Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Let's talk about sin...

Social sins are in teh Nooz. (I may be the last person who thinks that sort of spelling is cute or edgy. Cute-edgy? Like casting Hello Kitty! in a new Tarantino movie. Key line: I don't need a mouth to knock out your teeth, motherfucker. You watch, it'll happen. I fear I may be digressing a bit.)

So I'm watching the Beeb yesterday and there's a priest talking in an overly affected hip commedian Yankee kind of way about how each time we do something we create multitude of ways to get it wrong. And in a way, he's neatly encapsulated the problem with church-based thinking. He didn't really seem to even consider any number of ways that we can get it right. Or how a couple of ways of getting it right might outway new ways of getting it wrong.

Let's consider this for a moment.

Sin, I'm given to understand is a moral evil, though it is unclear whether it is important for this to involve a transgression of God's will or not. In the popular understanding though, sin is a transgression against the will of God, whether or not it is anti-social or results in moral evil. This has led to some truly interesting interpretations of what is a sin and what is not.

Now, what were the original  sins anyway? Keep in mind it's been a couple of years since I watched Se7en.


1. Pride

2. Envy

3. Gluttony

4. Lust

5. Anger

6. Greed

7. Sloth

The thing with these as sins (especially deadly) is they're great examples of personality traits of people you don't want to sit next to at the bar, ever more so the worse they exhibit the traits. Personal defects, then.

So somehow we need these new seven social sins:

1. ``Bioethical' violations such as birth control

2. ``Morally dubious'' experiments such as stem cell research

3. Drug abuse

4. Polluting the environment

5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor

6. Excessive wealth

7. Creating poverty

There we go. While these may (disputedly) be admirable social goals, they don't seem to constitute an actual offense against God and his dignity.

First of all, I don't see how from the conservative point of view the first two are really different. Certainly the bottom 3 are the same fucking thing! Which to my mind gives us a list with 4 actual points spread across seven.

Now, how is it that drug abuse is a sin? It's definitely a shit way to live. It's hard on everyone around you. I'm still unconvinced that it's a moral crime.

Intersting are some of the omissions. Take for example child abuse. For some reason that is a topic that didn't even ping on the radar.

Genocide? Next revision. Send a memo to remind us.

How about affronts to human dignity? Nary a mention. Slavery? Still not on the list. Torture? Jury's still out.

Post scripts:

Reason has a take here.

Philly Chief gives a go here.

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