Author Topic: What is Conscience?  (Read 2049 times)

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Gentlewind

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Re: What is Conscience?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 11:46:01 PM »

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Kerry:  That is how animals can come to know about God, I think, accepting that something or someone out there can love them.

That's an awesome thought.  And most animals are looking for compassion, and a horse, for example, is looking to be understood.  To work with a horse is very different (as I learned) than to work with a dog.  They learn and are trained in completely different ways, because horses are led by the dominant mare and she asserts her dominance by making the other horses move their feet.  I believe with horses, it is vital to take time and gain their trust.  You can "break" a horse with ropes and brute force, and by doing so, you MIGHT get an obedient horse, but it will never be your friend.  And, when you work to gain the horses trust, you can then, in gentler ways work to "assert your dominance," which is vitally important.  The horse must trust you, and it must accept that you are the leader, and that you are a wise and good leader to follow.  Thus, we have round-pen training, where we run the horse in circles, making him move his feet as a mare would do, and we watch for specific body language telling us he is willing to submit and follow.  Often, after just a few sessions, the horse no longer needs to be run at all, and he will stick to you like glue as you move about the pen.  And!--all with no beatings, wrestling, tying the horse up, or any of the abuse of old-fashioned "breaking."  It's all very fascinating.  Then, with some horses, it's amazing how clear it becomes that they actually WANT to please you, how willing they are to work for you, if only they understand what it is you want.  They want to do what is right.

Today was finally a warm day and finally the ground was dry enough to turn the horses out.  My mare that you spoke of has a small fenced area with access to a barn, and she hasn't had much freedom in recent weeks; when the ground is saturated you have to keep them off the pasture or their hooves will tear it up.  As I went to her turn-out field to check her fence, and then get the gates in position to let her out, she watched me intently, and knew exactly what I was up to, even though she hadn't been out in weeks.  Of course, they do have great memories, which can work for or against you.  But, she could hardly wait for me to get her out there.  Was she imagining herself with room to run and roll?  Was she imagining her pleasant search for little green shoots of grass?  Did these images enter her mind even during the long, rainy nights when she rested, alone in her barn?  I'd bet they did.

But, no, I don't think animals can imagine in all the far-out abstract ways humans do, which is what leads us to being creative, a reflection of how God is creative.  I do think that animals can be taught to trust and to love.  It's interesting how unlikely friendships develop between animals of different species if they have none of their own kind to bond with.  Remember Coco and her kitten?

Another story, is about "Magic."  Magic is a black cat that started hanging around my farm last summer and then in the late fall, he suddenly just up and disappeared.  We feared a coyote got him.  But, then he was a full-tom, so I knew he may have just chosen to wander as toms often do.  He was gone all winter, and just returned a couple weeks ago.  He came in the barn as I was cleaning and started weaving in and out of my legs, and I paid little attention because I thought he was my other black cat, Ebeneezer.  But, then I saw he had a long tail!  Ebeneezer's tail had to be amputated when I first rescued him.  So, here was Magic, come home.  Upon inspection, he was not in very good shape at all.  His coat was shiny and beautiful, but when I pet him, I realized he was skin and bones and he was sick, with labored breathing and what is probably a virus.  Did he come to me because he was sick and remembered me and hoped I would help him?  (He's on meds now, and I hospitalized him and have been free-feeding him.  He's put on weight, but is still somewhat snotty.  I only hope he's not contagious, with something like Rhinotracheitis.  I may need to have a vet see him.  But he's loving all the babying.)

Another cat wandered in, would never let me touch him, disappeared, then came back much later with a wounded eye.  Not only did he come back, he immediately allowed me to handle him and treat his eye.  Interesting, isn't it?

There's a definite gap between people and other creatures, and yet, I don't think many people see animals as they should be seen, or know their potential, which varies among species. 

Does an animal inherently know right from wrong?  How can they know what is "right" or "wrong" in our eyes, unless we teach them?  Perhaps they have, within their own packs or herds or flocks an inherent sense of right and wrong.  I don't know.  But, what is interesting is that people DO seem to have an inborn sense of what is right and wrong in God's eyes.

