Personal Philosophy

Although most of us have probably never bothered to write down our personal philosophy, we all have ideas about how the world operates and how we should go about finding meaning and satisfaction in life. However, without the proper framework for evaluating what is truly meaningful and satisfying, we are bound to be frustrated and disappointed. I believe my philosophy provides a framework for understanding life that is both personally compelling and consistent with objective reality.

I call my philosophy Christian hedonism. (To those who may be suspicious that the term "Christian hedonism" relates to some sort of aberrant approach to Christianity, let me be quick to say that this is not the case. I am merely using this term to highlight a particular way of looking at the Christian life that is completely compatible with an orthodox Christian perspective. Click on Christian hedonism for further justification of this term from a Christian perspective.) This philosophy acknowledges up front that the desire for personal satisfaction and meaning is legitimate; in fact, it claims that this pursuit is inescapable. As Blaise Pascal noted:

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. (Pensees #425)
The problem is not that we pursue our own pleasure; the problem is that we do not pursue it enough! We are too easily satisfied. We settle for a comfortable life, a few friends, and maybe a few short-term thrills. We have become so accustomed to such minimal pleasures that we have lost our capacity for true satisfaction. Only God himself can provide the satisfaction that we were made for.

The satisfaction God offers is first of all the supreme joy of knowing the creator of the universe. God designed us specifically for fellowship with him. As the old Westminster Shorter Catechism states, "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." To seek our highest satisfaction through other avenues is to insult God and to deny who we are -- and ultimately to fail to achieve any lasting satisfaction.

This is the grid through which I look at the world and make my personal decisions (or at least try to!).

This philosophy has implications in a number of areas, including the following:

A very nice overview of Christianity is Why & What: A Brief Introduction to Christianity by Douglas Jones. Written for the non-Christian or new Christian, this booklet aims to outline the challenges and features of the Christian worldview. Beginning by undermining non-Christian outlooks, it traces the Gospel through creation, the Fall, and redemption, along the way discussing such subjects as God's sovereignty, covenants, justification, holiness, and the future.