There was a time when society’s moral compass was guided by religion more than anything else.

The western world in particular regarded “The 7 Deadly Sins” as the cause of drifting away from God’s light and towards eternal damnation. But let’s be honest, we (as a society) clearly don’t take this kind of thinking seriously anymore, given that ‘Sloth’ and ‘Gluttony’ have no place in a world that celebrates Netflix binges and super-sized meals smothered in bacon.

So, maybe it’s time we updated our list of sins for the modern millennial generation. Because while we no longer challenge each other to duels or go to church that often, there are still 7 Deadly “Sins” that almost every one of us is guilty of.

I. Commentary Wrath

On the internet – nearly every article, social media post and video leaves room for comments, allowing the trolls to crawl out from under their bridge and the idiots to fall out of their idiot trees.

But that’s not even the sin. No, the sin lies in the unprovoked, unsolicited rage that spews forth from anyone with even the slightest opinion on any subject matter.

I’m confident I could post the simple statement, “The sky is blue” and have at least one person disagree.

But not even just disagree. Like violently disagree.

Because in today’s internet age, you’re not allowed to have an opinion. State an opinion, and prepare to face the torrent of misspelled anger from one of your borderline acquaintances and even worse, strangers.

The worst part? The people who put the most effort into tearing apart an opinion with some vast political sweeping statement are not activists or even avid supporters of the subject. Where people once would have had the common sense to keep their mouth shut on topics that they don’t understand, the comments section has taken that hesitation away.

Never in history has it been easier to fact check, spell check, and politely gather our thoughts, yet never in history has it been easier for us to make ourselves look like a bunch of uneducated idiots with the touch of a keyboard.

II. Instagram Gluttony

Let’s be real, who hasn’t at least taken one picture of a delicious meal?

As tempting as it is to post food pornography to Instagram, you can’t flood the feed with every single one of your three or four meals a day. Not only does it lose it’s impact, most of those meals aren’t nearly important enough to document in the grand scheme of things.

There have to be some guidelines.

For this, I have created the “3 P’s of Food Porn.”

  1. Presentation – You eat with your eyes first, and in a medium that’s all about the image, that photo better look beautiful without 50 layers of filters
  2. Purpose – This was a celebration or special occasion; a birthday, wedding, anniversary, Bar Mitzvahetc.
  3. Pride – I made this and/or purchased it myself and I’m pleasantly surprised that it looks as delicious as it tastes.

I once saw an Instagram photo of an avocado. That’s it. It was just a picture of an avocado, sitting alone on a counter, devoid of context or purpose, and absolutely unworthy of its #FoodPorn hashtag.

This photo was coloring-book level of complexity. The caption should have read, “A is for Avocado: an alphabet of stupid pictures.” Thank you for showing me a picture of an Avocado – that was very share-worthy and definitely enriched me as a person. Now i’m unfollowing you.

Moral of the story: please refrain from sharing your milquetoast meals with the world.

III. Dating Vanity

There’s hardly a member of this generation who’s not been guilty of this at least once in their life. Swoons have become screenswipes and chemistry has become ‘a match’.

Hypothesis: we’ve got dating ADD (DADD?).

We’ve been raised in a technological world. Dating apps like Tinder and selective communication methods like texting are a social awkwardness, and have made us emotionally distant and in a persistent state of noncommittal romance because we’re always looking for something better.

We’ve created an entirely new set of social norms on how to behave with a potential love interest.

No double texting, wait a few days before using a number, abruptly cutting off/restarting communication without reason, and of course – fucking Emojis.

These are all things we are told are normal, but everyone hates them (except for the poop Emoji…he’s pretty cool.)

How about instead of stressing about what profile picture or Tinder tagline to choose, we stop creating all these problems for ourselves and just try dating again? It’s ridiculous that people will not go out on dates with multiple people for fear of being seen as promiscuous. And yet, they will string along three or four others in an unending grey zone while still talking to more on Tinder.

Dear everybody, go outside and talk to each other. 

