Good or bad?
Have you ever asked yourself the question where does the ability to decide what is and is not moral come from? What has shaped our moral beliefs? Is our moral code determined more by our genetics or by our environment we live in ? All of these are difficult questions and I am going to attempt to answer them in this text. This essay is going to explore the impacts of genetics, religion and culture, environment and upbringing on human’s moral principles.
Firstly, I would like to talk about the influence of genetics. M. J. Crockett says there is a set of fundamental rules that makes us believe that killing, lying, stealing etc. is always wrong. (Crockett, 2016) They are engrained in human’s DNA and allow almost no exception. They can be violated in cases such as killing someone in order to save our relative etc. (Ludden, 2016)
Secondly, our morals are shaped by our upbringing and environment. In a paper from University of Oxford psychologist Jim Everett and his colleagues on intuitive moral judgement is a claim that our intuitive morality has been shaped by opinions of other people. They reason that we are wired this way, because we need the approval from others, in order for us to appear trustworthy and therefore be able to cooperate with them, which is crucial for our own survival. (Jim, 2016) However, there are exceptions and that is why we have two categories of people. The first group consists of people with absolute values. These people follow the intuitive code of ethics and are greatly influenced by their environment. The second group has flexible morals. In some cases, they are able to break away from their intuitions and think rationally.
Parents of children play a big role in child’s moral development. It is not an exception when families intentionally choose moral beliefs for their children as a part of their legacy. It starts with picking their extracurriculars but it goes way deeper, especially when it comes to religion. Parents present various stories, songs and practices, which can radically shift child’s morals. (Oswalt, n.d.)
Last, but not least, we have culture and religion. It is apparent that both have immense impact on society. And, it is also important to note their changing character. A good example would be abortion. It used to be unthinkable to deliberately stop woman’s pregnancy once it has already begun, but that is slowly changing as our culture evolves. We are probably somewhere in the middle now, since there are countries where it is completely legal to abort a child, but also countries, whose laws do not allow it. It will be interesting to see in which direction this goes. Values are transmitted through religion and can become an inextricable part of one’s identity. (Moral Development, n.d.)
To sum up, morality is formed by various things and it is hard to decide, which has the biggest effect. Morality is continually changing and the pace of it is getting faster and faster. There is no telling, what our morality is going to look like in 100 years, we can just sit back and watch.
Crockett, M. J. (2016). Inference of Trustworthiness From Intuitive Moral Judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 772–787.Haidt, J. (2008, March). The moral roots of liberals and conservatives.Jim, E. A. (2016). Inference of Trustworthiness From Intuitive Moral Judgments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 772-787.Ludden, D. (2016). Where Does Our Moral Sense Come From? Psychology Today.Moral Development. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_development?oldformat=trueOswalt, A. (n.d.). Mentalhelp.net. Retrieved from Brofenbrenner's Environmentally Influenced Morality: https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/brofenbrenner-s-environmentally-influenced-morality/