Thursday, March 15, 2012

"confident" hope vs. "wishful thinking" hope

I've thought about taking up this blog again, but I hadn't quite known where/when to begin again... until I read this blog, "Are You There, God? It's me, Atheist":

What is the difference between hope and human wishful thinking? The two have very similar definitions in the dictionary and are often used as synonyms for each other. Perhaps a bit more explanation can be given so that the differences between the two might be more apparent. Either way, as I pointed out before, hope seems to be an emotional bias that can corrode rationality. Also, why include "human" in reference to wishful thinking but not hope? Is hope not just as much a human activity as wishful thinking? My, what a pickle.

I used to ask myself that very same question. At first, I didn't realize it, but I used to be very caught up in the "wishful thinking" definition of hope (for myself). For 10+ years, I struggled with that, with my search for Love, with trying to find solid ground, and with hopelessness, ironically enough. I could never quite find it on my own or with my own human strength, mind, will or emotions.

Then, through the course of several mysterious events, I realized that there are actually two definitions of "hope" -- (1) the wishful-thinking, fingers-crossed, emotional kind of "hope" that you referred to; and (2) the confident, expected, promised "hope" that carries us through. We can't experience or comprehend the later (the eternal hope) without releasing the former (the temporal hope)... Which takes dying to self.
It took A LOT for me to get to a place of truly hearing about this "confident" hope and then letting that message penetrate my heart (including swallowing my pride, self-righteousness, doubt, and skepticism), but it was what needed to happen in order for me to drop the hopelessness and just exemplify true hope!

1 comment:

Rev. Pudgemuffin said...

Hey Hope!

I can't believe I've been quoted and linked to! Awesomeness! I have arrived! I feel so accomplished. It's all downhill from here! Haha!

So, I replied to your comment over at my blog. Anyone interested in reading the non-sense that spills forth from my gaping maw can click on my name and be whisked away on winged internet tubes to do so.

To that treatise, I add the following bit of bloviation.

Why are doubt and skepticism denigrated in the same breath as pride and self-righteousness?

To me, doubt and skepticism are necessary and integral to reason-based rational inquiry. Rather than being associated with pride and self-righteousness, I see doubt and skepticism as essential to intellectual honesty and humility. They require that we thoroughly examine our own positions and admit to any mistakes that may have been made. Any conclusions will be tentative and appropriately self-correcting in the light of new evidence.

When applied externally, doubt and skepticism can serve as a form of security against the false and dangerous claims made by charlatans, hucksters, carny freaks, pirates, the French, and other such undesirable folk.

To me, using doubt and skepticism to investigate claims and beliefs (even those we hold most dear) is to establish certain boundaries, a bar of evidence, so to speak, which deliver(s) us from the tempting arms of gullibility and credulity.

Ultimately, I hope people can see that doubt and skepticism need not have negative connotations. It may be that the claim under investigation turns out to be true. A process that includes doubt and skepticism will fortify such a conclusion more heartily than alternatives that don't consider substantial objections.

To be a skeptic is to say "I don't want to be fooled, by myself or by any one else."

Thanks for your kind consideration of my silly, simple-minded rambles. Can't wait to read more of your blog. Take care!

Yours in doubt and skepticism,
Rev. Pudgemuffin