Happiness, Suffering, and the Love of God

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As Aristotle observed, "Happiness is the one thing you choose for itself; everything else is chosen for the sake of happiness." Yet even though happiness is our goal, many people don't know how to successfully pursue it. In this series Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. explores happiness in the revealing light of human transcendence and immortality. Beginning with the commonly held principle that different forms of happiness correspond to different fundamental human desires, Fr. Spitzer guides viewers through four distinct but related sources of happiness (pleasure, achievement, contribution, transcendence), showing how they form a hierarchy and explaining why only the highest level (transcendent happiness) will ultimately fulfill us. Along the way he presents fascinating evidence for our spiritual nature from philosophy, psychology, and contemporary studies of near-death experiences and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is followed by an investigation into the mystery of suffering that begins with the parable of the Father of the Prodigal Son. Fr. Spitzer explains why an unconditionally loving God would allow suffering and also offers guidance on how to suffer well.

Happiness, Suffering, and the Love of God provides answers to some of life's most vexing questions and dispels many popular misconceptions as it charts a fascinating course towards authentic and lasting happiness.


Episode One: Four Levels of Happiness (61 min.)

Part 1: Introduction and Happiness Overview (35 min.)
Part 2: Escaping the Comparison Game (26 min.)

Episode Two: Human Transcendence and the Soul (60 min.)

Part 1: Evidence for Transcendence (40 min.)
Part 2: You are Made for Transcendence (20 min.)

Episode Three: The Resurrection of Jesus and Jesus' Revelation of the Unconditional Love of God (62 min.)

Part 1: The Resurrection (34 min.)
Part 2: The Love of God (28 min.)

Episode Four: Why Would an All-powerful, All-loving God Allow Suffering? (64 min.)

Part 1: Jesus' View of Suffering (32 min.)
Part 2: Why Does God Allow Suffering? (32 min.)

Episode Five: How To Suffer Well (71 min.)

Part 1: How to Suffer Well – Prayer (39 min.)
Part 2: How to Suffer Well – Virtue (32 min.)

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J

Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D. is the former president of Gonzaga University and the founder of the Magis Center, which educates the public about the intersection of science, reason, and faith. He is the chief education officer of the Ethics and Performance Institute, which delivers web-based ethics education to corporations and individuals, and President of the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership, which delivers similar curricula to non-profit organizations. He is the author of Healing the Culture, Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life, and Ten Universal Principles.