I like to think I have a good sense of right and wrong and when my conscience screams at me, I really am doing something wrong. But I have this fear – indeed, knowledge – that our consciences are conditioned by all sorts of things, not all of them God.
This week a colleague told the fascinating anecdote of a young South African man he knew whose conscience was troubled by integration. He felt like he was doing something wrong by worshipping in a mixed congregation of blacks and whites. He felt he was violating the order of the world. A nice young man, my colleague said, who was genuinely seeking after God – and yet racist right through to his conscience.
I don’t know what to make of this except to say we have to question even our conscience.