Where does the human conscience come from?

by bluesapphire 23 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • bluesapphire

    If it's social conditioning, then why do people who are non-theists still do the right thing even when no one is looking?

    And if it's innate, then why are there sociopaths? Are they humans who have not been "given a conscience"?

    Just arguing both sides of the coin here. See my dilemma?

  • Paralipomenon

    Social conditioning is just that. You are conditioned to react in a certain way. A non theist acting good when nobody is watching makes his decision based off his upbringing.

    Look at it this way. As witnesses, we are conditioned to believe holidays are bad. This year will be the first year I celebrate Halloween and Christmas. Regardless of what I know, my conscience is still slightly bugging me. Not because the witnesses are really the true religion and my god given soul is trying to warn me from evil, but because I have been trained that it is wrong.

    The saying is, it's always the hardest the first time. After I go and celebrate anyways, I will realize that I will not be struck dead, my children will be happy and my conscience will be relearning how to react. I have been conditioned to feel it's wrong and that there will be consequences for my actions.

    Without any consequences (that I care about) my conscience will be relearning how to react to future holidays. A God given conscience shouldn't be able to be trained and retrained.

  • Gopher
    If it's social conditioning, then why do people who are non-theists still do the right thing even when no one is looking?

    I'll take a swing at that one (being atheist myself). You have to live with yourself. If you take candy from the store or disregard a stop sign (or whatever) when nobody's looking, where do you draw the line?

    If we do wrong things privately and good things publicly, we're inconsistent. Some people can live with that. But many - even those wiith no fear of a deity, want to be consistent. It just feels better. Maybe it's because you don't want people coming back to you and calling you a hypocrite, or you don't want to feel like one.

  • LtCmd.Lore

    It's not just a human thing.

    Chimps for example will go for days without eating in order to avoid causing pain to a fellow chimp: Click

    And some humans are a lot less moral than those chimps.

  • Awakened07

    Non-theists will do what is right for the same reason non-theists can have moral values. Theists often ask the rather odd question; "How can you have morals without God?", as if doing or not doing certain things simply because God says so would be morally right.

    - If the only reason one is moral is because "it says to do so in the scripture", can it really then be said that that person is a moral person?

    A non-theist does not live in a vacuum either; his/her actions will cause reactions from the surroundings, some negative, some positive, Non-theists have parents too! We all know what is wrong basically because doing wrong things (on this basic level we're talking about here) is destructive and harmful to others. This can then - by most people - be reflected back on our own person, and we know that if someone did the same to us, it would be devastating.

    Those who are sociopaths may lack empathy; some may lack it in a physical sense.

    The brain is an organ which - if we believe evolution theory - must have evolved like any other organ. Our thoughts aren't something floating in a metaphysical realm up there, but are products of electrochemical reactions in parts of our brain that have formed partly due to what we've been using our brain for, and partly due to genetic heritage.

    Here are a couple of links:




  • 144001

    The human conscience comes from the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, Inc. of New York.

  • bluesapphire

    The celebrating holidays comment struck it for me. That's soooooo true.

    When I was JW, I trained my kids not to celebrate the holidays. One of my daughters accepted valentines cards one day and I made her throw them away. The following year she accepted them again, only this time she didn't show me! Obviously, the conditioning didn't work with her. Another example of this same child was that once I went to her school unexpectedly and caught her saying the pledge of allegiance!

    My other daughters, on the other hand, followed every rule to a T! Apparently the social conditioning worked with them! But guess what! As soon as I told them the JW's were full of sh1t, (I'll never forget it was in October), they wanted to know if they can celebrate Halloween and if they can dress "scarry" like "vampires"!

    Then we went on in our so-called "spiritual" journey and we passed through Catholicism on the way. I had been married about 4-5 years to my husband and suddenly got an impulse to my "conscience" that my marriage to my first husband was never annulled by the Church. So what did I proceed to do? Yep, I got an annullment. Nothing changed except now I had a certificate of annullment and my conscience felt at ease.

  • Bryan

    It comes from the Universe... enjoy it.

    Can you hear me now...


  • LtCmd.Lore

    Here's a great link: http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/carrot&stick.html

    It's pretty long and complicated, but it's almost exactly the answer you want. It's really interesting...

    (And a lot more satisfying than: "Jeebus makes u good!!1!")


  • megsmomma

    Do you remember all the things that as a JW were "up to your conscience". In other words...they weren't banned, but if you were a good JW you wouldn't do them?

    I never had a real conscience back when I was a dub. I would do things that were "bad" (like sing along to x-mas songs) but then go in service to "feel better" about doing something wrong.

    Then when I left I felt like I had no conscience....if I was "bad enough" to celebrate holidays....why not have sex without being married? I had none of my own guidlines.

    I had to get over the brainwashing to develop my own conscience and to know where I draw the lines for myself.

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