Wednesday, July 02, 2008

To Call Evil Good

YOU MAY HAVE HEARD about a recent survey that measured happiness around the world, and it proclaims the United States as 16th happiest, following such nations as Denmark, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ireland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, and Sweden. Likewise, at the bottom of the list, as most unhappy, are Moldova, Armenia, and Zimbabwe.

This study states that money, democracy, and tolerance were the greatest keys to happiness.

But the study is dead wrong. For instead, let us consider the most direct, and what philosophy professor Peter Kreeft calls the "most in-your-face" measure of unhappiness, which is the national suicide rate.  [UPDATE:  see the World Health Organization statistics on national suicide rates.]

By this measure, eight of the ten most unhappy nations came out of the former Soviet Union and its eastern bloc satellite nations, and nearly all of the countries of Eastern Europe are near the top of the list. But they were also unhappy during Communism.

Just below them in unhappiness is Japan and the wealthy, democratic, and tolerant countries of Western Europe, the Scandinavian counties, Canada, Australia, as well as the workers' paradises of Cuba and China.

The United States is actually right in the middle of the list. Not the worst, not the best, with a rate that nearly equals the world average. The U.S. is indeed the world's melting pot.

The happiest countries in the world, nations where people love life, are those countries that practice Islam and Catholicism, including most of Latin America, the Philippines, and most of the Middle-East. The happiest European countries are the Catholic Mediterranean countries, Orthodox Greece and the United Kingdom, all of whom are happier than the U.S.A.

Looking up and down the list, it appears that large national wealth causes a bit of unhappiness. But that is a weak correlation. You can be happy and poor or happy and rich. Perhaps it is a bit easier to be happy when poor.

Totalitarian governments clearly cause unhappiness. But we can have both hard and soft totalitarian governments, and the European Union is clearly a totalitarian government of the 'soft' kind, as the former Soviet Union was of the hard kind. A government that forces you to be democratic and tolerant is not a tolerant democracy at all. The happiest countries tend to have small governments, no matter if they are dictatorial, monarchical, or democratic. A dictator who basically leaves everyone alone is far less totalitarian than an enlightened government which constantly meddles with all parts of society.

We ought to note that a totalitarian government does not tolerate rivals, and so will repress religion most of all. In the U.S., "Separation of Church and State" and legalization of social evils have all come from the highest levels of federal government, as has similar suppression of religion in the European countries. So totalitarian governance and lack of faith are quite closely related.

Ultimately, it is faith which leads to the most happiness. The world, however, hates happiness, and instead calls evil good.


  1. Really stretching, Mark. What is your measure of "happiness", and by what yardstick are you judging to reach your sweeping conclusions. Proof is not visible in your numerous assertions (dare I call them "pontifications"?).

    That being said, like any good Catholic I certainly agree with your conclusion: "it is faith which leads to the most happiness". I just would have preferred more proof to back it up.

  2. World Health Organization statistics on national suicide rates:

    My assumption is that those who kill themselves are not happy. Just look at the countries with high rates versus low rates, and the strongest correlation is with faith or its lack.

  3. “Love Not The World”

    ”For the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one”(I John 5:19)

    “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world will pass away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of The Only True GOD will abide for ever.” (I John 2:15-17)

    “If you were of the world, the world would love it’s own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his Master. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:19-20)

    “Where do wars and fighting among you come from? Do they not come of your lusts that war in your members? You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war yet you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is to be at enmity with The Only True GOD? Therefore whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of The Only True GOD.” (James 4:1-4)

    “The world cannot hate you; but the world hates Me, because I testify that the works of this world are evil.” (John 7:7)” and “The Messiah gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of The Only True God, Our Father.”(Gal 1:4)

    The Messiah testified: “If the world hates you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”(John 5:18) Truly, Truly, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life in this world shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall have it unto life eternal.” (John 12:24-25)

    John testified: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you.” (I John 3:13) “ James testified, “Whoever would be a friend of this world is the enemy of GOD”(James 4:4)

    The “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”, he who is “the father of lies”, he who “has blinded the minds of those who believe not The Messiah”! All the nations of this world are under the dominion of, and serve, the evil one for he provides the fuel that feeds mankind’s “imag”ination, and mankind’s “imagination is destroying and perverting Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Simplicity, .etc.) ;-(

    And the “strongest thing” in the evil one’s worldly systems? “Woman”…… yet The Truth, that which is of The Only True GOD, is stronger even than woman. (read I Esdras 3&4 of the Apocrypha) And Truth, Love, Peace, Faith, Mercy, Hope,,,etc,,, all that is “good”, is of The Only True GOD and is of HIS Spirit, not of this world. Those born of The Spirit, those born of The Only True GOD, are the brethren of The Messiah, for they received "a love of The Truth that they might be saved”. Reborn!

