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 Out with the old deadly sins, in with the new

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THE British public no longer believes that the Seven Deadly Sins have any relevance to their lives and think they should be brought up to date to reflect modern society.

According to a new poll, the original list of cardinal sins - anger, gluttony, sloth, envy, pride, lust and greed - do not have the power they once had.

Instead, a new list of contemporary taboos has been drawn up to capture the essence of modern morality.

Perpetrators of the original sins were believed to suffer eternal damnation - but only greed has survived the ages to still be considered especially bad. The poll, commissioned by the BBC, found that people now believe cruelty - not one of the original seven - is Britain’s worst sin.

Almost four in ten selected cruelty as the worst modern-day sin, followed by adultery, bigotry, dishonesty, hypocrisy, greed and selfishness.

However, there seems little chance that the new list will usurp the original one, which has held sway for more than 1,400 years. It is thought that the Greek theologian, Evagrius of Pontus, first drew up a list of eight wicked human passions, which were then whittled down by the 6th century pope, Gregory the Great, to the seven vices he thought were most at odds with divine love.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said that, while the list was interesting, it showed the public had completely lost any sense of fundamental wrongs: "The new list is an interesting variation of the first, but introducing people to the concept of sin has well and truly disappeared.


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