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Everyone has heard the expression, “Let your conscience be your guide.” But is that really true? Is your conscience trustworthy? Dennis Prager shares some insights that might surprise you.
Everyone has heard the expression, “Let your conscience be your guide.”
In fact, many people base their entire moral life on the idea that their conscience will keep them from doing bad things.
I have something very important to tell you.
It won’t. Not for most people. And not most of the time.
Throughout Western history, people took it as a given that the conscience was not enough—that God and God-based moral instruction were also necessary. That so many people believe today that the conscience is all they need to act morally is a product of modern secular society. In fact, it is just one more example of the many irrational ideas that our secular society has produced. Others include “men give birth,” “Western civilization is no better than any other,” and “if you’re color-blind, you’re racist.”
But none of these beliefs is more irrational than the belief that the conscience is all you need—that it can replace God, the Bible, and Judeo-Christian values as a producer of moral behavior.
The reality is that most people’s consciences are, to say the least, easily manipulated. It is hard to imagine any aspect of human life more malleable than the conscience. It is as malleable as putty. And as sturdy.
If the conscience were morally effective, what evildoer or supporter of evil would sleep well at night? Yet, people who commit evil, whether for personal reasons (such as murderers, thieves, and rapists) or for ideological reasons (such as Nazis, communists, and Islamic terrorists) sleep as soundly as anyone else.
Also, if the conscience were morally effective, why doesn’t it stop anyone who commits evil from doing so?
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