Unbridled Liberty

    Liberty is an ideal that we celebrate in America.   But liberty belongs to more than to America, it belongs to the world.  It is part of the way we are created.  It's part of what we are as humans.

     As human beings, we are constituted of  body and soul together, and to the soul, our spiritual component, belongs the two higher powers called the intellect and the will. 

     The object of the intellect what it seeks is truth.  When the intellect (or call it the mind) recognizes self-evident truth it's called intelligence.  When it thinks out truth which isn't self-evident, step by step, it's called reason.  When, as reason, it thinks out the moral aspects of a situation and judges one's duty, it's called conscience  Through our intellect, we have the power to know.   But both it and the will have to be used properly.

Through our will we have the power to choose
, to decide, to make a choice, for good or ill.   Herein lies human liberty, and yes, with it, the possibility of making a wrong choice. 

     The will asserts itself early, when the child is told to act or behave in some way, and says, “I don't wanna.”  Or we hear from the child, “No.”   Early on, at the beginning of the human race, the will asserted itself by disobeying God's command in the Garden. Our first parents ate of the forbidden fruit, and we their descendants still taste the bitterness of the Fall.

     While we have a will to freely choose in life, we are not free in an unlimited sense, to do just anything we might feel inclined to do.  There are limits, boundaries in the moral order, and if we go outside of these boundaries, there are consequences.  Even in the physical world about us, where we are free to move about in different directions, we are bound and limited by the force of gravity.   If we move too close to the edge of a cliff, for example, we might slip and fall.  God made it quite clear that there are boundaries when He gave us the Ten Commandments, which were not the Ten Suggestions.

     As you put a bridle on a horse, to guide it to go in the proper direction and to rein it to a halt, so too we must bridle our will to go in the right direction, and if necessary, rein it in, so we do no harm to ourselves and to others.   Our power of the  intellect enlightens us to our surroundings and the world about us, and makes known to us what our options are in thought and action.   The power of the will, then, chooses what to act upon.   For a well-ordered life, they are meant to work together.  Its important that the intellect inform itself and not present the will with faulty knowledge or faulty judgments to act upon.

     By way of comparison, take the idea of a vehicle. The intellect is like the headlights, illuminating what's ahead in the dark, and the will is like a steering wheel, to keep us on the road, and away from other vehicles.  It's important that the headlights not be obscured, limiting illumination, and that we use the brights, to see far enough ahead

     God blessed America.  But our poor nation, for all the blessings given it, has, in the hands of certain people, been turning down a dark and dangerous road, away from what the blessings are meant to secure.   I am reminded of the Biblical passages that mention people who sit or walk in darkness.   Some fashion the idea of justice in such a way that they make wrong judgments, such as, what marriage consists of and what an unborn child is.   They are blinded to the truth by faulty reasoning.   They make a wrong, a right.  Their example has the potential to lead others astray, and the nation with it.

     For instance, we have the wholesale slaughter of the innocent unborn in our country, even to the horrendous point where the almost -born are killed, or even a baby surviving an abortion alive, is left to die.   An immoral permissiveness to kill the unborn is not a proper use of liberty: it is liberty gone astray to become a license to kill.    It is such a sad and bad example that the adult world is showing the young!  And in the area of marriage, I'm afraid the example of approving same-sex marriage, by such leaders as the President and a former Secretary of State will likely contribute to the confusion of the young and be a corrupting influence.

     While the young learn to use a pencil and ruler, they need to also learn to follow a rule in life, and draw straight lines, not the wayward and straying lines of some adults.   They need a guide to follow, a guide found in the rules of a moral order.  We exist in a world of moral dimensions.

      We have to face the reality, that ours is a fallen human nature, subject to being tempted to evil, and that we have to keep a rein on ourselves.   We have to contend with the effects of original sin, and one of these is ignorance, wherein the mind has difficulty knowing many truths, falls easily into error and is more apt to consider the temporal over the eternal.  

      Our nation is screwed up: messed up in some of its thinking and consequent actions. This is the doing of those in government ― enough of them ― who decide for others, and of those who influence erroneous policy.   But we should not forget that those of us who vote, are also part of that government, and we put people in power, nor should we forget that those who influence policy can be on our own personal level, where one in error shapes the way another thinks about an issue.

      When we vote, it requires care on our part, and thinking things out clearly: a thinking that goes beyond the epidermal and the depth our pockets, down to the depth of what is truly good and moral for our nation and its people—and then exercising a choice accordingly.

      Sadly, too many contribute to or follow an unbridled sense of liberty.  
John Riedell, August 14, 2012



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