Every Joy on Earth is an Inkling, a Whisper of a Greater Joy

We think that our greatest problem is pain and suffering. Indeed, it can be gut-wrenching, but it’s not our biggest problem. Our problem is that we have achieved what we thought would make us happy, and yet we remain unsatisfied. G. K. Chesterton observed that weariness does not come from being weary of pain but from being weary of pleasure. We’ve tried everything we can try in life, and still we are restless.

Deep within the human heart throbs an undying hope that somebody or something will bring a way to retain the wonder of living a fully alive, multisensory life experience, even in the pain and who will not disappoint. The presence of wealth is no protection against the ravages of the soul. Emptiness still stalks the rich, loneliness still haunts the icon, and disappointment still casts its shadow amidst the cheers under the spotlight (Zacharias), and the “liberated new atheist” is no more satisfied than the least informed Christian Theist.

Oscar Wilde was a literary genius – a poet, playwright, novelist, and critic. I have a book of quotations taken from his works. He was one sharp guy. Born in 1854, he won scholarships and was educated in Britain’s best schools. He had earned lots of money and traveled around the world. Yet, at life’s end at the age of forty-six, he died bankrupt and broken with no self-respect due to poor homosexual moral choices he made.

He says “I ruined myself…” He talked about the notoriety and natural gifts that had been given him. “…But I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease… Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in the search of a new sensation… I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me… I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has some day to cry aloud on the housetop… I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace.”

I think we have learned to deal with pain and suffering. What has mastered us though, are these long periods of “senseless and sensual ease” and yet we are not satisfied. Questions of pain and suffering will always plague mankind until the New Creation. But an even greater question is “Why do we remain unsatisfied among blessing and plenty?”

The reason we remain unsatisfied is because we have made a mistake in what we thought would satisfy. Every joy on earth is an inkling, a whisper of a greater joy, but they are not ends in themselves. All of our pleasures point to a Pleasure-Giver. Our life-long nostalgia is a longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we feel cut off. And that something is actually a Someone. Until He becomes our greatest pleasure, pain and suffering will still perplex and long periods of sensual ease will be our psuedo-joy. We are far too easily pleased when infinite joy is offered.

C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not mean the universe is a fraud…earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing (The Quotable Lewis).”

The Hedonistic Paradox states that true pleasure is a by-product of a greater pleasure. Until God is our greatest pleasure, unsatisfied senseless and sensual ease will be the lines along which our story moves. All those who refuse or deny God His existence relegate themselves to only the whispers or echoes of a Voice of the One who eventually provides the ultimate fulfillment of all sensory delight.

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3 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Christian Worldview, Hedonistic Paradox, Pleasure, Suffering, Theism, Theodicy, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Every Joy on Earth is an Inkling, a Whisper of a Greater Joy

  1. aforcier

    joey,

    happiness. it’s a tough nut to crack.

    it is the most commonly search piece of merchandize in the world. to be happy. to feel good. to feel worthty. when we look at the world we are confronted by a sea of miserable people running desperatly to find happiness. (you cite a few desperadoes yourself.)

    we have been drilled by religion that happiness is not of this world. we have to wait till heaven. and churches make the most of telling people that they are but lowly worms slithereing in the dust of the earth. the “sinner” syndrome is not condusive to happiness. nor is religion induced guilt. (no one has killed god.) and the other syndrom: the delaid satisfaction preached by those who have too much to those who have nothing.)

    we have grown used to want someone or something to bring us happiness. a god. a person. an object. a trip. we have ask, we demand to be served. with much adoo. with much devotion. with much adulation. otherwise. i criticize. i bitch. i complain. i give no tip. i give no raise. i send the kids to bed. (i recieve no happiness)

    (happiness is like going to the bathroom, we have to go by ourself, for ourself.) happiness is of ourselves.

    happiness is inherent to “life”. to life itself. life as we live it. as it passes. as we sense it passing. we all have the capacity for happiness. for as long as we exist… we are of life.

    but we have to initiate the process, from within, ourselves. and we can.

    be happy.

    nice to talk to you again.

    http://www.ANaturalPhilosophy.com

  2. Happiness and joy. They are choices we make, yes. However, joy is only joy when it’s shared. Until it is shared, can it be called true joy?

    We are made in the image of God so, no need to “slither along” unworthy of any good thing. That’s not what life is about. We are reflections of something, Someone very great. This makes us very valuable. But, one must be honest with the present human condition. There is good in the worst of us and evil in the best of us. Christian Theism is real with that.

  3. aforcier

    you’re right joey. joy is shared. for joy is the result of a connection. with a ray of light. looking at green grass. the scent of a rose, a morning sunrise. it is us – being – alive. where we are. as we are. and acknowledging it. (this allows even the “alone” person a life filled with joy.

    now we can add people we love and who love us.

    the present human condition is the way of nature. we have the ability to acheive great things and the ability to descend into great chaos. that is our choice as human beings. as a society.

    but, as we follow these two paths we tend to see ourselves as doing good. it is why, every day, men, women, and children are shredded from their lives in volleys of “rightheous” bullets and and bombs.

    refusing to know “what” we are perpetuates the carnage. one day a god will make us better. false.

    prevention comes from knowledge.

    http://www.ANaturalPhilosophy.com

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