UI – Part 42 – Freedom (100 Points)
In an exchange with a Muslim women living in a Country that is 100% Muslim, with all the restrictions on women imaginable to those who Understand Islam, she asked me (appropriate for July 4th – Independence Day), “What is Freedom?” This was my 100 point response:
To your question: “What is Freedom?” This will be more of a bullet-point approach, as a dialog on the topic can be quite lengthy. In all instances this applies equally to men and women. This may be a bit rough, as a ‘draft’, but you should get the concept. Also judge for yourself if freedom as outlined is worth defending.
100 Points of Freedom
- Freedom – the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints
- Political freedom is the absence of interference with the sovereignty of an individual by the use of coercion or aggression.
- Freedom is commonly known as a state of being free from government oppression.
- Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak without censorship and/or limitation.
- The synonymous term freedom of expression is sometimes used to indicate not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.
- The right to speak, or otherwise communicate, one’s opinion without fear of harm or prosecution
- Freedom is the concept of being able to speak freely without censorship. It is often regarded as an integral concept in modern liberal democracies
- Freedom of religion is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.
- The freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion.
- Freedom of religion is considered by many people and nations to be a fundamental human right.
- Free from the bondage and lack of freedom from personal feelings towards sin, shame and guilt.
- Lack of contempt for outsiders
- Choose the path of your own life
- Walk alone on the streets (not a shameful act)
- Drive cars.
- Associate with men and women openly. Enjoy coffee or tea in an outdoor café.
- Accept the reality of a person’s character
- Personality, the individual, more important than the clan, tribal rules or family.
- Dance without shame
- Sing, enjoy yourself
- Learn music, love music, listen, enjoy, play.
- Learn to play the instrument of your choice.
- Come and go as you please.
- Watch TV, without restrictions on channels available or government control
- Blog. Express yourself, openly. Send a letter to the editor.
- Shop where and as you please (if you can afford it)
- Mix in religious settings
- No separation of men and women
- Haram (sin) is not every act of a women, as peer ritualistic rules or customs.
- Men are tempted by women; women are tempted by men. It is not the fault of the opposite sex.
- No censorship
- Of TV
- Of News – newspapers and magazines
- Of the Internet
- No forbidden words by the censor’s pen.
- Open access to:
- Women are not possessions.
- The are values, other, for example, than loyalty and submission to Islam, that count.
- One wife, one husband, no double standard (or allow multiple husbands for women). The Bible sees the union of a man and a woman as One, a partnership, each a compliment to the other in all they do. A Union. More can be accomplished as a married team than as an individual.
- No isolation
- Look another person in the eye, smile at them, even flirt.
- Go swimming. Swim with men and women.
- Hold hands with the person you love in public.
- Obedience comes from respect or love, not required. Desired, yes.
- Major decisions are individualistic.
- Even in divorce, relations with children continue. If the choice is to be made, the children should remain with the most capable, loving, parent.
- No religious police – no ‘mutawa.’
- Men and women are equals – under the law – all civil laws.
- Women can be their own guardian. They are as capable as men.
- Everyone can travel freely; do as they desire, to the extent they can afford, and based on their personal faith or understanding of right and wrong.
- The workplace is open to all
- Own property, individually, jointly, man or woman.
- Choice of mate; husband or wife, up to the individual. Love before marriage.
- No oppressive conditioning of men or women; at least not as a dictate of society.
- Women have a say in their lives, in their children’s lives, in all important matters.
- Men can take orders from women, women from men. It is a respect of authority.
- Travel without restrictions.
- Men and women are legal adults.
- Celebrate birthdays (not a sin)
- Have parties, with mixed company.
- Respect the intelligence of everyone – and not according to wealth or status.
- No requirement for abaya, hajib, khimar, niqab or burqa.
- Play with toys, dolls (with faces), etc.
- Draw – images allowed.
- Drink – whisky or beer if you choose. (Moderation in all things recommended)
- Smoke – despite health warnings. Even when not recommended.
- Not feel like a captive in your own society or culture
- Choose your faith – no coercion
- Change your faith – no punishment
- Equal opportunities for all. Achieve what you feel possible.
- Make something of yourself – on your own.
- Not tradition-bound.
- Able to adapt to change.
- Wear shorts, or skirts or t-shirts in public.
- Develop talents – artistic, sports, science, education, philosophy, religion, law, whatever.
- To not be subservient.
- Taught to be reasonable – although that may not be the outcome – it is the objective.
- Tolerance – not hate – is respected.
- Ability to say difficult things to the people you love, especially the people you love.
- Respect for other’s opinions, even if at variance to your own.
- Religion important, but not the entire world. There will always be those that although they know God, choose another course for their lives.
- An independent judiciary
- security from oppression and repression
- constraints that protect all, equally and fairly, not the dictates of one ideology.