I do know when I was a small child, I had a sense of right and wrong that just seemed to be there.  I was usually, right from the start, very quiet around animals and very good with them, but one day I decided intentionally to be cruel to my dog, and I threw balls of paper at him.  I remember getting a strange thrill out of seeing him cower, but in no time at all I felt so bad and so guilty, because I could see how confused and sad I was making him.  I never, never treated an animal like that again.

I remember seeing children tease other children, and I never participated in such things.  But there was a girl named Mary, who had what we called "buck teeth".  She, herself, was often teased because of her teeth, and I tried to always be kind to her.  But one day, she  joined in with some other kids who were teasing me.  I generally would totally ignore anyone who tried to tease me, but I felt so betrayed by Mary because I had been her friend when others would be cruel to her.  So I turned on her, and teased her back, about her teeth.  At first, the "revenge" felt good--for about three seconds, until I saw the hurt in her eyes.  I felt so bad and so guilty for causing her pain, that I never looked for that type of revenge again.

Do these stories speak of conscience?

Don't we all, for the most part, know right from wrong, even as children?  Don't we sometimes simply choose to ignore what is right and do wrong?  What is our motivation to do wrong?  I suppose there are many.



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Kerry:  So you're doing God's work in my book.
   

Thank you.  The first time you told me that, it brought tears to my eyes.  Truly.  Because, not many people see it that way.  I've taken a lot of flack from family because of what I do, but never enough to convince me that I should stop.  I've never felt I really had a choice when it comes to helping animals.

The most hurtful thing is when people have accused me of caring more about animals than people.  I don't know what they base this on, and it's a cruel accusation.  I care deeply about both, but it is animals that God has always put in my path.  Unfortunately, it is also animals that have shown the most love and faithfulness to me in my life.  I think, perhaps, I would get more respect if I made money doing what I do.  Would a veterinarian be accused of caring more about animals than people?  Someone has to care.  God made me as I am.  I loved animals from my earliest memories.  Money had nothing to do with it.

I do love the stories of St. Francis preaching to the birds.  I teach my animals Jesus' name.  It's a beautiful name. :)



 

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Kerry

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Re: What is Conscience?
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 02:17:23 AM »
To Helen,

I was reading various passages which mention the conscience after reading your post.  I did a word search at  biblestudytools.

Paul writes at times as if the conscience itself can be evil or bad.   As is often the case with Paul, I am not entirely sure how to take him.  He talks about good consciences and bad ones.  He talks about weak consciences.  Then he talks about the conscience seared with a hot iron.  Romans 2:15 talks about the conscience which either accuses or excuses.   This may be deeper waters than I thought.  Does he mean  our consciences can  push us the wrong way the way Pharaoh's may have?  What if we  believed a lie? It could make a lot of our calculations wrong.



http://"http://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?q=conscience&t=kjv&s=Bibles&ps=10&p=1"

Cathey

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Re: What is Conscience?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 02:40:17 AM »
I am glad you agree that a good conscience has to have understanding.  When I thought more, I remembered people who said they loved me; but they would do  things which told me they didn't understand me or didn't want to try.   They saw things from their perspective and really couldn't see how I saw things.   I know they didn't want to try because they'd repeat things after I explained them.   Either they weren't able  to understand,  didn't want to  or were pretending not to.   I concluded that if they did care, they would make more of an effort to understand.   

I don't think it necessarily means that someone doesn't love you because they don't understand you. Yes they need to try but as you said, they might not be able to understand you. I think that especially when trying to communicate through words this way, you see words on a screen not the person and I think that is a barrier oftentimes to really understand someone and what they are trying to say. But yes, I agree we do need to make an effort to understand what someone is saying and try to see things from their perspective and not just ours.

Kerry

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Re: What is Conscience?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 04:09:29 AM »
To Nancy,

I never did any horse training myself but I studied their psychology when I used to bet on horse races.   There is "something" about some jockeys that horses like even if they don't know the jockey.  It's as if the horses know they can trust this fellow while other jockeys have to put in more effort to get their trust.    If an owner ships a horse and can't get the horse's favorite jockey at the distant track, he looks for a jockey that can get on horses, make friends with them quickly and then get the horse wanting to win.   Some horses could win if they wanted to but aren't interested unless they know it pleases someone.

