Saturday, April 12, 2008

guess who's going to hell?

i am. and, most likely, so are you if the reports from a british newspaper are correct. there are seven new deadly sins--updated and modernized for your salvation--to complement classic mode (sloth, avarice, greed, lust, gluttony, envy and pride). and all of classic mode have a polar opposite in the seven virtues (chastity, temperance, forgiveness, diligence, charity, humility and kindness). alas, no such lenience for the new sins.

a couple of years of punitive catholic schooling left me quite bitter about religion in general, which is ironic considering the first place i would ever run away to would be rome...go figure. and all this may be a complete misreading of an archbishop's interview with an italian newspaper, so this may be a complete falsehood that i am perpetuating. you decide (translated text of interview here). regardless, meet the new venial sins for the 21st century:
1. doing/selling drugs
2. causing poverty
3. being too rich (yet not too thin...and isn't this just a rewording of avarice?)
4. genetic modifications
5. human experimentation
6. social injustice
7. polluting the environment

i hit four, maybe five of the seven; the other two/three aren't as appealing but i'm open to suggestion. what is the obsession with seven? can't there be six or nine deadly sins? six is quite an evil number. and i've never liked 15, but that might be too taxing to try and remember them all. if your intent is to update and modernize, then why follow the archaic model? it kinda reminds me of the seven wonders of the world:
1. pyramids at giza
2. babylon hanging gardens
3. lighthouse at alexandria
4. temple of artemis
5. zeus on olympia
6. mausoleum at halicarnassus
7. colossus of rhodes

and the seven medieval wonders:
1. hagia sophia (been there!)
2. colosseum (been there, too!)
3. leaning tower of pisa (and there!)
4. stonehenge (and there as well!)
5. great wall of china (i did see the berlin wall...)
6. catacombs of kom al shoqafa (and catacombs in rome...)
7. porcelain tower of nanjing (?)

and the seven new wonders, as revealed last year:
1. colosseum (is it fair to be listed twice?)
2. chichen itza
3. machu picchu
4. petra
5. great wall of china (again?)
6. taj mahal
7. christ the redeemer statue in saõ paolo

and even the seven habits of highly effective people:
1. be proactive (a word i despise)
2. begin with an end in mind
3. first things first
4. think win/win
5. first understand, then be understood
6. synergize (another word i despise)
7. regain production capability (is this sloth in disguise?)

the seven blunders of the world, as related by mahatma gandhi, are perhaps my favorite:
1. wealth without work
2. pleasure without conscience
3. knowledge without character
4. politics without principle
5. worship without sacrifice
6. science without humanity
7. commerce without morality

i'm guessing that archbishop gianfranco girotti--the architect of what may or may not be the new seven deadly sins--was a fan of gandhi as well. there are many similarities, if nothing else. of course archbishop girotti makes excellent suggestions that we should all try and avoid these things if at all possible (do you really NEED to shop at target?), but do we have to go to hell for driving a less-than-optimal-fuel-efficiency vehicle? i worked briefly at a halfway house in houston for recovering crack addicts trying to reconnect with their families after rehab and i would not have considered a single one of them eternally damned for their addiction (it was far too sad to see them struggle to consider the morality involved in their doing an "illegal" drug).

basically if you live in the west in any capacity other than as a hermit, you're damned. if you have ever driven a car, ran your air conditioner in the summer, shopped at a big box store, experimented with any type of drug, eaten at any type of fast-food restaurant, made an income beyond subsistence level, or bought anything made in china/mexico/india or any of the hundreds of countries with pay scales that are less than ours then you're screwed. vatican city isn't exactly hurting for revenue--it is a very nice neighborhood and i'm quite sure they don't power their expensive real estate on reclaimed vegetable oil. to my mind, there is more than a little hypocrisy involved in this new list (if it is a list).

i have to believe that the vast majority of us are able to live morally and ethically without a list.

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