Exploring The American Way

Thanks for your honesty too.

I just wanted to ask why these things should die or cease, but I think you already gave the answer in your post below. Maybe we are in similar situations: I’m suffering from something like depression/burnout. My problem is a constant lack of physical an mental energy. It’s very hard to study in this condition and beside studying I’m not able to do anything else:

  • no relationships
  • no power to do sports or creative things
  • no energy to play the piano…
    Indeed these things ceased in my case - but I think in the future it will be possible again.

In the past my confession was catholic and it’s scientific provable that a brain alone can’t generate consciousness. That’s why I’m convinced that human beings are having a soul. I have sympathy to the jewish and christian traditions but more in a political way and in a way that regards to culture and mentality. I think they belong to America in contrast to e.g.: the islam. (Yes, that’s my opinion!).
I wouldn’t dispute that Christians are in contact to something higher (in a immaterial kind). But I see no reason why this “higher” should only be experiencable throw Christianity…

The woman’s honest answer should have been: “I would like to have more but at least I have jesus and that fulfils me” or: “I always will have jesus, but it’s true: other things would increase my life-quality additional”.
The woman’s answer in the story either is cynical or a lie – because appreciating spirituality things doesn’t mean that other things can’t improve someones life. One thing does not rule out the other.
The woman is an arrogant liberal, she says: “Look at me – I’m such a sophisticated being – I overcome all these superficial materiel needs – I’m a spiritual high-end person and therefore better than all these spoiled, decadent capitalists…”

I think this story has a bad moral. I’t suggests: Lying, pretending false moral or being arrogant are chrisitian values.

What if you could “see a reason” why the “Higher” would only be available to those who accepted a specific criteria?

I often hear people say that they can’t reason a god that would be bound to any one criteria but I have never met anyone who said ***“But if I could reason why God would embrace a single criteria then I would certainly seek out that specific criteria”

What if you could reason an idea that would make the preference of these “other things” something to avoid in the interest of living a joy filled life? What if you discovered a perfectly logical reason for one thing to indeed “rule out the other”?


I’ve known hundreds of people who were abjectly poor and perfectly content with their lot in life. In order to “discover” what makes people happy, you’d have to examine every living human on the planet, because what makes people happy varies wildly–even from individual to individual. Your field of study is therefore pretty useless, being impossible to accomplish because you CANNOT bust someone’s head open and find out what they think or believe. QED.

A talked a lot to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others. Every religious group wants to convince you that especially their god is the one an only and wants to convince you that this only god has his reasons to appear through their religion only.
You can take the argumentation of one community, reverse it, and you’ll get the argumentation of another.

If there were such a perfectly logical reason, it ought to contain that there is no possibility to enrich your life with one of the “out-ruled” things.
One of the consequences would be: Everything in life beside this one and only thing will become indifferent.

That’s true. It varies wildly – but despite there are similarities. Positive Psychology works as follows:

  1. They take (let’s say) 5000 people and divide them randomly into two groups
  2. They instruct only one of this two groups to do something particular (for example to do voluntary work)
  3. A year later they ask through standardised questionnaires if the life-satisfaction of the one group increased more than in the other group.
  4. If Yes, we can say: Doing voluntary work is increasing life-satisfaction on average.

In that manner positive psychology discoverd that helping people makes people happy.

Wow! Strong language from someone who seems to have no idea about what he’s talking.
I hope my explanation given above is convincing you. If not, I want to say:

There are people in the word that aren’t able or aren’t willing to discuss knowledge-oriented. They have there rigid meanings. They claim their propositions without any argument. They do not allow others to scrutinize their standpoint. And they refuse every counter-argument without really thinking about it.
It’s your right to act this way if you want to. But if you do so, I will have no more interest to debate with you. I have neither time nor engergy to devote myself to such gruelling struggles.

Whoops, gotta disagree. How do you know that her criteria for happiness requires more than Jesus, especially given that Christians believe that God sees to all our needs (not necessarily by the standards of the world, and not necessarily our wants), and that after our three-score-and-ten (more or less), we’ve got eternity in heaven?

By the way, hi and welcome!

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First of all, Jehovah’s Witnesses, LDS’s, Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Anglicans are all, in essence, CHRISTIANS…not different religions, merely different denominations of Christianity. They ALL believe in and worship the very same God–just in different ways.

