1. What’s a Conscience? The conscience is a judgement made by our reason to recognise goodness or evil in a certain act.
2. What is necessary to have a conscience? For your conscience to make a judgement on whether an act is good or evil you firstly need an intelligence that judges it and prior knowledge that in turn is the foundation of your moral judgement. Something similar occurs when your understanding judges the truth of a statement. For example, when hearing the statement: “Cows can fly”, our understanding immediately recognises this as false. This judgement is based on knowledge that was previously acquired about Cows and flying.
3. In what does your conscience base its judgements? Judgements made by our conscience are based on knowledge of the human nature and what is convenient for it. This wisdom is acquired from two places:
4. How do you build a good conscience? The accuracy of a moral judgement made by the intelligence is confirmed if the person obtains his knowledge from the previous two sources.
- On the one hand, human nature calls upon a particular way of acting which is called the natural law. The Creator has made us in a specific way setting a footprint in our life that allows us to recognise good and evil.
- On the other hand, the Lord has told us exactly what is most convenient for us in the form of the ten commandments and Jesus’ teachings which form our conscience.
5. Is it useful to have a good and formed conscience? It is important to distinguish good from evil. The biggest criminals have a deformed conscience and it’s said that in fact they are people without a conscience.
- To learn about the human nature you need to spur a desire to search for the truth and do good. This last idea is very important as your intelligence may get used to doing evil and loses the clarity of judgement.
- To learn and recap the teachings of Jesus Christ you should go to Christian means of formation such as: talks, homilies, courses, books...
- To put this into practice it may be a good idea to get advice from good and wise people.
6. Qualities of a Conscience?
7. Free Consciences? The freedom of peoples’ conscience should be respected; however, this does not mean that it is independent from divine law. In this case freedom consists in an absence of coercion to seek the truth however, not independence from the truth. A person can convince himself that steeling is good, or that Beijing does not exist. In both case he acts freely however he is not stating the truth (moral or geographic).
- The conscience does not create the law but simply applies Gods law to a specific situation. Man does not create good or evil, but simply emits a judgement according to the natural law which is imprinted in our nature. A pickpocket can convince himself that steeling is good, however, it clearly isn’t. He is simply wrong.
- The conscience cannot be separated from the human acts. Human acts are those that are undertaken willingly and freely and so conscientiously. Conscientious that I like sensitive goodness and I need moral goodness.
- The conscience instructs about good and leads us to act. The conscience makes practical judgements: I can and should do this; I should avoid this other thing. And you acquire experience.
- The conscience either approves or dismisses. The judgement made by the conscience is usually prior to acting. But a person keeps thinking after acting and a sense of peace is felt if you acted correctly, and a sense of restlessness if you acted badly. That’s why humans have a responsibility towards themselves.
8. A terrorist murders someone according to his conscience. Why is it bad? He’s not acting badly because he’s followed his conscience, but rather, because he has deformed it up until reaching that point. (In reality, in those so unnatural situations the conscience still protests and so the terrorist has to double the effort into thinking it is good).