Sunday, August 21, 2016

On Conscience

From Seton Magazine:
Conscience is directly traceable to God; in fact, you could say that conscience bears the imprint of a Creator. As Saint Paul explains in the Letter to the Romans:
“When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them…”
It is important to recognize that the link between Creator and conscience is not merely one of Catholic theologians and Scripture scholars, but practitioners in other fields as well such as anthropology (the study of the nature of man), sociology (the study of the nature of society), and epistemology (the study of the nature of knowledge).

Many practitioners in these fields have regarded this link between Creator and conscience inescapable. In a nutshell, they ask: If there is no God, where in the world—both literally and metaphorically—does conscience come from? For instance, some anthropologists and sociologists ask: Why do all cultures in history consider things like theft and lying wrong? The variables of times, place, and cultural influences may vary, but the constant is that the moral judgment of these behaviors is not exclusively reliant on religious explanations. They often conclude that conscience is a clear cut case of nature—not nurture.

Some epistemologists, those who study the science of knowledge, ask: Where does morality come from? How can we know that good is good, and evil, evil? And how does man, even when he is separated by external religious influences and external moral codes, tell the difference between the two? Of course, the answer is not external, but internal—intrinsic—to man. (Read more.)

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