Saturday, October 18, 2008
Knowing Right from Wrong: My Review
Somewhere along the line I picked up the idea that books were to remain in pristine condition. Even in college I hated to use my highlighter on textbooks. For some reason, I had an urge to go get one while reading this book. There were so many "gems", so many ideas that I wanted to remember. I'm not big on re-reading books, but this one will be on my shelf and will probably be re-read. One idea in the book is that we often see conscience as a cop--the voice inside that says "no, don't do that". To quote: "[F]or those who live by love rather than by legalism, conscience provides a sure orientation for the right use of freedom. It pushes us not with threats of punishment but with the interior motiviation of a loving heart.". The book is written for all Christians--really for all people. Though the author is a Catholic priest (and the religious community to which he belongs has a reputation for conservative orthodoxy) he chooses to focus on the the overall questions of how we form a conscience and the what influences it, rather than on moral questions that are answered differently by those of different faiths. In other words, this book doesn't deal with the hot-button issues that divide Christians nor the moral issues that divide Catholics into different camps; rather it give the reader a way to approach those questions. That being said however, this is not a "whatever your conscience tells you is right" kind of book either. The author is not afraid to point out that not all viewpoints are equally valid, that the end does not justify the means and that some things are wrong all the time, for all people, whether or not they agree. Each chapter ends with questions for study and discussion, making this a good book to use as a Lenten study, and with questions for personal reflection, giving you a step-off to prayer. I highly recommend this book.
Click here to read about the author and read the first chapter of the book. There is also a "Look Inside" type feature.