Sunday, 29 September 2013

The temptation of Pride

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The sin of Pride is considered the worst sin from a Christian perspective - but it is hard for secular moderns (or indeed, those of other religions) to understand why Pride should be the worst thing (or even why it should be considered bad at all).

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Choosing not to obey God is a realistic possibility for humans - because we have free will - we are 'autonomous agents'.  

Therefore it is a perfectly coherent possibility to choose not to obey God, if the price of eternal misery is accepted. 

('Hell' can be regarded as the condition of those people who have chosen to reject God.) 

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This, indeed, is the particular temptation of Pride - it is tempting because we really can reject God and His creation. 

We puny humans really can do this - and the possibility of successful defiance in the face of incomprehensibly vast power may be intoxicating, may become the sole focus of life.

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But there is a cost.

The cost of defying God is to be dedicated to the opposite of creation - which is to be dedicated to destruction, lies, inversions of truth - and misery.

(In other words: dedicated to evil - which is the destruction of good.) 

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Why choose misery? Because the miserable Prideful soul rejoices in the fact that he stands against God - really can refuse to worship, love, obey, cooperate with God - really can refuse to bend the knee to God...

(The Prideful man sees love and harmony and worship of God as disgusting subservience, voluntary enslavement and abasement; cowering before power.)

To the damned, self-damned, soul - Pride in standing alone and unbowed against the creator of the universe, and malicious delight in all corruptions, failures and sufferings of creation, is more than sufficient compensation for eternal resentment, misery and isolation.


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And the impossibility of utter destruction of all good (since the evil man is himself created, hence partly good) is the source of that ineradicable resentment so characteristic of evil. Since souls are immortal, there is no escape from this resentment - for the Pride-consumed Man the very existence of his own soul is a source of permanent torment. 

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How do we know the self-damned Prideful man is wrong?

Because of love. If it wasn't because of love then perhaps there would be something to say for the defiance of Pride - but Pride is a rejection of the possibility of love. 

Pride is defeated, ultimately, by choosing to love God and his creation -  love is the reason to obey God, perhaps the only good reason.

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But to choose Love is a choice, a real choice. We could - instead - choose Pride. And this choice has vast and ramifying consequences.

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