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What is moral character?

an abstract concept you can't prove or define 0.2 20.0% [ 3 ]
charisma born from honor & virtue, to put it simply 0.066666666666667 6.7% [ 1 ]
something else, I'll explain 0.6 60.0% [ 9 ]
I don't know I'm here to find out. 0.13333333333333 13.3% [ 2 ]
Total Votes:[ 15 ]
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MistressOfTheShadows's avatar

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I looked up moral character on wikipedia as well as other forms of character, but there was still a lot of things on answered for me. In short I'd like to know the following: What is moral character? How would you define it? How do you define who has it & how much they have? How does one build moral character? & how does one maintain it?

I ask because I hear my boyfriend & his mom & the pastor at their Baptist church (which I recently joined) talk about it often, but I don't really know what it is. I was raised Lutheran before I decided to switch for my boyfriend, but before that I was never really that consistent with going to church & I had a very lax & spoiled upbringing as the only child of an older mom who was down to her last egg when she had me... so I never had much emphasis placed on how I behaved or what kind of character I developed... basically they smothered me with nurturing, almost never said "no", and let me be a freethinker, do whatever I want & express myself however i wished without caring as long as I dressed modestly, used good table manners, said excuse me when passing or bumping into people & didn't hurt anyone physically or verbally... I also didn't get very well socialized as a homeschooled only child who had trouble making lasting friendships...

Basically, I don't know what kind of character I really have or how much of it I have. Basically what good traits I have such as loyalty & integrity I've developed in an effort to try to make friends want to stay with me out of the hope that others would mirror me or see me as valuable for having them, although I've also developed habits of using people & attempting to do under handed things to get my way if I think I might lose someone or something important & have thus been told that I should take care not to "sacrifice my character" to get what I want & feel some shame in knowing that there's probably been plenty of times that I have "sacrificed good character". I'd also say that patience & self-control have never been virtues that I've had much of unfortunately... I think my boyfriend is a man of good though, because I've never met anyone so kind, thoughtful, loyal, dedicated, & honor bound & never thought I would without taking a time machine to the days of knights or samurai... but he thinks he doesn't have much character & I don't understand why..
Capricious Conundrum's avatar

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I'm almost wholly on the left-hand path, so I couldn't really teach you much about morality, but the core of most right-hand path moral codes is altruism, plain and simple. However, since altruism usually ensures the continued survival and propagation of the ever-rapacious human species, it could be argued that altruism, at least among humans at our current level of technology, is actually a great evil.
Xiam's avatar

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A checklist:

1. Are people calling you an a*****e?
2. Why are people calling you an a*****e?
3. Write down the things that may lead someone to call you an a*****e.
4. Work on eliminating those negative traits to become less of an a*****e.
5. Catch yourself when you're acting like an a*****e.
6. Congratulations! You are no longer an a*****e.

Should I try a different approach that doesn't use the word "a*****e" so much?

Capricious Conundrum
However, since altruism usually ensures the continued survival and propagation of the ever-rapacious human species, it could be argued that altruism, at least among humans at our current level of technology, is actually a great evil.

Why do you suppose that? It seems now we come to the question of "What is evil?"

Throughout most of human history, it seems to have been "That which is detrimental to humanity," but I suppose now we should be considering the safety of all life on our planet. And certainly once we find it elsewhere, all life in the universe.

But then, I suppose, at some point we'll have to question just what "life" really is. Especially if our own technology reaches the point of AI wherein it can qualify for the term "life."
The individual defines or accepts the moral character and his virtues. There are countless perceptions of what a moral character is. You build and maintain it by following the perceived rules.
Morality is the rules and standards that we (most of us anyway) can agree is best for us.

As for what is moral, that'd probably take quite a bit of discussion. Sometimes people's concepts of morality aren't just different, but opposite and mutually exclusive.
xXZirkannia's avatar

Interesting Citizen

Baptist Churches often focus a lot on the do's and don'ts of Christianity, which can get legalistic and kind of silly. (No offense to any Baptists here, this is merely an observation.)

