Monday, April 30, 2012

Those Dastardly Sins

Sins, like chickens, come home to roost. - Charles W. Chesnutt

An allegorical representation of teh Seven Deadly Sins

Greed. Sloth. Wrath. Envy. Lust. Pride. Gluttony.

Like many of you, the Seven Deadly Sins have nested in an area of my brain reserved for topics of interest. For some reason, they've acquired a meme status in pop culture that mainstream media has perpetuated. For me, it started with the movie Se7en and Morgan Freeman. I leave Brad Pitt out of that equation. His character was a bit of a goober.

And so am I. I usually shy away from characters too much like myself.

According to common thought, Christians used Those Dastardly Sins as tools for teaching appropriate thoughts and actions. Ask just about anyone what the sins are and most of them will rattle off a few. They'll also know what they mean. There are some other curious pieces of information about those evil thoughts and deeds that are not widely known.

According to George Tsakiridis's book, Evagrius Ponticus and Cognitive Science: A Look at Moral Evil and the Thoughts (see it here), Evagrius Ponticus, a Christian monk born around 345 CE, codified an original list of eight sins: gluttony, fornication, avarice, anger, sadness, acedia, vainglory, and pride.

"What?" you ask. "Eight?"

Yes. Eight.

In about 590 CE, Pope Gregory I whittled those evil little suckers down to seven, combining acedia and sadness into sloth, vainglory moved in with pride and became Mr. and Mrs. Pride, and the green, little monster envy moved into town. Thus, we have the seven deadly sins.

Now you know.

And knowing is half the battle.

In future posts, I'll write a bit about each of the sins and how each one was matched with a particular demonic baddie.

Those silly little demons. Always up to their shenanigans.

If you want to comment, feel free. Let me know what your favorite quote or moment is in the movie Se7en.

I've got mine:

John Doe: "Wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you'll notice you've got their strict attention."

1 comment:

  1. Interesting that the seven sins started out as eight...guess you do learn something new every day!

    I haven't seen Se7en since the 90s(!), but I remember just being torn in the end when Brad's character had to decide whether to commit wrath and let John Doe "win" or to stay pure and let him live. Interesting dynamic...but I totally would've killed the bastard!