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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Building on Shifting Sand

From the editors in National Review's Feb. 28 print issue:

The Seven Deadly Sins are Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Lust, Avarice, and Gluttony, traditionally remembered with the aid of the acronym PEWSLAG. Well, goodbye PEWSLAG, hello CABDHGS. A polling organization in Britain asked a thousand citizens to modernize the list. The new deadlies are, in descending order of sinfulness: Cruelty, Adultery, Bigotry, Dishonesty, Hypocrisy, Greed, and Selfishness. Note the interesting shift of emphasis visible here. Formerly the essence of sin lay in offending God by failing to curb one’s lower nature. Nowadays sin means causing pain or mental distress to other people. To put it another way, virtue used to consist in moral cultivation of the self; now it consists in being nice. Something has been lost here, surely.

Surely, indeed.

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