Human Freedom is from God and the Foundation of our Country
This weekend our nation celebrates the 246th anniversary of its independence from England. The Fourth of July is set apart from the rest of the year with parades, flags, cookouts and fireworks, for those municipalities who still value the importance of the day. It is also a day in which we give thanks to all those who have gone before us and sacrificed, even to the point of giving their own lives, for the freedoms we enjoy each day.
The annual joyful celebration resonates deeply within the psyche of Americans because what the founding fathers envisioned for a people in a new country is in essence the aspiration of every human being. The freedom to choose is a gift from God and is an unalienable and the non-transferrable right of every person. Thomas Jefferson the author of the Declaration of Independence makes the point with great clarity, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Human freedom however, is not a license or green light to do anything one wishes, but rather a choice to act in ways which are good. As confusing and counter -cultural as the last sentence may seem, human freedom is a Christian tenant seeking the betterment of the person by pursuing the good.
Human freedom can only be true freedom when the agent acts in ways which promote the life-giving actions. Simply, there is an order created by God (divine law) by which creatures ought to follow (natural law) if they are to be fulfilled as human persons. The order of God is not burdensome as some liberals contend, because they cannot understand the truth that a creatures full potential is realized only when it is in concert with the divine law. To illustrate the point further, a hammer is a pretty lousy screwdriver, but when it is used to pound a nail, it is the perfect tool. Just like tools, when creatures do what they were intended to do, goodness and peacefulness follow because the creature is living in a way proper to its nature. What is proper to their nature is goodness and is reflective of the divine image by which they were created.
The common understanding today unfortunately equates human freedom with the ability to do whatever one pleases regardless of whether the action is objectively good or not. For some, it has nothing to do with good or evil, but only what they feel or want to do. The current philosophy and prevalent thought among those who call themselves ‘progressive’ advances the notion of tolerance in all things. Tolerance is defined therefore, as a freedom to do most anything under the banner of expression and creativity. There are very few things in this philosophy which are deemed wrong, inappropriate or evil. What is not taken into consideration is any reference to Natural law because it doesn’t fit their understanding. What they don’t realize if man acts contrary to his nature, he will inevitably suffer the consequences. Remember a hammer makes a bad screwdriver.
A Godless philosophy and praxis of the progressive mind necessarily elevate human decision as the highest of all goods. Acceptance has become the politically correct response in order to wrap one’s head around the myriad of subjective truths conjured up by any person. The freedom to choose becomes the highest or all values, hence tolerance in all things is promoted no matter how far from the objective truth it becomes. The present-day tolerance notion is nothing more than human beings rejecting completely God’s divine law and refusing to be guided by natural law in lieu of their own laws which are tolerance, diversity and equity.
What the Christian faith holds dear is human freedom and is the source of our dignity whereby we can express love of God and our neighbors freely. God is good and the source of all goodness. Our sharing in the goodness is true human freedom and by ordering ourselves to the order of God, we come to know the truth, not our subjective truth, but the objective truth of God and his will for human life. It is only by following the truth do we break the bonds of oppression and are truly free.
Independence Day is a day in which we proudly proclaim our freedom. But it shouldn’t be a day reflecting only on political freedom, but an all-encompassing freedom. Many have given up their true freedom to a society which has turned its back on God, preferring the shackles of subjectivism to that of true freedom in God. A great deal of the problems our society faces would not be problems at all if men and women would again practice true human freedom, searching and executing the good for themselves and the society.
Perhaps, we need another Independence Day, one without tea in a harbor or men dying on a battlefield. The other “Independence Day” should be the desire to turn to God and ask him for His blessing and guidance with the hopes of becoming truly free and living out Jefferson’s hope of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What a great prayer for the Fourth, an independence from the notion that man can create his own order for himself and the world apart from God.
A most blessed Fourth of July weekend to you and your families.