Psalms 25: Why Do I Feel Uncomfortable Doing That?
I don’t know about you, but for me and apparently David in Psalms 25, having a conscience was rather self-evident.
Psa 25:3 Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.
When I do something I know is deliberately wrong and have no purpose in doing it other than the job itself, I am going to be ashamed of what I did. Conversely, we don’t need to be ashamed when we are doing what God would want.
There is a reason I don’t download illegal music from the Internet.
I think that all of us intuitively know that taking something that isn’t ours is wrong. Even young children who haven’t had very much time to be influenced or to be nurtured naturally know that they don’t like it when you take away something that they believe is their own. Think about trying to take a pacifier away from a baby. Even though they might not understand property rights necessarily, there is some kind of natural instinct that you don’t take something that belongs to someone else. The baby believes that the pacifier belongs to him, so when you take it away, you have violated some kind of belief that he has before he even begins to be influenced by our general cultural belief that thievery is wrong.
I don’t download illegal music because of that basic understanding. There is something inside of me that tells me I shouldn’t be doing it. I have that inside, and I cannot remember a time I didn’t. Perhaps it is a fear of punishment, but realistically I know that very few people who illegally download music get caught. The rewards should outweigh the risks; I get all the free music I want as a reward.
For some reason, my conscience goes off. I think that if we are all honest, we will confirm that there is some kind of conscience. We might debate on where it comes from, but I think that we can agree that there is some kind of internal voice that leads us away from certain activities.
You might argue that I am biased because I have grown up in a Christian household. Fine, you don’t need to rely on my experience. Are there certain things that you feel are wrong? Injustice? Poverty? Greed? Hatred? Discrimination?
The conscience is an interesting piece of evidence for the existence of objective morality. If there are certain things that we naturally seem to understand are right or wrong across the board, why is that true?
I’m not going to answer all of that for you today, but to quote apologist Greg Koukl, I just want to put a stone in your shoe. I wanted you to start thinking about this conscience. Does it exist? How did it begin? Is there some sense in which morality is objective and these natural things in our conscience are part of something outside of our own perspective?
These may seem life things that are better left for the philosophy classroom, but why leave them there? These ideas certainly have implications for you and me as well.