A university is offering the first-ever Masters’s Degree in happiness studies for $17,700, but there’s a study in happiness you can do free of charge to Master happiness in your own life. It’s found in the pages of the Bible.
Centenary University, a private college in Hackettstown, New Jersey, offers the world’s first-ever “Master of Arts in Happiness Studies.”
Fox reported that the online course will study happiness by examining aspects of various disciplines ranging from psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience to finance and business to literature, religion, and music. The University believes numerous disciplines can benefit from this Master’s Degree education in happiness, including human resource employees, as one would assume, but also therapists, teachers, coaches, managers, doctors, lawyers, and more.
“This fully online accredited MA in Happiness Studies focuses on educating leaders committed to the cultivation of wellbeing in themselves and others, to the fulfillment of society’s potential for both happiness and goodness,” the program’s website states.
But to God’s faithful, a phrase in the University’s info on the program stands out: “The fulfillment of society’s potential for both happiness and goodness.”
We can already see in the world that what society deems “good” and necessary for “happiness” is fickle and ever-changing. Society is now even questioning the concept of “truth.” If truth is subjective, how can any current society’s definition of happiness and goodness be stable and reliable?
According to the World Health Organization, the age groups of Millennials and Generation Z have record-setting levels of mental health issues, which include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts.
This occurs as society has made changes that have abandoned previous generations’ social norms. One study found that teens in the past decade (well before the pandemic) were more depressed than those who lived through the Great Depression and World War II, the most challenging times in America’s history.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Society today seems to reinforce the idea that we should be happy at all times and never suffer discomfort. It’s led to an alarming outbreak in young people striving for perfectionism. People are seeking something that isn’t possible and it’s leading to a massive outbreak of mental health issues.
A study undertaken by the American Psychological Association and published in its journal Psychological Bulletin found a dramatic rise in perfectionism from 1989 to 2016.
“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
The Bible teaches that human beings have a sinful nature and we cannot achieve perfection in the flesh. We can only do so through the gift of God’s grace. We have to humble ourselves and submit ourselves to God, and trust in Him, allowing Him to be in control of our lives. It is only God who is perfect and without sin.
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”
– 2 Samuel 22:31
But religion and philosophies like Buddhism and Stoicism point to the fact that suffering is an inescapable part of life.
“Remember, being happy doesn’t mean you have it all. It simply means you’re thankful for all you have.”
The Bible teaches that happiness comes through gratitude, thankfulness, and humility.
A key component of happiness is remaining upbeat, joyful, and resilient amid discomfort, stress, or suffering. The Bible teaches us:
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
–2 Corinthians 12:10
A study conducted by the Pew Research Center between 2010-2014 found that the nations that were the happiest were also the most actively religious across the board and unequivocally.
A study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic concluded: “Most studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, including greater longevity, coping skills, and health-related quality of life (even during terminal illness) and less anxiety, depression, and suicide.