When I was out and about recently, I saw this church marquee.
As with many church marquees, I assume it’s meant to be a clever reference to both God and a topical issue, in this case Independence Day / The 4th of July in the US and being Jesus freeing us from sin, or something similar I would guess.
But is being a Christian really about celebrating freedom? If you actually read the Bible, it talks a lot about slavery, going as far as to say that we should serve God as a slave!
Ephesians 6:6 — Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. (Scripture quotation taken from the New American Standard Bible, NASB . )
This is the New Testament we’re talking about here, not the endless rules about what you can and can’t due to slaves in the Old Testament. We are to be "slaves of Christ ", according to the Bible.
The King James Version would have you believe it’s "servant", but if you check nearly all more modern versions, you will see "slave" as the translation. It seems clear to me from this and other contexts that it means "slave." You’re not just supposed to serve God, you’re are a slave unto the Lord. You must serve him! "Down on your knees! ", as proclaims the song "O Holy Night."
Can one find "true freedom" in being a slave?? Slavery is freedom apparently, according to this church; sounds Orwellian to me.
To me, freedom means making up your own mind about what you believe or don’t believe, what religion if any you will choose, who you love or don’t love, who you marry or don’t marry (and whether or not you can get divorced if the need arises), without the threat of eternal punishment looming over you.
Some more liberal Christians would argue that God is love and grants us all these things because he loves us; and some may say that hell doesn’t even exist, or is only for truly evil people (even some non-believers and pets can come along). But that’s the thing: the United States doesn’t have freedom of religion (and from it ) because some god gave it to us.
We, just like many other nations around the world, created our own government. We are only truly free when we take our lives into our own hands and decide for ourselves what our destiny will be. For me, that means breaking away from the chains of religious dogma and being a freethinker.
On the 4th of July I will celebrate true freedom: the freedom to not be a slave to any god or government, the freedom to think and say what I believe. Now that’s something worth celebrating this 4th of July.