The Seven deadly sins have long been in our history and our media. Everyone grows up learning about them. Everyone knows what they are. Or do they? Here are the 7 Deadly Sins redefined for our modern world. What is your sin?
Pride – There is nothing wrong with being proud. There is nothing wrong with thinking you are an awesome person, that the things you do are amazing. But there is a fine line between self confidence with a sense of accomplishment, and thinking you are better than everyone else around you because of that. We are living in a world full of self-righteous people placing themselves on pedestals of superiority. And not just themselves.
Beliefs, values, culture, race, gender, political standings, fashion, occupation, food preferences, and everything else about someone’s identity are shoved into hierarchies of better and worse – you can be prideful of any of them. We have somehow fallen to a culture where we say to one another “I am right, you are wrong, therefore I am better and you are stupid/evil/deceived/misguided/undeserving/lower class/etc.” This is not about being right and wrong, better or worse. When you start demeaning, shunning or demonizing another person just because they are not up to your highly glorious standards of perfection, that is the sin of pride. The worse part of pride? It often acts as a justification for every other sin out there.
Gluttony – Gluttony colloquially means “pigging out” on food, stereotypically what made fat people fat in the first place. There is a grain of truth in both, but they are still way off target (eg. you can have body tumors which make you “fat”). Gluttony is consumption in excess to the point of being wasteful. To the point of being harmful. This can be food. This can be water. This can be gasoline. This can be anything.
America is especially guilty of this sin, not appreciating how valuable the things it has are. Do people really need gas hogging cars? Do people need to leave the sink running when they are brushing their teeth? There is also no difference between the person hogging down a mountain of food on their plate and another person throwing undesired leftovers they had no room for in the dumpster. It is all still gluttony.
Sloth – Sloth is not sleeping in on Sunday mornings because you just feel lazy at the moment. Sloth is outright apathy. Many times we go with our lives not caring about other people’s problems because we simple do not care. It does not affect us. And no, I do not mean that you should care about everyone’s problem and go out of your way to solve them.
Sloth most directly applies to apathy for injustice. To quote Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” This is not a shout out to say that you should hope on a plane and go off to stop terrorism in other countries. But what are you doing in your own town? If you see someone getting harassed, do you step in to stop it? If you see someone who is having a hard life, do you try to brighten up their life? If you see something suspicious, do you say something? Or is it none of your business?
Lust – The joke of our society. And the worst part about this is we have become so blinded as to what is lust what is not, love. Lust is an addiction. Lust is a desire that objectives others into tools for achieving that desire. Lust can be for power, for knowledge, for money, for blood, for alcohol, for drugs, for anything. These have their own connotations, and not all are may be regarded as sins. But they must all be taken with a grain of salt. Lust for the “wrong kind” knowledge can endanger people’s lives. Lust for blood can lead to serial killing maniacs. But of the more mainstream definition of lust?
Today we live in a lust filled world, where rape has become a culture, where adultery is the second leading cause of divorce – assuming the relationship even gets to marriage, where men and women are used as mediums in advertisements to make you want a product more. Even in our media, it has become too familiar with the ploy of a guy sexually harassing a girl (or other guy) and that being passed off as romantic. If it is not in the plot then swarming in its fan fiction. Sexual sadism is the new in. Society has grown to love lust, when lust is and will never be real love.
Envy – Envy, distinct from jealously which is a fear of being replaced, is not just hating other people for what they have. It is also hating yourself for not having it. Envy is the epitome of self-loathing. There are two possible solutions for resolving that hate. The first is to destroy yourself in the process of obtaining it. Envy is a double edged sword that has become the basis of a capitalistic society. Our economy is driven by unhappiness. If someone has something, then you should have it too, right? It does not matter if you do not need it. Therefore you go out and get it, rising up to the ranks of society and becoming the object of envy for others to pass on the contagious cycle.
However, if what you envy is not something you can obtain, then “naturally” the only other solution is the second option: destroy that other person and take what is theirs. The easy part? Unlike the previous solution where you are the one who must rise up the ranks, this second solution brings others down to your level, or removes them completely.
Do you ever feel better? Maybe. But envy is like a parasite. Of all the seven deadly sins, envy is the most internally destructive. It will eat away at you until there is nothing left but a shell. You get what you think you want, but that want is not from desire.
Wrath – Wrath is not anger. Wrath is not murder. Wrath is rage, irrational and blind hate, lashing uncontrollably out at its target with anything from hateful words to violence to outright slaughter. Wrath is often an action driving sin of hate, but it can be as subtle as encouraging someone to hurt another. If we feel wronged somehow, then we have to do something to feel better. It is a hate that can be directed internally or externally.
Wrath can be the most destructive sin on a global scale. Why? Because that is how wars begin, how the cycle of revenge can last for centuries, how one group of people can so easily demonize another to deserve “worse.”
We live in a world where it is so easy to offend others, but one where we still have biased conclusions of everyone around us. Is there a difference between shouting at a dissenter over YouTube that they are leading our world to Hell any different than fuming about how religious bigots are destroying our country? Is a parent screaming at their child they do not approve of their recent choices any different than harassing telling someone of a different race to get out of your neighborhood? We all have what is right and what is wrong in our heads. But when did our need for a perfect world become more important than love and understanding for the people in it?
Greed – Greed for money, greed for power, greed for material possessions. Whatever it is, you just need more. A quick clarification, there is nothing wrong with wanting things. Money and power are great things to have because of how much you can do with it! The problem occurs when you value obtaining them more than anything else, and they are not something you intend on sharing.
It is greed that big companies have and greatly risk falling into – valuing profit more than the quality of their product or welfare of their customers and clients. Banks are especially guilty of this, being one of the key players in the US economic crashing. Politicians are guilty of this, working to claim as much ground for their representative party when it may not be what the country needs.
The funny thing about greed it is a cumulative sin, proportional to already existing possessions. You have to have a starting ground, some sort of familiarity with your desire. A person with little money or power will likely not be as greedy as someone with more. The problem? It is people with power and money who rule this planet. As it goes, power corrupts, and the love of money is the root of all evil.