Posts in Books
Awakened Conscience

Discovering the Joy of a Clear Conscience, Christopher Ash, Part 2

At a mission conference I attended in January this year I noticed there was a bit of discussion around the idea of whether ‘Western’ society has moved from a guilt/innocence to a pain/pleasure worldview. There is much to make me want to agree with this idea, particularly in thinking about what it is that motivates people. However, while superficially it looks as though we have moved to a pain/pleasure worldview I think it is not quite so great a paradigm shift from guilt/conscience. In part, it has been Ash’s book that has convinced me of this, but also that conscience, a concern for whether our behaviour is ‘right’, is still very much a part of our contemporary culture (just see the Cohen brothers’ latest film, Hail, Caesar! and you’ll see what I mean!).

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A Clear Conscience

Discovering the Joy of a Clear Conscience, Christopher Ash, Part 1

It struck me, while listening to the radio in the car the other morning, how important this seemingly innocuous book by Christopher Ash is to our context. A radio station was reporting on a Labor Senator from Western Australia who had taken the extreme measure of quitting parliament because he would not be allowed a conscience vote on Same Sex Marriage. A fellow member of the Labor Party guffawed the very idea, suggesting that given this Caucus voting rule was only to be enacted in 2019 and that the “majority of Australians” support same sex marriage that it was ridiculous that he should be quitting parliament. That the senator was quitting parliament because of his own conscience was neither here nor there.

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