Abstract / DOI
The Voice of the Heart: Conscience in the New Testament. Conscience (‹syneidesis›) is a concept of great importance for freedom both in society and in the Church. This concept roots in the New Testament, esp. in the theology of St. Paul. It is the experience of faith to discover the ‹I› in the love of God and in the relation to other human beings who are loved by God themselves. In the Pauline anthropology conscience is the voice of the heart. It is not only the instance of moral standards; it is an ‹ear› for the Word of God as well. Therefore, conscience is a capacity of all human beings to listen in their hearts to the Gospel the Apostles proclaim. In his or her conscience human beings are free, insofar they are orientated in their responsibility by what is good in a radical sense. Every conscience even if it is weak is to be respected by others; every conscience must be open in order to be build up in the recognition of truth. In the later New Testament writings a ‹good conscience› is a presupposition for Church leaders. It is a challenge for the modern society to discover the ‹syn-›, the feeling and thinking with others; it is a challenge for the Church not only to tolerate an errant conscience but to provide a place for the recognising conscience.