Free From God

by Timothy Fox

I recall an online conversation I had with a skeptic about spiritual things. To gain some clarification, I asked if he was an atheist or agnostic. His response? “I’m free!” Now, although this in no way answers the question, it does illustrate what people think about religion. It’s some form of mental slavery that you must liberate yourself from. Then you can be free to live your life however you wish. And freedom is a very important thing!

But whenever we talk about freedom, we need to ask two questions: 1) Free from what? and 2) Free to do what? Thinking of the American Revolution, our founders wanted to be 1) free from England’s rule and 2) free to govern themselves. So our enlightened skeptic friend claimed he was free, meaning, I suppose, that he was 1) free from God/religion/dogma/whatever and 2) free to do whatever he wanted. [1] It’s a powerful statement, if you assume that religion is nothing more than a form of slavery. But is it?

The divine ball and chain

I’ve heard many of the New Atheists compare God to a divine tyrant. And I’ve heard many people refer to their spouses as the “ball and chain,” again using the prisoner/slave metaphor. So let me adopt this analogy for myself.

Imagine I want to be free from my wife. I no longer wish to be married. I want to be single again, to live the bachelor life. What exactly am I free from? Marital fidelity. Commitment. Being responsible for and accountable to another person. Having to compromise and making joint decisions about everything.

What am I free to do? Pursue other women. Live for myself. Basically, do whatever I want whenever I want. Even better!

But what else am I free from? My wife’s love. Her support. Her affection and care. Companionship. Her eyes and her smile. Her great cooking (and awesome chocolate chip cookies). Doesn’t seem such a good idea now, does it?

So before I make any rash (stupid) decisions, I need to consider the cost. Is my “freedom” worth losing a relationship with the most wonderful person in my life? The one that gives me the greatest happiness, joy, and fulfillment? Obviously not.

A biblical example

Let’s look at a biblical example of someone who wanted to be free…
 

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Free From God