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The Seven Deadly Sins

HomeReligion, Atheism, and Odd TheologyThe Seven Deadly Sins

According to the Roman Catholic church, there are two types of sins:

  1. Venial sins, which are relatively minor, and
  2. Capital (or Mortal) sins, which put one in danger of eternal damnation.

The traditionally-held Seven Deadly Sins are, in order of seriousness:

  1. pride
  2. greed
  3. gluttony
  4. lust
  5. sloth
  6. envy
  7. anger

The Pope recently laid out seven brand-new Mortal sins, in case you’re worried about keeping track.

Interestingly (for non-Catholics), these sins aren’t necessarily all that bad on their own. They’re considered bad because they’re considered ‘gateway sins’:

It is not then the gravity of the vice in itself that makes it capital but rather the fact that it gives rise to many other sins.

Catholic Encyclopedia

According to the Roman Catholic church, the remedy for Mortal sins is penance. Until penance is accomplished, the sinner is “deprived of grace…until the disturbance of order has been restored by penance“.

Here’s why I don’t buy any of this: it doesn’t match what I read in the Bible. I don’t see penance being taught in the New Testament. Reparations, maybe…but that’s making things right with another person. Penance is making things right with God.

The simple message of the Bible is that we’re unable to make things right with God on our own…that’s why Jesus, the central figure of the Bible, died. He did for us to do what we couldn’t do for ourselves: pay the ultimate penalty for sin.

One might say that Jesus’ penance forever removed from us any need for our own. Here’s what 1 John 1:7 has to say about our sin:

if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

That’s good enough for me!

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2 responses to “The Seven Deadly Sins”

  1. Amos says:

    You may interpret the Bible differently than the Catholic Church, and may not believe in the “Sacraments” in the way traditional Christianity does, but I bet you at least want to accurately represent the view you disagree with. There are a number of points in here that misrepresent the Catholic view, the biggest of which is on the Catholic view of sin and redemption. Allow me to explain.

    First off, the Catholic Church believes in “Original Sin”, that we are all affected by Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden (Rom 5:12-19). He was spiritually alive, but after he and Eve disobeyed God’s command, they became spiritually dead (Gen 2:15-16). As a result, Adam’s descendants are born spiritually dead.

    Second, God wants us to be spiritually alive, to have life in abundance (Jn 10:10). So, for us men and our salvation, God the Father sent His eternal Son to become a man, and to die and rise again (Acts 2:22-41). Through Jesus Christ we are offered the grace to be spiritually alive again (Rom 5:15-17). We just have to accept His offer by faith (Jn 3:16).

    Third, once we live in Christ, we can still sin (Jas 4). All sins are horrible, but some sins are smaller and only hinder our relationship with God; we are still spiritually alive, but we love Him less. Other sins are bigger and destroy our relationship with God; we become spiritually dead (1 Jn 5:16-18). Even then, our forgiving Father wants His prodigal sons to return to Him (Lk 11:32).

    Finally, Jesus created the Sacrament of Penance to flood our souls with mercy and a healing grace, so that we can love God more than we ever did before. Jesus gave His apostles a share in His power to forgive sins (Jn 20:21-23). The apostles chose bishops and presbyters to carry on their work (Acts 1:20). In the early church, Christians confessed their sins in their church services, with the presbyters present (Jas 5:14-17).

    I bet you disagree with a lot of this, but if Christians are to stop mistaking other Christians for the real enemy (Eph 6:12), we need to charitably dialogue about our different understandings of God’s word.

    I’d love to dialogue further about our disagreements – but not on a message board.


  2. Tony says:


    In my own defense: I never suggested that Catholics are anyone’s enemies. Also: disagreeing with Catholic doctrine isn’t the same as misrepresenting it.

    Thanks for laying out your position so clearly. =)

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