Culture, Life, Religion

Headscratcher: What’s the Greatest “Deadly Sin?”

I vote: Envy. (Justification to follow at some point.)


For clarification, and a starting point, from an old edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica–not so much (like the King James Bible) “the actual words Christ spoke” but close, and as described by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century AD, your choices are:

  • vainglory, or pride
  • greed, or covetousness
  • lust, or inordinate or illicit sexual desire
  • envy
  • gluttony, which is usually understood to include drunkenness
  • wrath, or anger
  • sloth

2 thoughts on “Headscratcher: What’s the Greatest “Deadly Sin?””

  1. It is often the position of Orthodox theologians that Pride is the heart of all sin, and the worst – even above envy. For it is pride that makes us think “I deserve X” or “This person does not deserve the X that I have.” It is pride that tells us “Well, I can do this forbidden or dangerous thing because I’m special.” It is pride that tells us “I should not be punished for I did nothing wrong, while they got away with murder.” Lust, greed, gluttony… they call hang from various manifestations of pride.

    1. That makes eminent sense. Perhaps pride is the sin from which all others depend. I’ve always thought of pride as a sin of overweening self-love, and envy as an overweening hatred for others. Perhaps they’re inextricably linked that way also.

      I know more than one person who inverts envy, sure in what passes for his heart that all those who see and know him are desperately jealous, want what he has, and would give anything to experience his allegedly carefree and sybaritic lifestyle and his supposed wealth. That’s quite bizarre in and of itself, and certainly another manifestation of pride. (It’s sad, really. The small handful of people I know who do this have lives that no-one in their right mind would envy or care to experience himself. Still, you know what they say: Virtue is its own reward, and vice is its own punishment. Many good examples of that in life and literature.)

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