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In the Gospel of Luke (10: 25–37) Jesus tells the story of how a despised and heretical Samaritan (see Parable of the Good Samaritan) who (out of compassion and conscience) helps an injured stranger beside a road, qualifies better for eternal life by loving his neighbor, than a priest who passes by on the other side.

This dilemma of obedience in conscience to divine or state law, was demonstrated dramatically in Antigone's defiance of King Creon's order against burying her brother an alleged traitor, appealing to the "unwritten law" and to a "longer allegiance to the dead than to the living".

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A fundamentalist Christian view of conscience might be: 'God gave us our conscience so we would know when we break His Law; the guilt we feel when we do something wrong tells us that we need to repent.' This can sometimes (as with the conflict between William Tyndale and Thomas More over the translation of the Bible into English) lead to moral quandaries: "Do I unreservedly obey my Church/priest/military/political leader or do I follow my own inner feeling of right and wrong as instructed by prayer and a personal reading of scripture?

" Some contemporary Christian churches and religious groups hold the moral teachings of the Ten Commandments or of Jesus as the highest authority in any situation, regardless of the extent to which it involves responsibilities in law.

The Buddha linked conscience with compassion for those who must endure cravings and suffering in the world until right conduct culminates in right mindfulness and right contemplation.

In the literary traditions of the Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, conscience is the label given to attributes composing knowledge about good and evil, that a soul acquires from the completion of acts and consequent accretion of karma over many lifetimes.

Catholic teaching holds that, "Man has the right to act according to his conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions.

Last modified 30-Jun-2018 15:48