Bavinck's Introduction on the Concience.

 

What is conscience?

 

This is an important question and no matter what discipline we come from; we will have some type of opinion about it.   Wiki says, “Although humanity has no generally accepted definition of conscience or universal agreement about its role in ethical decision-making, three approaches have addressed it:

 

    Religious views

    Secular views

    Philosophical views”

 

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscience

Those are possibly collecting points but the fact is with Bavinck the Master theologian he goes really deep and does not leave any stone unturned. 

 Bavinck starts chapter 5 with “Although fallen human beings are spiritually dead, the sagas and saga complexes of

peoples point to traditions of religious and moral wisdom that are as old as humanity itself. Included are kernels of truth concerning God, the soul, and conscience, particularly found in philosophy and in the great thinkers, that point to something present in human beings themselves which connects them to God. Tradition directs us to conscience.

This is the beginning of the faith perspective and we have read enough to realize that the Fall for many people is an important element in our understanding of why we are here and why our conscience is what it is.   He goes on to talk about the polis (city states) in the Greco Roman world and that conscience played a small part.  What was more important was to keep to the law.  Unfortunately, Bavinck explain that when these states broke up “…people were directed to themselves and had to find moral certitudes within themselves; in that context, Cicero could write: “There is no greater theatre for virtue than conscience.”

He then introduces the Old Testament, talks about the early church fathers such as Tertullian, and looks at various protestant theologians. In his introduction he faces the modern ideas on conscience as he says, “Modern thought, beginning with Kant, detached conscience from God and his law and placed it in the autonomous moral will. In modern philosophy, conscience is an enlightening, infallible, and undeceived star. Others (John Stuart Mill, Alexander Bain, Herbert Spencer) reduce conscience to social forces and see it as a product of nurture. Add into this mix the teachings of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and our contemporary world is filled with questions about conscience, including questions about the origin of conscience, whether it is religious or moral, positive as well as negative, and infallible or erring, and whether we have freedom of conscience or not.”   From Reformed Ethics chapter 5 introduction.  He then says he will look at etymologies.  He finishes off by reminding the readers that scripture sees conscience as universal. 

Reflection

As per usual Bavinck sets his agenda and over the next few Weeks, we will follow Bavinck on this quest.  We will discover what the great thinkers were thinking about this great theme of conscience.  How the world has changed since the end of the 19th century and early 20th century.  As an extra a friend of mine posted a Finnish view of how a London gentleman was supposed to be in 1910.  Using Google I translated it. 

 

In London, the gentleman’s clothesline plays just as important part than in Paris women’s fashions and usually the following European men, no doubt in London—

future fashion. An Englishman from an old school, among other things a gentleman who has just returned to London after a ten-year absence, claims a few sa big daily newspaper that London is no longer legitimate to lead the lord’s fashion, for the Englishman Hey-rain fashion is just going down. He collects he had walked the streets and parks and followed, how infinite discord in the suits of the gentlemen is noticeable. “When I was young I heard

gentleman’s suit top hat, walk jacket and good

shaped pants as well as gloves and a handsome tie by the summer had to be pale; besides, black was used boots or shiny shoes. From what I’ve seen, by contrast, this summer? Very little even about just fine dressed people. They wear a panama hat—

and still on the back of the head – or light blanket hats. Worst, that people are organized to wear wash gloves ta. ” So complains about the appearance of the English “gentleman” in the street. Even more dubious, of course to see him in the theatre and in the company. Smoking it the dinner jacket can be used in smoking rooms and for family dinners,

but in theatres and public restaurants

on the other hand, it is simply inappropriate. and still

use it by at least a third of the gentlemen of Covent.  In the garden and in addition to that there are black ties  and variegated vests.

The gentlemen of the old direction consider the most terrible,  that they need to see the theaters translated collars, variegated vests and brown shoes. Where yet to come?

 

Lontoossa herrasmiehen pyykkinaru on yhtä tärkeä osa kuin Pariisin naisten muodissa ja yleensäseuraavat eurooppalaiset miehet, epäilemättä Lontoossa –

tulevaisuuden muoti. Englantilainen vanhasta koulusta, muun muassa herrasmies, joka on juuri palannut Lontooseen kymmenen vuoden poissaolon jälkeen, väittää muutaman suuressa päivittäisessä sanomalehdessä, että Lontoo ei ole enää oikeutettua johtaa herran muotia, englantilaiselle Hey-rain muoti on vain laskemassa. Hän kerää, että hän oli kävellyt kaduilla ja puistoissa ja seurannut, kuinka ääretön ristiriita herrojen puvuissa on havaittavissa. ”Kun olin nuori, kuulin

herrasmiehen puku-hattu, kävelytakki ja hyvä

muotoisten housujen sekä käsineiden ja komean solmion kesään mennessä oli oltava vaaleat; lisäksi käytettiin mustia saappaita tai kiiltäviä kenkiä. Sen perusteella, mitä olen nähnyt, sen sijaan kesällä? Hyvin vähän edes hienosti pukeutuneista ihmisistä. Heillä on panamahattu –

ja edelleen pään takaosassa – tai kevyet huopahatut. Pahinta, että ihmiset ovat järjestäytyneet käyttämään pesukäsineitä ta. ”Joten valittaa englantilaisen” herrasmiehen “esiintymisestä kadulla. Vielä epäilyttävämpää, tietysti nähdä hänet teatterissa ja seurassa. Sen tupakoinnilla päivällistakkia voidaan käyttää tupakointihuoneissa ja perheillallisille,

mutta teattereissa ja julkisissa ravintoloissa

toisaalta se on yksinkertaisesti sopimaton. ja silti

käytä sitä vähintään kolmasosalla Coventin herrasmiehistä

Puutarhassa ja sen lisäksi on mustia solmioita

ja kirjava liivit.

Vanhan suunnan herrat pitävät kauheinta,

että heidän täytyy nähdä teatterit käännettynä

kaulukset, kirjavat liivit ja ruskeat kengät. Missä

tulossa? Tode-laki, englantilainen gerrain-muoti

vähenee huomattavasti

The above mentioned.

 

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