Showing posts with label Freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Freedom. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

The Crux of Our Affairs

Brad Torgersen is a science fiction writer and a devout Mormon. He also supports a woman’s right to choose in the matter of abortion. Most Mormons don’t, as Brad admits on his blog. I don’t either, as even the most occasional reader here has probably figured out in short order. Torgersen’s rationale for supporting abortion rights is one I’ve never run into before. It’s scripture-based but logically faulty and biblically inconsistent, and worth a few minutes to consider.

It revolves around the matter of agency, one of my favorite subjects.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Promiscuous Freedom and Enslavement

Imagine yourself sitting in the center row of a darkened theater at an evening performance of a show entitled Cabaret. Tonight’s offering is a musical, and yet it is a musical unlike most others. It’s almost entirely devoid of the kind of cheerfulness that is usually associated with that particular genre, focusing as it does on the excesses of the Weimar Republic in the days just before the outbreak of World War II. Such humor as the play has is heavily ironic, filled with innuendo, and ultimately black.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: Religious Freedom, Limited

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The Independent reports that Belgium’s Walloon region is the latest territory to ban kosher and halal meats. Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand all got there first, in each case turning a deaf ear to the protests of Jewish and Islamic minorities.

Tom: That’s fine with me. We’ve already established in the U.S. and Canada that there are reasonable limits on religious freedoms, though these have been applied more frequently (and certainly more visibly) against Christians than against religious minorities recently.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Out of His Lane

Last Tuesday, John Piper used his mega-platform among Reformed Christians to come out in favor of COVID vaccination and to implore his fellow believers to go out and get jabbed:

“My aim in this article is to encourage Christians to be vaccinated, if they can do so with a good conscience and judicious medical warrant.”

Hey, at least he had the decency to include the caveat of “a good conscience”.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Freedom: The False and the True

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.”

What is freedom? Does it mean what people today think it does? Does it mean doing whatever, whenever? Does it mean liberty to surrender to our own impulses? Does it mean opportunity to do whatever-the-heck we feel like at a given moment? Does it mean being exempt from moral censure or practical criticism regardless of what action we may choose to do?

Does it mean total independence? Does it mean not needing anyone, or not feeling the lack of anything?

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Reality Check: Religious Freedom

Religious freedom is not a Christian value.

There, I said it.

Now, let’s be real about it: religious freedom is certainly a value held and promoted by many Christians. It is also a benefit that, when conferred on us by the occasional society that looks favorably on the faith (or simply neglects to single it out for special persecution), has made preaching the gospel a whole lot less painful for those who preach it. If I could have religious freedom or not have it, I would certainly prefer to have it.

Nevertheless, these things in themselves do not make religious freedom our inalienable right, and they should not remotely encourage us to seek to spread it around.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Invisible Chains

“For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”

“We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.”

There are few things more pathetic than a slave who doesn’t realize he’s a slave. But denial is a powerful thing.

In one of the Pauline epistles, there’s a sad little instruction to slaves not to pilfer. Well, I find it sad.

Think about it. Why would a slave bother engaging in petty theft?

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Promiscuous Freedom and Enslavement

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Freedom: The False and the True

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Snare Is Broken

We have escaped like a bird
  from the snare of the fowlers;
  the snare is broken,
  and we have escaped!

The escape David refers to in Psalm 124 was a literal, physical one, from an enemy that would have swallowed both him and his alive if it could; an enemy with “teeth” that regarded him as “prey”. He uses metaphors in his praise, but there was nothing metaphorical about the things from which he escaped. Very likely it was cold steel or a slew of arrows aimed in his direction.

The escape I’m thinking about is of a different sort.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Too Hot to Handle: Religious Freedom, Limited

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quote of the Day (23)

Intellectual autonomy is a chimera, a mirage, a phantasm, a will-o’-the-wisp.

Most of us make our choices (be they heaven or hell, life or death, blessing or ruination) primarily on the basis of the testimony of others, not because of any independent intellectual exercise. Those who succeed in freeing themselves of the “outdated worldview” characterized by belief in the existence and authority of God have merely accepted the default assumptions of other, much more dubious would-be authorities.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Promiscuous Freedom and Enslavement

“… promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption …”

[Originally presented April 11, 2014]
Imagine yourself sitting in the center row of a darkened theatre, in an evening performance of a show entitled Cabaret. Tonight’s offering is a musical, and yet it is a musical unlike most others. It’s almost entirely devoid of the kind of cheerfulness that is usually associated with that particular genre, focusing as it does on the excesses of the Weimar Republic in the days just before the outbreak of World War II. Such humor as the play has is heavily ironic, filled with innuendo, and ultimately black.

