|Isabelle and Therese|
"Basta masaya, yun ang mahalaga." (As long as one is happy, that is what is important.)
From the outset, yes there is some truth to those statements. As long as a person is happy, it doesn't really matter what circumstance one is in, or what other people think of him/her, or if one has no money in the bank...
But I have also experienced for myself, (I don't know if you'd agree with me on this.) that the pursuit of it, once you have possessed it is fleeting at worst and empty at best. Because in and by itself, HAPPINESS cannot really last. It cannot really give lasting JOY.
Should one really pursue happiness? Is it all there is to life? To be eternally laughing and smiling?
First let us define HAPPINESS.
According to Wikipedia,
|Latin American countries are usually |
"happy" and "positive" despite
not being "wealthy".
The Merlion of Singapore, a rich country where people are
supposedly "miserable" based on a 2012 poll.
|Photo Credit: y55happy.com|
The nations taking the top spots include: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. This might not come as a surprise to many who have been to these nations. What is surprising, however, is that three of these five nations are among the top 10 least religious nations in the world (also from Gallup).
Denmark is the "happiest place on earth."
- Luxembourg 122,272
- Qatar 97,967
- Norway 96,591
- Switzerland 84,983
- Australia 66,984
- United Arab Emirates 66,625
- Denmark 63,003
- Sweden 61,098
- Netherlands 51,410
- Canada 51,147
- Singapore 50,714
- Austria 50,504
- Finland 50,090
- Ireland 48,517
- United States 48,147
- Belgium 48,110
- Kuwait 46,461
- Japan 45,774
- Germany 44,558
- France 44,401
Here are the top 4 non-religious countries in the world:
|Click on this to view the 50 Countries with the Highest Percentage of Atheists. Photo Credits: Impact Lab|
Ranking, Country, US$
164 Timor-Leste 649
165 Nepal 644
166 Gambia, The 620
167 Guinea-Bissau 585
168 Rwanda 585
169 Afghanistan 575
170 Mozambique 551
171 Tanzania 550
172 Togo 511
173 Central African Republic 483
175 Uganda 453
|Ugandans ranked 175th in the "Richest Countries in the World" Poll|
176 Guinea 438
177 Madagascar 428
178 Niger 428
179 Ethiopia 351
180 Malawi 350
181 Sierra Leone 347
182 Liberia 258
183 Congo, Democratic Republic of the 211
|Somalia is the "worst country to live in the world", according to a poll.|
You can also look at the most religious Christian countries:
|Honduran Children Photo Credits: Travel Adventure.com|
Honduras - Over 85% religious - Has the most murders in the world per capita
Some interesting facts:
This shows the most "happy" countries in the world in which Denmark (80% atheists) is on top. The religious countries are way down below. Of the Top 10, 7 are in the most atheistic/agnostic countries.
5. The Bahamas
Because of his convincing research, this particular agnostic/atheistic student concluded:
"I have in many forums read arguments that "non-religious" people are living an empty life and are very unethical.
Look at Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. You people who think this, I have a question for you...where would you rather live...In a country that has creative people, on top of the world in technology, gives most to other poor countries, have most women in politics, are on top of the "happy nations" when looking at the satisfaction of life but they are not religious.
I would like you to come over to Scandinavia and debate your negative view of being non-religious to the Scandinavians.
I also want you to go over to the countries that agree with you such as El Salvador, Honduras, Greece and many other countries that agree with your view on religion (meaning they are religious). Where you you rather live. I think I know the answer. In my view all the non-religious democratic countries seem to be more creative and care for other people in the society. "
|Photo Credits from atheist website: reedsecular.org|
"If God exists he must hate religious countries and love non-religious countries when looking at the facts. " - atheist student
Reading through his lists and data and seeing how "HAPPY", people who do not even believe that God exists or at the very least, do not care if He is real or not, makes a Catholic Christian living in a third world country (The Philippines is the ONLY Christian country in Asia at that!), feel pathetic. :(
How come the "HAPPIEST" ones are supposedly the ones who do not have any relationship with God?
|Photo Credits: Politics Daily|
How come the "SADDEST" ones are supposedly those who believe in Him?
|Photo Credits: Inquirer.net|
In the first poll conducted by Gallup, the questions asked were with regards to: "if they smiled a lot yesterday, if they felt respected all day, if they were well-rested and if they learned or accomplished something interesting." In this poll, the poor nations (predominantly Catholic Christians/ Christians) figured way high on the "happy list" including the Philippines; and Singapore was deemed "the country with the least happy residents in the world."
In the next few polls conducted by the United Nations, the questions asked were: "focused on six aspects -- including GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, perceptions of corruption and generosity." In this poll, the rich countries (predominantly agnostic or atheistic) figured very high on the "happy list."
|Photo Credits: ampyourstat.com|
I personally believe that polls should not be considered as the holders of the ABSOLUTE TRUTH (there are many factors still to be considered) but they are a GOOD GAUGE of the "pulse" of a nation or group of people. The findings above are worthy to be pondered on and considered.
Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11, 17-26
Does “Having Fun” Bring Happiness?
2 I said to myself, “I will try having fun. I will enjoy myself.” But I found that this is also useless. 2 It is foolish to laugh all the time, and having fun doesn’t accomplish anything. 3 I decided to cheer myself up with wine while my mind was still thinking wisely. I wanted to find a way to enjoy myself and see what was good for people to do during their few days of life.
Does Hard Work Bring Happiness?
|"The Successful Man"|
4 Then I did great things: I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made gardens and parks, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made pools of water for myself and used them to water my growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves, and slaves were also born in my house. I had large herds and flocks, more than anyone in Jerusalem had ever had before. 8 I also gathered silver and gold for myself, treasures from kings and other areas. I had male and female singers and all the women a man could ever want. 9 I became very famous, even greater than anyone who had lived in Jerusalem before me. My wisdom helped me in all this.10 Anything I saw and wanted, I got for myself; I did not miss any pleasure I desired.I was pleased with everything I did, and this pleasure was the reward for all my hard work.11 But then I looked at what I had done and I thought about all the hard work.Suddenly I realized it was useless, like chasing the wind. There is nothing to gain from anything we do here on earth.
Is There Real Happiness in Life?
17 So I hated life. It made me sad to think that everything here on earth is useless, like chasing the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had worked for here on earth, because I must leave them to someone who will live after me.19 Someone else will control everything for which I worked so hard here on earth, and I don’t know if he will be wise or foolish. This is also useless. 20 So I became sad about all the hard work I had done here on earth. 21 People can work hard using all their wisdom, knowledge, and skill, but they will die, and other people will get the things for which they worked. They did not do the work, but they will get everything. This is also unfair and useless. 22 What do people get for all their work and struggling here on earth? 23 All of their lives their work is full of pain and sorrow, and even at night their minds don’t rest. This is also useless.
|Credit: © Laurin Rinder | Dreamstime.com|
Here was a man who by his own account had:
- great fun all the time
Forbes' Richest Man in the World Mexican Telecom mogul
Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico estimated at $74B probably has
a checklist similar to Ecclesiastes.
- enjoyed all the time
- laughed all the time
- cheered himself up with wine
- done great things
- built houses and planted vineyards
- made gardens and parks
- planted all kinds of fruit trees
- made pools of water for himself
- bought male and female slaves (!)
- possessed large herds of flocks (more than anyone in Jerusalem had ever had before!)
- gathered silver and gold for himself and other treasures from kings
- male and female singers
- all the women a man could ever want (!)
- fame (He was more famous than anyone in Jerusalem who had lived before him!)
By all accounts, he seemed to be "HAPPY"! He should be super "happy", right? I mean he had all that the world could give -- fame, power, money, women... EVERYTHING!!!
By his own account too, "he had everything he wanted in life and every pleasure he desired" but "he hated his life"... because "noone can eat or enjoy his life without God."
24 The best that people can do is eat, drink, and enjoy their work. I saw that even this comes from God, 25 because no one can eat or enjoy life without him. 26 If people please God, God will give them wisdom, knowledge, and joy. But sinners will get only the work of gathering and storing wealth that they will have to give to the ones who please God. So all their work is useless, like chasing the wind.
|Devotees receive Holy Communion during Sunday Mass |
at Santo Nino Church after Supertyphoon Haiyan (Yolanda)
battered Tacloban City - Yahoo Philippines
|Photo Credits: Bubble News|
I wonder though... If the rich are stripped of all their material riches, for any reason whatsoever, (and I don't mean in just the rich countries because there are rich Filipinos among us too) would they still be able to truly say they are "happy"?
But could one be "happy" when nothing is going right? When you see your own mother die in your arms because the nearest
|Sto. Niño Parish Church, whose roof was blown away by the storm. |
“My faith is stronger than Yolanda. She should fear my God,”
one churchgoer said. RAFFY LERMA - Inquirer.net
The Lord knows the Filipino is super flawed too and has a myriad of deeply ingrained attitudinal problems that makes it hard for us to progress or become a rich country.
|Photo Credits: Flicker|
(That deserves another lengthy post by itself!) But one thing that I always see and experience amongst the poorest of the poor is their belief in God and their uncanny ability to be "happy" even under the worst of circumstances.
One thing I do know too is that whether we are in sad circumstances or happy circumstances, we must learn to be content and to thank God for everything.
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
To end this lengthy post, to the question THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS -- IS IT WORTH PURSUING? My answer is NO.
|Daddy and Mommy Alejar - happy couple :)|