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How to live a virtuous life

Introduction

Living a virtuous life sounds like something that is valuable for many people. Virtue, by definition, is the moral excellence of an individual in doing what is good. To be morally excellent, one must have a character made-up of virtues that are valued as good. God provides us with an awesome gift of the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love[1]. In regards to this, Christians, Jewish, and Islam believe that for one to live a virtues life, he or she must love and promote justice, especially for the helpless. Contrary to the Jewish tradition where living a virtuous life was pegged on the rule book, Islam believes that living a virtuous life is based on the universal principles found in Islam as well as from other faiths. The paper will address how to live a virtuous life by comparing perspective from Jewish, Christian, and Islam religion.

Christian understanding of virtuous life

The Christian moral life is one that seeks to nature and practice virtue. According to Christianity, a virtue is a habitual and constant disposition to do the good. Based on this, a person is expected to not only perform good acts but also offer the best of himself or herself. An individual should express compassion, responsibility, a sense of duty, honesty, and loyalty. In terms of compassion, an individual should show compassion to everyone regardless of his or her status[2]. To live a virtuous life expressed through the values, Christians expect an individual to love the neighbor fully as Christ loved the Church. In this, an individual should express unconditional love.

Christians are supposed to be guided by values such as hope, faith, and charity because they relate directly to God. A virtuous life should be based on hope and faith. A Christian is supposed to show generosity to the world. One is supposed to share their belongings with other people, especially among the needy. Charity should be the order of the day where everyone is expected to support one another[3]. In addition, Christians should demonstrate to the whole world the value of sharing with the poor in exchange for blessings from God. The scripture commands that we should give to receive more from God through his blessings. Thus, a virtuous life should be guided by an act of charity and love for neighbors.

Islam understanding of a virtuous life

Islam, as a religion, supports all good acts and motivate doing virtues acts. Quran talks about virtues like charity, courtesy, generosity, forgiveness, discipline, gratitude, as well as honesty and fair dealing. Other values, such as humility and patience, should be exercised. To begin with, one is expected to practice charity regularly. Muslims believed that when one does a good thing, he or she would find it with Allah. In terms of courtesy, the Quran commands that one should not laugh at others[4]. One is expected not to defame or be sarcastic to one another. Thus, to be virtuous, an individual should not call the other person with offensive names.

In addition, virtuous life should be guided by values such as forgiveness, generosity, honesty, and fair dealings. One should practice forgiveness whenever another person wrongs him or her. Forgiveness should be part of an individual’s life to pardon the sin of other people. Besides, to attain righteousness, one should give freely of what they love. People who spend their wealth to help the needy would be significantly rewarded and should have no fear of grieving[5]. In regard to this, people are expected to practice generosity because it is accorded as a virtuous life. It means that a life of stinginess and un-forgiveness is not regarded as a virtuous life.

According to Islam teachings, a virtuous life is attributed to honesty and fair dealings as well as expression of gratitude. One should be grateful for everything that they receive from other people around them.  Grateful means that an individual appreciates the things, they receive in life.  People should be grateful for the gift of life given by God as well as to their parents. In addition, to live a virtuous life, one should practice honesty and engage in fair deals[6]. An individual should engage only in fair dealings, especially the ones that do not harm people. Based on this, an individual should act ethically at all times. As part of this, an individual should always stand by the truth regardless of the consequences.

Jewish understanding of a virtuous life

The Jewish religion and spiritual tradition have focused mainly on regulating behavior using a wide-ranging legal system. The traditions start with assumptions of God’s nature and his role in the world. Among the assumptions are God’s existence, cares about the world, and makes demands for people. An ethical concept in Jewish tradition is tightly bound to the theology as it is to the law[7]. The involvement of God in moral issues gives Jewish perception of passion and urgency beyond what exists in other traditions. Most of the moral precepts that guide behavior among the Jewish people is the Ten Commandments given by God. The Ten Commandments has specific laws that direct

The tradition of Jewish ethics depends on the Biblical perspective. Some of the moral precepts like repeated admonition in the prophetic books are to attend to the needs of society’s weaker group, such as the aliens, orphans, and widows. In addition, it is stated that one should not oppress a stranger hence citing an example of Israelites being strangers in the land of Egypt. Thus, one of the principles of living a virtuous life is to take care of the welfare of strangers, orphans, and widows in society[8]. Under the Jewish tradition, one should treat strangers well and take care of the needs of the widows and orphans. It means that they should support the needy by giving food, shelter, and other basic needs.

In addition, to live a virtuous life, one should promote a positive interpersonal relationship. Social integration is an important aspect of Jewish tradition. People should demonstrate kindness and care. Based on this, an individual should be kind to other people by doing what is good. People should respect one another regardless of their social status or contribution[9]. One should demonstrate kindness by helping people who are blind, crippled, or generally disabled to perform some tasks. Helping disabled people in society is a virtue. Besides, caring is an important aspect of Jewish tradition. It is mostly demonstrated in helping needy people. For instance, seeking justice for the oppressed, especially for the poor and widow.  

