Quotations about:
    conscience


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Political loyalty, military obedience are excellent things, but they neither require nor do they justify the commission of patently wicked acts. There comes a point where a man must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his conscience.

Hartley Shawcross
Hartley Shawcross (1902-2003) English barrister, politician, diplomat
Opening remarks, Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal (4 Dec 1945)
    (Source)

Shawcross was Attorney General of the UK and Chief Prosecutor for the UK at the tribunal
 
Added on 31-Jan-23 | Last updated 31-Jan-23
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Each man’s soul is a menagerie where Conscience, the animal-tamer, lives with a collection of wild beasts.

Austin O'Malley
Austin O'Malley (1858-1932) American ophthalmologist, professor of literature, aphorist
Keystones of Thought (1914)
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Added on 24-Jan-23 | Last updated 24-Jan-23
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There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball,
And that is to have either a clear conscience, or none at all.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“Inter-Office Memorandum,” I’m a Stranger Here Myself (1938)
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Added on 27-Dec-22 | Last updated 27-Dec-22
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A poor man defended himself when charged with stealing food to appease the cravings of hunger, saying, the cries of the stomach silenced those of the conscience.

Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (1789-1849) Irish novelist [Lady Blessington, b. Margaret Power]
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted, without citation, in R. R. Madden, The Literary Life and Correspondence of the Countess of Blessington, Vol. 1 (1855).
 
Added on 20-Dec-22 | Last updated 20-Dec-22
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A psychologist once said that we know little about the conscience except that it is soluble in alcohol.

Thomas Blackburn
Thomas Blackburn (1916-1977) British poet.
“The Contemporary Dream,” The London Review (Jan 1959)
    (Source)

Sometimes misattributed to John Mortimer.
 
Added on 6-Dec-22 | Last updated 6-Dec-22
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Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.

Richard Bach (b. 1936) American writer
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, ch. 13, epigraph (1977)
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Added on 29-Nov-22 | Last updated 29-Nov-22
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A good conscience is to the Soul what health is to the body; it preserves constant ease and serenity within us; and more than countervails all the calamities and afflictions which can befall us from without.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Guardian, #135 (15 Aug 1713)
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Added on 8-Nov-22 | Last updated 8-Nov-22
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Timely advis’d, the coming Evil shun:
Better not do the Deed, than weep it done.

Matthew Prior
Matthew Prior (1664-1721) English poet and diplomat
“Henry and Emma,” l. 310ff [Henry] (1709)
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Added on 11-Oct-22 | Last updated 11-Oct-22
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Nay, we have heard it said that there is not a quaker or a baptist, a presbyterian or an episcopalian, a catholic or a protestant in heaven: that, on entering that gate, we leave those badges of schism behind, and find ourselves united in those principles only in which god has united us all. Let us not be uneasy then about the different roads we may pursue, as believing them the shortest, to that our last abode: but, following the guidance of a good conscience, let us be happy in the hope that, by these different paths, we shall all meet in the end. and that you and I may there meet and embrace is my earnest prayer: and with this assurance I salute you with brotherly esteem and respect.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Miles King (26 Sep 1814)
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Where he had "heard it said" might be an 1813 letter from John Adams.
 
Added on 26-Sep-22 | Last updated 26-Sep-22
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Courage without conscience is a wild beast.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
Decoration Day Speech, Academy of Music, New York City (29 May 1882)
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Added on 1-Jul-22 | Last updated 1-Jul-22
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Cherish what you believe. Don’t job off one single value judgment because it swims upstream against what appears to be a majority. Respect your own logic, your own sense of morality. Death and taxes may be the only absolutes. It’s for you to conjure up the modus operandi of how you live, act, react and hammer out a code of ethics. Certainly listen to arguments; certainly ponder and respect the opinions of your peers. But there’s a point you compromise, and there’s a point all human beings draw a line and say, “Beyond this point it’s not right or just or honest, and beyond this point I don’t move.”

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Commencement Address, Ithaca College, New York (13 May 1972)
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Added on 14-Jun-22 | Last updated 14-Jun-22
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[The first principle of British democracy is] our prime duty to each other and to what our conscience tells us to be right. If this leads individuals into conflict with the law, those individuals must be ready to take the consequences non-violently. In our democracy no man should tell another man to break the law, nor should any man break the law to by-pass Parliament. But a person who is punished for breaking an unjust law may if he is sincere and his cause wins public sympathy, create a public demand to have that unjust law changed through Parliament. This is the first and most fundamental principle of British democracy. It has a deep moral significance. Our religious and political liberties rest upon it.

