23 Mar Happiness and…the wisdom of faith
Happiness comes at least in part from believing in something bigger than yourself; whether it's organised religion or some other form of spirituality, such beliefs are integral to positive constructs such as transcendence, elevation and…happiness.
So, as we head into the weekend, a time which for many is a time of rest, reflection and contemplation, I thought you might find the following article of interest…
The Wisdom Of Faith: What Religion Can Teach Us
by ALAIN DE BOTTON
A survey published in the U.K. in January predicted that within 20 years, the majority of the British population will define themselves as having no religion. In the British isles, religion has become something of a sideshow, even a joke. Remember that this is the land that gave us The Life of Brian. Even the BBC has caught on with a satirical series called Rev., about a hapless comedic clergyman who has no faith but has a strong inclination to be good.
Of all the cultural differences between the old world and the new, this is perhaps the greatest. We think it rude to talk of money or sex: you think it rude to bring up religion. In both cases, at issue is what it might take to tread on sensitivities and cause offense. Euphemisms abound in the U.S.: "Do you come from a large family?" for "Are you Catholic?"
And yet, surveying the bitter religious disputes in the U.S., an outsider like me thinks just one phrase: the Jefferson Bible.
One of your greatest presidents famously tried to overcome the divisions between theism and atheism by rewriting the New Testament — with all the supernatural bits left out. Thomas Jefferson's new version emphasized Jesus' wisdom, ethics and consoling power. In so doing, he appealed to the entire nation, even those of different or no faith at all. It was a move of intellectual deftness which I can appreciate: I was brought up an atheist, and while I still don't believe, I've lost my cynicism. Now I long only for Jefferson's spirit of conciliation.
But where is that spirit now?
Read on HERE to find the answer to that question and more.