- Separation of way of life and religion or theology.
- Be yourself.
- Socialize naturally with women as well as men.
- Be strong of character, not weakened by authority
- Women’s role is not for breeding. Children are the product of both parents, a partnership in raising the child.
- Men do dishes too. Even vacuum or make the bed.
- No entitlements
- Transformation comes through the heart of the individual
- Able to question your culture.
- Able to doubt religion. Seek new avenues. Explore. Have open access to other viewpoints.
- No suffocating bondage of government. No totalitarianism. Vote for change. Protest.
- No suffocating rules and family taboos. Establish those rules best suited for your life, your faith, your idea of correct living, and right and wrong, but with respect for others – love of neighbor as self.
- You choose; you decide – but I recommend, as does God, to seek first the Kingdom of God and being right-with-god, without the burden of haram, by knowing, being thankful and loving the saving grace of Christ.
- For the person, there shall be no condemnation if you walk not in the manner of men’s selfish desires, but of the Lord.
- From sin and death, freedom, the assurance of an eternal life with God, salvation, comes from Jesus and for those that know Him. He is God and the Spirit that lives within.
- For where there are laws, there is sin, and where there is knowledge of the sacrifice for our sins through Christ, there is freedom. We live for God, in honor, obedience and love voluntarily for we know what he has done for mankind, for you and me.
- Let us, who so choose, walk in the Spirit.
- For all those who are sinners, Jesus came to call. It was not the righteous. He came to make the sinners free.
- There is no limit to the freedom the Gospel provides.
Interestingly enough upon receipt of this list she replied, “What you sent is not an answer! It’s a revolution!”
If you are a student of history it took many Revolutions to free people, religious minorities were the lead, requesting equality and respect for their beliefs. In many ways the most free societies were the most pluralistic; a problem for religious leaders with strict standards of monotheism to be imposed on a society. The Ideal Islamic society would have Sharia or Islamic Law, an Islamic State and All for Allah. That could also be the case for a Catholic or Christian Society, even a Jewish Society, if a Theocracy was sought. But that is not their objective. The Catholic Church was the first to separate itself and challenge temporal authority. The Ideal Free Society would be ‘multicultural’, enjoy the above 100 or more definitions of Freedom, if not all, most anyway, with restrictions on society imposed by civil authorities to maintain order, decency and prevent chaos. But there would be freedom of religion, yet society would be protected from competing ideologies that attempt to impose their will, their theocracy, at the expense of freedom.
Power struggles and rebellion countered each other as freedom grew from Rome’s system of jurisprudence, to acquiescence by arbitrary authorities, the mitigation of the intolerance of the Catholic Church (which became increasingly intolerant, oppressive, dogma focused, and demanded unquestioning obedience), conflict resolution between aristocracy and monarchy, and powers and privileges of medieval aristocracy eliminated. The Magna Carta (limiting royal authority in Europe) was significant, then the Catholics versus the Protestants (Christians all, but with different approaches to the saving grace of Christ) having revolutionary implications (and bloody) for freedom, followed by the Enlightenment with a revival of the classics, as well as open debates about Biblical issues and broader access to learning. The fulcrum to growing liberty was dissent and the ability of authorities to squash it or give-in. But progress continued.
Capitalism and free-enterprise had major implications creating individual wealth and independence from the state. Order and tradition fell to change and a dynamic enterprise system, embracing daily progress. Impediments to freedom were slowing, gradually whittled away, and continue to produce increasing liberties. Inherent in the most free is a pluralistic society. Tolerance becomes an issue. Some feel at times the pendulum moved too far to a liberal status. Change then alters the course as the balance of liberty and freedom continues, the balance between liberal and conservative, with the innate knowing of right and wrong and moral commandments to love God and love neighbor as self, standards for a moral society, acting as reminders that it is not all about ‘me’.
Falling back to a time past, to the 7th Century, as those who avow the purist of Islam must prevail, is to thwart that which cannot be stopped. Rebellion, revolution within the Islamic community will cause increased freedoms, as history has already proven in other parts of the world. As the world becomes smaller due to constantly improving communications and access to news, and greater difficulty at censoring content, eyes will be open to the possible and oppression and total control will be resisted. There will be revolution; there needs to be revolution. It need not be a blood bath, but a series of steps to recognizing the lifestyle that causes happiness and harmony among all mankind, all faiths, by embracing freedom. It may be limited at first, but grow to more encompassing. Such freedoms will also allow for a more prosperous and healthy worldwide economy. We need to share our success, our love, our acceptance, not our bombs, our hatred, our hostility, our intolerance, or our resistance to change.
Pray for harmony, peace, acceptance, open eyes, objective minds, tolerant leaders, and progress throughout all nations toward freedom and equality for every individual.
It has been said the greatest symbol of freedom is a free thinking human mind.
Grace and peace.