“Tis liberty alone that gives flower of fleeting life its luster and perfume; and we are weeds without it.”
I have always contemplated the human condition and the liberty of free will. A liberty of force that at times can be capable of great evil and at other times great goodness. From a spiritual view point it is said that free-will is a gift from the Great Spirit, indeed a gift of God. We celebrate this season because a messiah was born and by his own free-will was willing to die to allow us closer communion with God. A sacrifice he did not have to make but did so out of his love of mankind and of his own volition.
That God gave us free will, understanding that to do otherwise would make us but empty vessels lacking in true passion or feeling; a robotic existence sterile of humanity. I do not feign the wisdom of God nor consider myself fully competent of understanding his nature – but I have often found myself compelled to understand the Providence of his decision; being made in his image, allowed a glimpse of God-like power by the grace of free-will and the lesson of the sacrifice of his son.
To be allowed free will, capable of determining our destiny; are we capable of doing so? The history of mankind is filled with the wreckage of societies and empires that have failed the test of free-will. Democracy is built upon free-will, the natural rights of man and self-determination; we can choose our destiny. In democracy will mankind find his salvation? I see no other alternative other than being under the thumb of a despot who unlike God prefers an automaton void of feeling, save fear, to do his will.
“I have no fear, but that the results of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master. Could the contrary of this be proved, I should conclude, either there is no God, or that he is a malevolent being.”
But what makes free-will work and by default, democracy? Is its foundation in the goodness of its citizens or the goodness of the government?
It is my assertion that the foundation of free-will and democracy is built upon the citizens of a nation. Government is capable of caring for its’ citizens, but at what point is this destructive in a sense by creating an atmosphere in which we abdicate our free-will to do good deeds or the responsibility for our lives because “the government will take care of it.”
Is it proper or wise to encourage an environment in which we increasingly abdicate responsibility to the government? That we increasingly abdicate our free-will to do good deeds, to volunteer and in a sense get a glimpse of Gods grace by exercising our free-will and at our own volition do what is right?
Will this result in the very thing God feared; that we will be nothing but empty vessels lacking in true passion or feeling save fear of loss of comfort; a robotic existence we are willing to suffer for a perceived sanctuary?
There are some that believe that our faith and salvation lies in this abdication to government to provide for our needs, to “take care of it” no matter what “it” is. That within government is the power to become as “God” and take care of our every need. But in this there lies great peril. I believe this to be a false comfort; is it smart to allow government this much power over our lives?
I admire the idealism and faith of some that believe the government can become as “God” and eliminate all pain and suffering – as well as attain their view of a perfect environment; a virtual heaven on earth. It is truly my hope that we become as “God” in that we achieve the ability to end all pain and suffering, end all wars and create this “environmental” heaven on earth; but unfortunately we do not currently possess that luxury.
As our history has shown; those that have assumed the role of “God” in leading intolerant fundamental sects – or in leading their countries; their word infallible, their desires law (Stalin, Mao and Kim of North Korea) have been the worst regimes in history.
“I never will, by word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others. On the contrary, we are bound, you, I and everyone, to make common cause, even with error itself, to maintain the common right of freedom of conscience. We ought with one heart and one hand to hew down the daring and dangerous efforts of those that would seduce the public opinion to substitute itself into…tyranny over religious faith.”
Can we ever achieve this “God” like status of control absent of the repression of freedom? Or have we innately realized, as manifested in the world’s religions; that heaven is not of this world?
I do not possess the foresight or wisdom to make such a prediction, but I do know that as long as we exercise our free-will and the responsibility for our lives and those we love, as long as we volunteer to make this world a better place or provide the support for others and to do so of our own free-will outside the mandate of government; we will honor this gift of grace that is free-will and in a sense get a glimpse of God; we will delight in his love.
“...enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them including honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adorning and overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter; with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people?”
The lesson of this season is the blessings of free-will; love and personal sacrifice. That our creator loved us so much he was willing to sacrifice his son for our salvation; and his son did so of his own free-will consumed by his love of mankind; a love not mandated by any government but of his own volition. The lessons of free-will are not only in the realm of Christianity, but of all faiths that do not fall prey to intolerant fundamentalism in which control is made a poor substitute for faith, love and grace.
It is my hope that in 2005 you exercise your gift of free-will and volunteer to make this world a better place, that you take the time to spend with your children, friends and family and set an example for them and others to follow, that you do not rely on government to “take care of it,” but take care of it yourself.
And in the process come to understand the grace, love and sacrifice of God – mandated not by government – but of your own free- will; this precious gift of God.
May your exercise of free-will bring joy to the hearts of others – and to you the rapture of peace, joy and delight that only God by his grace can give. May he smile upon you and in his quiet voice whisper in the wind “well done my beloved.”
I wish you the all blessings of free-will and the Grace and Love of God,
AKA “Dances With Hornets