RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IS INDISPENSABLE NOT
ONLY FOR PROGRESSIVE, CIVILIZED LIFE BUT ALSO FOR SALVATION ITSELF!!
That's right, everyone! Your eyes are not--I repeat, are not--playing tricks on you!! I say that as we fight this war against terrorism one of our war aims, worldwide religious liberty needs to be one of them, if not the chief aim!
Those of you now reading this are probably asking yourselves, "Why is religious liberty indispensable to salvation?" Well, let's explore this a little bit. Especially in light of one of the mightiest prophetic phrases from the book of Micah,6:8:"He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
If we believe we know all there is to know about any of the subjects mentioned by this passage(especially the last) that attitude, in and of itself, will render real humility in walking with God well nigh impossible. And without genuine humility before the incomprehensible magnitude and quality of God, acting justly becomes a near impossibility and the love of mercy becomes absolutely impossible.
Think about it, buoys and gulls. Take these pieces and see in your own minds and hearts how they fit together. And now I'll have some questions for each and all of you.
1) Is it more possible to relate to God with genuine humility in an atmosphere of religious liberty--that is, where the responsibility of having a personal relationship with God is squarely on you and none other--or where one community of faith is, or a select group of such communities are, supported by the state? Do some of you see how the state actually gets in the way of such relationships, especially under cover of trying to facilitate them?
2) Will we be more aware of how much we don't know about God--indeed, of what we can't know about God as long as we live on Earth--under religious liberty or a religion established by law? Do or don't 'closed' systems promote closed minds?
What I believe we can know from Scripture (and to some extent from our own experience) is that God loves us all, enough to send His Son so that we might have the power to become sons and daughters of God (John 1:12, 3:16-17) So long as someone else's way to be close to God doesn't jeopardize our lives, liberties or property, let us proceed with care and ask more questions as opposed to laying down decrees. God is perfect, but none of us are and perfection is rarely, if ever, achieved in this world. Let's keep that in mind. This is why the 'images' we have of God need to be open-ended--so they can grow and change as each of us grows in the Spirit.