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By DANIEL GARDNER
Thereâ€™s always hope. Whatâ€™s the old saying? Hope springs eternal.
According to one source Alexander Pope wrote this in his â€śAn Essay on Manâ€ť in 1734 in order to justify or vindicate Godâ€™s dealings with man.
The full quote is: â€śHope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest: The soul, uneasy and confinâ€™d from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.â€ť
That last little bit about expatiating in a life to come is talking about how those of us who believe in an afterlife take comfort in whatâ€™s in store for us after this life.
As we think about this past year and contemplate the coming year, we have to have hope not only in the life to come, but also in a new year filled with better things than last year. In what or whom do we hope or trust? Our money still claims we Americans trust in God. Iâ€™m glad for that. God is the only One we really can trust.
Writing in the New York Times, Molly Worthen, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, references an October Pew Research Center poll showing 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation at all, up from 16 percent in a similar 2008 poll. In a 2012 Gallup poll 77 percent of Americans surveyed said they were Christians.
I suppose in every age the religious among us have bemoaned the dearth of moral values and the need for a revival of how things used to be. Israelâ€™s King Solomon wrote about 3,000 years ago in a book commonly called â€śEcclesiastes,â€ť â€śDo not say, â€™Why is it that the former days were better than these?â€™ For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.â€ť (7:10)
Political correctness is todayâ€™s biggest culprit in American culture. You know, the belief that whatever anybody believes is OK and right â€¦unless itâ€™s mean and harmful to someone else as interpreted by those on the left.
We have drifted into an amoral culture, that is a culture without a unified set of accepted moral standards. Political correctness says there are no universal moral values.
A few of us still believe in moral values set out in the Bible, though none of us can live up to those standards. At least the Bible sets standards. No other book or authority in the world has higher standards than the Bible. Plus, the Bible has the Christmas story and the Easter or Resurrection story telling us pretty plainly how God has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Itâ€™s a great book, worthy of being read regularly.
What is our source of hope for the New Year? Some will hope in their own abilities. Some will hope government can make things better. I know ... Some will even hope in their own faith. Hope will spring eternal in 2013 just like it always has.
I hope weâ€™ll all find the true source of hope regardless of what 2013 brings.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville. Contact him at Daniel@DanLGardner.com.