New Look at the 7 Deadly Sins
I’ve been thinking about the so-called 7 Deadly Sins. I’ve been thinking that perhaps it’s time to revamp the list. After all, Pope Gregory revised an older list to come up with the traditional 7 in the 6th century.
First of all, I know lots of folks have trouble with the word “sins.” Let’s move beyond that by saying there are things people do that hurt themselves, others and God’s world, and a traditional way to describe those actions is “sins.” In my theology, sins are not deadly because committing them sends the sinner straight to hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200, because I don’t believe in hell. However, I do believe people can do things that are deadly to human relationships, to human life, and to the survival of God’s creation. So I’ve been toying with this new list:
Callousness (including disregard for the suffering of others, and conscious refusal to act when action is necessary)
Entitlement (encompassing lack of gratitude, unexamined privilege, selfishness and arrogance)
Prejudice (including all forms of closed-mindedness, deciding without exploring, and judgment without understanding)
Tribalism (xenophobia, jingoism, white and every other kind of supremacy, and super-patriotism)
I prefer these to the traditional 7 because these imply a particular action or set of actions – or inactions. The original list of 7, for example, includes wrath. Sometimes the feeling, the emotion of wrath is appropriate. What matters is what you do with it. Do you lash out cruelly? Do you attack aggressively? The old list also includes pride, which can be a very positive quality – depending on what you do.
I also prefer this new list because these are the sins that break down connections, that deny our oneness with each other and our world. That is what is deadly to humanity, and to our planet.
What do you think? What’s missing?