Monday, September 20, 2010

Deadly Sins

Mike had an interesting post this morning that started with the Seven Deadly Sins. Great topic for a Monday as we head into election season, eh?

The Seven Deadly Sins, in Christian tradition, were those sins considered to be the worst of moral failures - wrath, greed, pride, sloth, envy, lust, and gluttony. The list has evolved over time since it was first codified by Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century, and does not, as far as I can tell, appear in this form in the Bible. The meanings of the individual sins have evolved over time as well; for instance, the sin of lust was at one time luxuria (or unrestrained excess in behavior), and the sin of acedia (or discouragement) evolved into what we know today as sloth (the failure through laziness or indifference to do right).

Mike goes on to cite this list by Ashley Cooper of seven unlikely, yet still deadly sins:

Truth, if it becomes a weapon against persons (does this include the common practice in political attack ads of taking quotes out of context?);

Beauty, if it becomes vanity (no issue, here);

Love, if it becomes possessive (how we get stalkers);

Loyalty, if it becomes blind, careless trust (blind loyalty to any leader, religious or temporal, is a recipe for disaster);

Tolerance, if it becomes indifference (this is the awful concept of moral relativism);

Self-confidence, if it becomes arrogance (I believe this is a particularly Republican trait, although there are enough Democrats who also display it);

Faith, if it becomes self-righteous ("I'm okay, you'll burn in hell if you don't believe what I do").

Perhaps it's just me, but it seems that these ugly transmutations of otherwise admirable traits into their evil twins are particularly evident in modern political campaigning and harshly intolerant religious beliefs.

In 2008, the Vatican updated the traditional list of deadly sins to include seven more that are appropriate to the modern age. The seven new deadly sins are:


Genetic Engineering;

Being Obscenely Rich;

Drug Dealing;




Causing Social Injustice.

I remember writing about this list of new deadly sins when it was first announced, but such is the curse of voluminous pontification that I can't find what I originally wrote.

Deadly sins: old, new, or the perversion of admirable traits. Something worth thinking about as we head into another election season full of half-truths and twisted logic, and consider the righteous arrogance of contending religious beliefs.

Off to work, where I will do my best to avoid all fourteen of the deadly sins.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



John said...

Does that mean that Gluttony is no longer a sin? If so, I'm thinking an all you can eat restaurant is in my future!

KathyA said...

It occurs to me that all the deadly sins resonate back to one: greed.

Mike said...

Being Obscenely Rich - I'm working on this one. If I live to be .... 900, I might make it.