What Hope Does Christianity Offer the World?
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We are living in a day in which people are pessimistic about the future. There have always been pessimists, but now there is a general feeling of hopelessness regarding the future. With the advent of tactical nuclear weapons, fear has engulfed our planet. Examples of this attitude can be seen in the following statements:
It is becoming more and more obvious that it is not starvation, not microbes, not cancer, but man himself who is mankind’s greatest danger” (Carl Jung, “Epilogue,” Modem Man in Search of a Soul, New York, Rutledge Books, 1933).
“The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is not a problem of physics but of ethics. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man” (Albert Einstein, cited by Mead, p. 192).
“Today, even the survival of humanity is a Utopian hope” (Norman O. Brown, Life Against Death, London, Sphere Books, Ltd., 1968, p. 267).
“The world has now become too dangerous for anything less than Utopia” (John Rader Piatt, The Step to Man, New York, John Wiley and Sons, Ltd., 1966, p. 196).
The problem of lack of hope and meaning to life is not unique to our generation. It has been expressed by others in the past who have felt the same emptiness as our modern world feels. To a large segment of the population, this life is all there is, and there is no hope beyond the grave, but this idea is nothing new.
Compare what some of the writers in the past have said concerning death. “Oncea man dies, there is no resurrection” (Aeschylus); “There is hope only for those who are alive, but those who have died are without hope” (Theocritus); “When once our brief light sets, there is one perpetual night through which we must sleep” (Catullus).
Against this background of pessimism, Jesus Christ offers real hope. He gives mankind the opportunity to become right with God and his fellowman. Thus Christianity offers a full life to those who will accept Jesus: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, KJV).
However, the abundant life never ends. There is a hope of life everlasting based upon the promises of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25, 26, KJV).
In a changing world, there exists an unchanging God whose world lasts forever. “The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8, MLB), and He Himself never changes, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, KJV).
Ralph Barton, one of the top cartoonists of the nation, left this note pinned to his pillow before taking his own life: “I have had few difficulties, many friends, great successes; I have gone from wife to wife, and from house to house, visited great countries of the world, but I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day” (Bill Bright, Jesus and the Intellectual, p. 14).
Shakespeare commented on life, “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (MacBeth).
What a contrast to the words of the Apostle Paul written just before his impending death: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8, NASB). Christianity offers the world a genuine hope.