September 14, 2011


In Mere Christianity C.S.Lewis warned us about elevating one virtue or characteristic too high**. His example was love, an apt one for the time he wrote in, and in many ways an apt one of our time as well. However if I had to guess I would say our current cultural's most preferred virtue, the thing that we are told must be protected at all cost is; freedom.

It is my belief that we are beginning to see the disastrous affects of making freedom the unquestionable, unassailable virtue that all other virtues, laws and desires must bow to. Not to put to fine a point on it but I believe our cultures quest for ultimate freedom will doom us.

I know there are people at this point that may not know what I am going to say, but they are fairly sure they are going to disagree. So before I try to make my theological point I would like for you reflect on these questions;

In the last 10 years how many bombs have been droped, homes destroyed, and lives lost all in the name of freedom?

How many wayward or dangerous adults have become so because as children they were untrained, and undisciplined for fear of stifling their freedom?

How many people have been told that they have the freedom to become whatever they want, only to be crushed by the sea of endless possibilities and ultimately become nothing?

This Is What Many People Sound Like To Me
Now that is off my chest please allow me to get to the heart of my theological concern. One major argument I have heard lately for disbelief in God is based on the idea of freedom. The argument goes something like this: 

'Do you really want God to exist? God after all is nosy. He cares about what you eat, what you drink, who you sleep with, how you spend your money and so on. In fact he could be called a voyeuristic god. The worst thing is after he is done nosing around in your business (I.E. your freedom) he proclaims judgement on you for doing things differently then he thinks you ought to. This is of course ridiculous; why would God make you free if he was going to punish you for using said freedom? If there is a god out there, and there almost certainly is not, you can be sure that he/she/it has better things to do then to check up on what type of fabric you use to make your clothes with." 

Now there are a number of problems with this line of thinking but I will only briefly cover two. 

First this line of thinking is completely out of step with almost all forms of religious thought until very recently. For as long as there has been a belief in the gods/God, that reality was thought to have consequences both positive and negative depending at least somewhat on what we did. While some thinkers have imagined a somewhat more distant deity, that had more to do with the likelihood of miracles. It really only seems to be the last 2 or 3 generations that have come up with the idea that no one, not even God himself has the right to tell us what to do.

However the newness of this idea is hardly a reason to say it is wrong. In fact given the generally accepted axiom that newer is better, many would consider it's newness a positive. That brings me to my second and more serious concern. Just because I want God to be a certain way, or not a certain way does not in fact mean that God will or will not be that way. 

After all I find the fact that I have to pay my rent, and my student loans to highly intrusive to my financial freedom. These bills greatly inhibit my ability to do as I please with my money. However my distaste for paying these bills do not cause my bill collectors to rethink their policy of asking me for money. Also I suspect that explaining to them after months of non payment that their bills were bothersome to me would not stop them from kicking me out of my house, and taking me to collections.

The same is true for God. Not wanting God to care about things like my sexual behaviour, whether I am or am not a lair, or how I use my money is not a good reason to think that God will not in fact care about those things. 

Right now many of us are so enamored by the false freedom Western society offers, the right to do whatever I feel like we are in grave danger of missing the true freedom offered by God, being freed from sin so I can finally becoming the person I was always meant to be. So maybe we are not free. Maybe we simply are not free enough. We are willing to settled for the right to do things as I please, but we miss out on finding out what really will please.

What do you think, are we too free, or are we not free enough?

**By the way, this point is of great practical consequence. The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials "for the sake of humanity," and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man. C.S. Lewis