Thursday, February 7, 2013

Seven Deadly Sins

I was searching for something completely unrelated on the internet yesterday when I saw this quote by Gandhi:

“Seven Deadly Sins"

Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.” 

― Mahatma Gandhi

I was struck by his words...and I began to ask myself, what makes these worse (at least to Gandhi) than the original seven deadly sins? For those of you who don't already have them needle pointed on a pillow that you look at daily and need a refresher, here you go (I had to look them up, too):


Obviously lust, greed, etc. are bad, right? So what's Ghandi's point by making his own list to supersede the 
original? It seems to me that his seven deadly sins are things that masquerade as goodness, but are lacking the crucial quality that makes them so valuable.

A person who becomes wealthy without having put in any effort to earn the money is unlikely to appreciate it or use it responsibly. I'm reminded of a former student of mine who broodingly commented one day to me, "Nobody has ever done anything nice for me." Flabbergasted, I proceeded to ask him who had purchased the clothes he was wearing, and who paid for the cell phone that I knew was hidden away in his pocket. His response? "Well, yeah, but that's nothing special." He was so well off, and surely had parents who had sacrificed a great deal over the years to provide their son with a comfortable lifestyle, but he didn't recognize it because he hadn't worked for anything he got. It had become an expectation to him, not a gift. Without working for it, we miss the value of wealth.

Worship without sacrifice also strikes me as one of the most successfully deceptive lies of our day. One day of worship a week is not enough. If I truly believe what I profess to believe, then it must inform every aspect of my daily life...every day. C.S. Lewis stated on the topic of charitable giving, "If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, . . . they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them." (Mere Christianity, 1952, 67) This philosophy of giving up something we would like in the name of serving the greater good applies to more than money. Sometimes we must sacrifice the time we would have spent watching a TV show. Sometimes we must sacrifice pursuing a self-centered dream in order to build a new dream that is beneficial for others as well. Who knows what we'll be asked to sacrifice? Just make no mistake...we will be asked. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation." Without sacrifice, we miss the value of worship.

Ghandi's list gave me a lot to think about. How much simpler the world would be if everyone understood Gandhi's words.

Disclaimer: Forgive my philosophical musings today. I tried to discuss them with Will, but he just gave me the following look of "Huh? Is it lunch time yet?"

Anyway, there's some food for thought. Hope you enjoyed the mental snack.