We are to live the virtues and avoid vice. We would be better off spending our time doing this than in trying to seek out God's will moment by moment, step by step, hoping the Holy Spirit has revealed this accurately.
Living a holy life requires practice to form automatic habits of personal holiness.
Living the virtues and avoiding vice are foundations of Christian living.
Moral theology animates Christian life. Christians repent from sin and live holy lives to please God; these the heart of moral theology.
The topic of moral theology concerns (1) morals, good and bad, what we should and should not do; and (2) ethics — all these from a Christian perspective. The question is where are we to find true, infallible teaching on this topic? (Some may object to the notion of infallibility, but what good is a teaching if it is not infallibly true? in other words, if it might be false?)
The Church teaches about morals as well as about the faith. In fact, Christian teaching is incomplete if it doesn't address Moral Theology. Some might object that Moral Theology concerns our actions and is therefore not essential for salvation. The side-effect of this is that a person who habitually commits mortal sin with no remorse or no attempt to repent, that such a person is saved if they believed in Jesus at some point in the past.
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)
Notice that sinners are saved only when they are converted from the error of their ways, when they repent of their sins, when they stop sinning. This is what is required for God to not judge us for our sins — without repentance and conversion there is no salvation.
Therefore, a key ingredient in the Christian life, in the life of those who are redeemed, is to practice the virtues and avoid vice.
The Bible clearly distinguishes between sins that send someone to hell, and those that don't, between mortal sins and venial sins. In committing habitual mortal sins, a person's salvation is seriously at risk. Sadly, many Christians are led to believe their behavior doesn't affect their salvation.
Things I consider serious sins...
- Abortion, especially after 7 weeks when the fetus can feel pain and when used as a substitute for contraception.
- Embryonic stem cell research, cloning, and any other practice which destroys human embryos. What is not mentioned is the exploitation of women from the harvesting of these embryos.
- Contraception resulting in abortion.
- Any sexual activity outside of marriage (marriage is between one man and one woman) or a lifelong bond.
- Slandering others or damaging their good name.
- Reckless driving.
- Not attending church regularly unless circumstances prevent it. (But why should we have to listen to hours of preaching each week of untrue doctrines such as in fundamentalist evangelical Protestant churches or breezy loosey-goosey denominations? Or in controlling churches having cultlike tendencies? Or when everybody comes to church sneezing and sick, passing it along to others, afraid to stay home? Or with ear-piercing jarring modern "praise and worship" music sung by mumbling tattooed surfers and with nonsensical but super creative lyrics? Or with people who mostly talk about TV and movies and sports? In other words, good luck finding a church.)
- Living a materialistic, worldly, faithless life.
- The occult.
- Watching or listening to unwholesome programs, images, or songs.
- Reading or viewing stories with plots containing unrepented mortal sin (even children's stories are guilty of this with extremely wicked characters). I would make an exception for the study of history which is replete with bad people doing bad things.
- Addiction to drugs, legal or illegal, including alcohol. I exclude caffeine from this list if used moderately (no more than several cups of coffee daily).
- Pornography. (We must distinguish between fine art of nudes if done tastefully without inciting lust and emphasizing beauty. I don't know where the line is that should not be crossed. I think if someone has dozens of these hanging up in their home they might have crossed it because of emphasis).
- Masturbation when visualizing (or viewing) pornographic images.
- Violence and war except in self-defense or the defense of others.
- Violating the human dignity of others through violence, persecution, discrimination, slavery, or worse.
Activities I consider sinful because they are unwholesome or just plain rude...
- Most movies, TV programs and commercials. Christians, for the most part, should not go to movies at all and they should throw out their TV. The radio is iffy. Even billboards are often immoral or unwholesome.
- Arguing and bickering.
- Destroying the environment at others' expense.
- Judging other Christian faith traditions.
The doctrine of Total Depravity taught by some of the Protestant Reformers is incorrect.
I believe the moral teaching of the Catholic Church is mostly correct (although it is not so clear what they actually teach about some things). Where it differs from my list above I of course accept my view instead.