Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"Difficult Decisions" Don't Matter in the End

In a blog posting, Melinda at Stand to Reason makes an extremely needful distinction regarding the correct understanding of personal conscience. She immediately points to the dishonesty of pro-abortionists, liberal MSM (main stream media), and cowardly politicians.

Here’s the entirety of her posting:

"Difficult Decisions" Don't Matter in the End

I've noticed a trend to substitute angst for morality to justify decisions.

People advocating abortion rights often defend their moral claim by pointing out how difficult a decision it is for a woman to exercise her "choice" to abort her child. CNN has explained the decision to show video footage made by terrorist snipers killing an American soldier by describing how difficult the decision was. Politicians often give a moral veneer to their controversial moral positions by pointing out that they must follow their conscience.

Frankly, I don't care how hard the decision-making process was. What matters is the conclusion - it's morality or soundness. All this tactic is is emotivism, biographical detail, which doesn't change the morality of the decision itself. It's not enough that someone follows their conscience; what matters is how well-informed their conscience, their moral framework, is. Conscience has to be informed by moral guidelines rather than personal preference.

The Catholic bishops of Colorado issued a statement with their guidance for how Catholics should vote on two state initiatives. Their explanation is morally informative, but one phrase stood out to me. They encourage people to allow their "Catholic conscience" to guide them. Now this isn't just a vague reference to conscience, leaving it to individual preference. They are making a specific reference to an informed conscience, a conscience educated and guided by an external standard. And on the particular topic of this letter, I completely concur with the moral reasoning they offer to guide the conscience of their flock to the proper conclusion.

In our pluralistic, vaguely spiritual culture, appeals to angst and conscience are becoming more common justifications for bad conclusions. It's really a way to mask moral relativism. What actually matters is the moral conclusions we come to, and those should be made by an informed conscience guided by an objective standard of what is good and right. Don't tell me about your angst, it doesn't matter. Tell me what informs your conscience.

Great posting Melinda!

Little does Melinda realize that, in referencing a statement by the Catholic bishops of Colorado and their insistence on following an "informed" Catholic conscience, she highlights the authoritative nature of the voice of the Church and the Church’s ability to protect her flock in matters of faith and morals.

This is no small matter. It is in fact the very reason that no Christian outside the communion and protective limits of the Church can be sure of not being led at some point(s) into error, for example, the error of moral relativism.

More insight on correcting the modern misconceptions of conscience here, here and here.

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