The Gospel of Happiness {Book Review & GIVEAWAY!}


**Give-away**, Book Review, Books, faith / Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

For the next Simplemama Book Review Hangout and Podcast, Thanks to Image Catholic Books, I had the honor of reading Dr. Christopher Kaczor’s newest book –

The Gospel of Happiness: Rediscover Your Faith Through Spiritual Practice and Positive Psychology

 

The Gospel of Happiness is a fascinating and exciting concept that combines the psychology of happiness with the ideals and teachings of a authentic Christian life.

I really liked Dr. Kaczor’s book, the name itself immediately caught my attention and I felt privileged to get to Hang out with Dr. Kaczor (like Razor) and chat with him about this idea of Happiness and how it plays out in a lived and practiced Christian life.

Dr. Kaczor a professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University in L.A. California, which, coincidentally is where one my brothers also works! Dr. Kaczor’s research on issues of ethics, philosophy, and religion has been in several news publications and radio programs and has authored over a dozen books.

You can watch our interview here

Or you can listen to it here

And, if you really want to, you can also read the interview questions and answers here.

With all that said and done, I will share a few notes from our interview below but I do hope you get to listen/watch/read in his own words. I also highlighted something on every page of his book that I hope to go back and share. For now, here are some highlights from the interview.


Dr. Kaczor, can you give us a brief summary of what this book is about?

In this book, I am trying to answer important questions about how to be happier, including: What is true happiness? How can you experience it? And can you live it wholeheartedly in your day-to-day life? Every thoughtful person asks such questions. Thoughtful Christians ask a few more questions such as, Can Christian practices enhance happiness? If so, how? And does Christianity provide happiness in a way that other paths, like psychology, cannot?

Focusing on empirical findings in positive psychology that point to the wisdom of many Christian practices and teachings, I try to provide not only practical suggestions on how to become happier in everyday life but provides insight on how to deepen Christian practice and increase love of God and neighbor in new and bold ways.

In your experience, and as you share in The Gospel of Happiness, what are the main ways Faith works together with Positive Psychology to help people feel happy?

One way Christian faith and positive psychology work together is by showing false ways to happiness. Unless we are so poor we lack the basic necessities, increases in money do will not make us happier. What will? Both Christian faith and positive psychology teach that forgiving other people makes us happier. Both Christian faith and positive psychology teach that practicing gratitude and thanksgiving makes us happier. Both Christian faith and positive psychology teach that serving other people makes us happier than just ‘having fun.’ Both Christian faith and positive psychology teach that we can strengthen our willpower through doing small acts of self-denial. The overlap of Christian faith and positive psychology is huge.

What do you say to those who deduce the positive effects of Prayer and the Virtues to merely a psychological benefit without any real validity to a belief in God? “Oh, people just pray or say they believe in a God because it makes them feel happy?” Is it just an emotional state of being?

Some people used to say that religion was false because it made people unhappy. The idea was that religion made people miserable and kept them in misery by promising them heaven later. Now some people are saying that religion is false because it makes people happy. Both views, I think, are mistake because whether are belief makes people more happy or less happy is irrelevant to whether or not the belief is true.

Part of happiness, I believe, is positive emotion, and prayer is linked to positive emotion as well as relieving negative emotion. The fact does not undermine belief in God’s existence. Indeed, one would expect a loving God to link positive benefits to us with communicating with the Divine.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Jesus came so that we might have life and have it in its fullness. In other words, the revelation of God in Christ is for our benefit and flourishing. The Gospel is good news, and good news for human beings is always connected to happiness. Happiness, of course, is defined in many ways, and I have explored the understanding of happiness proposed by Martin Seligman, the founding father of positive psychology. He defines happiness by the acronym PERMA: positive emotion, relationships, meaning understood as making a contribution to others, and achievement of goals. I suggest that the Christian way of life enhances positive emotion, engagement with life, relationships with others, meaning, and achievement. Indeed, Christian belief and practice transcends the happiness offered by positive psychology. That is good news indeed.


I hope everyone gets a chance to read Dr. Kaczor’s The Gospel of Happiness: Rediscover Your Faith Through Spiritual Practice and Positive Psychology and learn how practicing your Christian Faith is not only spiritually good for you but also psychologically healthy and will lead not only to your temporal happiness here but also to your eternal happiness.

The Gospel of Happiness: Rediscover Your Faith Through Spiritual Practice and Positive Psychology releases today, September 8! You can find it right now on Amazon.


And! If you’ve read through this far you get a prize – or at least a chance for one.

Thanks to Image Catholic Books and Dr. Kaczor’s generosity, I’ve teamed up with them to offer a GIVEAWAY for one The Gospel of Happiness book!

Enter the Giveaway below and maybe you’ll be the winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Amazon sends me a cute little gift card when you make any Amazon purchases via the affiliate links on this site – Thank you!}

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