What do you see when you look into the future? I’m not talking about magically predicting what is to come. No, I am asking you to look beneath the surface of your daily thoughts and challenges and see what you are looking forward to. Perhaps you’ve never consciously stopped to do that. But we all look forward to something. We all have a longing, an urge, an expectation that keeps us moving through the daily humdrum of life. We all have a sketch in our hearts of how things may perhaps turn out, and how it will make our daily life meaningful. “I want to help make the world a better place.” These are the words on the lips of many young people today. We are a generation that has grown up in a society captivated by the dream of progress. Science and technology are paving the way to a better world. We are smarter and better than we have ever been. We are moving forward from the narrow minded and primitive perspectives of the past to a better tomorrow.
But are we? Is society really getting better? Many experts today are beginning to question and even attack the very idea. The past 100 years has seen gigantic leaps of progress which never could have been imagined in ages past. And yet it has been the bloodiest of them all. It can be argued that the corruption, division and inequality of the past are not erased by progress, they merely take on a different form. Today society seems to be as divided and hostile as it has ever been.
Many experts today are seeing things a bit differently. We may be arriving at a moment when, as historian Christopher Lasch wrote “the natural limits of human power and freedom . . . has become inescapable.” The dream of progress that drove us through the 20th century is beginning to fade. Professor Eric Uslaner notes in the Washington Post that the millennial generation may be the first generation to think that it is inheriting a world that is worse than the one that their parents got.
We live in a world that is increasingly starved for hope. So we are back at the question – what do you look to? What do you see as you look to the future? Real hope is something that is not rooted in our immediate space-time situations. Real hope is something that does not depend on physical, social or economic progress. Real hope is rooted in a conviction that, in the end, justice will prevail, that wrongs will be made right and that the underlying foundation of reality is not corrupt but good.
Considering the question of real hope pushes us to think outside the boundaries of our scientific, modern physical world. It pushes us outside the realm of that which can be “proven” yet must be reasonably defended. The search for real hope inevitably pushes the honest thinker to reconsider the idea of God and his necessity. However unreasonable it seems at first, we find it cannot be avoided. It also causes us to look back to the generations before and ask where they got the power to move on in the bleakest of circumstances. It causes us to more clearly see that perhaps not all things of the past were all bad. It causes us to see that many of them seem to have had something essential which we seem to have lost.
The research and core ideas here are rephrased from Keller, Timothy (2016-09-20). Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical (p. 155). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. Chapter 8.