As you may recall, the government of the Weimar Republic was a notorious failure. Beset by massively complex political challenges, splintered by factions, weighed down with incompetence and undermined by corruption, the Weimar administration dragged Germany through a period of widespread economic, social and political debasement. This debasement was felt on many levels, from the heads of state all the way down to the social conditions and private lives of the citizens. Cabaret revels in some of the more unsavoury aspects of this society, which became truly sick with sin. Using the metaphor of the infamous cabaret shows of the ’30s, the play follows one society’s decline into unrestrained individualism, indulgence and debauchery.

In the two hours in which you have been in the theatre you have been dragged through the bowels of German interbellum night-life.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Quote of the Day (1)

No. Really? A politician was wrong about something
“George W. Bush once said, ‘God has planted in every human heart the desire to live in freedom.’ But that’s just wrong. In fact, how any man who believes in the Bible could believe that, I truly don’t know. The Bible tells how God freed his chosen people the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. He sent them the prophet Moses, he sent them signs and wonders, he rained plagues on their enemies, he defeated the mighty pharaoh and his armies with uncanny heavenly warfare. And when the Lord was done and his chosen people were free, the chosen turned to Moses and said, in effect, ‘We’re hungry! We were better off as slaves!’ ”
— Andrew Klavan

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Promiscuous Freedom and Enslavement

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Snare Is Broken

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Baptism and Freedom

So, after three posts on the subject of baptism and a look at the striking contrast between the works-based ritualism of Catholicism and the freedom characteristic of faith in Christ, we come at long last to the point of the exercise.

We have established that the act of being baptized in water does not secure the believer’s eternal destiny. It is not a required component of salvation. It does not admit one to the church, either the ‘church universal’ or any local gathering.

It is, instead, a reminder, a testimony, an act of obedience, and a means of identification with Christ himself. It is merely a symbolic act, not the spiritual reality it represents.

So then, what exactly is this greater ‘spiritual reality’ I keep talking about?

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Chesterton on Freedom

Immanuel Can recently posted on the subject of the meaning of freedom, which puts me in mind of a passage from Chesterton that I happened to read today:
     “It is impossible to be an artist and not care for laws and limits. Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame. If you draw a giraffe, you must draw him with a long neck. If, in your bold creative way, you hold yourself free to draw a giraffe with a short neck, you will really find that you are not free to draw a giraffe. The moment you step into the world of facts, you step into a world of limits. You can free things from alien or accidental laws, but not from the laws of their own nature. You may, if you like, free a tiger from his bars; but do not free him from his stripes. Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump: you may be freeing him from being a camel. Do not go about as a demagogue, encouraging triangles to break out of the prison of their three sides. If a triangle breaks out of its three sides, its life comes to a lamentable end. Somebody wrote a work called ‘The Loves of the Triangles’; I never read it, but I am sure that if triangles ever were loved, they were loved for being triangular. This is certainly the case with all artistic creation, which is in some ways the most decisive example of pure will. The artist loves his limitations: they constitute the THING he is doing.”
 G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
Originally published in 1908. Entirely relevant.

That’s the funny thing about truth ...

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Freedom: The False and the True

A more current version of this post is available here.

Monday, April 07, 2014

God’s Sovereignty, Man’s Responsibility and the Two Witnesses

In his recent post on Calvinism, Immanuel made the point that pretty much every Christian believes in God’s sovereignty. The debate, he says, is not really about whether God is sovereign, but:
“… what they disagree about is how prescriptive His management of the universe has to be in order for that to be true. Does He have to mandate the movement of every molecule that twitches? Or is it possible that God allows human beings some measure of freedom of choice and action? How “tight” does sovereignty have to be in order to remain sovereignty?”
My personal conviction, and that of many fellow believers (obviously including Immanuel), is that Scripture teaches both the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man.

The “two witnesses” of Revelation 11 appear to me to illustrate both these principles, and one way in which the two might co-exist (I’m not suggesting that in every instance the two work together in precisely this way).

Let’s suppose in analyzing the chapter that its words are intended to be taken at face value; that is to say, that when John writes “if anyone would”, it means “if anyone would” (as opposed to something along the lines of “if the sovereign God compels anyone to”).

If we do that, is it possible to see the sovereignty of God on display at the same time as man’s will?