Monday, July 30, 2007

7 Deadly Sins

Moving on (however briefly) from the joys & trials of new parenthood, I've been stewing on a philosophical issue of late. Part of this comes from listening to George Carlin and his spiel about reducing the 10 commandments to just two; another part is having "The Seven Deadly Virtues" from Camelot stuck in my head (grrr!) for the better part of three days. I began to consider the biblical 7 deadly sins, and decided - all on my own, since no one asked! - that they needed updating.

Most of you already know (or suspect this), but I am not a Christian. I believe in the factual existence of Jesus of Nazareth, and that he was a kind & gentle man who preached love and tolerance. As I do not believe in the Judeo-Catholic version of a creator "god," I therefore cannot accept JC as any sort of "son." I suppose I'm part Secular Humanist, part Agnostic. I believe in humankind and our achievements, but I'd also believe in a creator-god if I could have proof of his/her existence. I suppose I lack what is usually referred to as "faith," at least in religious terms. I've come to interesting discussion crossroads about this lack of faith, especially with V, who is a former student and mentored my First Year Experience class one semester. V is a passionate Christian, but college-educated so she's not bible-thumper ignorant. She often took me to task about my sense of morality, wondering why it was I would refrain from, say, theft or murder if I didn't have biblical faith (and rules) telling me not to. I was as fascinated by this concept as she was, but obviously from the opposite perspective: how, I wondered, could someone NOT recognize that there are certain (inalienable) requirements to successful human existence and social integration? Oh, the conversations we had!

So, I've decided now to post my updated, 21st-Century list of humanist-derived sins. I freely admit to scamming 1) the number of 7, and 2) the idea of "sin" in the first place, even though I don't belive in such a concept. For me, these would be more like a list of "7 Inexcusable Existence Flaws." First, though, a quick look at the biblical sins; you can certainly do your own research for a more in-depth look at past & present philosophy regarding these sins, but in brief we're talking about the following:
1) Lust: usually focusing on excessive sexual thoughts & desires.
2) Gluttony: still a sin of excess, but in the realm of thoughtless consumption.
3) Greed: excess again, but in terms of gaining material wealth.
4) Sloth: a failure to work hard and use your personal talents.
5) Wrath: uncontrolled anger and hatred.
6) Envy: again with the desire, but this time for what someone ELSE posesses.
7) Pride: the "original" sin, considered to be the worst, this is a desire to be more important and/or attractive than others.

Here, forthwith, are your New Sins. Go forth, spread the word, and lead lives of quiet fulfillment and positive energy!

1) Hypocrisy: a favourite of our elected officials and pseudo-Christians everywhere, this is the "Say one thing, do sumthin' diff'rent" sin. Look, don't call your environmental policy the "Clean Air Act" and then promote coal as an energy source! Don't claim to follow the Word of Jesus and then fill your heart with hatred for those who are different than you! Hypocrisy, man. That's some negative shit.
2) Apathy: a favourite not of politicians, but of the electorate in general. "Why vote, I can't possibly make a difference?" "Well, there's nothing I can do about it anyway!" "Oh, who cares about the animals in ANWR?" Od's blood, take a fuckin' STAND, willya?!? Dig your head out of the sand and just GIVE A SHIT!
3) Ignorance: a little trickier, because obviously every person cannot possibly know every THING. What I propose here is a willful shielding of the facts, a deliberate attempt to THINK you know something and then do nothing to disprove yourself. I am just disgusted with people who spout their uninformed opinions all the live-long day, sounding like a cage full of monkeys. Buy a book, numbnuts; question everything, from your president to your pope, your teachers and your best friends and even yo mama. Be strong in your opinions, but dammit be KNOWLEDGEABLE about them!
4) Sloth: no reason not to keep this one. Whatever happened to the idea that "if it's not hard work, it's not worth doing"? I know a woman who has a VERY valuable degree but refuses to work in that field...but then, also refuses to take "menial" jobs because they are "beneath" her education. WTF?!? Hey, someone has to clean shitty toilets and mop up puke! Someone has to pick up the trash you generate every week! Work is work: sometimes (if you're lucky) it's a career, sometime's it's even fun, but at the end of the day you should be tired. Go do something with your days.
5) Hatred: this is a thin slice of the original Wrath. I am not opposed to a good, frothy, righteous anger, as long as you're not doing harm to someone else (phone solicitors excluded...although no one can really accuse those bastards of Sloth). What every person on the planet SHOULD be opposed to is outright hatred for others. This is where all your ethnic slurs come from (often combined with Ignorance). I cringe when I overhear folks bitch about the price of gas here in the U.S.A., and then follow up with a suggestion to "bomb those damn towel-heads and just TAKE the oil!" Wow. Dude. thy neighbor, huh?
6) Negligence: this is rather a broad category, but basically I think it means a lack of concern (or even acknowledgement!) of others. There are some literal ideas, like neglecting to do your homework (and then pestering me for the opportunity to do a paper for "extra credit"...which shows a lack of concern for MY time). But more general things apply here too, like jabbering on your fucking mobile phone and driving like a dipshit all over the highway. That's negligence: neglecting to acknowledge that other people exist. Grrr.
7) Dishonesty: sort of a more narrowly-defined aspect of Hypocrisy, this sin is one of the deliberate spreading of falseness. Lying is certainly part of this ("My printer ran out of ink, that's why I can't turn in my paper today"), but concepts of loyalty come into play as well. If, for instance, you want to make flag-burning a crime (because you LOVE America!), but you don't understand that burning is the only acceptable means of disposing of a tattered flag, you've commited the sin of Ignorance. If you bitch about jobs leaving America for cheaper overseas labor, but you buy cheap "Made in Taiwan" crap from Wal-Mart...that's Hypcrisy, with a little Apathy thrown in. BUT: if you vote for a person simply because he or she has the right "family values," and then bitch and gripe and moan about the direction the country is taking...that THERE is your Dishonesty. You willingly performed an action that you KNEW was not in your best interest...or in anyone ELSE'S, either.


Blogger Gknee said...

The problem with ignorance is that people who "possess" it don't know that they "own" it.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Ahhh...but do these sins exist because of nature or nurture? Sometimes I think the mouth breathers and window lickers of the world can't help it...

12:30 PM  
Blogger kat said...

Have to ask...what is "Od's blood"?

I have to let the list sink in before I can have an intelligent comment.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Actually, and not trying to speak on behalf of an omnipresent being...i find some of your views to be very christian.

So let's just hope you too, do not suffer the same fate for pointing out the hypocrits.

Ironic, i question your use of some of the phrase-ology of the ignorance sin. It could be perceived as anti-black. Since you put out a rant about being mis-perceived with regards to your kilt-wearing canadian friend on the issue, you used the sin ignorance, monkey, and yo mama...

Al Sharpton may call for a boycott of your blog.

Can "Being Thin-Skinned" be added to the list???

8:01 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Mike says that some of your views sound very Christian - well, that's prolly because they harken to certain *pre*Christian notions that were well-appropriated by Christianity. That Golden Rule thing? Not original to Jesus. He borrowed it from the ancient Greeks.

So you're in good company. Aristotle would be pleased.

11:41 AM  

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