Freedom and Law

This is in response to a blog post concerning Freedom and Law.  Maria wrote:

“Freedom” is a cherished concept in America… …In our contemporary culture, freedom has become “freedom from,” or what used to be called licentiousness. The emphasis now is on each person being free from constraints to do whatever they desire. Usually, there is the caveat that whatever we do, we should not infringe on others’ freedom or welfare. This would suggest that freedom and law (which constrains our choices) would be in opposition to one another. I think this is misleading.

True freedom comes only in the context of embracing obedience to God’s law. Did you react to that statement? I imagine that this is a surprising, if not shocking, idea. However, consider this: Human beings tried for hundreds of years to figure out how to fly like birds. For hundreds of years, we failed to fly. It was only after we discovered and obeyed the laws of aerodynamics that we became free to fly all over the planet.

Yes, I reacted rather negatively to the oxymoron that true freedom comes only in the context of a supreme dictator that is God’s law.  It’s ironic that she chose a scientific principle like aerodynamics to demonstrate truth and couldn’t rely on prayer, faith, or belief as the context for our ability to fly.

For example, it has become exceedingly common for couples to live together before marriage. This is often rationalized as “we need to see if we are compatible.” God says we should not live together before marriage. Turns out, God is right: high quality research has shown over and over again that living together before marriage increases the risk of divorce, affairs, domestic violence, etc. So in this case, if you follow God’s instructions, you are less likely to experience these outcomes.

Turns out, the primitive humans that wrote about not living together before marriage have no greater authority over the subject than any other societal view.  I can quote from Christian sources that cite government surveys to say that as cohabitation has grown it is no longer correlated to divorce rates. The correlation to divorce rates could also have been attributable to the fact that the type of people that wait to live together might be more likely to stay in unhappy marriages because they view divorce as contrary to God’s law.

That, in a nutshell, is my approach. Whenever I am confronted with a decision to make about how I will live, I ask “What is God’s intention?” I turn to the Bible, God’s little flight manual, and I see what God has to say on the subject. If it is not addressed directly, I look for the principles God has provided that are relevant to the question. And then I am free to live my life to its fullest potential, and that is very satisfying indeed.

Yes, it’s an approach and some people are happy running their lives with confusing fairy tales from our primitive ancestors.  They fill in the gaps, conflicts, and confusion with their own principles that they then claim are clear biblical principles.  I challenge Maria to write out some clear principles for modern society, particularly political principles, and see if all other bible believers believe she has it right.  If it worked without dispute then I could agree that the bible has enduring principles.  I’m not even going to argue if those principles are worthy of following or not,  since it can clearly be questioned if there are clear and enduring principles in there to even discuss consistently.

What do we do without God’s law?  Are freedom and law in opposition?  We have human law and it depends on which societies we live in as to what that means.  Freedoms may be in opposition and we should work together to always improve human laws to balance our freedoms with our restrictions.  We shouldn’t infringe on others’ freedom or welfare without a justifiable reason in the interest of the public good.  There are basic examples such as speed limits for public safety, food inspectors, etc.

This was a typical article that seeks to say that we would be worse off and possibly in complete chaos without God’s law when that’s the furthest from the truth. We already have a much better system of human laws that can be changed and hopefully improved over time since the laws of the time of the bible.  It’s not a guarantee that we improve but at least the laws we create clearly identify the human needs in them with the motivations and benefits for having the law.  “God says so” is as meaningful as us saying “because I said so” to our own children.  I’ve done much better in teaching morality with human rules and laws with their human reasons for following them.

When you are wondering if you should or should not do something, actually think about who it might impact and the real ramifications if everyone did or didn’t do the very same thing at the same time across the world.  That simple thought exercise will guide you much more clearly than most anything written in the bible.

3 thoughts on “Freedom and Law

  1. Well, I get confused sometimes about which god we are talking about. Now, I never read this person’s post, apparently it was on your twitter bullshit. So you think you can dissect humanity in a limited set of characters. Good luck with that. But, here’s how it works for her god, execute all gays and disobedient children. Murder them!!! That is her god’s law. That will cure all of society’s ills.
    But, how does that cure the wars between sects of Islam. We spend millions killing brown people who live in the deserts of the middle east, but, all you have to do is leave them to their devices, and they will murder each other for free. That’s how religion works.
    And how does it bring back the faithful who followed Jim Jones, and Marshal Applewhite? god is someone invented by a conman, and in the name of sanctity of life, catholic charities refuse to provide condoms to regions of Africa infested by AIDS. Some idiot thinks that god’s opinion might make a relationship work, while the world crumbles in the aftermath. Perfect. There it is, front and center.


  2. Maria said:
    “Human beings tried for hundreds of years to figure out how to fly like birds. For hundreds of years, we failed to fly. It was only after we discovered and obeyed the laws of aerodynamics that we became free to fly all over the planet.”
    That is true by itself. But, to equate the laws of aerodynamics with the laws of a mythical deity is absurd if not ludicrous. And this is why, because those who believed in this mythical deity once possessed a great deal of political power. And they used it brutally against anyone who might threaten it by proposing an alternate idea. As always, my favorite example: Galileo. He proved that the earth was not the center of the universe, in fact it was not even the center of the solar system. A huge leap in science, by a devout catholic. The catholic church rewarded his genious with a choice of execution, or denouncing his findings publicly, and life under house arrest.
    This example, in fact all of science, including aerodynamics are as a result of freethinking intrepid intelectual adventurers who realized that there is an enormous amount of knowledge available out there that is not contained in a book of myths designed to enslave the minds of the populace. THAT is where aerodynamics were discovered, and rocket propulsion, and physics, and chemistry, paleontology, the floodgates of the universe were opened when a few people started thinking outside “god’s purpose for the world”.
    In recent history, there have even been respected astophysicists who thought that science reinforces the idea of intelligent origin. Well, I would probably step aside such a debate until it is made clear whether we are talking about origin or mythology. Because one is unknown, but the latter is ridiculous bullshit.
    Final thought on Maria. Wasn’t it the religious idiots who said, “If man was meant to fly he would have been born with wings?”


  3. Jeff,
    As a freethinker, you must know, that survival of the fittest is the engine that has always driven evolution. Now consider this, that modern medicine has eliminated some childhood diseases allowing those who nature whould have sacrificed for the benefit of the species to reproduce. The end result is inevitible. The end equation is that those we save through our compassion, contaminate the human gene pool. It’s a sad narative, but it’s the undeniable truth. Everyone who has ever took an asperin for a headache thinks that modern medicine is wonderful. And it feels that way in the short term, but it sidetracks natural selection, and as callous as it may sound, eugenics is left to save humans from inevitable degradation. Eliminate survival of the fittest, without some sort of intelligent buffer, the result is extinction. We are smarter than we are wise.


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