You are on page 1of 2

Civilizations need a belief system to prosper and grow because in order for those things to happen, everyone must

have the same beliefs in moral values so that they can work together. Imagine a world where everyone has different moral values, and no one knew how to work together because they all believed in different things. Where people roam the streets with nowhere to go and nowhere to be. A civilization like this would erupt into chaos because no one would have any sense of right or wrong, so they would just do as they please whatever that might be. When there is a common belief throughout a group of people, they are able to get things done because they all know what they want and they all know that teamwork will get them there. If you look back on past civilizations like China, India, Greece, and Rome, you will notice that every civilization has had a common belief system that citizens were constantly referring back in order to build and enhance their civilization. In order to further understand the impact of a belie system on society, and their influence on their followers, acknowledge the moral dilemma below: Roger Smith, a skillful swimmer, is out for a leisurely stroll. During the course of his walk he passes by a deserted pier from which a teenage boy who apparently cannot swim has fallen into the water. The boy is screaming desperately for help. Smith recognizes that there is absolutely no danger to himself if he jumps in to save the boy; he could easily succeed if he tried. Nevertheless, he chooses to ignore the boy's cries. "Why should I inconvenience myself for this kid," Smith says to himself, and passes on. If Roger Smith were Hindu, he would have thought about the consequences of Karma. Karma is a Hindu belief that states, when a person dies his or her soul is reborn into a new body based on their karma (Frey 149). Karma is made up of all the good things and bad things that a person has done throughout his or her lifetime. Roger Smith would have realized that by letting the boy die, he was creating bad karma for himself, but if he had saved the boy he would have had good karma towards him. Along with karma, there is also dharma. Dharma is ones law, obligation, and duty. As a Hindu, Smith would feel obligated to help the drowning boy. Dharma ties into karma because if Smith follows his dharma then he will have good Karma. The idea of Dharma and Karma provides moral guidance for people because it helps them strive to do the right thing, because they know that it will affect them. The Hindu belief system would have helped Roger Smith do the right thing, by making him more inclined to save the boy. If Roger Smith practiced Confucianism, then he might have had a different approach to the situation. As an elder in the Confucian community, he might have thought that it was disrespectful of the boy to interrupt his leisurely stroll. But, it can also be argued that Smith is not setting a good example for others by letting a human being die. In Confucianism it is said that people must show respect towards their elders, but in return those who are elder must set a good example for the younger people in their community (Frey 208). Because Smith seems rather arrogant, he would probably take the point of view that he was not being respected, and could argue that he was setting a good example to teach kids not to question their elders decisions. Roger Smiths actions are not labeled wrong in terms of the Confucian principles, so it depends on what kind of Confucian is looking at the scenario and how it unfolded.

In both Confucianism and Hinduism, there were many different points of view that could be taken on the situation, but in my opinion, as a Buddhist, Roger Smiths choice is clear. As a Buddhist, it is taught that to end sufferings you must give up all cravings. Roger Smiths craving of a leisurely walk is causing him to suffer because he is letting a human die, in order to satisfy his craving. Buddhists live by following the eightfold path, which states Live a life of selflessness, love, and nonviolence (Frey 159). This shows that Roger Smith was being extremely selfish by putting his leisurely stroll before a humans life. Roger Smith is not honoring the ways of the Buddha because he is thinking entirely of himself. In conclusion, I believe that as a Buddhist, Smith would save the boy from drowning, in order to follow the eightfold path. As you can tell, having moral values to guide people through life is significant to creating a successful civilization. Whether you are a Hindu, Buddhist, or Confucian, your actions and life decisions are based on whatever moral values you believe in. Giving people something to believe in is imperative because it shows people the importance of everything that they do, and how they make a difference. Belief systems and moral values guide people to do good things in life, and give them direction in everything that they do. I can help people make the right decisions and can bring a civilization together. If a whole civilization believes in the same moral values, then everyone is aiming for the same thing, everyone has the same goals. In conclusion, it is evident that belief systems and moral values are crucial for a civilizations existence and how the citizens in it live.