Gandhi’s Seven Deadly Social Sins

Gandhi, who once remarked that he was dismayed that Christians are so unlike their Christ, seems nonetheless to understand the mind of God in his list of Seven Social Sins:

1. Politics Without Principle
2. Wealth Without Work
3. Commerce Without Morality
4. Pleasure Without Conscience
5. Education Without Character
6. Science Without Humanity
7. Worship Without Sacrifice

I wonder what Gandhi would say about the recent midterm elections, the maltreatment of migrant workers who pick the food that we eat, and the devastation Wall Street has unleashed on the middle class? How would he respond to the grotesque hedonism in popular culture, the “teaching to the test only” emphasis forced on public education, and the dangers of technology that redefines relationships, privacy, and community?

More than anything, I wonder if any of us can deny that Christ also discounts worship that focus more on the trappings of Christiandom than the teaching of Scripture: “You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? . . . If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness …”

Isaiah 58:4-5, 9-10

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