Saturday, November 19, 2005

What's Christianity got against happiness?

One of my coworkers was offended by the knowledge that I have a subscription to Playboy.  He is a devout Christian and based upon his beliefs is offended by the nudity mainly, but also the lifestyle the magazine attempts to perpetuate.

So I started thinking, what's God got against nudity?  The answer seemed simple.  Nudity leads to desire.  We desire that which brings us pleasure (in this case sex).  Now, let's look at pleasure more generally and not just in terms of physical pleasure.

What's God got against pleasure?  Well, my friends, feeling pleased generally makes you happy.  Doesn't seem like that's such a bad thing, does it?

So, what does God got against happiness? 

And here is where it gets interesting (to me, at any rate).  The whole idea behind Christianity (and most mainstream religions I'm familiar with) is that life on earth sucks.  We can only attain true happiness in a promised afterlife.  But we can only get to that after life if we follow certain rules.

Now, if you had happiness here, when you are supposed to be miserable wouldn't that make you doubt the need to follow those rules to attain true happiness.  If you can find it here, simply attaining your desires instead of someone else's rules, why would you look anywhere else?  Let's face it, attaining your desires is no harder than following all the various rules and regulations of the Bible.

Religions are by their very nature a form of control just like government and the law.  Does it have it's place in society?  Certainly.  I follow a strict code of honor in a way I would describe as religious.  I incorporate rules of behavior that I believe should be followed.  Notice all the "I's" in that last sentence?  Religion is also meant to be personal, not communal.  It's about the individuals relationship with the Divine, whatever they may envision that to be.

Should you let your religion guide you in life?  Yes.  But not blindly.  And your religion should guide you and only you.  You shouldn't expect it to guide even a single other person.  Those people don't matter.  Religion is about you and the Divine.  It is personal and subjective.  To expect others to follow your path is a mistake.  Even Christianity tells us to "judge not." 

Religion is about doing what you feel is right.  That's faith.  When you feel deep down inside that something is right.  Faith is not blindly following what your minister, priest, pope, preacher, Bible, Koran, etc. etc. etc. tells you is right.  You must think.  And you must decide all for yourself.  Agree, if that's what you think is right.  But don't follow just because someone has told you it is what you should do.  No one can tell you what is right.  No one except you. 

And that goes in both directions.  If you believe something is right, even if not a single person agrees with you, you must follow your own feelings.  Sure, you could be wrong.  But then again, so could everyone else. 


autumnsavril said...

I think Christianity's take on happiness is, your freedom ends where it hurts someone else.  It's not that it's completely against happiness, it's just that they're strict about how happy you can be without hurting others.

Does that make sense?

Though there have been some historical religiously zealous figures in history who honestly believed we *are* here to suffer.

I don't think any creator is that sadistic.


jhileb said...

exactly.  well done, Robert.  i have nothing to summed it all up without using my traditional "morons" word useage when talking about religion and extremists.

the sad part about squabbles between religions is the basic rules are all about the same.  it's the interpretations and uneducated masses that lead to extremism...unfortunately for us all.

sex in itself is a whole involved topic for me....i'm hard lined in some areas, but very liberal in others.  so basically i have my own interpretations of what's "right" and what's "wrong," but i won't bore you with that.:)

thanks i enjoyed your entry.