An attempted rebuttal by David Rodriguez to my first posting on pride, in which I argued that pride is a virtue and not a vice, and that Christians misuse the term, resulted in my second posting on the subject, Pride is a Virtue, Not a Vice - Part 2 . The comment made there by Watkins has resulted in this post, in which I will rebut his rebuttal. I will also be writing an additional 4th post on the subject of humble and humility, and how it relates to pride. This subject is very important, because I think that pride is such an important virtue that we should get it right. In fact, I believe pride is one of the primary virtues, as if one has the justifiable proper amount of self respect, they tend to hold the other virtues. Not to do so, would be to not only disrespect others, but to disrespect themselves. People who lack pride, tend not to hold the other virtues, and tend to exhibit unvirtuous behaviors.
According to Watkins:
"This is very simple. There are two definitions of pride; call them pride 1 and pride2. Pride 1 is an arrogant, boastful love of self. Pride 2 is a proper amount of self-respect. Christians say that pride1 is bad, and pride 2 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."
To clarify, I am not claiming that the Christians do not use pride in two different ways--that is exactly my point. The Christian claims that pride is a vice AND a virtue. Pride is defined as the justifiable, proper amount of self respect, and then the Christian defines pride as unjustified over abundance of self respect. This is straightforward. As a result, the Christian use of pride lends itself to ambiguity and equivocation, while Aristotle's definition is clear and precise, and does not lend itself to ambiguity and equivocation. Therefore, Aristotle's use of the conception of the use of pride does a better job than the Christian conception, as Aristotle's definition is clear and concise."
I have never seen or heard a christian use the term 'pride 1' and/or 'pride 2--I have only heard them say "Pride is a vice." or ""It's good to have pride in your church." and so forth. Never have I heard them say, "I am using pride 1 as opposed to pride 2." But let's accept Watkins' distinction. The fact that he has attempted to label pride in this manner illustrates why he ought not use one word to mean two opposite things, when we have a better explanation and use of terms such as pride and arrogance. Now note, since I gave the definition of pride as the justifiable amount of self respect, that he labels as "pride 2" and then I gave the Christian definition of pride, that he label as "pride 1" I labeled each "pride"as a matter of use and argued that Christians misuse the concept of pride since pride 1 is the justifiable proper amount of self respect, and pride 2 is an unjustifiable amount of self respect. So, I did not commit the fallacy of equivocation as Watkins defined it above, since I did not even use a syllogism in the first place! Furthermore, I did not use pride as a middle term, I merely gave the definition of pride, and contrasted that with the Christian conception of pride--the one you call "pride 2," and showed that these 2 definitions are inconsistent, and to use pride in this manner is to misuse the term.
Now, what Mr. Watkins said above, which I will state again is:
"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."
This is exactly how Christians use the term pride! If we were to use the Christian conception of pride in a syllogism, it lends itself to equivocation as it has two contrasting meanings, whereas Aristotle's use of the term pride is clear and concise, and does not lend itself to equivocation and contradiction. As he pointed out, "Things are said to be named 'equivocally' when, though they have a common name, the definition corresponding with the name differs for each.--This is exactly what the Christian conception of pride is, as it has a common name and the definition corresponding with the name differs for each--but Christians often times equivocate.
His applying the label 'pride 1' and 'pride 2' helps, but does not fix the problem. According to Watkins, should any one define in what sense each is an animal, his definition in the one case will be appropriate to that case only. In practice, the majority of Christians misuse the term, and it is even misused in the bible, as illustrated below:
"Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech." Proverbs 8:10-13
Let us apply Watkins' label of "pride 1 and "pride 2." Now, let's use the law of substitution. In the above passage, we would have the following:
"To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and pride, evil behavior and perverse speech."
"To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate arrogance and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech."
How odd. It would appear that in this passage they are making reference to "pride 1" and "pride 2." Otherwise, why would they repeat the same meaning twice? In other words, according to what Watkins said, the passage should read:
"To fear the LORD is to hate evil: I hate "pride 1" and "pride 2", evil behavior and perverse speech."
