The Price of Freedom

(The Nationalist, 30 September 2005)


There is evidence of disintegration in society today. It is expressed in anger and aggression, cynicism and despair, self-centeredness and selfishness. It’s also found in the idea that words like good and bad, true and false, are only subjective terms, relative to the standpoint of the user, and without objective content. Along with this goes a denial of objective standards of morality and their replacement by, ‘I’ll do my own thing’. This undermines a sense of duty. It claims rights without the corresponding responsibilities.

In reference to God’s commandments, there is a world of difference between saying, ‘I make my own commandments’ and saying ‘I make the commandments my own’. It is the difference between the assertive self-will of the individual and a developed conscience.

God respects human freedom. If we use freedom to turn our back on God, to walk away on our own, then we go alone, without God, because that is what we have chosen. We are left with our choice, which is our selves. Is that what is already happening to us, that having chosen the self, we find ourselves alone, even in a crowd, experiencing a loss of transcendence and a loss, too, of trust in others? There comes a sense of rootlessness, of the anchor having been pulled and a consequent sense of drift. If that is anywhere near the reality, is it a surprise that many of the young choose suicide, which, in its own inverted way, is the ultimate choice of self?

The one who lives by the idea of practical independence from God will find that the choice is a lonely one, without solid friendships, without meaning or direction. If, in the end, everything comes down to Me, that is a sad and diminished world. But it is a self-inflicted wound, a DIY injury. It’s usually done in the name of freedom, but what is sought as freedom often comes to be experienced as loss.

On the other hand, those who commit themselves whole-heartedly and without reservation to following God, will find themselves; they will be integrated human beings, having a good conscience, having healthy and happy relationships, and having meaning and purpose in life. They will experience what it means to live in God’s kingdom.

Choices have consequences. Whatever choice we make, consequences follow. May we choose God, and thereby, indirectly, as a side-effect, find ourselves.


For those in a hurry: ‘How can there be eternal truth if there is no eternal mind to think it?’ (Jean-Paul Sartre, quoted by Peter Kreeft, Ecumenical Jihad, p.20)