Thursday, May 28, 2009

Can you map sin(s)?

Apparently, some geographers at Kansas State University did. Here were the criteria of each of the seven deadly sins mapped:

• Greed: Average incomes versus total inhabitants below the poverty line
• Envy: Total number of thefts (robbery, burglary, larceny, and stolen cars)
• Wrath: Total number of violent crimes (murder, assault and rape) per
• Lust: Sexually transmitted diseases per capita
• Gluttony: Number of fast-foot restaurants per capita
• Sloth: Expenditures on arts, entertainment and recreation versus rate of employment
• Pride: An average of the six other sins

One example, greed:

I don't know if I really agree with this study, and really, it just makes me think of Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

What do you think? According to the map, a good majority of Americans are not greedy, only us Calfornians and some patches here and there.


Janice said...

For the general public who will not take the time to analyze the data, I think this study and these maps are misleading. (For example, the study was first done on the state of Nevada. But after expanding the data nationwide, this was the Las Vegas Sun's reaction: "in the grand scheme of things, maybe we’re not that bad." Yikes... that is not how people should be feeling about their sinfulness...).

Although this mapping offers an interesting way to visualize information, it is not a valid statistical analysis of the data. First, the study has very poor operational definitions. Obviously, defining and quantifying sin on a map is almost impossible. (But even if it was possible to accurately measure sinfulness, this study fails to define the variables properly. If anything, the study's lack of sound methodology shows that it was done by geographers, not researchers.) Thus, this study has low construct validity because the measured variables (ex: number of fast-food restaurants per capita) do not accurately represent the abstract variables of interest (ex: gluttony).

As Christians, we know that sinfulness is the condition of our heart, not just our actions, so a truly representative map of human sin would be covered completely by red. It would be ignorant for us to believe that only certain areas of the nation are plagued by certain sins, while others are not. So yes, Nevada (and every other state), you are that bad. Hopefully people are not deceived by these types of studies and maps... because we are all under the curse of sin.

But as redeemed sinners who are forgiven by God, we remember that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). Thankfully, we have a Savior who covers our red sin with his white righteousness. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:21

Janice said...

i need to go back to school soon -_-

Mike S. said...

Hehe. That was a very comprehensive response to the post!

Ben said...

qualitative data dawg... give me some quantification.. come on now! phD stylez