Where Is There Virtue? Where Is There Sin?

sins“We’re gluttons for infographics . . .” starts a fascinating result of a study by some clever folks at Kansas State. They’ve figured  out a way to define the seven deadly sins with statistics that can be measured.  I noticed how poorly the “Bible Belt” scored.  Somehow the good theology isn’t translating into the “goodness” of the culture.

On a more personal level, I’m struck by how easy it is to rationalize sin.  Gluttony?  “We have to eat, don’t we?”  Wrath?  “It’s really righteous indignation!”  At least it’s easy to justify my own sin.  I’d be interested in some comments about your “confessions” and your attitudes toward those sins.

I’m also struck by how we (okay, how “I”) tend to normalize sin, like a little bit of it here and there keeps me from being too much of a boring goodie-two-shoes.  Basically, we tend to sin whenever we assume that God does NOT want the best for us and that my ways of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain are for my ultimate good.  Consider how many people react negatively to the Ten Commandments as though they deprive us from having a happy life.  As I understand the Bible, every commandment was given for our good.  This implies that every time we break any commandment, it will hurt us somehow, even if the impact is not immediately seen.

I think the Bible has a good solution to the problem of trying to avoid sin.  Instead of just trying to avoid the myriad of ways we can be bad (immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissension, factions, envying , drunkenness, carousings, and things like these — Galatians 5:19-21),   the Bible  recommends that we pursue righteous living.   It’s proactive.  It challenges to grow up and do good.  It keeps us dependent on the grace that Jesus has purchased for us because we can’t do it in our own strength.

My question is this: “Why is so hard for us to resist self-gratifications that are harmful to us instead of pursuing the good life?”  Ideas?  Enter your comments.


One Response to Where Is There Virtue? Where Is There Sin?

  1. bjmmckee says:

    Though this is not answering your question, I don’t “get” most of the definitions of each of the sins. In my mind, there is little if any association except on a most superficial level. Otherwise, what you wrote and your questions are good ones.

    As far as answering your question, to put a book into a few words, we want HAPPINESS. At any cost. And, when we look around us, that comes in the form of possessions, worldly goods, whatever you want to call it. Now is a prime example of this — our world seems to be spinning out of control, seeminly everyone including the family pet is on meds for depression. I am not saying that there are certainly lots of sad stories out there, great losses of financies, etc. But, since we place so much stock in those kinds of things for happiness, then we fail to see where our “treasure” is, or should be. Complicated issue, no simple answers. All I know is as a student of history, I have learned that through the entire history of mankind, people are happy when they have plenty and not when they are lacking. One thing that I see a different now, and it really concerns me deeply, is that in the past, when the going got tough, people turned to their religion/faith. I grieve now because I don’t see this. And for me, that’s of great concern. For whatever that’s worth, that’s the way I see it.

    Hope you are doing well. We need to visit soon and catch up on the past year! Hope all is well for you and your family.


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