Website owner:  James Miller

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How character traits are acquired

   Q.  Why do people act wrongly?  Why do they do bad, wrong 
   things?  Why do they do things like lie, cheat, steal, commit 
   adultery, wrong others, etc.? 

   A.  The natural inclinations of the flesh, temptation, etc.. 

   Q.  What causes some people to resist following the natural 
   inclinations of the flesh, resist temptations, etc. and, 
   instead of acting wrongly, act rightly in accordance with 
   honor, integrity and principle? 

   A.  Natural inner sense, higher inner knowledge (conscience), 
   understanding, wisdom, love of God, allegiance to God. 

   Q.  How are character traits acquired?  What causes character 
   traits?  What causes character traits such as honesty, 
   dishonesty, justness, courage, laziness, industriousness, 
   temperance, kindness, humility, etc.?  How are character traits 
   created?  For example, how does the character trait of honesty 
   arise?  The character trait of dishonesty?  The character trait 
   of laziness?

   A.  By repeatedly doing that thing that the character trait 
   represents.  Repeated activity in a thing.  An honest man 
   develops the habit of honesty by repeatedly acting in an honest 
   way.  Similarly a dishonest man becomes dishonest by repeatedly 
   acting in a dishonest way.  An immoral man becomes immoral by 
   repeatedly doing immoral things.  A temperate man becomes 
   temperate by repeatedly acting in a temperate way.  A kind man 
   becomes kind by repeatedly acting in a kind way.  Character 
   traits are habits.  Habits are created by repeatedly engaging 
   in an activity.

   What causes a person to act in a certain way?  At bottom a 
   person acts in a particular way because he believes in that 
   way.  An honest man acts honestly because he believes in 
   honesty.  A dishonest man acts dishonestly because he believes 
   in dishonesty.  A temperate man acts temperately because he 
   believes in temperance.  A frugal man acts frugally because he 
   believes in frugality.  A moral man acts morally because he 
   believes in morality.  A humble man acts humbly because he 
   believes in humility.  A kind man acts kindly because he 
   believes in kindness.  A polite man acts politely because he 
   believes in politeness.  A person given to self-indulgence acts 
   as he does because he believes in self-indulgence.  At bottom 
   it is all a matter of belief -- what you believe in.  It is a 
   matter of philosophy and attitude. 

   Nov 2005

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