"Hopium"

“Hopium” is a word someone coined to describe the opium-like addiction we humans have to hear what we want to hear, discarding evidence that challenges our hopes. Financial analyst Tim Aka, in his new book End Game Economics (which I examined in my previous blog), puts it this way: “We are addicted to this ‘hopium’ as some have called it. The truth [about an impending economic collapse despite surface appearances to the contrary] is unpalatable and the transformations needed are far too painful for most to consider. And so for now, ignorance is bliss, until a massive reality check [is] imposed on the hopium junkies” (39). Are we, too, addicted to “hopium,” hoping against hope that we’ll turn the corner somehow and “happy days” will be here again? At what point does such hopeful optimism become destructive naivety? The blockbuster movie “Noah,” though a far cry from biblical, historical and spiritual reality, has at least branded our secular culture’s psyche with the notion that civilization as we know it can cataclysmically end. Prophets of doom abound in the blogosphere, and warning voices could be suddenly proven right. My point is that perhaps God’s people—those who seek to live by radical faith and trust in their Creator—ought to take seriously the mounting warnings from economists who have chosen not to play to the press. Maybe it’s time to heed the warning of our Lord: “‘As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man’” (Matthew 24:37). “Up to the day Noah entered the ark,” Jesus cautioned, people were eating and drinking, partying and building. If there had been a stock market, it perhaps like ours would be going through the roof right about now. Just before the collapse. Just before “sudden destruction comes on them . . . and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). So it seems fair to ask: Should the friends of Jesus be plunging into significant financial debt today? Shouldn’t we who have lived from day to day, from debt to debt, begin to undertake serious efforts to be relieved of that indebtedness? Is the time rapidly approaching when those with discretionary income and more than adequate savings consider investing more substantially and sacrificially in the mission of Christ? While money is still of value? No one, of course, can tell you or me what to do with the little we have. But surely there will come a time when our hearts will tell us the truth, while there is still time. A century ago came this encouragement: “God Himself originates the plans for the advancement of His work, and He has provided His people with a surplus of means, that when He calls for help, they may cheerfully respond. If they will be faithful in bringing to His treasury the means lent them, His work will make rapid advancement. Many souls will be won to the truth, and the day of Christ’s coming will be hastened”(The Review and Herald, July 14, 1904). No “hopium” there—just the blessed hope of that glorious day—and who doesn’t want that day to be hastened?

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