Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I've lived in a community for the past five years that holds an inherent hostility toward the concept of happiness.

These statements are common:

"God has not called us to be happy, He's called us to be obedient."

"The world tells us to do whatever it takes to be happy, and that leads to nothing but destruction!"

and my personal favorite:

"Anyone can be happy, but only Christians have joy!"

By favorite, I mean it makes me want to throw furniture.

I genuinely don't understand why people don't simply do what they want and choose to be happy. There is this spiritualization of unfortunate circumstances, of suffering, and of being in distress and being broken that simply doesn't make sense. If God is truly the creator of humanity, then why must we be miserable to live how he created us to?

And again, to the forefront of the conversation comes depravity. The constant fallback of the religious person that brings forth excessive amounts of guilt in the name of spirituality. Think about it: if everything wrong in the world, if everything we do wrong is because of our depravity, and if we are terminally broken, then there is always something for us to feel guilty about. Because we're depraved, and can do nothing right.

It is at this point that the redeeming power of Christ is brought into the conversation, but if that is so, then why speak of depravity at all? If Christ has truly made us holy and able to do right, then why are we talking about how we're unhappy because of our depravity?

There is no question, at least in my mind, that humanity is broken in some way. In fact, ironically enough, religion is the first thing I think of when I think of how broken humanity is. We sense that there is a God, and then destroy ourselves trying to reach out to Him. And then we complain about being broken. What insanity!

The question, then, is must we remain broken? Is the solution to all of this fervent prayer about everything we don't really know the answer to, or should we move forward and do what we want to do, and truly "Love God, and do what we will?"

Furthermore, why is it that Christians claim to be so entirely special, and then do nothing but demonstrate how confused and messed up their "special knowledge" makes them? It seems to me that over-spiritualizing things and being so against "the world" does nothing but allow us to live functionally with some degree of calm, most of the time, while masking over the real problem: we're not thinking about anything we do.

What if happiness is something God wants us to have? What if, if we live how we're made to, that will make us happy?

What if the problem isn't happiness, it's how everyone thinks of it? The religious person abuses himself, the religious rebel indulges in simple pleasures mindlessly, and both are mastered by something unworthy. We've ceased to be self-aware critical thinkers and have become dependent on organizations, people, or substances to dictate who we are. How sadly pathetic. And then I'm asked why I oppose structuralism.

I propose that it's silly to be anything but a unique individual, and in being a unique individual we will find happiness, because that is what we are made to be. In doing this, we will not align completely with any organization or become entirely devoted to or mastered by any one thing, except for one: the Truth. In Truth, there is happiness.

But I'm just an idealist. Welcome to my blog. Enjoy Cognitive Dissonance.


  1. Disclaimer: If repeat anything u said later in ur post I am sorry, but I got to a point in my reading that I just could not read anymore and had to post a response. I did not get pass your opening paragraph b4 I wanted to through furniture bc I think u have a presupposition that goes against the idea behind what the people that u are quoting mean. Understandable misconception, but a misconception to say the least. This question of happiness for these individuals has nothing to do with the fallen nature of man persay, but rather to do with tthe idea of contentment. Is this achieveable? I and I hope u would agree with me to say that only through the daily empowerment of the holy Spirit true contentment is achieved, right? Any other kind of contentment, or happiness as u might call it, is false or a delusion not bc of what an individual may feel,but bc their feelings r not real but that person's particular feelings are real, but are not based on something that does truly reflects reality. The people u are quoting say what they say with this presupposition. That changes the paradigm bc How do Christians achieve happiness? Through obedience to the truths found in scripture. Thus yes we are really called to obedience first and happiness is really something produced by that obedience to the word of God or the true reflection of reality. This happiness if built upon leads to a a deeper happiness called Joy thus if we are obentient and dilligent to repent when we fail, as we inevaitable will, but we are still content with our overall circumstances I could say that Christians are meant for joy and not merely happiness. There are layers, contextualization that I think u are ignoring here bc you tired and rightfully so of people constantly judging another person's level of contentment,joy, or happiness and if they judge that person to satisfied when they think they should be striving for more they become critical of that person. The same can happen if someone observes someone else they think should be more happy,but that person is disatisfied with their personal circumstances bc they think they could be better. And instead of encourageing that person the first critizes the second for not having enough faith or something like that. That is frustrating, but that in of itself does not negate the true of the above quotes it just means both of us have to deal with fallen people that cannot be happy themselves or allow others to be happy in their own way. Sorry dude. I mean I agree with the assesment of the misconduct,but not ur assestment of the quotes in ur opening paragraph.

  2. Who are you my friend?

    You are correct in pointing out the presupposition that I "missed." What I think you would've seen had you read my entire post is that I oppose the presupposition you just outlined. I do not believe contentment comes from "obeying Scripture," whatever that means, or from merely following the leading of the holy spirit. Since this is a difficult place to further our interaction, let me ask you a question.

    Please, outline this difference between contentment and happiness for me, and be sure that what I say is happiness (at the end of my post) is not what you're talking about in the first place.

    I can not interact with your comment further as you are proceeding under assumptions made from reading half of the thoughts I've posted here.

  3. Its me Nate Tuck. I would only clarify that I think that contentment means, for u, or an individual their level of comfort with how they are able meet the expectations that they see in scripture that they struggle with or observe others struggling with and how they allow that to effect them. U still need to respond and assess critizism,but always with a grain of salt and rely more on the leading of the Holy spirit in ur emotions as reflected in ur reading of scripture. The same goes for if u fine urself uncomfortable with that level of consistency with what u claim to personal believe about how scripture applies to u in ur unique circumstance.We are not to always be discouraged or discouraging,but hopeful through the support of scripture and others in the church body. Does not always happen that way but that is the ideal we are to seek after, I think. Does that clarify what I mean by contentment or happiness? And I do apologize if I jumped the gun its just I saw a line of thinking and I thought it was unfair and had to post about it specifically. Sorry, dude. I will read the rest of ur post now and give u a response if required in a minute. Thanks dude for considering what I said. Love reading your posts and responses do keep posting stuff. "Never give up! Never surrender!"

  4. Okay now that I have read ur full post I would ask u when diod u and John Piper have such a meeting of the minds to echo each other so clearly? But Amen too most ,if not all, of what u wrote . Sorry, about my comments before, however, its just I saw where ur post could have turned into a unconstructive bitching session and rolled my eyes and wrote something. Sorry. I am just tried of rants of reverse legalism from lots other people and I unfairly ass-umed.(Un-Oh!) That was what u were going to talk about. But overall thank you for ur comments. "He most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him." As he created us to be I might add to flesh out the point. I apologize once again for my gun jumping Dan.


  5. Moving furniture is important!

  6. When I read this post, I am reminded of the Great Commission at the end of Matthew's gospel - "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
    I must ask of the Christian community how we are supposed to fulfill that if we are feeling depraved and miserable in our spiritual walk with the Lord. Jesus came to not only be crucified but to take upon himself all the sin of this world. It helps me to know that my Heavenly Father sees me as someone precious and worthy in His sight, through the blood of Jesus - not someone who is consumed with her unworthiness and depravity. My Heavenly Father doesn't see me like that anymore - why should I?
    Throwing furniture? What a concept!