Conscience Formation

For Christian Catholics there is a formation of conscience that is a lifelong task.  This development of a moral sense of right and wrong starts in the family with your parents.  This conscience formation continues as you have contacts with Church leaders and teachers.  Finally, the role of peers leads to a personal synthesis.  What should I do in this particular case?  I will act based on what my conscience has decided.  If it is poorly formed, I must still follow it.  If I differ from the teachings of the Church, I must try to figure out why I differ from the group.  We always need an informed conscience.

The Fundamentalists

Fundamentalists interpret Scripture with certitude, guidance, and peace.  The Bible is God’s direct, divine word to humanity.  39% of Americans believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible, that the authors were inspired to write the specific exact words.  The literal, plain meaning is the primary meaning of a word, the simple intention of the author.  However, there are spiritual or deeper meanings in an allegorical or moral sense.  There is no need for critical history and literary analysis, since it is plain and clear already.

Moral sense of the Bible

Others read the biblical texts looking for a moral sense or meaning.  What am I to do?  What is God calling me to do?  The answer can be found in reading the Bible.  By reading the Bible, I may find out how I should act.  The Bible is an aid in helping me to make decisions.  The Bible is my guide book in life, as it tells me what to do in difficult situations.  It has the moral standards by which I want to lead my life.