Virtues – Attributes of God

Virtues – Attributes of God

This blog is a response to recent opposition from within the context of Religion to my support of The Virtues Project.  The reason given was that The Virtues Project tells the lie that people don’t need God to attain virtues. To those active in The Virtues Project, this is absurd, so let’s set the record straight.

The Virtues Project was started by Bahai’s, members of the small, but growing global Religion of which I am a part.  The Founders describe its origin as follows: “Tapping into Dan’s years of research in the world’s sacred traditions, they had an “Aha! Moment”. They discovered that virtues are at the heart of meaning in every culture and belief system, from indigenous oral traditions to the world’s Sacred texts.”

Virtues - Attributes of GodThe Family Virtues Guide published by the founders of The Virtues Project in 1997 is even more direct.  The preface explains that The Virtues Project does “not promote the practices or beliefs of any particular faith”. Yet it equally clearly asserts that “Virtues are described as the qualities of the soul and the attributes of God. They are the means by which we can reflect the image and likeness of the creator.”

So what to do about attacks against a noble effort to assist humanity in the nurturing of the nascent virtues within us all, our heritage as Children of God?  To assist in gathering my thoughts, I pulled a random virtue card for inspiration, and it was Purity’s turn. I’ll quote from the card:

“Purity is living in a state of physical and spiritual health… We free ourselves day by day from unwanted influences… We replace negativity with virtuous practices… Purity gives us a clear conscience and a peaceful soul.” It offers “I act from pure intentions” as an affirmation.

IThe virtue of Purity am  convinced of the purity of intent in the founders and the bulk of those participating in The Virtues Project.  For those who put a relationship with God first and foremost, fully recognizing God as the source of all virtues, there is no doubt that The Virtues Project enables others to draw nearer to God.

This is true regardless of what the distance is at which we find ourselves from God at any given moment.  Which is why leading with virtues is a powerful way to lead people to God. More powerful, I might add, than forcing our conception of God upon others.

I’ll end this Blog with the quote at the end of the card.

“I am thankful fore the gift of Purity.  It gives me a fresh start.”

 

 

 

The Virtue of Teaching Virtues

The Virtue of Teaching Virtues

Teaching Virtues to BabySeven years ago my wife and I were newlyweds living the dream in Southern California.  Then we discovered we were expecting.  Nothing changes your perspective quicker than the responsibility that comes with having created life.

We quickly decided to move to the Midwest.  Southern California may be perfect in many ways, but it wasn’t the right place for us to raise a family.  Despite all my travels, the American Heartland was a completely foreign environment to me, but one familiar to Angela, who was raised in it.  Which almost brings me to the point of this blog.

The world is entering a precarious time, in which religion is increasingly under attack in the West.  Materialism and Secularism have driven this trend for more than a hundred years, but it has rapidly accelerated in recent decades as many conclude that most of the worlds violence and negative tendencies emanate from religion.  This is highly debatable, since despotic rulers seeking to eradicate Religion have destroyed far more lives in the last 100 years than those doing so in the name of Religion.

Nonetheless, an emphasis on the material is like a powerful gravity source pulling at the Western mind.  This force counteracts the spiritual elements of society that traditionally raised our standards by teaching and instilling virtues into our children, and thus our civilization.  We see the effects in all of our institutions today, including business, government, schools and entertainment.Black Hole  What can families do to instill values and foster virtues in their own children, and also extend these into the community and society in general?

We stumbled upon the Global Virtues project through the Baha’i Faith, of which we are members.  This marvelous project has enabled us to create The Essential Family Virtues Program – Madison, which we run out of our home.  Perhaps the most powerful element of the Virtues Project is independence from any specific Religion or Ideology.  All of them claim to aspire to the same high ideals, and the Virtues represent a common language that allows all of them to communicate.

This year we’re focused on Truthfulness, Kindness, Forgiveness, Courage and Service, among others.  While teaching virtues together within our own families, we learn from and about each other at the same time.  This provides instant feedback on the power of the language of Virtues to transcend any perceived differences and create a community able to overcome the forces of materialism pulling us all towards its vortex.

It initially surprised me how quickly others grasp the value of what we’re doing and express an interest to join us.  As we enter our second year we’re finding that lighting our candles together chases away a considerable amount of darkness.  Please send an email to Virtues@SOOPLLC.com if you’d like to discuss lighting a similar candle in your area, wherever you might find yourself.  The language of virtues is universal – no translator needed.

One candle can dispel the darkness