Intelligent Design

Are We Free?

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There is a constant struggle in every man’s heart between what he does and what he knows he should do.  Freud and the Apostle Paul wrote about this conflict in the following famous passages:

Thus the ego, driven by the id, confined by the super-ego, repulsed by reality, struggles to master its economic task of bringing about harmony among the forces and influences working in and upon it; and we can understand how it is that so often we cannot suppress a cry: ‘Life is not easy!’ If the ego is obliged to admit its weakness, it breaks out in anxiety – realistic anxiety regarding the external world, moral anxiety regarding the super-ego and neurotic anxiety regarding the strength of the passions in the id.1

Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?2

Arch-atheist and Christian saint agree about at least two things:  A war rages within every human and the conflict sometimes makes us very miserable indeed.

The existence of this conflict presents a very difficult (indeed insurmountable) conundrum for materialists, who insist that a person consists of his physical body and nothing else.  But if that is true, how can there be a conflict?  How can the body be at war with itself?  Doesn’t a war require two opposing sides?  Freud can describe the conflict, but he can’t even begin to account for its existence given his metaphysical commitments. 

Christianity has no such problem.  As Paul taught in the wider context of the passage quoted above, all men have an immaterial spirit (which he sometimes called the “heart”), and the essential requirements of morality “are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.”3 

Freud’s metaphysics rendered him blind to the cause of the war that raged in his own breast.  And since he was blind to the reason the war raged, he was powerless to offer any effective solution to the war.  Not so for Paul.  He understood the underlying cause of the conflict that raged within, and he also understood how he could be free.  God has provided a way out through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which allowed Paul to answer his own question.

Q.  “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” 

A.  “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”4

Which brings me back to the question posed in the title to this post.  Are we free?  It turns out the answer is neither “yes” nor “no,” but “if you are not you can be.”  We can be free but not all of us are.  Some people are slaves to their fallen nature.  But it need not be so.  There is a path from slavery into freedom, but no one is ever forced to walk down that path.  It must be chosen. 

______________________

1“LECTURE XXXI: The Dissection of the Psychical Personality” Freud, Sigmund. New Introductory Lectures on Psycho Analysis. The Standard Edition. 1933. Trans. and ed. James Strachey. New York: W.W. Norton, 1965, 97-98.

2The Apostle Paul, Romans 7:21-24.

3Romans 2:15.

4Romans 8:2.

11 Replies to “Are We Free?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    How can the body be at war with itself?

    Auto-immune disease?

  2. 2
    relatd says:

    The most common problem afflicting the West today is sexual immorality. Sex outside of marriage was condemned in the past but today, it’s thrown onto TV programs like it’s no big deal.

    1 Corinthians 6:18

    “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

    Addictions to porn, to masturbation, to sex outside of marriage. To prostitutes (NOT sex workers).

    That is slavery. Pray to God to deliver you.

  3. 3
    chuckdarwin says:

    One of my college buddies had a great motto: life is not easy, but easy enough…..

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Relatd/2

    The most common problem afflicting the West today is sexual immorality. Sex outside of marriage was condemned in the past but today, it’s thrown onto TV programs like it’s no big deal.

    Sex outside marriage is immoral? How many wives/concubines did David or Solomon have? Were they sanctioned in any way by God for this behavior? If He wasn’t/isn’t bothered, why should you?

    Addictions can be unhealthy but I would say not immoral unless they are causing others harm.

    That is slavery. Pray to God to deliver you.

    Into slavery to Him?

  5. 5
    Marfin says:

    Sev so where do you get your standards from , you speak about moral an immoral ,causing and not causing others harm , but what is your basis for deciding what these things are. This is an honest question ,as speaking for myself how much pain and suffering am I willing to endure to see that the right thing is done, and that is the crux of the matter. We all say do no harm do no wrong, but have the annoying habit of making sure we are looked after first ,and then if convenient do no harm or wrong.
    So what is your standard , where does it come from and what price are you willing to pay to keep it.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev appeals to a variation of the golden rule when he states, “I would say not immoral unless they are causing others harm.”

    A couple of small problems for Seversky in his appeal to the Golden Rule. Number one, it is foundational to Christian ethics,

    Mark 12:31 –
    “The second most important command is this: Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself. These two commands are the most important.”

