Saturday, September 05, 2009


America has this in a bad way. The illusion of freedom very might well be the most dangerous thing humans face. And the illusion of freedom that is a part of religion being the most dangerous of them all. Jesus' telling of the story of the rebellious prodigal and his conformist religious bother paints this very picture. This is from Jacques Ellul's book The Ethics of Freedom and he describes it very well.

"Innumerable works of sociology are based on the uncritical and undemonstrated and irrational assumption of human freedom. The incurable tendency should warn us that of all the factors in human life freedom needs the most cautious handling and is the most illusory.

This is the more true because, as we have seen, man does not want to live as free man. He fears freedom but wants to say that he is free. Freedom in Christ comes under this rules too. Since the illusion of freedom constantly recurs, Christians as men continually interpret the feeblest conformity as Christian freedom, but are unable to see it in and of themselves. Indeed they are the first to fall victim to the illusion just because they know that there is a liberating love of God.

When the non-Christian accepts the illusion of being free he has no firm basis for this and so his belief is fragile and can easily be overturned. But Christians have the assurance that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Obeying human nature they quickly change this solid reference into intolerable vanity. Their fall is even greater. Since freedom leads them to this illusion shared by all, they are more effectively alienated than before they knew they were freed, for their alienation rests now on the conviction that they are free in Christ and it is thus a perversion of freedom. They are also doubly alienated, falling back under the common determinations and yet imagining that they are free in Christ. Confusion of the freedom given by God with a freedom native to man; confusion of the act of grace with nature, brings them under the bondage of an illusion of freedom."

1 comment:

Kent said...

Snarky comments made under screen names or anonymous will not be taken seriously and will be deleted.