There is this ancient and ongoing debate about how to improve human life. How do bad habits get replaced by good ones? One theory is that education, understanding, and insight will combine to produce change in human beings. The other is that embracing new patterns of behavior provides insight.
I'm not smart enough to settle the debate. However, it seems likely that the very idea of choosing between the two alternatives is a fundamental mistake. The idea that all change happens by only one technique sounds wrong-headed to me.
For example, little children have to be made to bathe and brush their teeth. Over time, however, they learn the value of the behaviors. Boys especially seem to resent both these intrusions into their time — at least until they discover girls! Required activity eventually is seen to be justified by more mature reflection. Mothers teach children behaviors they appreciate fully only as adults.
On the other hand, there are occasional flashes of insight that come to us and change us forever. A man who loves a woman picks up on her tastes, preferences, and desires; he learns to do things differently in order to please her or to make her life less stressful.
On balance, my own hunch is that change more often leads to insight than the other way around. So there are social boundaries and rules. We pass and enforce laws. The Bible marks forbidden paths and counsels positive behaviors. The idea is that we can't wait for everybody to grow up or figure out his or her own ethical rules and gradually conform to them. That would be like putting children in a lab and telling them to mix chemicals until they discover something interesting. Countless more would get blown up or poisoned than would create medicines!
Unfortunately, this seems to be the way we have left people to develop their moral and spiritual lives for the past half century. Just do it. Find your own way. Do what seems best to you. Create your own truth. Don't let anybody tell you what to do.
In the meantime, people have ruined their own and others' lives by ignoring basics such as truth-telling, respect for life, keeping promises, and living within our means. Maybe they didn't live long enough to get the insights they needed.
There is a way that people think is right. But that way leads only to death. (Proverbs 14:12 ERV)Trust the Lord completely! Don’t depend on your own knowledge. Think about God in all that you do. Then he will help you. Don’t depend on your own wisdom. But respect the Lord and stay away from evil. If you do this, then it will be like medicine for your body or a refreshing drink that makes you strong again. (Proverbs 3:5-8)