1. Based on your reading of “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” predict what countries would not sign and explain their refusal on their possible operative ethical framework. (Cf. Module 2 and 3 on factors that affect ethical decision-making). How might this document reflect the inherent tension between universalist and relativist ethical starting points?
2. From your reading of “Sick Societies,” is the ethnographer Edgerton a universalist or relativist? Explain your answer with examples from the article.
3. Examine the works of Martin Luther King and Herodotus that have been specified, and determine if the perspective in each of these articles is one of moral universalism or moral relativism. Support your answer using the assigned readings.
4. After reading the “Seven Deadly Sins” website, identify your understanding of vice and virtue, its historical origins, how the meanings changed over time, and apply this understanding to topics of relativism and universalism? Use your readings for support.
5. What are the universalist-relativist elements involved in the political tug-of-war of ideas between the Japanese who hunt whales as food and those environmentalists who stand in front of their harpoons in the open seas, to defend the whales?The Seven Deadly

Pride Envy Anger Sloth Greed Gluttony

Last updated: August 17, 2009 First appeared: June 18, 1996

“Sin creates [an inclination] to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This
results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of
good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the
moral sense at its root.”

Para. 1865, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994


The book list has been updated to allow clicking for easy ordering. We have not finished all
the books yet.

There have been reports that the Seven Deadly Sins had been replaced, doubled or updated.
None of this is true. Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, was reported as
adding these, but he was really talking to priests about new “social” sins. The report on
FoxNews.com confused the Seven Deadly Sins with mortal sin, implying that pollution (one
of the “new” sins and something we all do) would result in eternal damnation. It was very
poorly written. BBC News also confused mortal and the Seven Deadly Sins, as did
allheadlinenews.com. CNN was no better. Please check the Vatican Web site (vatican.va), and
notice there is nothing about this. There is no list of the new Seven Deadly Sins, just an article
recounting details of a talk by someone in the Vatican who didn’t even mention the Seven
Deadly Sins. But here is the best article on it so far, and it has the list.

Newest page: Simplicity


The Seven Deadly Sins are really attitudes that underlie sins, whether mortal or venial, first
identified by St. John Cassian (360 – 435) and refined by Pope St. Gregory the Great (540 –
604). They provide keys to understanding our faults and the actions that result, and a
framework for self knowledge. If we understood how they factor into who we have become,
we would understand much more about ourselves and our effect on others. The Seven Deadly
Sins never occur as a list in the Bible, but occur many times individually.

Why bother?

Before even beginning a discussion of these Seven Deadly Sins, also known as “capital sins,”
it may be useful to discuss a few differences among Christians on this subject. Some people
feel it is better to take a more positive approach to faith and not dwell on sin. Others believe
all sin is equally repugnant to God, and so any classification of sins is wrong. Still others just
want to forget the whole thing since they are saved and God loves them and really doesn’t care
about all this “stuff.”







http://www.whitestonejournal.com/seven/lust.html Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (
General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 
500 languages. The UDHR is widely recognized as having inspired, and paved the way for, the adoption of more than seventy human rights treaties, applied today on a permanent basis at global and regional levels (all containing references to it in their preambles). 


Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, therefore,
The General Assembly,
Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction. 

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason These materials are made available at this site for the educational purposes of students enrolled at
Anne Arundel Community College. They may be protected by U.S. Copyright law and should not be
reproduced or transmitted electronically. One photocopy or printout may be made of each article for
personal, educational use.


AH societies are sick, but some are sicker than others, This paraphrase of Orwell’s
famous quip about the equality of animals calls.attention to the existence of traditional
beliefs and practices that threaten human health and happiness more in some societies than
in others. But it also indicates that there are some customs and social institutialns in all
societies that compromise human well-being. Even populations tha t appear to be well-
adapted to their environments maintain some beliefs or practices that unnecessarily
imperil their well-being or, in some instances, their.survival. Populations the world over
have not been well sewed by some of their beliefs such as, for example, those concerning
witchcraft, the need for revenge, or male supremacy, and many of their tradkionral
practices invoiving nutrition, heaIth care, and the treatment of chillrirem have been harmful
as well, Slavery, infanticide, human sacrifice, torture, female genital mutilation, rape,
homicide, feuding, suicide, and environmental pollution have sometimes been needlessly
harmful to some or all members of a society and under some circumstances they can
threaten social survivnl.

To Americans besieged by headlines and television reports concerning our
endangered environment, homelessness, child abuse, the threat of drugs, ADS, or gang
violence, the idea that some things people do may be harmful to themselves.and others wpl
hardly seem controversiaE. Beliefs that Iead to anorexia nervosa or wife beating are likely
to be seen as harmful, and beliefs favoring anti-Semitism or male supremacy are aIso likely
to be seen as dangerous. Americans mny also believe that if surveys can rate various cities
in the United States in terms of their 4crelative quality of life,” the same could be dome for
foreign cities and, for that matter, foreign countries. Many would surely be troubled by the!
idea that the political systems of Iraq, HftlePs Germany, or the Khmer Rouge ia Cambodia
were, or are, as good as those in, say Norway, Japnn, or Swiberland. And they would
probably react with disbelief to the assertion that there is no -.=;. scientifiz – A- basis for evaluating J’

, another society” practice of genocide, judicial torture or human sacrifice, for example,
, , except as the people in that society themselves evaluate these practices. Yet that is exact1

YI what the principle of cultural relativism asserts, and this principle continues to be widely ,

” and strongly held. I

So too is the belief that “primitive” societies were far more harmonious than ,J-

societies caught up in the modern world. We know thaFrom the Histories of Herodotus by Herodotus

Is Morality as Custom?

It is clear to me therefore by every kind of proof that Cambyses was mad exceedingly; for otherwise he would not have attempted to deride religious rites and customary observances. For if one should propose to all men a choice, bidding them select the best customs from all the customs that there are, each race of men, after examining them all, would select those of his own people; thus all think that their own customs are by far the best: and so it is not likely that any but a madman would make a jest of such things. Now of the fact that all men are thus wont to think about their customs, we may judge by many other proofs and more specially by this which follows:—Dareios in the course of his reign summoned those of the Hellenes who were present in his land, and asked them for what price they would consent to eat up their fathers when they died; and they answered that for no price would they do so. After this Dareios summoned those Indians who are called Callatians, who eat their parents, and asked them in presence of the Hellenes, who understood what they said by help of an interpreter, for what payment they would consent to consume with fire the bodies of their fathers when they died; and they cried out aloud and bade him keep silence from such words. Thus then these things are established by usage, and I think that Pindar spoke rightly in his verse, when he said that “of all things law is king.”

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