Hedonism Affiliation: This is the philosophy that aims at people pursuing the maximum pleasure they can and minimize the pain as much as possible. Pleasure is taken to an intrinsic good and people can derive it ethically by engaging in many different activities such as dancing, making merry, eating, sleeping, laughing, relaxing on holidays and various others ways of deriving pleasure. It is an old concept started by a student of Socrates known as Aristippus of Cyrene. Sense experiences are immediate and individual and hence very personal even if they are shared. Pleasure or the pursuit of it motivates people to behave in the way they do. This school of thought also insists that pain is intrinsically not valuable to people and hence people should seek as maximum pleasure as they can to cover up the pain that is not valuable to them (Weston, 2011).
Hedonism from the Christianity point of view draws mixed reactions and explanations. There are those that insists that hedonism is a secular philosophy which encourages people directly or indirectly to engage in materialism as well as immoral behavior all in the aim of seeking to maximize pleasure to cover up the pain. The definition of hedonism in the modern times is also different from what it was during the times it was being formulated. Pleasure seeking in modern times is heavily filled with sexual connotations and actions.
The younger people especially think that the only way to gain maximum pleasure to mask the pain that they may be undergoing
in their lives is to go to wild erotic parties filled with a lot of drinking and smoking illegal substances such as heroin and cocaine as well as engage in group sex and unprotected sex. This definition of seeking maximum pleasure is what the Christians are against as it goes against the will and teachings of God of remaining faithful and seeking pleasure that does not go against his many commands.
There are examples in the bible of great men of God who were also leaders who in their pursuit of happiness found themselves going against God’s commands. An example is Adam and Eve who ate the forbidden fruit simply because the serpent told them that they would be wise and this would give them pleasures of life but this pursuit of pleasure led to them being removed from the garden of Eden and left to fend for themselves by toiling the earth. King David’s pursuit of earthly pleasures led him to take Uriah’s wife, Jezebel taking the poor man’s vineyard and even Judas Iscariot selling away Jesus for a few coins.
The commonality with all the above mentioned people is that in their pursuit of pleasure, they went against the teachings of God but they later realized their mistakes and the consequences was the same pain they were trying to overcome through pleasure. What this means is that Christianity allows pursuit of pleasure if it is according to the teachings and commands of God and not against (Geisler, 2010). The secular hedonism is against and hence not encouraged to be pursued.
Geisler, N. (2010). Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options. Michigan: Baker Academic.
Weston, A. (2011). A Practical Companion to Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press.