Happiness & Suffering

Discover how happiness affects our view of ourselves, our purpose in life, and why God allows suffering.

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What is the key to happiness? Is it enough to maximize pleasure and avoid pain? If so, why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow us to suffer? If not, what does it mean to be happy? Discover this and more as we explore the relationship between purpose, happiness, and suffering.

1. The Four Levels of Happiness

Aristotle noted at the beginning of the Nicomachean Ethics that happiness is the one thing you can choose for itself — everything else is chosen for the sake of happiness.

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2. Escaping Your Personal Hell

In the article on the “Four Levels of Happiness” (on this landing page), we indicated that one of the levels of happiness would become dominant in our lives.

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4. Who is God? The Father of the Prodigal Son

For Jesus, the heart of God (who God is) is more important than the attributes of God (what God is).

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3. Science, Medicine, and Near Death Experiences

I cite the evidence of near-death experiences with caution, because there are many books written on this subject that are not scientific or based on any clinical, cross-cultural, long term study, but rather on a few anecdotes taken to the extreme.

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5. Getting Started on Prayer – Spontaneous Prayers

Readers who are familiar with the Four Levels of Happiness will recognize that ultimate happiness can only occur through the satisfaction of our desires for perfect truth, love, justice (goodness), beauty, and home (see the free video and article on the Four Levels of Happiness.

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6. Suffering, Love, and Eternal Life

Suffering can be a tremendous opportunity – if we view it within the context of love and eternal life.

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7. Why Would a Loving God Allow Suffering?

In view of what has been said about the unconditional love of God and His redemption of suffering, one might ask the questions, why would God have allowed suffering to occur in the first place?

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Related Articles

The relationship between religion and happiness.

Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempts

Few studies have investigated the association between religion and suicide either in terms of Durkheim’s social integration hypothesis or the hypothesis of the regulative benefits of religion. The relationship between religion and suicide attempts has received even less attention.

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Are religious people happier people?

The link between religion and various psychological states has been the subject of many social scientific studies, many of which have found a connection between self-reported happiness and religious practices.

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Supporting Materials

Happiness!

Discover how happiness affects our view of ourselves, the choices we make, our purpose in life, and also why God allows suffering.

Explore all our free resources:  Slide deck Presentations in PDF format, and Teacher’s Resource Manual with: detailed lesson plans, prayers, handouts, assessments, additional activities, video clips, and more, all which can be used in a variety of settings and time frames.

You can also get  the 7 episodes on DVD, where you can encounter the major ideas and principles underlying your happiness – as well as its two related issues – transcendent eternal life and the purpose of suffering. This combo pack includes: Happiness, the Series – 7 Episode video series, Happiness, the Workbook

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