She went to the edge of the ridge, and saw Ian sitting with his book on the other side of the burn. She called him to her, and handed him the letter. He took it, read it through, and gave it her back.
"Ian!" she exclaimed, "have you nothing to say to that?"
"I beg your pardon, mother," he answered: "I must think about it. Why should it trouble you so! It is painfully annoying, but we have come under no obligation to them!"
"No; but Alister!"
"You cannot doubt Alister will do what is right!"
"He will do what he thinks right!"
"Is not that enough, mother?"
"No," she answered angrily; "he must do the thing that is right."
"Whether he knows it or not? Could he do the thing he thought wrong?"
She was silent.
"Mother dear," resumed Ian, "the only Way to get at what IS right is to do what seems right. Even if we mistake there is no other way!"
"You would do evil that good may come! Oh, Ian!"
"No, mother; evil that is not seen to be evil by one willing and trying to do right, is not counted evil to him. It is evil only to the person who either knows it to be evil, or does not care whether it be or not."
"That is dangerous doctrine!"
"I will go farther, mother, and say, that for Alister to do what you thought right, if he did not think it right himself—even if you were right and he wrong—would be for him to do wrong, and blind himself to the truth." (Taken from What's Mine's Mine by George MacDonald)
If you do what your holy book says, will you ever have to go against your conscience? If you do, you are either misunderstanding that book, or it is not a holy book in the first place.
We cannot arrive at what is right by doing what we think is wrong. It’s impossible. The more you ignore your conscience the more wicked you will become. You will become cold and hard; you will die on the inside. The more you obey your conscience the more alive you will become. The more you obey your conscience the better your conscience will work for you; your understanding of right and wrong will become clearer; and you will become more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. (1)
The person who ignores their conscience in order to do what they think is right has put their confidence in their own minds; they have put their trust in their own understanding. If you obey a prophet, priest, holy book or so called holy man who requires you to disobey your conscience, you have been deceived. It might sound right but is in fact wrong. Look deeper. Ask the hard questions.
Am I saying that if you obey your conscience you don’t need God? No, what I am saying is this: the more you ignore your conscience, the more you are ignoring the one who gave you your conscience—God. (2)