Lost Virtue of Happiness

Christianity Today offers these comments in review of this book:
Everyone wants happiness, yet this country's record levels of depression, suicide, and general malaise attest to our limited success at achieving it. The problem, according to Moreland and Issler, may be the distorted belief that happiness resides in personal pleasure and self-satisfaction rather than in "a life well lived, a life of virtue and character, a life that manifests wisdom, kindness, and goodness." Read more here.
So what do you think about this whole idea that happiness is something that comes from living well? Do you think that there is a difference between happiness and joy?


  1. Hi Bob,

    I am not sure happiness can be achieved by any means as a goal unto itself and perhaps that is part of the problem. Personally I think happiness, like joy and contentment, are things that just happen to us, often when we least expect it. Once we think we have figured out how to achieve happiness than we are tempted to try to reproduce the same experience but most often are dissatisfied and or disillusioned when we don't achieve the same level of happiness. I'm all for living a life of virtue, character, a life as the authors suggest manifests wisdom, kindness, and goodness, but I don't think happiness ought to be the motivation or goal...but I am also not against seeking personal pleasure, but again, not with the intent that it will make me happy. My personal experience tells me sometimes it will but sometimes it will not...bottom line for me...Happiness is a wonderful experience I cherish and appreciate when it happens but I am not sure there is anything I can do to reproduce it. It's a mystery to me ....

  2. Umm. I'm for happiness. But it's not a virtue. It's a condition. Virtues don't even cause happiness. Feelings of satisfaction cause happiness, and those feelings can come from all sorts of nefarious things. Virtues make your happiness something of which you need not be ashamed.

    Great thought provoker, KB. I don't know that I have ever looked at it like that before.

  3. Happy, transitory. Joy, permanent. Happy, now. Joy, forever. Happy from pleasure. Joy from truth.

    Now I have to go find a good Scripture translation that compares the original and early languages for the two words, since we find "I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord" and "I share my joy with you, so that my joy will be complete" (quoting from memory from hymns not the Bible, so sorry for any imprecision).

    I never knew joy before I truly understood what it meant to live in the Lord. I always was a pretty happy person, but now I'm both happy and joyful.


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