Secondly, your “research,” as you described it, doesn’t “prove” anything–except maybe that people will tell you what they think you want to hear, whether THEY believe it or not. That’s one reason why the “exit polls” in Cleveland were so wildly wrong when the ACTUAL vote was tabulated. Another example: In the late 70’s, pro-abortion groups conducted a “survey” in which they asked a thousand people if they believed that a woman should have control of her own body without restriction. 70% of the respondents answered an unqualified “yes.” From that, they “concluded” that “70% of Americans favor abortion on demand.” A year later, another survey was conducted, asking the same question in a slightly different manner of another thousand people. “Do you believe that a woman should have unrestricted control of her own body, even if that means she can kill her unborn baby for any reason…or for no reason at all OR that she should be able to engage in prostitution?” The percentages were virtually identical to the first “survey” except in the opposite fashion. 72% of respondents said “NO.” It all boils down to HOW you ask the questions.

My point is that there is no possible way to calculate or “discover” what makes people happy or contented–unless you’re willing to interview every living soul on the planet–and even then, it’s likely that you’ll get skewed “results” as people aren’t always (or very often, for that matter) totally honest about how they feel or what they believe. If you want to waste your time and money on a field of study that’s the scientific equivalent of “women’s studies,” “black studies,” or “gay studies,” be my guest. I’ve some background in psychology myself, including abnormal psychology and for the most part, it’s a crock. Skinnerists, for example, insist that humans don’t have “instincts.” That all human behavior is learned, but don’t seem to be able to explain why a year old baby will hold its breath when immersed under water and falling back on “they learned it in the womb” is simply nonsense a year after being born…and kind of flies in the face of the left’s insistence that babies in the womb aren’t “human” and worthy of protection. Masters and Johnson interviewed a few dozen lesbian and other sexually-deviant women in prison and then concluded that EVERYONE is a pervert. Lots of serious mischief has been conducted in the name of “psychology.” If psychologists would restrict themselves to studying human behaviors, it might be useful, but you CANNOT take a sampling of humans and extrapolate what you learn from that sample as applying to all of humanity. People are just too different.

You can read that woman’s thoughts? She was talking about her needs, not her wants. Besides, again, how do you know what she thought? She wasn’t just saying that to be heard. You are lying when you say what you claim she thought. You said “her honest answer.”

It appears to me that Phillipp is someone who thinks material wealth or possessions will make everyone “happy.” Sounds like a Bernie Sanders voter to me. Bernie’s promising “free” college, “free” housing, “free” medical care, and “free” FOOD, for all I know, without explaining HOW he’s going to pay for ANY of it except to raise taxes on a people who are ALREADY working from January 1 to June 15 every year, JUST to pay their government taxes.

This reminded me of something I read about in a college economics class a long time ago. I forget what it’s called but there’s a concept in economics that when looking at an open market you should assume that everyone is making rational choices, the problem is that’s not true. People make plenty of irrational choices. I think happiness works much the same way, people do plenty of things that don’t make them happy and sometimes don’t make any sense at all, not even to the one doing it.

Suggest you read (if you have not) our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, may be of good help in your research. Short of that it offers a few things of value to all of human kind:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

This is the essence of individual freedom which was NOT Granted by our Constitution, but rather acknowledged as a God given right of being a human being and that right is inalienable, meaning I, the possessor of the right, cannot give it away to anyone or any government.

That said this have driven our govt nuts so they found a way to circumvent the Constitution and they did this beginning with the Civil Rights Act and used it as a basis to continue to the very day. In fact only recently have we added another minority group to the "protected class’ of humans…transgenders.

Why and why would we even need a Civil Rights Act and the many protected classes of citizens? IMO this was done for 2 prime reasons:

  1. Circumvent the “status” of the US Constitution which sees basic human rights as inalienable and changes the status of human rights as Govt/Man given. This is in contrast to our Constitution God given. Now the govt/man are granting you your rights. God is eliminated, God is not the grantor of your human rights, Govt/man is. Lets see what the Constitution has to say about this:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

You might not it does not break down we the people into black, white, Baptist or Jew, male or female, heterosexual or GLBTQ, blue or brown eyes, blonde or brown hair…it says and it means WE the People of the United States, no more, no less!!!

