Thursday, August 21, 2014

Conscience

I saw an interesting survey called something like, "How Pro-life are you?" Inasmuch as I am completely and actively pro-life, I opened the link and began to read the questions. The first question was impossible to answer. It listed four reasons for being pro-life: religious, moral, legal and experiential. We had to select one of the four. I could not choose one.

One may ask me, "But as a priest, should you not say that your reason for being pro-life is religious?" I could say that it is a reason, but to choose either religious conviction or moral conviction, as if they can be separated in the life of a believer, is impossible. To choose between them at all is at best misleading.

The Christian approach to matters of morality cannot be simply due to what is written in the Bible, though it must agree with that and not deviate from it. However, we know that part of the New Covenant is to have the Law of God written on the human heart by the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31f). That is not the same thing as being merely existential in one's approach.

In no way am I saying that a person ought to follow his heart, or "evolve," or any of that trendy sophistry. What I am saying is that the conscience of a Christian must be formed by the Word of God, and that such a conscience is dependent on the grace of God to make it alive. We are not Muslims, and the Bible is not the Koran. The word is not merely external to our consciences, but rather it speaks directly to the human conscience by the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is the grace of God at work in the human heart.

To separate religious consideration from moral consideration is impossible for a believer. It is God who has made our consciences sensitive; and it is giving ear to His word that teaches and forms the conscience intelligently. We cannot choose either religion or morality, dividing them into separate categories, without inflicting serious damage on our own understanding of both.

2 comments:

AFS1970 said...

Well said, but of course the pop quiz (or is it pop culture) was biased by that group that thinks one can be a good person without having any base for that goodness.

The results of that questions to me would be interesting because if more people put Religious, it would mean that people are not abandoning religion anywhere near as much as the secularists claim. However it might lead the pro-death crowd to argue that this is purely a religious issue and should not be a matter of law at all.

If more people put moral, it might mean that we are indeed becoming less religious as a society but at the same time it might show the sanctity of life to be far more universal within society.

raitchi2 said...

@AFS1970:
I think the reality is more people are becoming spiritual and not religious (i.e. associated with an established community). If your look at these two maps from the wiki on atheism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism) You'll see that in the first (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Europe_belief_in_god.svg) is still relatively high for ye ol' secular europe. In the second (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Europe_No_Belief.png) people are less likely to say "there isn't any sort of God, spirit, or life force". I bet this is mostly a movement away from the established communities because the corruption and politicking in them is not just a trope for a folk story, but today is front page news.