Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Human Conscience

In Ruth Benedict’s Defense of Moral Relativism, she talks about the cultural differences between morality that show that morals are relative based upon culture and time period. She uses different examples to show that there is no absolute morality among different people groups. By doing this, she is suggesting that the human conscience varies from person to person.

In class, we talked about general revelation and how God has revealed Himself through nature and the hearts of each person. Romans 2:14-15 were used as evidence for this, which say, “(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)”

These verses suggest that humans, who were created in the image of God, have consciences designed by God that have a certain moral code that accuses the person when that code is broken. Benedict’s argument is then meant to discredit this thought and thereby prove that there is no absolute morality and maybe even no God. People’s consciences can agree on most issues, but there are variations among cultures. Though confusing that one culture would deem murder wrong and another would deem murder acceptable, it does not discredit our God or His moral code that He has written on all hearts. On the contrary, it shows how fallen and depraved we are as a people, ever so desperate for God, that we cannot even “tell [our] right hand from [our] left.” (Jonah 4:11) What is more important is the fact that everyone has a conscience, some sort of law written on their hearts, which the Spirit uses to bear witness against them and accuse them of sin, showing their separation from a righteous God. Due to this, every person is culpable before God and must lay themselves down before the perfect Lamb, Jesus, in order to find mercy and relief from the accusation.

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