If the Govt or man, grants the rights then they OWN the right and can do as they see fit, such as take it away, make it (you) unlawful. Note that the granting of right by govt/man has gone on for all of known history and has never ended with success and the result has been enslavement. Sadly the minorities lap these free rights like a cat with its head stuck in a bowl of milk.

  1. The govt/man has played upon the most basic of all human emotions, the old 4 letter word called “Free”. We will grant your Free college, welfare, medical, cell fone etc, all because you are a protected class, a minority, therefore you are entitled to Free stuff. And of course you can forget and not believe what yo mama and daddy and those far right wings folks say: ‘There ain’t no free lunch’.

Your question has been answered in retrospect as I have answered you. But looking forward our Govt/man is taking away our freedom to be free.

For you to fully understand the answers given here then you need to understand the chains of bondage found in communist-socialist societies…

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The problem with psychology, as I see it, is that it is ever-changing. What was hailed as breakthrough research 10 years ago is now proclaimed as specious with newer, more accurate research taking its place. How many times have we heard this? Freudian psychotherapy is largely discounted by most psychologists replaced by behavioral, cognitive, social, and other thoughts of psychology. I’ve seen a number of psychologists in my lifetime–mostly for grief counseling when my mother, father, grandparents, and aunt all died in a span of 5 years back in the 80’s. There is also a genetic predisposition of depression in my family on my dad’s side. I was issued some medication–Prosac–and it helped a lot. I remain on a more milder medication as Prosac was like putting me on speed. The therapy helped, but didn’t give me the answers I was looking for–needed. That would only come with my relationship with God. When I finally wholly embraced my Lord and Savior is when I found peace again. It has sustained me ever since. Now, when faced with difficulties, instead of going into a depression and wringing my hands, I find peace and serenity in my union with God knowing that He is in charge and knows what He’s doing. That is called trust. That brings true peace and happiness. No psychology can do that. Nothing of this earth can do that.


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” [/QUOTE]
Thanks for your contribution, sounds very interesting. Especially the “pursuit of happiness”.
I will answer later more profound, I have first to think about it…

Everything that any being ever does can be reduced to its effort to improve it’s own or other’s wellbeing (for the longer or shorter term). That’s an undeniable fact!**

Yes, but it’s about the effort. People are not perfect, and even the most rational thinking person would make wrong decisions, while trying to reach wellbeing or fulfilment. One more reason why positive-psychology is useful.
It makes sense to systematically figure out, which actions or circumstances will increase people’s long-term wellbeing/life-satisfaction/life-fulfilment/… on average. So we can minimize our wrong decisions.

Pappadave permanently denies that we can find out, which factors support long-term wellbeing on average. But psychologists for example showed that money doesn’t increase wellbeing as much as thought before. In an experiment they gave 100 test-persons 20 USD. One half of them was told to buy something nice for themself, the other half should spent the 20 Dollar for a nice surprise for a friend (e.g.: to invent him to dinner). After a week the second group (on average) rated significantly higher on life-satisfaction-questionnaires than the fist group.
=> Simplified insight: Caring about others increases our wellbeing more then caring about ourself.

Maybe it’s one of our biggest problems that “people do plenty of things that don’t make them happy” as you said. Therefore there is a need to evaluate what things are worth to be done, and that’s what positive-psychology does.

[quote=" Fantasy Chaser]Whoops, gotta disagree. How do you know that her criteria for happiness requires more than Jesus, especially given that Christians believe that God sees to all our needs[/QUOTE]
O.k. - I just realised: It’s about the term: “need”.
If your standpoint is: Actually I don’t need anything on earth as long as I know I will be in heaven after my life on earth, you may be right.
But I am asking the question: What do we need to experience more wellbeing and life-satisfaction now on earth independently what happens after life (on earth). Or which things can improve our life-quality. And I think the answer will be: There are a lot more things than just religion - good relationships, material things,… are just examples.

It’s true, psychology is a multi-paradigmatic science (freudian, behavioral, cognitive…). This has at least two reasons. Psychology is a very young discipline, it exists (as a science) scince only about one century (Freud ~1900). I think every science had it’s initial difficulties and phases of consolidation are unavoidable. The second reason depends on the object of investigation. The objects psychology investigates are: people. A human being is hard to understand and therefore psychologys insights are not as stable than other disciplin’s insights. Additional psychology’s insights are not applicable to every single person but only on the average.

