Difference between Values and Beliefs

By: | Updated: Dec-6, 2017
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Values and beliefs are important concepts that make you who you are. Although similar in some ways, these are two different things that dictate one’s behavior and feelings towards others. This article aims to show the difference between them.

Summary Table

Values Beliefs
Abstract rules about people’s standards or principles Acceptance of something as truth without proof
Influence behavior and character Influence one’s values and morals
Examples: equality, fairness, courage, compassion Examples: God is all-knowing and creator of heaven and earth, lying is bad


Values most people live by
Values most people live by

Values usually refer to an abstract rule that can be applied to many experiences. It can also be applied as per personal choice in numerous situations. Values can also be defined as a moral choice an individual uses consistently in many situations. Thus, it can be used to know a person’s sense of right or wrong, or what should be done in certain situations. Values can influence one’s behavior and attitudes. “Peace, justice, and equality for all,” or “Time is gold,” are examples of values people may follow.

Values can differ from person to person, or, taking a wider perspective, they can differ for people across all cultures. They are a basic foundation of one’s humanity, attitudes, and how one views everything that surrounds him/her. Decisions are often made based on values.

It’s no surprise that each person may have different values. They can be an amalgam of one’s background, experiences, and finally evolving into a sense of self. It can also be influenced by many factors such a religion or society. However, a person may change values over time as a result of the same. A person who has moral values is usually kind, god-loving, honest, courageous, loyal, respectful, fair, compassionate, and a whole lot more. There are several types of values, and these include ethical or moral values, religious and political values, social and aesthetic values.

major religions of the world
The major religions of the world

Beliefs are ideas a person holds true regardless if they are supported by hard, factual, and empirical evidence. It is a state of mind, a mental representation of an attitude of being positively inclined to believe in an idea as true. Psychologists define belief as one of the building blocks of conscious thought.

Beliefs are usually rooted in religion, but not always. People hold the belief of a God that created the heavens and the earth, or that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead. Muslims believe in Allah, and the Chinese revere Confucius. These are all religious beliefs built upon religious ideals and concepts and are not necessarily based on scientifically proven data.

Values vs Beliefs

So what’s the difference between values and beliefs? While people use both as their guiding principles in life, these terms are essentially different.

Values are abstract rules people apply to many life experiences. These are personal ideas people hold on to as truth and are not related to past experiences. Beliefs are assumptions people hold as true and that are related to past learned experiences. Values can affect behavior and character, whereas beliefs can influence one’s morals and values.

Values apply and are directly related to everyday life, while beliefs are often rooted in faith and religion. Some examples of values are the concepts of loyalty, courage, compassion, fairness, and respect. Beliefs would include the concepts of good and evil, astrology, and the like.

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