Liberalism: A mental disorder?

‪I will start off by saying that anyone who makes this claim is without a doubt ignorant, extremely facetious, and obtuse. A mental disorder is a psychiatric condition that causes impairment, or affects a person’s judgement, behaviour or perception, and it can range from an isolated incident, to a serious condition that can cause distress, and the need to seek a psychiatrist which can lead to mind altering medication. Being so flippant about something so serious is showing complete disregard for the welfare of people who are genuinely ill. It makes my skin crawl when I read the five words ‘Liberalism is a mental disorder’, or the extremely vile alternative ‘libtard’. It’s often White supremacist, homophobic, right wing Christians who have an obsession with the first and second amendment that use this phrase, as they’re clearly unable to accept people being allowed to express their individuality. ‬

La Liberté éclairant le monde

‪”Humanism split into three main branches. The orthodox branch holds that each human being is a unique individual possessing a distinctive inner voice and a never-to-be-repeated string of experiences. Every human being is a singular ray of light, which illuminates the world from a different perspective, and which adds colour, depth and meaning to the universe. Hence we ought to give as much freedom as possible to every individual to experience the world, follow his or her inner voice and express his or her inner truth. Whether in politics, economics or art, individual free will should have far more weight than state interests or religious doctrines. The more liberty individuals enjoy, the more beautiful, rich and meaningful is the world. Due to this emphasis on liberty, the orthodox branch of humanism is known as liberal humanism” – Yuval Noah Harari‬

‪A libtard is obviously a condescending, derogatory mixture of liberal and retard, and is often directed at left wing people, who demand equality, justice, freedom of choice, reform and social progression, whereas right wing are usually traditionalists, nationalists, over patriotic, and needy of a moral authority giver, usually god. Despite the god worshippers claiming their moral superiority, they’re unable to accept liberalism, which is a moral philosophy with its emphasis on equality; be it social, human, sexual or gender. They demand democracy, and secularism. This strikes fear into the hearts of the right wing bigots, as they feel like it’s an attempt by atheists to remove god from society, but liberalism also agrees with freedom of religion, but just as important is freedom from religion, and it shouldn’t be involved in politics, or influence the government. ‬

‪With the right wing bigots being traditionalists, this means that they believe that a man should marry a woman, start a family, attend the church regularly, and the man provides, and the woman is the homemaker. This view is so archaic and out of touch with the reality of the modern world, as it’s 2020, not 1820. Liberals focus on both gender equality and racial equality, and if the right wing were truly patriotic, they’d remember that in the ‘Declaration of Independence‘ it says that “all men are created equal”, so liberalism shouldn’t need to exist. But unfortunately it’s not that simple, as the Bible is far more important, and because it allegedly condemns homosexuality.‬

‪”If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Leviticus 20:13‬

‪Liberalism is a doctrine that attempts to protect and enhance the freedom, and rights of all humans, which acknowledges a person’s individuality, be it sexual orientation, religion, race, nationality, and ‘Plato‘ said that society should be organic, and work like a beehive, with everyone doing their necessary duty to create harmony and an equilibrium. Liberals are also keen on reform and progression, and the means to reach this is dialogue, and communication. As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword. In the case of liberalism being a mental disorder, the sword is completely wrong. ‬

‪”Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved” – Aristotle‬

A retrospective: Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant‘ was born in Königsberg, Prussia, a region of Germany, in 1724. He grew up to become one of the most influential philosophers surrounding epistemology during the Age of Enlightenment. As philosophers go, Kant was the real deal, and followed in the footsteps of ‘Sir Francis Bacon‘, who 200 years previous had focused on rationalism, the pursuit of reason, and empiricism which involves knowledge that’s gained through experiences of the senses. He was born and raised as a Lutheran, and started at the local Pietist, Latin school aged 8 where he remained a student until he was 16, and he then enrolled at the University of Königsberg, where he studied theology. It was here that he discovered his love of physics, and he began reading the works of the most notorious scientists and philosophers of the past.

“It is beyond a doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience.” – Immanuel Kant

One of Kant’s areas which he began to study was metaphysics, which is theoretical philosophy that focuses on cause and effect; the cause of the universe and the nature of being. In other words it studies how and why, and a perfect example is the question; Divine Creation, or the Big Bang? The second of Kant’s areas was the study of ethics which began with his Pietist faith. He believed that morality comes about by using extensive reasoning, and this led him towards political ethics where he claimed democracy and liberty would lead to world peace. Despite being raised as a Pietist, and adhering to the ethics of his faith, he became sceptical towards arguments defending theism, and some historians claim he was an agnostic, and others say he developed atheistic views. I think it’s fair to say that his spirituality was an ever developing idea, and when applying reason, he struggled with the concept of god.

“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.” – Immanuel Kant

As a scientist and philosopher he turned the world upside down with his theories and ideas regarding cosmology, ethics, politics, geology and physics. He was a thought machine, and many of his theories despite being disregarded in certain circles during his life, have stood the test of time and his influence on modern science has been monumental.

He proposed the nebular hypothesis which is the theory that the solar system was formed 4.5 billion years ago by a nebula cloud containing dust and gas. As it became denser, gravity formed objects of mass which include the planets and the sun, and they began to rotate. Kant claimed that the evidence for this was the fact that all the natural satellites in the solar system (planets and moons) all orbit around the Sun in the same direction, and because over 99% of the mass in the solar system is the Sun, it attracts all the other objects of mass. The gravity of the Sun condensed until it reached a critical point and the hydrogen atoms fused to create helium, and nuclear fusion began with the Sun coming to life. He proposed that galaxies formed in a similar way, and each galaxy had an infinite amount of solar systems that formed by gravity interaction.

As a moral philosopher he never encouraged any theism in his approach, and he deals with something he described as ‘fact of reason’. What this implied was every human has been endowed with a conscience, and with this comes empathy and reason, and without freedom we have no moral worth, but he also dismissed the idea of free will and believed in the theory of causality proposed by ‘Isaac Newton‘. In other words, morality is derived from consequence, and we must always endeavour to respect humanity in ourselves, and once that’s achieved we will understand our intrinsic moral duty. He separated the idea of morality into two distinctions.

Theoretical reason is studying the natural world through understanding why

Practical reason studies the questions of how the world ought to be and tells us our duty

As well as personal ethics, he had a deep interest in political ethics which involved an honest government and civil rights. In a way he was an idealist and believed that human were inevitably going to reach a state of perpetual happiness, but there must be reform. This he believed would come from a Rechtsstaat, which essentially means ‘rule of law, or state of justice‘, which is a form of constitutionalism. As well as wishing for universal peace, he claimed that wars lead to economic turmoil, and the more expensive wars become, the more reluctant that nations will wish to get involved, which will eventually lead to conditions of peace, which encourages morality.

Have the courage to use your own reason- That is the motto of enlightenment.” -Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals

Regarding Kant’s cause and effect ideas; every action has a reaction, he also studied autonomy and its influences, like universality and particularity, objectivity and subjectivity, conformity and individuality, and what impact they have on decision making, and especially in regards to morality. He defined autonomy into three categories that are:

The right to make decisions without outside influence

The right to make decision independently using personal reflection and reason

The right to be accepted by others that morality is universal and what is required by you, is required by all

“Autonomy, in Western ethics and political philosophy, the state or condition of self-governance, or leading one’s life according to reasons, values, or desires that are authentically one’s own.” – Source

Kant’s ethical ideology is known as Kantian ethics, or deontological ethics, means ethical duty. This involves something that Kant coined as ‘Good Will‘, which suggests that doing something that you consider good, doesn’t automatically make it good, it’s the attitude behind the action which is important. Take theism as a perfect example of why it cannot be categorised as good will. Once there’s a reward for doing a good deed, then the act of morality is cancelled, and according to Kantian ethics, you do a good deed because it’s your duty, not for merit. So good will and duty is what defines morality, not pleasing the will of a god, and once opposing inclinations outweighs rational incentive, the moral framework breaks down.

Evolution of emotions

I was interacting with a user on Twitter who claimed that souls are real, and just because you can’t see them, or science can’t prove or disprove them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. He suggested that someone can claim love for someone else, but can we prove love really exists. My reply was to inform him that love is an emotion and emotions exist, but there’s no proof of a soul, and it’s a product of religious brainwashing. I told him that brain scans by neurologists have studied the effects emotions have for decades, and it’s actually become a science of its own.

“Human emotions have deep evolutionary roots, a fact that may explain their complexity and provide tools for clinical practice.” – Robert Plutchik

What is an emotion?

An emotion is a biological state that’s triggered through a variety of experiences, like thoughts, feelings, stimulants, experiences, or responses, and can be both positive, negative or ambivalent. Emotions are not only a mental state, but can also be physiological in the way the heart can speed up when you experience fear, or you can perspire. Your breathing can quicken and you may tense up. When you are embarrassed you can blush, and when you are angry your face can go red. Everyone suffers a variety of emotions throughout their days that can be from happiness to sadness, anger to euphoria, love to hate, and these can affect our decisions in a variety of ways, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively. Emotions that are strong can affect our judgement and cause irrationality, like love for instance. Love can make people do very erratic things that under normal circumstances they wouldn’t even consider, and hate works in the same way. Psychiatrists often put emotions into three distinct categories and they are:

Subjective experience

Physiological response

Behavioural response

Emotions are subjective and different to each person. Take anger as an example. Two people could have their cars stolen, and both can be angry, but the first person is angry that they’ll have to report it to the police and take the bus home, so they see it as more of an inconvenience; whereas the second person could be in a fit of rage, as they’ve had their personal property violated, and that was their dream car, and if they get their hands on the thief who took it, they will tear them apart. Emotions can also be ambivalent which is mixed feelings. You’re going on your first date with someone and you’re extremely nervous as what if she doesn’t like you, or you say something idiotic and make a fool of yourself. But at the same time you’re extremely excited as she could potentially be the one, and her smile makes your heart melt.

The physiological response is butterflies in your stomach, dry mouth, sweaty palms, racing heart, rapid blinking, changing of facial expressions, tensing of muscles or posture. These are all involuntary changes that are controlled by your nervous system and are triggered by various emotions. You are going for the interview for your dream job, and you know that you will have to shake the hand of the interviewer, but your palms are sweaty, and you’ve already stuttered to the receptionist and you have the feeling of falling, and your mouth is dry. This is anxiety and nervousness as it obviously matters to you and you’re desperate to make a good impression, but your nervous system is betraying you.

Behavioural response is the actual feeling of emotion, and the ability to recognise emotions in other people as you’ve seen the signs from your own experiences. Someone you know has lost their pet and they are distraught, and you’ve been in the same position yourself as you lost your dog a year ago. You know they are very sad, they’ve lost a friend and their life will now have an empty space in it. You try to show empathy and be sympathetic, but you know that no amount of comforting will ease their grief, only over time will their suffering subside. There are also actions that can be taken when feeling an emotion. Anger can lead to violence, happiness can lead to dancing or hugging someone, and love can lead to sexual interaction, or intimacy.

“Emotions are a process, a particular kind of automatic appraisal influenced by our evolutionary and personal past, in which we sense that something important to our welfare is occurring, and a set of psychological changes and emotional behaviors begins to deal with the situation.” – Paul Ekman

Paul Ekman‘ is a psychologist from Washington, DC, and has a PhD in clinical psychology. He’s an expert on emotions and facial expressions, which he claims is an indicator of lying. Regarding his expertise in emotions, he clams that there are seven groups of universal emotions.

‪• Anger – a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility‬

‪• Fear – an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm‬

‪• Sadness – the feeling of being unhappy, especially when something bad has happened‬

‪• Disgust – a feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive‬

‪• Surprise – an unexpected or astonishing event, or fact‬

‪• Anticipation – a feeling of excitement about something pleasant or exciting that you expect to happen‬

‪• Trust – firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something‬

‪• Joy – a feeling of great pleasure and happiness‬

Dr. Robert Plutchik‘ was a professor who studied psychology and psychotherapy, and was considered an expert in the field of emotions, and the above image is ‘Plutchik’s wheel of emotions‘. He was of the mindset that there are eight groups of universal emotions.

Can we prove emotions exist?

Emotions are observable in the mind and the body, so with them being visible, they obviously exist and aren’t a construction of the mind, and considering emotions are involuntary and are difficult to control, their effects are noticeable. If someone is sad, they will shown it in their face, and body language. They sometimes have a lack of attention, or concentration, and can struggle with every day tasks, like personal hygiene, or coping with personal relationships. Love can overwhelm some people as they don’t wish to be apart from the one they love, and they miss not being in their company. Love can make people over protective, or jealous, or not think straight as their mind is consumed by the one they love. If there’s a separation that’s one sided, the one who’s still in love will feel like they. Ant cool without their partner, and they’ll have a sense of loneliness and feel worthless. These feelings make a physical impact, as well as mentally, and can cloud a person’s judgement.

With emotions being controlled by the brain, the brain will change its activity. For decades, neurologists have been using volunteers and placing them in situations that can effect their emotions and studying the brain activity. In 1872, ‘Charles Darwin‘ published ‘The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals‘, and claimed that emotions have a universal character, and evolutionary history, and every human, regardless of race, religion, sex, or gender have similar behaviours. He expressed that all sentient being experienced emotions, and having four dogs I can testify that this is indeed correct. Their emotions aren’t as complex as humans as they don’t understand the concept of the world around them, but they express happiness, fear, excitement and the need for cuddles and kisses. Darwin was involved with several researchers hiked the was writing his book, and one was ‪French physician ‘Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne‬’. He applied electricity to people’s faces to stimulate the muscles to attempt to imitate facial expressions that were relative to emotions, and this was an area that Darwin was interested in as he believed that expressions were an important factor in the study of emotions.

Scientists have been using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study brain activity when a person suffers an emotion, and they claim that the brain has shown to give off neural signatures that have been shared by different subjects who have been studied.

“Despite manifest differences between people’s psychology, different people tend to neurally encode emotions in remarkably similar ways” – Amanda Markey

By using highly sophisticated computers, they were able to map out areas of the brain that were triggered when the subjects were stimulated into an emotional state. Modern psychiatrists, and neurologists are on the brink of being able to scan brains to seek out a problem, rather than self analysis which isn’t a completely reliable science.

Animal Symbolism and Zoolatry

Humans have had relationships with animals for thousands of years, be it cattle, horses or domesticated animals like dogs and cats. Some religions hold certain animals in high esteem, and others see all sentient life as being important, especially religions, and philosophies that believe you’ll gain enlightenment through reincarnation.

BUDDHISM

In Buddhism all animals are classified as sentient life, and are eligible for enlightenment, and any animal could potentially be a reincarnation of a family member or a loved one, so they are seen in high regard, and this is one of the reason why many Buddhists prefer to live as vegetarians. They believe that morality is indistinguishable between the treatment of humans and animals and we are connected. In Buddhism they have something known as the Five precepts, which is essentially their version of the Ten Commandments, and the first precept is not to take any life, animal, insect, bird, fish or human.

• to refrain from taking life, ie killing any living creature

• to refrain from taking what is not freely given

• to refrain from misuse of the senses or sexual misconduct

• to refrain from wrong speech

• to refrain from intoxicants that cloud the mind

‘Siddhārtha Gautama‘, or as he’s commonly known, Buddha, claimed that all sentient life contained Buddha nature, and due to the continuous rebirths throughout time, every animal has been a person at some point. Buddhism’s sister religions, Hinduism and Jainism share a similar belief system which is about reaching a truer level of reality through enlightenment. Buddha said in the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, that the eating of meat isn’t permitted under any circumstance, but some people who follow Buddhism claim that buying food at a supermarket, or restaurant hasn’t been killed for them, so it’s permissible.

“In every country in the world, killing human beings is condemned. The Buddhist precept of non-killing extends even further, to include all living beings.” – Monk Thich Nhat Hanh

HINDUISM

Hindus see all life as having equal spiritual power, and in Hindu scripture many stories are about animals who are classed as divine. Hindus, like Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and karma, and with the belief in karma comes dying and being born as an animal if you repeatedly make the same mistakes. Ahimsa is the principle of respecting the rights of animals and see that no harm comes to them. They also believe that humanity should always try to create an equilibrium with the world they live in, and living unselfishly is expected. The cow is the sacred animal in Hinduism and it’s seen as a symbol of life and Earth, and is heavily respected as it’s used widely in farm work. They believe that humans weren’t put on Earth to dominate other species, which is in direct opposition to Christianity as god promotes dominionism in Genesis.