Tony Benn
Tony Benn (1925-2014) British politician, writer, diarist
Speech in Bristol (4 Aug 1972)
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Added on 16-Nov-21 | Last updated 16-Nov-21
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Shame is not of his soul; nor understood,
The greatest evil and the greatest good.

[οὐδέ οἱ αἰδὼς
γίγνεται, ἥ τ᾽ ἄνδρας μέγα σίνεται ἠδ᾽ ὀνίνησι.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 24, l. 44ff (24.44) [Apollo] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Pope (1715-20)]
    (Source)

Speaking of Achilles' mistreatment of Hector's corpse. Pope footnotes: "This is obscure. The original is, 'He has no shame, shame which harms men much, and profits them much.' Dr. Leat, following an ancient critic, thinks the passage an interpolation."

Alternate translations:

And shame, a quality
Of so much weight, that both it helps and hurts excessively
Men in their manners, is not known, nor hath the pow’r to be,
In this man’s being.
[tr. Chapman (1611), l. 47ff]

Shame, man’s blessing or his curse.
[tr. Cowper (1791), l. 58]

Cowper footnotes: "His blessing, if he is properly influenced by it; his curse in its consequences if he is deaf to its dictates."

Nor in him is there sense of shame, which greatly hurts and profits men.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Conscience, arbiter of good and ill.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Neither hath he shame, that doth both harm and profit men greatly.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

That conscience which at once so greatly banes yet greatly boons him that will heed it.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Neither is shame in his heart, the which harmeth men greatly and profiteth them withal.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

There is not in him any shame; which does much harm to men but profits them also.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

He has no shame -- that gift that hinders mortals but helps them, too.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

No shame in the man,
shame that does great harm or drives men on to good.
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 52ff]

Shame and respect no
longer he has, which harm men greatly but profit them also.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]
 
Added on 3-Mar-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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What have I always believed? That on the whole, and by and large, if a man lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out all right.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Small Gods (1992)
 
Added on 26-Jan-21 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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What is betrayal? They talk of a man betraying his country, his friends, his sweetheart. There must be a moral bond first. All a man can betray is his conscience.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Polish-English novelist [b. Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski]
Under Western Eyes, Part 1, ch. 2 (1911)
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Added on 5-Oct-20 | Last updated 13-Dec-22
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I did not hate them: I was indifferent to them. My crime was far worse because I was not an anti-Semite. … My conscience was progressively calloused and blunted. Of course, one’s conscience does not just cease to exist overnight; it is slowly eroded over the years, eaten away day by day, anesthetized by a multiplicity of little crimes. … As the Nazi environment enveloped us, its evils grew invisible — because we were part of them.

Albert Speer 1905-1981) German architect, government official, author, war criminal
Interview by Eric Norden, Playboy (Jun 1971)
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Added on 16-Sep-20 | Last updated 16-Sep-20
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And just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody, “Thou shalt not kill,” even though man’s natural desires and inclinations may at times be murderous, so the law of Hitler’s land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody: “Thou shalt kill,” although the organizers of the massacres knew full well that murder is against the normal desires and inclinations of most people. Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it — the quality of temptation.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, ch. 8 (1963)
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Added on 30-Jun-20 | Last updated 30-Jun-20
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Certainly, if I am obliged to bring religion in to after-dinner toasts, (which indeed does not seem quite the thing) I shall drink — to the Pope, if you please, — still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) English prelate, Catholic Cardinal, theologian
Reply to Mr. Gladstone’s Pamphlet [Letter to the Duke of Norfolk], sec. 5 “Conscience” (1875)
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Added on 23-Jun-20 | Last updated 23-Jun-20
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It is worse than useless to try to put down by law a practice which a very large number of people believes to be innocent, and which must be left to the taste and conscience of the individual.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“The Birth-Rate” (1917), Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919)
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Speaking of birth control.
 
Added on 16-Mar-20 | Last updated 16-Mar-20
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A strong man must be militant as well as moderate. He must be a realist as well as an idealist. If I am to merit the trust invested in me by some of my race, I must be both of these things. This is why nonviolence is a powerful as well as a just weapon. If you confront a man who has long been cruelly misusing you, and say, “Punish me, if you will; I do not deserve it, but I will accept it, so that the world will know I am right and you are wrong,” then you wield a powerful and a just weapon. This man, your oppressor, is automatically morally defeated, and if he has any conscience, he is ashamed. Wherever this weapon is used in a manner that stirs a community’s, or a nation’s, anguished conscience, then the pressure of public opinion becomes an ally in your just cause.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Playboy interview (Jan 1965)
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Added on 18-Jan-19 | Last updated 18-Jan-19
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Agitation is the marshalling of the conscience of a nation to mold its laws.

