This Easter, Celebrate Freedom

What freedom has to do with rising from the dead.

What does freedom have to do with rising from the dead?

When America was in its infancy and struggling to find a culture and frustrated at governance from Great Britain, the word most frequently uttered in speeches and pamphlets and letters was not safety or taxes or peace; it was freedom.

Public DomainPublic DomainTwo acts of Parliament broke the bonds with the mother country irreparably. The first was the Stamp Act, which was enforced by British soldiers writing their own search warrants and rummaging through the personal possessions of colonists looking to see whether they had purchased the government's stamps. The second was the imposition of a tax to pay for the Church of England, which the colonists were forced to pay, no matter their religious beliefs.

The Stamp Act assaulted the right to be left alone in the home, and the tax for the Church of England assaulted the freedom to choose to support one's own means of worship. The two taxes together caused many colonists to realize they needed to secede from England and form their own country in which freedom would be protected by the government, not assaulted by it.

Today it seems the power of the government continues to expand and the freedom of the individual continues to shrink. The loss of freedom comes in many forms. Sometimes it is direct and profound, as when the government stops you from doing what you formerly had the freedom to do -- like choose your own doctor and your own health care insurance or choose not to have health care insurance. Sometimes it is more subtle -- like when the government prints money to pay its bills and, as a result, all the money you already have loses much of its value. And sometimes the government steals freedom without you knowing it -- like when federal agents write their own search warrants, authorizing themselves to learn of your computer use or medical or banking records; and they never tell you what they've done.

Freedom is the ability of every person to exercise his own free will, rather than be subject to the will of someone else. Free will is the essence of humanity, and humanity is God's greatest gift. When the government affirmatively takes away freedom, the government violates the natural law; it prevents us from having and utilizing the means to the truth. Your moral ability to exercise your free will to seek the truth is your natural right, and the government may only morally interfere with the exercise of that right when you have used fraud or force to interfere with the exercise of someone else's natural rights.

We know from the events 2,000 years ago, which Christians commemorate and celebrate this week, that freedom is the essential means to discover and unite with the truth. And to Christians, the personification, the incarnation, the perfect manifestation of truth is the Son of God.

On the first Holy Thursday, Jesus attended a traditional Jewish Passover Seder. Catholics believe that at that last supper, He performed two miracles so that we could stay united to Him. He transformed ordinary bread and wine into His own body, blood, soul and divinity, and He empowered His disciples and their successors to do the same.

On the first Good Friday, the government executed Him for claiming to be the Son of God. He had the freedom to reject this horrific event, but He exercised His freedom so that we might know the truth. The truth He manifested is that His acceptance of the destruction of His body would demonstrate to us that we can liberate our souls from the slavery of sin and our free wills from the oppression of the government. Three days later, on Easter, that manifestation was complete when He triumphed over death by rising from the dead.

Easter is the linchpin of human existence: With it, life is worth living, no matter its cost or pain. Without it, life is meaningless, no matter its fleeting joys or triumphs. Easter has a meaning that is both incomprehensible and simple. It is incomprehensible that a human being had the freedom to rise from the dead. It is simple because that human being was and is God. Easter means that there is hope for the dead. And if there's hope for the dead, there's hope for the living.

But, like the colonists who fought the oppression of the king, we the living can only achieve our hopes if we have freedom. And that requires a government that protects freedom, not one that shrinks it.

Do we have such a government today?

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  • $park¥||

    Easter is the linchpin of human existence: With it, life is worth living, no matter its cost or pain. Without it, life is meaningless, no matter its fleeting joys or triumphs.

    Uh, wut?

  • SugarFree||

    Your life is meaningless and not worth living, Sparky. Mine too. And that scoundrel, Episiarch.

  • $park¥||

    I already knew about you and Epi. I just always thought I was special.

  • Zeb||

    I can accept that life is meaningless. Meaning is something that comes about in interpreting things. I wouldn't expect something like life to be meaningful in any objective or universal way.

