Conscience versus Conformity

  

Rules and Mores play an important role in creating a harmonious and
respectful society. In providing structure to our common life. It is
not important whether Red means “stop” or Green means “go” – but it is
important that we agree on what they mean.

Rules and Mores play an important role in developing manners and
social skills and in forming the Conscience.

However, Rules and Mores, and the black and white thinking they
represent, have a down-side as well.

Because, as much as we want things to be clear, up and down,
left and right, good and bad, right and wrong, the world or
choices and situations exists in shades of grey.

We need to be able to adapt our Rules and Mores to deal with
choices that will be presented to us on the greyscale.

This requires a process of development and growth that cannot
be achieved unless we correctly understand the proper place of
Rules and Mores, and understand their intrinsic limitations.

Unless we are able to extrapolate from potentially several
different Rules or Mores in order to arrive at a solution for
problems of ethics that exist in the real world.

In the context of religion, this is the work of Moral Theology.

And is properly an ongoing conversation, a developmental, or
dare I say, Evolutionary, process.

All of our religions Books come from ancient times and places,
and carry with them echoes of Bronze age cultures. The world
has changed a great deal over the thousands of years or more.

The rules the Ancients formulated and attempted to live by
are in many cases not adequate to the task of solving the
ethical and moral challenges of modern day living.

Moral Theology in the context of Religion, and our personal
morality in terms of our Conscience, need to be guided by
Principles that are flexible and adaptable, as opposed to
black and white statements of right and wrong.

Principles instead of Rules.
Conscience instead of Conformity.

For me, the guiding principles are:

 
 Harmlessness

 Compassion

 
The Ancients of all of the world’s philosophies and religions
realized as well the problem of rules – their intrinsic
limitations. The founders of our various religious traditions
also gave thought to this problem, and in many cases began
to look to Principles instead of Rules as well….

The Golden Rule

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