Part One: How Democracy and Freedom are Essential to Personal Growth, Knowledge of God, and America.

March 2nd, 2015
How It Is That Democracy And Freedom Are Essential To Personal Growth, Knowledge Of God, And The American Identity.
 
 
Freedom is essential to human nature. It is especially essential to the American identity and heritage. When push comes to shove, if it is threatened, it is vigorously defended even by those that don’t outwardly identify with it as part of their American value. I will discuss here what is called ‘democratic habits of the heart’ in American society. I think it is important to think about how significant freedom is in all aspects of our life, especially our spiritual/religious life. Mezirow describes ‘democratic habits of the heart’ in his book ‘Learning as Transformation’:
 
“There is a reciprocity between democratic theory and transformation theory. Warren (1992, p.8) contends that democracies inherently create opportunities for self-transformation: “Where individuals are more broadly empowered, especially in the institutions that have most impact on their everyday lives (workplace, schools, local governments, etc.), their experiences would have transformative effects: they would become more public spirited, more tolerant, more knowledgeable, more attentive to the interests of others, and more probing of their own interests” (Mezirow, 28).
“The qualities that constitute emotional intelligence are essential conditions of transformative learning. Freedom involves not just the will and insight to change but also the power to act to attain one’s purpose” (Mezirow, p. 24).
 
 
This is a very powerful and significant statement that integrates democracy, freedom, and spirituality. Every human being needs to be in freedom to fulfill their nature. Freedom is at the very heart of what it means to be human. For a person to grow and ‘become’ they must be free to act from their own will and understanding. There is no way to bond with another, or with God, unless a person acts freely from their own affection. Affection is by nature a free act, it is the fire that casts the bond, and it is that which gives form to the human soul! In this regard freedom of will is sacred; it is the very means of salvation; and also, because the consequences of rejecting God are real, it is the cause of hell. On this point Swedenborg writes:
 
 
“Man cannot be reformed unless he has freedom, because he is born into evils of every kind, which yet must be removed in order that he may be saved, and they cannot be removed unless he sees them in himself…this cannot be effected unless a man be in good as well as evil; for from good he can see evils, but from evil cannot see goods…No action is ever free accept that which is from the will.
It is man’s freedom upon which the Lord operates and by which he bends him; for all freedom is of the love or its affection. If he does not receive good and truth in freedom it cannot be appropriated to him, or become his own. For that to which he is compelled is not his, but is of him who compels.
If men had not free will in spiritual things, all the inhabitants of the world might within a day be brought to believe in the Lord; but this cannot be done, for the reason that what is not received by man from free will does not remain”.
 
It is remarkable to observe in the Gospels how Jesus operated within the laws of freedom even though He had omnipotent power. He did this because this is the only way to effect change every individual and all of humanity. It is incredible to contemplate that Jesus – even though He is omnipotent and omniscient – obeyed His own laws of divine order; He worked within the laws of human freedom – for this is the first law of divine order. Jesus knows Man can only be transformed by making choices from His own will. The only exception to this was that He performed miracles, but these were only done as an exceptional measure to balance the fact that there was a disequilibrium between heaven and hell – which is the very reason He came. He came to defeat these forces of evil that had overrun the lower levels of heaven. Because there was this overabundance in the power of evil it was allowed that overt miracles take place to counterbalance the situation. God admonished those who wanted to keep seeing sensational miracles because these are external measure of change. As incredible as they are Jesus called them mere ‘signs and wonders’ for He knows sensational external measures do not change the internal man. Jesus came to Baptize with ‘fire and spirit’ which means to transform the state of love in the internal of Man.
 
Wether we know it or not God is inherent in every person, and in each of us becoming our best self. God is within our desires and guides us by them. On this point Van Dusan writes: “In the process of coming to know God we also come to know our unique bent, our love of the life. And the more we open to our nature, the more we know of God. Our love of our life is also our private path to God, so the more of God we know, the more we have opened our unique nature. The love of the life rules all our feelings, our predilections, interests, and our choices”. (Van DuSan, 85).
This world is in the balance of good and evil, and evil is always influencing also. To the degree we entertain evil we cannot receive good.
Practicing the tenets of Democracy that we all value is practicing Christian values, such as honestly, fair mindedness, respect for others, providing opportunities, education and many others. Practicing these skills develops spiritual, intellectual and emotional intelligence, which, done sincerely, prepares us for heaven. It is important to note there is a difference between doing good for civil and moral reasons. This is good but doing these for spiritual reasons is the higher state. The difference is the acknowledgement of the source. The spiritual person and the internal Christian inwardly acknowledges that all good comes from God.

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