Thursday, October 1, 2009

In defense of liberty

Thoughts of the day:

"The contest for the ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power." - Daniel Webster"

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men." – John Quincy Adams

Hattip to


Jim said...

Yes, and God is the ultimate Executive Power. You cannot have liberty until you give up the notion of a God that judges you for your thoughts.



Andy Tofel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy Tofel said...

Jim, in the sense you are referring to you I believe you are correct that we are not free. We are never free from the moral consequence of our actions and thoughts. However, it is important to point out the difference between freedom from morality and freedom from human-made laws. They come from completely different authorities. One comes from a perfect and all-powerful creator of the universe, and the other from a corrupt, fallen human.

In this sense, having "liberty" is having liberty from a corrupt source of authority.

ClintN said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Jim. I think at the root of your comment are two issues: whether or not God is Good, and whether or not God exists.

1. Religious and political authorities are different, however I think we can agree the U.S. gov't was originally based on religious (specifically Judeo-Christian authority. I think the U.S. is the best country in the world, largely due to its founding, but I'll leave that aside for today. We have contracted with our gov't such that we obey constitutional law, become a criminal or expatriate. If the executive falls out of line, the other 2 branches should rectify with unconstitutional law or judicial rulings. If the balance of powers does not conform to the Constitution, the people are responsible to make the change--whether they do or not--as provide in the Constitution.

As far as religious authority is concerned, humans tend to seek freedom from God due to human willfulness, not due to a failure on God's part. In God is true freedom, since God encompasses Truth and Freedom. Disobeying God may appear to be liberating, however it actually enslaves us to sin and imperfect human willfulness.

We often inconvenience ourselves for the good of others. Some say this is altruism or conformity to God's Will, other say altruism is an illusion and merely a deeper gratification of the individual will. From my experience, reality conforms more closely with the former: that a belief in God and obedience to God offers a better opportunity to improve one's self. This is vaguely akin to the concept of working toward a goal which is greater than ourselves. If we don't believe that is possible, then life is indeed "nasty, brutish and short." Thus, God provides meaning for a richer, more positive existence as well.

2. On the other hand, some would say if God did not exist, we'd create Him...and that we have indeed done just that, whether it is good for humanity or not. Consider for a moment that the belief in God makes humans better people, regardless of the existance of God. Now, I challenge you to suspend your disbelief for a period of time, and entertain the possibility that the God of the Bible (perhaps read one of the four gospels while you consider this) does exist. If you do believe in God, but think God is not Good, and that escape from God is freedom, then we disagree on a deeper level, and I am not at liberty to discuss that at this time.

Thanks again for commenting, Jim, and I hope we have the opportunity to do so further.

David Z. Dent said...

Well said, gentlemen. I would only add by proposing a question to Jim: What sort of existence can you describe, with no authority? Isn't that seeking of ultimate 'freedom', the libertine mindset, fighting against all restraints, no matter the source...isn't THAT a certain form of tyranny in itself? Isn't that the source of a LOT of misery in this world? How many hedonists, truly have a wonderful life? If this proposal were true, then the Hollywood stars that engage in their wanton, tabloid lifestyles would be the happiest people on earth. But we find the opposite is true. You can choose to be a servant to God, or to your sin, but a servant you shall be. It is inescapable.