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On the culture of pride

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First, note that that which follows will disparage pride and so it is important to note that this humble writer has no pride. Indeed, I am very proud of the fact that I have overcome pride. In fact, I am so humble that it is an embarrassment to other people and I am very proud of just how humble I am.

Well, the contradictions should be evident.

Anthropologically, cultures are variously categorized. One such category is that of a pride, shame culture. A good account written into a novel is Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Within that tale a man could have avoided much hardship but refused to take the easy way out, as it were, as doing so would have shamed him and he could not stand the thought of his young son seeing his father shamed.

Conversely, our modern day USA culture is the 100% polar opposite. We celebrate that which is truly shameful. For example, we make videos of ourselves performing shameful actions in hopes that they will go

viral and that they will be viewed world wide.

The death of shame is correlated with the death of integrity as shame is integrity’s daughter and you cannot have the one without the other.

As an example of our national pride is well, how about starting with national pride? What does that mean? We can love, appreciate, enjoy, support, work to better, etc. our country but why pride? We have Gay pride, White pride, Black pride, Latino pride, etc. but why pride?

Turn on your TV any time to any channel to a show about any topic and you are sure to hear various references to pride and proud every single day. For example, at one of the Biggest Looser finale shows the number of times the term proud was used was overwhelming. This culminated in the winner saying, in reference to her body, “No one can take this away from me.”

Really? That can be taken away from her in very many ways. A small piece of food stuck her throat can take that away. A car wreck can take it away. A small projectile to the gray matter can take it away. Falling off of the health and fitness wagon can take it away. And, of course, she can eat right and exercise and will still die and death will most certainly take it away.

So, the question becomes: is that all you’ve got? A temporary physical form, is that all, really?

Dr. Phil presents a great example of the overuse of the term and concept of pride when he told someone, “I’m so proud to meet you.” What does that even mean? It is grammatically incoherent.

This may bring us to the definition of pride because some will define it in terms of self esteem and some about chest thumping bravado.

Well, in essence, pride is crediting oneself, often crediting oneself exclusively and it is unjustified and unjustifiable.

But are there not people who pull themselves up by their own boot straps and thus do deserve all credit?

This brings us to the point of posting this here with the “….worldview…” pages as, obviously, some worldviews would say “Yes, thou shalt credit thyself and thyself alone.” However, such a worldview appears to have no regard for any being up, above and beyond oneself.

The problem with a self-made man is that he worships his creator.

Conversely, the Judeo-Christian worldview theology, for example, condemns pride and replaces it with justified praise and thanks to YHVH. If “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and, as Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) how can I credit myself?

Consider also the following?

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling (Proverbs 16:18).

When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8).

The manner whereby the concept of self-esteem is promulgated within our culture it is indistinguishable from pride. In fact, we do not need self-esteem but rather, we need God esteem as “we did not esteem Him” (Isaiah 53:3).

Pride and self-esteem steal the rightful honor and praise of YHVH and puts us in the place of the ultimate. It is a form of self-worship as it presumes that we are absolutely autonomous and that there is no God above us to whom we owe anything—much less everything.

If, and that is a big if, one must think in terms of pride one should reserve pride and spend it on others. For example, saying “I’m proud of you” is aimed at someone else. But even this is having one foot next to the line and the other foot on a banana peel.

In a culture wherein pride (and pride in shame) have replaced honor within the context of disregarding YHVH and looking only towards material success; it is no wonder that people feel that they are left with nothing but seeking attention and crediting themselves for anything and everything—any token thing upon which we can latch for a little dose of pride will do.

Peel off that psychological and emotional band-aid and get to directing thanks, honor and praise to whom it is rightly due; YHVH.

~~~~~~~~~

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