Quote of Note #136: The Real Nature of True Freedom

photo by GAC

“However, I think it is important to note that another trajectory in the Christian tradition argues that we should not understand freedom in libertarian terms. Augustine, for instance, emphasized a ‘positive’ understanding of freedom as empowerment: I am free insofar as I am able to achieve the good. On this score, freedom isn’t just the ability to choose, but the ability to choose well, to choose rightly. What is valued, then, is not autonomy, but rather a healthy sense of dependence upon God–even a participation in God as that which properly orients us to the telos [end result] that constitutes human flourishing. In that telling of the story, sin and evil result from the desire to be autonomous, to secure one’s independence from God.”

James K. A. Smith, The Devil Reads Derrida and Other Essays on the University, the Church, Politics, and the Arts. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009, page 88.


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