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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thoughts on Freedom

Two types of freedom are offered to students, faculty, the young, and the old. To which will you live?

America: land of the free. But what exactly does that mean? Does free mean that I can murder someone? Does free mean that I can steal? Does free mean that I can do whatever I want? Of course not, we all agree that freedom has limits. What remains is a question of where those limits are set.

The 1960’s were a turning point in American culture. While many good things came out of the sixties including the civil rights movement and some of your parents, a type new type of freedom was created and exercised. I’ll call this freedom, “No-Fault Freedom”. I’ve adopted this thought and others throughout and would be happy to share their source. “No Fault Freedom” is both a permissive freedom and freedom by omission.

My high school government teacher taught me that my freedom ends where another’s begins. That is permissive freedom. As long as the exercise of my freedom doesn’t directly impact another person, I can do whatever I want. Personally, that freedom sounds nice: free to do whatever I want. If I want to sing, I sing. If I want to wear my clothes or hair a certain way, I do. I determine me and my own.

Freedom by omission is the freedom to not do something. If you see a toilet running and overflowing onto the floor, you have the freedom to walk away and do nothing about it. Not only do you have no external responsibility, no one can impose an external authority on you thereby limiting your freedom. You don’t have to listen to your parents, you don’t have to go to church, you don’t have to believe in God, you have no authority other yourself.

What then is the basis for your decisions? Self-gratification: you can do, or choose to not do, whatever you want if it makes you happy. You define what is right and wrong on the basis of your happiness. Out the window authority. Out the door responsibility. You are an autonomous individual capable of determining your own morality. And, why not? Their presuppositions are that 1) there is no God, 2) there is no objective morality 3) you are simply acting authentically as your inherited, evolved wiring directs you.

The best example of this, in my opinion, is the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. Traditionally, sex was intended for marriage, between one-man and one woman, in a committed loving relationship, resulting in children. After all, that’s the way God intended it.

The minds of the 1960’s said that this view of sex was an infringement upon your sexual freedom—who is God, family, or church to tell you act in such a personal area of your life. As long people (2 or more) consent without hurting anyone else (permissive freedom), you don’t have to abide by anyone else’s standards or authority (freedom of omission). Without thought to original intent, consequences, or boundaries, Sex was popularized. And it continues to be supported in high school curriculum, on televisions, movies, and dominated on the internet.

But, the sexual revolution was a lie! And our society is literally paying for the consequences financially, but also socially, intellectually, morally, and culturally. There has been an increase in teen sexuality, encouraged by all forms of media, resulting in an increase in teen pregnancy (leading to more high school drop-outs, more people on welfare, more government dependency, increased drug use, more domestic violence). There are 1.3 million abortions per year (that’s how we cope with the unintended consequences of sexual freedom), not to mention guilt and sterility from abortion. Now we have a higher divorce rate (children with absent moms or dads), homosexuality, push for homosexual marriage, epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, destructive gangsta rap, and increased sexual violence. The sexual revolution propagated a lie: that nothing mattered except self-gratification and personal authenticity.

The radical experiment of No-Fault Freedom has failed and it is depleting the resources of our society. The truth is that there are consequences to sex and all other actions; the truth is that individuals, families, churches, and colleges have a responsibility to look after more than just their own personal well-being. Every time you believe otherwise, you believe a lie.

Which leads to the second type of freedom.

Not only does the freedom that we treasure so much have limits, freedom relies upon a greater, first principle. Listen to what our founders said,

Samuel Adams, “We may look up to Armies for our Defence, but Virtue is our best Security. It is not possible that any State should long remain free, where Virtue is not supremely honored.”

John Adams, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

A Constitution establishes freedom but to sustain freedom something more, an external presupposition is needed for freedom to be sustained: Virtue. What is virtue? Virtue and morality are not things we talk about often but they consist at the root of decency, fairness, and goodness in action. Virtue cannot exist in isolation; it exists as responsibility manifesting itself within a community.

Communities are an inheritance passed down to you by God. The freedom that you have must always be tempered by virtue and commitment to responsibility within your community.

Let’s compare the two types of freedom:

The Lie of No-Fault Freedom says, “Marriage is only about feelings and pleasure”
Freedom with Virtue and Responsibility says, “Marriage creates a healthy environment for children.”

NFF says, “I have a right to turn up my music as loud as I want whenever I want.”
FVR says, “I have a responsibility to be considerate of my neighbor.”

NFF says, “No one gets hurt if you look at pornography”
FVR says, “Pornography exploits women, ruins families, and is destructive in relationships.”

NFF says, “The lights are on in that car, but I don’t care. It doesn’t impact me.”
FVR says, “I’m a member of this community and I care about other people. I’m going to do something about it.

How do we know the difference between the two?: God’s Word. “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart”. Hebrews 4:12

God’s word is living; its relevant. It effective; its practical. It sharper than any two-edged sword; it makes toughest calls. It doesn’t mince words, get lost in subjectivism, or deconstructivism. And, it even makes judgments upon our thoughts and motives.

The principles in Scripture address the boundaries and responsibilities of freedom. [And, even as I wrote that the first time, my sinfulness writhed in agony.] Boundaries to freedom? Yes, you can’t do whatever you want. Reponsibility of freedom? Yes, you have the duty to do some things you don’t want to do.

If this sounds really hard, you are listening well. Principles sometimes are explicitly stated “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Other times, they are indirect and unstated. At time difficulty may arise, but remember God’s inheritance to you is not only his Spirit but a community for you to live and grow and receive support from.

For my life, I am drawing the principles in Scripture to direct my thoughts and actions. I am contributing to my community because I sense responsibility to use what the Lord has given me for others. I believe people are changed one act of compassion and love at a time. I believe strongly that actions have consequences. I believe that freedom must be tempered by virtue and responsibility for all members within a community. I don’t believe legislation is the best manner to change people; I believe there are other means to encourage the development of virtue, character, and responsibility within people

To which freedom will you live? No-Fault Freedom offers a moment of pleasure for a lifetime of distress and lies for destructive consequences. Freedom with virtue and responsibility offers you the opportunity to do good, make a difference in others lives, please the Creator, and make the world a better place for all.

Thoughtful Readers Speak:
Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang
Keyword Kenali Pandeglang
Mohon dukungannya yach....?!
Semangat..semangat..!!
Agar terjalin tali silaturrahmi di antara kita.
Pandeglang telah hilang Kenali Si Dunia Aneh
Mari bersama Teknisi Komputer dalam kontes Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang
 
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RIGHTFAITH: Where everything favors the stewardship of patrimony. All content is believed to be correct but may be amended based upon new information. The content of this page may be republished with proper citation without the expressed consent of the author. This site is not, in any manner whatsoever, associated with the religious philosophism from the Indian penninsula. All comments or emails to the author become the property of the author and may be published or deleted without notice or reason provided. Copyrighted 2005.

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