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Hedonism conjures up images of wanton Roman excesses and the like. In principle it is a philosophy that we are driven by what feels good, and implying unless you have a mental problem we avoid pain. In a broad sense Christians seek pleasure in religious experience and seek to alleviate emotional pain and fears. Our brain is wired to pursue pleasure and avoid pain.


Hedonism is a school of thought that argues that the pursuit of pleasure and intrinsic goods are the primary or most important goals of human life.[1] A hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure (pleasure minus pain), but when having finally gained that pleasure, happiness remains stationary.

Ethical hedonism is the idea that all people have the right to do everything in their power to achieve the greatest amount of pleasure possible to them. It is also the idea that every person's pleasure should far surpass their amount of pain. Ethical hedonism is said to have been started by Aristippus of Cyrene, a student of Socrates. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good.

Judaism believes that mankind was created for pleasure, as God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—Eden being the Hebrew word for "pleasure." In recent years, Rabbi Noah Weinberg articulated five different levels of pleasure; connecting with God is the highest possible pleasure.

Main article: Christian hedonism
Ethical hedonism as part of Christian theology has also been a concept in some evangelical circles, particularly in those of the Reformed tradition.[16] The term Christian Hedonism was first coined by Reformed Baptist theologian John Piper in his 1986 book Desiring God: “My shortest summary of it is: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. Or: The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. Does Christian Hedonism make a god out of pleasure? No. It says that we all make a god out of what we take most pleasure in.” [16] Piper states his term may describe the theology of Jonathan Edwards, who in 1812 referred to “a future enjoyment of him [God] in heaven.”[17] Already in the 17th century, the atomist Pierre Gassendi had adapted Epicureanism to the Christian doctrine.