Robert Peel (1788-1850) British statesman, Prime Minister (1834-35, 1841-46)
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Sometimes quoted as "conscience of a people." Widely quoted without source in the late 19th Century (earliest ref. 1881).
 
Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 2-Apr-18
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There are three possible ways in which the church can act toward the state: in the first place, as has been said, it can ask the state whether its actions are legitimate and in accordance with its character as state, i.e., it can throw the state back on its responsibilities. Secondly, it can aid the victims of state action. The church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering society, even if they do not belong to the Christian community. “Do good to all men.” In both these course of action, the church serves the free state in its free way, and at times when laws are changed the church may in no way withdraw itself from these two tasks.

The third possibility is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to put a spoke in the wheel itself. Such action would be direct political action, and is only possible and required when the church sees the state fail in its function of creating law and order, i.e., when it sees the state unrestrainedly bring about too much or too little law and order.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) German Lutheran pastor, theologian, martyr
“The Church and the Jewish Question” (1933)
    (Source)

On the need for Christian clergy to actively oppose the Nazi regime's persecution of Jews.
 
Added on 8-Jan-18 | Last updated 8-Jan-18
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To our most bitter opponents we say: “We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“Loving Your Enemies,” Sermon, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery (25 Dec 1957)
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Added on 26-Aug-17 | Last updated 26-Aug-17
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No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes; yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
Walden, “Economy” (1854)
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Added on 3-May-17 | Last updated 17-May-17
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The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) German Lutheran pastor, theologian, martyr
“On Stupidity” (1942)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Mar-17 | Last updated 22-Mar-17
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Virtue is not always amiable.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Diary (9 Feb 1779)
 
Added on 25-Jan-17 | Last updated 25-Jan-17
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The only guide to a man is his conscience, the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and the sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Eulogy for Neville Chamberlain (1940)

In The Second World War, Vol. 2: Their Finest Hour (1949)
 
Added on 1-Nov-16 | Last updated 1-Nov-16
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The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.

nelson-ultimate-test-of-mans-conscience-wist_info-quote

Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005) American politician and environmentalist
“Ah, Wilderness! Save It,” New York Times (4 Sep 1984)
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Added on 31-Oct-16 | Last updated 2-Nov-16
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Our Passions, Ambition, Avarice, Love, Resentment &c possess so much metaphysical Subtilty and so much overpowering Eloquence, that they insinuate themselves into the Understanding and the Conscience and convert both to their Party. And I may be deceived as much as any of them, when I Say, that Power must never be trusted without a Check.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Thomas Jefferson (2 Feb 1816)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Aug-16 | Last updated 3-Aug-16
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Money dishonestly acquired is never worth its cost, while a good conscience never costs as much as it is worth.

Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn (1792-1870) French-Swiss poet
Maxims and Ethical Sentences
 
Added on 26-Jul-16 | Last updated 26-Jul-16
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Beware, beware! he’ll cheat ‘ithout scruple, who can without fear.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (1743)
 
Added on 19-Jul-16 | Last updated 19-Jul-16
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But opinion, & the just maintenance of it shall never be a crime in my view; nor bring injury on the individual

Jefferson - opinion - wist_info quote

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Samuel Adams (29 Mar 1801)
    (Source)

Sometimes misattributed to George Washington.
 
Added on 1-Jul-16 | Last updated 2-Aug-22
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He without benefit of scruples
His fun and money soon quadruples.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
In The Selected Verse of Ogden Nash (1945)
 
Added on 1-Jul-16 | Last updated 1-Jul-16
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There is a capacity of virtue in us, and there is a capacity of vice to make your blood creep.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1831)
 
Added on 9-Mar-16 | Last updated 9-Mar-16
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The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it.

De Stael - voice of conscience - wist_info quote

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Germany [De l’Allemagne], Part 3, ch. 13 (1813)
 
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If you derive pleasure from the good which you have performed and you grieve for the evil which you have committed, you are a true believer.

Muhammad (570-632) Arabian merchant, prophet, founder of Islam [Mohammed]
The Sayings of Muhammed, #67 [tr. Al-Suhrawardy (1941)]
 
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The Bible is a sealed book to him who has not first heard its laws from his soul.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Trust Yourself,” Sermon 90 (1830)
    (Source)

Sermon on Matthew 16:26.
 
Added on 3-Feb-16 | Last updated 22-Feb-22
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The man that blushes is not quite a brute.

