Skip to comments.Those who seek to eliminate faith for the sake of freedom, get only tyranny
Posted on 07/04/2013 12:57:25 PM PDT by NYer
On the Fourth of July, in the United States of America we celebrate freedom. In particular we celebrate freedom from tyranny, and a government that is not representative; freedom from unchecked power and unaccountable sovereigns.
Distorted and faithless notions - Yet, as Christians we cannot overlook that there are ways of understanding freedom today that are distorted, exaggerated and detached from a proper context. Many modern concepts of freedom treat freedom as something that faith limits, not enhances.
Alexis De Tocqueville said Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith. In America today we are seeing the erosion of all three in reverse order.
Those who want to eliminate faith remove the ultimate basis of morality. For if God, and what he has set forth in Natural Law, and the Scriptures be not the basis of or law and freedom, then we are and there is no real basis to determine right and wrong, it is all just opinion and power struggle. We are our own absolute rulers, answerable to no one. This is dangerous.
And just as it is a bad idea for the inmates to run the jail, so absolute self-governance turns to tyranny. We tend to turn on each other and engage in deadly power struggles.
Welcome to the secular setting wherein freedom is eroded because power struggles have replaced the recognition of a higher law that binds us all. Welcome to the tyranny of relativism, and the bondage and litigiousness of unbelief.
Among the sources of growing and intrusive law is that some refuse to limit their bad behavior, some refuse to live up to commitments they have made, some abandon self control, some insist on living outside safe and proper norms. Many insist that the solution to protect them from others who abuse their freedom, is more laws. And many are successful in getting increasingly restrictive laws passed.
Yes, without a commonly held morality and a salutary fear that we will answer one day to God, bad behavior multiplies and freedom erodes into lots of tedious laws. In this climate, an increasingly powerful and intrusive State seeks to keep a lid on the immoral behavior resulting from the faithless notion that I will never answer to anyone.
Hence, those who seek to eliminate faith for the sake of “freedom” get only tyranny. Even unbelievers ought to be grateful that most people have a vigorous sense that they must answer one day to God. But without God, those in power, and those who act wickedly, think they will never have to answer to anyone and their sociopathic behavior gets more severe and tyrannical.
Those who claim that the truth of the gospel limits their freedom might also consider that the world outside God’s truth shows itself to be far less than free than it claims:
The so-called “freedom” of the modern world, (apart from the truth of the Gospel), is far from evident. The Catechism says rather plainly:
The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin.” (CCC # 1733)
In the end, the paradox proves itself. Only limited freedom is true freedom. Demands for freedom apart from faith lead only to hindered freedom and outright slavery and tyranny.
Ponder freedom on this 4th of July. Ponder its paradoxes, accept its limits. For freedom is glorious. But because we are limited and contingent beings, so is our freedom. Ponder finally this paradoxical truth: The highest freedom is the capacity to obey God.
Note that in the video this song about Freedom, often sung in reference to various political and social struggles, roots the freedom in Jesus. Some seculars eliminate the 2nd verse today, but they thus undermine the basis for freedom. For if there be no Lord to whom we point as the basis of justice, Those who cry for freedom are simply being arbitrary in their notion. Without God and the justice he puts in our hearts, why should the desires of the oppressed have any more merit than the wishes of the oppressor? It is a mere matter of opinion, for there is no outside source for morality or justice. Unbelievers cannot really point to any basis other than popular opinion or raw power to usher in their view. Their notion of freedom without faith ends only in the tyranny of power struggle.
Thanks godless liberals. We had a good thing going in the Garden of Eden and somebody had to have an apple.
America's Founders understood the meaning of the word "liberty," as well as the meaning of the word "license," and their great documents, the Declaration of Independence and 1787 Constitution, laid our the principles and protections for true liberty in a society.
Their ideas were and are consistent with Mgsr. Pope's excellent essay. The following piece also expresses thoughts about these things:
The U. S. Constitution's Precious Cargo*
"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court even can do much to help it." - Judge Learned Hand
The Constitution's words are only the vehicles which carry great ideas across the centuries. The precious cargo must be defined, protected, and treasured by "We, the People" in order for its benefits to accrue to each generation. Take the word, "liberty". What message does this semantic vehicle bring?
Abe Lincoln: "We all declare for liberty, but
in using the same word we do not mean the same thing...."
"The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator,
While the wolf denounces him for the same act...."
"Plainly," said Lincoln, "the sheep and the wolf are not agreed
upon a definition of liberty."
To some, he said, "liberty" means: that each individual in the society may do as he sees fit with himself and the earnings from his labors. To others, "liberty" means: that some persons may do as they see fit (or arbitrarily determine to be best) with other persons' earnings. Lincoln wisely observed that each respective view can be called by the other party by two "different and incompatible" names: "liberty" (unbridled license) and "tyranny" (power abused).
Down through the centuries since 1787, America's constitutional vehicle has traveled, proclaiming right up front that its primary purpose is to "secure the Blessings of Liberty." This is not just any old vehicle. This is the Constitution of the United States of America! Its makers left volumes of writings and definitions of the cargo of priceless treasure its words carry. Its intent to secure a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, and promote the general Welfare (common good) and "secure the Blessings of Liberty" relies on a clear understanding of, and strict adherence to, its underlying philosophy that each individual possesses Creator-endowed rights, as well as its structural provisions for protecting them from abuses of power by those they elect to positions of power in public office.
"Liberty"--the word--can become "liberty"--the blessing--only to those who care enough to know the difference between "license" and "tyranny": to those who will never mistake the real treasure of liberty envisioned by America's Founders for its counterfeits--rampant, unbridled license among the citizenry or abuse of power by those to whom power is delegated. Both are equally fatal to true liberty.
* "Lessons In Liberty" Series by La Vaughn G. Lewis, Free Lance Writer and Co-Editor of "Our Ageless Constitution" & "Rediscovering the Ideas of Liberty"
What if that faith is in Allah?
I'd prefer to rely on common sense
A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.
The nouns liberty and faith can have widely varying meanings, or uses, depending on the context or object of each. Faith in God is quite different from faith in, for example, the good will and competence of a government official, or even ones next door neighbor. To say, You must have faith is to say little of value, absent reference to the object of faith.