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The hope of Bob???

by Bob Anderson

My son asked a version of the same question when we visited him
recently...where he "ministers". I don't have an easy answer, but on the
other hand I don't know if there is really a good question. Some of my
thoughts on the issue:

- the issue of "hope" or "purpose" is a favorite of christians..yet ask them
what theirs is and you will get vague and theoretical answers.
- it gives them some comfort that their life has meaning and purpose, yet
they are not sure what the meaning and purpose is...just that knowing there
is some meaning and purpose makes life a bit happier I suppose.
- so ...I too can assume meaning and purpose exists for me..even if I can't
precisely define what they are, and be happy too. Of course, their purpose
revolves around bible god and jesus somehow, so they say I can't have
purpose. I say that theirs is misplaced...placed in a fictional construct
much like a child living for Santa Claus - that makes kids happy - until
they find out it isn't real.
- OTOH - purpose and meaning are a bit "straw man'ish". They are feelings,
they exist because we say they do (they are arbitrary), and they are really
just another way of talking about happiness and satisfaction with life.
- As such, it is not easy to separate"purpose" and "meaning" and "hope"
from other mental health topics. So, IMHO, these things are about being
happy and not depressed. Depression is a form of illness (IMO) and healthy
people don't generally worry a lot about purpose, meaning, and hope. They
have them. They wake up in the morning, and they have things to do, and
things to look forward to (perhaps the next weekend), and worrying about
purpose and meaning and hope is fairly abstract.
- There are many good things in life to aspire to, that don't involve being
christian. These can give one a sense of purpose too. Even the sciences, as
Carl Sagan has pointed out beautifully, can give a sense of wonder, awe, and
purpose to life. Another example, from the christian world, is George
Washington Carver. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of nature, of chemistry,
etc. even though he had a theological spin on it.

So, some random sort of thoughts..derived somewhat from discussions with my

Hope I haven't muddied otherwise clear waters..