The Seven Deadly Sins

I hope each of you has a kick-ass feminist in your life who constantly challenges and provokes you. I have two women who especially knock me off-kilter and keep me thinking. One is a woman on one of the committees I’m on.

At our last meeting, I caught her in mid-sentence, talking about her criteria for judging whether senior citizens were effective members of their communities. She has five traits by which she judges the effectiveness of seniors: 1. They’re healthy. 2. They’re connected to other people. 3. They give back to the community. 4. They’re open to new people and new experiences. 5. They’re passionate and proactive.

I was like, damn, these are five traits I wish I had!

The other is an old college professor of mine who said to me the other day, “To take pride in something you’ve accomplished is good–and necessary for women, as you say. I’ve always thought the seven deadly sins, of which pride is one, were written to keep women in their place.”

Growing up with a relatively non-dogmatic minister for a dad, I had to go look up the seven deadly sins. They are pride, envy, anger, avarice, sadness (later replaced by sloth), gluttony, and lust.


It’s times like this that I think our culturally ingrained monotheism (or mono-atheism, which is just as dependent on one supreme being in order for the atheist to reject that being’s existence) might be blinding us to something interesting. Why are these seven traits so dangerous? What is it about pride, envy, anger, avarice, sadness, gluttony, and lust that so thoroughly separates the sinner from the Christian god? What does embodying those traits indicate?

I was thinking about Sigrid Tostadottir, and wondering if the codification of the seven deadly sins was, in part, about purging the remaining bits of pre-Christian worldview from Europe.

Not that this lets you Christians off the hook. The world needs faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance, and prudence, so y’all’d better get on that. Good luck!


I don’t really have an overarching philosophy or list of traits I try to embody. I try to do the best I can and I try not to second-guess myself after the fact.

I try to be patient and tolerant of people who are different than me, who’ve made different choices in their lives. I don’t always succeed.

I try to know my own worth. I think that’s a little different goal than having “self-esteem” which will be forever linked in my mind to having to put my head down on my desk in middle school right after lunch and listening to Zig Zigler hypnotize me into having good self-esteem. Self-esteem, eh, who cares? But knowing your own worth, that’s a useful bit of information to have.

I’m considering trying out these seven deadly sins. I’d have to top Dan Savage, though, who wrote a book on it. I wonder if there’s some activity that would take care of all seven of them at once. . .

2 thoughts on “The Seven Deadly Sins

  1. Hmm. That’s good. I was thinking masturbating while thinking of married men and eating Hostess cupcakes, but I was worried that such a configuration might kill me and I’d rather not have to spend my afterlife thinking of the Butcher coming home to find me naked and suffocated on junk food.

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