Matt S wrote: I'll take truth over happiness any day of the week. Christianity, though, by it's very nature, is an optimistic view that says there is a reason for being hopeful and joyful.
Nick wrote:I'm delighted to hear that. Maybe there's hope for you yet...
I think this is very important question, not just in connection with whether one should believe in a god, or be a christian, but a question for humanists too.Matt S wrote:Allow me to push you a bit on this point, since you raised it: why, given your view of the world, is truth more important than happiness?
First of all, I think that truth has enabled humans to progress in every conceivable way. Not only is curiosity a natural human instinct, but it has contributed to human happiness by allowing us to address all sorts of problems we,as humans, encounter. To inhibit human curiosity, as christian and other religions have done, by pretending that the answers are already known, is a major drag on human progress. It is also devastating on the happiness of those who are unable, on the evidence available, to believe. I also believe that it is bad for human happiness to propogate lies in the hope that people will be happier, as well as being immoral. It sets up the probability for disappointment, and prevents people from seeking happiness from the world in which they actually live. Happiness is only possible in the long-term through truth.
To take matters a step further, the pursuit of happiness in an interesting question altogether, and one I had previously intended to raise. From an evolutionary point of view, I do not think it is obvious that evolution should have human happiness (both individually and collectively) as a logical outcome. Evolution has, however, brought us to a stage when we can comprehend the concept of happiness, and given us some control over its pursuit.
As a humanist, as a political animal and an amateur economist, I think we should pursue happiness in a more scientific way. IMO, happiness is often achieved in ways not immediately obvious. For example, less can be more, inhibiting short term pleasure can increase long-term happiness, giving can give us greater pleasure than acquisition, removing dangers can make us more reckless and even suicidal and so on. This has enormous implications for religions, education, politics, economics and many other fields.