You. We know *you* are vice-free, dear Daily Post reader. But, or perhaps we should say, “butt,” others around you and in your life are riddled with vices: they smoke; they eat too much celery; they hog the covers; they can’t keep their hands out of the office candy bowl. Which vice or bad habit can you simply not abide in others?
Christianity teaches that there are seven cardinal vices, also referred to as the seven deadly sins; wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. I thought long and hard about which of these I just can’t stand to see in other people, and I realised that in fact I can tolerate any or all of them, provided I am not subjected to prolonged exposure, or the person does not carry on whatever vice they indulge in beyond a reasonable limit.
Let’s face it: people are not perfect. We have all been guilty, whether we admit it or not, of at least one if not all of the seven. For me, the most unacceptable trait of all is intolerance, and I find it very telling that Christianity, as it has been interpreted by those who have control of such interpretation, does not teach that there are eight cardinal vices. Or, more properly, that intolerance is the only one that counts.
There is always the possibility of mitigating circumstances for the traditional seven, for example:
- If you kick my dog, you’d better be damn sure to stay well away from my (understandable) wrath
- I have an intense, selfish, desire to make a living, be comfortable, have nice things. If I didn’t, I would starve
- If I’m messy, I can tidy up
- What’s wrong about pride in a job well done, or a talented kid, or a new trick you’ve taught your pet?
- If I never felt lust in my life, I must have been dead from the neck down
- If somebody wins the lottery, I’m envious. I’m also happy that somebody won something
- If I’ve dug too far into the goodie jar, I can and will restock so there is something there for the next person
But there is no excuse for intolerance. So, before you sound off against whatever vice gets your goat, stop and think carefully – are you guilty of The Cardinal Sin?