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The Forum > Article Comments > The pursuit of happiness > Comments

The pursuit of happiness : Comments

By Peter Sellick, published 3/2/2021

The inclusion in the American Constitution of the right for free men to pursue happiness strikes me as naÔve as Google's motto 'don't be evil'.

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Get over America, the election, Trump and the idiot Biden, and be glad that we are Australians.
Posted by ttbn, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 8:48:06 AM
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Dear Peter Sellick,

You charge: "we are all sinners".

No we are patently not. Those who wish to put themselves under the yoke of a religion sin if they transgress the rules of their God/s.

Sin "an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law."

Those who do not believe in a rule making entity therefore are incapable of sinning in this sense.

Acting in a moral fashion, divorced from the treat of sanction by a supreme being in this life or after, has far more potency and weight than not sinning.
Posted by SteeleRedux, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 9:15:28 AM
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The reason why western democracies are secular, Peter Sellick, is that Europeans learned the hard way to never again let their clergy have official control over them, lest we go right back to the Dark Ages again, like the Muslim world is at today.

You seem to be suggesting that human beings are incapable of deciding what should be considered right or wrong without the adjudication of some non existent God? That is something I reject completely. Human beings can always be relied upon to act sensibly and rationally, when all other means are exhausted.

Look mate, I know you are pushing this line because you think that this non existent God of yours s looking down at you benignly from the heavens and putting your name down on his list for those who will somehow live forever in a perfect place. So in a way, your own motivations are hardly altruistic, you expect a reward from your non existent God when you finally kark it.

It is true that secular totalitarian governments have been responsible for millions of deaths, but then again the history of every religion was written in blood. The problem is, and always has been, populations of ordinary people must never allow a minority of idealistic totalitarians from ever getting into power where they can tell the majority what to do. It does not matter if those ideologues are secular or religious. Populations must always be allowed to change governments when the majority oppose government policies that affect their well being, or their right to be decide what makes them happy.

Now people's right to be happy may unfortunately go against the teachings of your non existent God but that is just too bad. If you wish to abide by your non existent god's rules then go for it. But don't try to impose them on the rest of us. We will decide what it is we want to do and your God can get lost.
Posted by LEGO, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 9:32:10 AM
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.

Dear Peter,

.

I donít wish to hurt you, but, to be honest, I have to say that I think it is far more naÔve for free men to pursue a hypothetical god than it is to pursue happiness.

Sorry about that.

.
Posted by Banjo Paterson, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 10:01:49 AM
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Hi Peter,

Four points.
First,

Here are the first two paragraphs of the US Declaration of Independence.

'When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of natureís God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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. That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.'

Now while the pursuit of happiness, as you acknowledge, 'sits at the centre of the US Constitution', it is not the only aspect of the Declaration which sits at its centre, including much reference to a Christian God.

The US Constitution deals with the mechanics of the operation of the US Federation and its Governance. Now because of our historic acceptance of the division of Religion and State, from David Hume, and as accepted by the founders of the US, of course religion is not mentioned in the actual Constitution documents.

I think it disingenuous for you to have not acknowledged the Christian influence and the references to God throughout the Declaration of Independence, with which you agree, 'Sits at the centre of the US Constitution'.
You betrayed you own argument by ignoring the whole of the Declaration which clearly states all those things you say the Constitution omits.
cont.
Posted by imajulianutter, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 10:03:24 AM
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cont,

Second,

It is not a fact, 'human nature is essentially broke'. That is a Religious belief and your belief.

There are other views.
You mention the 'triumphant human spirit' and assign it to the evil dictators of history ... only.
All very black and white.

I've a much more nuanced view. Not all humanity is evil or broken.
Some people are good and most people aspire to good. The triumph of the human spirit is the success of the aspiration to good.

The great advances in humanity, such as the abolition of slavery, all overcame evil and are the results of the aspiration to good. That is the triumph of the human spirit.

The evil that sometimes results from the corruption of the aspiration is a failure of the human spirit. the classic modern experience is of Communism and its infamous exponents: Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Xi.

Third

Christ was about Love, Forgiveness and the golden rule. These are all positive.
Religion has twisted this positivity into a negative narrative, and your article reflects this.
your view borders on predestination and we cannot life a good life without a religion defined and owned god.

I've a very positive view. We can choose good or evil, and while we can slip and sin, we can also recant, reform and forgive ... ourselves ... and others.

Fourth
Peter it is only you who have equated the pursuit of happiness exclusively to the pursuit of wealth.

Why?

In conclusion.
Of course the New Testament doesn't use the word happy.
Yet Christ's message is a happy message. Odd, don't you think?
Joe Biden is a sinner and hasn't kept his promises, sold out the US worker, ignores his family corruption and intends, like you hope, to change the US Constitution without consulting the people of the US.
None of that is good and it will lead to another failure of the human spirit.
Posted by imajulianutter, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 10:04:28 AM
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