Rob's Soapbox Archives
March 24th, 2008
HYPOCRISY: THE 15TH SIN.
In the wake of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer becoming the latest in a long line of “holier-than-thou,” public officials to have their own personal hypocrisy wash their legitimacy upon the shores of relevancy beach, it is ironic to note that the Vatican, the capitol of hyprocrisy-ville, has updated their list of “no-no’s,” or as we have more commonly come to know it, “sins.”
First, some background and a refresher course; I am one of the most spiritual people I know. I am not, however, religious. Religion has nothing to do with whatever God one may believe in. Rather, religion is a means by which humans control other humans through the power of judgment and fear. It is an abhorrent practice in this and nearly every other culture on Earth. IF there truly is a God (and I say “if” because while I have strong personal beliefs I am not nearly as arrogant as most people on this subject and therefore do not demand that I be correct), it will be fascinating to learn someday how God feels about the lengths to which churches across the globe have gone to warp the minds of people. For more on my thoughts on this subject, I reference one of my most popular and commented upon past articles: http://www.robarnieanddawn.com/newsite/soapbox/godprayers.html
As for the Original Seven Deadly Sins (sadly most people know them only by the mediocre Brad Pitt film of years past called “Seven,”), they are not, despite popular belief, in the bible. Like most things Religious, the seven deadly sins are simply a list of rules made up out of nowhere by a man, in this case, a Pope named Gregory, somewhere around the end of the 6th century (for those of you that relied on public school for your education that means sometime around year 575 A.D.). The idea was simple; commit any of the sins, and off to Hell you go. Being a fan of true theatrics, Gregory was even nice enough to list which specific sin would cause a specific punishment in hell. My personal favorite was the punishment for “anger,” which resulted in being dismembered slowly while alive. Boy, that Satan is one kooky dude, isn’t he? (http://www.deadlysins.com/sins/history.html)
The Original seven deadly sins and their explanations were;
- Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.
- Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.
- Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
- Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.
- Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.
- Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.
- Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to know Pope Gregory personally, but I am confident in going out on a limb and proclaiming that he was not exactly the life of the party. It’s as though Stalin, Bill O Reilly and a test pattern had sex and out popped Pope Gregory. In seven concise sentences (presented in a handy 6th century power-point style) the Pope was able to judge, impugn and mock anything related to fun, success, relaxation and emotion.
Pride, gluttony and greed are simply condemnations of a desire to believe in oneself (as opposed to a man on the moon named God), buy more toys than your neighbor and enjoy the fruits of your own labors (as opposed to handing the money YOU earned to your church).
Anger and lust are necessary human emotions that guide our moral compasses and allow us to define what we truly love in our lives. Anger and lust are not sins; it’s what we do those emotions that matter.
Sloth means lying on the sofa and watching Tiger Woods win another golf tournament. Hey, Gregory, give me a break. Just because you can’t hit a 5 iron 225 yards over a water hazard onto a postage stamp green doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy watching someone else do it. Jerk.
Envy, in the abstract, is the only sin that seems remotely legitimate if it’s being used in the modern day sense of class warfare. If the definition of envy is to look at someone who has legitimately achieved more than you and demand that they have their excesses taken from them, that is a sin but it is not envy it is pettiness…and robbery. If, however, envy is the motivational tool one uses to demand more of ones’ self so that he or she achieves what others have, where is the sin? Once again, envy is not the crime, how one manifests the envy is what must be judged.
