After walking through the wardrobe into the land of Narnia[1], Edmund loses his sister Lucy and meets the White Witch, who has evil plans for the four children, who are said to become the rulers of Narnia. She rules Narnia and does not want anything to change, so offers Edmund anything he wants to eat so she can get him to betray the whereabouts of his siblings. He chooses a box of Turkish delight, described as in a round box, tied with green silk ribbon and when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish delight. Each piece was sweet and light to the very centre. Edmund had never tasted anything more delicious. After eating it all, Edmund instantly wants more. This is because the candy is delicious, but also because it has been enchanted to make him want to eat it forever. In his desperation, he will do whatever she asks to satisfy his hunger. He brings his siblings to her.

When we make the pursuit of pleasure to find happiness an end in itself, it becomes idolatrous. The Greeks had Apollos – the god of music and dance, Aphrodite – the goddess of love and beauty and Bacchus – the god of wine and pleasure. Pleasure is a sense of happiness and satisfaction. All would agree that the pursuit of happiness is a universal longing. One thing that has never changed is humanity’s quest for happiness through pleasure linked to the abundance of possessions and experiences. St Augustine (354-430 AD), as a young person, was in a desperate search to satisfy all longings in created things. This defined him and motivated his actions “Unlovely I have rushed heedlessly among the lovely things thou hast made …. These things kept me far from thee.” [2]

An idol always carves out some aspect of creation and then absolutizes it. The pursuit of pleasure becomes ‘hedonism’.  One colour in the spectrum becomes the whole rainbow! The idol underlies our sin as we become a slave to it, just like Edmund who betrayed his siblings to get more.  Like Augustine, he was never satisfied. When the teacher, King Solomon, reflected on his life when he lived as if his God did not exist, he said,

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
And this was the reward for all my labour.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
And what I had toiled to achieve,
Everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
Nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2: 10-19[3]

As G.K. Chesterton reflected “Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.”[4]

When the Creator is exchanged for the idol of pleasure, the humanity of a person is diminished. If every activity is evaluated by how much pleasure it brings, your outlook on life will be one-dimensional and you evaluate others by how much happiness they bring you. Moral decisions will be made on a utilitarian basis. Pleasure itself is destroyed as author Neil Postman commented about modern people being amused to death.

Christian formation is, at its heart, a journey toward rightly ordered loves and right thinking, which lead to wise living. To rightly order our loves we must see Christ as our first love and priority and from this flows both individual and communal action.

How can we explore these realities through our school culture and our teaching and learning?  We need to help our students to critically think about, in age-appropriate ways, the way of thinking that says “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die.” (1 Corinthians 15: 32). What are the consequences for a person, a community and a nation who seek to live this out? How does the culture of our school demonstrate that a person’s life “does not consist in the abundance of his possessions?  (Luke 12: 15).  Shouldn’t an atheist have an obligation to explain pleasure in a world of randomness?  When they see a beautiful sunset, they have no one to thank. Where does pleasure come from?

We are to unfold God’s Story, which reveals that all human longing is a quest for God and all human activity is potentially life-affirming, when pursued as an expression of worship of our Creator. “For everything God created is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving …”  (1 Timothy 4: 4). Through the curriculum, our students can explore what are their loyalties – the devotion of their lives? What are their longings, the hopes and dreams of their lives? Creative Arts teachers, for example, can engage students in exercises of the imagination and creation that can be transformative in their personal lives and bring immense pleasure to their audiences. The literature we study can shape the students’ thoughts, touch their emotions and enlarge their imaginations. Participation in physical activity is a way students can experience the pleasure of expressing their God-given gifts.

School service learning – where students can act together for good and use their gifts to participate in recreation and bring blessing to the world, can bring a deep sense of pleasure and happiness to students amid a broken world. Our cultural life, the stories we tell and the celebrations we participate in, have the power to orientate the hearts of our students to the Creator and give our students a deeper insight into what it means to be truly human and enjoy life in God’s creation. Let us guide our students to choose such pleasures as are worthy of those called to be God’s image-bearers. May they long for the new world and taste it as they live in the sure hope of the splendour that is coming.  Let us embrace our ultimate source of pleasure which is to fulfil the chief end for which we were made “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. [5]


Grace and Peace
TEC Team



[1] Clive Staples Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, (London: Geoffery Bles, 1950), Chapter 4- Turkish Delight.

[2] Augustine, Augustine Confessions, translated by Albert C Outler, (, 1955), ChXXVII, 38.

[3] NIV

[4] Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Quotable Quotes. Accessed 19 April 2022.


[5]  Assembly of Divines at Westminster, The Westminster Shorter Catechism, (