“No person should kill animals helpful to all. Rather, by serving them, one should attain happiness.” – Yajur Veda

SIKHISM

Whilst Sikhs don’t worship animals, they believe in reincarnation also, and believe god put all life on Earth for a purpose, so animal cruelty is forbidden. They believe that bodies are clothes for the soul, and we can enjoy life as human or animals before we are released from reincarnation to live with god. Even though they respect all life, Sikhs only believe that humans can break away from reincarnation, as we have morals whereas animals rely on instincts. Sikhs believe that if they are to eat meat, the animal must be slaughtered immediately so that the animal experiences little to no suffering, so because of this they are forbidden to eat kosher or halal meat from ritual slaughtering. Because of this many Sikhs actively choose to be vegetarians to preserve life.

“In so many incarnations, you were a worm and an insect in so many incarnations, you were an elephant, a fish and a deer In so many incarnations, you were a bird and a snake In so many incarnations, you were yoked as an ox and a horse Meet the Lord of the Universe – now is the time to meet Him After so very long, this human body was fashioned for you.” – Guru Granth Sahib ji

ANCIENT EGYPT

Zoolatry, which is the worship of animals was extremely prevalent in Ancient Egypt, and as well as being seen as idols, the majority of households had pets ranging from domestic, to more extravagant like Lions, Tigers, Elephants and Crocodiles. And 1 in 4 hieroglyphs discovered feature animals of one description or another. Many of the gods were either depicted as animals, or at least had an animals head on a human body. The Egyptians were mystified by the seemingly magical abilities that certain animals had; be it flight, heightened awareness, stealth, agility and hunting abilities. They didn’t see the animals as gods themselves, but believed they were the means that the gods could manifest themselves. Mummified remains of animals have been discovered in tombs, where they’ve been left with much wealth which was a gift to the gods, and in ‪Beni Hassan there’s a tomb with an estimated 80,000 feline burials.‬

‪”You are the Great Cat, the avenger of the gods, and the judge of words, and the president of the sovereign chiefs and the governor of the holy Circle; you are indeed the Great Cat.” – Valley of the kings inscription ‬

TAOISM

Taoism, or Daoism, is a religious philosophical Chinese tradition and originated from the School of Yin-yang. Yin-Yang are opposites; Yin is female, and Yang is male; female is darkness; male is lightness; female is absorption, male is penetration. The school of shin-Yang also studies the Five Elements (water, fire, wood, metal, and earth). The Tao is the single principle that controls the universe, and it’s separated into two opposite principles of Yin and Yang, and they accomplish changes in the universe through the Five Elements. The Chinese Zodiac originated from studies by Taoist priests who nominated twelve animals for a twelve-year cycle. The yellow Emperor, or Emperor Huang Ti created the Chinese lunar calendar in 2637 BCE, and this paved the way for the Chinese Zodiac.

Yang: (1) Rat, (3) Tiger, (5) Dragon, (7) Horse, (9) Monkey, (11) Dog

Yin: (2) Ox, (4) Rabbit, (6) Snake, (8) Sheep, (10) Rooster, (12) Pig

Baháʼu’lláh and the Baháʼí Faith

‘Baháʼu’lláh‘ was a Persian religious leader who founded the Baháʼí Faith in the 19th century. He was born in the capital city of Iran, Tehran, in 1817, as Mirza Husayn, and his faith is belief in the monotheistic Abrahamic god, that Islam, Judaism and Christianity worship. What differs Baháʼí Faith to other Abrahamic religions is spiritual unity where God, religion and mankind are as one, and there are no national or cultural barriers. Baháʼí scholars claim that Baháʼu’lláh’s ancestors can be traced back to Abraham, and his name means ‘glory of God’ in Arabic. It’s claimed that his literal works exceeded the Bible by volume of words by 15 times, and during his time living as a nomad in the mountains of Kurdistan north of Baghdad, he extensively wrote.

“Let your vision be world embracing…” – Bahá’u’llá

One of the key figures in the Baháʼí Faith was Báb (Siyyid ʻAlí Muhammad Shírází) who was a Persian merchant who at 24 claimed to be a messenger of god, and after his death, Baháʼu’lláh’s destiny was to start the Baháʼí Faith which merged from the local Islamic faith who directly opposed it. In a vision he claimed he’d been declared as a messenger from god which Báb had prophesied years prior, and upon his return to Baghdad, Baháʼí separated from Bábísm.

As organised religions go, the Baháʼí Faith is a civilised affair, which attempts to break down boundaries; that humanity should grow together without prejudice; equality of sexes; the unity of religion and science; and the importance of education. They believe that god, the Creator of the universe, is all-knowing, all-loving and all-merciful. The literary works of the Baháʼí Faith are vast, and cover many areas like nature, unity of mankind, and humanities collective maturity, and universal peace, and include:

• Hidden Words

• Kitab-I-Iquan (Book of Certitude) (1862)

• The Seven Valleys

“Religion without science is superstition. Science without religion is materialism” – Baháʼu’lláh

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

The Baháʼí Faith could very much be likened to humanism, other than the fact that a divine creator is involved. They wish for all religions to unite and move humanity forward as one, and endorse love and knowledge, humility and trust.

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule has been adhered to for thousands of years, and has been adopted by many religions and philosophies, and became widespread amongst philosophers of Ancient Greece, but like most ideologies, it’s been hijacked by Abrahamic faiths, and they believe they have the monopoly on ethics and morality. It’s origin is said to go as far back as Middle Kingdom Egyptian scholars; some 2000 years BCE. The most common version known to modern society is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” , and is promoted by modern Christianity as words of Jesus, but it was used in the Far East hundreds of years prior by Buddha and Confucius. The Golden rule is all about the use of empathy, and knowing how you’d feel if someone wronged you, and if you wish to be treated with respect, then the respect should be reciprocated, and if you wish I’ll on others, then be prepared to have ill wished upon you.

“Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.” – Socrates

People of Abrahamic faiths constantly criticise pagan, or non-believers by claiming that without a god, they have no moral guidelines, and everything is unaccountable, as we have no higher authority, and because of this misconception, they are morally bankrupt. But if a theist, and an atheist, both adopt the golden rule, and treat others with dignity and respect, then how are their moral codes any different? Just because someone worships a god means they are going to be the Good Samaritan, and just because someone doesn’t worship a god doesn’t mean they’re incapable of being the Good Samaritan.

“In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” – Mahavira

However, there is a flaw by adopting the golden rule, and it’s the assumption that another person wishes to be treated as you do, or someone treats you in a way they think is acceptable but you don’t. Do you feel obliged to ask every person that you encounter what their preferences are in relation to how they wish to be treated? Be it only a slight flaw, it’s a flaw nevertheless, but as long as you adopt the foundations of morality, which is empathy, then compassion, humility, understanding and respect become second nature. The golden rule has come under criticism as it doesn’t outline a code of conduct, but do we really need to have a list of requirements on how to behave ethically?

“In nearly every religion I am aware of, there is a variation of the golden rule. And even for the non-religious, it is a tenet of people who believe in humanistic principles.” – Hillary Clinton

The seven deadly sins

The seven deadly sins are a concept that originated within the Catholic Church, and are sometimes known as the seven cardinal sins that lead on to further sinning, and these sins are claimed to be a separation from the Christian god; and they are:

• vanity, or pride

• greed, or covetousness

• lust, or inordinate or illicit sexual desire

• envy

• gluttony

• wrath

• sloth.

The seven Heavenly virtues are said to overcome the sins:

• humility

• charity

• chastity

• gratitude

• temperance

• patience

• diligence

Evagrius Ponticus’, who was a Turkish born, Christian monk devised the eight evil thoughts in the 4th century CE, and it was two centuries later that ‘Pope Gregory I’ turned it into the seven cardinal sins

• Gluttony (γαστριμαργία; gastrimargía);

• Lust or Fornication (πορνεία; porneía);

• Avarice or Love of money (φιλαργυρία; philarguría);

• Dejection or Sadness (λύπη; lúpe);

• Anger (ὀργή; orgé);

• Despondency or Listlessness (ἀκηδία; akedía);

• Vainglory (κενοδοξία; kenodoxía);

• Pride (ὑπερηφανία; huperephanía).

Is there such a thing as sin, or are there certain actions that can be deemed as unethical or immoral? And are the seven cardinal sins absolute?

