Virtues Are The Bedrock Of The Christian Life … The Virtue Of Respect For Others

Continuing on with thoughts on 2 Peter 1, virtues are moral characteristics reflected in one’s person.  Virtues are the basis of moral development, and love, that is seeking the other’s highest good, is the capstone of moral development.

Betsy Lydle Smith communicates in Virtues Training that respect  is honoring oneself and others and caring about their rights. Respect is the communication of regard for another. Respect is behaving and speaking in a way which makes life more peaceful and orderly for everyone. Acting respectfully is the communication of dignity for another.

Questions for reflection are  … How do I show respect for others who might disagree with me? … I might say something like, I have regard for the person, and communicate dignity to the individual, but I see things differently. How can I be respectful to all people? … I generally do not make a point to be in other people’s lives, I live privately, I endeavor not to be a busy body in other people’s business, and I generally do not  comment on others or their work, unless they be deceased, as in the case of Milton Friedman who is in the grave, but his legacy, unfortunately lives on. 

A. B. Caneday, writes in Credo On Graces, Virtues and Values, relating that philosophic and religious pluralism’s moral education has substituted values for virtues, by establishing values clarification to be taught in schools.  

Values clarification calls for students to determine for themselves, what is right and wrong. 

Values clarification calls for letting the individual’s likes and dislikes set the standard of how they treat others; thus the individual’s subjective preferences and feelings determines morality.

Doug Ross communicates in Dreams From My Single Parent Family that establishment and support of the family unit is a prized virtue, as the role of the father is essential in installing a number of other virtues such as personal responsibility, the pursuit of education, the ability to communicate dignity to another, and the ability to uphold the dignity of another.  Mr. Ross points out that in Chicago 75% of  black children were born out-of-wedlock. It became a cultural norm for young black men to father children and flee responsibility. The result was rampant crime. 

Hipcrime writes in How Unemployment Affects Society “in the 1930s, with job loss, socializing all but ceased as well, a casualty of poverty and embarrassment. Although some men embraced family life and drew their wife and children closer, most became distant. Children described their father as “mean,” “nasty,” or “bossy,”  (psycophathic) and didn’t want to bring friends around, for fear of what he might say. “There was less physical violence towards the wife than towards the child,” Komarovsky wrote.”

Hipcrime continues that with a deteriorating economy today “we see exactly the same sort of social breakdown among whites that we see among blacks – drug abuse, crime, out of wedlock births, rebellion, family disintegration, falling educational outcomes. ”

On illigitimacy, “A large body of research shows that one of the worst things for children, in the long run, is an unstable family. By the time the average out-of-wedlock child has reached the age of 5, his or her mother will have had two or three significant relationships with men other than the father, and the child will typically have at least one half sibling. This kind of churning is terrible for children—heightening the risks of mental-health problems, troubles at school, teenage delinquency, and so on—and we’re likely to see more and more of it, the longer this malaise stretches on.”

“We could be headed in a direction where, among elites, marriage and family are conventional, but for substantial portions of society, life is more matriarchal,” says Wilcox. The marginalization of working-class men in family life has far-reaching consequences. “Marriage plays an important role in civilizing men. They work harder, longer, more strategically. They spend less time in bars and more time in church, less with friends and more with kin. And they’re happier and healthier.”

“Communities with large numbers of unmarried, jobless men take on an unsavory character over time. Edin’s research team spent part of last summer in Northeast and South Philadelphia, conducting in-depth interviews with residents. She says she was struck by what she saw: “These white working-class communities—once strong, vibrant, proud communities, often organized around big industries—they’re just in terrible straits. The social fabric of these places is just shredding. There’s little engagement in religious life, and the old civic organizations that people used to belong to are fading. Drugs have ravaged these communities, along with divorce, alcoholism, violence. I hang around these neighborhoods in South Philadelphia, and I think, ‘This is beginning to look like the black inner-city neighborhoods we’ve been studying for the past 20 years.’ When young men can’t transition into formal-sector jobs, they sell drugs and drink and do drugs. And it wreaks havoc on family life. They think, ‘Hey, if I’m 23 and I don’t have a baby, there’s something wrong with me.’ They’re following the pattern of their fathers in terms of the timing of childbearing, but they don’t have the jobs to support it. So their families are falling apart—and often spectacularly.”So, of course, Murray ignores all this data and claims it’s all the fault of the unworthy poor and their lack of moral fiber.”

My experience is that when the father is absent, or when the father uses corporal discipline rather than communication discipline, then the children grow up without a genuine and objective conscience, and become sociopathic or psychopathic, being confrontive or abusive with others.  

Rock Hackshaw writes in What’s Really Going On Here, regarding the missing father syndrome, stating “somewhere between the seventh month of pregnancy, and the seven years of childhood, personality, attitude, disposition, moral character and the like, are initially shaped.”

The Divine, that is the attributes and person of Jesus Christ, is the universal standard of virtue. To say to each his own, relinquishes the graces by which one is saved. May the message of God’s standards of rights and wrongs be communicated to those of like precious faith and to their children.

On theosis, that is on partaking of the divine nature, I write that the separate existence of the redeemed is to be absorbed and lost in the essence of the Divine. We are the hot water and the Divine the tea bag. As the tea bag is placed into the water, the later takes on the nature of the tea.  The two become one and the moral nature of God  and the meaning of His Goodness, and moral benefit is absorbed into one’s life. Thus the feelings, thoughts, and purposes of God become the experience and principle of action in one’s life.


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