Theses on Human Freedom and the Way of Jesus

The idea came to me this afternoon as I was driving home from meeting with a friend to publish some theses on freedom and the way of Jesus. They are borne out of a particular conviction and intend to communicate a viewpoint informed by this conviction in a non-anxious and non-intimidating way. They are deliberately written without a lot of theological jargon and though they can be defended with references to the Bible I intentionally have not included such references. Drafted for friends of mine who are not Christians and thus do not share my viewpoint, I'm hoping they can be a fruitful discussion starter rather than a conclusive word.

1. The way of Jesus is the way which best aligns humanity with its purpose, i.e., the way humans were created to live, the way humans can best live life, the way that is ultimately most suited for humans.

2. Alternative ways, i.e., ways contrary to the way of Jesus, are ways in which humanity is inescapably sabotaged, distorted, deprived, and oppressed.

3. The way of Jesus is oriented towards freedom where freedom is understood as liberation to live well, as God intended, and where the inhibitors to freedom are understood to be distorted impulses within oneself as well as dark and evil powers at work in the world and in people.

4. The dominant North American cultural narrative is also oriented towards freedom where freedom is understood as liberation to live as one pleases and where the inhibitors to freedom are understood to be authorities or institutions that define and prescribe how one should best live.

5. Freedom to live as one pleases assumes that morality is essentially internal, and thus subjective, and that humans are reasonably guided by internal moral compasses which are essentially good and reliable.

6. Freedom to live as one pleases necessarily generates human conflict (i.e., where one’s freedom inevitably clashes with another’s) and necessarily undermines human rights (i.e, where one’s freedom denies the rights of another, e.g., “honour killing”).

7. The way of Jesus assumes that humans do not have an internal moral compass that can reliably orient one to do good and that humans often desire and intend to do evil (i.e., to lie and cheat, etc.).

8. The way of Jesus embraces an objective moral standard that sometimes collides with the freedom to live as one pleases and thus requires one in such times to resist and deny one’s internal desires in order to be truly free.

9. One is liberated from the inhibitors to freedom by giving oneself over to Jesus who at the cross of Calvary defeated the dark and evil powers of the world and one’s internal moral compass can become more reliable over time by the influence of his Spirit.

10. Those embracing the way of Jesus, in spite of intentions, often fail to do so consistently and thus contribute to humanity's distortions.

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