The Furies of Conscience by J. Budziszewski

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The Furies of Conscience

Denial & the Wages of Sin

Everyone knows that conscience works in two different modes: cautionary and accusatory. In the cautionary mode, it alerts us to the peril of moral wrong and generates an inhibition against committing it. In the accusatory mode, it indicts us for wrong we have already done. The most obvious indictment is the feeling of remorse, but remorse is the least of the five Furies. No one always feels remorse for doing wrong; some people never do. Yet even when we fail to feel remorse, our knowledge of our guilt generates objective needs for confession, atonement, reconciliation, and justification.

These other Furies are the greater sisters of remorse. They are inflexible, inexorable, and relentles . . .