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Can Morality be Taught?

How do you explain the fact that morally evil people can be highly educated in terms of ethics and religion? How do you account for the gap that sometimes occurs between knowledge of ethics and being an ethical person?

Can Morality Be Taught?

People can learn ethics and morals while not applying these principles to their lives. In my opinion, acting ethically and morally is the only way to be a respectful and responsible person. Despite this, there are many people in the world that cheat, con, act irresponsibly, and generally defy ethical and moral behavior. I think that the way people act is based largely upon their experiences as they grew up.

Image by Aka Hige via Flickr

Personal Motivations

Some people, while fully educated about moral and ethical behavior, may not act according to those standards because their personal motivations and objectives are different. It is a cruel world out there and sometimes the only way to make it is to put your needs and desires first.

Image by Aka Hige via Flickr

Losing Sight of Ethical Behavior

One begins to lose sight of ethics and morals when the scales are tipped more in their favor; in other words, some people are only concerned about their own well-being, no matter what the consequences to other people. Maybe they grew up with this mindset, maybe over time they became cynical, or maybe they just consistently act selfishly.

These people may only consider how things affect them without thinking about how it affects others, or they may even decide that their interests are more important than those of others. Sometimes it is okay to be this way because we do have to take care of ourselves, but continuously acting in this manner is selfish and childish.

The shocking thing is that a great deal of “high society” people are so-called ethically evil or immoral. Doctors, lawyers, politicians, actors, police, ministers, judges, and more have made their way by acting immorally and selfishly. Thankfully, everyone in the world is not this way!

Morality Just Isn’t Important to Everyone

The only way I can account for the gap between knowledge of ethics and morals and actually living according to them is that it is just not important to some people. They gain knowledge so they know what to say or how to act when necessary, but the principles were never considered important enough to internalize and live by.

Morality can be taught, but that does not mean that everyone will abide by it. How do you feel about this subject? Do you agree or disagree with the opinions stated in this article?

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User Comments
  1. mphsglo

    On November 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Morality is subject to personal or social interpretation. Most would agree that stealing and taking someone else’s life is wrong. But, is it morally wrong if someone steals to feed their children. Would it be better to let them starve? And in some countries, it’s an eye for an eye. If someone offends them, they will take a life and not be bothered one way or the other. I think it comes down to personal conviction. Yes, moral concept can be taught, but, it will go back to who’s doing the teaching and what they are teaching. Interesting topic.

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