Female horses are bad to bet on when running against males unless you can see they do well in all kinds of fields.   You can take a mare who can run really fast in races against other mares; but put her in a race with males, and she often  won't run.  If there is a male horse she likes, she'll let him win.  Maybe the females are in charge, but they must understand wounded male pride. 

Then you have male horses that seem to  like to show off.  Some owners, if shipping a male to run somewhere else,  will ship his favorite female horse along with him.  She's not racing -- but they pay the expense to keep the male happy and inspired.  Or maybe they're pining and wondering when they'll see her again.   no matter the case there,  I'd say some horses like to please other horses.   That's some sort of conscience. 

Some male horses also run better if they have struck up some romance at the track.   I know it sounds wild, but I believe it.   

Then there's the horses that could run faster but aren't motivated by wanting to please either people or other horses.  If they have the kind of feet that are good at running on sloppy tracks, they  try harder on mud than they would on a dry course.     They don't care about winning but they don't like mud from the other horses flying up at them.   So when it's wet, they put more effort into it.   They may be selfish horses; but you can often make money on them on rainy days if you see they run better on mud.  A lot of people look at their times on fast tracks and think they're losers, so they don't bet on them.  But on a sloppy track, they want out in front and try their best to get there.   LOL, that's called "self-interest."   

Yes, I'm sure horses do remember things.  How else could they judge people?  I don't know about Coco and her kitten; but yes, if they are around other species, they can come to understand and love.   Some birds latch onto whatever species they grow up.  You talked about bluejays.   Sure, if they were brought up around people, why not?   Baby ducks will follow anything that moves at first; and if they imprint on that species, they understand it and love it.   

In psychology class, we learned about a bird that was brought up with some kind of reptiles.  The bird preferred that reptile to its own species and didn't build up much understanding of its own.  It may be that some birds imprint on one thing and one thing only. 

Your roaming cat that came home?   He may have thought he was dying and wanted to say goodbye.   He may not have thought you could help him.   He may also have thought you were such a magical person, you could help him.   

The other cat?  It is interesting.  Once you connect to one member of a species, there is a connection to that species that makes it easier to connect with other members.   I believe what the Jews say, that while humans each have individual spirits, animals share a common spirit.  Indians would call it the guardian spirit of the species -- and yes, I think they do connect.    I suspect this may be part of the reason cats or horses don't like certain people.   Not only is there the memory of the individual, I think they can draw on the  collective memory of the species.  If you abuse one cat, other cats will know about it by their connection with the guardian spirit. 

What we call instinct seems connected to obeying the direction of the guardian spirit of the species to me.   Animals are not often apt to betray members of their own species.   

The problem as I see it with humans is that above the individual human spirit, there should be a governing communal spirit which can be lacking -- the Christ Spirit.   There is an additional level of awareness that could connect us all the way animals are; but our individual spirits resist it and see it as a threat to our individual survival.

Things  are fractured so we're not connected to the awareness levels above us that would benefit us if we did connect.  If we think the individual human mind can know a lot,  think about being able to draw on the collective wisdom of the human race.  I believe it happens, and we are told what we need to know at the time.  We don't need to fill our minds with facts if we can draw at any time on the "mind of Christ."

I would say the cat that allowed you to touch his eye so quickly had connected to the guardian spirit of cats.   It's hard to convince others such things are possible; but if you see them for yourself, then you find it easier to believe.   

About Mary.    Did she also learn from the experience?   You learned something and increased your understanding that day.  I wonder if she learned something too?   I would hope she did learn that when someone is nice to you, you don't tempt them to be mean.   She may have felt justified at first by saying everyone else was teasing you; but surely she had to feel bad inside.     Did she realize that her own hurt was partly of her own devising?   

I've met people who were  decent in some respects, but they thought it okay to tempt others to sin.  At times, they even calculated that way to their advantage.  I was shocked one day when one of my best friends (at the time) said, "But I'm not making them do that.  Sure it's wrong, but they have free will."   She didn't want to see how she played a part in it by tempting them.  She wanted them to and set things up to make it easier but then saw them as fully responsible without her playing any part in it.      If Mary learned that day not to do things to tempt others, maybe you both profited.    But at least you did.   The conscience is better informed  when we do realize how our actions have unintentionally injured others.   

I think children's consciences can be corrupted by adults who refuse to forgive them when they make mistakes unintentionally.  If children aren't forgiven for their mistakes committed out of not knowing, they get the idea it's a waste of time to be sorry about anything.  Punish a child for being honest or wanting to fix mistakes, and that child is tempted to be a liar and not regret anything. 

The motivation to do wrong is based, I think, on the belief that it doesn't pay to care about others.  If you can convince a child that no one cares about him,  the world looks very threatening, filled with monsters.    Most people have mixed feelings about it; but psychopaths are quite sure that nobody cares about them or about anyone else.  Any display of affection is a trick of some sort.   No matter what you do, you won't convince them.  People around psychopaths get more and more suspicious themselves.  Over time, they think no one really cares; and they tell themselves they would care if they thought it might work but it's too dangerous to care.   

I think are very few purely evil people; but one bad apple can spoil a lot of other apples.    The people close to psychopaths  often look crazier than the psychopaths who often look normal.  They can even look psychopathic in  their desperation.  They see how the psychopath wins by manipulating them; and if they dare imitate the psychopath, they're done in.  The fight isn't fair.  The psychopath is an expert at making others feel guilty and manipulating them using that guilt; but you can't make the psychopath feel guilty, so you can't manipulate them by imitating guilt in them unless you're willing to lose your own conscience.

The psychopath is also calculating with his "good deeds."  If he spots his victims about to pack up and leave, he'll spring some nice and "loving"acts on them.  This entices the victim to stay on the hook.  Maybe he was wrong to suspect things couldn't be right.   Maybe the psychopath really does love him.   It's an up-and-down sort of life; but guilt lies at the bottom of it all. 

A psychopath would have looked at Mary and realized why she felt hurt.   He mght have  said, "You know, Mary,  I was trying to teach you something.  I was right to tease you back because of what you did."   Mary, if she feels guilty, may go along.    The psychopath actually enjoys it when someone does something wrong to him.     He may pick on you until you lose your temper and feel sorry -- then he can play you like a fiddle.   The "good" person wants to fix his mistakes, and the psychopath (and sometimes the people around them who imitate them) can take advantage of it.   

I reckon much of the world's problems remain because see how evil acts can get us to do things and then we get confused when the same tactics don't work when we try them on other people.    Show me someone who resorts to insults fast, and all that tells me is that someone has manipulated him in the past using insults.  He thinks that the way to get things done to solve problems.   He gave in, let the other person have his way to get peace; so he thinks he can get peace with others by insulting them.

Odd, isn't it?  Some people can have very good motives for doing bad things.    It's like the husband who feels his wife doesn't love him anymore, so he beats her.   What's the calculation?   Someone beat him and got what he wanted.   To feel loved, he let the person beating him "win."   If it worked on him, why not try beating  his wife until she loves him again?    It's insane, of course.   But behind it all, I can see love -- twisted and bent though.  The divine spark adopted a wrong idea.  I truly believe that is the basis for most sin -- the idea we can be happy ourselves by being unkind to others.   The psychopath  is not happy. He feels nothing.  Why imitate him then?   

One lesson I learn from Jesus  is that it is possible to be true to the way we really want to be.   Why beat your wife if you love her?   The man who beats his wife out of frustration is not being honest with himself.  He thinks it doesn't work to act in a loving way.   

The Bible says, by the way, to preach the Gospel to every creature.  But I bet you already knew that. 

Kerry

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Re: What is Conscience?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 04:22:11 AM »
Again to Nancy,

I missed something.   The people who resent what you do for animals remind me of Judas who thought he knew how the woman should spend her money.    I agree with Judas in a way -- I wouldn't have spent money to anoint Jesus' feet.  I can understand how Judas was thinking; but it wasn't his business.   The woman was happy and Jesus was happy.  So where was the problem? 

