What’s Wrong With Feeling Guilt?


If you pay much attention to those in the know within our culture (humanistic educators, politicians, celebs and self-help gurus), you may have noticed that they label guilt feelings or conscience pangs as wrong, and those who feel guilty as mentally deficient. What’s wrong with that picture?

The American Humanist Association defines humanism as: “… a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”

Sounds lovely, does it not? Seems like a perfectly functional moral code. You will notice, however, that it makes no mention of an absolute moral standard. Its authors danced gingerly around that idea with every imaginable euphemism: Responsibility, Ethics, Fulfillment, Greater good. To function, each of those terms demand an objective standard, code, definition, or law, without which they are meaningless.

Take ethics, for example; what constitutes ethical behavior?

“I know, pick me! Ethical behavior conforms to an ethical code.” The know-it-all in the first row beams triumphantly.

“Very good, Jimmie, but who created the ethical code? Remember now, we’re good Humanists.”

“Ummm … well … a good Humanist?”

“Which good humanist, Jimmie?”

“You did, teacher.”

Jimmie was right, in that the teacher decides what answers are right or wrong. What about the teacher down the hall, though? A teacher (ethical or moral code) can say left is right or up is down, if she has no objective, absolute standard for her claims. Therein lies the issue with humanism; the basis for humanistic behavioral standards is relativism, meaning it has no consistent behavioral standards at all. Anyone with enough legal, political, academic, or media clout can … well … adjust our culturally accepted behavioral standards on a whim.

Humanists chafe at religious moral standards as being arbitrary attempts at controlling the behavior of populations. But, what standards could be more arbitrary than those wrought in a moral vacuum?

Some religious moral standards, however, are as absurd as those produced by relativistic humanism. They may claim to be based on holy writ, even the Bible, but insofar as such standards fail the love test, they are false. The Bible’s New Testament provides that love test in many places, but this is one of the clearest:

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:10-12)

That is the highest love, motivated exclusively by others’ needs, rather than by any form of personal gratification. I’m sure you can appreciate the miraculous nature of such love, considering mankind’s history of just the opposite.

So put your conscience to its redemptive work. Don’t wallow in your guilt, but resolve it through the ultimate love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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