The gilded cage of belief
The preacher dude was going over the story of Genesis. You know the one with Adam, Eve, a walking, talking snake and a tree with really tasty fruit that you can’t eat. He was making a lot of crappy points that I could dissect, but I’m only going to talk about the reason he gave for placing the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden in the first place.
Of course, my atheist friends will be familiar with the old argument that if god is all knowing, then he knew what would happen if he put the tree in the garden, and he chose to do so anyway. So if you believe this story, it seems the human race was set up to fail, by the all-knowing, all-loving deity. The preacher dude apparently had heard this too, and wanted to address it.
You see, god wants to give us freedom, and that means he has to restrict us. I know, that sounds like a contradiction, but since those don’t exist in the bible, we’ll have to look harder to find how this works. Think of a football game. Without rules, there is no game. You need a baseline, sidelines, and other rules of play. That’s how a game forms. Without these rules, you’d have chaos. Players would try to run into the parking lot looking for a touchdown.
God, likewise, gives us rules so that we can live free lives. Well, you have all the freedom god’s rules allow. You certainly can’t go outside what god wants you to do, or satan’s gonna getcha. Basically, as long as you do exactly what god says to do, when he says it, in the manner he wants you to do it, you have complete freedom. That’s how freedom works.
Are all religious folks so institutionalized by religion that they don’t recognize freedom anymore? Does faith remove from you the ability to see the gilded cage? The most beautiful prison is still a prison, and no freedom is permitted in prison.
The rules in sports do not make a game. The players make the game. The rules allow for the competition to be done in a sportsman-like manner. The term, “good sportsmanship” does not refer to how well the player obeyed the rules of the game, but how well the player related to his opponent.
Ever play Monopoly? There are “house rules” that are so common; they are included in many electronic versions of the game. The “official rules” do not reward a player for landing on “Free Parking”, but so common is this house rule, that the instructions in the game often refer to it. Imagine you had never played the game. Imagine you play with the “Free Parking” rule at one house, and then go to another. The players in the second game only play by the official rules. Which is more of a game? Which will you enjoy more? Which will you win?
Games are not a contest of who can obey the most rules. Games are played for the enjoyment of the players. Some can also be enjoyed by spectators. In my younger years I played many role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. The first rule of these games was, “Have fun. If you don’t like a rule, change it. Ignore any rule you dislike. Make up some of your own. This is a game.”
In life, we make our own rules. We have to be able to change, create and ignore any rule that does not encourage the enjoyment for all. If a law prevents the pursuit of happiness, it must be changed. We cannot hold to a rule simply because it comes from an imaginary god. God isn’t here, we are.