Sin: Past And Present Essay

1638 words - 7 pages

It is hard to tell the difference between a Christian and a non-believer in today’s society, for believers have conformed to the ways of the non-believers. The Bible defines sin as “transgression of the law” (King James Version Bible, 1 John 3:4). Wikipedia defines sin, in religion, as an act that violates a known moral rule. However, Christians’ attitudes towards sin have changed drastically over the centuries. The Seven Deadly Sins, found many times in the Bible, are rarely spoken of in contemporary Christian culture. If anything, they are encouraged. In the movie Wall Street, Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gekko states, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” The popular HBO series Sex and the City focuses on single women and their lustful pursuits of men. In the 1300s, around the time that Dante wrote Divine Comedy, Christians were aware of the Seven Deadly Sins and strived to be holy and void of them. The sins listed in the Bible are not considered as important as they were in Dante’s time.
In Purgatorio, Dante’s purgatory contains seven terraces, one terrace for each of the Seven Deadly Sins. In each terrace, the souls are forced to encounter both the sin and the opposite virtue to the sin they had committed. Pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust each had consequences. Followers of Christ during Dante’s time were careful not to commit any of these sins, but presently, they do not seem to care about them.
The first terrace of purgatory deals with greed. Souls traveling through this terrace carry heavy rocks on their back, forcing them to walk slowly with their faces pointed to the ground. Carved on the side of the mountain are images of the opposite virtue humility, such as the “annunciation” scene. The cliché “pride goes before the fall” has developed over the centuries. Many Bible-believers are committing the very sin that they are condemning. They often travel through life thinking that they are “better” than the secular world simply because they are labeled Christians or attend church. Some even go so far as to say they deserve more because they are Christians. These actions are prideful but encouraged every day. Adults even teach their children to be prideful without thinking twice. Thus, pride is accepted throughout every Christian generation.
The second terrace deals with a sin that the majority of Christians commit multiple times each day. Everyone at some point envies something their neighbor has. The envious souls in Purgatorio are huddled together with their eyes sewn shut with iron wire. These souls wanted things they saw and did not have. Now, they are deprived of sight, and seated together, leaning against boulders, and cloaked in plain colors similar to that of the rocks. They envied what their neighbor wanted in life. If their neighbor looks exactly the same, envy cannot be felt. Envy is a hidden emotion that every human is guilty of feeling, but they...

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