Check out this letter to the editor, at the top of this page from a local paper, that expresses the vague terms of the Christian hope, at least as it is commonly expressed.
After noting the hard economic times the USA is facing, the high unemployment, the mortgage crisis, the general emotional malaise, the writer tells how he was comforted by a song he heard the night before. It is a familiar Bill Gaither tune, very appropriate for the Easter season, Because He Lives.
The letter writer then quotes these words from the song:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth living the living, just because He lives.
I'm not trying to be snide in wondering in what way Christians have the advantage in this life over non-Christians. Having been raised in this mindset I do understand what is being said. But once I got old enough to think for myself and to question, it occurred to me that nothing this-wordly was being factually expressed.
How is Jesus a solution to unemployment? Well, individually a believer who finds a job during tough times will give Jesus credit. Nonbelievers will count themselves fortunate. But how does this help the country's high unemployment rate? I believe history will bear out that political solutions are better than religious solutions. When all else seems to fail, nature will eventually take its course and return balance.
How could Jesus having been raised from the dead solve the mortgage crisis? In the next life, perhaps, but what about the here and now? Again, this doesn't seem to be a religious problem at all.
As stress relief? Okay, I don't deny that some people find great comfort in various religious beliefs. Of course, again not trying to be snide, comfort is also sought and found in drugs and alcohol. And those who choose those approaches, I can't help but notice, are usually more devout in their method than the former! Meditation, sex, and exercise are other ways to relieve stress. In fact, there are a of number non-Jesus methods that appear to give good results.
"Jesus is the answer" we are often told. But empirically speaking, the believers don't seem to have an advantage over the unbeliever, at least in this life. The "afterlife" is a problem created by the Bible. With a naturalistic worldview, the problem doesn't exist and thus no "solution" is necessary.
Okay, this my take on the matter and it is an unpopular one. It is a minority view in the United States. For all the times I've heard ministers advance that Jesus is "the answer" to all our problems, for all the Presidents I've heard end speeches with "...and God bless America," despite the myriads of individual Jesus believers who have echoed the sentiment of the above letter writer, I've yet to find any reason to believe this idea has any tangible value at all.