Monday, September 8, 2008

The difference between what feels good and what feels right

I was reading a post by Paul, just this guy, you know? called "When faith fits". It's from a few years ago, but it brings up a point which I'm sure somebody is going to bring up about my "Conscience comes first" idea.

The basic thing he's trying to say is, you can't just choose a religion because it suits you. If there is such a thing as objective truth, then you need to be looking for the religion that represents that truth, even if you don't like it.

The paragraphs that best encapsulate this, and directly challenge the argument I have made here, are:

But in deciding to which faith to adhere, I believe a seeker should never succumb to the temptation of drifting towards what is comfortable. It's OK to say, "my body is fine just the way it is, and I'm going to buy a suit to fit it!" But how wise is it to assert, "my soul is fine the way it is, my conscience is properly formed, and I will choose a faith that conforms to me"?

What's the point? If I am an erring, sinning human being, I should want to find the faith that teaches what's true, no matter how much that truth challenges me, no matter how ill-suited it may be initially, and I should try to conform myself to that truth. Unless I am already a saint with no room for improvement, I should think suspect any religion whose entire teaching fit me comfortably.

(Emphasis mine)

Its very tricky to tell, sometimes, what is "your conscience" telling you that a particular religion is right or wrong, and what is just your past history and biases.

You might think I have an instant, pre-thought-out response to this challenge. But I have just read this post today, five minutes before I started writing this. I have a sense that when I think about it some more, I'll have an answer, but I don't know what that answer is yet. I was going to just start writing and see what came out (writing and thinking come simultaneously to me - writing things down is a technique I use to think things through) but this is an important question, and maybe I'll write in private first. I'm going to think about it, and that will be Saturday's post.


JackieD said...

Wow, I've been trying to put words on why the 'conscience first' idea bugs me, but Paul probably said it better than I ever could ^_^

I'm very interested to hear your response!

Myron said...

I was interested in Paul's thought as well. It's important to me to acknowledge when legitimate arguments are made against anything I think. I want everyone who has such an argument to come forward. And if, under the pressure of a good argument, my ideas don't stand up, then... well, they don't stand up.

Still haven't finalized my response to this yet (although it's pretty clear what I'm going to write) - I've been writing responses to Darwin's blog entries for most of this week. Man, that guy is smart!