Free Will Is Not the Same As Freedom


In its recent decision to nationally legalize gay marriage the Supreme Court has said, “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. “Syllabus OBERGEFELL ET AL v HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL pp.4,5

What I see here is another example of our culture’s penchant for redefining terms. We have done it with words like love. It used to be said,  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails- I Cor, 13, 4-8Ireland 517

But today, love is most often confused with lust… OR… in cases where we “love” somebody we wouldn’t think of sleeping with it gets easily mixed up with “co-dependence”.

When I was a kid growing up if I was tolerant of somebody that meant I put up with them even if they were idiots towards me. Today tolerance means I don’t just put up with people. It means I have to agree with what people do even if I think it is idiotic because “everyone’s truth is true for them.” Has anyone ever actually sat down and tried to figure out what the heck that actually means? It’s about as nonsensical as the poem Jabberwocky (which I have memorized so you would think I should get that statement but I just don’t).question

Now, what we have done is redefined the word liberty.  Liberty use to be defined as “freedom” – which is:   the quality or state of being free: as

 a :  the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action

b :  liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another
c :  the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous – Merriam Webster’s Dictionary
That definition becomes more clear as you put all the pieces together. True freedom liberates you from things that bring you into bondage, addiction, destruction or onerous positions. It does not liberate you into bondage, addiction, destruction or onerous positions.
Freedom is not the right to choose whatever the heck you want. Choosing to do whatever you want  is called  free will and free will does not always lead us to freedom. In fact in our fallen state (which I realize whole bunches of people no longer even believe in but that is a whole other post on truth) most often our free will leads us directly away from freedom and into slavery which is first a spiritual condition and then ends as a physical condition.
Freedom requires an embracing of the truth:
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” John 14:7
“Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32″
Sunset Prayer
Paul the apostle wrote to the Galatians, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Gal. 5:1
This statement would seem to indicate that there is a freedom which can actually lead us away from freedom and into slavery.
It needs to be understood that true freedom is not about doing what we want but about having the ability to do what we ought.
I do recognize that in a country that no longer believes in Christ it is perfectly natural to lose a biblical understanding of words like liberty. What else could the Supreme Court do but redefine it? Without the Truth (Christ) true liberty is impossible; So changing the definition to something attainable like letting people choose what they want is a lot less painful than admitting that because they have no faith in the Truth, actual liberty is impossible to achieve.
Still and all, whatever the Supreme Court may decide Free Will is not the same as Freedom. Sadly many people feeling comforted by their decision will only learn that truth too late.

Weekly Travel Theme: Freedom

Ailsa has challenged us to show how our travels have taught us about :FREEDOM

You can see how others have approached the topic at:

Here are my thoughts:

“Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.”
Jean-Paul Sartre


I have found some of the greatest freedom of expression among those who have had the hardest of lives. JE Lillie


Here lies the evening sky over Galway Bay

“Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me
Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain’t comin’ back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can’t take the sky from me
There’s no place I can be
Since I found Serenity
But you can’t take the sky from me…”
Mutant Enemy/Joss Whedon


The crucifix in the chapel at Kylemore Abbey

“He whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” John 8:36