Conscience: The Supreme Ethical Authority
So what exactly is your conscience? As children, we remember the warnings our parents give us about certain things and when we do something wrong; we immediately know we messed up. It’s that “feeling” that can be described as an inner sense to know what is right and wrong.
Conscience is foundational to moral theology and stems heavily from the theologian Linda Hogan. Conscience is defined as an action done with knowledge; an informed conscience is thus the guiding principle of free will that God has given us. We have free will to do as we please and God loves us unconditionally, but how much freedom do we really have? Conscience is regarded as the most fundamental and direct personal way that the individual apprehends moral goodness and truth. Thus is it very important to have a informed conscience about the actions that we engage in. In an informed conscience decision, you must take the measure to really think about the action you are about to take and investigate into the matter – bearing in mind the teachings of Christ and the Bible before making your decision. God is not a fool for you to be asking him to help you make a decision or solution to your predicament when you have already taken your decision and action and is asking God to “bless” your actions.
So what exactly is your conscience? As children, we remember the warnings our parents give us about certain things and when we do something wrong; we immediately know we messed up. It’s that “feeling” that can be described as a inner sense to know what is right and wrong. It is not a particular phase in growing up and it certainly is not a feeling on guilt. It is a degree of self-awareness and moral manners that involves not only obedience to certain rules, but also their application to your daily lives. The inward working of our mind and our heart to efficiently govern our self morally, not instinctively or through fear as some critics would say. But instinct is not totally independent of conscience. Rather, conscience draws upon the emotional and intuitive aspect of what is right and the desire to follow through with the right action – thus conscience becomes the supreme authority in morality and ethics. This supreme authority is an innate feeling in each and every human being from childhood to death so what explains the presence of this authority in our lives? This place, where man knows the difference between good and evil, is the site of supernatural encounter between that individual and God, thus conscience acts as the voice of God to guide mankind. It is God’s abode or presence in our lives.
Thus making a decision based on conscience involves entwined concepts of emotions, instinct, reason and divine inspiration. The person’s background also plays an important role in conscience formation on an issue or its solution. The cultural and religious background of an individual has a significant impact on that decision. The level of one’s education has also shown to be an important factor in a lot of the decision making processes. There is also an emotional role in the conscience decision making process where the connection of the person to their past history to the issue may have an impact in how the decision is shaped. But whatever the influences are for the formation of a conscience based decision, each and every judgment of conscience is based soundly on the moral truth the person has come to know and understand.