  • $park¥||

    The universe is a large unthinking, uncaring place, but life is full of meaning. The meaning is something you make as you go through life. Creating meaning is what life is all about.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I'm an absurdist: the central problem of the human condition as that we are beings with a deep-seated psychological need for meaning trapped in a universe that has no meaning to offer.

  • $park¥||

    I'm an absurdist

    As am I. And the absurdist position as I'm aware of it says that any meaning supplied in life is supplied by the person living it. By not searching for some underlying universal meaning to life, you are then free to create your own meaning to your own life.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Well, that applies to any form of existentialism. Absurdism is more specific than that.

  • $park¥||

    If you think so it's only because I didn't want to go into a lengthy diatribe. Although I'm a bit curious.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    All absurdists are existentialists, but not all existentialists are absurdists.

    Any personal meaning the absurdist finds must still embrace the core absurdity of existence; so it's more about finding fulfillment in the process of a quest for meaning you know is doomed to failure and is ultimately futile. An abusurdist's "personal meaning" is more like "value" than the "Big-M personal Meaning" you see in some other forms of existentialism.

  • $park¥||

    I thought that was what I said. That's certainly how it sounded in my head while I was typing it.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It's difference between "helping at the foodbank makes me feel good, therefore it gives my life meaning to myself" and "we need to elimiante poverty, because our meaning should be to help others".

  • $park¥||

    I do things that give my life meaning to me regardless of whether or not anyone else finds meaning. At this point we're just arguing semantics. I know what I mean when I say things even though it might not be clear to the people receiving my message.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Well that is absurdism then. You recognize your constructed meaning is both personal and arbitrary. Other forms of existentialism believe that constructed meaning is universalizable.

    And of course we're arguging semantics. That's pretty much the whole point of philosophy. ;P

  • Brandybuck||

    Nearly everything we can see in the universe is the result of emergent order. Even as everything rushes back to a state of total entropy, order still emerges. Perhaps there is no meaning in that to you, but it is most profound to me.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I'd argue the opposite: all order in the universe is transient. Entropy ultimately devours everything.

  • $park¥||

    Perhaps there is no meaning in that to you, but it is most profound to me.

    That's kinda the point. Every individual views the universe in their own unique way. You and I might agree that an object is purple, but that doesn't mean we're seeing the same color. If you see meaning, more power to you. I prefer to make my own. Neither of those options is right or wrong, they're just different.

  • Matrix||

    1st and 2nd Century Christians celebrated Passover, not Easter.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Israeli Passover celebration:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=draPGbwdtzM

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Andrew Napolitano is the only guy who could write such a blatantly Christian piece in Reason. He must be a very influential guy.

  • wareagle||

    he's a Catholic who also believes fervently in the Constitution and the concept of limited govt. I don't hear the judge saying Catholic doctrine should be law for everyone, just that it's Catholic doctrine. He subscribes to the notion that his belief in something does not require govt forcing you to believe it, too.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I *like* that he's influential enough to get in Reason, although I get the impression he's casting pearls before swine.

  • Zeb||

    Well, one man's pearls are another man's pig slop, I guess.

  • phandaal||

    Gotta admire the moxy of the Judge to lecture about religion on a site called "reason."

    That being said, I'm not a fan of Cadbury Eggs (way too much sugar), so I'll pass.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Drink holy water!

  • phandaal||

    When I was a kid and still went to church, I broke into the holy wine and consumed it. Surprisingly, no one found out, nor did I burst into flames...

  • Tim||

    Yet.

  • ||

    My nephew-in-law was caught doing that. I felt very sorry for him, hearing about the lecture his Catholic father gave him, letting him know that his wasn't a simple act of thievery, but a special one, with deep, spiritual meaning, for which he should feel a unique form of shame. It's stunning how accepting people are of child abuse, and teaching children how to be completely irrational in their formative years. It's a wonder we made it out of the dark ages.

  • $park¥||

    I'm not a fan of Cadbury Eggs (way too much sugar), so I'll pass.

    More for me. Yipee!

