Beliefs and Behavior, an Ancient Perspective and Modern Application


  • Robert J. Oppenheimer


The paper describes an experiential exercise, which has the participants examine their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors, and how tolerant they are to the beliefs of others. It starts by briefly describing the beliefs in the gods of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. It discusses and provides an example of the relationship amongst beliefs, values, attitudes, intended behaviors and actual behaviors. An exercise is provided that asks students to specify a belief they have and relate it to their attitudes and behavior. Working in small groups classmates determine the extent they accept the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of others as legitimate and the degree to which they agree with them. These are discussed in relation to tolerance to others and implications for work and society.