What is the state of contemporary American morality? From their original conception in Christian scripture to their assimilation into Western culture, the 'Seven Deadly Sins' - lust, greed, envy, pride, and all the rest - have guided human morality, steering human behavior and psychology away from evil and toward a full embrace of the good. But their hold on modern life is increasingly tenuous. Indeed, one may observe that these days, deadly sin is far more common and more commonly practiced than its virtuous counterparts - humility, charity, kindness, industriousness, and chastity. Without greed, there is no economy; without anger, no politics; and without pride and envy, surely less motivation and competition would exist.
James D. Wright carefully examines the complexities and ambiguities in modern society in the context of the seven deadly sins and their corresponding virtues. Are we all lost souls, condemned by our immoral deeds, or are the trappings of older sin deteriorating? Is it time, finally, to reconsider the classifications of evil and good?
Wright uses each chapter to consider how the social sciences have operationalized each 'sin', how they have been studied, and what lessons have been learned over time. He reviews recent trends and contemplates the societal costs and benefits of the behaviors in question. Lost Souls emerges, then, as a meditation on contemporary sin, concluding that the line between guilt and innocence, right and wrong, is often very thin.
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