The Story of Virtue: Universal Lessons on How to Live

How can you live a good life? What values or “virtues” can you draw on in an increasingly secular and divided world? When religions appear to always contradict each other, whose guidance should you turn to? The Story of Virtue attempts to answer these questions, questions that have profound implications, both on an individual and a universal level.

On the surface, it seems that religion is a source of tension in the world. Fundamentalism is on the rise. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, believers and non-believers are speaking to each other less and distrusting each other more. A clash of civilisations has been predicted. But it need not be so. The Story of Virtue argues that the world’s major faiths share much in common — more than many religious leaders will freely admit.

Rather than looking at doctrine and the other baggage that religions have accumulated over the years, The Story of Virtue delves into ancient myths, fables and core morality tales from the traditions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and other religions, as well as western secular philosophy. The book identifies the common threads that run through these stories, threads that make up a universal human fabric of morality.

The Story of Virtue identifies 14 key virtues — Empathy, Compassion, Charity, Self-discipline, Loyalty, Audacity, Honesty, Humility, Tolerance, Wisdom, Work, Love, Justice and Mercy — all of which are emphasised to a greater or lesser degree in these stories, and which, the book argues, are at the heart of the religious traditions from which they stem. The reader is encouraged to read these stories, and to seek in their own lives a place for the virtues they illustrate. This is a book for anyone wishing to answer that perennial question, “How should I live?”

€16.95; paperback; September 2005; ISBN 1-904148-77-8

Where to buy The Story of Virtue

The book is currenly available in Irish bookshops and online at Liffey Press, Eason's and Veritas.

I believe that it will shortly be released in the UK. It is currently available from at Blackwell's and Amazon.co.uk.

The Story of Virtue is also available from other Amazon sites in Japan, France, Germany and the US: Amazon.co.jp, amazon.fr, amazon.de and amazon.com.