Andy Daniell: Why Christians Should Be Optimists

The best of the free life is still yet to come,

The good times ain’t over for good

—Merle Haggard, Are The Good Times Really Over For Good (1982)

Do you ever long for the good old days? Do you ever feel as though the future is bleak compared to the past, for the church specifically or for America generally? Mr. Haggard wrote his song to counter the common feeling in the country in 1982 that America’s best days were definitely behind her. In the depths of the Cold War and with a decade of miserable economic performance behind us, many American’s needed the reassurance of Merle’s conclusion that the best was yet to come.

For those seeking such reassurance today, there are scholars who have taken an empirical look back to show that human progress continues to be steady. In my opinion, the best work in this field is Matt Ridley’s book The Rational Optimist. Mr. Ridley factually points out that by almost any measure (wealth, health or technological advancements), humans continue to progress.

But we also need to remember that the Bible taught us this lesson long ago. In what is called the Wisdom Literature in the Old Testament scriptures, inspired authors wrote proverbs and other common-sense prose which are designed to help us counteract natural, but misleading and even unhealthy, human tendencies. Books such as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are not to be viewed as are the Laws of Moses – a series of thou shalt not rules and regulations. Instead, knowing the common faults humans share, the Wisdom Literature is designed to provide a counterweight to some of our misguided inclinations.

The book of Ecclesiastes was written by the wise king Solomon late in his life after he had personally fallen prey to his own version of many of these common snares. One of his wise sayings is found in what is labeled as the seventh chapter of the book.

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Source: Christian Post