Monday, September 17, 2007

Christian Hedonism?

Follow along as Andrew Jackson takes a look at "Christian Hedonism"
His first post
From his second:
Although some might differ with me, I like the the term “Christian Hedonism.” Why? Well, when heard it crosses the mental wires of Christian and nonChristian alike, and generates thinking and discussion. The term “Christian Hedonism” seems to awaken and generate a good shock for the complacent Christian and the cynical nonChristian. Maybe it is just me, but once understood biblically, I am willing to label myself a maturing Christian Hedonist, although I do not reckon it necessary to understood Christian Hedonism like some who have systematically articulated this philosophy of life in detail. In other words, I believe one honestly can embrace the label Christian Hedonism without accepting every jot and tittle presented by Jonathan Edwards, John Piper or others. No teacher or preacher has a monopoly on Christian Hedonism.

One issue that must first be settled for Christians is whether it is biblical to pursue happiness in God as the ultimate goal of living and action.

Christian Ethics as Disinterested Duty

There is a deep mindset and understanding within Christianity today that propagates the teaching that it is a sinful, unethical, and morally defective to pursue or seek seriously one’s own happiness, good, pleasure, and enjoyment, even if this ultimate happiness is centered in God. Many Christians – influenced by Immanuel Kant and others – emphasize that an act is morally diminished or lessened to the degree we experience joy in doing it, and to be motivated to intentionally do something because it produces personal joy is seen as ungodly and substandard.

1 comment:

Matthew LaPine said...

From this earlier post

How did you arise from bed this morning? What filled your mind and heart? Think that through for a moment? Be honest, and maybe write it down for clarity.

The fact is, many, if not most, Christians arise from bed in the morning with their minds and hearts filled with a to-do list of tasks to accomplish whether at church or work or for their families. We might also have the thought of our need to fulfill our Christian duties of prayer, reading the Bible, and maybe do something loving.

This isn’t all bad, but is that really how we should approach each day? If duty of tasks is how we enter each day then we will end up living a life of burden and even unhappiness. For fulfilling daily Christian chores or duties does not result in personal happiness for us or anyone else. Ask your spouse.

In contrast, a Christian Hedonist will arise each day to pursue seriously their own personal happiness in God from which will overflow feelings, words, and acts of love towards others, and result in the widening and spreading of the knowledge and experience of God’s glory in our world.

A Christian Hedonist arises each day with a deep internal motive and purpose to pursue seriously their own personally happiness in God, knowing that it is out of the fountain of experiencing the happiness of God that love and mission flows. Anything less, is simply heartless religious duty.

I pray that you will arise tommorrow with a new Christian hedonist approach to your day, and go to God, your joy, and your delight (Psalm 43:4), so that you can truly live a happy Christian life of true love towards others, and not simply finish your to-do list.