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Musings May 2012by Richard J. Henderson
Most of us have at least heard of the "Seven Deadly Sins," that are part of the Christian tradition. These are not talked about a great deal today, but they go back in the history of the church to about the 4th Century. In general they are based on scriptural references, especially in the book of Proverbs and in Paul's letter to the Galatians. Both of those scriptures vary from the final list of seven deadly sins, but are considered to be the basis for them.
At one point in history everyone would have been able to list these seven sins, and painters used them as the basis for their paintings. They tried to depict these sins and the pain that resulted from being involved with them.
The Seven Deadly Sins are: Wrath (anger), greed, sloth (laziness or indifference), pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
Just reading through the list reminds us how much our culture is involved with these infamous seven. In just the past couple of months we have seen headlines that have involved a majority of these sins. Maybe it would be a good thing for all of us if we could center the nation's attention on these seven, and remind people of what they are. They are called deadly sins for a reason, and it isn't just that they are deadly for other people. They are deadly to our own lives, and our relationship with God.
For some time I have been impressed with the "Seven Deadly Social Sins" that Mahatma Gandhi created many years ago. They are, in many ways, like the "Seven Deadly Sins" of historic Christianity. They make us think of how many of these seven deadly sins are lived out in our contemporary world.
Gandhi's Seven Deadly Social Sins are: Politics without principle, wealth without work, commerce without morality, pleasure without conscience, education without character, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice.
Again, as we look at this list we see issues that are part of our contemporary world situation. From this list also we can see concerns that are as current as the day Gandhi wrote his list. Christian morality is not just a personal concern. Our behavior affects other people and affects the nation in which we live.
I think both of these lists are important for us in living our faith. It might be helpful for all of us to post those two lists where we can see them every day.