This is a very interesting topic. I often ask myself how religious people experience this “union to god”. What is this? How does this feel?
When I was younger (I’m 33 now) I tried to experience more within religion. I can say: I prayed more than an average person at my age, went to church and tied to read t bible. But I never felt anything like union, joy, peace or serenity.
How do you experience these things - In which way/manner/kind?

I don’t deny that we can find out what makes us happy…just that what makes ME happy probably doesn’t apply to what makes a suicide bomber happy. American troops who’ve survived such attacks speak of “the look” on the faces of the bombers right before they set off the explosion. They describe it as a far-away stare…almost a look of peace and contentment. “Happiness” varies from individual to individual. Where did you hear that money doesn’t make people happy, for example? Money makes LOTS of people happy…even content. Not having money when it’s needed, on the other hand, can make people VERY unhappy; to the point they may commit violent crimes in order to try to GET it.

Psychology is NOT a “science.” A “science” can be replicated and proven and is applicable in ALL circumstances. Physics is a “science.” Biology is a “science.” Psychology is a system of guesses and estimates and “averages” which are meaningless from one person to another. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t study human behavior…just that what explains your behavior doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone (or ANYONE) else.

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[quote=phillip]This is a very interesting topic. I often ask myself how religious people experience this “union to god”. What is this? How does this feel?
When I was younger (I’m 33 now) I tried to experience more within religion. I can say: I prayed more than an average person at my age, went to church and tied to read t bible. But I never felt anything like union, joy, peace or serenity.
How do you experience these things - In which way/manner/kind?[/quote]

Well, it is difficult to describe because God’s interaction with us is strictly personal. I couldn’t really explain how it feels except that there is an inner–very inner–“knowing” that brings peace and joy. Madonna sang a song awhile back called “Live to Tell”. (I can’t stand her, but this song touched me.) The song had lyrics: “…until then, it will burn inside of me”. When I heard those lyrics, I could relate because that is how I feel all the time. God dwells in my innermost being and I know He is there because there’s a burning inside of me for Him and from Him. I don’t know how else to describe it. It is a gift, and one must sincerely ask for It. God will come to anyone who asks for Him sincerely. But, you have to do a little work. And, that’s the hard part.

Please know that I don’t claim to be a mystic or to have some kind of special gifts. I don’t. I’m just your average practicing Catholic in love with her Lord. I have experienced His Presence many times–I don’t hear voices and I don’t see things. I just know, without a doubt, that He is there…right there. Prayer is the most important part in our intimate union with God. Saying a bunch of prayers is not the kind of prayer we need. If you are interested, we can continue this discussion. I will answer any and all your questions as long as I don’t think I’m being duped into some kind of circular argument. Fair enough?

Oh, yes - I am very interested!
I would like to share my own spiritual experiences, if you are interested too. In some way mine are similar to yours but without the connection to Christianity. What I am experiencing is an inner knowing about the circumstance that my consciousness arises something higher (or something more complex) than my brain. It emerges in form of an inner feeling, but usually has no relation to something extern. I mean: I experience that I am more than just a brain, but in such conditions I experience myself (as a soul), I do not experience something out of me (like god).

Especially I would be interested in what you describe as the “inner burning”, how it feels, and how you are separating right praying from wrong praying.

May I send you a private message? I wouldn’t like to elucidate my own spiritual experiences in public.

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You shouldn’t be interested.

May I ask why not?

I did not ask you if you thought you had heard all the arguments before and I did not ask you if you had talked with any religious group.

I asked "What if you could “see a reason” why the “Higher” would only be available to those who accepted a specific criteria?"

I did not ask you what you you would include as “criteria” for anything or why you think any particular criteria would work or not.

I asked "What if you discovered a perfectly logical reason for one thing to indeed “rule out the other”?

Oh, sorry about my inaccuracy.
If I could see a reason why the Higher would only be available to those who accepted a specific criteria (and if there is only one “Higher”, and if it’s possible to find out which one this one criteria is), I would say: It would make sense to dedicate oneself to this specific criteria.

But it’s clear that this reason mustn’t be circular.

(My answer to your second question is analogous)