Despair and Presumption



I was brought up a Catholic, so you don’t have to tell me about sin.


Most people know about the seven deadly sins, there was a film about them after all. I could name them but sloth has set in.


There are two sins much more serious than the deadly ones. How can you get more serious than deadly?Listen, this is religion. Believe me there’s a lot worse things than dying when it comes to religion.


The two biggies that immediately cast you down into the fiery furnace to be tortured for infinity are despair and presumption. So watch out for them in your lives. You might not believe in all this sort of stuff but that really doesn’t matter. What you believe is immaterial when you find yourself sentenced to suffer an infinite amount for ever. ‘Whoops! Didn’t realise. Sorry. Now can I go?’ Probably not, don’t you think?


So why am I harping on about some old fashioned religious belief of doubtful application to real life in the modern era? Good question, to answer that I’ll have to look at the two sins, attitudes, states of mind, call them what you will.


First, despair. This is when you’ve abandoned all hope. When you know that whatever you might do or try to do it’ll make no difference.


Next, presumption. This is when you assume that someone else is taking care of business, that you don’t have to do anything yourself, that you can just carry on the way you want to and things will turn out just fine.


We’re all agreed that the world’s in a mess. The human race is up shit creek. We’re destroying the earth with our rapacious consumption. The only option being offered to us by governments is more of the same.


So, which is it? Despair or presumption? Which one do you hang on to as justification for doing nothing, for standing by and letting the situation get worse?


It doesn’t have to be like that, we can choose to adopt one of the cardinal virtues.




This book is a good start.


Active Hope


Little things are all it takes. Don’t give up. Together we can make the world better.


Next time I’ll tell you what I’ve decided to do about all this.


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