Religions are supposed to breed happiness. Why do they not do that?

by SpannerintheWorks 24 Replies latest jw friends

  • demar

    First of all lets define religion. Religion is mans way of trying to reach God on his own merit. While true christianity(which is faith in Christ)teaches God reached down to man and has accomplished everything himself. Love and happiness is only found in truth. We experience shame because we know we are guilty of living on our own terms. Thats why no matter how good you try to live you always feel like it's not good enough, and your right. Without Christ all religions are the same. They all lead to God in judgement. Jesus said,"happy is the man who hears my words and obeys." No man can ever experience true happiness and joy apart from Christ.

  • Kaethra

    "No man can ever experience true happiness and joy apart from Christ." (as per demar)

    hmmm...funny how much that sounds like no one in "the world" of non-jws can ever experience true happiness and joy.

    So demar, no Buddhists, or Hindus, or Jews, or Taoists, or god-forbid! atheists can ever experience true happiness and joy, huh?

  • Skeptic
    Religions are supposed to breed happiness. Why do they not do that?

    The answer is simple: no one thing can guarantee happiness.

    Religion is one of many things that promote unhappiness by trying to provide the answers to life by giving one-size-fits-all rules. Real life is not so convenient.

    Also, I have seen religions breed happiness. One of my friends used to be a drug-addicted hooker. She found Jesus and is now off the streets, drug-free, and married to a nice fellow. She is still poor as a church mouse, but she is most definitely happy. She is a very beautiful woman inside and out; her husband is lucky to have her.

    When I was born-again, I met another former hooker, taken off the streets after finding Jesus. I think she was a former drug addict as well. I don't know her at all, she visited our church group and gave her experiences.

    My first girlfriend was the former town slut, now reformed after finding Jesus as well. The self-respect she gained has also given her much happiness. Alas, when I had my chance to give her my virginity, I had to decline; I knew she would hate herself afterwards. What I hated was many of her former lovers would tell me how lucky I was and how hot she was in bed and what they did together. Part of it was wanting her past to stay in the past; part of it was envy that I would not be tasting the fine wine of her sexuality.

    I know former thieves, drug-addicts, adulterers etc. who straighten out their lives after becoming a born-again or a JW. Some people are so down that even a cult can dramatically improve their life.

    Religion attracts all kinds of people. Some are happier because religion meets their need to worship God while allowing them a normal life.


  • Skeptic

    demar, I did that and found Christianity wanting in many respects. What you say is just assertions.

    Love and happiness is only found in truth.

    I agree.

    We experience shame because we know we are guilty of living on our own terms.

    Nope. I stopped feeling ashamed and guilt-filled once I started living on my own terms.

    Thats why no matter how good you try to live you always feel like it's not good enough, and your right.

    No, that is because I am human, and because of my personality type. And because of a perfectionist father and because of the Christian faith. And you know what? Often I know I live "good enough". Especially considering the conditions I have had to live under.

    You know there is something wrong when God thinks you are not good enough from the day you are born. And the problem is not with the newborn, it is with God. How can a baby less than a minute old be sinful? What is so sad is that Christians teach children that they are not good enough in God's eyes. Can you say "recipe for low self-esteem"? A co-worker pulled his young kids out of children because the Church had them say they were a sinner in need of being saved. He knew that was not healthy for them. I agree.

    No man can ever experience true happiness and joy apart from Christ.

    False. I have many times. So have many others. And I know many Christians who do not experience true happiness and joy. Please don't pull out the tired "then they are not really a Christian" card.


  • anti-absolutist


    Your point of how we are nothing without Christ, is a RELIGIOUS teaching, not a Christian teaching. Christ, (whether he was the son of God or not), taught that we don't have to think that we are sinners, always lowering our personalities into the guilt complex that scully and James Thomas spoke of, didn't he? That's what I get from it anyway.


    I can't say that I can relate to being born again, but your points are valid.


  • bebu

    Where did this statement come from? I’ve never heard of this idea before, that religion is supposed to breed happiness. I’ve heard variations on it, though, all patently false as well, like "Christianity is supposed to make you happy" or even "God is supposed to make you happy." Ummm, is there a verse in the Bible I’m unaware of that states this? It might be near, "Godliness is next to cleanliness"... ( Or, it might be near "he who laughs last, thinks the slowest.")

