Philosophical Perspectives on Religion, Ethical and Moral Values (10)

Deontology and Conscience 

There is some sense of Deity; they hold to be beyond humanity as Supreme Being. A person’s morality has a biological basis and is shaped only by cultural influences (Pope, 2007, 257). Therefore, it is not surprising that people with different cultural backgrounds have different conceptions of right or wrong, especially if they are not amenable to adhering to specific moral codes engraved in the ‘synteresis (Catholic Encyclopedia).

You cannot be right when you use negative options. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. Certain acts are directly recognized as universally and unconditionally wrong. Falsehood, for example, is known to be wrong, not from its incompatibility with social well-being but its very nature. Honesty is seen to be right in itself and not because of its kind financial and social results. Evil is wrong by its perceptions and inner composition. Conscience depends partly on accurate information and partly on conditioning by the environment and habits (Pierce, 1955, 127).

As Blanchard (1961, 33) puts it:

“It is the deposit of parental example, the instruction of teachers, and society’s pressure, themselves, in turn, the product of centuries of experimentation.”

Conscience is thus the voice of our own hitherto accepted ideal, recording its yes or no to a proposed line of conduct. It does not, in general, argue; it simply affixes its seal or enters its protest. Christian philosophers view conscience as an innate understanding of God’s truth, and it influences the distinguishing and evaluation of personal acts. The conscience’s association with the inner man (soul of man) and its affiliation with the understanding are related to the conscience’s nature. In contrast, the conscience’s task of bearing witness and responsibility in personal judgment relates to its role (Perry, 2005, 17).

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