The Seven Deadly Sins — anger, gluttony, sloth, envy, pride, lust and greed — are out of date and should include cruelty, adultery and bigotry, the results of an opinion poll suggest.
Greed is the only one of the seven that should remain a sin in today’s Britain, according to the poll by the MORI organisation for BBC television’s "Heaven and Earth" programme.
Cruelty was ranked the worst sin by 39 percent of respondents, followed by adultery (11 percent), bigotry (eight percent), dishonesty (seven percent), hypocrisy (six percent), greed (six percent) and selfishness (five percent).
"Attitudes towards sin have changed. We’re less concerned with the seven deadly sins and more concerned with actions that hurt others," said Ross Kelly, presenter of "Heaven and Earth", a religion and ethics programme.
Of the 1,001 adults interviewed, only nine percent said they had not committed any of the sins.
Seventy-nine percent said they were guilty of anger — while 41 percent of men and 26 percent of women said lust was the sin they "most enjoy committing". [Source]
Wow nine percent ready to be canonized in England. Though you would think that those nine percent would at least be guilty of pride for saying such a thing. They also don’t seem to understand that there added deadly sins are really subsets of the seven capital sins. Lust being disordered sexual desire, such as desiring sex with a person one is not married to is the sin of adultery. Bigotry can come under pride which as Dante defined is Dante’s "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbor." Cruelty is a subset of wrath (anger) with the inappropriate (unrighteous) feelings of hatred, revenge or even denial, as well as punitive desires outside of justice.
"Attitudes towards sin have changed. We’re less concerned with the seven deadly sins and more concerned with actions that hurt others." This statement is not surprising with the loss of sin in society where interior dispositions are divorced from actions. They seem to make the correct connections when it comes to hate crimes, but fail to make the same connections when it comes to other actions. The seven deadly sins do indeed lead to actions that hurt others. The sins they want to tack on are mostly the physically manifestation of what has already occurred interiorly in the will.
*Wikipedia has a good page on the seven Deadly Sins in which I took some of the definitions.
Update: Mouse and Keys adds some good commentary for this same article.
One thing I think people have missed- or forgotten- is that even if one commits a sin that seems to only hurt oneself (such as many may think about sloth, envy, gluttony, or pride), it still causes chaos and disorder to the Body of Christ. Sins against ourselves affect the way we show love to our neighbor, and then affect the way that neighbor shows love to others. We are not alone in this world, and our sins never affect only us. Internal dispositions can be disastrous to the world around us without anyone ever knowing. And you are right in saying that the seven deadly sins lead to the sinful actions they saw as more heinous.
I saw your blog but I couldn’t find the link to the original article. So I decided to expand on your blog by adding a comment or two and add more links. Thanks for the article.
“”Attitudes towards sin have changed. We’re less concerned with the seven deadly sins and more concerned with actions that hurt others.” This statement is not surprising with the loss of sin in society where interior dispositions are divorced from actions.”
I think you’re right-on, Jeff, but the statement you quote is wrong. I don’t think we’re any more concerned with actions that hurt others; I think we’re more concerned with how actions that hurt others make us feel bad about ourselves.
To put it in ethical terms, the hypothetical imperative has completely replaced the categorical imperative.
I thought the reason St. Thomas listed these as “deadly” was because they typically lead into worse, more grave sins, e.g. lust to adultery, anger, pride, and envy to cruelty, etc. Which would support the posts above.
Thanks for this … I am amazed that “hypocrisy” is not higher. I see that as one of the high secular virtues at least in the circles I ran in college.
There are two ways to solve the hypocrite problem though.
1. Admit you are one. Repent.
2. Nominalize your moral standards to fit your actions thus avoiding any chance of being one by removing any standard which you cannot keep.
Call me a hypocrite …
I’m hoping that dishonesty and hypocrisy ranked so low because they competed with one another (it’s a thin line between the two after all). If they were combined, then they rank second behind cruelty, which looks more accurate. Cruelty probably deserves its high rank, since people think of it as evil for evil’s sake (whereas things like “anger” and “pride” are not evil in themselves).
The fact that someone thought it would be a good idea to take a poll of “What is sinful?” speaks volumes of society, though. God save democracy.
Thanks to the economist Adam Smith, greed is no longer one of the seven deadly sins.