It is impossible to be as Morally Perfect as God, and no matter how hard one tries, they always will fall short. God knows that we mess up a lot. He doesn't want us to struggle to be perfect. He just wants us to come to Him as we are and trust Him to help/guide us.
No-Mi-Jutsu-Yu's avatar

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I think a proper moral system aims for the overall good.

Not the individual good, not for the good of a certain group, but overall good for all that can have good.

Things I would call good, are honesty, careful use of knowledge, seeking betterment, seeking truth, willing to change for these reasons, standing up for what is right, compassion, thinking creatively/flexibly.

Things I would say are bad, would be things like dishonesty, greed, self-righteousness, maliciousness, not willing to change for good, thinking traditionally or absolutistly.

I would say those things are bad because it doesnt promote change or happyness or truth, just pain. I include thinking traditionally, because veen Bruce Lee thought martial arts were too traditional and impractical and not perfect, the same is completely said of other traditions. For example, between a butterknife or a spoon for obtaining peanutbtuter from a jar I would choose a spoon for a knife retrieves less peanutbutter and the peanutbutter can fall off of the butterknife. I choose the spoon also because less gets on the handle, but many would be opposed because its not 'proper'. That is just promoting conflict because they are uncomfortable with a subtle difference, it is ultimately their problem and is a poor idea to waste energy on, if culture is often like this then culture often wastes time and teaches us to waste time, I would say its the cause of many problems.
The wikipedia article on moral character is pretty good, probably better than most responses you will get here. I would summarize morality as consideration for others, something completely lacking in modern culture. To build moral character, I suggest reading the Bible and thinking seriously about what it says. I also suggest keeping the Sabbath which is a good discipline. Unfortunately modern Christianity doesn't seem to have much to offer to help with moral character, so you are on your own. I also suggest being honest and direct with your boyfriend. If he thinks he doesn't have much character & you don't understand why, then just ask him. The goal in dating should be to maximize honest communication and avoid sex until marriage.
Avgvsto's avatar

Knight

Capricious Conundrum
I'm almost wholly on the left-hand path, so I couldn't really teach you much about morality, but the core of most right-hand path moral codes is altruism, plain and simple.
If it was wholly altusistic there wouldn't be much need for a God then.
Avgvsto's avatar

Knight

I believe in the concepts of virtue.
Christien Chalfant 's avatar

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In my opinion, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and believe people are inherently good.
So there's that, but then I also think people's morals are based upon their religion or lack of religion, their experiences, and maybe with some ingluence of their society's accepted morals and laws.
Dionnysia's avatar

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I don't think there's any one particular way to define morality, but to me personally, I think of morality as acting in a manner that shows generosity, patience, kindness, honesty, and self-control. I speak from outside of a religious context of any sort, so these terms may be defined broadly.

In short, I think morality is acting in a manner that is polite and mature in all circumstances.
No-Mi-Jutsu-Yu's avatar

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MistressOfTheShadows
Morals generally may be social rules to follow to not impede on societies progress or functioning. Some behaviors always impede progress, while help functioning, or vice versa, so it can get tricky what a person chooses, progress or functionality, but where they can meet they should meet.

Morals were originally probably etiquette in small villages or groups. Even animals have moral behavior when they form groups, since questioning the alpha is the same as questioning a wise leader in a village. They put the underling in his place basically, then they maintain the group based around the leaders. Then specialization occurs and different groups have different needs, diff3erent cultures have different customs, its basically us trying to not piss each other off so we can live in peace, not to be confused with cowardice or 'laying on our backs and taking it' as a repressed alpha might feel, who actually just wants power or freedom.

Odd how power and freedom are so intertwined.

But its now about group freedom. Group freedom is morality. The super ego, from psychology, perhaps. Ego is individual freedom, and the id is what we desire to do with those freedoms, perhaps could be an interpretation or visualization of some blokes psychology terms.
Resonare Praeteriti's avatar

Beloved Sex Symbol

Capricious Conundrum
I'm almost wholly on the left-hand path, so I couldn't really teach you much about morality, but the core of most right-hand path moral codes is altruism, plain and simple. However, since altruism usually ensures the continued survival and propagation of the ever-rapacious human species, it could be argued that altruism, at least among humans at our current level of technology, is actually a great evil.

emotion_brofist Couldn't have said it better myself.

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