In addition to the four "cardinal virtues" of prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance some Christian theologians promoted the idea of three "theological" virtues, faith hope and love. Together, they make up the sevel cardinal or heavenly virtues.
The first four can be traced back to Greek philosophers and Christian theologians readily adopted them, arguing that they were applicable to all humans, Christian or otherwise. The final three developed out of Christian theological work, but in particular from the writings of Paul in the New Testament. They were not applied to all humans because theologians thought that they were not naturally a part of human character due to the Fall into sin. Instead, they came directly from God after one is baptized.
There are also seven "contrary" virtues: humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity, patience, generosity, and diligence. They are called "contrary" because each one stands in direct opposition to one of the seven deadly sins. It is believed that a conscious attempt to cultivate these virtues will help a person avoid their contrary sins: humility is opposed to pride, kindness is opposed to envy, abstinence is opposed to gluttony, chastity is opposed to lust, patience is opposed to anger, generosity is opposed to greed, and diligence is opposed to sloth.
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What is Christianity?
What are the various Christian groups, denominations, sects and heresies? What are some key concepts in Christian theology? What are some of the most important events in Christian history? All of this and more are covered in the Christianity FAQ.
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Sometimes confused with theology, the Philosophy of Religion is the philosophical study of religious beliefs, religious doctrines, religious arguments and religious history. The line between theology and the philosophy of religion isn't always sharp, but the primary difference is that theology tends to be apologetical in nature, committed to the defense of particular religious positions, whereas Philosophy of Religion is committed to the investigation of religion itself, rather than the truth of any particular religion.
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A system of human beliefs, ideals and practices which is harder to define than it may at first appear. Read more about how dictionaries, scholars and others have tried to define and explain religion.