Over the last couple of days I have been reading a book that has made me think more than any for a while. It is a free e-book called Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It was published back in 2008 so I am a bit behind the times reading it, but now that I have a Kindle I am getting to these things!
Little Brother is written in response to the security crackdowns in Europe and America as a result of terrorist attacks and threats. The author is vehemently against the invasion of privacy and curtailment of individual freedom that has been the result of this increased security. Think of passenger checks before boarding an aeroplane and of where people are now not allowed to take photographs as examples. The book is written so that it fits in a genre with 1984 and Brave New World - in a possible future.
It raises all sorts of questions about freedom and legislation (or law in Biblespeak). The thing with the book is that I found myself reading and agreeing and then being pulled up - do I agree with this or not? When is legislation ok (or even necessary) and when is it a violation of rights?
I believe that Jesus came to end the oppressive power of law and human authority. He was the ultimate rebel - going so far as to die without a struggle (defeating human power systems) and then to rise again (defeating death and laws beyond our knowledge). When we oppress people with law (legislation) we are taking away the freedom that Jesus died for. BUT what is the alternative? As far as I can see the belief in the book is 'I can do as I like as long as it doesn't hurt other people', which is far too facile to be a life philosophy. The hero had no problem falling in love with a girl even though it hurt one of his other friends. And we cannot consider ourselves islands touching only that which we see - and this I admit the book brings out to some extent.
If we are not guided by legislation, or our own good intentions, what determines our best course of action?
As Christians we believe that God has the overall picture and the best intentions for us and so we struggle to find out what he knows and wants for us. But it boils down to whether we believe this about God. Can we win through ultimately? These beliefs are called faith. But I don't think they are unreasonable.
I'll stop here to prevent this post getting too long!