The Seven Deadly Sins…  Need an Update

graphic: myriam aresenault

It’s become increasingly evident that one person’s sins are another person’s constitutional rights. Also one person’s family values can include exclusion from the family unit for identifying too strongly with Kurt on Glee.
With so much hypocrisy and double standards in the world, is it not time for a secular reconsideration of the seven deadly sins?


While obsession with one’s personal status and ego are, on their face, undesirable, what’s so wrong with pride that it has to compete with gluttony for our disdain? Pride has made many inroads into the mainstream lately, especially when it was re-christened “self-worth” and was promoted by Oprah as a vital tool in our society’s daily struggle for happiness.

Chastity, on the other hand, unlike its cohorts charity and kindness, has had something of an image problem, due largely to its stubborn refusal to face facts that it’s nearly impossible to stop two teenagers from having intercourse just as much as it’s impossible to get those little yellow birds to not eat ticks and other parasites off of the backs of rhinoceroses.

Pride—assuming the bar isn’t set too low—can be a just reward for our accomplishments. Because God knows so few things in life come with monetary compensation.


No doubt you all remember the one kid on the playground whose family had seemingly limitless wealth (as expressed in toys). It’s never nice to want what you can’t have— but without that initial motivation for the acquisition of what you don’t already have, what would you even have now?

Desiring something for the sake of having it can inspire boundless creativity, which in the long-term we may find more satisfying than the actual payoff. If I covet my neighbour’s flat-screen TV, the worst I could do is somehow arrange for it to “migrate” off the premises. Or, more likely, I’ll get a job and put in the hours so I can afford one for myself, all while supporting the local economy. Yes, covetousness is my own trickle-down economic policy.

Beats being the recipient of someone else’s charity, doesn’t it?

Where do I begin? Often the only difference between a romantic comedy’s perception of love and a psychiatrist’s definition of lust is three letters.

I’m aware that there is such a thing as a marriage without any sex, and that sperm banks are well-stocked and open most hours, but intercourse is kind of integral to life, and lust is kind of integral to intercourse. Life is a circle of lust, baby. Amend your motivational work posters accordingly.


Let’s be honest: there are a lot of douchebags out there. Look to your left. Now look to your right. One of the three of you is a hopeless turd monkey. This is a scientific fact, established by scientists.

We need a system to keep the mindless assholes at bay, lest they overrun us as an army dressed in Ed Hardy T-shirts and popped collars. Wrath is basically the basis of our entire judicial system. All that stands between our relatively civil society and an autocracy where the biggest bro-tard not only gets away with his crimes, but rises to the top on a wave of jackassery, is good, old- fashioned vengeance.

Obviously, we need to keep our wrath in check, lest we become a part of the shmuck-horde ourselves. We’re just not outraged by the right things. For instance, I’m outraged by lousy service at chain restaurants that could afford butlers to take my order if they wanted. Child illiteracy rates? Mildly annoying. The poor quality of FOX’s fall programming? Hulk smash!

While patience is a great quality to possess while doing your nine to five shift at Arby’s, it’s a sin as far as I’m concerned.


As for sloth? Well, let’s just say I haven’t gotten around to defending gluttony just yet, but in my own defense, gluttony and covetousness kind of crisscross, and now that I think about it, so does covetousness and envy.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 28, published March 29, 2011.