Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Virtues (for the virtue project)

Western Virtues include temporance, prudence, fortitude and justice

Temporance: habitual moderation; can be interpreted as people who take what they need and give the rest away
Prudence: exercise of sound judgement; modern usage has come to mean caution
Fortitude: courage
Justice: fairness

Christian Virtues include faith, hope, charity (love)

Faith: belief in trustworthiness of something or someone
Hope: belief in a positive outcome
Charity (Love): unlimited loving kindness toward all others (not about benevolent giving)

Jewish Tradition

Virtue seems to be all about compassion - love others as a parent loves a child; "that which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow" (Hillel)

Muslim Tradition

The central theme of virtue seems to be about acceptance, mercy, compassion

The longer list includes: prayer, repentance, honesty, loyalty, sincerity, frugality, prudence, moderation, self-restraint, discipline, perseverance, patience, hope, dignity, courage, justice, tolerance, wisdom, good speech, respect, purity, courtesy, kindness, gratitude, generosity and contentment.

Hindu tradition

Altruism (selfless service), moderation, honesty (to self and others), cleanliness (of the body), protection (of the Earth), universality (tolerance and respect for all), peace (of manner), non-violence, reverence (for elders and teachers)

Bhuddist tradition (and here it gets more complicated because there are lots but they seem to come down to four main ones)

Loving kindness, compassion (hope that a person's suffering will diminish), altruistic joy for self and others, equanimity (accepting all sentient beings as equal; learning to accept positives and negatives equally)

Key questions:

Christianity and Hinduism seem devoid of anything specifically about compassion although maybe Christian thinkers would put compassion into charity?

Where does forgiveness fit in? Maybe it is not a virtue at all but something else? If something else, what is it? Who believes in forgiveness? All of them? Or just some of them? And if they believe, who do you forgive?

Tolerance - not mentioned in Christian or Jewish traditions explicitly. Wrapped up in something else or not applicable as a virtue?

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