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Moral character

Revision as of 11:39, February 3, 2007 by Dr Joe Kiff (Talk | contribs)

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Moral character or character is an evaluation of a person's moral and mental qualities. Such an evaluation is subjective — one person may evaluate someone's character on the basis of their virtue, another may consider their fortitude, courage, loyalty, honesty, or piety.

Developing true character happens when we focus on character qualities such as: truthfulness, diligence, obedience, loyalty and courage. Each quality overlaps the other. For example, you cannot be truthful and dishonest at the same time. Some character qualities, such as punctuality, can be developed through practise. To practise will require one to have discipline; which is also a desirable character quality.

What is true character? Character is the cumulative effect of the most desirable character qualities found in a person. Heroes exhibit traits such as self sacrifice and bravery. Heroes are men and women of exemplary character.

Some people consider character to be a mental choice. To improve or build someone's character (by whatever yard-stick you use) you must address their intellect. Examples of this can be found in religious preaching, sermons, lectures, philosophy, debate, morality tales, fables, and various works of literature, treatises and tracts. Character can be taught through education; but the best teacher is the teacher's character.

Other people believe that there is a link between moral character and one's physical body; improvement of the character may be sought through privation, pain or other hardships. Examples of this are often found in religious life (hermits, Spartan conditions in monasteries and nunneries, flagellation and other self-mortification), and also in corporal punishment, the pain of childbirth, and restrictive diets and fasting.

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