We think of freedom in terms of freedom to do something. We have freedom of speech, religion, etc. But freedom can also be freedom from something. It is freedom from that we will examine in this writing.
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God .” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. (Psalm 14:1)
Christianity often targeted
In our secular society there are many people who desire freedom from religion. They object to public nativity scenes at Christmas, or the idea of having a cross displayed on public property. They object to churches, synagogues and just about any place where people gather to worship God in their own way. The word religion in this case means any organized worship.
But mostly they object to hearing anyone talk about their faith. In most cases, Christianity is the one faith singled out as being the most offensive. Why is this? Of the major world religions, Christianity is the only one that centers on a personal relationship with God, through faith alone and not of any works.
The Apostle Paul beaten for sharing his faith
During his many years of ministry, the Apostle Paul was jailed and beaten just for sharing the love of God. Yet amazingly he still had joy. While imprisoned he wrote letters to the churches he established. Uplifting and filled with grace, Paul encouraged the new believers to persevere and build the church.
Many don’t want Jesus as Lord over their lives
People were attracted to Jesus for the signs and wonders He performed. They were given freedom from disease and affliction. But in almost every case, they did not desire the freedom to embrace Jesus as Lord. They just wanted what He could do. He may have cured sickness, but the souls of those He cured may have still been in peril.
The signs and wonders pointed to who Jesus was, but people so often miss the point. The freedom comes from the relationship we have with Christ. I am a walking case of health issues, which will eventually cause the end of my life.
But I am free because of the greatest gift that God offered me—His Son. God doesn’t have to remove these maladies in order to draw me to Him. I am drawn because He loves me. My life is free of worry.
People think that they want to be “free” from religion
Here in Wisconsin, where I live, is the home of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. As stated on its website, “The purposes of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., as stated in its bylaws, are to promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to non theism.
Incorporated in 1978 in Wisconsin, FFRF is the nation’s largest free-thought association with more than 30,000 members: atheists, agnostics and skeptics of any pedigree. FFRF is a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3).”
The idea of separation of church and state being used as one of the cornerstones for FFRF. It is interesting mainly because a secular government came up with the idea of and putting limits on the church’s influence. Europe had church-state nations at the time and were for the most part Christian men.
US has always supported religious diversity
But it is Christianity, more than any other faith, that gets the brunt of the FFRF push back. They center on social issues, such as abortion, voting rights, etc., as if Christianity were the enemy of all rational, clear-thinking persons.
It seems strange that a nation that was founded on Judaeo-Christian principles, that honors the sanctity of individuals and welcomes religious diversity, would be the target of such an organization. Freedom from seems more like a rebuke of the First Amendment.
True freedom comes from Christ
But the FFRF folks do not understand that the freedom that is in Christ transcends any idea of freedom from religion they might have. Christianity is not about religion, it is about faith in God.
God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:22-26)
Christianity is about seeking truth
The real sadness of the FFRF is that Christianity is all about asking questions and seeking truth. God does not rebuke people for their doubts, but gladly fields their questions and concerns.
Everyone has doubts and everybody has questions they want to ask and receive answers for those important issues. God understands this. It’s about freedom to choose.
The atheists in my life do not want to hear about the faith I have, and why my idea of freedom is so much different from theirs. The agnostics I know just keep asking questions, which is good, but I doubt they really want to hear the answer.
The Gospel offers freedom
The Gospel has been out there for over 2000 years. It hasn’t changed and it will not change. Some will hear and believe. Some will believe, but quickly fall away. Others will hear and not understand. Some will hear and refuse to believe. Some will hear and not have the ability to comprehend.
But God is patient. He will wait and give us all the freedom to come to Him.