For now, at least, freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly are still hanging on, though perhaps by a thread. Now, understand that it is "freedom of", not "freedom from". Individuals may choose not to believe, just like Adam and Eve chose to go ahead and eat the forbidden fruit.
As for me, I choose to believe, and I choose to believe the Bible is inspired by God. Recently, I spent some time on the Proverbs. I found that, whether you believe as I do, these are still some powerful suggestions on how to have a wonderful life.
"To have a fool for a son brings grief, there is no joy for the father of a fool." "Laziness brings on sleep, and the shiftless man goes hungry." "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise." "Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right." "He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity." And there are a jillion more.
We all send our children to school, where we expect them to gain more knowledge. That is good; but having knowledge (having the facts) is but a step toward what should be the real goal for our children. The next step follows to the degree that knowledge has been acquired. There is a vast difference between "knowledge" and the real goal - "wisdom" (applying those facts to life).
A proverb is a short, memorable sentence that relates a personal experience of life. It is intended to be a guide for behavior. "A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered."
I started to provide a list of examples; then, I found I could only skim the surface of the wisdom to be found. It is better for you to personally peruse the mountain of wisdom of the ages at your fingertips. Check out Proverbs. Surely you will find numerous examples for you to enhance your wisdom. Even better, pass these on to your children and grandchildren. They are excellent material for memorization.
These concepts were the content of the stories and poems that were read to the children of my generation. Many of these have been a part of my life ever since, and I wasn't even aware of it.
The topics covered in just this one book of the Bible are varied, but they are also very useful when the individual learns to apply these concepts to their lives, and that is their knowledge begins to shape their wisdom.
Throughout this book, Solomon uses the term, "fool" to describe the wicked, stubborn person who hates or ignores God. The wise person is one who seeks to know and love God. There are all kinds of topics for the reader to adopt. There are many self-improvements books on the shelves of bookstores and the library. This is a book for all people and so many of us have missed it.
One of the topics is related to relationships with others. Friends, relatives, co-workers will be part of our lives forever. Why not help your children ahead of time gain the knowledge early in life which will make it easier for them to enjoy those relationships, and learn to avoid some of the human tendencies when problems arise? Treating others with wisdom will guarantee better, healthier adult relationships.
Our manner of speech reveals us as individuals. "It's not what we say but how we say it," they say. Although we have "freedom of speech" a wise person will exercise that right using self-control. Our words should be honest and well chosen.
One of America's traditional values has been our work ethic. Proverbs has taught millions of Americans the importance of diligence and discipline in work, and to avoid laziness. We can learn to wisely use our skills purposefully and not be lax and self-satisfied. When this aspect of our lives has been learned and practiced as a youngster, it is just done automatically as an adult, with no particular extra effort.
We all strive for success, and we desire our children to achieve success. This topic is found through this Bible book, also. Unfortunately, mankind appears to judge success in terms of money and fame. The more the better. This, actually, sets us up to fail. We are not all going to be millionaires. Live with it. Joy and happiness can be yours when you avoid the trap of thinking riches and possessions are all you need.
Through reading and applying Proverbs to our lives, we can look forward to peace and contentment. We can learn that a good reputation is a great satisfaction, and moral character is yours into eternity. All the "stuff" acquired - the fancy cars, the expensive homes, etc. perish with you.
In a nutshell, then, in a world that is becoming increasingly cold and uncaring, a wise person will learn to enhance his worldly knowledge by putting his knowledge to work and creating his world with wisdom that has been experienced for literally thousands of years. Proverbs is written as a loving, devoted father to his children, guiding them to benefit them in their lives. This is where one can discover the source of wisdom, the value of wisdom, and the benefits of wisdom.
And there is no time like the present to begin your journey. Check out Proverbs.