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Beliefs, Values, Morals Paper

1612 words - 7 pages

Beliefs, Values, and Morals: Is man inherently good or inherently evil?

Our Definitions of Beliefs, Values, and Morals

Beliefs: Jennifer says that a belief is a conviction of her own, what she sees as truth, not judged to be good or bad. Joanne agrees that it is her unquestionable acknowledgment of something even though she may not be able to establish proof and also her faith or trust in God. Elisaba considers a belief either comes from an examination of evidence, or it comes from a basis of faith that something is true. This is defined as trust or confidence in some person or thing.

Values: Elisaba believes that values are the ideals, customs, and institutions taught by ...view middle of the document...

These definitions can be construed as something environmental or as something genetically imbued. Many schools of thought are available on people and their innate nature of evil that we are naturally good but corruptible, and those that believe evil and good are too imprecise to define. The words used for describing good and evil seem to be as socially constructed. For instance, a good person is usually defined as someone with integrity or using ‘correct behavior’. Integrity and behavior are actions that we see as depictions of one’s values, whether personal or social. To see good as a benefit cannot be explained when relating to a person who may benefit from an ‘evil’ act, such as stealing or lying. Evil actions against someone else are seen as morally wrong but have values and morals changed and evolved as need changes? Furthermore, we are familiar with words like sociopath, those without a conscience; or psychopath, those with no empathy or with antisocial tendencies. We cannot find an adequate explanation for these personality aspects.

Many believe that we are born with a clean slate and choose to perform works of good or evil. Evidence of this can be seen in the Christian religion. According to Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (NIV). This principle says that we are good but corruptible; by the environment, family’s standards, genetically, or psychologically. In the case individuals with antisocial personality disorders, they may not be able to control their behavior, and though they are not evil at heart may do things which can be considered “evil”. A personality disorder is a persistent pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors which may appear significantly different from what can be “normal” within the person’s own culture. Research on the possible biologic risk factors for developing an antisocial personality disorder indicates in those with antisocial personality disorder, the part of the brain primarily responsible for learning from one's mistakes and for responding to sad and fearful facial expressions (the amygdala) tends to be smaller. It also responds less robustly to the happy, sad, or fearful facial expressions of others. That lack of response may have something to do with the lack of empathy that antisocial individuals tend to have with the feelings, rights, and suffering of others. One type of personality disorder, schizophrenia can cause psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorganization. Their behavior can also become extremely disorganized resulting in difficulty caring for themselves or acting appropriately in public. If left untreated, someone with this condition could become a danger to him or herself or others. Are they evil? No, they are a product of his or her illness. These disorders are treated with medication resulting in a cessation of the behaviors and the person behaving “good.”

Situations that an individual...

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