Step 2: You

Bartolomeo Pinelli's etching of Inf. XXI
Bartolomeo Pinelli’s etching of Inf. XXI

Now – write down what you chose as the most serious sin in the previous step, and explain the thinking behind your choice. You may do this privately or include your thinking in the space provided below where you can compare it with other people’s views.

16 thoughts on "Step 2: You"

  • Michael McGrath
    Michael McGrath
    Thursday 12 March 2020, 10.18am

    Betrayal because it involves one of the other listed sins in the context of breaching trust.

  • Sophie Miller
    Sophie Miller
    Thursday 3 October 2019, 1.20pm

    While all of the other sins are terrible, I think rape is the worst because there are humanising justifications for all of the rest - some aspect of human nature that is forgivable, as to a certain degree, it cannot be helped. This is not the case for rape. Rape is a completely animalistic action, and to rape someone is to deny them their humanity. It is for some a fate worse than death, as the victim must live with the repercussions that their assault had on their lives. It also cannot be done accidentally - a person must make the active decision to rape another person, to violate them and attempt to prove to them that their body, something essential to their humanity, is not their own.

  • john oconnor
    john oconnor
    Sunday 1 July 2018, 8.16pm

    I chose violence against the innocent but as I read the comments I now see that violence can be see as a betrayal, as an an of pride, as an act of cowardice, as envy, as all the other sins. I now think the greatest sin to see oneself as separate from everyone else.

  • Peter Lomas
    Peter Lomas
    Saturday 20 February 2016, 12.11am

    Betrayal - because it is the most, or perhaps the only, deliberate act of wrongdoing. The other sins could be perpetrated as a result or partly as a result of some mental or physical illness. Murder comes close, but some people deserve to be murdered, like divorce lawyers.

  • CPS
    Wednesday 23 September 2015, 7.26pm

    I chose 'cowardice' because most people have an ingrained sense of right and wrong. We know it is wrong to give into destructive and negative emotions of wishing other people harm, envy, and so on, that show our weaker nature: however, we are often not brave enough to face up to the emotions inside us and to see them for what they are and to deal with them responsibly. In the same way, we are often not brave enough to stand up for other people when we see wrong being done to them.

  • Anonymous
    Wednesday 26 September 2012, 11.33am

    I chose extremism because I think careful consideration, moderation, empathy, and compromise are processes missing or ignored by extremists and that the lack of these traits is the cause of many of the other "sins" listed.

  • Anonymous
    Thursday 23 August 2012, 12.44pm

    I chose envy mainly because of the great divide between rich and poor. The media, the government and many other public bodies flaunt by report and other means how wealthy others are and this had led to murder, acts of violence, theft, intimidation, low self esteem, I could go on forever you get the idea.

  • JoAnn Carbery
    JoAnn Carbery
    Tuesday 21 August 2012, 1.29pm

    i chose extremism because many of the other sins were not mutually exclusive. Adultery is a type of betrayal, violence often involves anger, apathy might be a type of sloth and so on.

  • K.McMahon
    Tuesday 21 August 2012, 12.03pm

    Violence leads to injury to oneself and/or other living beings. It can lead to murder, whether in physical ,mental or spiritual terms. Apathy is the reverse side of the sin of violence, equally destructive of self and other beings. Anyone who knowingly caused fear and suffering is guilty of the greatest sin.Anyone who consciously observes,ignores or condones ny indifference must share the guilt. All sin is a violation and denial of the greatest virtue/ human value- Love. Violence and apathy both destroy Life itself.

  • Anonymous
    Wednesday 25 April 2012, 11.59am

    Betrayal seems the worst sin to me, because it violates or plays false to actual real human relationships, not theoretical ones.

  • P. Brandt
    P. Brandt
    Tuesday 24 April 2012, 5.32am

    I choose pride because it fundamentally connects to hubris, which for me leads to all other sins. the placing of self prior even to the divine is essentially the violation of the primary commandment, the key to all the others - God is God and I am not. When i forget this, and pride seems to be the best way to describe that forgetfulness, it leads to all the other competitors in the list of nastiness which you compiled for us. Luther tells me that to break any of the other commandments, i must first break the first commandment.

  • Colin Smith
    Colin Smith
    Monday 23 April 2012, 11.38am

    I believe pride is the worst sin of all. On the face of things, and in comparison to the other sins enumerated in this poll, pride seems like a relatively tame sin, but if you look at it more closely, in many ways pride can be seen as the root of all sin. For example, lots of people seemed to have voted murder as the worst sin, but if pride can be defined as "a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority", then is murder not caused by someone's own sense of superiority (pride) and their belief that they have the right to take someone else's life?

  • Lucy Byatt
    Lucy Byatt
    Monday 23 April 2012, 9.16am

    Although it is hard to name one worst sin - and violence, deceit, apathy all come close - I believe murder is the worst since the premeditated and violent killing of another individual is a despicable act, itself motivated by many other sins named by Dante (revenge, pride, arrogance, greed, coveting). The gift of life is so sacred that its deliberate destruction is one of the most terrible crimes in our society, leaving the relatives and friends of murder victims to bear the agony of such violence for the rest of their lives as well.

  • gabriella delgado
    gabriella delgado
    Sunday 22 April 2012, 5.07pm

    I believe premeditated murder and rape are the worst sins because the first implies the murder was thought through and decided, which is worse than manslaughter. The second is equivalent to premeditated murder because the victim suffers and may not me able to live with the memory. It may not kill the person, but it ruins his or her life on the long term.

  • john duignan
    john duignan
    Sunday 22 April 2012, 3.45pm

    Avarice is a corrosive sin, it eats away at any sense of satisfaction you might have had as to your own circumstances, it feeds off of a deeply negative self image and poisons relationships you have with both people and things inanimate. It further feeds such sins as gluttony, jealousy, coveting.

  • Rossella Riccobono
    Rossella Riccobono
    Friday 20 April 2012, 12.32pm

    I believe that apathy is the worst sin because it leaves you inactive vis a vis the world and the environment around you, and therefore you become a passive accomplice and responsible for whatever goes on, right or wrong. Of course apathy is strictly connected to hypocrisy and cowardice.


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