Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sin upon sin upon sin

In which I confess a near occasion of sin. I’m having a conversation with a friend. She asks me if I can still remember the seven deadly sins.

JS: Do you remember the seven deadly sins?

Me: Yes, I do. I went to Catholic school. Surely we memorized them along with Baltimore Catechism #2.

JS: Of course you remember them. Tell me what they are. (She’s calling my bluff. I know them.)

Me: Okay.

            (1) Avarice. That’s #1.
            (2) Sloth. See, I told you I remember them.
            (3) Lust. (I’m beginning to slow down.)
            (4) Fortitude.
            (5) Unsportsmanlike behavior.
            (6) Clumsiness. (I’m biting bits of skin off my chapped lips.)
            (7) Failure to comply.

My snide companion smirks. She smiles knowingly, ever the smarty pants.

JS: You’re wrong, of course. Lust is not one of the seven deadly sins.


  1. This made me think: What qualities seem to inflict the most damage on the world and in our own lives? I keep coming up with eight of them, and lust didn't make the cut for some reason.

    ignorance (the willful kind, not the I-don't-speak-that-language kind)
    gaslighting (because there's scant online evidence manipulativeness is a word)

    1. Interesting thought--if we could come up with our own list of dead sins, what would they be?

    2. I think the deadliest sins are things we do, not things we feel. It's hard to argue that the Seven Deadly Sins are sins at all. They're feelings that flow through us by disposition, circumstance or habit. The Seven Deadly Sins are traits we all have, their sinfulness based on someone else's idea of how much of it knocks you us of balance. Look at pride and greed, essentially self-esteem and providence. Too little and you're a doormat and your family starves, too much and you're a narcissist and maybe a sociopath to boot. Everyone accepts that lust is part of our design. At one end of the scale you're a sex addict or a rapist, and at the other end you're impotent. Being obsessed with sex isn't even because we have too much lust, sometimes it's the opposite, where someone's sexual response is so deadened and jaded that he can't be aroused except by going weirder and darker. I think a deadly sin should be something that its opposite is a virtue, that "too little" of the sin would be an abundance of something that there's no such thing as too much of. Hate to love, cowardice to valor, lying to honesty, cruelty to compassion, ignorance to understanding, etc.