Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Most Sinful Countries of the World

Living in the information age we are bombarded by information, much of it of low quality and not verifiable, which makes discernment difficult. The internet adds to the problem, as does this blog and millions of others that abound in the blogosphere. To navigate this flow of information, what is necessary is the art of discernment. We know well the saying of St. Augustine, "Love God and do what you will." If we are living a life in harmony with the will of God, seeking his will in all things, then our thoughts and desires will direct us correctly in making the right judgements. This is the traditional Catholic teaching on discernment.

The View from the Ark in the Catholic Times presents us with one of these occasions where discernment is necessary. The columnist, referring to an article that appeared in Focus, the magazine of the British Broadcasting Company, mentions the most sinful nations of the world, according to the article, and what capital  sins those countries have the most difficulty dealing with.  Korea, overall, was listed as the 8th most sinful country of the world, and placed number one in the lust category. This was determined by the amount of money spent on pornography, in comparison with other countries.

The distinctive quality of a nation is not determined by the intelligentsia or popular leaders, he says, but by the ordinary citizens. No matter how good the laws and structures are, if the citizens do not follow them they are of little worth. When the citizens have a sense of dignity and are moved by conscience and good habits, this will be reflected in the personality of the country.

Korea went from a GNP of 100 dollars in 1960-1970 to over 20,000 dollars in 2010, which is the envy of many developing countries. In 1987, Korea rid herself of a dictatorship and became a democracy. There is little need to point out, the columnist notes, that economic improvement and political maturity allowed Korea to join the group of free and prosperous countries of the world. And in the last ten years, the influence of Korea's culture has spread to many parts of the world.

However, individual consciousness has not kept pace with economic development, he says. Greed, lust, envy, hunger for power, and the like are seen as the likely reasons for the immorality and corruption which has earned the country the low moral rating described in the Focus article. How can we rid ourselves of the stigma of being the 8th most sinful country in the world? he asks. We have to refine our moral education, work on our self-improvement, and work for the common good. Helping to change Korea's image in this all-important area of life, says the columnist, should be the duty of everyone.  

The wrong-headed desires of some politicians to gain power is offset by the virtues of sincerity, authenticity, and justice exhibited by others. The overwhelming desire of all citizens is that the individual should live as a caring human being, and that our society, made up of such human beings, is working for the common good.


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