Today, for the first time, I noticed striking differences between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions involving both happiness and predestination.
Daniel Greenfield wrote about the interview Chelsea Handler did with Kumail Nanjiani, the Muslim star of HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” He complained that popular culture fails to focus on what fun Islam is and Muslims are. Handler, much struck by this observation, agreed.
The problem, Greenfield said, is that Islam is not about fun or even happiness. Nor are these missing attributes limited to the reverence associated with direct worship. For example, when we’re in a house of worship we don’t make fart jokes. Instead, the whole point of Islam, at least according to the Ayatollah Khomeni, is to vacuum any possibility of joy out of life:
Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. The aim of creation was for mankind to be put to the test through hardship and prayer. An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious.
No wonder that the Islamic clerics and their mobs routinely deliver death to people who dare to dance or sing in a sharia-controlled world.
Contrast this Islamic world view with Dennis Prager’s take on happiness. When his radio show played in my area, I frequently heard him say that, because God gave us the capacity to be happy, we have a moral obligation to be so. He also wrote that true faith should in itself inspire happiness:
I once asked a deeply religious man if he considered himself a truly pious person. He responded that while he aspired to be one, he felt that he fell short in two areas. One of those areas, he said, was his not being a happy enough person to be considered truly pious.
His point was that unhappy religious people reflect poorly on their religion and on their Creator. He was right; in fact, unhappy religious people pose a real challenge to faith. If their faith is so impressive, why aren’t these devoted adherents happy? There are only two possible reasons: either they are not practicing their faith correctly, or they are practicing their faith correctly and the religion itself is not conducive to happiness. (Prager, Dennis, Happiness is a Serious Problem, paperback edition, p. 4.)
For me, Prager’s message has been eye-opening. I accept that he is correct that I have a moral obligation, both for myself and for those in my world, to be happy. To that end, I try to view things through a humor prism, I count my blessings daily (hourly, on a hard day), I’m open in expressing gratitude for all the good things in my life, and I look for true joy wherever I can. I can do this because I am human and, if I were religious, I would add because I am made in God’s image. [Read more…]