Temptation means an enticement, allurement, or attraction. It is derived from the word tempt which originated from the Old French and Anglo-Norman languages in the 12th to 14th century. Tempt is derived from the Latin word temptare which means to touch, attempt, try or put to the test.
In the context of religion, temptation is the attraction towards evil, which is the enticement to sin and defy god. It is a test designed to give the subject the opportunity to do evil as well as to do good. The most important sins to resist temptation for are the five deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. The ability to resist temptation allows people to strengthen their faith and become engaged in self-improvement. When people give in to temptation, they can pray to god to deliver them from evil.
Many non-western cultures did not have their own word for temptation and it was not a major aspect in their religion like it is in Judaism. Only upon contact with Europeans was a word meaning temptation formed. For example, when the Jesuit missionaries went to Brazil, translating the Lord’s Prayer into Tupi they had to use the Portuguese word, tentação, since Tupi had no word meaning temptation.
Temptation, in the nonreligious sense, is the desire to preform an action that one may enjoy at that instance but will regret in the future either due to legal, social, psychological, health-related, or economic reasons. To give into these temptations, despite better judgment, indicates a lack of self-control and will have consequences.
The word temptation can also simply be used to mean the state of being enticed, even with out the involvement of moral or ethical values. If one gives into these temptations there are no negative consequences.
Temptation is a common theme in literature since it has repercussions even for the strongest. For example, Odysseus in the Odyssey is tempted multiple times throughout the poem, but fights to resist it proving his strength of will. It is also used in stories, such as Snow White, where the apple is a symbol of irresistible temptation from evil.
Temptation is also used in advertising to make products seem more attractive. Companies will identify what common temptations a targeted group of customers have and will use it to their advantage. In ads, companies will connect their products to enticing images to tempt the costumers into purchasing their product.
Temptation is a strong force in religion as well as in the non-religious events of everyday life. With the ability to resist temptation people can strength their faith, as well as develop into people with strong morals and values.
"Tempt Definition." Oxford English Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/198973>.
"Temptation." Bible Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <http://bibleencyclopedia.com/temptation.htm>.
"Temptation Definition." Oxford English Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012. <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/198975?redirectedFrom=temptation>.