This is me, thinking, about theology, philosophy, and anything in general not related to my main blog about everything else..

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

freedom to do as we please

i've been thinking, and lets discuss (or not) some concepts of freedom and what we have in our society.

we think we have a pretty free society, but on the other hand, it's illegal to drive without your seatbelt on. we know why, as it is proven that seatbelts can turn fatal car accidents into non-fatal ones. but what if a person knows that danger but wants to risk it anyway? he's not allowed to, he's not free.

we can expand that to almost anything, drugs (my favorite), gambling, tv, basically anything. if something does not directly affect others lives, then why should we stop people from doing something? it's not illegal to be an alcoholic and spend all of your life drunk, some people think it should be, but that person makes decisions to ge drunk every day, and sure we think he's wasting it, but he's just excersising his freedom to do what he pleases. for some people it's not so easy, they can't legally just do what they want.

so what would happen in a society where the state didn't try to be everyone's parents/nanny? if all drugs were legal and taxed and that money was spend on education? a lot of christians read this blog (maybe not a lot..) and i am one of them, but often tend to forget that we live in a free society, not a christian one, so why do we push christian ideals onto people? we all know heroin is extremely addictive and can kill, why is that justification for not letting people do that to themselves?


Rayd said...

And who are we to chose what we do with our bodies? In our naivety we don't understand what we really do. You tell a child not to cross the road because you know that they could get run over. They don't realise that, even if you do tell them. God tells us to treat our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. He did not speak to Christians when he said this, He spoke to the products of His handiwork. He made us and He knows so much better than us what and how we were designed and are engineered. He knows what is good for us and what is bad. Sure we may know it too, but we don't nearly see the big picture. "Oh who cares if i screw up my life, i wanna have fun now"
People who say that don't realise the full potential of the damge they can do to themselves. God knows and How dare we tell God: "Stuff this creation you made, i wanna knock it down"
We are not ours to destroy. We are Gods. Whether we are christian or not, He made us and we are His.

andrew brown said...

You believe in free-will right? Well, by being born and having a choice, it is up to us what we do with our bodies. It's like handing down a precious guitar to your child, it's now his, he can sell it if he wants, that doesn't mean it's not a sad or bad thing to do though.

We don't live in a christian nation. We are to live in the world, not of it, and so we shouldn't try to make the non-christian world around us more like something we can easily habitate. Christianity isn't a political party. We shouldn't try to change the nation in that way. We live in a democracy. If most of the population DO want engrained christian value, then we should have it, and for a large part we do, but if the population wants something else, why should we stop it?

We can't force non-christians to believe what we do. We can share the word and our knowledge of God, but in the end, they are able to make whatever (good or bad) choices they want to. And we shouldn't stop them. It says in the bible to hand people over to their sin.

Rayd said...

True, i do believe in free will. But just because someone can do waht they want doesn't mean it's what is right. Handing a guitar to a child, i would consider it bad if that child sold it. Just because it is now theirs does not mean it would not cause pain to the person who gave, with love, to this child something so precious to them, if it was sold off. I hope that if a child did that then they would feel very guilty. But that does not mean that we should reject them for it, it does not mean that we should not forget what the child did. Forgiveness is important and as much as i would hope the child would not sell that guitar, would i also hope that that person would forgive and forget the pain that the child caused them.

We don't live in a christian nation. We live in God's world. If i built a house it would not belong to the little dolls i put in the house, it would belong to me. This world was made by God and it belongs to Him. Sure we as christians live in the world but are not of the world, but should we let the world fall around us? Christians to the world are like the spirit is to the body. Does the spirit ignore the body and let it die? Well if it does then i'm not expecting a reply because there would be no-one to reply.

The spiritual aspect is just as big and important, if not more, than the physical is it not?

We should stop what is wrong in the world. Is it okay for you that because the world decided that places like Bangladesh should be deprived of food and face extreme poverty when the government says "we need to export this food sorry, we want our country to economically prosper, take one for the country won't ya?"
I'm not ok letting those people die. Are you? And if you're not then tell me; If it's not ok to let people die a physical death by the world then how is it ok, when spiritual things are as or more important than physical things, to let people of this world die a spiritual death by the hand of the world?

You're right, we can't tell people what to believe, but just because they don't believe it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. They are able to make whatever choices they want (now you sound like an Arminian) and we can't stop them from doing that, it's free will, but we can guide them into making the right choice, giving the malnourished the bread which they then have the choice to either eat or throw away.

(it's quite funny looking at those last two posts where it looks as our opinions have been swicthed, but looking again it makes sense as to why we both believe what we are saying and how it fits into our beliefs, sorta)

Sharyn said...

