elb's hovel of thoughts

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Freedom within rules?

This is a part where plenty of people love to pick on Christianity; the bold statement that Christ has set us free from our chains of bondage, but that Christians have 'rules', i.e. must not sin.

What a paradox that is. Is it really possible that within rules, we can experience freedom? Isn't that... contradictory? How could one have freedom when rules are imposed?

Let me present a real situation which had happened some time back to an individual. A middle aged man was attending his son's football match at an unmarked pitch; he was the only father there whereas the referee was missing. Being the only man there, all the children were asking him to be the makeshift referee, which he had to consent.

Only one problem. The man didn't know nuts about soccer (just like me :P). He didn't know how to distinguish a tackle from a foul, he had no whistle, he didn't know the boundaries of the pitch, offsides, etc. As you could imagine, chaos ensued as kids were tackled and cried foul but he just had no choice but to order them to carry on playing. There were no rules, and everyone was not having a fun time at all.

Eventually the referee came (he had gotten the time mixed up), and halted play while he set up the flags and marked the pitch. With someone in control and able to halt play when fouls had occured, someone to blow the whistle when appropriate, the game flowed smoothly for the remainder of the time.

Re-examine the question. Do we have freedom within rules, looking at our above scenario? Without rules, everything was in disorder. But when there was somebody there to point out the mistakes, the game flowed smoothly. But then again it depends on our definition of 'freedom' - are we talking about the wrong kind of freedom (i.e. to be able to instigate violence), or the freedom to enjoy and express one's abilities to the maximum without needing to worry about negative effects because everyone understands where they should not go?

Note: Description of soccer match a personal experience of Rev. Nicky Gumbel


  • Hehehe, how true.

    Islam gets that kind of criticism very often, especially regarding freedom of faith. It's misunderstood by plenty, even by those who practice it. 

    Posted by Silencers

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, February 28, 2005 7:33:00 pm  

  • I love freedom fries . :D 

    Posted by YungJie

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, March 02, 2005 4:02:00 pm  

  • hmm... my lecturer uses this story all the time to tell us about the importance of rules too. its an interesting concept and i do agree with what you said. 

    Posted by Jing

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wednesday, March 02, 2005 8:59:00 pm  

  • faz: yep I get what you mean!

    yung: well darn, i love them too. but they're fattening :(

    jingy: interesting how paradoxes actually do make sense when examined in the right conditions :)


    Posted by patrick

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, March 08, 2005 1:44:00 am  

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