“Well, they need to change their conscience!”
In August 2015, some politicians claimed that certain Americans need to change their conscience to reflect modern times and issues.
This is the exact reason the American colonists left England. The king began making decisions to force the colonists to “change their conscience.”
The colonists said in response, “We cannot do that!”
The king then attacked the colonies militarily to force them to obey.
In doing so, the king forfeited his right to rule. It then became the colonists’ right to alter or abolish their existing forms of government, and institute new government. (See the Declaration of Independence.)
But actually it is impossible to change one’s conscience. Statements such as these made today reveal a basic misunderstanding of conscience. The term “conscience” does not refer to a person’s opinions, feelings or preferences, even religious opinions and convictions.
Conscience is a built-in faculty of our personality that compares what we are doing to what is right, i.e. to God the creator’s law – the Ten Commandments and natural law – and His ways described in the Bible. If I am doing what is right, my conscience registers peace. If I am doing what is wrong, it registers guilt.
Having been created in the image of God as a personal being, I have a conscience that is an integral part of that image.
Being made in the image of God is what distinguishes man from animals. This is how the American founders thought.
Since God’s law is absolute, so is conscience. Therefore, it is impossible to change one’s conscience – as impossible as changing one’s elbow. Conscience is not one’s opinion or way of thinking, or even religious ideas. A person can change his mind and choose to deny his conscience, but he cannot “change his conscience.”1 Denying one’s conscience renders it dull and unresponsive. One can eventually even sear his conscience to the point that it is ineffective altogether.
Trying to force people to deny their conscience is invalid government – the purpose of civil government is to protect conscience, not coerce it. (ibid)
Had the king of England backed down, the issue perhaps could have been averted (and America might not exist today). But he absolutely would not back down, and that created a problem. Read the Declaration of Independence this week.
For further explanation and study:
See The Third Alternative (10 min.), a video summary.
Read Self-Evident Truths.
Bill Burtness, director
1. Those who do not recognize that God exists and is sovereign but presuppose that the state is sovereign do not acknowledge an absolute transcendent right and wrong. For them, conscience just refers to opinions, feelings and preferences. But this ignores reality.