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Principles of Christian Hedonism

I've just begun rereading John Piper's Desiring God, the "Christian Hedonist" manifesto. This idea (that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him) has been the most influential idea in my life in the past few years. In his own conversion to Christian hedonism, Piper was influenced by the following principle set forth by our good British (oh wait, French?) friend Blaise Pascal in his Pensees:

"All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves."

Piper also cites the following passage from C.S. Lewis' The Weight of Glory to clarify the relationship between this psychological principle and Christianity:

"If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

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"Blaise doth condescend..."

Way to work in the dig at Ben.

And I love the quote from Lewis. One of my favorites.

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