Alas, seven sins were not enough for our newest guiding religious light, the current pontiff, a wacky chap by the name of Pope Benedict. A few weeks ago the pope graced us with 7 MORE deadly sins to add to our list of “don’ts” and the stunning hypocrisy of them all was glaring. Hypocrisy, by the way, ironically, did not make the new list of sins. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88085760)
- Genetic Modification: This new sin refers to both cloning and stem cell research. Good for you, Pope Benedict. I certainly don’t walk a bunch of cripples learning how to walk after 40 years of being confined to a hell-on-earth existence as a result of some successful research on strains of life that were never going to exist in the first place. What a crime that would be. You have to give the pope credit for throwing compassion right out of the window with the first new sin. This Pope really swings for the fences, doesn’t he? Additionally, this is where the Pope begins a trend with this new list of sins of being far too vague and over-reaching. By ruling out ALL stem cell research he ignores the fact that enormous breakthroughs were made just last year on adult stem cells, to the tune of making embryonic research unnecessary and scientifically irrelevant. Stem Cell research has long been a hot button for the abortion crowd, but that is no longer even a debate or discussion. Let’s be fair, shall we; No one enjoys impugning President Bush more than I do, but the man got two things right in eight years; lower taxes and no need to destroy human embryos. When your batting average is so low, you remember the two base hits you got. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050624102413.htm)
- Carrying out Experiments on Humans: By all accounts, this is simply another way of letting you know that they really, really, really mean it when they are against cloning and stem cell research. I think they just added this in so that they could have a list of seven again. The church would look pretty stupid putting out a new list of only 6 new deadly sins, wouldn’t they?
- Polluting the Environment: You really have to stand back in awe of the hypocrisy of this one. Here we have the Catholic Church telling us not to pollute the environment. The Catholic Church who, whenever they vote to elect a new pope, sends billowing smoke into the atmosphere over and over again until the vote produces a new pontiff. Apparently, second hand cancer is a small price to pay for a new leader with old ideas who wears a dunce cap every Easter.
- Causing Social Injustice: Like, for example, let’s say pedophilia? Thanks for getting on that, Benedict.
- Causing Poverty: Does the Pope live in Sherwood Forest? This sin is directly aimed at America and capitalism as an economic system. Why not just say “Hi, my name is Pope Benedict and I believe in the idea of, from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” No one in the free world causes poverty. One person, entity or company making a profit does not cause poverty upon the person choosing to pay for whatever product or service the company is offering. Despots and tyrants who literally deprive people of food, water and wealth can be accused of “causing poverty,” but in those examples couldn’t the pope be a little more specific? Perhaps instead of “causing poverty,” he could have referred to the sin as “depriving humans their innate, God given right to pursue life, liberty, happiness and freedom.” No, wait, that sounds far too similar to some other important document in history not written by a catholic. Can’t have that, can we?
- Becoming obscenely wealthy: Like that asshole Warren Buffet who just gave 85% of his personal fortune, to the tune of $37 billion to charity. That damn sinner. The Pope sure got this one right…damn that obscene wealth…it never amounts to anything good does it?
- Taking Drugs: Well that’s a little vague, isn’t it? I can’t take Lipitor for my high cholesterol because I will have my eyes plucked out in hell if I do so? That seems a bit extreme to me. When did the Catholic Church move towards Jehovah’s witnesses? Again, perhaps the Pope could have narrowed it down a little bit. I understand he’s busy promoting Cardinals and Bishops that have been accused of molesting children to positions of great prominence, but couldn’t the Pope have thought this one through a little bit more and narrowed it down to illegal narcotics or something similar? If taking drugs is a sin where the hell does that goofy confessional wine fit in? Additionally, is he condemning the entire pharmaceutical industry on this one as well? Are they sinners for making life saving drugs or are they sinners for charging so much for those drugs that it causes heart attacks? Back to the drawing board on this one, pontiff.
So there you have it, seven more sins, now totaling 14, or what we call here in the states a “congressional dozen.”
Taken in totality with the first seven sins it is clear that not a man, woman, child or animal amongst us has a chance in Hell of getting into Heaven, which is certainly a conundrum wrapped up in a riddle.
The good news in all of this is that when I die, having committed (based on the church’s definitions) more than half of the sins, I will take my seat in Hell, most likely right next to Jesus and chat with him about when where and how it all went wrong. He and I can gluttonously imbibe in drugs (as he was wont to do according to both Matthew and Luke) and discuss all of the social injustices that his churches have greedily committed while lustfully pursuing obscene wealth at the expense of making true believers as impoverished as possible for the sole purpose of angrily declaring that all those who do not agree with our God must be genetically altered at the hands of environmentally polluting bombs. Thank goodness that after that chat, we’ll be able to rest on the Sabbath…which will of course raise that whole “sloth” issue…”