Edward Young (1683-1765) English poet
“The Complaint: or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality,” Part 7 “The Infidel Reclaimed, Part 2,” l. 496 (1742–1745)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Jan-16 | Last updated 26-Feb-21
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General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) German poet, playwright, director, dramaturgist
“General, Your Tank Is a Powerful Vehicle,” in “From a German War Primer,” The Svendborg Poems (1939) [tr. Baxandall]
 
Added on 7-Jan-16 | Last updated 26-Mar-21
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General, your tank
is a powerful vehicle
it smashes down forests
and crushes a hundred men.
but it has one defect:
it needs a driver.

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) German poet, playwright, director, dramaturgist
“General, Your Tank Is a Powerful Vehicle,” in “From a German War Primer,” The Svendborg Poems (1939) [tr. Baxandall]
 
Added on 10-Dec-15 | Last updated 26-Mar-21
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An act is not good because we feel obliged to do it; it is rather that we feel obliged to do it because it is good.

Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) Polish-American rabbi, theologian, philosopher
Man Is Not Alone, ch. 13 (1951)
 
Added on 10-Nov-15 | Last updated 10-Nov-15
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The guilty think all talk is of themselves.

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400) English poet, philosopher, astronomer, diplomat
The Canterbury Tales, “The Canon’s Yeoman’s Prologue” (1390?) [tr. Coghill (1951)]
 
Added on 9-Nov-15 | Last updated 9-Nov-15
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The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. “But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.” Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this “closing off” that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
Homily (22 May 2013)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Sep-15 | Last updated 28-Sep-15
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Things said or done long years ago,
Or things I did not do or say
But thought that I might say or do,
Weigh me down, and not a day
But something is recalled,
My conscience or my vanity appalled.

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Irish poet and dramatist
“Vacillation,” st. 4 (1932), The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933)
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Added on 28-Sep-15 | Last updated 2-Nov-20
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Every time I’ve done something that doesn’t feel right, it’s ended up not being right.

Mario Cuomo (1932-2015) American politician
(Attributed)
 
Added on 8-Jun-15 | Last updated 8-Jun-15
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I shall stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.

John Bunyan (1628–1688) English Christian writer, preacher
(Attributed)

Quoted in M. L. King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham City Jail" (16 Apr 1963).
 
Added on 25-Mar-15 | Last updated 25-Mar-15
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We have a backstage view of ourselves and a third-row view of everybody else.

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
(Attributed)
 
Added on 24-Sep-14 | Last updated 24-Sep-14
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And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
1 Kings 19:11-12 (KJV)

Alt. trans.:

  • "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." (NIV)
  • "Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence." (NRSV)
 
Added on 10-Sep-14 | Last updated 10-Sep-14
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Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner. Conscience makes egotists of us all.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 8 [Lord Henry] (1891)
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Added on 29-Aug-14 | Last updated 29-Aug-14
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The faith that stands on authority is not faith. The reliance on authority measures the decline of religion, the withdrawal of the soul.

Emerson - The faith that stands on authority is not faith - wist.info quote

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“The Over-Soul,” Essays: First Series, ch. 9 (1841)
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Many consult their reputation; but few their conscience.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 254 [tr. Lyman (1862)
 
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He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler if he had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science. For one man of science, there are thousands who are not. What would have become of them? Man was destined for society. His morality therefore was to be formed to this object. He was endowed with a sense of right and wrong merely relative to this. This sense is as much a part of his nature as the sense of hearing, seeing, feeling; it is the true foundation of morality, and not the truth, &c., as fanciful writers have imagined. The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in a stronger or weaker degree, as force of members is given them in a greater or less degree. It may be strengthened by exercise, as may any particular limb of the body. This sense is submitted indeed in some degree to the guidance of reason; but it is a small stock which is required for this: even a less one than what we call Common sense.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Peter Carr (10 Aug 1787)
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To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber. Religion reminds every man that he is his brother’s keeper. To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right. It is a way of allowing his conscience to fall asleep. At this moment the oppressed fails to be his brother’s keeper. So acquiescence — while often the easier way — is not the moral way. It is the way of the coward.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Stride Toward Freedom, ch. 11 “Where Do We Go from Here?” (1958)
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A doctrine insulates the devout not only against the realities around them but also against their own selves. The fanatical believer is not conscious of his envy, malice, pettiness and dishonesty. There is a wall of words between his consciousness and his real self.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The Passionate State of Mind, Aphorism 68 (1955)
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“How shall a man judge what to do in such times?”

“As he ever has judged,” said Aragorn. “Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves, and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house.”

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 2: The Two Towers, Book 3, ch. 2 “The Riders of Rohan” [Eomer and Aragorn] (1954)
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