UI – Part 201 – Freedom of Conscience
Being awake is a good thing. It means you are alive. Being alive is a good thing, it means you still have the opportunity to be reconciled with God. However, to be reconciled with God you must have access to Him; he is always available. For some denial precludes access. It is a personal choice (I guess); freedom of choice.
All humans have God’s most unique gift. That gift is the ability to think, your intellect, discernment, reasoning and the ability to express your awareness. Intelligence of the highest order. No other animal in the earthly kingdom has similar capabilities. God bestowed every one of us with a talent that enables us to consider facts and options in making decisions. He charged us as a collective group with responsibility for the earth, the plants, animals and effectively each other. How are we able to accomplish this? By using our mind. God did not entrust this planet to a dog, a lion, an ape, a tree or a rose. They all have DNA components. They do not all have the ability to discuss, to make judgments or predictions. Only the human.
What we have is a conscience. Conscience as defined: (1) the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience. (2) the complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual. (3) an inhibiting sense of what is prudent. (*Dictionary.com reference)
The definition in itself is quite profound. Most think of conscience as our mind talking. But the words “impelling one toward right action” implies an awareness of ‘choices’. Used in the definition of “conscience” the focus is on human awareness of ‘choices’ of the highest order, as to morality. Right, wrong, ethical, prudent, moral principles, and they are all personal choices, the individual is the center of conscience, each one having their own conscience. Guilt is the conscious awareness of wrong. Awareness by itself does not direct actions towards what is right. Thus we have Freedom of Conscience.
Are we then not free to use this invaluable, distinguishing, priceless gift, our intellect, as our individual self decides? We are; our conscience then remains with us as a telling factor as to whether our actions were good or evil, right or wrong.
In life we develop from a baby thru childhood to adulthood and the elderly. Our learning as we grow provides knowledge and when coupled with our intellect, wisdom. How we use our experiences, knowledge and wisdom has an internal reaction and awareness we refer to as “conscience”. Knowledge and wisdom fine tunes our conscience to distinguish right from wrong. Our conscience may tell us what we do or how we react is good, evil, makes us happy, sad or even guilty.
Should there by restrictions on our ability to think for ourselves? Should there be the mechanism by which an outside influence, such as government or a religious scholar, controls or imposes legal constraints on our freedom of conscience? To elaborate such impositions may compel us to act in a way our conscience would prefer otherwise, even imposing elements of guilt, yet justified, an excuse, by the dictates of authority.
If you choose to be a humanist or atheist, not believing in the reality of god, dismissing there is a supernatural, and were subject to penalties, even imprisonment, would you alter your view?
If you were gay or a lesbian and in your mind you felt no guilt or concern, considered your proclivity normal for you, and if admitted, or openly practiced, you were subject to imprisonment even the death penalty, would you alter your behavior?
If you believe in Christ as your savior, the miracle of the Resurrection, the divinity of Jesus, and were happy to be in a relationship with the living Lord, and discovered where you lived did not condone or accept such belief, even had laws against your claims, would you be willing to openly believe otherwise?
The answer to the three prior parenthetic questions for many, possibly millions, is yes. They would and have altered their behavior or belief. As a minimum, they have done so publicly. So then, what is their conscience telling them?
Why and where might this occur?
Because of Sharia. Because of Islamic Law. In locations where Islam as a theocracy is inseparable with governance being atheist, homosexual or a Christian, along with other personal choices is condemned, outlawed, and punishable by severe and painful chastisement.
Is that acceptable? Should it be allowed? Where there are limits on Freedom of Conscience is God being honored or rebuked?
Pray that all the world’s people some day may be able to use their free gift of intellect to the fullest and live where they can express themselves and follow the right path without guilt or reservation.
Grace and Peace