Are Religions Hedonistic?
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01-10-2011, 09:01 PM
Are Religions Hedonistic?
I raised this issue at a Theosophical Society meeting yesterday and was not given an answer of any sort.

Here, I will stick to Christianity and suggest that an element of hedonism may be part and parcel of how some Christians view their religion.
Can one assume that some Christians may want 'eternal' life or, perhaps more fairly, the opportunity to move onwards within eternity---rather than extinction.
Surely there could be no desire more hedonistic than the desire to live forever.


From a fundamentalist Christian perspective it appears there are two options---
Hell or Heaven (maybe Purgatory too!)


Does it not seem the case that as individual entities, in a one time scenario, (Christianity originally taught reincarnation) impossible for everyone to be tested fairly: and secondly, for those capable of considering such issues, highly egocentric and hedonistic to feel themselves worthy of living forever and ever ad infinitum?
In other words the mechanics of Christian (alleged) salvation seems completely disjointed relevant to our abilities to percieve the world. Angel
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02-10-2011, 02:37 PM
RE: Are Religions Hedonistic?
Christianity is a religion that preaches carrot and stick morality. However, there is a way out of hedonism for the christian. If they say that good is inherently good, and needs no justification, but that God rewards the good anyway, then they're fine. They're doing good for it's own sake, not just for the reward at the end.

If on the other hand, the christian attempts to old "Why be good without god?" argument, then either they don't understand what they are saying, or they are a bunch of hedonists out solely for a reward.

Wanting eternal life, etc... isn't hedonistic in and of itself. All humans want things, and you'll find very few humans who wouldn't want to be rich and powerful. The problem comes when the religious persons act solely in the interest of their eternal soul, with no concern for goodness beyond what they can get out of it.
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02-10-2011, 03:19 PM
RE: Are Religions Hedonistic?
I don't quite understand your question. I'm reviewing the definition of hedonism here..."pleasuer is the only intrinsic good"...."pleasure or happiness is the sole good in life"...a life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure....

Well then I'd certainly say xtianity is one step away. Since you're supposed to be good & sacrifice now, during this short life, so you can experience an eternity of joy & all good things in heaven. A life devoted to good behavior, so you can get an eternity of hedonism. I would be more impressed if the post life choices were - hell, or simply evaporating into nothingness.

I've always thought xtianity is colossally egotistical. There's a being with power & reach greater than you can ever imagine, he made everything in the universe just by thinking it, but when I pray, me - one tiny human in all the expanse of time & space & creation, here among billions of others, he listens to me. And helps me find my car keys. Because that's how important I am.

This has always annoyed me. Humility? What? Where?

Every time you say you don't believe, Jesus rips the wings off a fairy. - SkepticalParenting.com
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02-10-2011, 07:52 PM (This post was last modified: 02-10-2011 08:05 PM by Mr Woof.)
RE: Are Religions Hedonistic?
(02-10-2011 02:37 PM)Sines Wrote:  Christianity is a religion that preaches carrot and stick morality. However, there is a way out of hedonism for the christian. If they say that good is inherently good, and needs no justification, but that God rewards the good anyway, then they're fine. They're doing good for it's own sake, not just for the reward at the end.

If on the other hand, the christian attempts to old "Why be good without god?" argument, then either they don't understand what they are saying, or they are a bunch of hedonists out solely for a reward.

Wanting eternal life, etc... isn't hedonistic in and of itself. All humans want things, and you'll find very few humans who wouldn't want to be rich and powerful. The problem comes when the religious persons act solely in the interest of their eternal soul, with no concern for goodness beyond what they can get out of it.

Yes I appreciate your point Sines; I agree that if a person attempts to be genuinely good (and goodness is often hard to define) using the less offensive bits of religion, in order to make things better here on earth, for all, then they are pursuing a sound approach. As for hedonism and eternal life, I suppose how you viewed that situation would be highly relevant.
(02-10-2011 03:19 PM)EvilMomLady Wrote:  I don't quite understand your question. I'm reviewing the definition of hedonism here..."pleasuer is the only intrinsic good"...."pleasure or happiness is the sole good in life"...a life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure....

Well then I'd certainly say xtianity is one step away. Since you're supposed to be good & sacrifice now, during this short life, so you can experience an eternity of joy & all good things in heaven. A life devoted to good behavior, so you can get an eternity of hedonism. I would be more impressed if the post life choices were - hell, or simply evaporating into nothingness.

I've always thought xtianity is colossally egotistical. There's a being with power & reach greater than you can ever imagine, he made everything in the universe just by thinking it, but when I pray, me - one tiny human in all the expanse of time & space & creation, here among billions of others, he listens to me. And helps me find my car keys. Because that's how important I am.

This has always annoyed me. Humility? What? Where?
Hi E.M.L.
You sound a bit like a disillusioned ex Christian.
As for what you say about Hell, perhaps eternal life would be about growing more and more and learning new and better cosmic values as well as pleasures.
I agree with you that the loving personal god scenario is a gross simplification in regards to how any real god? of the universe might possibly be. Huh
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02-10-2011, 09:47 PM
RE: Are Religions Hedonistic?
Im not sure if this what you were trying to get at, but an aspect I dislike in the extreme about christians, is the attitude that god will bless, you and all the good things that happen you are due to god blessing you, hence, and I have come across this many times, money, health, the 'good' life at all a sign of you being on the right side of god, and all those poor people,people who have health problems, money problems, or have the misfortune to be born in the wrong place. well its their fault for not following god (the right one we should say).

I want for myself what I want for every women, absolute equality. Agnes Macphail
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03-10-2011, 12:50 AM
RE: Are Religions Hedonistic?
(02-10-2011 09:47 PM)Blythe Wrote:  Im not sure if this what you were trying to get at, but an aspect I dislike in the extreme about christians, is the attitude that god will bless, you and all the good things that happen you are due to god blessing you, hence, and I have come across this many times, money, health, the 'good' life at all a sign of you being on the right side of god, and all those poor people,people who have health problems, money problems, or have the misfortune to be born in the wrong place. well its their fault for not following god (the right one we should say).

Yep, what you say certainly seems to apply to many tele-evangelists who have been, and still are, being heavily funded by their clients.

The point I was really making was that some Christians may try to act, at times in a decent and ethical manner through fear of missing out on eternal life. Only about 9% according to one survey (if that means anything.) Most atheists dont have this problem.

I also agree that in some instances certain churches look up to the well heeled and down on the poor, but not all.Angel
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