The Conscience - A2 Theology

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  • Created on: 05-06-13 14:03
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The Conscience
Different views:
God given
Voice of reason
Instilled by society
Instilled by parents
Instilled by authority figures
is it a reliable guide to moral decision making??
God Given
God gave us a conscience at conception
OR its revealed to us at some stage
Helps us choose morally correct and incorrect actions
Some believe it is the actual voice of God (Butler, Newman, Augustine)
OR the ability to determine right and wrong comes from God; this is our conscience
(Aquinas, St Paul)
Conscience is a gift that is required for humans to be moral
We have reason using our consciences to understand or know what the right and
wrong action will be.
Either part or us when we were created
OR its how our brain is wired with genetics because of evolution or development
Everyone must have the innate skill (conscience)
So should we all follow same principles?
Aquinas, although its innate we still need to train it
Instilled by Society
Result of society's expectations of us
If something is acceptable in general society, it is acceptable for us
Culture we're brought up in largely affects our conscience
Instilled by Parents
For most of us, our values and morals originate in our upbringing
Parents are like moral teachers
Even later on in life, we will still be influenced by the morals they gave us.
Instilled by Authority Figures?
Conscience is formed by authority figures around us e.g. police officers, parents,
teachers, politicians etc.
Provide role models concerning what is right and wrong
Key to explaining who we are as adult's e.g. serial killers, bad authority figures.

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Biblical Non-biblical
St Paul Freud
Aquinas Fromm
Augustine Piaget
St Paul
Conscience is the human ability to know and choose the good
Whether someone is Christian or not, they still know what is right and wrong.
Universal knowledge of Gods law
Can be corrupted and lead us to make mistakes but we can `put on the mind of
Conscience is the natural ability of a rational human being to understand the
difference between right and wrong.…read more

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Our conscience must always be obeyed as it's our natural guide, assigned to us by
God. It's the final judge of right and wrong and as it's the voice of God, it cannot
be mistaken.…read more

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Before the age of 10 children take their morality from who they're brought up by
(heteronymous morality)
After this, their own moral reasoning becomes more prominent due to an increasing
awareness of morality and society around them (autonomous morality).
This is essentially due to a child's cognitive development.
This suggests that the conscience is something that is learned from external
influences but also naturally occurring.…read more


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