The Weekly Sift is one of my favourite current affairs blogs. This blog lays out an elegant but useful distinction between hope and optimism which I found helpful.
As regular readers probably know, when I’m not writing this blog I’m writing for a religious magazine and giving talks at churches. When you have that much religious exposure, sooner or later you end up thinking about hope, because hope is religion’s central product.
Humanistic religions offer hope for human progress, while salvation-oriented religions offer hope for a better world to come, but pretty much every flavor of religion deals in some kind of hope: for miracles, for eternal life, for an escape from suffering, for strength to change, for the eventual triumph of the better angels of our nature, or some other desirable outcome.
Once you start thinking about hope, your reading will fairly quickly bring you to a useful distinction that (for reasons I don’t understand) never catches on with the general public: Hope is not optimism.
The two words often get used interchangeably in conversation, and…
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