'Fun' activities can still be moral
Mehdi Khosh, member, Lawrence Baha'i Community:
"If we are not happy and joyous at this season, for what other season shall we wait, and for what other time shall we look?"
- Baha'i writing
In the Baha'i faith, fun and happiness are encouraged as long as that fun is not detrimental to you or to others. Religions generally teach people to be moral, so to say that religions keep people from having fun would suggest that only immoral things are fun, which is not the case.
Some of the "fun" activities generally discouraged in religions may provide temporary enjoyment, but the long-term effects are often quite the opposite. For example, in the Baha'i faith, the use of recreational drugs and alcoholic beverages is prohibited. While some may view this as a religion keeping its adherents from having fun, others may see the wisdom of these laws.
Often the various laws that tend to accompany religions are meant to keep us from making "mistakes" and would be analogous to a parent's instruction. For example, it may be that as children we viewed going to bed early as "not being allowed to have fun." In reality, however, this "instruction" was in our best interest.
True fun always accompanies happiness of your soul rather than physical pleasure, which lasts temporarily. As Baha'i, we believe that happiness consists of two kinds - physical and spiritual. The physical happiness is limited; its utmost duration is one day, one month, or one year. On the other hand, spiritual happiness is eternal and unfathomable and, therefore, is the true basis of life because life is created for happiness, not for sorrow. This spiritual happiness is the fundamental basis from which man is created and worlds are originated.
- Send e-mail to Mehdi Khosh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joy natural result of relationship with God
The Rev. Nate Rovenstine, pastor, Lawrence Wesleyan Church, 3705 Clinton Parkway:
What could be more fun than strapping two sticks to your feet, riding to the top of a snow-covered mountain and going down as fast as you can? And yet when I go skiing, I am amazed to see people hang out in the lodge most, if not all, of the day. Others don't even come to the mountain, preferring to go lay by a pool somewhere over spring break. In my book, that's no fun.
Fun is a personal thing. It is a feeling of excitement or euphoria that is not always guaranteed, even if one pursues it passionately. Sometimes we seek it out; other times it happens upon us unexpectedly.
For the Christian, fun is a result of joy. The Bible tells us that joy is one of the "fruits of the Spirit." This means that when the Holy Spirit (the expression of Jesus that walks beside believers) is a part of our lives, he produces (bears fruit) in us. Joy is a natural result of a relationship with God through Christ. Joy is constant, a gift that keeps on giving. A person who has joy will experience many moments of shame-free happiness, and thrive through many moments of intense sadness and grief.
Religion has, at times, taken the fun out of our lives. However, this aberration should not negate God's plan to rescue those whose lives are broken by sin. This free gift is made available because of Christ's death on the cross and is the only source of true joy. Out of this joy, we are freed from guilt and shame so that we are able to have true, guilt-free fun.
- Send e-mail to Nate Rovenstine at email@example.com.