Episodes 7

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Lust

December 29, 2008

Christianity says lust is a sin but the Greek and Roman empires celebrated it. The history of the sin of lust reveals surprising twists—including Gnostic Christian orgies, Puritan anti-fornication laws, and exorcists who battled the demon of lust called Asmodeus. Today scientists believe lust maybe more genetics than choice... but can they prove it?

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Envy

December 30, 2008

The medieval philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas said that those guilty of the sin of envy take "pleasure at another's misfortune." Italian writer Dante characterized the envious as "sinners [who] have their eyes sewn shut because they enjoyed watching others brought low." The sin of envy has led to murder, revolution and even the fall of empires.

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Gluttony

December 31, 2008

As early as the 4th century those of Christian faith believed that eating too much could send you to Hell. During the Dark Ages theologians believed there were seven ways to commit the sin of gluttony, from "eating too much" to "eating too daintily." Crusaders fought against the sin with religious fasts to Prohibition.

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Sloth

January 1, 2009

Simply put, the sin of sloth is the sin of the lazy. Some scientists suggest that the sin of sloth may actually be a medieval diagnosis of clinical depression. The historical cures for the sin of sloth range from ancient Greek doctors who fought it with herbs, to medieval monks who prescribed prayer and fasting.

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Greed

January 2, 2009

While vilified from the time of Moses, the sin of greed has created vast empires and doomed them as well. Wise men from the philosopher Aristotle to Jesus have railed against this vice, but the 18th Century economist Adam Smith theorized that capitalism itself was based on the sin of greed. Has greed become good?

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Anger

January 3, 2009

The sin of anger is the sin that kills. The prophet Moses was prone to fits of rage. The mythic warriors of Sparta meditated in order to banish the sin of anger before a battle. Italian writer Dante placed those that committed the sin of anger in the "Fourth Circle of Hell," tearing each other limb from limb for eternity.

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Pride

January 4, 2009

The Italian writer Dante called the sin of pride the "Chief of All Sins" - the sin of Satan himself. The sin of pride was condemned by the Bible and the philosopher Socrates, while Romans and Vikings made it their greatest virtue. The sin of pride is thought to have led to the fall of Satan but strangely enough, the most famous story about Satan is not in the Bible.

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