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Pursuit of Happiness March 12, 2007

Posted by Cobus in Movies, theology.

storbakken , thanx for the comment of a sabbatical, maybe that’s exactly what I needed. But I wan’t to get back to blogging, maybe not this week, but within the next couple of days. For now, some thoughts on this happiness thing.

We went to see pursuit of happiness over the weekend. Touching story, how many of us have ever really gotten to the point where we knew that if we don’t get money today, we simply won’t eat? And having to know that if I don’t get money today, my kid won’t have anything to eat…

Anyhow, as the movie goes along, he gets to different point saying stuff like “this part of my life is called ‘running'”, of “this part of my life is called ‘stupid'”, or ‘riding the bus’ or some other things. And then when he finally gets the job, he ends of saying “this part of my life is called ‘happiness'”.

I had to read John Stuart Mill on Untilitarianism for engineering ethics this past few weeks. This is what is called the greatest happiness principal, and comes down to : one must always act so as to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Now, if I understood the critique correctly, then some said that this cannot work, because it is unatainable. If I understood Mill correctly his counter-argument was that it’s not about a life completely without pain, where we are permanently happy, but that in this life that has  a lot of suffering and struggles, striving for those moments of happiness.

And then, lastly, I got the opportunity last week to work with one of my Greek lecturers on some research on James 1:2-3 over the next few months. He is of opinion that most translations translate it wrong, and that the idea should rather be that although there are suffering, we should be happy about the growth that comes from it, not happy about the suffering as some translations read. But, if I come onto some interesting stuff, I’ll let you know.

Why am I writing this? The movie got me thinking, the philosophy gave me the words for what I wanted to say, and in the end, I believe this the way the Bible talks about this as well. Many times Christians have this idea that as Christians we should always be happy, that we are not alowed to be depressed, not allowed to get to a point where we feel that we cannot go further. That complete happiness is attainable in this life. That we should even be glad about the bad things that happen, because “God is in control” or for whatever reason.

Reality is. This world is a hard place. This world has a lot of suffering. how can we be happy about suffering? About bad things happening? The authors of the Bible knew this reality as well. As I read it, it’s more a thing of knowing that God will be there in suffering, than being happy about bad things happening.



1. Annemarie - March 12, 2007

God will always be there. Through good and bad, happy and sad. I think that people should remember that God wants to fulfill the desires of your heart, and that He will walk with you through the difficult times (and better).

The pursuit of happiness, I think, starts with the pursuit of God. God is love, love is happiness. So when we pursue to live a holy love filled with God’s grace, we are busy pursueing happiness. Well, at least that’s what I believe. But the pursuit isn’t easy. Difficulty will come, but God will always be there. Always

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