I actually agree with you that the state shouldn't legislate morality. However, I think there do have to be some laws about what people can and can't do because otherwise you end up with chaos. People can choose to do whatever they want, but there should be laws about things which negatively affect other people.

So obviously, we don't just let people murder each other, because murder affects someone else. Now, clearly everything we do affects someone else (or, possible, effects) but I guess its just a matter of degree. Drugs is an interesting example, because you can debate how much it negatively effects others. I think it's pretty arguable that drugs do have enough negative effect on other people to warrant making them illegal. But again, it is matter of degree.

Does this make sense? I agree that we shouldn't try to make our society Christian. If we were trying to do that, we'd kind of be missing the point. The bible says (I don't know exactly where) that if you're not going to choose to follow God then you should just eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

Sharyn said...

Oh and I noticed just HOW controlled we are by the state when I travelled to Aussie. You have to get a passport and its really stringent about getting in and out of the country. I was like, what the heck! What business is it of the governments where I go? Not so long ago you could just go where you went, not that that was so great either, but still. I felt so controlled and claustraphobic.

andrew brown said...

Damn I just wrote a massive response and I lost it. How gay.

Sharyn, agreement? I don't believe it.

I personally don't think the argument of drugs should be illegal is one. Most deaths related to drugs are to do with un-informed dosages of drugs. If Heroin was OTC people wouldn't basically OD because they know how much they're using. If it was implemented correctly, it could easily. How many people do you know do drugs? Do you actually think that number would rise substantially if they became legal? Nowadays, everybody knows how smoking is bad for you, so most avoid it. Why wouldn't it be like that with drugs? If there was a 'driver licence' system so people had to pass a test proving they know enough to be responsible, then those people are responsible. Imagine if in 100 years fast food was illegal because of health concerns. Does that make it NOT ok to go to Burger King after church? Gluttony is a sin. The bible doesn't even mention drugs. (sure they didn't exist) but why do people think getting high is worse? Because it's illegal? Sure, I'll admit that, but other than that? The only reason I think weed is bad IS because it's illegal.

"We should stop what is wrong in the world. Is it okay for you that because the world decided that places like Bangladesh should be deprived of food and face extreme poverty when the government says "we need to export this food sorry, we want our country to economically prosper, take one for the country won't ya?"
I'm not ok letting those people die. Are you? And if you're not then tell me; If it's not ok to let people die a physical death by the world then how is it ok, when spiritual things are as or more important than physical things, to let people of this world die a spiritual death by the hand of the world?"

See, if you read my other blog entry, you'll see I make a point of talking about how STILL we view some sin as worse than others. Why focus on glue sniffers when there are substantially more people out there just as spiritually dead at home watching desperate housewives.

We can't control the people and force morals onto them. They resent it. Look how much backlash the church gets when they try to implent morals into something. Who are we really helping? Prostitution. Do I think it's ok? No. Do I think it should be legal? Yes. Why? Because what good does making it illegal do? People still do it only there is no form of protection and accountability. Think of how much better it would be if all of a sudden drug addicts didn't have to deal with illegality to achieve what THEY want?

We should save people where they are at. Not move society towards us. And if society moves even further away from our current state of westernised christian morality then all the better because then the contrast shows them why they should come to God.

andrew brown said...

read these one and two

one is a christian news site talking about people outside porn stores witnessing to people and two is an associations that is trying to make porn stores illegal

how is that going to do anything but drive pornography underground which WILL make it more dangerous and involve people in worse things.

Rayd said...

For a start if you were at eastercamp you would have heard Greg Laurie's youth pastor (name escapes me) talk about how he went and talked to the prostitutes about Jesus. No he didn't enforce it on them but he did let them know and you know what? Yes, he did save some people. He even brought a pimp to God. You can very well let everything slide and say "well it's not my life, it's theirs" but if we allow people like pimps and drugdealers to suceed then we are turning more people away from God. If i talked to some of my friends about God a few years ago, they would have been much more open to listening, but i was too shy (and i still debate talking to them now). The point is, now those friends have walked into the world, drugs, sex, alcohol, partying, etc. They do what they feel like and why? Because it's ok to do. Because everyone else is doing it. It's the cool thing. I really wish i had brought some of them to youthgroup. I grow more and more distant from those friends and it's because i won't walk down the same path they do. I believe they should have a choice but i never gave them one. They only know to do what everyone else is. I regret that. I think we as christians need to get out into the world and give people that choice. I think that we need to enforce rules because it stops the majority from doing what is cool. There are many people in this world who do not do things because they are illegal. Whether it is because they don't want their parents to find out or because something inside them knows it's wrong doesn't matter. What matters is that those people stop following the flow and suddenly, when there are enough of them, it's not so bad to have your own opinion. To have your own morals.

