Today's Seven Deadlies

Posted by: Richenda at Saturday April 12, 2008 in

Sin. I’ve been thinking about this lately…who doesn’t, lol!

Like, what is sin, anyway? And I’ve come up with a definition:

When a person has an inner need, and seeks to satisfy that need through unhealthy means, the unhealthy action takes us away from truth and betterment and therefore constitutes sin. Most sin is understandable and very human. The majority of sin is created from legitimate needs of the human heart, body, mind and soul. ‘Sinners’ are most often no worse than those who are misguided (by themselves or others) and seeking solutions to their needs or emptinesses by means that are destructive to the self or to others, and that can never provide true satisfaction.

(Note: Malevolence, the act of perpetrating evil, is different from ‘sin.’ Sin, of itself, is not malevolent, though its action and outcomes may imitate malevolence.)

So, thinking about this I’ve decided that the Seven Deadly Sins from the Middle Ages are seriously outdated. Here’s the old set:

Greed
Sloth
Gluttony
Wrath
Envy
Lust
Pride

Still a solid list in a lot of ways, but today’s needs and focuses have changed. Today’s ‘seven deadliest’ sins are different, and I would say, the Seven Deadly Sins today are:

Porn
Waste
Ego (Self-centeredness and entitlement)
Consumerism (Commodification)
Violence (Fear and Envy)
Corruption
Apathy

The breakdown on today’s Seven Deadly Sins:

Porn: This sin might also be termed ‘excess’ and many things done to excess might be considered pornographic. Porn itself, of course, is an obvious sin. I’m not talking about depicting naked people here, or even depicting sex. Nudity and sex are not sins, but can be very beautiful. I’m talking about those who seek a thrill, or seek intimacy, and indulge themselves through excess taken to the extremes that mix gluttony with lust and greed.

Waste: Duh…Billions of people around the world face fear and starvation because the price of rice has risen 70%, and other cereal crops also have jumped in price. Yet the world does not have a food producing problem, it has a sharing problem. There is enough rice to go around, but people are wasteful, especially here in America. I shudder to think of how many thousands of pounds of “takeout” rice are dumped into the trash. Waste goes beyond this, far beyond. The desire to ‘obtain’ leads to unimaginable waste as our landfills fill, and leak. More, more, more, leads to waste, waste, waste….

Ego: Self-centeredness is a rampant modern sin. I thought to name this sin ‘entitlement’ straight out, because entitlement is a huge part of the modern ego problem. Today’s Ego far surpasses yesterday’s sin of pride. It’s one thing to be proud of oneself, it is quite another to behave as if (or to wish we could be) the king of everything. Power, ego, entitlement. It’s all wrong.

Consumerism: This sin was probably never conceived of in the middle ages! Imagine a culture that lives to buy, buy, buy with a will so powerful that well fed, happy, democratic people will flatten those in front of them in order to get a desired item at the mall. Tragic! And it says a lot about how bad consumerism is at satisfying our needs. Consumerism is like an addiction, and it’s twin, Commodification, is probably worse. I almost made Commodification it’s own sin, but it really springs from this one. What would Moses say about the pricing out of our world and our humanity? This would be the worst sin of today, because it taints every thing else.

Violence: Nothing really new here, violence has long been recognized as Sinful. We fold Envy and Fear right on into this one. Because we are so self centered, Envy comes under violence today. ‘Fear’ is not a sin, however. Fear is an emotion and can be a healthy one. When fear leads to violence, however, violence is the sin. And in our world, when we are afraid, violence is where that emotion is channeled. A shame, because we don’t have to do it that way.

Corruption: Corruption is usually thought of as the ‘result’ of something, rather than the thing itself. But in this case, what I’m talking about is corruption as abuse of power, and the contortion of ethics and morals in the pursuit of personal justification. I think many of us feel smugly removed from this sin. Corruption is something we point our fingers at other people being engaged in, not us. We have good motives, right? But today the corrupting influence of Lust-for-power extends far beyond its source and we all, all of us, perpetuate it because we willingly and knowingly participate. It’s standard fare.

Apathy: This is probably the least of all today’s sins, because most of what we do is willful and apathy implies a lack of will. But it is still clearly a major problem, just look at the rates of depression and anxiety in our world. We feel disconnected from any meaningful action or pursuit because that which we do pursue is meaningless and leads only to more emptiness. With no firm footing, we learn to give up without recognizing how to claim our lives back. We choose learned helplessness because, however bad it makes us feel, it is still easier than meaningful change. We turn to unhealthy ways to cope, and this can lead to very active problems, like addiction. Addiction is a result of the pain experienced due to apathy. Though Addiction itself is not a sin, the thoughts and actions that stem from it are sinful.

And after that depressing list, perhaps I should list the antidotes to today’s sins?

Porn: Accountability.
Waste: Discipline.
Ego: Compassion.
Consumerism: Humility.
Violence: Faith. (Trust.)
Corruption: Empathy.
Apathy: Courage.

My two cents.

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