Here’s a quotation from Desmond Tutu: “For every act of evil there are a dozen acts of goodness in our world. It is only because we believe that people should be good that we despair when they are not.”
Do you every wonder why the media continually report and sensationalize evil and violence? It is because evil is not the norm. It is not the usual. In our society, evil and violence are still abnormal and shocking.
As Desmond Tutu points out, there are far more acts of goodness than there are acts of evil. In our day to day lives, we still expect people to do good things and we are surprised when they do bad.
That is because human beings are fitted with a non-material guidance system called a conscience. This interior and intangible guidance device seeks to direct us toward good behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes. When we begin to make evil choices, our conscience warns us to back away from the misery and self-destruction we are choosing.
Of course, we human beings can ignore and/or override our non-material goodness-compass. We can choose to go against the direction and conviction of our conscious. Still for most people, our sense of right and wrong, our conscience, influences us toward good behaviors and away from evil behaviors. (I think that we all realize that we are not anywhere close to as bad as we would be if we had no conscience.)
So why would humans have an interior guidance system prompting them toward good? Materialists would say that the human conscience is a mere physical result of natural selection brought about to preserve the species. But doesn’t human conscience go against the principle of “the survival of the fittest.” Conscience leads people to sacrifice, not just for others, but for their principles. Conscience influences people to suffer and die for what is morally right, rather than agreeing to evil. Much that conscience promotes is idealistic rather than survivalistic.
No, conscience isn’t some materialistic preservationist programming. Conscience is non-material reality directing humans to go beyond selfish survival and to place character and moral principle above self and societal interests.