We all know the seven deadly sins. They date back to the 4th century (when they were modified from the biblical mention of sins) and have been a staple in Catholicism since. Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride, be they sins or not, can still be applied to today’s society. We see them all the time, whether or not we’re actually dying from them.
Lust has been described as “unbridled sexual desire,” which actually sounds quite similar to a term we have grown a bit more accustomed to today: sexual addiction. Though some psychologists say sex addicts have a problem that has just as much to do with anxiety and depression, sexual addiction is real and it can be deadly. Although Tiger Woods may have survived his wife’s violent attacks in the wake of the reveal of his sexual addiction, sex addicts run the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS.
Sexual addiction can also fuel pornography addiction, which some say is a strain of sexual addiction. Here in the 21st century, porn addiction is perhaps unsurprisingly common and even actor David Duchovny admits he is affected by this addiction, according to AskMen.com.
It almost seems overwhelmingly obvious to point out that our world (and especially this nation) has a major issue with gluttony. The numbers are simply too astounding to ignore. According to the World Health Organization, obesity has doubled since 1980 across the globe. 200 million men and 300 million women were obese in 2008. In 2011, more than 40 million children under the age of five were overweight.
A recent report from the United Nations shows that Mexico is now the world’s leading nation in obesity. A whopping 32.8 percent of adults in Mexico are obese, whereas 31.8 percent of adults in the United States are obese. 70,000 people in Mexico die annually as a result of weight-related diabetes.
Gluttony isn’t only defined by excess eating though. Excess drinking is also gluttonous and there is certainly no shortage of barflies today. In the United States alone, 15 million people are affected by alcoholism. 1700 college students die each year as a result of alcohol abuse and overconsumption. Alcohol causes 20-30 percent of esophageal cancer, liver cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, homicide, motor vehicle accidents, and epilepsy. Bottoms up.
Greed is so common in today’s business world that CNBC has been airing a weekly documentary called American Greed, since 2007. The show explores various scandals and Ponzi schemes that often result in the extortion of millions and sometimes billions of dollars.
In 2009, over $45 million was stolen in a total of 5,943 robberies, 100 burglaries, 19 larcenies, and three extortions of financial institutions in the United states, according to Security Info Watch.
People are exceptionally lazy here in the 21st century. There are 211,000 fast food drive-thrus in America and 78 percent of Americans do not meet the daily recommendation for physical activity. Americans are even too lazy to take the time to read manuals, and therefore 68 percent find the things they buy too confusing to use.
Instead of putting in real effort, Americans are far busier watching television and using apps like WunWun and Seamless to have whatever they want delivered right to their door. We hardly have to get off the couch if we don’t feel like it.
War and violence have played a key role in society since the dawn of humanity. Wrath certainly hasn’t slowed down in the 21st century. Israeli security forces have killed 6,705 Palestinians since 2000. 2,753 people perished as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Since then, over 18,000 Americans were injured in the war in Afghanistan and over 32,000 were injured in Iraq. Since March 2011, nearly 70,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war. 30,000 people were killed in the Libyan civil war that only lasted 8 months. There were 386 homicides in Detroit in 2012, more than one a day on average.
While these stats seem outrageous, the United States is actually experiencing a 50-year low in homicide rates. So, even when violence and wrath are at low points, they are still fairly prominent aspects of today’s society.
Envy is similar to lust and greed in that it is often fueled by an excessive desire. Jealousy plays a large role in envy and is a pretty natural feeling caused by a variety of insecurities. Nobody wants to be the envious girlfriend/boyfriend, but a little bit of jealousy once in a while is nothing to fret about.
Today, pride often connotes a different understanding of the word. It is often associated with the LGBTQ community as a way of expressing confidence in sexual, gender, and life preferences. Most would agree that it’s wonderful to be proud and confident with who we are as people. That said, it’s important to know when to swallow our pride, admit when we are wrong, and embrace a little bit of humility.
Perhaps the seven deadly sins today can remind us to consider everything in moderation. Well, maybe not wrath.