Epicurus, a third century B.C. Greek philosopher, taught that happiness in life is uninterrupted bodily pleasures, recognizing no obligation to a supreme being or to neighbors. I might extend a sympathetic understanding to Epicurus due to the fact that he lived B.C (before Christ). I have difficulty extending such sympathy to our current society who follow his philosophy.
Our society has developed a worship of reason, responding to our scientific information explosion. We are all witness to incredible computation of data that calculates solutions and skills for overcoming obstacles to our living.
My personal experience of six weeks ago speaks to this. I had hip replacement with a rapid and flawless recovery (Praise God). It would be hard to identify any limitation of my movement today. The last 15 years of my father’s life saw him suffering with the same hip defect (limping in pain). Prudently he avoided the surgery I just had due to its chancy imperfection in his day. My cataract surgery two years ago was a “piece of cake,” performed by the beyond-human perfection of a computer; a drastic contrast to those who spent weeks in recovery a generation ago. My wife’s Nissan auto tells her what’s behind her, if a tire is low, nearly 40 MPG, along with many other amazing advancements. We are all highly impressed with such new technology. However some people are so impressed that they look upon all previous generations as crippled by ignorance and superstitions – crippled by believing in a God instead of the marvels of the human mind.
This growing exaltation of human reason supplants God for many. However, the marvels of human reasoning intelligently demand an even more marvelous Creator of such. The marvels of my wife’s Nissan and my hip replacement are not by accidental chance but by intelligence; consequently neither do the marvels of human mind happen by chance.
History identifies losing faith in God as ultimately bringing a loss of faith in one another. Such faithlessness gradually brings a loss of faith in the future and in one’s own nation. Moral integrity and trustworthiness of godless human beings is never maintained. Without belief in God there is no motivation for love – imposing on self (without reward or recognition) for the service of another.
Our present generation demonstrates great disrespect and loss of faith for the future – casting the cost of it affluent pleasures and war ventures on its children; plunging the future of America in irreconcilable debts.
“Without me you can do nothing” [John 15:5]
May our following of the B.C. Epicurus be replaced by the A.D. (a Domino-after the Lord) Christ.
The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology
firstname.lastname@example.org blog at inspirationsandideas