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You’d be in the majority if you chose to work on “healthy living” in some way.Eating healthier and being more physically active are two of the most popular Canadian and American New Year’s resolutions.When William Laud, an avowed Arminian, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633, the Church of England began to embrace beliefs abhorrent to Puritans: a focus on the individual's acceptance or rejection of grace; a toleration of diverse religious beliefs; and an acceptance of "high church" rituals and symbols.According to Samuel Eliot Morison's Oxford History of the American People, the Puritans "were deeply impressed by a story that their favorite church father, St. He heard a voice saying, tolle et lege, 'Pick up and read.' Opening the Bible, his eyes lit on Romans xiii:12-14: 'The night is far spent, the day is at hand; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in debauchery and lust, not in strife and jealousy. If so, you are participating in a social as well as a personal ritual.The patterns of resolutions, considered collectively, reveal what many of us consider to be virtuous.

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A recent example has been the follow-up studies of participants in But what if we resolved, for the rest of 2019, to express social solidarity while reinforcing other virtues?

What drives this particular version of the virtuous life—healthy living as virtue—rather than the many alternatives?

Would you be surprised to hear that the root is Protestantism?

While Western society has grown less religious over time, we continue to value working hard and containing ourselves.

On occasion we justify letting loose, but resolutions bring us back to that original Protestant core value: Self-discipline.

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