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Monday, February 12, 2018

What's the State of Your Conscience?

By Dennis Edwards

I was talking to a man the other day. He was an agnostic, verging on atheism. I was trying to make a defense of my faith giving him various good reason for the existence of God. I talked about the design in nature and in living things, the fine-tuning of the universe, the fact that the universe had a beginning which leads to the argument of the First Cause. Then I talked about the information in the DNA. But he would have none of it, and believed everything was possible given enough time through evolution. 

I had exhausted all my arguments when he himself confessed, "But you know what really bothers me? It's my conscience. I don't have a good argument for where my conscience comes from and why it convicts me when I do wrong. My evolutionary world view just doesn't give me a good reason for this conscience of mine. It really bothers me."

In apologetics, his reasoning is called "the argument from universal morality." The fact that we all have that little voice of conscience bothering us throughout the day, or helping us in our decision making is a good argument for a universal moral law giver. 

Jimmy'd Cricket said it like this, "What's a conscience! I'll tell ya! A conscience is that still small voice that people won't listen to. That's just the trouble with the world today... "[1]

But the Apostle Paul warns us that in the latter days there will be strong attacks against our conscience causing it to become numb and even burning the conscience away altogether. Paul writes, "that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron."[2] Can you imagine burning the part of your brain where the conscience rests with a hot iron? 

At times we drink alcohol or take drugs to escape the control of our conscience. But by rejecting the truth and willfully believing lies, we are in fact burning out the power of our conscience. Through television and movies our minds are seared with violence, sex without commitment or love, vulgar language, same-sex marriages, evolution and millions of years, and other anti-God opinions and behaviors, so that we cannot even think properly any more.

As a result, we are afraid to take a stand for God and the truth. We are taught there is no truth anyway. You can have your truth and I can have mine. But by doing so, we have just run the true meaning of "truth" under a bus of falsehood. If something is true it is in accordance with fact or reality. Truth negates relativism. But you insist it's all relative! Well, it's not relative when you’re going down a busy street and the light is green or red. It could be a life and death call, if you think it's only relative. There are absolutes. If there weren't, the universe and life could not function. Society could not function. Our rejection of the absolutes leads to spiritual darkness. Like Nietzsche said in his famous story "The Madman."


"Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him- you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us?[3]

Nietzsche seems to have known that the rejection of God would plummet mankind into an endless abyss of hopelessness. Jesus said something similar, he said the love of many would wax cold as a result of the increase in iniquity in the last days.[4] "Has it not become colder?" It certainly seems like in our lifetime that it’s become a bit colder even with all the talk of global warming! "Is not night continually closing in on us?" We have chosen darkness rather than light, because our deeds are evil.[5] We have rejected the love and light of God. We have killed Him and have embraced the darkness.

That darkness promised us liberty, the sexual and moral liberty we desired, like Aldous Huxley so honestly confessed. He said,“I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning - the Christian meaning, they insisted - of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.”[6]

Sadly, today's secular education and anti-God doctrines are the agenda of television and the movies. Our conscience is being burnt or seared and we have become the servants of corruption. The freedom that was promised has only brought us into bondage to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.[7] We cannot escape.

But there is a way of escape. God has made One. Turn around and call out to the Father in Jesus' name and He will hear you. He that confesses and forsakes the way of darkness shall have mercy[8]. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."[9] Are you seeking the truth? Then come to the light, the light of Christ, the true light and He will set you free![10] He has said, “If ye continue in my words, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”[11]

Recently Pope Francis, coming from his Jesuit roots, was talking about the conscience and the battle that takes place there. The battle is in our minds. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, had made his mental/spiritual disciplines mandatory for all new coming Jesuit disciples. Each one needed to learn to analyze his thoughts in relation to the word of God, so that he could learn to be totally submitted to God in both thought and action. He taught his Jesuit disciples to reject thoughts that were contrary to the word of God. This is exactly what the Bible teaches.

Jesus said the first and great commandment was, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.[12] In Ignatius’ point of view, the Biblical point of view, mankind was living in a spiritual battlefield between the good forces of God and the evil forces of the Devil. These forces were fighting for the heart, soul and mind of mankind. That’s why Paul admonishes us “to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”[13]

We are soldiers of Christ, because we are in a spiritual battle. Our spiritual enemy is constantly attacking us, to stop our good work of winning others to the truth of Christ. Jude warns us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”[14] Peter similarly says the same thing, “But sanctify the Lord in your hearts,” in other words, love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind; “and be ready always to give and answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”[15] How can we give an answer if we do not even know, nor study God’s word?

I am happy to hear the Pope talk on the subject of conscience. But let us please reinforce our conscience by reading and studying God’s word and not just stuffing our heads with the philosophy of “vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”[16]

And don't let the subtle attacks against truth so cleverly presented on television move you from your faith. Turn the damn thing off! Alan Watt has said, "Never watch television. Never watch television. It is the greatest scientific indoctrination device ever invented. Have you figured that out yet? It has changed the course of cultures. Not just one culture. Why do you think it became mandatory for everyone in Britain to have access to a television by the government? Why do you think China and India are under the same program right now? Because they loved to be entertained? Do you really believe that? Most of your ideas and opinions come from what you watch on television, because you imitate what you see. Never watch television. You can't even watch a movie unless you do it critically."[16]

Are your Godly convictions going down the tubes because of the television you watch, or the music you listen to, or books you read, or the company you keep? Then turn it off, or put it down, or get new friends. Pick up the New Testament and read it for yourself. Or read C.S. Lewis, or some other great Christian writer. Cry out to God for the strength to change your old viewing and reading habits, and even your friends, before you have no conscience left. Remember, he that confesses and forsakes his bad habits, will find mercy. God will help you. He loves you. Why don't you give Him a try?

Notes:

[1] Jimmy'd Cricket
[2] 1 Timothy 4:2
[3] Matthew 24:12
[3] Nietzsche, Frederick; The Madman, or here.
[4] John 3:19
[5] Huxley, Aldous; Ends and Means
[6] 2 Peter 2:19
[7] Proverbs 28:13
[8] John 8:12
[9] John 1:9
[10] John 8:31-32
[11] Matthew 22:37
[12] 2 Corinthians 10:5
[13] Jude 1:3
[14] 1 Peter 3:15.
[15] Colossians 2:8
[16] Alan Watt: Never Watch Television!

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