Similarities and differences

The three religions, Jewish, Christianity, and Islam, provide a concept of how people should live a virtuous life. The three religious provide attributes that should guide one as they relate with other people. For instance, aspects such as humility, kindness, forgiveness, generosity, and care, among others, are common in all religions. It means that a virtuous life should be guided by the provided values[10]. The overall message from the values is love for your neighbor. When one is guided by love for neighbors, then it will be easier to practice humility, forgiveness, generosity, and care for needy people. In addition, all three religions get their moral values from the scriptures. The moral concept from the Jewish religion and Christianity is obtained from the Bible, while Islam gets theirs from Quran and philosophy.

As opposed to Christianity and Islam, Jewish religion builds its ethical system upon some scriptures regarding the law provided in the Old Testament.  In the book of Deuteronomy, the stubborn and rebellious son can be put to death, and slavery is allowed. In the Jewish religion, there is some sin that cannot be pardoned; hence, death was the ultimate punishment. In regards to this, an individual is supposed to follow the law to avoid such punishments. On the other hand, Christianity established in the New Testament contradicts some scriptures followed by the Jews. According to Christianity, all sins are forgivable, and it is wrong to take another person’s life regardless of the sin committed. Christians are expected to forgive all manner of sin committed against them or to family members. Similar to Christianity, Islam asks the followers to forgive everyone of any sin and practice kindness even to the enemies.

Christianity and Islam uphold truthfulness as a moral act that believers must adhere to. The holy Quran advice that Allah has mandated all the believers to speak straight and true words. The truth is a duty that has been ordered by Allah so that the people remain truthful. The Holy Quran 33:70 advice that all those who believe in Allah should be truthful in their actions and their speech. The bible also advises Christians to remain truthful in their daily transactions and to correctly handle the words of truth[11]. 2timothy 2:15 urges Christians to maintain their stand in truth without being ashamed.

Leading an honest life is also another command that unites both religions. Sincerity is connected to obedience and selflessness in everything that believers do in their endeavors. According to the holy Quran, one cannot be virtuous in the eyes of Allah unless they are honest in every action, with respect to authorities in place and without considering their selfish interests. Quran 39:2, advice Muslims to act in honesty and sincerity without being hateful[12].The holy bible also advises Christians to be honest in and selfless in their actions.  Colossians 3:9 urges Christians to always speak the truth without considering the interests of the heart.

Conclusion

Living a virtuous life depends on our religion. Religious settings shape most of the values attributed to virtuous living. Christianity, Islam, and Jewish religion provide directions on how well a person should live by introducing aspects such as being kind, honest, forgiving one another, and care, among others. For instance, a virtuous living should incorporate all the provided values to act morally. Virtuous deeds are considered the moral standards in each religion. Christianity, Jewish and Muslim religion provides the moral standards for virtuous living.

Bibliographies

Barnes, Philip. “Religious education and the misrepresentation of religion.” In Inspiring faith in schools, pp. 75-86. Routledge, 2016.

Case, Susan S., and Edward Chavez. “Guiding lights for morally responsible sustainability in organizations: Revisiting sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” Journal of Organizational Psychology 17, no. 2 (2017).

Erickson, Brad. “Utopian virtues: Muslim neighbors, ritual sociality, and the politics of convivència.” American Ethnologist 38, no. 1 (2011): 114-131.

Green, Alexander. The virtue ethics of Levi Gersonides. Springer International Publishing, 2016.

Nichols, Aidan. The art of God incarnate: Theology and image in Christian tradition. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016.

Wadell, Paul J. Happiness and the Christian moral life: An introduction to Christian ethics. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.


[1] Barnes, Philip. “Religious education and the misrepresentation of religion.” In Inspiring faith in schools, pp. 75-86. Routledge, 2016.

[2] Nichols, Aidan. The art of God incarnate: Theology and image in Christian tradition. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016.

[3] Nichols, Aidan. The art of God incarnate: Theology and image in Christian tradition. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016.

[4]Erickson, Brad. “Utopian virtues: Muslim neighbors, ritual sociality, and the politics of convivència.” American Ethnologist 38, no. 1 (2011): 114-131.

[5] Erickson, Brad. “Utopian virtues: Muslim neighbors, ritual sociality, and the politics of convivència.” American Ethnologist 38, no. 1 (2011): 114-131.

[6] Erickson, Brad. “Utopian virtues: Muslim neighbors, ritual sociality, and the politics of convivència.” American Ethnologist 38, no. 1 (2011): 114-131.

[7] Case, Susan S., and Edward Chavez. “Guiding lights for morally responsible sustainability in organizations: Revisiting sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” Journal of Organizational Psychology 17, no. 2 (2017).

[8] Nichols, Aidan. The art of God incarnate: Theology and image in Christian tradition. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016

[9]Green, Alexander. The virtue ethics of Levi Gersonides. Springer International Publishing, 2016.

[10] Nichols, Aidan. The art of God incarnate: Theology and image in Christian tradition. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016

[11] Nichols, Aidan. The art of God incarnate: Theology and image in Christian tradition. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016.

[12]Erickson, Brad. “Utopian virtues: Muslim neighbors, ritual sociality, and the politics of convivència.” American Ethnologist 38, no. 1 (2011): 114-131.

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