Thursday, 15 October 2009
by Goose at Faith and GeekeryIt’s a unique feature of our technological age that we are now able to pinpoint, measure, and graph nearly every significant trend we experience…and many insignificant ones as well. You want to know how many gum chewers there are nationwide and what brand they’re chomping on? Okay. How about the average life expectancy of an enemy soldier in a Chuck Norris film? Wonder no more. But never before has there been a thorough examination of sin – which ones are being committed where and with what frequency. Now you may go ahead and check that box as well.
Geography gurus at Kansas State University unveiled a new study this spring that took a closer look at the Seven Deadly Sins. You remember those guys? Greed, Envy, Sloth, Wrath, Lust, Pride, and Gluttony. Using a formula we’ll explicate further in just a moment, these Kansan creatures were able to pinpoint which areas of these United States are the worst offenders in each area and which locales don’t struggle. Some humorous, remarkable, maybe even convicting stuff here. (For a more in-depth look at the maps below, check out this report.)
According to Kansas State University, if you are from the Eastern Seaboard of South Carolina and Georgia, you are probably one angry individual. Along with Floridians, the study pegged these folks as the most likely to deal with wrath. They used the number of violent crimes per capita in that determination. Not sure if that has anything to do with lingering angst over Shermann’s March to the Sea? Bad seafood? Unfortunately, the Bible Belt’s sin center issues don’t cease with wrath. They are also nation-leaders in lust and envy (as calculated by number of reported STD cases and total number of thefts per capita, respectively). Yikes.
Envy and Lust
Sloth! You just never hear that word anymore! This sin is all over the place. The Kansans used a formula to measure it that took into account the average expenditure per capita on arts and entertainment. So these people do artsy things too often – the rogues. Although this is scattered all over the nation, two epicenters of sloth are Washington D.C. and (oddly enough) Western Montana! People are aware that congresspersons (I’m feeling politically correct today) are prone to wasting money. What folks may not realize, however, is that Western Montana has been almost entirely repopulated with wealthy tree huggers from California. They need to be entertained.
Meanwhile, greed (computed by average income compared to those living below poverty line) dwells most commonly in California (see preceding paragraph) and the great conurbation stretching from Northern Virginia to Massachusetts. This would seem to further indicate various notions (held by this author) that people from the country are at a distinct aesthetic and enjoyment advantage over their urban-jungle dwelling compatriots.
While Texas bears a great deal of affection for big oil, the KState research indicates that the other factor looming large in the state is big people. Central Texas is the nation’s great hub of gluttony. Kentucky and Virginia also make appearances. That statistic was derived from the number of fast food restaurants per capita. Incidentally, I saw recently an interactive map you could use to determine your current distance from a McDonalds wherever you happened to be at present. Ba-da-ba-da-baaaa…
Lastly, there’s pride, which these Kansas folk figured was at the root of every other sin. Thus the map for pride is an aggregate of all the other maps. If your curiosity is piqued, you can head over to Wired and check it out.
In our post-post modern society it’s strange to even read the word ’sin’ this much. Even in Christian media outlets, the trend is toward other, more gentle, less harsh terms to express the concept of doing wrong. As odd and bizarre as this study is – any potential reminder that God is control, has a plan for humanity and sets out standards of right and wrong might just be a good thing.
And the average life expectancy of an enemy combatant in a Chuck Norris film is 4 seconds.