By Berit Kjos
What determines our values in today’s fast-changing world? Who imprints its values on our conscience? Do parents? Teachers? The Media? Or our omnipotent God?
It depends! In former times, the Christian conscience played a leading role in American schools and families. Parents who trusted God treasured His Word and taught it to their children. With His Word imprinted on their conscience, they would know whom to follow when faced with a challenge.
We live in a new era! The Bible-trained conscience has largely been replaced by contrary guidelines that twist, scorn or deny God’s truth. Some still point to a conscience, but most people redefine it to match today’s cultural values and personal inclinations. These examples illustrate the diversity:
- Social Conscience:“Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities [Biblical truth]. It grows with our social life, and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience.” Walter Lippmann
- National Conscience: “Our concept of governing is…a concept deeply rooted in a set of beliefs firmly etched in the national conscience…” Barbara Jordan
- Bypassing the Conscience:“No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” Ingmar Bergman
- Mocking the Conscience: “What a man calls his ‘conscience’ is merely the mental action that follows a sentimental reaction after too much wine or love.” Helen Rowland
- Cultural Conscience:(Christian or not):”The conscience of children is formed by the influences that surround them….” Jean Paul Richter
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