While most would recognize the deadly nature of the sins of pride, vainglory, envy, and anger, sloth does not seem to be that bad.  It’s not good to be lazy, but does it really rate so high as sin to be among the seven deadly?  In order to answer that question, we need to look at the attitude that underlies laziness. Read the rest of this entry »

Anger is universally recognized as an extremely dangerous emotion.  Two thousand years ago the Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger lamented, “No plague has cost the human race so dear” (“On Anger,” 1.2).  The Jewish psychiatrist Solomon Schimmel wrote, “Of the seven deadly sins, anger is the most pervasive, injurious to self and others, and responsible for unhappiness and psychopathological behavior. … As a psychotherapist I spend more time helping clients deal with their anger than with any other emotions.”[1] Read the rest of this entry »

Henry Fairlie wrote, “Envy is the one Deadly Sin to which no one readily confesses.”[1] Why is this so?  Pride is the root of all sins, and yet it can have a positive meaning and even in its sinfulness has a sort of perverted nobility.  What makes envy so nasty?  In order to answer this question, we’ll need to define envy carefully and distinguish it from two closely related words “covetousness” and “jealousy.” Read the rest of this entry »

 

In the previous essay vainglory[1] was described as pride’s pitiful little sister, both to stress its likeness to pride and its difference from pride.  At its worse, pride despises others and does not care what they think.  In contrast, vanity desperately seeks, even demands, the approval of others. Read the rest of this entry »

The Christian tradition of the seven deadly sins firmly maintains that pride is the chief of all sins.   The title of the chapter on pride in C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity is “The Great Sin.”  So strongly is the centrality and destructive force of pride felt that it is often listed separately from the seven sins as the source of the others.  Gregory the Great (c. 540-604) states that pride is the “queen of sins,” and that the seven are its “captains.” As pride’s “first progeny,” they “spring … from this poisonous root” (Moralia xxxi:45). Read the rest of this entry »