“For the first time in history it is now possible … to create a world where everybody shall have a reasonable chance of happiness.” — Bertrand Russell
We are now more able than ever to consider whether we are living a happy life.
But one of our guests today – the great Miroslav Volf – reminds us that there is a difference between life going well, which triggers those feelings of happiness… and living life well.
So, what is true happiness – if that’s even the right word – and how do we get it!?
This episode is sponsored by Zondervan’s new book Why I Trust The Bible by William D Mounce.
We’re celebrating our 500,000th download this month – half a million! And so, with the help of our major sponsor, Zondervan, we are giving away a book pack of five of Zondervan’s newest titles. We’ll throw in a copy of my new book Bullies and Saints AND an Undeceptions T-Shirt.
To WIN, all you have to do is leave us a review on Apple Podcasts (what used to be called iTunes), take a pic of the review and send it to us. Producer Kaley will pick the best-written review on October 25 (and I mean ‘best-written’ not necessarily most glowing). So be quick, you’ve got two weeks!
- Read the CNN report about the happiest country in the world for 2021.
- Watch the full report from VICE News on whether Finland is actually that happy. This one’s from 2019 – Finland has been the happiest country in the world for four years running.
- Read a little more from 20th Century philosopher Bertrand Russell on the conquest of happiness from Brain Pickings (one of those websites you’ll get lost in … see you next Tuesday).
- Meet our guest, Miroslav Volf.
- Watch this video chat between Volf and his teacher, Jürgen Moltmann (who John calls “one of the great theologians of the 20th Century)
- Read Flourishing by Miroslav Volf.
- Read this New York Times article, ‘The other side of languishing is flourishing. Here’s how to get there.’
- Languishing, by the way, is the emotion that the NYT reckons may just be the dominant emotion of 2021. Good thing you’ve listened to this episode, then.
- If you want to read more about Asceticism, go here.
- Other Undeceptions episodes mentioned in this ep are:
- Everyday Sacred (Ep 47), where we talk to Andrew Wilson and Tish Harrison Warren about finding God in “stuff”.
- Guilty Conscience (Ep 39), where we speak to Tyler VanderWeele towards the end about the health benefits of forgiveness.
- Mental Health (Ep 38), where we speak to Tyler VanderWeele on the impact of religious communities on mental health.
- Social Capital (Ep 5), where we to Andrew Leigh about the benefits of religious communities not just on individuals but society more generally.
- More on Francis of Assisi here. Or read his writings for yourself, here.
- The Michel Onfray quote, “Religions’ glorification of a fictional beyond prevents full enjoyment of the real here below. They establish death on earth for the sake of eternity in heaven and seek to promote self hatred to the detriment of the body” is from The Atheist Manifesto.
- More on Dionysus, here.
- Meet our next guest, Tyler VanderWeele.
- For an introduction on Aristotle, the Oxford Very Short Introduction series is good.
- Read (or re-read) Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.