The Seven Deadly Sins - Two Perspectives
Updated: May 20
Welcome to the 7th key, which is shorter than the previous ones, yet continuing with similar themes. Understandably, many readers out there - especially atheists - won't identify with this topic of 'sin', but please bear with me. It has nothing to do with judgment, heaven or hell, etc. Consider the word 'sin' in this context as something that takes us off a certain path. Like GPS, when we have wi-fi and the route is clear, but without wi-fi it's difficult, if not impossible to find our destination. I'll begin this key with the 'standard' version of the original seven, and then an alternate version which many people are probably unaware of, so please read on !
Most people are already aware of the seven deadly sins from the Biblical context. Briefly, these are: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. In my opinion, these are still very relevant. In fact, a few of them are mentioned in my 5th key, which discusses the five thieves described by Nanak - the first Sikh guru. Check it out !
Not everybody knows that the famous Mahatma Gandhi made his own list of seven, deadly sins, and his list is slightly more relevant to modern times. Now, I'll list each one and add my own commentary. Here we go...
1. Wealth Without Work - this is a sin that was likely less common in ancient times, since societies lacked technology and currencies, almost everybody had a task to do, even the politicians. Nowadays, with things like MLM and OPM, people are using technology and pyramid-schemes to their advantage. Consider all this, and many (not all) of our politicians, and we quickly understand how deadly and relevant this sin is nowadays !
2. Pleasure Without Conscience - notice that pleasure in and of itself is natural and not sinful, but like most anything in our world done without conscience, it definitely becomes sinful ! Seeking pleasure at the expense of others is the result. Child pornography, addictions and gluttony are just some of the rotten fruits resulting from this sin.
3. Knowledge Without Character - it is said that 'knowledge is power', but we know what happens when power gets into the wrong hands. Character counts, and is defined as the mental and moral qualities of an individual. The most intelligent person without a moral compass commits this sin, becoming a danger to others, especially the vulnerable, humble and simple-minded.
4. Commerce Without Morality - again, in ancient times, not so relevant. With the dawn of the industrial age, this sin became more relevant than ever. There are many, modern examples of this sin concerning unfair business practices, lack of regulation, bribes and all manner of commerce that harms people and the environment. The shameful legacy of slavery was also a direct result of this terrible sin.
5. Science Without Humanity - more relevant than ever in these modern times, I also discussed this sin in key 6. It isn't anti-science to demand ethics and accountability. Atrocities such as testing on animals (and sometimes humans), the nuclear arms race, mass surveillence and germ-warfare are some modern examples of this sin.
6. Religion Without Sacrifice - this is a tricky one. We're not talking about animal sacrifices here! Those were the old days. Religions should ideally inspire righteous actions and lifestyles. This requires a sacrifice, whether it's time, money, service or all of those. A religion that fails to give back to the community is in danger of this sin. People who practice a religion through worthless routines and rituals are individually guilty of this sin. Somebody once said, 'love is a verb'. Get to work !
7. Politics Without Principle - ahhh... this one could be a whole blog-post in and of itself ! Obviously, I don't need to elaborate much on it. Politicians are supposed to be public servants. A principle is defined as "a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation." (wikipedia) We can only hope that some politicians believe in karma, or a higher power and actually try to avoid this sin. We've seen and felt the consequences all too often !