You talked about the church getting backlash. Someone has to do what is right and they will get the back end of a stick because of it. For instance me at eastercamp; 8am and only 4 people in our youthgroup up. Breakfast finishes at 8:30am. I thought, yes, these people need to be woken or else they will miss breakfast and be hungry all morning, and if they sleep much longer they will miss the complusary morning meeting too. So what do i do? I wake up everybody. Sure i didn't have a lot of friends that day but i did what i thought needed to be done. You can disagree with my opinion on what i did, and i would say you most probably would, but the way i see it, something needed to be done and someone had to do it.

I disagree with prostitution because if you go down manchester street on friday or saturday night you will see 13-14 year old girls on the street. What's more, there are girls on columbo street now too. Sure it's made it safer for those girls but it hasn't done anything for saving those once innocent girls. It's pushed them further away from God. Things like this really rip at my heart because i know they are wrong and i can't get that feeling out of me.

Just because someone goes to burgerking does not mean they practice gluttony. I don't eat bad, i'm not exactly weighty. Jesus drank wine, doesn't mean He got drunk, i can eat burgerking but it doesn't mean i'll over-indulge.

andrew brown said...

Ok, the comment about Greg Lauries youth pastor is great, it's always good news to have people come to God and also witness, and also about your friends, well, the issue I have, is that for some reason you imply that, that these people having got into the world, that they are in a worse state than before. There is no difference between non-christians who stay at home and lead 'good' lives and those who go out and get drunk and do drugs because it is all sin. Your friends are no more lost than they were before. That doesn't make it ok, and maybe having talked to them would have been a good thing. Same with the prostitutes, they aren't any more full of sin than me or you even, we just have grace to cover us. Yes it may take away their innocence but it's a decision they have made. I think it would be better if it didn't happen, but legalising it has made it safer for people which is good, but it hasn't made it much more prevalent. Child prostitution has always been around in Christchurch, but the law has nothing to do with that. Attacking the law or pimps will change some, but the change has to happen further back down the track. Their friends, the ones they associate with, they are the ones who need to be educated.

I would personally disagree with what you did at the camp, not because I think it's wrong to do that, if people need to be up then they should be up, but, these people are growing into adults who have to make their own decisions and they're not going to if people keep 'babying' them along. It's bad enough these days. They need to take responsibility for themselves and if they let themselves down they only have themselves to blame, and it's not anyone else's job to do that for them.

I think you missunderstand me. I don't think any of this sin is good and I think witnessing is great, but my argument, was about the law and being told what we can and can't do by the government. I don't think we should try to control peoples morals by enforcing them by law. Do you think the harsh control the communist russian government had was ok? What makes us so much better as far as state control? Where is the reference? In far far more liberal nations they look upon us as seriously controlled by the government. Who is right? Different governments and nations have different goals to achieve. We live in a mixed message of free thinking minds but nanny like control. Soon we won't be able to smack our kids, and have you noticed how kids don't have playgrounds because they might 'get hurt'? boo hoo, how far will this go?

You're comment about burgerking and alcohol only backs up mine. Yes, YOU can go to burgerking and not get fat, Jesus can drink wine and not get wasted, but some people get fat and some people get drunk. Should we make them illegal because of the minority. 3/4 of island nation people are obese. THREE QUARTERS of them. Yet fast food isn't illegal. Alcohol ruins more families and lives and kills more people than every other drug combined. And you argue that people can use them and not be unhealthy? Well guess what 2/3 of the adult population in this country has tried weed and yet NOT A SINGLE ONE has died from it. You're argument backs up drug legalisation because a lot of people can and do use drugs responsibly. Same with not getting fat at BK or getting drunk from Alcohol. Why should we tell people that they can't do something that is (when used intelligently) safe? Because we want to inforce our morals onto them? Because we think we're protecting them? Right now when people want drugs they have to deal with drug dealers. If it was legal they wouldn't, supply would be safer and other than a slight rise in drug use I don't any negative results. And as far as God goes, 'druggies' vs 'straights' are no different to witness to. They both need God. Why tell people who aren't interesting in God that they have to bow down to instructions inspired by something they don't believe in.

P-Style said...

woah, can I suggest that these comments get stuffed into a new post.

Holy cacholy, I can't read them like this, it's just to cramped here.


P-Style said...

Romans 14: 1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord