Reflective statement on oral presentation of ‘The Inferno’ by Dante

Question: How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?

The interactive orals helped expand my knowledge of The Inferno by Dante by quite a vast amount. I realized that when I read The Inferno I was barely scratching the surface level of it.

What I found interesting was the recurring theme of numerology in Dante especially the number 3. When he first arrives in the dark woods he was stopped by 3 animals from entering Purgatory, this was perhaps the beginning of an introduction to the theme of numerology within the Inferno. I realized that the number 3 represented the Holy Trinity (The father, Son, and the Holy Spirit). The number 3 is used multiple times such as there being 3 parts of the afterlife (Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory), what most people would argue as the 3 main parts of hell (appetite, will, reason), or even in the number of circles in hell [9 circles (3×3=9)].

When I was researching Christian theology I came across an interesting argument about Alchemists and how they should be in the ninth circle of hell instead of the eight. This was due to the fact that one of the main goals of alchemy was to produce the elixir of life which would extend their life indefinitely. Theologists argue that this was a betrayal against God as we are made to live on the earth before dying and judged of our worthiness to join God, by extending our lives we are defying God and thus betraying him by turning our backs to him. After the interactive oral I wondered if turning our backs to God counted as betrayal wouldn’t Hell just be one large pit as everyone in it has turned their backs to god in one way or another.

When I first read ‘The Inferno’ I realized that Dante included multiple modifications to the classic view of Hell including several Greek/Roman mythological creatures and figures such as the Cerberus, the Minotaur, and King Minos. Dante also modified the first circle of hell ‘Limbo’ to include virtuous pagans instead of just babies who died after only committing the original sin. This made me wonder what other modifications Dante added to his view of hell. From the oral presentation I realized that Dante being involved in literary group “Dolce Stil Novo”, and having strong political ties with the White Guelphs could have influenced his writing style and his views on the ‘perfect’ hell. I realized that Dante’s reasoning for his view on the people who should be in hell is affected mostly by the political situation of Italy from when he was in exile.

After the interactive oral on Dante I realized that many of Dante’s views on hell and sin, were biased towards the political and religious thinking of his time. This helped me to increase my understanding of the cultural times when Dante wrote ‘The Inferno’.

Reflective Statement on Dante’s Inferno IOs

How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?

Before the IOs I was unsure of the extent of Dante’s involvement in the events in Italy around the 1300s, or of the similarities between mythology and Dante’s Inferno. I was aware that there was a link between Dante’s work and the Classics, but I assumed incorrectly that Dante’s depiction of hell hell should, since he was a Christian, almost like an early protestant, line up with the Bible’s depiction.
I understood that Dante had been exiled and that Dante’s Inferno was sometimes revenge, and that Dante was sometimes punishing those who had wronged him in Italy. On the other hand, I didn’t really know his past; I could not understand how he feels when he writes about a certain sin is punished.
I was aware of some of the depictions of Hell, but never paid attention to how they are significant, relative to other depictions.

Now, I understand that though Christianity has Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek as places of shadow and eternal, fiery torment (later replaced by The Lake of Fire), the Hades of mythology is closer to Dante’s Inferno in some ways:
Dante’s hell punishes proportionally to the sin’s severity, as opposed to all sin being punished equally in the Bible.
Demons are used to punish in the Greek (as in Christian hells, demons are punished for their disobedience to God too).
On the other hand, Dante’s hell is unusual as the only hell that includes both hot and cold temperatures.

I now understand that Dante was involved in the fighting for Florence as a part of the Guelphs. These Guelephs split into the white Guelphs and the black Guelphs, for which Dante fought for the white, and losing side, and later exiled.
I believe that further research into this area could benefit me greatly since learned that there were Guelephs that did not choose a side when the faction split. This could possibly relate to the first circle of hell, where there the punished chase flags, desperately trying to pick a side. In researching further I hope to better understand how Dante feels about certain sinners, helping to better understand the potentially confusing idea of Dante the Pilgrim, Dante the Poet and Virgil the Guide and how all of this is influenced in the Inferno.

Cardinal virtues, Christian virtues

From Wikipedia:

In Christian tradition there are 4 cardinal virtues:

  • Prudence – able to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time
  • Justice – proper moderation between self-interest and the rights and needs of others
  • Restraint or Temperance – practicing self-control, abstention, and moderation
  • Courage or Fortitude – forbearance, endurance, and ability to confront fear and uncertainty, or intimidation

In The Inferno these virtues, represented by the classical poet Virgil, are enough to make you a good person, just as Virgil can guide Dante to the Earthly Paradise at the top of Mount Purgatory. But they are not enough to gain Christian salvation. For that, you need the three Christian virtues: faith, hope, and charity (also translated as ‘love’) [from the New Testament of the Bible, I Corinthians 13].

Thoughts of Dante’s hell

Dante’s Inferno is unlike any other book I’ve read ‘not counting the odyssey as I didn’t finish it’. At first reading it I thought it was utterly boring, just droning on, and on. However after reading it for the third time I finally realized that I should include the footnotes in my reading. Thus I found the Greek side of the book. I found it fascinating that Dante managed to blend in Christian testaments with Greek myths and legends. However I also found that the last circle of hell being frozen quite different from the classic example of hell being flames and brimstone all the way down.

After reading it over and over again, I stopped for a while in order to think about it, and I realized how different the way of thinking in terms of sin that is so different from today which is mostly based of the judicial system. Also I realized that Dante also seems to question god’s judgment

“inferno”

i thought the book “inferno” began reallly interesting and stayed amusing for the first eight chapters, but after that the book started to drag on a bit. nothing new really occured. i felt as if i was just reading a list of punishments. however the change in temperature in certain circles helped liven the book up a bit, in the fact that at least the atmosphere is changing in each circle, or else that would get really boring!
the book itself is challenging and requires a lot of background knowledge on greek myths and historical wars.however the foot notes at the bottom of each page where a huge help. they allowed you to understrand the book alot better without as much complications.
the main idea behind the book and the way that the books written is really smart. dante wrote inferno in the style of a poem and structured each canto as a different circle of punishment. the headings at the beginning of each canto helped alot to, as they directly let the reader know what circle dante and virgil are passing through. allowing the reader to keep up with the book easily.

My thoughts on Dante’s Inferno

I will admit that this is probably the most difficult book i’ve read so far, and that even though I quite enjoy reading, this particular book was quite a pain to read on many levels. Firstly, I thought that the language was difficult to understand as it doesn’t put its point across in plain simple english. There were many places where people’s names were used- historical church figures, figures in other poems and literature works. Thus, because I didnt know much about historical figures and all, it was difficult to understand. However, I thought that it was really enlightening reading Inferno as it gave me a greater perspective into other books and poems as well. Through Dante’s inferno, I learnt not only about Dante as a writer, I also learnt more about other’s works and character’s in other’s works as well.

Being a Roman Catholic by faith, many issues raised in the Inferno were quite difficult to grasp. I understood what they Dante was saying just fine, its just that in my mind it felt like reading something against my religion and everything I believed in. I had to try really hard to wrap my mind around Dante’s thoughts and ideas, and to read Inferno as nothing more than a book.

After finishing the entire book, I sat down and reflected on why reading Inferno was so challenging. And I realised that it’s probably because I’ve never had much experience reading books that discussed religion so openly- catholic, christian, muslim ect. Because the place where I grew up in, Singapore, is a multi-racial, multi-religious society where everyone is very careful about the things we say about religion. I am quite certain that Inferno would not be taught in the Singapore educations system as it would raise many questions about respecting each other’s religions and things like that.

Overall, though difficult to read, Dante taught me a lot of things and gave me a wider perspective on issues and things that went on in the past. Also, I thought that the way Dante merged Greek mythology with Christianity was interesting. If there really is one Divine power, then it all stems out of the same roots and that would be an interesting phenomenon

After Reading Inferno

Inferno was really… different to anything else I had before. Firstly, it was a poem… that had over 100 pages. The whole story was just different as well. Dante used himself as a character inside his own story. Plus it was a book about hell. How weird is that? I usually don’t really like reading books that involve strong religious views because they tend to be trying to make the reader believe in a certain religion for advertising purposes, or they may also seem to be narrow-minded and don’t really grab my interest. However, Inferno is written about hell on the surface, but is actually talking about all the corruption in the world. Inferno doesn’t seem to be writing for the sake of Christianity, but seems to be using Christianity as background support for his thinking. Most amazingly, he actually points out some problems about his own religion; which is quite unusual. This is why Inferno seemed to be less biased and annoying to me. I could read it without feeling like I was being pressured to change my thinking. It’s also interesting to see how his ideas are mostly related to real life. Many things that he mentioned were things that I had no idea about, so I could learn new points of views as well.

Apart from that, I found the book pretty difficult. All the language and metaphors and hard vocabulary. I really had to concentrate a lot to get some idea of what was going on. Some cantos were easier to read than others though.

Response to Dante’s Inferno

I enjoyed reading Dante’s Inferno and found it to be a very intriguing book (or poem or something).  I liked how Dante has himself as a character in his own novel and makes himself out to be this great person (among the greatest writers in all of history).  The main reason I found Inferno so interesting is how tied in with the world and religion the whole story is.

Dante is a devout Christian and finds a way to weave in so many Christian beliefs while at the same time relating them to the world as a whole.  Often times religions or religious peoples seem to be ignorant of things that don’t suit there story – of things that don’t fit their belief system.  However, Dante masterfully orchestrates his worldly knowledge and religious beliefs into one piece of literature that by some means works.  He combines his passion for Christianity and for classical writers like Virgil(who were simply unlucky and didn’t know of the one true God of Christianity) into what I see as an ornate explanation of Dante’s worldly philosophy and explanation of how Christianity is at the heart of it all. Perhaps he wasn’t joking about his divine talent – that it was God writing The Divine Comedy through the vessel of Dante…somehow.

Anyways, I very much enjoyed reading Dante – though I did have to make sure I was fully alert while doing so – and would like to sometime finish his divine comedy by reading the other two canticas.

Reflection- Inferno

‘Inferno’ by Dante Alighieri is the first cantica of the divine comedy, and it discusses Dante (persona)’s journey through hell to ultimately reach purgatory and heaven. It is peculiar in a way that the poet Dante has made himself into a persona in the poem.

To me, Inferno was shocking in its concept and structure. Before I’ve read inferno, I had only thought that there were 2 large divisions: hell and heaven. I haven’t thought of such a detailed circles of hell based on the degree of sins. Also, the fact that inferno itself is a long epic poem was shocking because usually poems are less than a page. However, the rhyme scheme on every page have created continuous flow of rhythm and made the whole story of inferno seem continuous and chronological. It have also kept me interested while reading the whole poem, and sometimes the rhyme scheme was used intensively to emphasize certain lines or tersets, such as when Dante realizes that he’s protected by influential figures of heaven :

(Dante)……..Now let us start,

for the forcefulness of what you say has sent

my heart new eagerness to go with you,

reawakening my original intent.

By the repetition of powerful‘t’ sound, the reader becomes more focused and unconsciously realizes the phrase’s importance. Furthermore, frequent use of epic similes was noticeable. For example, epic simile was used in canto 32 to describe how sinner’s heads were protruding out of ice:

   As when the croaking frogs will barely stir,

with mouths out of water, while the peasant will

dream of the gleaning that means so much to her,

so the dolorous souls in the ice were livid till

their heads emerged with faces shame had dyed.

Their teeth were clicking like the stork’s long bill.

  This might have been due to the nature of ‘Inferno’. Since no one has actually been to hell, and the concept of Dante’s hell was new
to everyone when inferno was published, Dante might have intentionally used epic simile to compare the situation in hell or his (as persona in the poem) personal feeling with real-life examples and help readers to understand the hell better.

One other feature that has been deliberately placed in the poem was the word ‘star’, which is the metaphor for aspiration, hope, or dream which is glowing and visible but hard to acquire.. It is widely known that all the three divine comedy (inferno, purgatory, paradise) ends with the word stellar. In the poem, Dante is willing to regard himself of one of the greatest poet in the history, as can be seen when he regards himself as sixth member of the line: “bringing me up to their height, making me sixth in their wisdom’s congregation’ and also is willing to reach the heaven (God)  by going through inferno, and purgatory . Hence, the meaning of the ‘star’ might be his wish to become renowned poet along with getting honor to know the God. But furthermore, ‘star’ is mentioned a lot of times in the poem. When Dante reached gate of hell, he commented on atmosphere as “Those cries resounding through the starless air so moved me at first that I burst into tears”, and when Virgil indicates the midnight he says “The stars that rose when I set out for you have now begun to sink, and by decree we must not tarry.” The stars in context indicate hope: people in the hell have abandoned hope as the engraving in the gate of hell suggests, and Virgil ‘tarries’ Dante before ‘star’
sinks, indicating the hardship of their journey from the city of Dis. Therefore, the continuous mentioning of ‘star’ emphasizes the significance of hope to humanity and to Dante himself. This has lot of significance when looking at Dante’s actual life. He was exiled in 1315 and the Divine comedy was written between 1308 and 1321. Seeing that Dante’s exile happened in the middle of writing Divine Comedy, the ‘star’ might indicate his hope during the exile, since Divine comedy made him world-renowned even after his death in 1321.

In conclusion, various aspect of the Inferno such as its structure, concept and metaphor have intrigued me; even though I initially found the poem hard, but after finding all the vocabulary, understanding the history of each mentioned sinner’s life and finding out about the idea of Christianity, the whole plot became more clear and Dante’s deliberate techniques in the poem finally came into view.

Personal Response – Inferno

I felt that reading Dante’s Inferno was difficult in the beginning. At first, I thought it was just because the language is different from how we normally speak English but then I realized it was because of the many metaphors and similes in the poem. Also, a lot of the text and names mentioned in the book requires a lot of background information. Knowing the background information and the reason for that specific metaphor makes the book much more interesting to read and easier to understand. One example of a confusing metaphor that I know understand is “with the same stars as when that whole array of lovely things was first given movement by divine love.” At first, I was confused because he seemed to describe beautiful stars in a much more complicated way than it needed to be and I was wondering how movement had anything to do with stars. I learnt that those lines referred to Aristotle’s Book Physics where he was trying to figure out what causes movement and if one movement caused another movement then what caused the first. He concluded that it was an endless cycle. The Christian point of view was that it was the desire to become closer to God, perfection, that make people have movement.

Some of the recurring themes that I found while reading Inferno was how the punishment was appropriate for the sin that it was responsible for. For example, the Neutrals had to constantly chase after the war banners which meant that they had to choose sides instead of remain neutral, the Lustful were constantly swept off their feet by powerful winds and the Gluttonous lived in filth and excrement. Another theme was how Dante talked to at least one person in each circle and I think this could be related to the way glory brings immortality. The sinners could possibly think that if Dante told other’s of his or her story then their name will live forever. However if their story was not told, then their life would have no meanings and their sin will be for nothing.

While reading the book, I found it confusing because there were many clergymen in hell for various sins and after seeing this, he should feel some sense of betrayal that men who pledge their life to God would commit such sins and he questions the Church’s integrity as well as the clergymen themselves but he never questions God’s judgement as to whether the punishment’s are fair or the sinners should deserve to be in hell or purgatory. I find this especially confusing because if I found out that people that pledge their life to something and turn out to be hypocrites, I would question the object or something that people believe in.

Dante’s Inferno

I thought that Dante, Dante the writer and Virgil are contradictory.

Dante, the character pities those in torment in Hell. Dante the author frequently calls them words related to excrement, though there are some exceptions where a person has harmed Dante, such as the man the footnotes say took a lot of Dante’s possessions when he was exiled. Virgil again is much like Dante as an author, seeing that the people deserve the punishment they are getting. Perhaps Dante the character, having had time, sees things Virgil’s way when he is supposedly authoring.

What’s ironic is that Dante would, were it as easy to get into Hell as he says, be there himself for heresy, since of course Inferno contradicts the Bible.

One thing that confuses me is why demons are not punished in Hell and Satan himself takes on the role of a punisher of Judas Iscariot.

Hierarchy Of Sins

Bad – Theft

           Adultery

           Greed

           Slobs

Worse –   Child Abuse

Paedophilia

Etc

Worst – Geneside

Suicide Bombers

I don’t believe in none baptised people being in hell as they have not done  wrong.

I didn’t know if we have to do them in the 6 circles or not? :S

I didn’t want to do all the other sins what everyone has done wanted to make my own 🙂

If you would like to know my explanation for the reason of my hierarchy of sins just ask me 🙂 it’s hard to say in words why.

 

Continue reading “Hierarchy Of Sins”

Bad things…?

Here I go:

1.Looking down on others/over-confident/not regretting.

People can often do this, and it’s sometimes even unknown to themselves. This usually leads to unsuccessful events, as they think too well of themselves. This also means not looking back to what you did. People should think about their actions and reflect upon them.

2. Laziness.

Not trying hard and being lazy doesn’t challenge yourself. However, it usually doesn’t effect other people, and just causes yourself to be less successful in anything. It’s a bit sad if people don’t try hard at anything, since what’s the point of their lives then?

3.Lieing/cheating.

This can really depend on how extreme it is, and can be linked in with other points. Even if the other person doesn’t find out, it’s not a good habit. When the other person eventually find out, it could cause a dramatic scene, it also prevents close relationships.  (However, white lies are good sometimes, so this depends on the reason. If it’s just to protect themselves, then it’s most likely not very good.) Cheating others is taking unfair advantage of them and partly lying to them.

4.Stealing.

This makes other people feel bad as well as the people doing it. Others can lose their things which most likely would have been important to them. It creates trouble for others and is just not correct to take something that doesn’t belong to themselves.

6.Unrespectful/rude/insulting others/unjust.

This is about not being fair to other people, or treating the way you wouldn’t want others to treat yourself. This is simply the fact where people don’t care about others and cannot see things from the other person’s perspective. This can also sometimes be resulted from brain-wash, in which the case, the person should try to think for themselves, and not believe everything they are told.

7.Betraying and backbiting.

When people trust others, it means a great deal in the relationship, thus when they are betrayed, it means that a lot of the things that these people have worked on together is ruined. It creates a lot of insecurity in the person betrayed.

8.Physical abuse.

This is the serious type of stuff, not just like hitting someone once.  Abuse can lead to long-term psychological effects as well. It is usually also scary for the person and may be very hard to over-come. Linked in with point 9, people do not have the right to damage other people.

9.Murder/committing suicide.

This is giving up your own life and ending someone else’s. A person doesn’t really have the right to do this. If some people are religious, they might say that you don’t have the right, as you are not the one who created humans in the first place, thus you cannot end it as well. This creates suffering for even more people, since the dead person’s friends/family/work would be involved as well.

my hierachy of sins

Hierachy:

1st circle- people that arent baptised or people that believe in something other than god.

6th circle-believes in the devil

2nd circle- evil people with evil minds

3rd circle- thieves etc

4th circle- people that hurt others

5th circle- people that kill others or themselves.

i think that the 1st circle of people dont deserve to be included in any of the circles. i think its unfair to judge a baby and decide through the way that they act if there a bad person, at that young of an age. since they are too young to know whats right and wrong and they cant contorl the fact if there baptised or not. i also disagree in calling people that have done well in their life and have strided for excelence and living the ideal rich lifestyle without donating some of it, selfish. i think that if everyone did that the world would be a very rich and alot would get done.

the next serious sin in my hierachy would be circle 6. i believe that believing in something that inforces evil things makes you an evil person also that is willing to do evil things to other. therefore i dont think they deserve to get a place in heaven.

as i said before…”i believe that believing in something that inforces evil things makes you an evil person”. therefore in conclusion i think that the 2nd circle is equally as bad as the 6th circle. however this is a bit more extreme because it shows that you have the potential to hurt other people and it also shows that you dont care about others feelings.

 i placed the 3d circle before circles 4 and 5 because, even though thieving upsets other people and can ruin peoples lives. it doesnt actually physically hurt them.

after circle 3 i put circle 4. the reason for putting it after follows the saying-“sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. i thought of it through th epoint of view, that the “words” in this case is stealing an object and the “sticks and the stones”as harming people physically.

lastly i placed circle 5. commiting this sin means that you have completely expelled someone from the world and you havent given them the chance to live. however if you killed someone that was harming you first and was planning on kill you then i dont think of that as a serious sin because you where just protection yourself. not only that, when you kill yourself, your basically insulting god and telling him what hes provided you isnt good enough.

many people may disagree in my views, but this is my personal order of sins from least to worst.if your beg to differ with anything that i siad, feel free to comment below:):)

Sin Hierarchy

Ok, so from least to most bad this is how I would kind of order some general sins:

liars

chronically ignorant/lazy people

greedy people

thieves

corrupt people

violent people

murderers (with exceptions)

sadists

I ordered my hierarchy according to loose beliefs that I have.  At the top I have people that lie or are sinfully lazy/ignorant.  This is because lying seems to happen all the time and isn’t always hurtful – but of course the severity of a lie would fluctuate on a case to case basis.  The middle stuff is also quite subjective but I ordered it in that way because it seemed fitting.  The only thing that is easily justifiable is my placement of sadists as the worst sinners.  To me it seems obvious that someone who takes extreme pleasure in terrorizing others is a bad person.  Other than that I find that this task shows just how subjective the whole sin hierarchy thing is although i still find it interesting how the sins are ordered in Dante’s Inferno – and entertaining in how the punishment fits the crime.

To Live

. i usually dont like tragedies but i overall really enjoyed this book, and i thought it was full of action and somethign new was always occuring. however somethign the book lacked, was happy endings. towards the end i felt that the book started to become one big mess and they didnt know how to end it so they decided to kill everyone off slowly and it started to drag on a bit. i also really liked how the author kept jumping back from the story to reality(under the tree) every so often. this gave us a little break and allowed us to relax. its a book well chose mr macknight:)

My hierarchy of sins

Circle 1: Cheats and con-men
For those who have robbed people through unfair advantage or through deceit.

Circle 2: Thievery and robbery
This is for those who take what they have not earned purely out of greed or a sense of accomplishment.

Circle 3: The corrupt and the corrupter
For those who take bribes and those who corrupt others down the path of darkness; Generally those who have try to influence people in an extremely negative way (drug dealers are an example)

Circle 4: Liars
For those who have knowingly lied constantly purely to cause harm to another

Circle 5: Suicides
For those who have taken the cowards way out and taken their own lives for various reasons and left others behind that depend on them to suffer

Circle 6: Backstabbers and Traitors
For those who have betrayed the trust of someone in order to gain something for themselves

Circle 7: Inhumane crimes
For those that have committed inhuman crimes against humankind such as murder, rape, human trafficking etc.

Circle 8: The regretless
For those who have commited crimes from circle 6 & 7 and feel no regret from it. Instead they feel a sense of pleasure/satisfaction/accomplishment for their deeds.

Circle 9: Satan/Lucifer/Beelzebub/Devil/Shaitan/Abbadon/Antichrist/Appolyon & The fallen angels
For he who has committed the worst of crimes; an attempt to overthrow the creator. With the devil in the ninth circle are the fallen who sided with Lucifer against God, it is only fitting that they reside in the ninth circle with their leader.

I based my circle on religious beliefs and thoughts and feelings on sin. My thoughts and feelings on sins are based on various sources such as: Books that I’ve read, Media that I’ve seen/heard, Personal experience, authority, etc.

I don’t really split my circles in the way that dante does in the form of reason, will, and appetite. Mine seem to be kind of mixed up.

Disclaimer: I got the different names of the devil from both the bible and the website http://www.markbeast.com/satan/names-of-satan.htm (which I do not own)

My Circles of Hell

Sorry, I don’t know why my post didn’t show up. I’m jsut technologically challenged I guess.

  1. Laziness
  2. Disrespect
  3. Bullying
  4. Lying and Deceit
  5. No Appreciation
  6. No Compassion
  7. Selfishness or Greediness
  8. Stealing
  9. Seeking Revenge
  10. Manipulation and Sabotage
  11. Murder

I put laziness as a sin because we are duty bound as humans to try and constantly improve ourselves but if we choose to not do that then we are not helping ourselves or our community by improving it so it is a sin.

Disrespect should be counted as a sin becasue we should always appreciate others and try to learn the good of others and not try to pick at their bad attributes.

Bullying is also a sin because the bullies are trying to lower other people’s self esteem and trying to make themselves seem superior when they are not.

Lying and purposeful deceit will change a person’s view or perspective sometimes and it may cause a bigger problem in theri lives than we realize and it isn’t right to withhold information that rightfully belongs to others.

We should appreciate what we have because there are other’s that do not have as much as us and we should appreciate it and put it to good use.

We should have compassion for others and try to help them. In my opinion, sympathy is different from compassion. Sympathy is simply to pity someone and to feel their pain but to have compassion is to act on that feeling and physically try to help them. If we do not, then we are the same as those who left them that way.

Selfishness and Greediness is similar to not having compassion and not appreciating what we have in that way that we hoard and do not think of others. It is a sin because we are not giving others a chance.

Stealing is a sin becasue we are taking things that belong to others becasue they have worked hard to buy it or earn it and the thieves do not do anything to deserve it.

Manipulation and Sabotage is undermining someone and taking away their benefits away from them after their hard work.

Murder is to take someone’s life away from them which no one should have the right to dictate even if they have done something wrong. They should be left in prison to contemplate what they have done wrong and live the rest of their life alone without any warmth.

 

My Hierarchy of sins

My Hierarchy of sins

1st
Lies:
 I’ve put lies in the first circle because lies can be good or bad. Generally lies hurt other’s feeling and disadvantage them when it’s disclosed. Even though it’s a white lie, it can unnoticeably affect other people in negative ways.

2nd
Stealing:
Stealing can be caused purely by materialistic greed but sometimes it can be result of abysmal living condition. (ex: no money for surgery, children’s education or even food) However, acquiring other’s property without agreement is still a sin and hence stealing is placed at second circle.

3rd
Ignorance of others in trouble:
If one passes a scene where an innocent man is beaten, this counts as a sin because even though one may have enough power to stop the beating, one is worried about harms that can be done and getting involved in possible legal procedures. It can cause the man to be hurt significantly or even lose his life.

4th
-Hurting others by words or action:
The action of hurting others can be temporary, but the memory lasts eternally. Person who
didn’t control themselves and expressed their anger by word and action is sinful, and especially those who have done it impulsively without reason will be punished harshly.

5th-Being
undutiful to parents/elders:
Parents and elders have more experience than us, and especially parents are those who gave life to us and nurtured us until we grew up, no matter how ignorant, sick or violent they are in the present. Therefore, someone who abandons or hates their parents without thinking about effort of his/her parents to give them life should be punished severely.

6th-Inhumane
crimes (murder, suicide) / killing life:
Taking other’s life against their will is most serious misdeed that can happen. (In Buddhism, this applies not only to other human but also all the living creatures such as ants and trees. People are punished differently depending on their degree of crime. ) Also, suiciding is the most undutiful act to one’s parents and all the other people around him/her. Hence, people who have committed suicide are treated similarly to murderers.

7th
Satan/people who doesn’t regret:
Even though one has committed inhumane crimes, if they regret with all their heart they still have minute hope to improve their situation. However, people without guilt are equivalent to Satan: without hope and regret but instead occupied with pure evil.

 

I’ve based my hierarchy of sins on Ancient Chinese Buddhism. For the ancient Chinese Buddhism, people believed that there are 7 different stages of hell:刀山(knife mountain)·火山(volcano)·寒氷(ice)·劍樹(sword tree)·拔舌(speech)·毒蛇(snake)·牙針(needle)·鉅解(saw).  If they cannot pass one of these stages, they’ll receive punishment (ex: in拔舌(speech) hell, people who lied or made caustic speech to others are punished by stretching their tongue, flattening and plowing on it.)

There are several different types of Buddhism, so even though I am a Buddhist I actually believe that people who have done immoral acts during their lives will be reborn accordingly after passing the bridge of oblivion- person with huge sins will be born as an animal or as a baby in abysmal environment, and benevolent ones will be born in peaceful or affluent family. (This goes along with the saying: “Life is hell.”)

 

Inferno is totally different from my original belief, but I still found Dante’s Hell very fascinating.. except stages where people get punished by not being baptized, believing in different religion and remaining neutral. (: I’m looking forward to other stages of hell, and I’m still wondering whether Dante will faint at the end of other cantos or not 😀

My hierachy of sins

I will first admt that it feels wrong doing this and being judgemental, because- who am I to judge which sins are more deserving of punishment than others, or if they are even sins at all.

Limbo- Sins of ommission- people here did not do bad things but failed to help those around them, did not offer help or suggestions, did not side with the right just side.

1st circle- People who worshipped material goods.

2nd circle- People who harboured evil thoughts

3rd circle- Theft and coverting things that do not belong to one

4th circle- Hurting oneself and others (words or actions of violence)

5th circle- Killing oneself (suicide) and others (murder)

6th- Being a follower of satan, sowing discord on earth.

I think that not doing bad things is good but not standing with what is right is bad. However, because they did not actually do anything bad, they are in limbo, neither in heaven nor in hell. People who worshipped material goods are those who love money and whose main aim in life is to earn money and live well themselves, and do not spare a thought for those in need around them, and places money in higher stead than God. A more serious sin would be stealing and taking what does not belong to one. Next would be hurting oneself and others, causing pain and suffering to oneself and others. Following that is murder and suiside. I think that hurting yourself and others, killing yourself or others is the same thing. You are still hurting or killing, and that is bad. The worse would be not only not believing in God, but the devil, causing chaos and destruction on earth.

This is my own personal hierachy, and its just my opinion on which sin is more serious than the others. I’m quite sure there’ll be people who disagree with my opinion, and i’m fine with it.

I think that no one is perfect and that every person would have committed sins before. However, does that mean that everyone goes to hell? I don’t think so. There has got to be some hope to hold on to. If all sinners went to hell, and as human beings being not perfect, we are all ‘sinners’, are we then all doomed to go to hell? What then is the point of even trying to be good? That is really pessimistic and I dont really agree with that. I think that this book is morbid, and I will definately be going to church on Sunday. At least I completed my homework (: