Tuesday, January 18, 2011

#1 Most Wanted on "America's 7 Most Deadly Sins"

There are seven "deadly sins" or "cardinal sins". They are:
  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Pride
For each age, it seems, we have a new favorite. Many might argue that with our over-sexualized culture that #1 on the list should be lust. I don't disagree that it is rampant, and growing worse, but I disagree that it is as socially acceptable as another one.

You might be thinking that greed or envy are most acceptable, because of our materialistic culture. I don't think so.

Maybe it is pride. We think too much of ourselves. Not #1 though.

What about sloth. Just look at your average Gen X'er. Nope.

We are such a violent people, could it be wrath? I ain't buying it.

That leaves us with GLUTTONY, which I believe has become the most socially acceptable deadly sin.

Evidence #1 - The new Starbucks Trenta cup is bigger than the average adult stomach:
To satisfy the unquenchable gullets of America's brand-name coffee drinkers, Starbucks will introduce a 916ml Trenta cup. That's more than the average capacity of the human stomach, and enough caffeine to stand in for a defibrillator.

Of course, it's not much—if any—different from a Big Gulp or any movie theater's large beverage container. But for some reason coffee's just that much more insidious. You'll be able to sample one for yourself when the Trenta rolls out nationwide by May 3rd.
Evidence #2 - Our debt:
*Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $15,788
*Total U.S. consumer debt: $2.42 trillion, as of June 2010
Evidence #3 - Our Weight:
Once considered an affliction of the lazy and indulgent, obesity now affects about one-third of Americans. The epidemic has swept up the wealthy, middle class and the poor; city dwellers, suburbanites and those in rural areas; and people of all races and ethnicities.
Of course their are multiple other examples. The fact is - we accept this vice. The saying "never enough of a good thing" has found a home.

Pray for change. Pray for and practice temperance.


Deltaflute said...

I agree with you. Gluttony is a big one. Although, foods today are more dense in calories because of additives like high fructose corn syrup so that ice cream our grandparents had as a treat now is worse for us.

I think some of it is reducing our consumption, learning to live with less, and only eat until we feel satisfied instead of stuffing ourselves silly (especially around the holidays). But I also think our culture makes it difficult especially when it comes to the way foods are processed and the fact that credit cards send out ads willy nilly to even 3 year olds.

It's a temptation in other words and I agree we need to be more aware of it. I think people just don't realize what's going on and the first step is just informing the public.

Paul Cat said...

Lust doesn't just mean sexual lust. Originally the sin was called "Luxuria, which included extravagant behavior as well as an inordinate love of another to the point that God becomes second.

Elizabeth said...

I regularly sit in on a class taught to 10th graders on the seven deadly sins... The clue to me that "gluttony" is the most #1 sin of our time is that 1) the teachers don't even know how to explain it and 2) the kids reaction is so defensive. They understand pride, lust, etc because they've seen the affect is has. Most of us are are so far gone with gluttony that we don't even see it.

The American Dream almost preaches it: Stuff, Money, Food, Fast, Now, More.

Anthony S. "Tony" Layne said...

The fast-food chains have increased their portion sizes since I was a young lad; I don't know whether the consumer demand is the dog or the tail being wagged by the QSR industry. I do know, however, that McDonald's kid-targeting market strategy is insidious, almost evil. And the QSRs encourage not only gluttony but sloth (why bother cooking? Just throw a couple burgers down the kids' throats and we're good); cooking anymore is being treated like a hobby instead of a necessary skill.

Believe me, I don't blame the whole thing on the producers of junk food. If we stop buying it, they'll stop making it. But it would help if we could get the advertisements off the air ....

David said...

Gluttony, the inordinate focus on the body to the detriment of the soul, also manifests itself in those that take exercise and healthy lifestyles to the extreme. Strange as it may seem, overindulgence in food and the overindulgence in extreme workout regimes are simply the reverse sides of the same coin.

Codex Calixtinus said...

In his Summa Theologica (Part 2-2, Question 148, Article 4), St. Thomas Aquinas reiterated the list of five ways to commit gluttony:

Laute - eating food that is too luxurious, exotic, or costly

Nimis - eating food that is excessive in quantity

Studiose - eating food that is too daintily or elaborately prepared

Praepropere - eating too soon, or at an inappropriate time

Ardenter - eating too eagerly.

I think that these guidelines apply just as well to anything material. Just substitute "consuming" for "eating". However, there is a subjective nature to some of them. What is too costly, for instance, is really dependent on the society and economy and what the opportunity costs are for that money or time spent, etc.. How much is too much depends on the person. For instance, some people need more food than others due to high metabolism. An old priest friend of mine said once that to combat a sin, you must practice proactively the opposing virtue or virtues. But in this case I think that some good ol' down to earth mortification/penance is a good remedy.