The considerations of “angels dancing on the head of a pin” is a common mistake of most of all generations, among the intellectual and “thinker” class. I’m sort of a member, but had the advantage of both growing up poor (compared to the majority in the US anyway), and raised by a Christian family, plus knowing the influence of education and academia in my life, later corrected a number of ways.
The phrase is a fair way to describe many theological discussions, but there are even more important histories to consider. Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, these are philosopher often discussed and quoted, and their ideas bounced around in these discussions, but the most important influence on the way people of all economic and intellectual shades regarded “living well” and the issues of happiness.
Nobody in the history of the world had a greater influence than Jesus Christ, through his life and teachings and person, and his disciples, even *without* counting the most important event for Christians, the Resurrection. (The “cross is meaningless without it, but represents power with the other).
Paul said he had learned to be content “in whatsoever state”, and to both “abase and abound”. I’ve been poor, and I’d still appreciate a windfall, but some of my happiest moments were when I was a missionary “south of the border” and watching the changes in people’s lives. People living happy and free from letting material considerations and from guilt. Yes, we did NOT push a “guilt trip” on anybody, we showed them Jesus’ offer of freedom from guilt.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem, he wreaked out his painful wrath on those moneychangers, healed the sick, raised the dead, inspired the Samaritans, but he still said “My joy I leave with you”.
Now for the 21st century obligatory disclaimer. Mr. Bush’s insisting that Jesus was his favorite philosopher was, in my opinion, a blatant lie. I do believe in faith healing (so do several double-blind studies), but I can watch a TV evangelist for two minutes and tell you which ones are false prophets and probably on their way to the wrong place. But some of the happiest Christians of history ancient and modern were, and are, the ones who suffered the worst abuses at the hand of lying hypocrites who said they were doing God’s work.
There is no well-being in such behavior, It is disobedience to the ones they say they revere.
Following Jesus, the first rule is the Golden Rule, which as corollary demands what we now call the “non-agression principle”.
A Christian philosophy teacher at a Catholic university once shared an insight on the subject. He said, “A philosopher is one who seeks answers. Jesus Christ is a wise man who has the answers”.