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Friday, July 15, 2011

Pride is a Virtue, Not a Vice - Part 2

 
Recently I came across a site called "Rational Gang" **which posted an attempted refutation on my post on Pride. In this post, I will show that his rebuttal does not work, and in fact, I will use his failed attempt to further illustrate the point that I made about the Christian conception of pride in my first posting. In my first post, I argued that pride is a virtue, and the Christian conception of pride as a vice misuses the term. I will also use Mr. Rodriguez's failed rebuttal to show that the Christian conception of pride is contradictory, convoluted, and ambiguous, and thus lends itself to equivocation.

In my original post, I used Aristotle's definition of pride. According to Aristotle, a virtue is a mean between two vices. In the case of pride, pride is the mean between the vices of being arrogant/boastful and humble. Thus, pride is a virtue as it is the proper amount of self respect. According to Aristotle, a virtue is a mean between two vices. I used Aristotle's definition because in this case, it is a better explanation and interpretation of what a virtue is--in particular pride. The Christian conception of pride is contradictory, convoluted, and ambiguous. Mr. Rodriguez rightly points out that the Christian view of pride is for the most part, a vice, in that it means being egotistical, vain, arrogant and boastful; as well as being a virtue--which is a contradiction, as it would make pride be a virtue, and not a virtue.

According to Mr. Rodriguez:

"The unfortunate thing about her argument is that its foundation is entirely based on a straw man of Christianity’s teachings on pride. Pride, in a Christian sense, is NOT Aristotle’s definition of being the mean of humble and arrogant. Rather, Christianity depicts pride as having an egotistic, vain, arrogant, and boastful view of oneself. Throughout the post, Cooper reiterates her caricature of pride as being self-respect or self worth. In one sense pride can be self-respect or a “dignified sense of what is due oneself or one’s position or character,” such as telling your child after a game, “I’m proud of you son! You did well!” [2] However, this is NOT the view of pride that Christianity expresses as a vice. This is precisely why Cooper is also guilty of equivocation. Glenn Miller responds to the question ‘can pride be good?’ in the following,


Pride: A reasonable or justifiable self-respect; or improper and excessive self-esteem known as conceit or arrogance. The apostle Paul expresses a positive kind of pride when speaking of confidence in Christians (2 Cor 7:4) or of strength in the Lord (2 Cor 12:5, 9). However, it is the latter sinful meaning of pride, which most frequently appears in the Bible, both in the OT and the NT.” [3][Emphasis added]"


According to Mr. Rodriguez, I misrepresented the Christian conception of pride, and he claims I equivocated. But note, according to Mr. Rodriguez, and the quote that he cited above, he proves my point, and it is he and other Christians who equivocate with the use of the word "pride," and he illustrates that the Christian conception of pride is ambiguous and unclear--and is, therefore, an equivocation. The definition of equivocate means to to use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead. According to Mr. Rodriguez, and the Christian explanation, pride is a virtue and pride is a vice--which is ambiguous and unclear, and is, therefore, a case of equivocation. This is why, via Ockham's Razor,* Aristotle's definition, which is clear, makes more sense. Let me illustrate this for you. I will now show you how Aristotle's definition of pride does a better job than the Christian conception of pride. We can do this by comparing and contrasting the two:

The Christian Conception of Pride = Pride is a virtue, and pride is a vice

Aristotle's Conception of Pride = Pride is a virtue, and arrogance is a vice.

See how clear and precise Aristotle's definition is, and how it does not contradict itself. Let me illustrate further with the following examples:

1. Assume you have a cake recipe that calls for just the right amount of salt. And then, the recipe also says that this amount of salt is too much. Now, note, it cannot be just the right amount of salt, and too much salt, as that would be nonsensical. If pride is the justifiable amount of self respect, then you cannot have too much pride.


2. Consider the statement, "John has pride." Now, on the Christian side, we would not know whether that means he is virtuous or he is un-virtuous with respect to pride. However, if we use Aristotle's conception of pride, it would be clear that John would be virtuous with respect to pride and that he is not arrogant.

3. Mary is proud of her mother. Does this mean that she has a justifiable amount of respect for her mother, or is it the case that she has a arrogant, blown up out of proportion perception of her mother. You might think that the context makes it clear. But note, that when a child says "I am proud of my mother." she might be arrogantly boasting about her mother, and meaning by this, "My mother is better than your mother!"--when in fact, she might not be. Given the Christian conception of pride, it could be either. The Christian might say, "Well, she had too much pride in her mother." But given the definition of pride as being the reasonable, justifiable and proper amount of self respect, then how could she have too much pride in her mother? She could not. On Aristotle's conception of pride however, we could say that she had a reasonable, justifiable and proper amount of respect for her mother. If she had a blown up out of proportion conception of her mother, we would say she is arrogant with regards to her mother.

