Thursday, July 12, 2012

Seven Heavenly Virtues

Let's examine the seven virtues of Christianity (just for the hell of it).

1. Humility

Humility is good because the opposite is arrogance and egotism, which has the tendency to lead one to engage in behaviors that belittle or minimize the feelings and opinions of others, which is antithetical to the social order. On the other hand, it is not bad for one to develop a moderate pride in one's talents and achievements.

2. Kindness

Kindness is good because we are all afflicted with the human condition, and life is hard, and being kind towards one another promotes good feelings, whereas being unkind fosters anger and spite and other negative emotions.

That good feelings are good and bad feelings are bad I take as an axiom, but if some people disagree, then that's something that can be negotiated between them and others so that they can be treated equally as well (and treat others equally as well) as everyone else. As usual, it always comes down to the issue of consent, what people want, and how to give it to them without trespassing against others' needs and desires.

3. Patience

I think patience is generally good, because cool heads persevere where hot ones embrace impulsive actions that may later be regretted, or that may trespass against others due to not giving enough time to consideration of the repercussions of one's actions. Patience is probably not always the best course of action, however, because sometimes quick actions are required, in spite of the associated risks.

4. Diligence

I think diligence is generally good only because it pays to put sincere effort into one's pursuits. It's more fulfilling, and the fruits of one's labors will be more ripe as a result. Cutting corners has its advantages, but generally these are understood to be selfish and greedy advantages where the benefactor profits at the (oft times unknowing) expense of others.

5. Charity

I think charity should be tempered, because there is some value to having and maintaining possessions of one's own. But as far as an attitude toward others is concerned, what virtue is more important to the social order than treating others with generosity and good will? Unfortunately, in a corrupt culture, those of a charitable nature are vulnerable to being taken advantage of. But if we were all charitable, I think we would all be happier as a result.

6. Temperance

I think temperance also should be tempered (making it, perhaps, the most important virtue in my consideration), because sometimes it pays to indulge. After all, life is only once, you may as well enjoy it. However, often times it is good advice to practice temperance, lest one become absorbed to the exclusion of other activities.

7. Chastity

I think that chastity perhaps has some virtue to it in a general sense, but I just can't see how abstaining from sexual conduct, or other pleasures in life, can be considered a virtuous act. Surely, becoming absorbed in pursuits that pollute the cleanliness of your body or mind are dangerous, but that is the domain of temperance. What good does it do to avoid completely the pleasures of a material life, all for the transparent lie of eternal happiness in heaven?

Frankly, I believe the idea of 'purity' is vastly overrated, and I view it with great suspicion, as it is easily used as a tool to control people via the weapon of shame. I think, of the seven heavenly virtues, chastity should be abolished posthaste.

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