As I make the decision to write to you, dear friends, there is much to say so I oft discern the best solution is to make several posts all at once. So here you are!
I just want to share an extract from my late Grandfather's writings. The scene is a British military base under seige in Indian uprisings, and an officer and sergant are talking one night. As occasionally is the case in times of trail, the question 'do you believe in God' is asked.
The sergant, an Anglican, says that his wife said 'to live according to one's conscience is sufficent'. To which the Captain replies, 'I'm afraid I do not agree with her. I would say that living according to one's conscience is essentual but by no means sufficent, as we can sometimes discover in ourselves. My conscience can guide me and differentiate between right and wrong, but it cannot teach me. Knowledge must come from without. That's where a church comes into it. The churches teach, and what they teach is what interests me.'
Now the captain is not church-going, as he says he hasn't yet found the version of Christianity to pick, or as he says which version will pick him. But, he knows the value of church. Is this a good view though?
The Catholic Church clearly teaches that we are bound to follow our conscience - even if objectivly our actions were intingically wrong. But we also have a solemn duty to form our conscience, and I would like to suggest that as Christians we must allow the Church to form us. But even the notion of forming it shows us our conscience isn't as simple as innate knowledge of good and evil - sometimes we need more to go on. For instance, I could look at IVF and say it is good as it brings life. But through the church, and with extra understanding, I can say it is morally unjustifable as it seperates life and love; and also involves the creation and destruction of several embroyos in the usual process.
Sometimes, people can sound wise and philosopical but they haven't quite grasped it yet. This character here seems to be supporting the Church, but I'm not convienced by his arguement. Just a random though process...may share more of this conversion in due course.