7 December 2011
Conscience versus the Law
When we talk about how our “conscious” or “subconscious” mind guides our actions of doing right from wrong, we are actually talking about “conscience”, or ethical thinking. Conscience is an intuition or innate judgment that helps people distinguish right from wrong (“Conscience”). Our conscience makes us feel guilty when we do bad things, while our consciousness is merely our awareness of our existence or surroundings.
Since conscience is our innate guide of right and wrong, and in our society the law dictates right and wrong, this moral question is raised: what happens if our conscience is instructing us to act in a way that is deemed wrong by the Law? My stance is that we should first follow our conscience – given that it is not sinful – and then secondly obey the law if it is possible, because our conscience is more universal, and often more reliable than the law.
Many people view conscience as an integral part of human nature: that it is active in all people, regardless of their age, race, education, or development. Indeed, studying the culture and customs of past and present nations, one notes that all people – even the most primitive tribes – distinguish between what is good and what is bad, between a good man and an evil man, between virtue and vice. They almost all agree on this: that the good is worth striving for, that evil be shunned, and that the good deserves praise, while evil, blame. Occasional discrepancies seem to come from particular circumstances in which a given nation develops and confusion arises. The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans explains in some detail how moral law works in man. The Apostle reproaches those who know the written Law of God but willfully violate it. He contrasts them with the pagans who "not having a written Law, naturally observe the prescriptions of the Law”, and concludes that the pagans “show that the process of the Law is... [continues]
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