Seven deadly sins

set of vices in Christian theology and Western philosophy

The Seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices, or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings. According to the standard list, they are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth.

Notably, the reason why these sins are “deadly”... is rooted in Christianity. They are deadly because they have the power to “maim” or “kill” the divine spirit present in all men and women. ~ Naveed Saleh


  • The deadly sins were those sins which the rabbis and early Church Fathers felt led to damnation. They are usually based on the ten commandments. There are numerous references to them in Jewish and Christian writings of the age...
    • Morton W. Bloomfield, references The Origin of the Concept of the Seven Cardinal Sins, Harvard Theological Review], (April 1941)
  • The Church was not completely successful in purging the seven cardinal sins of their astrological origin, for surprisingly enough, beginning in the fourteenth century, the planets are linked to the sins more distinctly than ever before in Christian literature. In fact, the best examples come from this time. Where the association existed in the interval, unless it be an accidental rewelding or in Arabic astrological lore, I cannot guess.
    • Morton W. Bloomfield, references The Origin of the Concept of the Seven Cardinal Sins, Harvard Theological Review], (April 1941)
  • “Are you familiar with Wallader’s theory that every society is fundamentally organized around one or another of the cardinal sins?”
    “I believe not,” I said.
    “He argues that the true seed of every culture, whatever the ideals to which it gives lip service, always turns out to be one of the seven mortal iniquities identified by the ancients: pride, greed, and anger are the most common; lust, gluttony, and envy less so; those based on sloth usually do not last.”
  • The early Christians also extolled torture as just deserts for the sinful. Most people have heard of the seven deadly sins, standardized by Pope Gregory I in 590 CE. Fewer people know about the punishment in hell that was reserved for those who commit them: "Pride: Broken on the wheel. Envy: Put in freezing water. Gluttony: Force-fed rats, toads, and snakes. Lust: Smothered in fire and brimstone. Anger: Dismembered alive. Greed: Put in cauldrons of boiling oil. Sloth: Thrown in snake pits." The duration of these sentences, of course, was infinite. By sanctifying cruelty, early Christianity set a precedent for more than a millennium of systematic torture in Christian Europe. If you understand the expressions to burn at the stake, to hold his feet to the fire, to break a butterfly on the wheel, to be racked with pain, to be drawn and quartered, to disembowel, to flay, to press, the thumbscrew, the garrote, a slow burn, and the iron maiden (a hollow hinged statue lined with nails, later taken as the name of a heavy-metal rock band), you are familiar with a fraction of the ways that heretics were brutalized during the Middle Ages and early modern period.

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