Q. What do you hope folks will gain from reading The Gospel of Happiness?
First, I hope readers become happier! We all want happiness, and The Gospel of Happiness provides empirical evidence for what does and does not deliver on the promise of human flourishing. I also hope readers find an encouragement for faith. I found much evidence in psychology for the wisdom of the teachings of Jesus encouraging forgiveness, service, prayer, gratitude, and hope. Thirdly, I hope that people find practical suggestions for doing what can be challenging, such as forgiving others and doing the right but more difficult thing in the face of temptation. Finally, I hope that readers can see the beautiful harmony that can exist between faith and reason, between spirituality and psychology. We can learn much from the rich interaction between them.
Q. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
One of the most interesting parts of the book, I think, is the final chapter about weakness of will. Good people want to do the right thing, but sometimes they actually do what is bad. St. Paul said, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do." Oscar Wilde echoed the sentiment, "I can resist anything but temptation." Fortunately, contemporary psychologists offer ways to strengthen willpower. These discoveries—many of which were discovered centuries earlier by saints—can help people live the message of Jesus more consistently.