I do not believe anyone has bad faith. I think some people do not believe in any form of ethics, because those who do believe in their good faith are usually attempting to convince everyone they know that their good faith is the only way to heaven. I believe everyone is ethical, whether for good or bad, the person has choices. In the conduct of acting on their conscience, men must regard principles, and not just particulars.
It is hard to say this, because too many people are seen as outsiders who view the world through the lens of their own sense of injustice and contemptuous dialogue. It is because there are dissenters who disapprove of what the widest social groups aim at believing that these dissenters are seen as those who have the most to gain from tyranny, and that they should not be tolerated, for fear that they would take power away from those we entrust with political power.
I think that the Christian faith is an example of something that is ethical enough to pass any test of conscience. But the public that doesn’t believe in the Christian world view is skeptical that passing the test based on principles and not on norms is only a test of behavior and, of conscience, the principles only, without their application in choosing and acting practically. People who hold views relating good to sincerity often are mistrusted. People who practice their religion are less often held in contempt, because then the principle is in action, and everyone who knows ethics can test the proposition of that person’s relationship with their God.
I believe that people who act according to their belief are often seen as conflicting in theory and principle with those who have political power over them. Some wish that the people who test their own ethics and have a good faith in God, would only be able to admit that they are no better or worse for this than the person who believes nothing of the kind. Having less than perfect ethical knowledge is something that believers adhere to, only when it is convenient. Or so it seems to the person who doubts that principles apply to behavior in any way other than giving God credit for good behavior, when really there is no one who can act otherwise in the given situation.
I tend to regard God as the completion of principle, and the holder of virtue. All we can do is to ask him to intervene and act upon the faith that our actions will fall under his wisdom when we are tested or ensnared. Isn’t it best to leave religion to God while on earth, and pursue some other avenue of personal justification and righteousness than the ethical directives that make us seem less like sinners, and more like God?
I disagree that there is any human knowledge that is discriminated upon when we choose right or wrong. Knowledge of God is only the belief that one has chosen more or less correctly, because of favoritism. I think where religion has given us something of value is when it guides our actions, and ennobles our purposes to behave according to altruism and with reverence for the power that does not depend upon worldly ordination and purpose. When we forsake ourselves, and lose ourselves in the acts that belong to the virtues, we are truly doing the work of a good faith. Without altruism, there might be no purpose to the conceit that God cares for human actions. It is not the knowledge that we have of ethical principles that makes us wise. It is the knowledge of why we behave the way we do, and how to change our minds to conform with a higher behavioral ethos, perhaps even one inspired by God.
I tend to regard the ethics of action superior to the ethics of conceptual knowledge. For example, I don’t write these articles because of the need to influence and inspire by the content. I just believe that by publishing my truer thoughts, that there is less likelihood of error, both for myself and others, if any merit by content is possible. Also, if only to publish, and not to persuade, I might be doing good for myself and possibly also others. This is not knowledge, it is an example of the virtue of prudence.