    And those who have received "a love of The Truth” have separated themselves from this world and those of this world, for they have taken heed unto The Call of The Only True GOD to “Come out of her MY people.” They are “in, but not of this wicked, evil world”, and The Only True GOD has received them, and is "A Father unto them, and they are HIS sons and daughters”. And they follow, and desire to be like their Master and Brother, The Messiah, He Who was “the firstborn of many brethren”. And as “The Messiah was a servant of The Only True GOD”, so also His Brethren are “servants of The Only True GOD.”

    The called out ones are not “adulterers and adulteresses”, they are not “friends of this wicked, evil world”, they do not “fornicate with the god of this world” for they know that “to be a friend of this world is to be the enemy of The Only True GOD.” They are at war against the evil spirits that possess those who are of this world.

    And they do not “allow that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach. For she teaches others to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. The Only True GOD gave her a chance to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” (Rev 2:20-21)

    “fornication” and “adultery..” in that which is recorded above signifies spiritual fornication with “the god of this world”, which is to love that which is of his world.

    Once again, the “earth” is The Creation of The Only True GOD, Father of ALL! The “worldly” systems are the creation of, and under the dominion of “the god of this world”. Those who “love this world” all serve “the god of this world”, and play their part in the processes that seek to destroy The Creation of The Only True GOD. “And The Only True GOD will destroy them who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18) Global warming, polluted air, land and waters, toxic wastes, sexual perversion, evil inventions of destruction, greed, hate, carnal warfare, dis-ease ,,,etc,,, are all destructive processes that have their root in “the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life”. And as stated, “woman is the strongest thing of this world”. Yet stronger than woman is The Truth, which is in those who have “received a love of The Truth”. The Truth Is Alive in those who have been born of The Spirit for “they no longer love this wicked, evil world and it’s things, nor do they love their own lives in this world”. They but seek and desire The Will of GOD, as they await their final transformation. “Corruptible to Incorruptible" ndeed and Truth!

    Now “the ground was cursed for Adam’s sake” because he “hearkened unto the woman”. Adam listened to a woman rather than obeying The Only True GOD. Yet because of Faithful Noah, The Only True GOD “no longer would curse the ground for man’s sake” because Noah obeyed The Only True GOD! (Genesis 8:21-22) And the Faithful today are exhorted to “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” And Faithful women are exhorted to “be in silence.” “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. For I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” “For Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Timothy 2:11,12,14) A man and woman joined together in obedience and submission unto The Only True GOD are blessed indeed. All who are not obedient, all who will not submit themselves unto The Only True GOD will have to answer to HIM..period.. Be not of those who deny and defy “The One GOD, Father of All”. Be not of those who are destroying and perverting HIS Creation(land, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, .etc.)!

    “The Only True GOD is The HEAD of The Messiah, The Messiah is The Head of the man, and the man is the head of the woman”. Multitudes pervert GOD’s Order because they have been seduced by ” the commandments and doctrines of men and devils”. Multitudes are seduced by the religious systems that are in and of this evil world. Seduced because they love this evil world and their own life in it! “Set your affections on things above”. Desire heavenly, eternal things. Quit serving ‘time’ in the prison that is this world and take heed unto the call to ”Come out from among them and be separate!”

    Once again, “Come out” of the worldly systems, which are the product of mankind’s “imag”ination, especially the religious systems. “Come out” from among those who are destroying and perverting Creation and be of those who follow The Messiah on “The Way to The Truth of The Life”.

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this world……. francisco

  4. Your assumption that those who kill themselves are not happy undoubtedly is valid. Does this then mean that those who do not kill themselves are happy? That would mean that over 99% of people everywhere are happy.

    Experience teaches us that this is not so.

    I fear the matter of happiness is a trifle more complicated. The Holy Father would tell you that you need greater logical rigor.

    Consider that medical research shows that happiness correlates well with longevity, that both correlate well with marital status, etc.

    I too believe that people with a strong faith generally are happier, and there are good, fairly rigorous psychiatric/psychologic studies to support that conclusion. I'm simply saying that looking at gross suicide rates across cultures tells us nothing about the "happiness" (undefined) of all the people in the different nations.

  5. Mark, I like your thinking and I like your challenging of yet another context free "poll" or "survey" that makes a declaration that grabs headlines. Notice it is by a Psychology journal, and having my MA in Psychology and Counseling I know that they as a profession have a bias built into their surveys and procedures that minimize the factors that you raise and more. Their methodologies and procedures tend to be loose and biased. For example, they probably do not distinguish between happiness and a sense of gratitude, which are similar emotions but come from different stimuli. And I agree with your suggestion that other measures, such as suicide rate, are indicative. For example, in Japan there are many desperately lonely single elderly people that is becoming a national problem. Yet a survey would not capture probably even one of that segment's input. That's just one example of many. A thoughtful post and good catch by you, my friend.