Christadelphians claim to be able to offer hope. But is their hope merely hype?
"Hope for a hopeless world" is a commonly used lecture theme, and the title of a rather out-dated pamphlet written by the late Fred Pearce, which you can read online.
The nature of the hope that they offer is essentially the same as the nature of all religiously inspired hope – that this life is just a prelude to the life that could be enjoyed eternally if only we believe.
They claim that without a belief in God and the supernatural realm there is no hope for the future and we might as well just give up, because the world is headed on a path to destruction through man's mismanagement of the planet and our inability to live together without attempting to destroy one another.
Is it Hope?
The only hope is that Jesus will return and sort out all of mankind’s problems and establish his kingdom of peace and plenty. All too often this can become a smug self-righteous superiority over those of "the world" who are "without hope", forgetting that many of "the world" are mainstream Christians and people with other religious ideas involving a hope of life after death.
Christadelphians are quick to dismiss the majority of who believe that after death they go to heaven to be with their loved ones. If someone claims that near death experiences and a feeling of the presence of lost loved ones are evidence for life after death they will quickly (and sometimes cruelly) dismiss such ideas and having no basis in reason or scripture.
We think it's Hype
Atheists reject the notion of a hope of life after death as there is no evidence to suggest that it is true. On the contrary the whole notion can be easily understood as coming from the dawn of humanity when people had little understanding of the cosmos, and derived comfort and hope from the notion that they could communicate with their lost loved ones and at death they would be reunited with them. In other words wishful thinking!
Of course it would be wonderful if any of it were true – whether it is that we go to heaven when we die, or we will be raised at Christ’s coming, to live a life of eternal bliss with our loved ones. But either way it’s all just wishful thinking.
The alternative is to face up to the evidence of reason – that we are finite creatures that have a few short years of life after which we return to oblivion.
A bleak prospect?
Perhaps there are some – maybe the majority – for whom this is just too bleak to bear, and so they need the hope that religion provides. If this is you, then you had better keep living on Planet Hype.
A hopeless prospect?
Not at all! It is a liberating prospect, a call to live life to the full, to be humane to our fellows who share our brief lives, not for any future reward but because it is just the right way to live!
There is so much to enjoy and to celebrate in this life. The beauty and wonder of nature, the sensual pleasures of food and drink, the joy of friendship, the inspiration of great art, literature and music... the list goes on and on. One lifetime is not enough to experience it all, but once you have thrown off the shackles of living in preparation for the imaginary next life you will find a lot more time (and motivation) to fully live the one life that you really have.
This is not a message that all can accept but for those who can it is the path to freedom and true understanding.
As Carl Sagan says in "The Demon Haunted World":
"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring"