Just what is freedom? This sounds like a silly question. But if we really think about it what does it really mean? Society values freedom and celebrates freedom. Society honors nationally-known athletes who finally admit they are homosexual. Society seems to be supporting marriage between two people of the same sex. Society congratulates single people who want to adopt a child. Society understands a married couple who so desperately want a child of their own but have difficulties in doing so; many of these couples pursue in-vitro fertilization to obtain a “test-tube” baby. In this country we are legally able to abort a child if we so desire. Some in our society choose not to work but have difficulty in meeting their living expenses. These individuals expect the government to assist them so they can be free of working but are able. Some states legalize marijuana so their citizens are free to legally choose to partake. Many citizens think people should have the freedom to vote in this country without the need for voter identification cards of any kind. There are so many examples of “freedom” and the freedom to choose.
In society today many think freedom is allowing people to live as they want with the support and/or protection of the government. Society today values individuals who are free to live as they desire. Society today values individuals who search within themselves to find out who they are so they can fully express it. Society today seems to understand the rationale for sex-change operations and having the freedom to choose our own gender, or in some states allowing individuals to choose whether they pursue the boy’s or the girl’s restroom.
I realize many of these topics can create heated conversations. My intent is not to judge anyone. My intent is solely to explore what we mean by freedom. I have discussed much so far about today’s definition of the word freedom. Shall we now consider what freedom used to mean? Let’s do that.
When our country began, many of our founding principles were based upon Judeo-Christian values. That is not to say that these values are exclusive to Judeo-Christian religions. Many people share the same values. I digressed. So, our country’s fore-fathers, who were men of faith, desired to create a free people and a free country. Clearly people then and even now are not free to do whatever they want. We do have laws to provide for the safety of individuals and society. We have laws to protect ourselves from each other. However, back when our country began there was more of a reliance upon God. There was more of a recognition of a divine Supreme Being. Our fore-father’s recognized that God provided man with certain freedoms. Our fore-fathers understood we should be free to do what is right, given their reliance upon God.
I contend that society’s current definition of freedom has become much more self-focused. I contend that society has turned away from God and has taken God out of the definition of freedom. I contend that in the early days of this country that freedom meant that we as citizens were free to do what was right. Back in those days morality was better understood and defined. Back in those days morality was more of a part of the word freedom. Nowadays morality is thought to be more relative, to be subjectively defined by anyone, in the name of freedom. So today God and traditional morality are much less of a part of the definition of the word freedom. Today, freedom is defined by the individual seeking the freedom, with little or no concern for how it may affect the freedom of others or the collective freedom of society.
Again, I realize this is an emotional subject for many. My intent is not to judge anyone; I solely am looking at how the definition of freedom has changed over time. We as a society and as a country should perhaps think more about what is the true definition of freedom. We as individuals should consider the definition as well. Perhaps if we can get “back to the basics” and remove the ebb and flow of society, which can change like the wind over time, we can obtain more clarity. Emotions are real but emotions do change and can be unstable. Logic and foundational values are timeless and more stable, and can best help us as individuals and as a society, to clarify what is freedom.