The Destructive Behavior coming from Malicious Fraud (Dishonesty, Betrayal) against strangers

"Sexuality, ecclesiastical and civil office holders, language, ownership, counsel, authority, psychic influence, and material interdependence -- all the media of the community’s exchange are perverted and falsified, til nothing remains but the descent into the final abyss where faith and trust are wholly and forever extinguished." Dorothy Sayers

1) Panderers and Seducers -- they are driven and scourged by demons) --

They knowingly and willingly use sexuality and other human passions to rob others of dignity and worth. Devaluing people’s sexuality to manipulate or exploit them -- to make them less.

2) Flatterers -- they are in filth and slop (excrement) --

They knowingly and willingly exploit human fears and desires through words, language. In so doing, they devalue language and truth until words mean nothing and truth is laughed away. Think of propaganda, false and deceptive advertising, rules which say one thing and mean another, spin doctoring, using clever speech to escape responsibility, "yes" men, etc.

3) Simoniacs -- they are upside down -- heads downward in rock cylinders, flames about
                                                                                                                            their feet.

        They trade in things holy for gain, devaluing the holy.

4) Sorcerers -- they have their heads on backwards --

They manipulate by claiming to know the future. More widely, they use psychic powers to prey upon people’s sense of themselves. Wider still, perhaps, they knowing and willing misuse knowledge to dominate people and the environment. 5) Barrators -- they are in boiling pitch guarded by demons with sharp hooks -- They are to the civil order what the simoniacs are to the church -- they knowingly and willingly profit from misusing trust; they sell justice; they subvert the protection of equal law and justice. ************************************************************************************************************************

6) Hypocrites -- they are in gilded cloaks lined with lead --

Hypocrisy is more than yielding to temptation, more than not walking the talk in this or that action. It is closer to knowingly and willingly living a lie, sacrificing inner truth to expediency, true vocation to money-making or pleasure-seeking. Sacrificing true love to political alliance. 7) Thieves -- they become monstrous reptiles -- shape-changing into one another -- They knowingly and willingly stole others goods and devalued ownership. They are robbed of their own distinctive form. They are shown what a world without distinctions between "mine" and "thine" would be like. 8) Those who Counsel Fraud -- they are wrapped in flame --
Something like spiritual thieves, knowingly and willingly robbing integrity, claiming that there are no standards.
9) Sowers of Discord -- they are split asunder --
They knowingly and willingly split families, religions, societies.
10) Falsifiers of Things, Persons, Words, Money -- they are punished with diseases --
They make what is true false and vice versa -- making a mockery of truth, trust, trustworthiness, making all the forms of exchange "cancerous."

Religion: wrong = sin

determined by
facts of case measured by norms
taken from the Word of God
properly interpreted and applied  plus
(for some) development of doctrine via the decisions
of church or rabbinic or Islamic authorities.

Philosophy (Ethics): wrong = destructive behavior

determined by
facts of case (involving self, others and social bonds)
measured by norms embedded in
developing notions of human dignity, fairness, and
consequences on community (human and web of life)
Law: wrong = crime (or civil violation)
determined by
facts of case
measured against particular laws
interpreted and applied through the judicial system
In philosophy, it is not enough for us or others to make an assertion:

    " X is wrong." (i.e. destructive to self, others and the social bonds).

We must ask: Why or how is it destructive?

What is it about this behavior which undermines human dignity, fairness, and community (human and web of life)?

What are its "wrong-making" features?

Thus, in reading Dante from a philosophical perspective, we need to ask not only what attitudes/actions* are judged to be wrong but what are the essential features which show us in what the wrongness consists.

Example: By such and such type of fraud, Dante understands such and such behavior and here is the reason why he thinks it wrong (destructive).

Now, we might agree and look for instances of that wrong in our times and our lives.

We might also say that we see the action differently now -- i.e. usury -- and hence the reasons Dante gives no longer hold and we would make other distinctions.
**************************************************************************************************************R *Recall the medieval Catholic teaching that a sin is mortal (deadly) --
    such that if you die without repenting the sin,
    God gives you what you chose forever! --
        if and only if it meets three conditions:

    on the outer (visible behavior) side + on the consciousness (responsibility) side -

    1) serious matter                                 2) sufficient reflection (knowledge)

                                                                3) full consent of the will (freedom of choice)

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