The Gospel of Happiness is a book that I would normally glance at the title in a bookstore and then pass it over and keep looking at other books. Maybe it's the fact that it sounds too much like the prosperity gospel, or maybe it's that the book is bright yellow. I'm not really sure, but the author of the book Dr. Christopher Kaczor, is someone I have read before and someone I trust as an author, so I decided to give this book a chance. The book's main goal is to show how positive psychology and Christian practice overlap. Chapter One explains Martin Seligman's five elements of happiness - 1. Positive emotion, 2. Engagement, 3, Relationships, 4. Meaning, and 5. Achievement (PERMA). Dr. Kaczor elaborates on each of the five elements and explains how they relate to Christian practice. For example, "The Christian call to engagement is also seen in various personal vocations to different states in life. Through finding and living out a vocation [ . . . ] a person engages in an activity of service to others."
Chapter Two discusses tapping into this great joy which is God by way of faith, hope, and love - the three theological virtues. He explains this further by telling us the following three things. 1. People of faith believe that what they do matters both presently and eternally. 2. Hope is more than a wish that things turn out well, but the belief that despite how awful things are on earth, Heaven is a reality. 3. Love of God is the greatest love, because when we love God we unite our will with his and it opens us up to loving everyone, including our enemies. The remaining chapters in the book cover prayer, gratitude, forgiveness, virtue, and willpower.
This was an interesting book in which Dr. Kaczor does a fine job of showing how Christianity and positive psychology intersect. With that said, a lot of the book felt like preaching to the choir, as most Christians will tell you that the reason for their positive outlook and practices are because of their faith in God and practicing of his teachings. I believe this book would primarily appeal to those interested in the field of psychology and psychiatry. As someone with a BA in psychology, I was appreciative to read about the field of positive psychology, as much of what I encountered in pursuing my undergraduate degree turned me off of the subject entirely. Four stars.
This book was provided to me for free by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes! To read an interview with Dr. Kaczor, click here!