I Am Far More Hedonistic Than You

8 Feb

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines the word hedonism as the following:

he•don•ism (noun)

the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.
• the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.

And so as such, the common misconception that people have had of Christianity (albeit a well-deserved misconception) is that Christianity is boring and antithetical to hedonism; that Christians don’t pursue “pleasure” and the “satisfaction of desires.”

Oh, how wrong have people (including Christians) gotten it!  If anything, Christians are the hedonists of all hedonists because we seek after the pleasure and satisfaction that will never fade (unlike the false promises of pleasure that the meager things of this world have to offer.)

Here’s an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ sermon from 1941, The Weight of Glory:

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith.

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

In addition, John Piper, in the vein of Jonathan Edwards and C.S. Lewis, offers this far-better alternative to second-rate, worldly hedonism:

Chris•tian he•don•ism (noun)

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. We all make a god out of what we take the most pleasure in. Christian Hedonists want to make God their God by seeking after the greatest pleasure—pleasure in him.

By Christian Hedonism, we do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. We mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end. We should pursue this happiness, and pursue it with all our might. The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy you cannot love man or please God.

Here’s a video clip from DG to drive home the point:

I am far more hedonistic than you. Something to think about.


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