We’re big fans of C.S. Lewis here at PubTheo, so when a version of the above quote found its way onto our social media feed it immediately stood out as the basis for one of our conversations. The full quote is from Lewis’ book Mere Christianity and reads as follows:
“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history— money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery— the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”
There’s some context here which is important to consider. It comes from a chapter titled “The Shocking Alternative.” That chapter follows Lewis’ discussion of humankind’s attempts to do things, like find meaning and happiness in their lives, on their own, without looking to God or God’s power.
With that in mind, it’s worth having a conversation about the things that make us happy, and the ways we have in the past, and continue today, to pursue happiness. As Americans, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are ingrained in us as fundamental rights.
First of all, what does happiness mean to you? Is it the same thing as fulfillment? Can we be happy if we are unfulfilled? Can we be fulfilled if we aren’t also happy? So what makes us happy? What are the healthy and perhaps unhealthy ways we have pursued happiness? And what do you make of Lewis’ seeming claim that seeking our happiness outside of God is a path that leads to misery, if not for ourselves, than for others? In short, can we find real happiness without God?
Join us for the conversation tomorrow evening, Tuesday Nov. 28. The discussion begins at 7pm at Casa Real in downtown Oxford.