Thursday, April 13, 2006

Coming Up Sevens, and Then Some

Quiz time. Below I've listed the Seven Deadly Sins in no particular order. In Dante's The Divine Comedy: Purgatorio (the second of the epic poems in his masterpiece), he places each of these sins on a different level, the worst closer to Hell and the least bad closer to Paradise. Your job is to, without Googling or looking it up in any other way, guess the order of the sins, 1 being the closest to Hell and 7 being the nearest to Paradise. Of course if you've read The Divine Comedy then you may well know the order, and that's okay. However, you may have forgotten. If it's too easy for you, then you're probably pretty well read. Along with the sins - for education if nothing else - I've listed the corresponding virtue that goes with it and then given a description of the pairing that I got from

A) Vice: Avarice/Greed Virtue: Generosity
This is about more than money. Generosity means letting others get the credit or praise. It is giving without having expectations of the other person. Greed wants to get its "fair share" or a bit more.

B) Vice: Envy Virtue: Love
"Love is patient, love is kind…" Love actively seeks the good of others for their sake. Envy resents the good others receive or even might receive. Envy is almost indistinguishable from pride at times.

C) Vice: Lust Virtue: Self-control
Self control and self mastery prevent pleasure from killing the soul by suffocation. Legitimate pleasures are controlled in the same way an athlete's muscles are: for maximum efficiency without damage. Lust is the self-destructive drive for pleasure out of proportion to its worth. Sex, power, or image can be used well, but they tend to go out of control.

D) Vice: Pride Virtue: Humility
Seeing ourselves as we are and not comparing ourselves to others is humility. Pride and vanity are competitive. If someone else's pride really bothers you, you have a lot of pride.

E) Vice: Wrath/Anger Virtue: Kindness
Kindness means taking the tender approach, with patience and compassion. Anger is often our first reaction to the problems of others. Impatience with the faults of others is related to this.

F) Vice: Sloth Virtue: Zeal

Zeal is the energetic response of the heart to God's commands. The other sins work together to deaden the spiritual senses so we first become slow to respond to God and then drift completely into the sleep of complacency.

G) Vice: Gluttony Virtue: Faith and Temperance
Temperance accepts the natural limits of pleasures and preserves this natural balance. This does not pertain only to food, but to entertainment and other legitimate goods, and even the company of others.

Now, rank 'em like Dante did. I'll publish an update in a couple days with the correct answers.
Along with those seven, here's a longer list from There's some overlap with a few, but I'm not convinced all these are truly virtues. Which of these would you categorize as true Virtues, and which of these would you say - "Definitely not"?

Acceptance: To consider circumstances, especially those that can not be changed, as satisfactory.
Bravery: A quality of spirit that enables you to face danger of pain without showing fear.
Caution: Avoidance of rashness, attention to safety.
Curiosity: A desire to find out and know things.
Defiance: Bold resistance.
Determination: Firmness of purpose.
Devotion: A great love or loyalty, enthusiastic zeal.
Discretion: Being discrete in ones speech, keeping secrets.
Flexibility: Adaptable, able to be changed to suit circumstances.
Focus: Concentrated awareness and effort.
Forgiveness: To cease to feel angry or bitter towards a person or about an offense.
Generosity: Giving or ready to give freely, free from meanness or prejudice.
Gentleness: Moderate; mild, quite; not rough or severe.
Gratitude: Being thankful.
Honesty: Truthful; sincere; not lieing or cheating.
Humbleness: Modest; not arrogant or boastful.
Humor: The ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is amusing, comical, incongruous, or absurd.
Impartiality: Fair.
Industry: Diligent, hardworking.
Innocence: Guileless, not guilty.
Justice: Fair, impartial, giving a deserved response.
Kindness: Friendly, helpful, well meaning.
Love: A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
Loyalty: Steadfast in allegiance to one's homeland, government, or sovereign. Faithful to a person, ideal, custom, cause, or duty.
Majesty: Great and impressive dignity.
Moderation: The avoidance of extremes in one’s actions or opinions.
Obedience: Willingness to obey, to be controlled when necessary, to carry out orders.
Openness: Ready and willing to talk candidly.Unsecretive.
Patience: The ability to endure delay, trouble, pain or hardship.
Peace: Freedom from mental agitation; serenity.
Prudence: Wise or careful in conduct. Shrewd or thrifty in planning ahead.
Reliability: Can be trusted to do something.
Responsibility: Having control over and accountability for appropriate events.
Sensitivity: Heightened awareness of oneself and others within the context of social and personal relationships.
Simplicity: Straightforward; not complex or complicated. Unpretentious.
Sincerity: Free from pretense or deceit in manner or actions.
Sobriety: Serious, solemn and calm. Free from intoxication.
Spontaneity: Natural, not planned.
Steadfastness: Firm, resolute; determinedly unwavering.
Strength: Capable of exerting great force.
Toughness: Strong and durable; not easily damaged.
Tranquility: Serenely quite and peaceful; undisturbed.
Trust: Having confidence in others; lacking suspicion.
Trustworthiness: Able to be trusted or depended on; reliable.

Actually, I probably question a great many of these as true virtues - as opposed to nice or polite ideas - and some I seriously question are Strength and Toughness (as defined here), Majesty, Focus, Tranquility, Defiance, Spontaneity, and Curiosity. Not to say these aren't good qualities, but true Virtues? Not how I'd define them.

What do you think? [And don't forget your rankings of the sins!]


DugALug said...


I'm gonna go off the map here and Go with Dante.

Dante is probably closest to hell on this list.


Rich said...


Are you trying to write your own Divine Comedy here?

codepoke said...

This is great, Rich!

And you're right, I would only be guessing. So I am not going to guess at all. I'm going to list them how I would like to see them stacked.

[Least bad]
[Most bad]

I think I rank them by internal to external. The more it affects other bystanders the worse it is.


Sloth. Sloth is completely internal, but it is a mother of all sins. Sloth causes a man to envy, lust, get angry, and even be proud. Very few hard-working men have many of the other problems going on.

codepoke said...

I didn't look at Doug's comments, because I didn't want any clues.

That's a chuckle.

DugALug said...


Okay I'll play too:

[Least bad]
[Most bad]

Though I think Codepoke is closer to right. Sloth is just laziness to me.

Oh well.