Born free?

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We all make sense of this world as we can according to what is given to us to do that with. One of the pieces of foolishness which twentieth century politicians and thinkers adopted was the notion that man was a wholly rational animal, and that if one could only ‘explain’ everything, then we would all see things the same, and we could move to some sort of one world government. To those who are children of the idea of Rousseau, who believed that ‘man was born free and is everywhere in chains’, politics was the art of removing those chains and freeing him up to realise his full potential. This ignored the idea of original sin. Marx and Engels, disciples of Rousseau, assumed that whatever was bad in our species was the result of the distortions of bad rule, and that if that went, all would be well. The twentieth century provided a scathing commentary on this academic idea. In the name of ‘the people’ more people have been killed than ever in human history. Vanguardists, freed up from the moral restraints of Christianity, have felt able and willing to destroy millions, all in the cause of creating a utopia; those utopias have been places that men and women have fled from whenever they could do so.

The obvious conclusions continue to evade so many of our rulers because to come to them would require some big changes of assumptions on their part. Take the hot issue of gun control. To liberals it is logical that if you remove them, no one will shoot anyone. To conservatives it is logical that what will actually happen is that criminals will continue to be able to acquire guns and will feel free to use them because they will not risk being shot at by armed citizens. It is people who kill people, if they don’t use guns, they will use knives, and if you can remove all the knives, they will use their hands – perhaps move to the Sharia principle and chop off hands next?

Christianity has worked so long in our civilization because it speaks to a truth we wish to avoid admitting, that, left to ourselves, we too often choose the bad over the good, or, that in identifying what we think may be good for us, we tend to ride rough-shod over others, which creates situations out of which conflict arises. If being here is all our lives are about, then it makes sense that we should band with others to seize as much of the things which make life comfortable as we can for ourselves, and the devil can take the hindermost.

What Christianity does is to explain that this is the result of the Fall, that however we explain it, our true natures have been warped by sin so we tend to the bad even when we will the good; only through receiving Christ can we escape this endless cycle of sin. If there is another way, it would be good to know what it might be. Our history suggests that Christianity has a civilizing effect on us, so, as it recedes from the public sphere, it ought to worry us. Rousseau was an optimist – man may be born free, but he is quite capable of slapping all sorts of chains on himself. Liberalism offers no solution, conservatism thinks there isn’t one, Christianity says otherwise to both.

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About JessicaHof
Anglican Christian, evangelist, survivor, grateful

6 Responses to Born free?

  1. the unit says:

    Forgot yesterday to wish NEO recovery and getting to feeling better. Wish him Bad Bacteria Free. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do the statistics of homicides and murder rates support your statements? If I do not want to be killed, by any means, I would rather be in gun restricted, post-Christian Western Europe than in the USA. And the numbers seem to support this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      It is so difficult to draw the comparison because our societies are so different, but you have a good point.

      Like

  3. the unit says:

    Next year when NEO travels outside the Prairie we better remind him to check his shot card for traveling in dangerous territory. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      Good thinking Barman! 🙂 xx

      Like

  4. I don’t think it is that difficult.

    https://www.quandl.com/collections/society/oecd-murder-rates

    The simple facts are that the numbers are far lower in some areas. Some of these areas have things in common, some do not. But when you say…

    “To liberals it is logical that if you remove them, no one will shoot anyone.”

    I agree, this is sort of hard to prove, since there could be something more to the issues in the USA. But the converse…

    “To conservatives it is logical that what will actually happen is that criminals will continue to be able to acquire guns and will feel free to use them because they will not risk being shot at by armed citizens.”

    This can be demonstrated to be untrue, in cases where guns are limited there has not been an uptick in violence. This is a problem that is largely ignored.

    Likewise the same argument can be made about Christianity. You said…

    “only through receiving Christ can we escape this endless cycle of sin. If there is another way, it would be good to know what it might be. Our history suggests that Christianity has a civilizing effect on us, so, as it recedes from the public sphere, it ought to worry us.”

    Except as Christianity has retreated, and there has not been any evidence of any sort of un-civilizing activities. Rather, society is more “civil” in many aspects. I am not in any saying that this was because society largely moved away from Christianity, I do not think this is true, but by moving away from Christianity, there has not been a negative reaction.

    Moving away from Christianity should not worry us from a societal sense. It should worry us in other ways, however.

    Like

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