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With so many down, how could nihilism be uplifting?

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Since Merriam-Webster defines nihilism as “a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless,” I take exception to Wendy Syfret’s idea that nihilism could possibly be upbeat (“Try upbeat nihilism in 2022,” Ideas, Jan. 2) . To begin with, nihilism is nothing if not downbeat and depressing. Furthermore, while Syfret is correct that “nihilism is skeptical of systems of meaning,” why has so much of our culture and world opinion embraced the ideas she cites of gravity, religion, and traditional family structure?

Fortunately, I did not pick up last week’s issue of the Globe until I had returned from the morning service at Park Street Church, having heard an uplifting sermon on hope that offered a positive feeling about the future, that God is with us, and that He is here to help us endure our current problems.


I am disappointed with the editors who have given this piece of discouragement such a prominent display when so many people are suffering from COVID-19 confinements, serious health problems, and loneliness. They need something to lift them and to give them hope. I invite Syfret’s readers to a Sunday service at Park Street Church to see how religion can actually be uplifting.

Chester A. Kunz Jr.