We love the idea of freedom as Americans, but as Christians where do we get our ideals of freedom and equality? Are all of them rooted in scripture or do we have influences from the age of Enlightenment, too?
Seems like a high school civics question, but maybe it is less obvious an answer than we think. I personally believe the social push of egalitarian ideals is sourced within Christian ideology, but we have moved so far from Christian thinking and cultural awareness that we have a hard time defining the concepts of freedom and what being equal really is. We just have a general vague affirmation. Equal? Yes, that’s good. Freedom? Sure thing, I’m all for it.
But we don’t really think about it, and we aren’t really finding much to help us think about it, instead finding obfuscation in the general forum of media and debate. It’s like we’re too lazy to think about the hard questions, or else we’ve been cowed into passing that off as something for the experts, the intelligentsia. It used to be that Americans weren’t so ashamed to be the common man, one with civic responsibility.
Sometimes I’m a little worried that the liberals have so successfully changed the meaning of such concepts as freedom and equal and rights that those trying to retrieve a foundational working basis for those things are reduced to mere reactionary responses.
Ok, yes, some of these thoughts are inspired by the gender debate. We are so influenced by these things and we don’t often think about that. It influences our society in how we run government and how we set up our families, it is affecting how men function or don’t function and how satisfied ( or should I say dissatisfied ) women are with them and with their own lives.
The more I look at some of this the more I think we have lost the whole discourse on what it is to be a woman, or to be a man…. and maybe that goes some ways toward explaining how we have lost so much on the discourse of what it is to be human.
Equal means lots more than homogenization or leveling the playing field or creating some image of sameness, it actually means something very different than all those substitutionary meanings we are giving it. I think it is time to find our way, and restore our vocabulary.