By Greg DeVries
From a young age, we’re taught to avoid certain behaviors, and the seven deadly sins are supposed to be the worst of the worst. They can deform our character and turn us into horrible people.
Last semester, I took an ethics class centered around the seven deadly sins. David Echelbarger taught the class, and he my interest in the topic and taught me a lot.
As a child, I learned the seven deadly sins. My understanding was far too minimalistic. The sins are complex and powerful — they are very worthy of the title “deadly.”
We read “On Evil” by St. Thomas Aquinas, and this really opened my eyes. Aquinas painted a picture of the seven sins that I hadn’t thought of before: Pride was the tree from which other sins stemmed because they are rooted in prideful tendencies.
Aquinas also wrote extensively on each of the sins. Before the class started, I thought I did a good job avoiding the pitfalls of the seven deadly sins. After the course ended, I realized I fell victim to each one routinely, and the disconnect came from the limited view of the sins themselves.
If you ask someone what gluttony is, that person will probably paint a verbal picture of a fat guy that stuffs his face with cake. Sure, this is gluttony, but there is a lot more to the picture.
We read a story of an old woman that went to a restaurant and ordered tea and a small sandwich. Each time the waiter brought her plate out, she would find something wrong with it. This, as it turns out, is gluttonous as well. In fact, Aquinas outlines many ways to commit gluttony. The other sins are just as complex, and our special section should shed some light on sinful behaviors.
Take the time to read what Aquinas and our special section say about the seven deadly sins. You might find out you’re just as sinful as I am.