con·science: an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
1 Timothy 1:5 “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
“A good conscience is a continual Christmas.” –Benjamin Franklin
In our faith tradition, the conscience is our moral compass, a spiritual GPS if you will, placed there by the Almighty and activated by the Holy Spirit. The ‘still small voice’ or ‘inner feeling’ telling us one path is right, and the other wrong, guides us into the light. When our conscience ‘bothers’ us, we know our path is errant–that it is time to confess our sin, turn from it, find forgiveness, and be cleansed.
Fallen man enters the fellowship of the Spirit when the conscience is pricked to repentance. This is what makes civilization possible. When the conscience is operating properly, people become aware of their shortcomings; and instead of residing in the place of selfishness, they rise above their self-focus, considering others better than themselves–one of the central teachings of Jesus. Repentance brings humility and restores relationship, making civilization possible.
The good conscience is the place of liberation, the continual Christmas. The bad conscience is the staging ground for repentance, renewal, and revival. What happens when the conscience is so seared, it is rendered useless? Obviously, none of the good can emerge; and all of the bad is unleashed.
For many years in our country, we have seen increasing numbers of people who do not appear to have any conscience, either good or bad. They neither experience the continual Christmas, nor are they seen responding to the conviction of a bad conscience leading them to renewal. They make everyone suffer from the death of conscience.
The most recent example is the murderer in Isla Vista. He premeditated mass murder using various weapons, going so far as to announce his plans in various ways. The most chilling aspect of watching his pre-mayhem video is beholding the complete lack of conscience. He actually celebrated the prospect of murdering innocent people. Displaying the cold heart of the killer, this person was like so many serial killers, an individual spreading death and misery without any sense of mercy or remorse: a hollow person with no conscience, one possessing a dark soul overwhelmed by deepest evil.
All the shooters in recent memory are like the Isla Vista killer, whether at Fort Hood; in Tucson; or at high schools, theaters, and colleges around the country: they all killed without mercy and without the slightest twinge of conscience.
All this is alarming and bad enough in itself; but when the death of conscience is displayed in people who are supposed to lead by example, we have entered a whole new realm of extraordinary danger. When masses of people follow leaders who actually embrace evil, showing no conscience, the time of ultimate darkness has arrived, as it did in Germany in the 1930s.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom