Monday, March 10, 2008

Seven Deadly Sins - Updated for the 21st Century!

It appears that the Catholic church has updated their list of sins. In addition to the original 7 mortal sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride), the Vatican has come up with more things you are not allowed to enjoy without guilt. Included on the new list are drugs, genetic manipulation, social injustice, and pollution. I wonder why pedophilia is not specifically called out. I suppose that's covered by Lust and Gluttony, but I thought it deserved a mention. I thought the original seven covered a lot of ground, but apparently, the Vatican has decided they'd like to add several more vague sins.

  1. Drugs? Taking drugs is a sin? What about the blood pressure medication my wife takes? What about the ibuprofen I take to ease the pain of my rapidly aging muscles after a long day of being awake? Sinful? Assuming they are talking about any mind- or mood-altering substance, alcohol and cigarettes must be included. I know they're probably referring to illegal "street drugs" like cocaine, heroin, and the like, but I won't even get started on that - that's a whole post unto itself.

  2. Genetic manipulation? Breeding dogs/cattle/etc. to select desirable characteristics (hunting dogs, more delicious steak, etc)? Producing a new, disease resistant tomato? Sinful? Using embryonic stem cells to help a person with a spinal cord injury perhaps walk again? Why is it a sin to use all of the latest state of the art knowledge and tools to help your fellow man thrive and live a longer and more fulfilling life?

  3. Social injustice? What the hell does that mean? Is the vatican communist/socialist? Surely they are not arguing that it's a sin to have lots of money. Are they?

  4. Pollution? This is the only one I agree with. But aren't we all, just by being alive on the planet, constantly polluting? I mean, I am emitting CO2 even as we speak. I think I just released a little methane too.

On the one hand, I applaud the church for trying to update their rules a bit. After all, the original seven deadly sins originated way back in the 6th century. On the other hand, it seems like they would take some time to come up with something that might be relevant to current issues (e.g., pedophile priests). Allowing priests to marry, just like practically every other religion allows their clergymen to do, would make the job more attractive to people that aren't pedophiles and/or closeted homosexuals. "Nah," says the vatican, "let's come up with an expanded list of stuff everyone can't do." Brilliant.

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