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Essays by KT
Affirming Diversity
Which Way Home
Mis experiencias con español
La figura de la madre
La redención
Manifestations of the Divine Brahma
The Six Models of the Church
Affirmative Action
A Friend Is
A persuadir
Aprovecha el día
Armas de fuego
Asperger's Disorder
ASDs: Autism
Black Friday
Book Intro
Big Boys Dont Cry?
Cancion del pirata
Cell Phones
Cathedral Within
Change the World
Child Care
Civil Society
Christian Family
Organ Donation
Deanne Bray
Drug Testing
Faith in Narnia
Fast Food?
Guns and Games
Grenz Review
The Odyssey
I Am
Jesus the Christ
Keep the Laws!
La ciencia
La inmigración
Louis Braille
Marriage Reflection
Mi lugar de refugio
My Life (Erikson)
My Special Place
Reflection -Marriage
Romance sonámbulo
Public-service values
Semana Santa
Spe Salvi
Teen Suicide
Un Santo legendario
Better World
The Four Loves
"Jesus Freak" Picture
Mona Lupe
Mother of Jesus
Holy Eucharist
Religión en Niebla
The U.S. Economy
Todo es regalo
Trip to NY ...
True Friends
Una lección
Unlikeliest Friends
Santo legendario
Vs. and Verses
What's the Diff?
Walsh Review
Means to be Human
Million dollars

November 26, 2010

TY 240

            In Paul’s writings, his definition of conscience is not entirely clear.  After looking at a few sources, a general consensus was made apparent in regards to what conscience is and how Paul views it.

            Conscience is something unseen within ourselves which affects the way we feel about the way we act.  It allows us to judge our actions before we act, guiding us in our decision; it also allows us to judge our actions after they take place, helping us evaluate whether it was right or wrong (Fitzmyer 45).

            The word conscience comes from the Greek word syneidesis; originally referring to ones awareness of their actions in general, it now has the connotation of referring to morality (Fitzmyer 45).  However, conscience is not to be confused with God’s will or God’s judgment; it functions based on “internalized norms” which may differ from God’s law (Hawthorne 154).

            In 1 Timothy 1:19 Paul expresses that both the good conscience and the impaired conscience exist (NET).  The conscience may be impaired by deliberately rejecting moral norms or, because of ones already impaired conscience; they may act contrary to moral norms (Hawthorne 155).

Paul places a lot of value on following ones conscience.  To him, differing convictions matter not.  What is more important is that they respect one another.  Ones conscience should not be used to judge another’s actions.  Ones actions should, however, reflect their own conscience. (Dunn 687)

Paul finds it important to “preserve the integrity” of a person (Hawthorne 155).  He therefore mentions many times the duty the “strong” of conviction have toward the “weak” of conviction.  In 1 Corinthians 8:7-12, Paul calls Christians to respect the weak of conscience; in verse 8:13 he says “…if food causes my brother or sister to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause one of them to sin” (NET).

Paul does not, however, disregarding Torah.  In 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, he says that although all things may be “lawful” in regards to their conscience, not all things are “beneficial” to oneself or to others; he stresses the importance of building one another up (NET).  He also finds it important to “protect the conscience” in order that it may “fulfill its function” of guidance (Hawthorne 154).

Everyone has a conscience and it works as a guide for ones actions.  In Romans 2:14-15, Paul points out that even those who do not have Torah, have a conscience; he explains that even those who do not hear Torah, may obey Torah because the law has been written upon their hearts and they are therefore “a law to themselves” (NET).

As stated earlier, conscience is not to be confused with God’s judgment (Hawthorne 154).  Conscience does not establish morals, rather, when “moral norms” are “internalized” the conscience is actively utilized (Hawthorne 154).  Thus, the present Catholic idea comes in about forming ones conscience.

Works Cited

Dunn, James D.G. The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998. 687. Print.

Fitzmyer, Joseph A. Paul and His Theology: a Brief Sketch. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1989. 44-45. Print.

Hawthorne, Gerald F., and Ralph P. Martin, eds. Dictionary of Paul and his Letters. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993. 153-55. Print.