How Christians make moral decisions
Some Christians believe that the Bible is the only thing you should listen to, they might say "I believe that the Bible was inspired by God. I believe that it contains all the information that we need to live good and moral lives. It contains the teachings of God such as the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Jesus, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the teachings of great leaders like St Paul and the disciples. It is the absolute Word of God and as such cannot be changed. The Bible tells me everything I need to know!"
Other people would disagree, they would say that "Obviously the Bible is important, but be fair, some of it was written a couple of thousand years ago and those parts just aren’t relevant anymore! We shouldn’t base our beliefs only on the past, we need to look to the future too. The message of God is as important today as it ever was, but it isn’t limited to a book written centuries ago. "
Some people believe that the teachings of the Church are more important, they might say "I believe that the Bible was inspired by God. I believe that it contains all the information that we need to live good and moral lives. However it was written in a different time, so I believe that it needs to be interpreted by the Church in order that what it says is relevant for today and not just the product of the time and place it was written. The Church Leaders also have more experience than me, so they are best placed to help guide my decisions."
On the other hand, some people would disagree...."I do listen to the teachings of the Church, but at the end of the day I have to do what is right for me, as long as I don’t think I am going against God’s law. For example, I am Roman Catholic, my church teaches that contraception is wrong, but I don’t think the Church has the right to make such decisions for me. That is a matter I have to decide for myself, through prayer and contemplation. "
Some think that their conscience is the best guide, they would tell you "although I believe that the Church and the Bible have important things to say and can give guidance on moral issues, I feel that the final say should be down to me, so I listen to my conscience. St Paul & St Thomas Aquinas both said that a Christian should listen to their conscience if they are unsure what to do. Through prayer and contemplation I believe that I come to the correct decision about moral issues, the one God wants for me."
Others would totally disagree! They would tell you that "it’s all very well saying you can hear the voice of conscience and make decisions by it, but how exactly do you know that it is God you are hearing – sometimes the voices in your head certainly don’t come from God! Just because something seems right to you doesn’t mean it is. "