IV. Greed By Entitlement

Believe it or not, I believe we Millennials will do great things in our lifetime. What does frustrate me, however, is our greed.

Not greed as in placing high value in making money – our greed is a slighter greed. It’s the belief that there are certain things we simply expect to be given to us. Luxuries and comforts we grew up with that we have begun to confuse with basic human rights and necessities.

If you’ve attended college – or gotten any education – you’re already more privileged than a large amount of humanity. That smartphone in your pocket, your flat-screen TV, even just blowing money on vices like alcohol are all luxuries; not things you’re owed.

Your parents and past generations worked hard to provide a better life than they had for their kids—that’s the American dream. But while our generation might not possess some of the cutthroat greed of our ancestors, we are not necessarily entitled to all the amenities we experienced as a child without working for it.

They used to say, “It’s a cold, cruel world out there,” but if you’re reading this, you probably haven’t experienced any of that cruelty. As the generation of last place medals, gold stars and compliment tags (yes this is a thing), we should keep in mind that the world doesn’t owe us a damn thing. 

V. FOMO (Envy)

In an age of social media and connectivity, fear of missing out is a real issue. It’s a feeling that we Chicagoans know too well in April when the rest of the world is sunny and happy and dancing and we’re still hacking the ice off of our windows.

While I try to forget FOMO and make a point that wherever I currently am is where I’m supposed to be, the sin doesn’t come in the constant fear of missing out on fun…it comes from creating it.

I’m talking about FOMO perpetuators. The creators of envy. Those social media manipulators who can’t let anyone think that anything they do is boring, average or expected.

Let’s be honest, no one posts a status update to let the world know they’re binging on Chinese food and House of Cards in sweatpants.

But the people who feel the compulsive need to chronicle every aspect of their lives in a perpetual state of one-upping are just obnoxious. The fact that you’re taking the time to post a photo/status – or just that you’re even on social media in the first place – makes me thinking you’re really not enjoying yourself as much as you would like it to appear.

Sure if you’re checking into a famous place or took a great picture you want to share, by all means go ahead.

But if you can’t be happy with where you are or what you’re doing without making it apparent to all your “friends” on social media, you need to reassess what it means to have fun. 

VI. Texting Sloth

Maybe you’re forgetful. Maybe you got distracted. Maybe you’re playing hard to get with a new love interest.

It doesn’t matter.

Whatever the rationale, instant communication has opened up a whole new can of excuses. It used to take weeks to send messages across the country; now you can do it in a second.

You know the first marathon runner died to deliver a simple message? Imagine how simple that message delivery would be today (Right).

Not answering someone’s text for hours, days, or weeks is just straight up rude, especially if they sent you an open-ended question.

Imagine if someone asked you a question to your face and then you walked around for three hours and then went back to said person and then answered with “Sorry I was busy” and never fully answered their question. That would be super weird, right?

I get that you get busy at work or sidetracked and can’t always be by your phone, but dropping someone mid-convo or neglecting a response is pretty damn annoying.

Plus, we all know we’re attached to our phones at the hip (and thumbs) – so that’s a bullshit excuse.

VII. List Lust

Since we’re already a depraved, one-night-standing, Tinder-abusing generation with commitment issues, I’m going to go ahead and throw out ‘Lust.’

We’re all perverts. Let’s move on.

Instead, the new sin is ‘List,’ because our generation can’t be bothered to read any sort of information without it being placed into a finite numerical order, ranking, or countdown.

We’re the goldfish generation; attention spans so short that we sometimes send recycled garbage to friends that sent us that link in the first place.

We’re the most educated generation in the history of this country, and maybe even the world. If we can’t take the time to spell check, can we at least take the time to read formulated paragraphs?

Now, I realize the irony in writing out a list of “7 Deadly Sins” in which I condemn lists, but how the hell else was I supposed to get you to read it? 

So there you have it. Heed my words, fellow Millennial.

Or don’t. I don’t care.

(Photos courtesy of Pictures of Hipsters Taking Pictures of Food, imgflipFredler Brave, iphonetextgenerator, and MajorOnions)