Education and Individual Freedom

By:  Sam Blumenfeld
03/29/2012
       
Education and Individual Freedom

Individual freedom is derived from the concept of religious freedom, which is derived from the Biblical teaching that salvation is an individual and personal matter and can only be achieved through a direct and personal relationship with God. Because the Puritan colonists came to the North American wilderness in order to exercise religious freedom, they understood that individual freedom and responsibility were at the heart of Christian practice, since they believed that salvation, forgiveness of sin, and life after death could only be had through belief in Jesus Christ as Savior. And why was salvation needed?

Individual freedom is derived from the concept of religious freedom, which is derived from the Biblical teaching that salvation is an individual and personal matter and can only be achieved through a direct and personal relationship with God. Because the Puritan colonists came to the North American wilderness in order to exercise religious freedom, they understood that individual freedom and responsibility were at the heart of Christian practice, since they believed that salvation, forgiveness of sin, and life after death could only be had through belief in Jesus Christ as Savior. And why was salvation needed? To protect individuals from their own sinful natures. Calvinism taught that man was innately depraved and needed salvation in order to live a productive and godly life. (Catholics call it “original sin,“ while the Eastern Orthodox call it "ancestral sin.")
 
Since the Puritans came to North America in order to practice their Calvinist creed, they were at first not tolerant of the practices of other Christian denominations. They understood that individuals could hold diverse religious beliefs, but they rejected the notion of competing denominations in the Biblical Commonwealth.
 
Thus, Roger Williams, who believed in the separation of church from civil government, was forced to leave the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 and founded the free colony of Rhode Island, where different denominations were welcome. By so doing, Williams enhanced the idea of individual freedom by accepting the notion that there were among Protestants more than one way to salvation, more than one way to interpret the Holy Scripture.
 
In any case, personal salvation, forgiveness of sins, and life after death were God’s gifts to individuals, not the collective. That divine gift was the backbone of individual freedom, which translated into political terms, was then codified by Thomas Jefferson in The Declaration of Independence, which stated:

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