A belief that I hold is the ethical belief of honesty.  Being honest is the choice to not lie, cheat, or deceive.  When I think of honesty I think of the story about “the boy who cried wolf”.   The boy cries wolf when there isn’t really a wolf. He does this several other times and then when the wolf actually is there and he cries wolf no one comes to his rescue.  Being honest with others develops a mutual feeling of trust which promotes help among people.

I have been influenced to be honest from many factors which started when I was a young child.  My parents who have been honest to each other and those around them through their 33 years of marriage were my beginning example of what this trait and ethical belief looked like.  I am firmly convinced that before I knew the full meaning of the word honesty, I saw it in action with the people I was surrounded by.  This included family, friends, fellow church goers, and the list goes on.  As I grew older, these same circles of people influenced me and reinforced this belief in me.  I learned at an early age that for me, honesty is an admirable trait, but not one that always produces the most desirable end result.  These results might b revealing that I had done something wrong, receiving something that I should not have, or finding money that did not belong to me.  Many people in these situations would have no lasting thought or feelings of guilt or betrayal.  Personally, being honest and having the fortitude to continue down this path and set a legacy for my children as my parents and others have led me this way, is a clear and precise attitude for this ethical characteristic.  The feeling of peace and knowing that I can go through life with a clear conscience is reassuring.  Strong faith from childhood to my current point in life has also tremendously reinforced honesty in my life.

Choosing dishonesty for some might be the only choice they have.  For instance, a Christian in China who is caught sharing the Bible can be sentenced to jail.  If people in a country are oppressed due to the leaders and beliefs of their country, whether they are basically honest or moral, they would not be considered dishonest.   As long as there are beliefs in countries and leaders who feel their way is  superior to others who belong to a class of people involving prejudice and separation, not one of equality, being dishonest would take on a whole new meaning.  It would be hard to even distinguish the difference between the two.  Even if someone had been exposed to a life filled with goodness and honesty, they would become consumed with their current situation as they tried to survive.   In circumstances such as these, politics, living conditions and separation of levels of society would force the prevalence of dishonesty.   Considering this, being honest versus dishonest is a gray area of life and one in which you can tell that there is more to this subject than right versus wrong.



2 thoughts on “Honesty

  1. Miles,

    This is a great start to the assignment. You do a great job of laying out some of the background for your beliefs. You look closely at both what you believe and why, examining the social context as well the specifics of your own thinking.

    The second half of the response needs to be developed a little more, though, in order for the assignment to be graded satisfactory. Remember, the assignment is asking you to think about why other people might think differently from you. For instance, you say:

    “Someone who has grown up around parents or peers whose life was consumed with dishonesty would likely view this as something that was marginal from a value or moral perspective.”

    You need to get into a little more detail about this. What are some alternatives to what you call “honesty”? I’ve never heard of someone advocating for “dishonesty,” but there are lots of contexts in which people might feel like it’s better to hide something about themselves, to obey only the letter of the law, to protect other people’s feelings and beliefs. Think about this for a second: If you’re living in an oppressive political system, is “honesty” the best policy? What might someone believe is more important?

    The *really* hard thing about this assignment is that it’s asking you to explore the mindset of someone different from yourself.

    Please review the assignment prompt. To receive a grade of S, this post must be revised to meet the requirements of the assignment. You have until September 24 to complete the revisions, but I strongly suggest submitting them ahead of time in case a second round of revisions are necessary. After you’ve edited the post, inform me in-class and I’ll mark it for review.

  2. Miles,

    Much better! The assignment is complete, but keep thinking about this. There are some really important ideas here about how virtuous behavior in individuals relates to the world, but there’s a *lot* more to be thought and said about it. If your group hasn’t set a topic yet, you should consider doing something on the history of ethics.

    Grade: Satisfactory.


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