The Seven+ Deadly Sins And Their Place In Our World
I am not a man of religion. It’s not that I do or do not believe this belief system or that one. It’s more a case of me being a person who believes a human being is not capable of beginning to understand something so far beyond him such as the creator of everything, but that is another blog, another time. I only bring it up because of one thing I notice in today’s world that I do find intersecting with religious belief, that being the seven deadly sins. Yes, those seven terrible things(there is actually eight but I’ll touch on that later) that our parents or pastors told us about when we were young. Those seven things that there are endless quotes, stories, and fables about, warning us that if we allowed ourselves to be drawn into, our immortal souls would be lost. Again, I’m not a religious person but consider the following examples and just think about what it could mean…
Lust-We live in a society and a world driven by the human appetite for sex, for physical pleasure. There is virtually no boundary to what is sexually acceptable in today’s world. Pornography is amongst the highest viewed sites on the internet and is also a multimillion dollar business. Those in our society not as “attractive” tend to be placed behind those that are. Children are becoming sexually active at a younger age than ever before and pedophilia is a worldwide crime and also a business. Sex trafficking of human beings, a form of modern-day slavery, runs rampant in various parts of the world. The music and entertainment business is built upon chiseled men and scantily clad women. There is a whole industry of barely dressed, sexually suggestive female singers, whose images are completely built on their physical proportions and not at all on their actual level of talent. Homosexuality is a growing topic in our societies, accepted by communities that would have outcast its practitioners fifty years ago. Swingers, transsexuals, transvestites and any number of bizarre forms of sexual lifestyle have become mainstream and the basic family structure has broken down. It’s right in front of our eyes and we all see it.
Gluttony-Overindulgence of anything is gluttony. We live in a country where no amount of money is enough for those in pursuit of it. We have people driven their whole live to live in a 6000 square foot condominium while people on the other side of the world live in caves. Countries base their foreign policy on what will allow them to control the most resources. Countries that are nuclear powers spend trillions on thousands of nuclear bombs when hundreds would destroy the world. Whatever we find pleasure in we strive to have far more than we would ever need and whatever we don’t we wastefully discard.
Greed- Much like lust or gluttony, greed is virtually the same but focused mainly on wealth. Our world is driven by money. People will lie, cheat, steal, kill, rape, and do just about anything else nowadays to have more money or power than their neighbor or competitors. We fight wars over financially valuable resources and it seems that regardless of what the item of value is, no one can ever have enough of it. Here’s an example, though we all know it is far from the only one. Albert Haynesworth is a football player(sort of). He plays the defensive tackle position and is currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A few years ago, after putting up all-pro level numbers and being widely regarded as one of the best as his position, he signed a massive $100,000,000 dollar contract to leave the Tennessee Titans and join the Washington Redskins. In his first season, he barely played and was benched by his coach because he “didn’t like” the style of defense they were playing and as a result he demanded to be traded. The following spring, despite the fact that he wasn’t really putting in any effort and had demanded a trade, and more importantly had refused to play anymore for the Redskins, he STILL cashed in a $20 MILLION dollar bonus check, regardless of the fact he had publicly stated he wouldn’t play another down. Wow
Wrath-Wrath is the only sin not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest(it’s possible just not a necessity). It is sometimes described as ” a love of justice perverted to revenge and spite” and generally embodies rage and vengeance. Wrath in our community can often be found fueling misguided attempts for justice. After the 9/11 attacks for example, the United States invaded Iraq. Though many would deny it, it was obvious that vengeance against tyrannical Muslim countries fueled it, as well as the war on terror. I personally know people who support the death penalty, the killing of another human they’ve never met, to the point that they would happily attend public lynchings. Court TV has become a huge business, with many people being tried in the court of public opinion long before they receive their right to a fair, impartial trial and it’s obvious that these cases, such as the Casey Anthony trial, fuel blood-lust in our society. Whether she was guilty or not is not the point, it’s the joy people take in enjoying the punishment, and hoping for harsh punishment regardless of the court’s decision, that falls into the category of wrath.
Envy- Envy is most obvious, at least to me, when watching the public reaction to the downfall of celebrities. Many will watch their struggles, whether it be Brittney Spear’s mental breakdown, or some other celebrity being arrested or sued, and take joy in it for apparently no other reason than they enjoy seeing someone with more than them fall. That is a textbook example of envy. We also see this in society and in our children. Rarely do competitors play fair or act honestly towards each other. They’re not able to because their envy over having what their opponent does blinds them to anything but total victory. There’s nothing wrong with competition but when a person is willing to tear down another for no other reason than because that person has more than they do, envy is in play.
Pride-Pride is typically considered the most original and serious of the deadly sins. I couldn’t agree more and one need not look very far for examples. Self love is another version of it and with such a celebrity driven society it’s hard not to find it. Our media is full of talking heads so amazed by their own perspectives that they will lie, cheat and steal to stop any exposure of something incorrect in their points. Nationalism is the worst example of pride’s place in today’s world. So many countries are full of people who will support their country based on nationalistic pride even when their country is just plain wrong. On top of that, we have countries all over the world full of citizens who hate citizens of another country just based on that nationalistic pride. Just look at the example of the U.S.A. and any number or Middle Eastern countries, such as Iran. Many Iranians hate Americans just because Iran hates America and equally there are many Americans who hate Arabic people for the same reason, only obviously in reverse. One of the best quotes of all time, to me at least, is “pride comes before the fall.”
Vanity-Appearance is everything in today’s world. As is ego and if you don’t believe it just think about Hollywood for a minute. Think about hundreds of people walking on a red carpet so everyone can line up and take their picture and you’ll have vanity in a nutshell. We care far more about how we look than who we are inside as a race, and our mirrors often project more confidence in us than our actual substance as people.
Sloth- This sin is often intertwined with acedia and basically is laziness or the unwillingness to use one’s talents and abilities. Often considered one of the “less serious” sins, it still is having a negative effect. Sloth could also be connected with our constant desire to make everything easier through technology. Easier is not always better and it is not unreasonable to think that if we continue down the technological path we are walking we eventually will all be sitting in a pod all day having robots do even the simplest tasks for us.
Acedia-Unfamilar to most people as a sin on this list, acedia is basically the unwillingness to do something one knows they must do. Total apathy would be another good way to describe it and often this sin is connected with and a cause of intentional suicide. This is the sin I can relate to the most personally as apathetic is a light word for how I truly feel about this world. Acedia is common in people who suffer from depression and often fuels it and I think we can all agree that apathy towards making decisions we know we must make is growing every day in this country and in the world.
I believe we are all slaves to these sins and with our bondage to them, we are dragging this world further and further down. I personally feel constantly affected by wrath and by acedia/sloth. I have little caring for the world outside of my own family and close friends and I realize I am far from the only one who feels that way. Whether these “sins” are religious in nature or just natural parts of human nature, they are killing us as a race. If we continue to see these actions get stronger and stronger in our society i cannot see a good ending for humanity. Remember, human beings being alive and stable is not a given, it like anything else, can be brought down by bad decisions, immoral actions, and selfish acts. I see all these sins going strong and hope we work on it as a race. I’m trying to change and I hope others are too.