political unrest seen recently in the Occupy and Tea Party Movements. Do we still have hope for tomorrow?

Hope was a bit of a puzzle for me when I was growing up. Going to a Catholic school, I was taught that there were four cardinal virtues — prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance — which any person could achieve with practice, and three cardinal virtues — faith, hope, and love — which could only be attained with God’s help. Faith is clearly related to one’s relationship with God. Love is an entire blog post in itself. But as for hope, I was never sure how it depended on God.

Over the years, I’ve given much thought to this. Hope can be defined as “A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” When we desire some event, though, are we not in some way placing the outcome in God’s hands and wishing for the result we want? When we hope, we, perhaps unconsciously, assume that someone is taking care of us from above and that things could work out, even against many odds.

Essentially, if there is no God, then what is the point of hoping for an outcome? No matter how deeply we want something to happen, the end result will be the same as it would be if we had no hope. It is only when we assume the existence of a being greater than ourselves that we are able to actually appeal to it.

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