In Disney's Pinocchio Jiminy Cricket, following the Blue Fairy, sings a song that includes, "Always let your conscience be your guide." Even as a child I found that line disquieting, but didn't know why. It became clearer when I learned enough Latin to know that conscience is "con-scio," which means essentially "another voice in your head."
The problem with this voice is its ambiguity. It is our property–like a dream, it is made from the stuff of memory–but is as susceptible to external influence and control as the transcendental Self. To those with strong moral sensitivity (like Martin Luther, William Cowper, St. Augustine, and, I think, a number of notable saints and anti-saints), it can become a vulnerable place where a person who may have strong resistance in other areas is likely to be attacked, either by the Contrary Self, or malign external spiritual influences.
That is why the conscience, especially in the morally sensitive, cannot simply be relied upon to be one's guide. Rather, it is a battleground, good and reliable when occupied by the forces of Charity, but quite the opposite when under enemy control. There is nothing, for example, evil loves to do more than to make the conscience slip from the bonds of faith and into its theatre of guilt-torture. Once that happens the entertainment begins: either of listening to the sobs and screams of the good, or, even better, of tempting the soul to buy its way out by surrendering conscience and joining the scoffers.
One finds many of these among illuminati who have renounced their religion and can present a large and predictable catalog of reasons it's all nonsense. I would venture a guess that most of these are people who can no longer bear the guilt they have become convinced was given them by the moralism of a Christian upbringing, but which in fact is the product of attacks on conscience that pervert a faith which does indeed call them guilty, but then offers abundant forgiveness and exaltation of life in its place–of moral heresy in which one truth is elevated to the destruction of another. The diseased conscience is crippled by guilt, but has renounced its ability to receive mercy.
Guilt is by nature intolerable; it is prescribed at most to be temporary. There are, however, two ways that one may attempt to be rid of it. One is by accepting forgiveness on the terms offered by divine authority, the other is to deny it, and with it all the teachings that undergird its reality. For the former Christian this means rejection of the whole Christian faith, for what of it is not concerned with the removal of sin and guilt?
The false cure, however, bears the same quality as the guilt from which it flees–it also can also be no more than temporary–a palliative. Man is an inescapably moral creature, and with morality comes guilt. No one can help breaking whatever rules he has set up in defiance of the ones he has fled, and at the end of what falsely promised to be a new day, the offense is found to be against a Power very much like the God that has been denied and abandoned:
The former believer, now devoutly and cosmically Green, uses the products of the industry he rejects to live his life and advance his doctrine, daily offending against his new god. The sexual libertine denounces the Church for theft of his freedom, but must live in fear of the many forms of bondage to which he is subjected by his new master–which cannot be overthrown because they cannot be admitted as such. Here are religions of law in which there is no forgiveness, so guilt is only suppressed, and the world must bear the resulting anger, hypocrisy, and incessant transferals of fault to others. (See the evening news for the litanies of guilt-transference.)
I have read somewhere that Pope Sixtus I said "mala mens chorus daemonium"–which I take to mean, "a bad conscience is a troop of devils." Until real forgiveness is accepted and one lives in faith of that forgiveness, that is what we must deal with both in ourselves and in our society: real guilt falsely dealt with–an incessant chorus of demons, coming at us from every side. The original Pinocchio's Cricket lived in a world where conscience, in a wooden head, was not a very good guide at all. That hasn't changed.