Last week we reviewed a new list of the seven deadly sins, proposed by the former head of the National Endowment for the Arts, John Frohnmayer. He would replace the old list—lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride—because it “doesn’t work for him anymore,” according to The Sunday Oregonian.
Mr. Frohnmayer’s new list of seven deadly sins is surprising in its novelty: distraction, selfishness, apathy, dishonesty, hypocrisy, cowardice, and ignorance. He notes that the original list is something that offends God. For him, offenses are worse “if (they) offend society rather than a higher power.”
Hmm, the dictates of society guide his sense of right and wrong more than what offends God? He includes distraction because of pervasive electronic devices; selfishness because of reality television; non-voters rankle him because of their apathy; Wall Street carries his banner for selfishness; “Americans (who) think we are exceptional” qualify for hypocrisy; people who laugh at a friend’s racist joke are cowards; and talk shows represent ignorance.
This seems like a list of people and groups that Mr. Frohnmayer doesn’t like, a sort of I’m-better-than-you-are sort of thing. A violation of pride on the old list and hypocrisy on his new list, would you agree? I’d wager that he and those who agree with his list would have no trouble abiding by those strictures. Simply avoid the people you don’t like and the things they do, lest you contaminate yourself with the brutish appetites of the hoi-polloi.
I’d best look in my mirror if I am tempted to look down on John Frohnmayer. To his credit, he examined the ancient list of seven deadly sins; he considered them; he said they don’t relate to him or his world. My hope is that he would at some point look to God rather than society as his pilot in this life. Electronic devices and reality TV are a passing fad. Only God is eternal.
We should be concerned if we offend God. I would re-name Mr. Frohnmayer’s list as “the seven annoyances I could do without,” and replace apathy with “driver hostility” (think tail-gaters), which is more of a pet peeve.
As we draw nearer to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, what would you consider the most common temptations facing people in our society?