Sins, Vices and Virtues



This interdisciplinary conference seeks a new, provocative, intercultural perspective on some enduring truths concerning virtues and vices, sins and transgressions. Do we need a new list of moral commandments in the globalised, multicultural 21st century? Should they be religious or secular in nature? What are the foundations behind morality of the ‘modern (wo)man’. And, finally, is it possible, reaching back to the origins of humanity, to find common denominators between religious/spiritual definitions of vices and virtues of all belief systems?


The Sins, Vices and Virtues project will explore, assess, and map a number of key core themes:

~ The genealogy of the idea of sin or religious transgression in Christian and non-Christian cultures
~ Sinful/Transgressive actions and evil thoughts in Christian and non-Christian cultures
~ Lexicon of sinfulness/transgression and virtuousness in Christian and non-Christian cultures
~ Social functions of sins and virtues
~ Modern sins and vices: Individual and social; religious and secular; intercultural
~ Social sins: ‘Institutional’ and ‘structural’; their social ramifications
~ Communal versus individual sins/transgressions: Do societies sin?
~ The concept of sin or spiritual transgression/deviation and philosophy
~ Sins and vices on the political arena (secular morality or no morality)
~ Psychology of sin (‘sinful’ or ‘abnormal’?; the concept of sin after Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud)
~ Representation of sins and sinners, vices, transgressions and virtues in art, literature, movies in Christian and non-Christian cultures
~ Genderization of sins, vices and virtues in Christian and non-Christian cultures
~ Ideology of sin/religious transgression and technological progress: G/god or the Machine; ‘sins’ of productive necessity
~ Sins/Vices and/in the Media (ie adveritising)
~ Medieval crusades and modern (holy) wars
~ Sinless, non-transgressive life in 21st century: Possibility or wishful thinking?
~ Fear of the confessional or ‘McDonald-isation’ of spiritual life; is confession needed at all?
~ Penitential practices across the ages and cultures
~ Punishment for sin/transgression and rewarding virtue across the ages and cultures: individual and collective
~ Visions of Hell and Paradise across cultures
~ Virtues in the modern times; virtues in a modern man

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.