Do I really have to explain it all again? Are you listening?
I believe - as Cardinal Newman believed - that in every person there is a true voice of conscience by which he knows right from wrong. In Cardinal Newman's words:
But, of course, I have to say again, lest I should be misunderstood, that when I speak of Conscience, I mean conscience truly so called.
If a person did not have a true conscience, or never had a true conscience, how could he possibly be blamed for wrong actions, if he has no way of knowing that his actions are wrong?
You, caleb, are saying that it is not by means of his conscience that he knows what is right and what is wrong. But you are saying that he can nevertheless know by some other means - through "human reason" - what is right and what is wrong. It is not clear to me whether you mean that a person can always know through human reason what is right and what is wrong, or that he cannot always know. But if he cannot always know, then my point is that on the occasions when he is unable to know, then he cannot be blamed for choosing to do the wrong thing, as long as he at least attempts to do the right thing (i.e. by consulting his conscience).
But please try and understand: I believe that a person can
always know what is right and what is wrong, what he should and should not do, by listening to the true voice of conscience within himself. You are the one saying he cannot know by listening to his conscience. It is you who is saying that, not me.
Al that I am saying is that if
a person has no way of knowing what is right and what is wrong - and never had any way of knowing - then he cannot be blamed for doing the wrong thing, as long as he sincerely tries to do the right thing. That is as clear as can be.
So either a person has a way of knowing right from wrong, or if he hasn't, he cannot be blamed. So which is it? Does a person have a way of knowing right from wrong, always, or not always? If not always, then do you agree that on those occasions when he has no way of knowing - and if he never had a way of knowing - then he cannot be blamed if he does the wrong thing?
Or, if you think a person always has a way of knowing right from wrong actions, could you please tell me how he can know, if not by listening to the true voice of conscience?
Please illustrate your explanation by explaining how a person can decide the right course of action - other than by listening to the true voice of conscience within himself - in these situations:
If a single man and a single woman (e.g in a committed loving relationship) want to sleep together without going to all the trouble of having to wait to get married first, how are they to know that it is wrong if they both believe that, according to their conscience, it's absolutely okay, there is nothing wrong with it, they are doing no-one any harm, they are just like a married couple without the piece of paper? How can they be blamed if they have no way of knowing that it is wrong? Or if they have a way of knowing that it is wrong, please explain what that way of knowing is.
If a health worker in a poor African district is in a position to supply condoms to prostitutes (to help prevent the spread of AIDs), should he? How would he know what is the right thing to do if not by listening to the true voice of conscience within himself? If there is no way for him to know what is the right thing to do, but he sincerely acts according to his conscience, then how can he be blamed if he does the wrong thing?
In other words, ought
he be able to choose the right course of action? If so, how ought he be able to?
For the benefit of Ancient Oracle, you do not have to
answer any of my questions, caleb. But if you don't, I will draw my own conclusions. Please don't say yet again that it's too soon to answer them. It's been a long time now. I don't mind if you say anything else you want to say before answering them, as long as you then answer them, or else say that you are unable to answer them.
I am really very interested in hearing how a person can know
what is the right thing to do without listening to his conscience, in these situations I have outlined, and generally.