See how simple and straightforward Aristotle's conception of virtue, and in this case, pride is. Therefore, via Ockham's Razor, Aristotle's conception of virtue and pride does a better job than the Christian conception of pride. Aristotle's conception of virtue and pride does not lead to convolution, contradiction, and/or ambiguity; while the Christian conception of pride clearly does lead to convolution, contradiction and /or ambiguity.

According to the Christian conception of pride, it is a vice because of the so-called "sin" of the so-called "angel" known as Satan, who is said to have rebelled against God in heaven because he was too full of "pride." How ridiculous!! The view that Satan was a "prideful angel" is not in the Old Testament. It comes from references from Milton's epic poem, "Paradise Lost." In Paradise Lost, Satan rebels against god in heaven (which is paradoxical, as how could Satan sin in heaven, if heaven is without sin??) due to his excessive pride in himself. Christians cite the passages of Isaiah 14 which tell of a "shining star" that fell as a reference to the "fallen angel." This is why Christians began calling Satan Lucifer, as Lucifer means "shining star" (A reference to the King of Babylon.)This view of Satan is entirely fabricated by Christians.

The passages in Isaiah 14 actually make reference to the King of Babylon, who was defeated by the Persians who had attacked him because he had disrespected them on an earlier occasion. As payback, he was struck through with a sword, killed, and was not given the proper burial of a king--even an enemy king. Instead, he was thrown into a common grave. Since he was killed, he could not be Satan, as according to Christians, Satan is alive and well and working in the world. According to the Jews, this king who thought he was a "shining star" was arrogant, as he had a blown out of proportion view of himself, and when he fell, the Jews who wrote the text were mocking him.

To the Jews who wrote the Old Testament, Satan is one of the "sons of god" in Genesis 6, and comes in the entourage of "sons of god" in Job. Satan is a spy, and adversary of men who works FOR Yahweh--not against him--according to the Jews who wrote the text. The "sons of god" in Genesis 6 are neither angels (angels do not procreate), idols (idols do not procreate either!) or nephilim (they were the sons OF the sons of god) which are the explanations most Christians give for this passage. The sons of god were exactly that--sons of god. The Jews were polytheistic, as Jeremiah 11:13 illustrates, before the tribes merged, and Yahweh was made numero uno.

Christians also cite passages in Ezekiel 28 to make reference to Satan, but these too speak of the King of Tyre--not Satan.

Therefore, I DO NOT equivocate, and as I have argued and proved above, the Christian conception of pride is convoluted, contradictory, and leads to ambiguity, and easily lends itself to equivocation and Aristotle's conception of virtue and pride does a better job than the Christian conception of pride. Mr. Rodriguez's rebuttal has been rebutted! 

* Ockham's Razor is a principle that generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions, when the hypotheses are equal in other respects
**As of the last time I checked (June 22, 2012) the "Rational Gang" is no more.  Therefore, I have inserted the photos I took of their post in their stead.






David Rodriguez pride

David Rodriguez pride christian rational gang

David Rodriguez pride Rational Gang Christian

David Rodriguez, pride, Christian, Rational Gang


2 comments:

awatkins69 said...

This is very simple. There are two definitions of pride, call them pride1 and pride2. Pride1 is an arrogant,boastful love of self. Pride2 is a proper amount of self-respect. Christians say that pride1 is bad, and pride2 is good. We label each "pride" simply as a matter of use. If you want to claim otherwise you're simply straw-manning and talking right past us.

By the way, for someone who likes to cite Aristotle, you would know that your definition of equivocation is wrong:

"Things are said to be named 'equivocally' when, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each. Thus, a real man and a figure in a picture can both lay claim to the name 'animal'; yet these are equivocally so named, for, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each. For should any one define in what sense each is an animal, his definition in the one case will be appropriate to that case only."

http://www.classicallibrary.org/aristotle/categories/1.htm#1

The fallacy of equivocation is not a matter of ambiguity. It's when you use a word that can't function as the middle term in a syllogism, because the word has different meanings in each premise. And that's what you're doing, and what David correctly called you out on.

A is for Atheist said...

@ Watkins

I wrote a rebuttal to your argument and posted it here as, "Pride is a Virtue, NOT a vice Part 3":

http://aisforatheist5760.blogspot.com/2011/07/pride-is-virtue-not-vice-part-3.html

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