Laws, Morals, Ethics and Religious Beliefs
External forces have an impact on the behavior of individuals in a society. The behavior of people has a strong influence by four external forces namely laws, morals, ethics as well as religious beliefs (Strohminger & Nichols, 2014). People need to understand all the external forces since they have a huge impact on their daily activities and life. Understanding all the external forces ensures that individuals live according to the expectations in a certain society. Accordingly, this paper compares and contrasts the four external forces that influence the behaviors of individuals besides discussing how the external forces influence behavior.
There are several similarities between laws, morals, ethics and religious beliefs. One of the similarities is that they all seek to provide a guideline for the behavior of human beings. Another similarity is that all the external forces show the expected code of conduct of people in a society or individuals of a specific religious sect (Downe, Cowell, & Morgan, 2016). The basis of the four external forces is normally on the values of a particular society. They all describe the basic conduct of all human beings. They are a representation of the minimum anticipated standards of human behavior. Laws and ethics are systems that serve to maintain a set of moral values and prevent their violation by people. They all serve to provide a guide to what people should do in a specific circumstance. The existence of the external forces is to ensure that people co-exist well in a society.
Ethics are moral principles that govern the behavior of a person when carrying out a particular activity. Ethics provide a guide on how individuals should behave in order to build a nonviolent society (Downe, Cowell, & Morgan, 2016). Morals are the principles that concern the differentiation between right and wrong or good behavior from bad behavior. There is no formal creation of morals but instead they evolve within a society gradually. The change of morals is slow as the attitude of a society changes. The transition of laws is usually slow. The existence of morals may be vague depending on a society. The breaking of morals might lead to condemnation in the society without the involvement of the state. Morals are a reflection of the values and beliefs of a society hence they are of great relevance to a society (Goodwin, Piazza, & Rozin, 2014). Laws are the system of regulations which a specific community or country identifies as the regulatory guidelines that governs its members (Galbiati & Vertova, 2014). The creation of laws is by formal institutions such as the parliament. The creation of laws may be instant and the cancellation of laws may be prompt as well. This implies that a law may be present at some moment and they might become inexistent after a while. The enforcement of the laws may be through the imposition of punishments to the individuals who might break laws. The breaching of laws may result in punishment or the use of remedies imposed by the government. There is a possibility to amend or improve laws. The attitude of the society towards law is irrelevant. Nonetheless, a law exists regardless of its perception by the society (Galbiati, & Vertova, 2014). Religious beliefs are the beliefs that a certain group of people believes in. Laws either are either existent or inexistent. Religious beliefs do not change relatively and they only apply to the followers of a specific religion.
Laws, morals, ethics and religious beliefs influence the behavior of human beings. Laws play a significant role in the regulation of the behavior of people as they interact daily. Laws are in place to govern the overall behavior of individuals in a society. Laws act as the acceptable norm of conduct for individuals. They ensure that individuals behave in such a way that is acceptable without violation of the rights of other people. The purpose of making laws is to provide an appropriate guideline as well as order in the behavior of people as a strategy to maintain equity on the three divisions of government. Laws enable individuals to adopt change in the society in line with the set regulations (Galbiati, & Vertova, 2014).
Morals describe the standards that people should use to treat other people in the society for example with respect and without being judgmental. This is because morals enable an individual to differentiate between right and wrong as well as good from bad. Morals ensure that people behave in a way that they are accountable of all their actions. Morals enable people to contemplate on their character as well as spirituality. They enable people to build good connections in the personal and professional lives as well (Downe, Cowell, & Morgan, 2016). The achievement of this is usually by behaving in a good and acceptable way. Morals are necessary when a person is trying to create a good impression in the society. Morals enable a person become competent, friendly and other personality characteristics that boost the overall behavior of an individual positively (Hartley et al., 2016).
Ethics describe the moral standards or values that govern the behavior of an individual or group. Ethics are not a problem to bear but rather a sensible and effective guide for the behavior of an individual in the society (Downe, Cowell, & Morgan, 2016). Ethics enables individuals who are in a leadership position to rule in accordance with the set standards. This is because the ethics, which leaders apply in an organization, influence the morale as well as the loyalty of employees. The ethical codes of practice determine how a leader will behave with regard to discipline of processes. Ethics enables leaders to behave in the most acceptable way in an organization. When people in leadership display high ethical standards, the workers of the organization stay motivated to apply ethics in their lines of duty too. People who behave in an ethical way in an organization improve the image the reputation of an institution in the society. A good reputation regarding ethics improves the overall performance of a company. Ethics enable individuals to behave with utmost levels of integrity as well as honesty. The application of ethics by individuals enables them to adhere to the set policies and standards as they strive to achieve the best in their daily activities. Ethics enables individuals to meet the required standards with regard to quality on their work (Downe, Cowell, & Morgan, 2016).
Religious beliefs have an impact on the behavior of individuals. Religion may limit the freedom that an individual has. Religious beliefs control the deeds of an individual with a set of guidelines and regulations, which restrict the actions of all faithful followers. A good example is the Islam religious beliefs, which restrict the consumption of pork and alcohol; this, in turn, prevents Muslims from consuming such. The perception of this may be positive or negative depending on individuals nevertheless, it has the power to influence the behavior of people believing in the Muslim religion. Religion influences the behavior of humans in every aspect of their lives. This is because religious beliefs make people live according to the morals as well as rules of a particular religion. Religious beliefs influence the thinking, the actions and the choices of a person. People have a tendency to seek help from their Supreme Being when they face problems beyond their capacity. It is clear that religious beliefs influence individuals by trying to influence their lives to trust that they have no significant personal power (Hartley et al., 2016).
Laws, morals, ethics and religious beliefs may affect my personal behavior in a number of ways. They all work to ensure that I live in a way that is acceptable in the society. The external forces make sure that I behave well as a person in a way that does not violate the rights of other people. They ensure that I show respect to other people’s opinions and ideas. Religious beliefs ensure that I abide by the guidelines of my religion in my overall behavior. Laws provide the expected code of conduct in all my undertakings. Morals ensure that my personal behavior displays my knowledge of what is right and wrong.
Laws, morals, ethics and religious beliefs have both similarities and differences, which people should understand. All the four external forces have a close relationship and they all represent the minimum ethical behavior that an individual should exhibit (Strohminger & Nichols, 2014). Nevertheless, their distinction is from many aspects.
Downe, J., Cowell, R., & Morgan, K. (2016). What Determines Ethical Behavior in Public Organizations: Is It Rules or Leadership? Public Administration Review, 76 (6), 898-909. Doi: 10.1111/puar.12562
Galbiati, R., & Vertova, P. (2014). How laws affect behavior: Obligations, incentives and cooperative behavior. International review of law and economics, 38, 48-57. Doi:10.1016/j.irle.2014.03.001
Goodwin, G. P., Piazza, J., & Rozin, P. (2014). Moral character pre- dominates in person perception and evaluation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(1), 148-168. Doi: 10.1037/a0034726.
Hartley, A. G., Furr, R. M., Helzer, E. G., Jayawickreme, E., Velasquez, K. R., & Fleeson, W. (2016). Morality’s Centrality to Liking, Respecting, and Understanding Others. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(7), 648-657. Doi: 10.1177/1948550616655359.
Strohminger, N., & Nichols, S. (2014). The essential moral self. Cognition, 131(1), 159–171. Doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.12.005.