The Freedom to Be Better
Editor’s Note: Worldviews matter. Philosophies matter. What people believe and choose to embrace has lasting effects on how they apply these beliefs in all aspects of their life. We are currently experiencing the clash of these ideas; all of which are at odds with each other and they are battling for supremacy. We cannot escape embracing a worldview. Therefore, we must discover which one holds up to the test of time. This editorial first came out back in August 2016, but it’s content is just as relevant for today’s cultural climate.
Ramon Arias | August 29, 2016
Let me share a couple of quotes by the philosopher and political journalist Albert Camus (1913-1960): "Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better" and “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
If you read his biography or any of his books, you will understand his life’s struggles, not only with himself but also about life. In his books, The Stranger (1942) and The Plague (1947), his absurd and existentialist worldview comes into focus, which kept him away from making sense of the world and affirmed that a century had gone mad, with no hope for social and cultural stability. You will be disheartened to know that the same ideas that plagued him are no different than those of the Western world in the 21st century.
Camus followed the teachings of many other philosophers and writers who were just as confused as he was. The desire for freedom has been in the mind and the heart of humanity for thousands of years, and there has always been a need for someone to clearly define it, for it is the yearning of the human spirit to be set free. The antonym for freedom provides us with a view that all humanity relates to, here are a few: impotence, inability, incompetence, weakness, restraint, confinement, difficulty, limitation, restriction, subjection, captivity, servitude, subordination, suppression, slavery, government, and incarceration. Can you name the many social areas that have taken freedom away from people? America prides itself on being a free people. But, if freedom is for free people to do better, then what do we call our present national condition, which is clearly in decline?
Having the freedom to be better and not knowing what knowledge of truth we must pursue always leads back to the same place of bondage, and most of the time to far worse conditions. Camus lacked the knowledge of how to be truly free, so his desire to be better made him believe and accept that it is impossible to find true happiness even if you pursue it. Happiness, like freedom, has its source, and Camus died looking for that happiness and thought it was elusive because he was looking in the wrong place. Contrary to his absurdities and existentialism, life begins when we find true and lasting meaning.
Every human being that has ever lived was immersed in philosophy; the same can be said of those who are now living and those in the future who will pursue life’s meaning, freedom, and happiness. In Noah Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 we find one of the best definitions for philosophy:
[Latin philosophia; Gr. love, to love, and wisdom.]
This literally means, the love of wisdom. But in modern acceptation, philosophy is a general term denoting an explanation for the reasons of things; or an investigation of the causes of all phenomena both of mind and of matter. When applied to any particular department of knowledge, it denotes the collection of general laws or principles under which all the subordinate phenomena or facts relating to that subject are comprehended. Thus, that branch of philosophy which treats of God, etc. is called theology; that which treats of nature, is called physics or natural philosophy; that which treats of man is called logic and ethics, or moral philosophy; that which treats of the mind is called intellectual or mental philosophy or metaphysics.
The objects of philosophy are to ascertain facts or truth, and the causes of things or their phenomena; to enlarge our views of God and his works, and to render our knowledge of both practically useful and subservient to human happiness.
The modern Merriam-Webster dictionary doesn’t even come close to Webster’s original definition. Webster lived closer to those that made history in the War of Independence and the making of the new nation with concepts of freedom that never existed before, except in old Israel before Christ.
By the time the publication of Noah Webster’s Dictionary in 1828 took place, America had already begun her moral decline. The philosophical forces were very active making inroads and had already determined to remove biblical Christianity’s influence from all levels, sadly, nominal Christians went along to get along not knowing they were being used to eliminate the freedom the forefathers brought to this land.
Outside of the biblical worldview, you will not find any philosophy or religion that even comes close to the reality of what freedom and justice are other than those experienced in the West and the United States of America. If Christians think they can be neutral and get along with the secularists, they are in for a rude awakening.
Those who understand that the country is at a critical point, and they are beginning to comprehend how dangerous things truly are. To say that the nation is in a life or death battle with those who refuse to be under biblical ethics is far from being an exaggeration. The generation that began this deadly fight in the late 18th century left a sinister legacy for those that want to continue to work in the destruction of our God-given freedom and liberty. The humanist worldview for America and the world, in 215 years, has not fully succeeded in removing God’s moral absolutes as revealed in His Word. However, don’t think for a moment that they are just going to walk away. Not now when they have gained significant influence through their wealth, control of most government institutions, the educational system, media and entertainment to indoctrinate the masses, destroy the family, promote immorality, changing the church and bringing her into subjection and much more ground that they have in their favor. Let me be very clear, the biggest threat against these God-haters is coming from biblical Christians and the true conservative camps. It is this part of society that is exposing and questioning their actions and is confronting and judging them with facts that cannot be discredited. One of their favorite weapons are lies about anything and everything; always counting on that people will continue to believe them as long as they throw them a bone.
Most Christians in America lack the truth about the role of biblical Christianity in the foundation of this country. We may still have time to reclaim that rich heritage given by God to our forefathers and be proud in knowing that freedom and liberty depend upon His people's character, virtue, and bravery to confront all odds at all cost.
The anti-Christian forces can only succeed in removing all traces of Christianity from our laws, civil government and way of life, if we let them. Let not the politically correct mindset be our concern, rather be biblically correct. No great empires of the past were able to survive their self-destruction, which is inherent in human nature; their philosophy was wrong, and so were their religions.
The freedom to be better is given by divine wisdom that guides God’s people to an abundant spiritual life that compels them to preserve and stabilize social and civil well-being.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”… “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:31-32, 34-36).
“Blessed [Happy] are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed [Happy] are the people whose God is the Lord!” (Psalm 144:15). (ESV)
“Blessed [Happy] is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” (Psalm 33:12)