The End of Freedom

The boy stole something he craved. His mom was livid. “Why?”

“Why would you do this when you know it is wrong? You are grounded until you can explain it to me.”

He may be grounded a very long time. He rarely if ever had seen the inside of a church. His mom doesn’t find God useful, and considers God’s tastes a bit bloody. The devil is relegated to an entertainment zone, not feared as real. In past generations, the mom would be expected to explain to the boy, not the boy to the mom.

Who can explain their own dark side? If we do not acknowledge the scariness of the dark within, how do we find the light?

When young, we have a tendency to act without considering likely outcome. But age doesn’t make us any less tempted. It could just make us carefully consider the consequences, and then make a more careful plan to evade them.

Conscience is the human vehicle that makes us know moral light from dark, and that grounds us to socially acceptable behavior in a group. Child psychologists claim it forms first from the voices of parents inside a child’s head — first audibly and then within the brain recalled as memory, and then as a unique and personal voice.

When the parents do not know or are not available to teach, and we have eliminated required public forums for the community to teach how to overcome temptation based on past wisdom, what is left but commercial predators striving not to teach but to intensely entertain or attract. If God speaks through conscience as the Puritans believed, and the conscience is ill-formed, can a society break its children's ability to thrive, and in two generations a culture’s ability to thrive? Will we be left then with a macabre Lord of the Flies?

From a Christian point of view, scripture promises the church, the body of the living Christ, will not fail. However, no one promised the surviving church would be American, or even western. Freedom was not one of the three major weapons in combating evil. Rather it was the blood of the lamb, the word of God’s children’s testimony and the willingness of God’s children to give up their lives. In eliminating forced worship, we cannot be willing to give up an ability to share authentic un-commercialized stories, not even at the cost of life itself. That would be tossing the baby with the bathwater that made the baby clean.

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