Thursday, February 3, 2011

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

What does it mean to hope that something is true?


Sisyphos said...

Preferring a certain proposition about reality
without believing/ but having doubts
that it is fitting.

Greg said...

Thanks. Does preference equate
"want / desire" that it be the case? Do you think that these play a role in hope?

Sisyphos said...

yes, it is more than preferring. It is wanting, desiring.

Actually to hope/want something to be true is an interesting phenomenon. It is biased. It goes beyond "it is how it is". It might appear naive or inconsequential because he we might blame him/her for being too concerned with his/her preferred worldview and hence being in danger to force it on reality finally.
On the other side: "it is how it is" is a concentration on the present but there is also an "it will be how it will be" which we can form based on our unsatisfied hopes in the present which partly "will be how we want/hope it to be".
So, hoping that sth is true can bring about the "trueness" of a proposition in the future present.
Obviously our impact is limited though.

Sisyphos said...

I have to redefine my definition: "Preferring a certain proposition about reality
without believing/ but having doubts
that it is fitting in the present

Sisyphos said...

when I said: "to force it on reality finally" I meant: to give in to ones hope and interpret reality according to what he/she hopes to see - fiction-making.

Greg said...

Yes, I agree that hope is want - it desires. Seems that hope is not the same as belief and that it goes beyond wish, in that it cannot be the impossible that is "hope" for.

As you quite rightly figure, there are "hope" limits, but I guess I would query to what degree anyone could force a preferred - wanted worldview on reality. Fiction making, at least regarding many features of reality, is not sustainable.

It is how it is and it will be how it will be necessitate dialogue - a back and forth, seeking a suitable framing that is sufficient for matters at hand.

Rhett & Valerie said...

I think it means to expect something that is worth having confidence in, like the Day of the Lord. You may not believe it's going to happen, and thus feel apathetic about it, or you may dread it, or you may hope for it, depending on your relationship to God and the Scriptures. But "our confidence is sure"; despite my uncertainty, the Day of the Lord is coming.

Greg said...

Thanks. I agree. What is hoped for has to be a realistic possibility, but this does not translate into certainty.

Ben A said...

I've been a bit confused about the definition of the word "hope" as it appears in Scripture.

After a series of L'Abri lectures on Faith, Hope, and Agnosticism, I found some comfort in thinking that God might be pleased with hope as a temporary state of truth seekers. As a doubter this comforted me because hope seemed to require less confidence than faith.

The lectures outlined hope as such (if my memory serves me well):

1. the thing hoped for must be possible but not certain

2. the object of hope must be desired

3. hope includes a propensity to act in order to bring to fruition the thing hoped for (if this is possible)

The L'Abri lectures never claimed to be defining Biblical hope, but I viewed Scriptures referencing "hope" with greater appreciation. Upon coming home, however, my newly clarified definition of hope was challenged. Biblical hope, I was told, was confident and sure. Supporting this view, the Strong's Concordance describes the Greek words for hope (elpis/elpizo) as waiting or expectation with confidence. Elpizo is often translated as "trust". Nothing in these definitions is said about doubt.

Does Biblical hope have room for any doubt? And where does the honest doubter stand in God's eyes?

Greg said...

Thanks. Occasionally the Bible can use hope in the context of a hope for reward (1 Cor 9:10), but most of the time hope is connected to God and what he has done, is doing, and will do to bring about his Kingdom.

I don't think hope is to be understood as an alternative to faith. The two are closer together, than further apart.

Seems like the biblical picture of hope would not be at odds with the three points you list from memory on the lectures.

Confidence and humility would appear to not have to cancel each other out. We can be confident, yet see through a glass darkly. We can be confident and waiting in eager expectation, though this does not translate into certainty in the old Enlightenment sense of the word.

Doubt can be a strong word, so it depends on how it is used. Sometimes people equate it with unbelief, which would be negative, but others see it as something that may be hope and faith producing, and therefore positive.

I might doubt myself, but I don't have hope in God's character, ability, and will to bring justice and love to their full expression.

The honest doubter's standing before God? I guess that depends on what the person actually believes and is committed too, which God knows in a far clearer way than I do.