    I think we are not to pursue happiness, from a Christian point of view. We are to pursue holiness, and if we do that, joy is a natural by-product. Holiness is spiritual health, as GOD defines it--not me.

    Joy and happiness are different things to me. It seems like splitting hairs, maybe, but happiness is usually related to circumstance, and it fades when the circumstances change. Joy has deeper roots, and it looks farther than current circumstances to a Reality.

    E.g., When Paul and Barnabas were flogged and jailed, they sang. They believed in the reality--historical reality--of the resurrection of Jesus, and they realized that no matter what happened to them on earth, they were overcomers with Christ. Flogging shouldn't make anyone happy--but they had joy, --I've personally met with folks from Romania, China, Uganda, and Ethiopia who've spent years in prison--but were extremely joyful people. It is a miracle.

    I think that some ideas about original sin are twisted. This situation is like a genetic birth defect, and it isn't the child's fault that s/he has this condition. But it is a serious and real condition nonetheless. Doctors can perform operations to correct spina, and an infant's life is saved. The parents act to save the child, without waiting for the child to grow up so they can explain what the whole problem is.

    Likewise, I personally believe that the death of Christ cancelled out original sin and completely prevents judgment on this basis, as we did not choose this condition. God is glad to give grace and mercy, and Jesus said that the Kingdom of God belongs to the childlike.

    I have a darling 3-year old, who unfortunately has a bit of a temper. Yes, she has a sin nature, like me. She isn't old enough to understand right or wrong very well; I'm usually quite patient with her--so, how could God be less patient with her than I am?? He is my model; I'm not His model.

    ...Teaching kids that they are NOT sinners is actually teaching a false reality. It isn't a put-down of a child. When our own kids do wrong, we tell them to apologize. We teach them to forgive others. We remind them that God forgave them, and their own healing is in forgiving others. Refusing to accept that sin exists in kids doesn't fix anything.

    ...The only real issue is for those old enough to make choices to decide between submitting to God or keeping on as captain of their souls. However that choice is presented in an individual's life. It is impossible for a person who doesn't know what the choices are to go and pretend to be ignorant.

    LK 12:47 "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. [48] But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

    I trust that God will be perfectly merciful to those who will accept it. I am not at all worried about little children--anywhere in the world, at any time. It’s older people—and me in particular—I pray for.


  • Abaddon
    Religions are supposed to breed happiness. Why do they not do that?

    Are they? That ain't in any dictionary definition of religion I have seen, here's Mirriam Webster's;

    Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&n
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at RELY
    Date: 13th century
    1 a : the state of a religious religion

    > b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
    2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
    3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
    4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
    - re·li·gion·less adjective

    Given that religions by definition have nothing to do with happiness, your expectation of religions being something that breeds happiness is what seems to be at fault.


    First of all lets define religion. Religion is mans way of trying to reach God on his own merit.
    Is it? Not in the dictionary! You're entitled to your own opinion,not your own facts. Again, you're ascribing to religion something personal, which is fine, but you can't then assume that this applies to everyone.
  • SpannerintheWorks


    Are you saying that if an emotion is not contained within a dictionary's definition of a thing, then it is illogical for that emotion to be

    expected whilst experiencing it?


  • LittleToe

    I love Francois and Abaddon's points, in this post.

    I'll repeat what I've said so many times, that IMHO religion may be used as a stepping stone to a personal relationship with God. Once that relationship has been found / formed, however, it can then become a very slippery and dangerous stepping stone indeed.

    I "found God" in my living room (I also found that He was never lost in the first place). I now usually attend a local church, but I (and they, funnily enough) place much more emphasis on the personal than the corporate.

    I would also like to add that the foregoing is merely my opinion.

  • greven

    Why don't they breed happiness?

    Easy: because they are not designed to do so. They are designed to control people, to bring them into conformity. It is designed with organisation in the focal point, not the individual. That is also what makes it ideal to use as a vehicle for political power. Religion already controls the people, so controlling religion is tempting indeed. Imagin the power when you can control what people believe and think! Remember the Dark Ages!


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