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Looking for God: an Ongoing Tale - Christians make the best hedonists

Michael Veenema | Interrobang | Opinion | February 6th, 2006

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
“Good afternoon,” Mitch says as Tamara sits down for their weekly lunch meeting. “Great day today.”

“Aren't you up-beat today! What's up?”

“I don't know for sure. It's been an interesting winter, more or less, and January is over. We can start looking for spring.”

“I can tell you are not a skier.”

Just then their server arrives. Mitch and Tamara order. This time, Mitch orders a beer.

“Hey, that's not your usual thing, to order a beer. I thought that people like you don't drink. I mean, a Christian I once had as a roommate didn't touch alcohol. To me it kind of went with my picture of people who believe in God. Sometimes it seems that they don't want to have much fun.”

“Well, maybe you should meet more of them. Just kidding; I'm not trying to be smart. Do you want to know what I really think?” From the way Mitch does not pause, it is clear to Tamara that he isn't going to wait for her answer. “I think that Christians are the best hedonists in the world.”

“And, to give credit where credit is due,” he continues, “that's a quote from C. S. Lewis?”

“You mean the guy who wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?”

“Same guy, although he was an Englishman, a professor in the middle of the last century, and I don't think very many people called him a ‘guy.'”

“Ok, whatever. But I am curious about this Christian and hedonist connection.”

“I'll try to explain. The world, though it is in trouble, is fundamentally a great place. God made it for people to have as our home, a good home, a great home, with lots of pleasures. So, think of music, and the taste of food, travel, sex, fantastic scenery, fine arts and popular arts. All these things have a place in the world. So, as no doubt our server will say when she brings our food, Enjoy!”

“Wait a minute. I don't see Christians going out and encouraging people to liberally enjoy sex, alcohol, other drugs, fast cars, and celebrity websites.”

“No you don't. That's because the kind of things you just mentioned are illustrations of excess, not enjoyment. I can understand that people ‘like' to get drunk, drugged, and sexually wasted. But I wouldn't call that kind of thing enjoyment. I think most of us would see binge drinking and sexual abandonment as dysfunctions.

What we often think of as hedonism is really more like addiction. I don't see how being high on liquor for two hours followed by a seven-hour splitting headache qualifies as enjoyment.”

“I get it, I think. At least, I get your perspective. It would seem then that Christians like yourself can like beer, but not get plastered. You can like sex, but in the context of marriage — though I have an issue with that. You can like a good house and good food and so on, but you're not supposed to get greedy.”

“I think you do have it. And now, if you don't mind, here comes my burger.”

Tamara looks at Mitch's plate a moment. Should she raise this now, as she has been tempted to do before? “So you think it's okay to kill animals for food?”

“Let me think on that for a minute. Excuse me,” Mitch says to the server. “I'd like another beer.”

Continued next week
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