    And, number two, it is antithetical to his foundation of Darwin ethics,

    “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

    “I think “nature red in tooth and claw” sums up our modern understanding of natural selection admirably.”
    – Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene (1976)

    How Has Darwinism Negatively Impacted Society?
    John G. West – January 11, 2022
    Excerpt: Death as the Creator
    A third big idea fueled by Darwin’s theory is that the engine of progress in the history of life is mass death. Instead of believing that the remarkable features of humans and other living things reflect the intelligent design of a master artist, Darwin portrayed death and destruction as our ultimate creator. As he wrote at the end of his most famous work: “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.”
    per ENV

    Thus, so much for Seversky being consistent in his application of morality.

    That Seversky is being highly hypocritical in the application of the Christian ethic of causing no harm to others is clearly reflected in his recent militant, and fairly passionate, defense of unrestricted abortion where he advocated for packing the Supreme Court and issued a not too veiled threat of violence against conservatives
    – see kairosfocus’s thread on Roe v. Wade, post 17 and 65
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/developing-the-us-supreme-court-reverses-roe-v-wade-is-it-cry-havoc/#comment-759106

    Besides abortion being in direct contradiction to the supposed ‘science’ of Natural Selection,

    “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species – pg. 66

    The Logic of Natural Selection – graph
    http://recticulatedgiraffe.wee.....35.jpg?308

    , besides that little detail of abortion being out of scientific step with Darwinism, abortion is also literally a psychopath’s dream of causing harm to millions of others,

    If a psychopath did to a child what the abortion industry routinely does to unborn children, the psychopath would be sentenced to death, and/or life in prison, and the vast majority of people would agree wholeheartedly with that punishment.

    Dismemberment Abortion – Patrina Mosley, M.A.
    Dismemberment abortions are a common and brutal type of abortion that involve dismembering a living unborn child piece by piece. According to the National Abortion Federation’s abortion training textbook, dismemberment abortions are a preferred method of abortion, in part because they are cheaper than other available methods.1 (2018)
    https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF18F25.pdf

    100 million views: People respond to the viral ‘Abortion Procedures’ videos
    Excerpt: In these videos, Dr. Levatino, who committed over 1,200 abortions before becoming pro-life, explains in detail what occurs when the life of a preborn child is destroyed during an abortion during the 1st, 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
    Each of the Abortion Procedures videos describes in detail how each abortion procedure is carried out and how the preborn child dies. The realization of abortion’s barbarity, cruelty, and inhumanity has impacted many viewers who were not expecting to see what they saw.,,,
    https://www.liveaction.org/news/live-action-abortion-procedures-impact/

    Abortion Procedures: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Trimesters
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFZDhM5Gwhk

    Watch (pro-choice) minds (immediately) change on abortion (after watching the abortion procedures video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xWQHhqOAcg

    Abby Johnson Discusses Why She Left Planned Parenthood At The 2020 RNC | NBC News, (she witnessed a dismemberment abortion first hand)
    https://youtu.be/NXQjCuWFdzI?t=100

    Michael Egnor – The Junk Science of the Abortion Lobby (Fetuses not only experience pain but experience it more intensely than do adults)
    https://mindmatters.ai/2019/01/the-junk-science-of-the-abortion-lobby/

    Thus Seversky, especially when he is trying to undermine Judeo-Christian ethics, may rhetorically claim that he is all for not causing harm to others, (i.e. have sex with whomever you want as long as it is not harming others), but his stance on abortion makes it clear that he really could care less when it comes to causing no harm to others. In short, Seversky is a raging hypocrite with it comes to applying the golden rule consistently.

    Matthew 23:27-28 & 33
    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of impurity. In the same way, on the outside you appear to be righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.,,,
    You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the sentence of hell?

  7. 7
    chuckdarwin says:

    BTW, what’s the difference between an “arch-atheist” and a common, everyday atheist?

  8. 8
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 4,

    If you don’t believe in God, why blame Him for anything? Yes, sexual immorality is immoral. It’s wrong. It’s bad.

  9. 9
    JHolo says:

    CD: BTW, what’s the difference between an “arch-atheist” and a common, everyday atheist?

    Scoliosis?

  10. 10
    chuckdarwin says:

    JHolo
    LOL

  11. 11
    asauber says:

    “what’s the difference between an “arch-atheist” and a common, everyday atheist?”

    The first is supermega-dumb and the second is just plain stupid. 😉

    Andrew

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