How Do We Explain Freedom?

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The demand for absolute liberty brings men
to the depths of slavery.
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, (1906 – 1945)

Some young men are so ill-informed as to suppose that absence of restraint is the same thing as freedom, whereas, by unchaining the passions, it makes them slaves to a set of masters more tyrannical than all the teachers and mentors of childhood.
– Plutarch, (c. 45 – 120 AD)

No man is free who is not master of himself.
– Epictetus, (c. 50 – 135 AD)

Freedom on a piano involves subjection to the laws of music. Freedom in flying requires applying the principles of aerodynamics. Freedom in driving necessitates respect for the rules of the road. Freedom flourishes inside of boundaries. It self destructs without them.
To live life with the notion of absolute freedom is absolute folly. One quickly becomes a slave of his own self-centeredness, winds up in jail, or ends up dead.
We need something higher than ourselves to steer our life by. We need boundaries to be free. We need guidelines from our Maker.
– Jurgen Schulz

Freedom is not the permission to do what you like.
It’s the power to do what you ought.
– Os Guinness

Jesus Christ was nailed fast to the cross so he could not move. How is that for giving up your freedom? Christianity is the only religion that claims God gave up his freedom so we could experience the ultimate freedom—from evil and death itself. Therefore, you can trust him. He sacrificed his independence for you, so you can sacrifice yours for him. And when you do, you will find that it is the ultimate, infinitely liberating constraint. “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
– Timothy Keller

He is a free man, whom the truth makes free,
And all are slaves besides.
– William Cowper, (1731 – 1800)

We find freedom when we find God;
we lose it when we lose Him.
– Paul Scherer

In freeing ourselves from Christianity, we have only freed ourselves from freedom.
– G. K. Chesterton

They Have Come to Bind

downloadNow it is the charge against the main deductions of the materialist that, right or wrong, they gradually destroy his humanity; I do not mean only kindness, I mean hope, courage, poetry, initiative, all that is human. For instance, when materialism leads men to complete fatalism (as it generally does), it is quite idle to pretend that it is in any sense a liberating force. It is absurd to say that you are especially advancing freedom when you only use free thought to destroy free will. The determinists come to bind, not to loose.

–G. K. Chesterton,
Orthodoxy

The Miracle of Restraint

Christ 1D copyThe more I get to know Jesus, the more impressed am by what Ivan Karamazov called “the miracle of restraint.” The miracles . . . the signs and wonders the Pharisees demanded, the final proofs I yearn for—these would offer no serious obstacle to an omnipotent God. More amazing is his refusal to perform and to overwhelm. God’s terrible insistence on human freedom is so absolute that he granted us the power to live as though he did not exist, to spit in his face, to crucify him . . .

I believe God insists on such restraint because no pyrotechnic displays of omnipotence will achieve the response he desires. Although power can force obedience, only love can summon a response of love, which is the one thing God wants from us and the reason he created us. “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself,” Jesus said. In case we miss the point John adds, “He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.” God’s nature is self-giving; he bases his appeal on his sacrificial love . . .

Why does God content himself with the slow, unencouraging way of making righteousness grow rather than avenging it? That’s how love is. Love has its own power, the only power ultimately capable of conquering the human heart.

–Philip Yancey,
The Jesus I Never Knew