What do we mean when we say that we are “confused”? Do we ever admit that we are “morally confused”? When we say “I’m confused”, don’t we mean that the situation is confusing, that we don’t have enough info, that someone has pushed us for a response before we are ready? In other words, don’t we really mean that we would NOT be confused if things were different? Don’t we mean that someone or something else is to blame?
But if I say “I am morally confused”, I mean something else, don’t I? I mean that my confusion has to do with ME, that I am morally responsible for my own confusion.
A basic claim of the Bible is that we are all responsible for our own moral confusion. “[Christ] was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. [The world remained confused.] He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. . . . And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 1:10-11; 3:19).
People nowadays tend not to accept what St John, Jesus’ close disciple, claims in the passage above. We resist seeing our own deeds as evil; we turn aside from moral standards by which we come up short. Then — when everyone does the same — we find that we live in a social world in which right and wrong are up for grabs. And yet we sense that some things are dead wrong. We sense it especially when we are wronged by someone else. This is the moral confusion of the 21st century. My rationalizations for myself don’t jive with my moral indignation when someone wrongs me. The Evidence Conference 2015 will include enlightening reflections from expert speakers on precisely this topic.