The people criticizing you may  give you flack for what you do; but they're probably creating more problems for themselves than for you.  Why get bothered by how others spend their time or money if no harm is being done?  They might have better motives than Judas, might think you'd be happier if you stopped -- but  say it once or twice in a kind way, and then forget it.    Fretting about how others are behaving when they're happy is a way of making yourself miserable.   I think Judas made himself miserable with that comment; and worse yet, I think he refused to admit how he made himself miserable.  It seems  connected in my mind to his betraying Jesus later.   It can be dangerous to fret about what others are doing when they're happy.  I think it's better to  set aside our own way of looking at things and be happy when they're happy.   

Kerry

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Re: What is Conscience?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 05:02:07 AM »
I don't think it necessarily means that someone doesn't love you because they don't understand you. Yes they need to try but as you said, they might not be able to understand you. I think that especially when trying to communicate through words this way, you see words on a screen not the person and I think that is a barrier oftentimes to really understand someone and what they are trying to say. But yes, I agree we do need to make an effort to understand what someone is saying and try to see things from their perspective and not just ours.
I agree it's much harder on the internet.  There are some things I think I could say in person I would find very hard to get through right  on the internet.  Even the words in the Bible have limits. 

How can we love if we don't  know who or what it is?   I think you can spot people who want to love by their attitude.    They want to know what pleases and displeases other people so they know how to express love better.  It's not the "mistakes" we make that count.  Since we don't know it all, we all make mistakes.   It's what we do after we learned it was a mistake.   Nancy's example works here:  It was a mistake -- she saw it and didn't do it again.  What could be seen as a "bad thing" got turned to advantage.   
 

Helen.

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Re: What is Conscience?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 05:23:48 AM »
Kerry Thanks....
Quote
...... This may be deeper waters than I thought.  Does he mean  our consciences can push us the wrong way the way Pharaoh's may have?  What if we believed a lie? It could make a lot of our calculations wrong.
This is where I find myself right now...and working through some things.

It's a bit of shock when things that one thought were true 'happenings' turn out to be somewhat a figment of child's incorrect judgement on situations.
Things were not as I thought they were...which mean I built my belief system upon a rocky foundation...which caused a rocky unstable construction. But, was that conscience or heart? Can they be separated?  ( talking about early fears and anxieties here, which have got me where I am)

I am now waiting on the Lord, to help me " work through" Hebrews 9:14 "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
( which IS 'all' conscience, and not heart, ...I think?)

Kerry

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Re: What is Conscience?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2012, 07:02:59 AM »
Kerry Thanks....This is where I find myself right now...and working through some things.

It's a bit of shock when things that one thought were true 'happenings' turn out to be somewhat a figment of child's incorrect judgement on situations.
Things were not as I thought they were...which mean I built my belief system upon a rocky foundation...which caused a rocky unstable construction. But, was that conscience or heart? Can they be separated?  ( talking about early fears and anxieties here, which have got me where I am)

I've found in my own life that sometimes I believed lies because I wanted to.  Other times, I believed them because people told them to me -- but even then I had to ask myself what it was about me that made me close my eyes to something I should have known.

For me, at times it was not wanting to see the flaws in others; and that had a root in some corruption in my heart.   It suited my purposes not to see.  For one thing, I feared losing them as friends if I looked at them honestly.    I could err two ways:  I could imagine evil was good and overlook things because I liked people, or I could imagine good was evil because I didn't like people.   Things can get terribly tangled.

[/quote]
I am now waiting on the Lord, to help me " work through" Hebrews 9:14 "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
( which IS 'all' conscience, and not heart, ...I think?)
[/size][/quote]
I think of the conscience as the thoughts of the heart; but it also seems to connects to the guidance of the Holy Spirit coming from without.   Without Divine Guidance, I don't know   if we could sort all the tangles out; but be sure of this:  When something like this rises up, it is meant for our benefit.   Sometimes God has to wait to teach us some things.  We wouldn't be strong enough to endure some things earlier in life and without as much as faith in God.    God lets us continue in some of the  "lies" until He knows we can deal with them.   So it seems to me. 

I am fairly sure   as long I'm angry or distressed, I'm pretty sure I haven't seen through the "lie" totally -- because once we see the truth,  it is liberating.  It's a sigh of relief.   Life has its surprises, doesn't it?

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