Regarding Hope: The Atheist’s View

It is often said by believers of all faiths that to be without God is to be without a thing called Hope.

Hope, defined as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best, is far from foreign to me. I’d even go so far as to say that my life is more filled with hope now than it ever was when I believed in the god of Christianity.

When I was a believer my hope was in my salvation, something I believed to have been provided by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. I had the hope that the things of this world would soon pass away and that there would be an eternity of God’s presence to endure. I had hope in the promise of a relationship with that god and in the idea that he wanted for me to experience his love and compassion despite my own depravity (and in the idea that he desired this same thing for all mankind.). I experienced the hope of an afterlife and hope in miracles while still living.

I know the hope that the Christian speaks of, I’ve experienced it, felt it, lived it…in fact I know from personal experience all of the elements that Christians or other religious folks may claim that the godless are not privy to, yet hope is by far one of the most prevalent elements of my life now – without god.

I have hope, I have lots of it. I feel that what I have now is far more tangible than what I had prior to my fall from grace.

People give me hope daily. Sometimes people take some of my hope away, but when we make progress toward a brighter future it is renewed. When we do good things to one another or fight for causes we deem just, I am overwhelmed by hope. When one of us spends his or her life’s work on developing cures for diseases and cancers it gives me hope that we care about one another, and that if we keep doing so eventually we’ll get to our next step toward a society that can be considered appropriate.

I have a hope that one day our species will find a way to cope with the problems of life without a need for religion and that also one day there will be social justice for all people. I have hope that at some point in the near future that technology will be developed that can provide nutritious food for all people and that we will use that technology to actually feed people. In the idea that our prejudices and our failures will one day be forgotten.

Out of curiosity I asked my Facebook fans if they as atheists lacked a sense of hope, I wanted to share their answers…anonymously of course:

DJ Said:I hope for things all the time. I mean I “hope” the Patriots go to the Superbowl this year. I hope I have fun on vacation. I mean these things aren’t exclusive to theism. I usually get pretty irritated when certain people claim you “can’t” have certain things without a God.

HD said:I tend to be cheerfully pessimistic about most things. I hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Never (certainly not in the past 40 years) had a need for a god to be hopeful.
CS Said: I have never met a hopeless atheist, but I have met many religious with false hope. They may think they have hope, but the downtrodden look in their eyes and the depression of their very being begs to differ. When deep down you know your hope is meaningless, how could you possibly feel anything but despair?

I do hope for all kinds of things though, be it a better economy, progress, more freedom, and so on.

TC said:Oh I have hope. I’m optimistic and hopeful every day 🙂 Don’t need a god to do that 🙂

GW said:God is lack of hope. I don’t want to be a tiny part in something else’s plan. I don’t want to be judged on unknown criteria.

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