Friday, April 24, 2009


It’s commonly believed that there are coincidentally seven sins and seven virtues easily recognized by many. The sins are: pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust. And the virtues: faith, hope, charity, fortitude, prudence, justice, and temperance.

Three of these virtues are referred to as “Theological Virtues” which were chosen to be recognized by the Christian church to illustrate their creed. Those virtues are: faith, hope, and love, which were claimed by the church to have been infused in others by God to perfect our souls by directing us to Him.

It is also commonly believed that, as human beings, we have free will- the will to choose and decide our actions in our lives by implementing the gifts of reason and consciousness within us.

Yet this ability can be arduous and intractable- leaving us unable to disavowal our actions in life. Although we may strive to do the right thing, we continue to desire to thrive for our own benefit often. Virtues exist to combat sin by offering alternatives with ways we should strive to conduct our lives.

How can one be compelled to favor virtues instead of sin? Plato is who focused on the other
virtues, which are named “Cardinal Virtues” of Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance.

Plato also insisted that demonstrating that these virtues are based on human nature’s intellect and necessary to complete the moral development of the individual. So preferring sin indicates lack of development of the individual.

However, many believe that human nature is overall not nefarious. So why does sin continue to exist and so many of us engage in malfeasance?

Is it because we are bereft of guidance? Or is it due to the very nature of sin, which is to ensure its participants relish in these types of activities in a bewitching manner by way of their uncontrolled instincts and motivations that focus on the self?

Religion attempts to quell sin and is successful in many ways through inspirations within group conformity, possibly, and is a powerful and meaningful guide for the righteousness for the masses.

Two notable contributors to the origin and etiology of sin were Pope St. Gregory the Great, who brought to our attention that the wicked intent of others is often intentionally unexposed. Then there was also St. Thomas Aquinas, who believed sin was caused by pride itself, an overabundance of pleasure, as well as misdirected and egocentric love.
Others believe that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. So will a continuously active mind prevent sin, or is it more dependent on what those activities are? Simone Weil once said that all sins are attempts to fill voids.

What should fill any voids we may have instead? Furthermore, should we perhaps prevent the creation of these voids in the first place- this persistent emptiness that is intrinsically present in so many of us, perhaps due to the individualism that is persistently encouraged by others?

So, what will embolden us to avoid sin? What will be the impetus to prevent sin for good and avert it from our souls?

Sin, it appears and has been stated by others, is devoted to the self, whereas virtue is devoted entirely to others.

Under scrutiny, one may conclude that if something is nourished, it will strengthen. Conversely, if something is not, it will significantly weaken.

Maybe then our primary objective in life should therefore be to choose to feed virtue and starve sin.

Dan Abshear

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