The series traces the history of the sins, how they became part of religious doctrine, and looks at historical figures who have been the worst perpetrators of each. Each of the seven sins is explored, from their origins and nature, their opposing virtue, and their corresponding punishment.
PART ONE - Lust
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?
PART TWO - Envy
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.
PART THREE - Gluttony
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.
PART FOUR - Sloth
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.
PART FIVE - Greed
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?
PART SIX - Anger
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.
PART SEVEN - Pride
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.