Rationalization and the Death of Conscience

By Susan Lockhart

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Because failed rationalization essentially amounts to an indictment of oneself, it must be avoided at all costs regardless of the effect upon individuals, including children, or society in general. This is how abortion can be defined as "choice," homosexuality must be proclaimed as "normal and healthy," requiring "acceptance," and evolution and global warming described as "established science." The bigger the lie, the greater the self-recrimination if exposed as such, so these things must not be discussed publically or rationally, and society as a whole must submit to them without question or examination. Indeed, if such topics were carefully scrutinized and the ramblings of their supporters subjected to the light of day, they would seem closer to insanity than veracity, as these quotes demonstrate:
The prospect of building godlike creatures fills me with a sense of religious awe that goes to the very depth of my soul and motivates me powerfully to continue, despite the possible horrible negative consequences.
Prof. Hugo de Garis, artificial brain designer

We've got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.
Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.
Earth First! Journal editor John Daily

I stand by my decision to abort my baby because it was a male. I don't hate men, I hate the patriarchy, what men, and even some women, turn into, [and] I wasn't going to let that happen with my offspring. The chances were greater that it would with a male, it was unacceptable.
—Lana, abortion recipient

All men are homosexual, some turn straight. It must be very odd to be a straight man because your sexuality is hopelessly defensive. It's like an ideal of racial purity.
—Derek Jarman, English film director
Repeatedly defiling and violating one's conscience will nullify it. A deadened conscience leads to an inability to distinguish that which is morally good from that which is bad. Indeed, the Apostle Paul teaches in Philippians 3:19 that there are those with consciences so adulterated that their "glory is in their shame." And those who celebrate and praise their own immorality and that of others, simply because it is the "politically correct" thing to do, are no better: "Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:32).

Rationalization, then, is a symptom of a serious and possibly terminal spiritual illness. The conscience has been seared as with a hot iron (cf. 1 Timothy 4:2). It may not cry out as much as it once did, but that does not mean that there is no danger. In fact, the danger is greater. Everyone in the society must accede to the demands of the political correctness rationalization, lest the practitioner experience shame and loss of self-esteem.

Robert R. Reilly, chairman of the Committee for Western Civilization, wrote in Culture of Vice, at
The necessity for self-justification requires the complicity of the whole culture. Holdouts cannot be tolerated because they are potential rebukes. The self-hatred, anger, and guilt that a person possessed of a functioning conscience would normally feel from doing wrong are redirected by the rationalization and projected upon society as a whole (if the society is healthy), or upon those in society who do not accept the rationalization.
Finally, Reilly tells us the potential outcome of moral degeneracy as policy impetus:
Controversies about life, generation, and death are decisive for the fate of any civilization. A society can withstand any number of persons who try to advance their own moral disorders as public policy. But it cannot survive once it adopts the justification for those moral disorders as its own. This is what is at stake in the culture war.
As Christians, we may see the moral depravity and the violence, and yes, destructive political correctness, but we don't know what to do about it. We see the alternate reality, but we don't understand it, and perhaps we don't want it to intrude upon our peace. Of course we are living in a fallen world, but for right now, we are seeing that world through the lens of prosperity and freedom. For a long time, this country was a moral exemplar for other nations; a place with Constitutional standards that guaranteed our God-given liberty, and maybe we wistfully long for the past when this was our reality.

We see the results of post-modernism and moral relativism in society, and the outlook is disheartening. Churches are becoming liberalized and corrupt. People are moving away from Christianity. Parents are not training up a child in the way that he should go (Proverbs 22:6). Individuals are justifying immoral and hateful behavior because "your truth is not my truth," as if there is some legitimacy to moral relativism. The collision of an entire range of moral states, from the most godly to the most debased, is creating an unfortunate culture of the lowest common denominator.

And it must do so, in order to maintain the illusion of the rationalization. Author E. Michael Jones wrote in Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation and Political Control:
...the paradise of sexual liberation was only plausible in so far as it aspired to universality. It could only calm the troubled conscience in an effective manner when it was legitimized by the regime in power. In this regard, what better conscience machine could there be than the one which confidently banned God and his law from public life and then went on in the name of high moral purpose to make this vision normative for the entire world?
Jones was speaking of radical socialist Max Eastman and the Soviet Union when he wrote this, but the same point applies to the forced acceptance of sexual immorality by government.

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Published on 7-13-2015