Expectations are funny things.
With them, we either live life or circle the wagons. Most people I talk with are in some state of circling their wagons. Political, ecological, and financial news regularly stops people in their tracks.
Don’t dream too big, become too strong, or feel too confident is the subtle message of life nowadays. Life is too unstable for such nonsense. Small lives and fear is a better alternative. Seriously?
Over the past ten years, I have grown weary of doom. I devoted an entire chapter in my recent book, How to Live a Big, Unbreakable Life showing how doom predictions failed to be accurate over and over, not just in our time, but going back to Christopher Columbus.
The problem with doom is that it creates hopelessness in people. We give up caring for ourselves, planning for the future, or loving our neighbor when we live on the edge of disaster.
Certainly, I am not talking about localized calamities like hurricanes or earthquakes. I am talking about worldwide catastrophe, the extinction of humanity. You can’t build your big, unbreakable life if you are always waiting for the end of it.
I’ve been studying this topic for 4-5 years and learned some startling truths:
- Up to the 1500s, people considered the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ fulfilled. One of the oldest copies of the Bible, the Syriac, did not include it for this reason.
- The word translated “world” in world ending statements in Revelation, is not the Greek word for entire world, but is the word for land, or inhabited area.
- This means there are no future global catastrophic statements in the Bible.
- New heavens and new earth is a phrase used by Hebrew and Middle Eastern writers to refer to new systems or agreements. It is not to be taken as literal, but refers to a new covenant.
There is much more to this, and I refer you to Dr. Jonathan Welton’s site for more information on his books detailing nearly two thousand years of understanding on this topic (weltonacademy.com). He and many other scholars are pulling back the confusion on this topic.
The thing I have learned while studying this from both religious and atheistic sources is that worldwide doom is a modern preoccupation. We are convinced the world or civilization is going to end. Several hundred years ago, people were focused on invention and discovery, not destruction. That’s how we got the likes of Newton, Rousseau, and Locke: Thinkers and discoverers that advanced humanity by leaps and bounds through truth and hope.
But some European writers and thinkers of the Romantic period (1800s) could not see past the effects of cruel Napoleon, the colonists establishing statehood, and the bloody French Revolution. The world appeared to be going to hell in a handbasket. Economists, theologians, politicians, and poets alike shifted from optimism to doom in this time.
Lord Byron contemplated the world ending with no sun in his poem Darkness (1816), Thomas Robert Malthus predicted worldwide starvation without population control (1826), Darwin saw nothing but survival of the fittest (1839), John Nelson Darby disregarded 1700 years of understanding by declaring the Book of Revelation a future event (1833), and Karl Marx created the perfect government to wield such pessimism (1847).
Unfortunately, schools and universities picked up these thoughts and have taught them as harbingers of inevitable doom instead of harbingers of how poorly people think when they lose their hope.
Hope, pure and simple, is the expectation of good. We cannot expect good when we are full of gloom based on the observations of people who had no hope. Read that again. Hopeless people always come to faulty conclusions. We need to stop basing our hope on their lack of it. Nearly 200 years shows that
- Byron was wrong
- Malthus was wrong
- Darwin was wrong
- Darby was wrong
- Marx was wrong
Raise your hope by reading the thinkers from history who were positive about life on earth and contributed good things to it. That is how you increase your hope. That is how you create a better future. And that is how you fuel your dreams to make improvements on earth while you are alive.