Someone once asked me if I was a pessimist or an optimist, and I replied that I was an optimist—because I had read the last chapter of the Bible.
In other words, I'm not an optimist because I think the world is going to get better and better, because it's not. In some ways, of course, our world is a better place to live than it was a few centuries ago; I'm thankful for all the scientific and medical advances that have been made. But in other ways the world is not getting better; the last century saw the most devastating wars in history, and there is no reason to believe this new century will be any better.
What is the problem? The problem is within ourselves—within our own hearts and minds. No matter how hard we try, or how much education we have, or how successful we are economically, our old selfish nature remains unchanged. Jesus put it this way: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander" (Matthew 15:19).
What is the answer? Only God can change our hearts—and He will, as we turn to Christ and submit our lives to Him. He can take away our anger and greed and lust, and replace them with His love and compassion and purity. Give your life to Christ and ask Him to forgive and transform you. Then you'll be a true optimist, finding both strength for the present and hope for the future.