Virtue is what the culture needs. It’s all in Plato. What has happened to the moral and religious standard? It has been scourged from schools and seemingly governments.
What are these virtues that are trampled upon? The classic cardinal virtues even the Greeks recognized: prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. But also Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Later, faith, hope, and love were added from Christianity.
Today’s culture needs a good dose of all ten of these.
Prudence: Many look upon prudence as cleverness. How to get away with something. Crafty mischievous mind—utilitarianism is one of the skewed versions. But the original intent is wisdom. Wisdom is what the philosophers sought in asking question after question. Wisdom is the sought after quality spoken in the Old Testament—in how to live rightly—it is akin to morality. It is embodied in Christ.
Justice: Fair-mindedness some call it. It is relations between individuals, the social whole to one another, and individuals to the whole. Justice is again conjoined to morality. It is not whatever “I claim as right, is what I should get.”
Temperance: Some see this as tee-totaling, abstaining from something no matter what—like straight-edge, a phenomenon in the 1990s. Abstaining for its own sake is as poor as indulging. In a sense, it is knowing ones limits, but more so, it is conjoined to morality. Chastity is part of temperance. Chastity is not abstaining from sexual intercourse altogether, but in the right, moral confines of what God has ordered--in context of marriage. Temperance does not call evil that which God has made good, it is self-control, not in one’s own appetites, but in knowing when to enjoy according to God’s order. (Though there are many things in which humans must not indulge in). Again temperance is attached to wisdom; always coming back to morality—God’s order, not rules.
Fortitude: This is courage. Courage that is given from the Creator of the moral law. Courage to stand and believe and die for the one who has created. Courage is forbearance in the hardships of life, yet still trusting and loving.
Truth: In the classical sense, truth is not relative. It is an absolute coupled with fact. In the Christian sense it is Christ. All falsity withers and cowers before truth.
Goodness: Recognition of good is usually difficult to miss. Goodness is an attribute of God. Goodness holds a weight and a quality. One recognizes a quality product versus a poorly made one. But this is only a shadow. Goodness is virtuous, moral, loving, kind, not necessarily tame. Goodness is akin to a king who may be stern, but everything he does, he does for his kingdom—for his people.
Beauty: This is not necessarily tasteful to the eye. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Yet, beauty also has a weight, a quality to it, a goodness. Although beauty in itself may not be benevolent in itself—if one thinks of a false angel. Beauty’s purpose is to draw one to God. In fact, all the previous virtues are to do the same.
All virtue is wrapped in faith, hope, and love. The greatest being love. Without love, all virtue is pointless. To love (agape) embodies all virtue. It is in faith that Jesus Christ is who He claims to be—the Son of God. It is in hope that all will one day be better than things currently are. These drive our loves (agape, philia). Faith, hope, and love allow us to be temperate, courageous, wise, just. It is what helps us recognize truth, beauty, and goodness. Let us remember our first love, and all these things will be given us.