Gospel of Happiness, The

978-1-58731-343-1 (p); 978-1-58731-344-8
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Gospel of Happiness, The

How Secular Psychology Points to the Wisdom of Christian Practice

Kaczor, Christopher

Just as Aristotelian metaphysics provided a new basis for the natural theology of Aquinas’s time, so too, positive psychology provides a basis for a natural moral theology in our own time. This book marshals the empirically verifiable findings of positive psychology that show the wisdom of the Christian tradition. Christian warnings about the dangers of greed, coveting a neighbor’s goods (social comparison), and pride find an empirical verification. Likewise, positive psychology vindicates the wisdom of Christian teaching on the importance of forgiveness, of gratitude, of humility, and of serving one’s neighbor. Moreover, positive psychology also can be a service to Christian believers by helping them in their struggles with willpower, by providing new motivations for prayer, and by helping them identify their signature strengths. Finally, this book argues, in a variety of ways, that it is folly to think that even the best of psychology can serve as a replacement for Christianity.

"What Kaczor discovers is that there seems to be a positive correlation between what science discovers and what Christian thought has held all the way along. We find that it is not sufficient just to know what the psychologists are telling us, but we want to know the reasonableness of their views. For this we find Kaczor’s treatment a most instructive book. He is one of the few who can bring a wide range of human thought and practical experience together in a coherent whole so that, in the end, we really learn something about that very 'happiness' we all seek."-- James V. Schall, S.J., Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University

"Just as Augustine enlisted Plato and Aquinas mined Aristotle, Christopher Kaczor marshals the insights of positive psychology to illuminate the Christian faith in fresh ways, showing us how contemporary science confirms ancient wisdom. If you want to be happy, it turns out one of the best things you can do is practice traditional Christian disciplines like cultivating gratitude, extending forgiveness, and giving yourself away in service to others. This is philosophy that doesn’t just invite you to think differently but live differently. A marvelous book that has me looking at my own life anew." --James K.A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy and author of On the Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts

“At last, a Christian perspective on Positive Psychology that ratifies scripture by presenting the latest evidence-based science. Kaczor soars when he shows how Christian practices are the way to find fullness and freedom of life. Impressively integrative, reading this book was simultaneously edifying and enjoyable.” --Robert A. Emmons, Professor of Psychology UC Davis, Editor-in-Chief, The Journal of Positive Psychology, author of Gratitude Works! and Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

"Professor Kaczor has distilled the findings of positive psychology on the subject of happiness, showing their congruence with Christian theology. Amidst the torrent of self-help and popular psychology fads, this book stands apart as a gem with lasting value: it is practical, empirical, eminently readable, and deeply wise." --Aaron Kheriaty, MD, author of The Catholic Guide to Depression

"If Christians wish to penetrate the darkness of the modern soul, they must not only dialogue with the social sciences, they must speak in a truly integrative idiom. Dr. Kaczor's new book reflecting on happiness through the joint lenses of positive psychology and Christian faith provides a simple and persuasive model for us all to follow." --. Christian Brugger, D.Phil., J. Francis Cardinal Stafford Professor of Moral Theology, Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary

"Many outside the faith (and too many within) believe Christianity to be a depressing religion obsessed with sin and suffering. Kaczor smashingly rights the wrong with this engaging, Christian reading of the scientific findings of positive psychology. Readers of this book will discover the wise happiness at the heart of Christianity." --Eric L. Johnson, Ph.D., author of God and Soul Care