Pride is the recognition of one’s abilities, and achievements, and produces positive effects. If you pass your exams and become the doctor that you’ve spent so long training to be, you’re going to experience pride in the hard work you’ve achieved. Is pride really a sin, or should you be more humble and thank god, as that’s the reasoning behind pride being a sin as far as I can tell. Take gay pride; or being patriotic; of course people can take it too far, but there’s nothing wrong with being proud of your sexuality or nation.

“A passionate belief in your business and personal objectives can make all the difference between success and failure. If you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, why should anybody else be? – Richard Branson

Greed, or covetousness, is about wanting everything, being materialistic and the desire for wealth and the best of everything, or wanting something that someone else possesses. Be it their wife, their home or their car. One of the most famous televangelists in America is the notorious con artist Kenneth Copeland, who preaches the gospels of Jesus Christ all around America, yet he’s acquired an estimated wealth of $850,000,000, and lives in an extremely lavish estate. Obviously he doesn’t see his vast wealth as a sin, and neither does Pat Robertson who was involved in support of Laurent Gbagbo, who was a dictator in Côte d’Ivoire, and whilst allegedly delivering Christian aid, he was supporting diamond mining in neighbouring Zaire and was in allegiance with Liberian president Charles Taylor.

“Desire of having is the sin of covetousness.” – William Shakespeare

Lust is often seen as a strong sexual desire or interest in something like that shiny new Ferrari that you wish for. Who can honestly say that they’ve never experienced lustful thoughts? The church sees sexual intercourse as a sin unless it’s for reproductive purpose according to Thomas Aquinas, who was a Catholic priest in Italy in the 13th century. Is lust truly a sin, or is it human nature to desire? In his below quote he mentions passions, but a passion is a strong and barely controllable emotion, like lust. But is her referring to the reference of passion meaning to suffer for BBC what one truly loves? Like the passion of Christ?

“Perfection of moral virtue does not wholly take away the passions, but regulates them.” – Thomas Aquinas

Envy is quite similar to greed and lust as it’s about the desire and longing for something, but where it differed is the feeling of contempt towards a person and what they possess. Envy can range from wishing you were also getting on that plane and going on holiday to Hawaii, to bitterness towards someone as they can afford the car that you’ve always wanted. Envy can sometimes result in the act of extreme measures to prevent someone from having what you want yourself. A perfect example of envy is being judgemental towards someone, ie: Paris Hilton, who has everything she could ever wish for, and got it all presented to her without having to wash it. This can make the normal, working class person bitter. But envy is part of human nature, so can something that happens subconsciously really be a sin?

“Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind” – Siddhārtha Gautama

Gluttony is about lack of self-control, and can be evident in over consumption of food, or alcohol. In a world where there are needy people, gluttony is not an attractive trait. In Islam, especially during Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours are a self-discipline to teach them the value of what they have. Gluttony can also refer to waste, and seeing no value in living an extravagant lifestyle.

“How can you say you’re trying to spiritually evolve, without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?” – Oprah Winfrey

Wrath is an uncontrollable feeling, which can lead to irrationality and immorality, and often stems from grief, or mistreatment. The difference between anger and wrath, is wrath usually involves an explosion of rage, where anger is more of an emotion, which can lead to wrath. It’s interesting that wrath is seen as perhaps the most serious of sins as it can lead to the taking of a life, but the wrath of god; divine chastisement, which was seen during the alleged flood is perfectly acceptable amongst Christians, as he was punishing the sinners with a sin. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

“We Muslims believe that the white race, which is guilty of having oppressed and exploited and enslaved our people here in America, should and will be the victims of God’s divine wrath.” – Malcolm Little

Sloth is perhaps the weakest of sins, and it’s basically reluctance to make an effort, or laziness. The reason it’s classified as a sin is Christians believe humans are more susceptible to Satan’s influence when they are idle, but sloth can also be described as selfishness and a complete disregard for other people’s concerns. It’s a rejection of the moral obligation that’s expected from a social species like mankind, and act of defiance against god.

“Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears, while the used key is always bright.” – Benjamin Franklin

Are the seven deadly sins all that you need to follow to live an ethical, morally sound life, or is this just a basic outline?