Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Freedom and Order

A friend and I talked about freedom and order in religion today. He was feeling somewhat frustrated with the church that he had attended for over a dozen years. The church, as a whole, does not have doctrine that it approves. They believe in following a set of scriptures, but ultimately the adherent is his or her own interpreter, so nearly any belief is permissible in the religion.

My religion is one of order. There is approved doctrine and where doctrine is initially unclear, church leaders clarify the doctrine. Many individual interpretations are possible, but not all are. For full participation, the adherent must hold a minimal set of beliefs and must perform a minimal set of prescribed duties. However, one can participate in many, but not all, of the church's activities outside of these minimal sets.

In the end, the adherent in either religion is free to do as they wish. In my friend's church, one has more freedom to believe and act and still be within the mainstream of his religion. In my church one can more easily leave the mainstream. Of course, one is free to do so.

Many people value the freedom of my friend's church. My friend, though, asks, "what church? What does it mean to be a member of my church? Apparently very little."

Others value the order of my church. We know what it means to be a church member at various levels of activity. However, this is only possible by a willing sacrifice of our freedom to determine our own path.

Politically, however, I am an extreme proponent of freedom. Neither of the political parties' current conduct is harmonious with my beliefs. To find where I am, start by positioning at anarchy, then step a bit toward the center.

Further, I believe that with freedom in secular matters, individuals end up ordering their activities for the good of society. For instance, no one has to force manufacturers of keyboards, mice, and monitors to make their equipment compatible with the computer. No one has to force potato growers to sell the proper amount to chip manufacturers. No one has to force gasoline manufactures to use expensive and inferior ethanol in . . . no wait, we do have to force people to do stupid things.

I should really use ideas of freedom and order more in writing. I seem to have strong beliefs about them.

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