Does sin knock at your door? Are you in a dangerous place?
Some locales are noted for their high-risk locations. Track your terror: whatever you fear, there are places more susceptible than others. If earthquakes are the source of nightmares for you, Tehran, Istanbul and Los Angeles are off your bucket list. Tsunamis are very isolated: only coastal regions facing oceans that can be stirred by seismic activity are on alert. Tornados tend to threaten regions with high densities of mobile homes (an anecdotal observation). Floods can be predicted based on history; fires usually result from heat, wind and low humidity, all of which are often localized. “Acts of God,” journalists and claims-adjustors say, when those destructors come to town.
A new report has captured a significantly different roster of cities, based on very different qualifiers. The research has been done by WalletHub, a “personal finance website” that tracks human behavior through credit card transactions. Their data crunchers must have imagination and time on their hands: they’ve created a list of America’s Top-10 Sin Cities, based on cashflow. An intriguing study.
What are “The Seven Deadly Sins?” According to the Thomas Aquinas – Catholic priest/ philosopher/saint – they are: pride, greed, envy, lust, gluttony, wrath and sloth. (Summa Theologica) From Solomon, the inspired list of sin: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. (Proverbs 6:16-19) According to WalletHub, they are: anger/hatred, jealousy, excesses/vices, avarice, lust, vanity and laziness.
Their conclusions: the cities most likely to accommodate unrighteousness are 1) Las Vegas; 2) St Louis; 3) Cincinnati; 4) Orlando; 5) Springfield; 6) Miami; 7) Richmond; 8) Baton Rouge; 9) Pittsburgh; and, 10) New Orleans. Vegas has spent millions trying to secure the uncontested title of “Sin City,” but – according to WalletHub – they’ve got competition closing in.
“Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent… ‘And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.’” (Matthew 11:20, 23-24)
The guys/gals at WalletHub didn’t check with the Boss. He says that all of the sins (definition: any failure to live up to God’s righteous standard) that find their way onto the Lists are runners-up to the ultimate shortfall. His #1 Sin: to be aware of God’s divine power – exhibited in the miraculous – and not responding with repentance and faith.
He did a bunch of miracles in Capernaum – his adopted hometown, during his ministry years – that were significant… but his greatest miracle wasn’t a neighborhood event: his resurrection was staged just outside the capital – in Jerusalem – and attested by more than 500 people.
It might be important for the populations in the Top-10 Cities to reexamine their lifestyles – against God’s timeless measures of integrity – but there’s an even bigger question on God’s mind. The wicked population of Sodom – a city defined by its immorality and destroyed by an Act of God – was less heinous to God than a person/city who was aware of the indisputable evidence of Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God and Savior of the World… and then turned him down.
The testimonies of the witnesses to his resurrection have been entered into evidence. You’re part of the jury. How do you find?