Wherever There is Truth, God is its Source: On ‘The Gospel of Happiness’

BC_TheGospelofHappiness_1Book Reflection: The Gospel of Happiness by Christopher Kaczor

Can science and faith work together for the common good? Are the aims of psychology and theology similar in nature? Can psychology illuminate theology and theology support human flourishing as envisioned by psychology?

Christopher Kaczor once saw faith and psychology as inhabiting two different and parallel worlds, with little need for interaction. Both could provide useful insights for human flourishing but their truths remained hermetically sealed from one another. Kaczor changed his mind when he discovered the positive psychology movement, championed by Martin Seligman. He discovered that positive psychology edified Christian truth, and Christian truth fulfilled positive psychology.

In his discovery of the intersection of theology, spirituality, and psychology, Kaczor is reaffirming the wisdom of John’s Gospel and its affirmation that the Logos, Divine Wisdom, moves through all things and enlightens all creation; Jesus’ promise that that he came that we might have abundant life; and the insights of the second century Christians, who proclaimed that wherever truth is found, God is its source. Christian truth and secular truth are part of one dynamic reality, inspired by the creative wisdom of God.

Long ago, Augustine asserted that we are made to seek God and that our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God. Positive psychology studies human flourishing and discovers that resiliency in all the seasons of life emerges from the interplay of belief and behavior. Moreover, the Christian virtues of faith, hope, love, service, thanksgiving, sacrifice, and mission not only bring us closer to God and our neighbor but promote health of body, mind, and spirit.

Kaczor is on the right track philosophically, theologically, scientifically, spiritually, and pragmatically. Our lives are lived as a whole and not piecemeal. We live in one rather than many universes. In the interdependence of life, what is good for the spirit is good for the body and what promotes physical and psychological well-being is good for the spirit. Our incarnational faith as Christians not only allows but encourages us to seek truth wherever it is found. While scientific and psychological movements can become as dogmatic as certain religious viewpoints, faith is stronger when it addresses science with a positive spirit, and science finds perspective when it is open to the spiritual dimensions of life.

The battles between science and religion over the age of the earth and the processes of evolution have hurt Christianity. Conversely, the atheism promoted by a handful of scientists often portrays Christianity and other religious traditions in simplistic ways. Kaczor’s book bridges the gulf between faith and science, and theology and psychology, and achieves the goal of promoting what both fields hold in common, the quest or healing and abundant life.

Read an excerpt from The Gospel of Happiness at the Book Club here!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nixon is Lord

    Religion is so much more boring than science. And, judging by the shrinking demand for degrees in “Divinity”, much less well paid, too.

    • Stephen “Steve” Sponsler

      I’ve done both as a meteorologist – and find ‘The Religion of God’ which is HIs Gospel by far surpasses science – on the other hand the More We Come to Know Him are Fully Known and Grow in Understanding one can appreciate the Science of God that He has given mankind to occupy his mind and to understand the world around us and make the most with it as he teaches himself about the world he has been placed in , which in the end – Glorifies God. Whether men see that or not is something they fail to see. Science cannot find God, but one can see He is responsible for things we can understand through it. Where science fails is due to our own misunderstandings and lack of knowledge.

  • Stephen

    The spirit will lead you into ALL truths….if we let it, open to it…and not box it into one category.

    • James McClymont

      Define “spirit”.

      • Stephen

        I do not define things for other people. Spirit is within, a higher push, towards being better….however big you want it, whether through our thoughts, or from our hearts….pushing towards and gaining knowledge, wisdom. That is what is mine. A God not boxed into a definition.

  • James McClymont

    There is no intersection between faith and science.

    Science requires evidence; Faith requires no evidence.
    Science is, by necessity, limited to natural phenomenon; Faith can be applied to ANYTHING.

  • Stephen “Steve” Sponsler

    There are no real battles before religion and science, those ‘battles’ are between men – on the other hand, I suppose it might depend on how one defines religion – that sort of leaves things open to limitless assumptions – same goes for science. Are we referring to psychology or earth sciences? Psychology is a double edged sword and it’s not the Word of God I’m referring to – if we put the cart before The White Horse it can be a stumbling block – which might well be due to un-Enlightened people seating themselves in high places they don’t belong. But do like the Fact that God is Truth and Love which sums up the title – and Christ is not religion so that sort of becomes a moot point in regard to science.