Conscience

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Conscience

Conscience is “the practical judgment of reason upon an individual act as good and to be performed, or as evil and to be avoided” (Glenn, 1930). Hence, an individual must prefer to do the right thing over the wrong thing in accordance with his moral or ethical conduct. The judgment is practical because it leads to a course of action. On the other hand, it is a judgment of reason because it derives from our understanding of what ought to be done as good and what ought to be avoided as evil. It is an act of reasoning which requires a principle, that is, things known with certainty. This is how actions are said to be in accordance with dictate of reason. Moral decisions may sometimes require serious study and deliberation. But the urging of conscience is often spontaneous and instantaneous. Thus, conscience is considered as the “voice of God”. However, when conscience deviates from the norm and urges us to do what is evil and unreasonable, it is not the “voice of God” but rather it is “our own evil work”.

In school, there are a lot of instances wherein we make erroneous judgments, thus failing to have a correct conscience, especially when we are badly influenced by what the people around us do and say. An example of which is smoking. Majority of college students (who smoke) learned only how to smoke when they entered college. Their reason for doing such is because of fear of being rejected by his group and peer pressure saying, “Everyone else does it anyway so why not try it”, which is fallacious. In a given situation like this, one should first examine his conscience before engaging into such act for human dignity requires an upright conscience which knows moral principles and applies them in each circumstance. In addition to this, Mohandas Gandhi once said that “In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.” Thus, it is not reasonable to say that since everyone else is doing it, it is alright for one to do it. As Christians,...
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