Catechism On Line

Making Christian Decisions

Book, Chapter 18  (Faith First)
Book, Chapter 17, 18 (Be My Disciples)

In this chapter we discuss the following topics: 

Moral Decisions

Cardinal Virtues

For my thoughts are not your thoughts ....

Moral Decisions

Just as the rest of the animal kingdom (all living things are classified into five kingdoms - plants, animals, fungi, protists and bacteria), us, the humans were created by God through evolution. There is one major difference between our human and other animal decision making however. Unlike the other animals, we, humans are considered to be "rational animals" capable of making moral decisions. Moral decisions are choices we make to live as children of God. They strengthen our character. Jesus taught us making moral decisions. We can also accomplish making moral decisions through the use of our intellect, free will, and feelings.
Intellect - our ability to learn about God, ourselves and the world we live in

Free will - God gave us the power to make our own decisions. We can choose to do good, or evil

Feelings - Our feelings or emotions can help us to do good, or they can make us to do evil.

The gift which helps us to make moral decisions is our Conscience. It guides us to know and judge what is right and what is wrong. Those of us who worked with animals know that even animals DO exhibit conscience and have feelings.

Just as there is not only black and white, but many shades of gray in between, so there is not only evil (Satan) and good (God). Most men are somewhere in between. Some tend to be guided by the Holy Spirit and tend to be more holy, whereas others may tend to seek only benefits for themselves at the expense of others. Yet, even holy men do sometimes struggle with temptation, and evil men might be moved by their coscience to do good at times. The following are the characteristics which come from Satan, and those from God:

Hatred Love
Intolerance Tolerance
Selfishness Goodness
Pride Righteousness
Greed Humility

Presently we live in a world in which the original sin has weakened our intellect and good will. Often we do not use our feelings to help us to do what we know is good. We struggle to overcome temptations. Temptation is everything which moves us to make convenient decisions often contradicting the will of God.

Cardinal Virtues

The moral virtues, also known as the cardinal virtues are spiritual powers to do what is right and help us to live holy lives. They are:
Prudence - helps us to evaluate situations and to judge whether they will lead us to do good or evil.

Justice - directs us to give people what is rightfully theirs.

Fortitude - keeps us steady in doing good, especially when difficulties arise.

Temperance - helps us to use and enjoy things in a way that is not harmful to us or others

For my thoughts are not your thoughts ....

God's values are not necessarily our values. We are coscious of only this physical world and perceive limited number of events in our life. We can not read other peoples' minds and so we are very limited in our thinking. God has no such limitations since He is omnipotent and omnipresent. Through His prophets He repeatedly emphasized: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts". Is 55:8,9

God has fundamentally different views of some issues which our society condemns at present. For example, the issue of polygamy or slavery. God did not condemn any of these. Why would He condemn a man who loves and cares for three wives and their children? Why would He condemn a master who bought a slave and treats him/her with righteousness and dignity? This is because God is interested in, and understands our internal disposition (how we think of, and treat others) rather than our external appearance or expression. In our societies, there are many people today who make wonderful speeches, yet, deep inside they may be full of insincerity and deceit.

In addition, the following table contrasts the values of our present physical world with those of God as it was demonstrated by Jesus' beatitudes delivered during His Sermon on the Mount.

Our Physical World GOD's World
Pleasure Hard work
Convenience Sacrifices
Easy life Responsibility
Pride Self-denial
Shallow values Deep values

Today, you should all be in the position to see clearly why this is so!

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