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Tomáš Halík on Modernity, Optimism and Naked Hope

Traditional notions of hell paled in comparison with the inventions of 20th-century totalitarian regimes: Hitler’s and Stalin’s concentration camps. And compared to technological miracles and the entertainment industry, the traditional ideas of heaven and paradise seem rather dull.

But if our faith and hope in eternal life have been stripped of their old time images, they need not be ashamed of their nakedness.

Hope, our naked Christian hope, is totally other than optimism. Modern times have exchanged joy for entertainment, and the virtue of hope for the illusion of optimism.

In my country [the Czech Republic], it is said that an optimist is someone who lacks information.

Optimism is the illusion that everything is simply getting better and better, that the human journey is progress in one direction; hope is the strength to endure and not give up in situations where everything is becoming more and more arduous.

God gives us hope, not exact information about what will happen to us after death. That is a mystery. That is a test of our trust in God’s almighty love. It is part of our trust that death is not a god, and therefore, will not have the last word. We believe that God and his love will have the last word.

God keeps us the best wine till last…

Thomas HalikTempleton Prize 2014 Video

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