  • mtrueman||

    Reason is a Libertarian site. I'm surprised that it would publish something so favourable to Jesus, arguably the biggest moocher ever to preach a parable. Did he pay for that last supper? He didn't. He didn't pay for those robes either. In all the occasions of Jesus and his entourage dropping in at a wealthy household uninvited and demanding to be served, is there even one mention of Jesus paying for his supper? There isn't. Even dying on the cross this deadbeat had the nerve to call out to his guards, "Hey, I'm thirsty. Give me a Diet Coke!"

    Libertarians celebrating Christ? I'll see you first in hell.

  • The Unknown Pundit||

    Easter is the linchpin of human existence: With it, life is worth living, no matter its cost or pain. Without it, life is meaningless, no matter its fleeting joys or triumphs.

    This is your brain on religion kids. What a stupid thing for an intellegent man to say. I guess life just wasn't worth living until about 2000 years ago, per the judge's "reasoning".

  • wareagle||

    did you miss the part where he connects jesus to the concept of free speech and freedom to worship as you please, or is your own bigotry toward religion clouding your ability to think? Count how many times 'freedom' is mentioned. Weigh that against the times the judge says you should be forced to agree with him.

  • $park¥||

    Yeah, the Judge is just using his freedom of religion and expression to tell everyone that they're lives are meaningless unless they believe what he does.

  • SugarFree||

    Shut up, swine.

  • $park¥||

    Where are my pearls?

  • SugarFree||

    Dragons Awake!
    Take me through the voodoo, Buddha.
    You are the King of Things.
    I am a fake.

    Over the treetops,
    An Automan
    And automatic girl.

    Predator, skin an orangutan alive.
    I have two eyes.
    Sprinkle the pearls over the ham.

  • The Unknown Pundit||

    If I wanted to comment on the other I would have.

    I have no doubt about the Judge's commitment to freedom. Never the less, what he said is still stupid as he seems to be making a universal claim that is really just his religious opinion. Religious people seem to do that a lot.

  • wareagle||

    you think what he says it stupid, and the Judge would be the first to defend your right to do so. And? His making a claim is not the same as harnessing the force of govt to make his belief into law. Seems your distaste for religion is on greater display than anything else. And the judge would likely defend you on that, too.

  • $park¥||

    Seems your distaste for religion is on greater display than anything else.

    As is your defense of religion. Who cares?

  • The Unknown Pundit||

    Reading comprehension isn't your thing, is it wareagle.

  • Not an Atheist||

    [1] Your moral ability to exercise your free will to seek the truth is your natural right, and [2] the government may only morally interfere with the exercise of that right when you have used fraud or force to interfere with the exercise of someone else's natural rights.

    I don't think any past, or most present, authorities on natural law would agree with part 2 of that sentence insofar as it purports to state a principle of natural law. Natural-law theories have a lot to offer libertarian thinkers (IMO), but let's not make natural law appear to be something it's not.

  • SugarFree||

    The Judge is preaching to the choir, but large parts of the choir need to be preached at.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    and humanity is God's greatest gift

    God likes gag gifts apparently.

  • sarcasmic||

    A happy little ditty to celebrate Passover.

    Creeping Death

  • Eduard van Haalen||

  • Tim||

    Don't have a cow, men.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    That is some serious alt-text win.

    *This message brought to you by the Society for the Promotion of Alt-Text*

  • $park¥||

    Servant: Who wants more wine? JUDAS?
    Judas: WHAT??
    Servant: More wine?
    Judas: Uh, no thanks.

  • Clifton||

    Easter is the linchpin of human existence: With it, life is worth living, no matter its cost or pain. Without it, life is meaningless, no matter its fleeting joys or triumphs.

    What? This is totally absurd. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, considering that Christianity, and religion in general, are totally absurd. Still, it surprises me, because I have seen so much solid reasoning from this article's author. I suppose I still shouldn't be surprised.

    Anyway, Judge, please look at your beliefs with a critical eye. It is absurd to believe in a magical sky man. There is no evidence whatsoever on which to base a belief in one. Use your critical thinking skills. I know you have them.

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