My wife and I had been married about a year when Roe V Wade became a right to have an abortion.
While we both had been raised Catholic we resisted many of the church’s teachings and frankly ignored others notably the Catholic Church’s stand on birth control.
At the time (1974) it was the Catholic Church, nearly single-handed which took a strong stand against R v W and abortion on demand. Like many other teachings my wife and I would have been inclined along with much of generation to dismiss that teaching as well.
That did not happen and looking back I know why.
The Lord had given us a conscience, something every person is born with. That conscience functioned and worked at that time to convince us that while we would not personally consider an abortion (it seemed to us flat our wrong) we’d never impose that belief on another for in our minds that would be wrong as well.
The point is our conscience informed us that abortion was wrong and had my wife had one anyway we would have experienced guilt because we ignored our conscience.
Guilt is what people experience when they believe they have done something wrong, either violating their religious beliefs or violating their own personal standards of right and wrong.
Sigmund Freud was one of the first to turn the concept of guilt on its ear. Al Mohler, President of Southern Seminary explains Freud (and the consequences of Freud) this way:
Our post-Christian society has been working hard for well over a century to bury guilt in the cultural backyard and deny that guilt can be morally significant. In the wake of Sigmund Freud and the therapeutic revolution, the modern secular worldview demands that guilt be understood as the lingering residue of the Christian conscience, an experience merely forced upon us by a society that imposes oppressive moral judgments. It is to be overcome and denied, never heard. Albertmohler.com
Mohler’s explanation is key. If guilt is nothing more than the lingering residue of the Christian conscience and an experience forced on us that imposes oppressive moral judgments then we should be quite comfortable in shedding our guilt as well as all standards of right and wrong. I mean really, who is to say, what is right and wrong anyway?
The impact of Freudian psychology and its derivatives on our culture is huge. Frankly, in my opinion it’s more a belief system (even a religion of sorts) than it is the science it markets itself to be.
Consider the case of Emily Letts a 25-year-old abortion counselor who filmed her own abortion. The video has gone viral. Her stated reason for filming her own abortion was to banish guilt from her own conscience and be an encouragement to others to do the same. Click here to get the full story from Al Mohler.
It’s not difficult to banish guilt and justify your behavior. You simply buy into a belief system that gives you what you want. You push out of your mind all that “lingering residue of a Christian conscience” and go on your merry way. As the viral video illustrates you can even be celebrated as a heroine.
The apostle Paul would have had a few choice words for Freud and Letts just as he had in his letter to the Romans:
For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them  on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:14-16 ESV)
Paul is addressing Jews in the context of this passage. He seeks to show the commonality of sin that exists with both Jew and Gentile. The Jews thought themselves “law keepers” and Paul is saying not so and at the same time saying the work of the law is written on the hearts of Gentiles.
Paul goes on to say that the consciences of the Gentiles bears witness and that they have conflicting thoughts that accuse them or excuse them. Emily Letts’ conscience has excused her and she’s happy about it because she no longer feels accused by it.
My reaction to the Letts story is two-fold.
First, there is sadness and grief that her video has gone viral and she is some kind of heroine for publicly killing her baby. It is a reflection of a callous and heartless culture that celebrates murder and calls it good.
And I’m also sad for Emily Letts personally. In a very real way she is a slave to her own desires and held in bondage to them. In fact she works hard for the idol of self she serves. On another level she is a victim. She is the victim of the progressive educational belief system that smells of Freudian psychology and its derivatives. Her slavery to her idol lines up well with what she’s been taught and now she seeks to destroy her only link with the God of the Bible by willfully suppressing her conscience and bragging about it. That is a tragedy that has eternal consequences.
Second, I am thankful that my wife and I responded to our consciences and held to the belief that abortion was somehow “just wrong” although we would have been fuzzy on why.
God was gracious to us and showed us why in 1979 when my wife got pregnant. We were thrilled with the news and then dismayed when she had a miscarriage at home about 6 weeks into the pregnancy.
One question we had not considered prior to her miscarriage was the question of life. Was a fetus at any stage of development life? Ultrasound did not exist back then so we really did not consider that our little fetus had life (and a soul) until we saw it floating in the toilet. Horrible, is it not, your baby floating in a toilet like some kind of waste.
But behind it all was God of that I am convinced.
It was a shock that neither of us will ever forget because we knew then and there we had lost a baby and not a lump of tissue to be discarded like waste material.
The incident which is seared into our minds convinced us to be unambiguous about being pro-life. Abortion is wrong because it destroys a life.
Emily Letts thus far has been successful in suppressing her conscience. We can only pray that God does not allow her to totally harden her heart and sear her conscience beyond the point of no return.