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adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a classification of objectionable vices (part of Christian ethics) that have been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct Christians concerning fallen humanity’s tendency to sin. The currently recognized version of the sins are usually given as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
In the Book of Proverbs (Mishlai), among the verses traditionally associated with King Solomon, it states that the Lord specifically regards “six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth”, namely:
1. A proud look
2. A lying tongue
3. Hands that shed innocent blood
4. A heart that devises wicked plots
5. Feet that are swift to run into mischief
6. A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
7. Him that soweth discord among brethren
An allegorical image depicting the human heart subject to the seven deadly sins, each represented by an animal (clockwise: toad = avarice; snake = envy; lion = wrath; snail = sloth; pig = gluttony; goat = lust; peacock = pride) you find at wikipedia.
Historical and modern definitions
Lust or lechery (carnal “luxuria”) is an intense desire. It is usually thought of as excessive sexual wants; however, the word was originally a general term for desire. Therefore lust could involve the intense desire of money, fame, or power as well.
Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony (Latin, gula) is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste.
In Christian religions, it is considered a sin because of the excessive desire for food, and its withholding from the needy.
Because of these scripts, gluttony can be interpreted as selfishness; essentially placing concern with one’s own interests above the well-being or interests of others.
Greed (Latin, avaritia), also known as avarice or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to a very excessive desire and pursuit of material possessions.
As defined outside of Christian writings, greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs, especially with respect to material wealth.
Sloth (Latin, Socordia) can entail different vices. While sloth is sometimes defined as physical laziness, spiritual laziness is emphasized. Failing to develop spiritually is key to becoming guilty of sloth.
Sloth has also been defined as a failure to do things that one should do. By this definition, evil exists when good men fail to act.
By the 17th century, the exact deadly sin referred to was believed to be the failure to utilize one’s talents and gifts.
Wrath (Latin, ira), also known as “rage”, may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. Wrath, in its purest form, presents with self-destructiveness, violence, and hate that may provoke feuds that can go on for centuries. Wrath may persist long after the person who did another a grievous wrong is dead. Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways, including impatience, revenge, and vigilantism.
Wrath is the only sin not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest, although one can of course be wrathful for selfish reasons, such as jealousy (closely related to the sin of envy).
Like greed and lust, Envy (Latin, invidia) is characterized by an insatiable desire. Envy is similar to jealousy in that they both feel discontent towards someone’s traits, status, abilities, or rewards. The difference is the envious also desire the entity and covet it.
Envy can be directly related to the Ten Commandments, specifically, “Neither shall you desire… anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
In almost every list, pride (Latin, superbia), or hubris (Greek), is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins, and the source of the others. It is identified as a desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self (especially holding self out of proper position toward God).
Needless to say: this text provided loads of fodder for discussion.