The Seven Deadly Sins -- the vices known as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony -- have been around for centuries. Although a concept associated with Christians, the list is one that most are familiar with. This week's clergy weigh in on whether the list should be updated.
The Rev. Matt Oprendek, coordinator for music and liturgy at the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, Garden City; priest in charge, Christ Church, Garden City:
It is tempting to say something like texting in the theater. After all, it
irritates everyone. But the truth is that those Seven Deadly Sins are pretty comprehensive. Those seven are sort of the root of all the different types of offensive things that we do.
If I had to add, it would be denial, a refusal to admit the reality of a
situation. This could be one's culpability in a situation or the severity of one's illness. By acknowledging something, you can take steps forward to becoming the person you were meant to be. If you don't realize you're in a hole, you don't know you need a rope to get out.
We are predisposed to look to lists and to things we should and should not do. I'm not sure in the end that is very
helpful. Instead of striving to be the best we can be, we're striving to not be the worst. We're just checking off on the list that we aren't doing certain things.
As a Christian, we're meant to be people who love. We're operating at our highest potential when we are loving. We should be striving for an affirmative, rather than trying to avoid a negative. We should strive to love our neighbors, then we wouldn't lie to them. We would
respect them, etc. If we truly strive to love them, we would do what is best for them, not just what is on the list.
Rabbi Helayne Shalhevet, Temple Beth Emeth of Mount Sinai:
Judaism doesn't exactly ascribe to the Seven Deadly Sins, but does have the concept of sin -- things we do not hold in high regard. We just don't have the list. It happens to be interesting, talking about the concept of sins in the season of the approaching High Holidays. It is a time to repent, to ask forgiveness from God and from others. True repentance involves never repeating the sin, the act. If I were to add a sin, I can think of three. One would be neglecting one's family in favor of anything that has a screen. Or,
abandoning a sense of self through being caught up in the hectic nature of modern-day life. Bowing to societal pressure would be a big one. But, the biggest may be the taking of an innocent life or taking the innocence from someone's life.
A whole generation of children are raised with this loss of innocence. I
remember as a child being able to ride my bike to the park or play in the yard. We never had to worry about someone flying a plane into a building. We're almost to the point we are living in caves. The Seven Deadly Sins is an all-
encompassing list. I wouldn't replace any, but would just add to them.
Sister Elaine Petry, department head liaison, Perfecting Faith Church, Freeport:
Well, after hearing local and global events, such as the heinous executions by ISIS, violence by the rich and
famous, and your everyday hit-and-run driver, I had to investigate exactly what those first Seven Deadly Sins were. While the Internet, society and literature list the Seven Deadly Sins, the Bible has seven things God hates: "A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among brethren (Proverbs 6: 17-19)."
God will forgive all sin from a
repentant heart except those who
blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. But in my opinion, the eighth deadly sin
envelopes the first seven.
It's sagging pants (which some
contend is a nod to prison culture, where belts are not allowed). It selfishly draws attention to an individual. When God said turn the other cheek, He wasn't speaking of publicly exposing your underwear.
When I asked several young people why they wanted to experience the side of fashion that excluded a belt, I was told that sagging pants was simply fashion and had nothing to do with emulating prison attire. I was told that it was a way of expressing oneself. But what happens to everyone else while you're being you?
I would also add self-centeredness as a sin. Jesus made his life about others, and when we make life about us, it is in conflict with his teachings.