The Freedom Trap

Scott D. Winnail
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Of all the values society holds dear today, freedom must top the list! As we look around our nations and communities, what freedoms do we value? We value freedom of speech, freedom of travel, and freedom to act as individuals. We cherish freedom of choice—in marriage, family, religion, and myriad other things. Many even seem to value freedom from marriage, freedom from children, or freedom from religion, and the list goes on seemingly endlessly. But does freedom have a “price”?

We memorialize freedom in our Independence Day celebrations. And we use freedom in our mottos—for example, “Live free or die” is the motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire. Yes, freedom seems to be an ubiquitous value the world over. And if people or nations do not currently have freedoms, they desperately long for them!

Yet with all the freedoms afforded to our modern society, are we happier than we were in the past when there were arguably fewer freedoms? Are we truly more liberated today? In our societal rush to become free from the shackles of religion, is it possible that we have become entrapped through making freedom and liberty our new “gods?”

In a recent article for PJ Media, author and commentator D. C. McAllister pondered over the idea that “The idol of freedom is the cause of our loneliness.” In her article, Ms. McAllister drew the following profound conclusion about our freedom to choose for ourselves:

"While individualism and self-interest are fundamental to our happiness as politically free people, they have a dark side when out of balance. This was a concern of Alexis de Tocqueville when he commented on the development of the American democracy. Individualism had a way of separating the much-needed bonds of society. Left unchecked, families would no longer be close. Friendship would degenerate into relationships of convenience not commitment. Communities would fray. Selfishness and narcissism would drive away empathy and self-sacrifice. Intimate social connections would be lost."

Is this not what we are witnessing in society today? Ms. McAllister went on to identify the crux of the problem:

"When morality is rejected and the subjective becomes the standard for truth, the subject [that’s us] is instantly and permanently isolated. He is living on an island of one… Freedom from a relationship with God has plunged us into existential angst and a loss of significance. Freedom from virtue, judgment, law, and regulating moral principles has cast us into a sea of abandonment."

Is there any wonder why, in this age of freedom, there is less happiness, more hatred, and higher rates of drug use and suicide than, perhaps, ever before? In our quest for the ultimate freedoms, we have cast off the virtues and values that can truly make us free!

In a sad twist of irony, much of society has thrown off Judeo-Christian values and their source—the Bible. These things hold the keys and outline the path to true freedom and happiness. The teachings of the Bible reveal that it is actually God’s truth that will set us free (John 8:32), not our opinions or feelings. And, contrary to the beliefs of much of modern Christianity, God’s law—including the Ten Commandments—is called “the perfect law of LIBERTY” (James 1:25)! If we seriously consider this, we should see that adherence to God’s laws would actually begin to free society from crime, murder, hate, depression, exhaustion, loneliness, and so many other modern plagues.

Society has allowed its relentless pursuit of freedom to become its most important priority today, placing it above friends, family, colleagues, allies—our neighbors, whom we are to love even as ourselves (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19). The idolatrous pursuit of freedom has become a painful trap that is actually holding society captive. But there is another, happier, more fulfilling way within our reach! To find out more about this way be sure to watch our illuminating and encouraging telecast “What is Freedom?”