Blog Template Theology of the Body: Two Ideas of Freedom

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Two Ideas of Freedom

A friend and I were chatting about the interplay of authority and freedom in the Christian life, and I was reminded of my favorite treatment on point... George Weigel's essay, "Two Ideas of Freedom" (Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington D.C., 2001) puts it all together with his usual deference to Christ and orthodoxy. He says-

Freedom is for excellence. Freedom is a means to human excellence, to human happiness, to the fulfillment of human destiny. Freedom is the capacity to choose wisely and to act well as a matter of habit—or, to use the old-fashioned term, as an outgrowth of virtue. Freedom is the means by which, exercising both our reason and our will, we act on the natural longing for truth, for goodness, and for happiness that is built into us as human beings. Freedom is something that grows in us, and the habit of living freedom wisely must be developed through education, which among many other things involves the experience of emulating others who live wisely and well. Freedom is in fact the great organizing principle of the moral life—and since the very possibility of a moral life (the capacity to think and choose) is what distinguishes the human person from the rest of the natural world, freedom is the great organizing principle of a life lived in a truly human way. That is, freedom is the human capacity that unifies all our other capacities into an orderly whole, and directs our actions toward the pursuit of happiness and goodness understood in the noblest sense: the union of the human person with the absolute good, who is God.
Read the whole thing here-