Therefore, the above passage illustrates how the Christian god hates self respect, as according to Christians, they are "dirty, filthy sinners," and they ought not have any amount of "self respect," as that illustrates they think too much of themselves as everything about them is due to God--via God's grace. This Christian argument against pride as a virtue, is expressed in the following passages:
"For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" 1Cor 4:7
"And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day." Deuteronomy 8:18According to this conception of grace, anything that distinguishes one person from another is a gift from God. Whether a person is intelligent, beautiful, strong, fast and so on, is all due to the grace of God, and is not of their own doing, as is expressed in the following passage:
"So the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?" Exodus 4:11
There is nothing good about a person that is not a gift of god according to the Christian conception of grace. A person has no good characteristics that is a result of his own doing, as is expressed in the following passages:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. "Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, As were all our fathers; Our days on earth are as a shadow, And without hope. "O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own." 1 1Chronicles 29:11-16
The Christian saint, Augustine, uses this conception of grace to argue that all pride is a vice. As Don Schweitzer summarizes Augustine's view:"We begin by analyzing the critique of pride put forward by Augustine and Reinhold Niebuhr. A critique of pride as sinful is certainly present in the biblical traditions (Prov. 16:18). But it received a new emphasis with Augustine, who sees pride as having been the major obstacle to his reconciliation with God and the primary cause of injustice, war and oppression. In City of God, Augustine defines pride as the exaltation of one's self in place of God (14.13; 1984: 571- 73). Augustine's purely negative description of pride arises in part from his emphasis on the creative and reconciling power of grace and his neo-Platonic metaphysics. According to Augustine, creation and salvation happen through the free and undeserved grace of God. Though humanity was created good, the effect of Adam's fall is that all deserve punishment and are unable to save themselves. As all that is of value comes as a gift from God, there is little cause for pride in one's self."
Now we can see that one Christian conception of pride only sees pride, all of pride, as a vice. Based on this conception, Watkin's use of "pride 1" and "pride 2" fails because on this view, there is no justifiable amount of self respect, as all is due to God's grace.
Also, none of the following passages taken from the bible seem to use Watkin's conception of pride 1 and pride 2. In fact, they seem to make a sweeping generalization against "pride"--both 1 and 2, which is consistent with the Christian conception of pride as a vice I have just illustrated above.
Consider the following passages:"But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
"The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight. 2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:1-2
"Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice." Proverbs 13:10
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud." Proverbs 16:18-19
"A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor." Proverbs 29:23
Which "pride," (pride 1, or pride 2) are the above passages making reference to? It is interesting if we look at Aristotle's conception of pride, as pride is a virtue, and is the mean between the two vices of humble on one side, and arrogance on the other. It is difficult to distinguish which pride the above passages are making reference to, as it would appear that both definitions can be deduced to be vices from the Bible, and in fact was/is deduced to be a vice by Christians like St. Augustine.
Mr. Rodriquez provided a quote, which cites two passages from the bible which is supposed to illustrate what you call "pride 2"--that is, pride as a virtue:
"He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say." 2Cor. 12:5-6
But now note, that in this passage, there is no term 'pride.' It would seem that they are making reference to the word 'boast.' But boast, like pride has two meanings, one as a virtue and one as a vice. Paul refrains from using the term in reference to himself, so no one will think more of him than is warranted by what he dose or says. It is interesting because today if a person says, "I have pride," a common Christian response is, "Pride cometh before a fall." They do not ask, are you speaking the truth, and if so, reply, "you are justified in your pride." They do not distinguish between the two different meanings. They tend to reason along the lines of St. Augustine. The Christian conception of pride lends itself to misuse.
The second passage offered to show that the Christians have a positive conception of pride as a virtue, is:
"I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds." 2Cor. 7:4
The context of this passage and the one above illustrates pride as a virtue. But they also illustrate the need for clarity. I have asked many Christians if pride is a virtue or a vice; 99% of the time I was told that pride is a vice, and they made no distinction otherwise. As I have shown above, one Christian conception of pride is that all pride is vice, while in a few passages, some form of pride is a virtue. As Mr. Rodriguez pointed out, it is usually considered a vice though--and as I have shown above, we now know why that is the case.
The use of pride 1 and pride 2 fails in the case that no one is deserving of any kind of pride. For in this case the use of pride 1 and pride 2 not only fails--it is ruled out all together as it makes reference to pride in a general sense as being a vice, which encompasses both pride 1 and pride 2. Thus, we can see that we have two Christian conceptions of pride, the main one where all pride is a vice and one view where some form of pride is a virtue and some form of pride is a vice, and both conceptions of pride are depicted in the bible. This results in a contradictory, convoluted, ambiguous and misuse of the term 'pride' by Christians.
Now on the issue of humble and humility, I also agree with Aristotle's definition, in that being humble, and having humility is a vice. Pride is a virtue and a mean between arrogant on one side, and humility on the the other. Christianity teaches that we must be humble—have a poor self-esteem, have a feeling of insignificance and worthlessness, etc. – and that having pride (self respect) is bad.
Therefore, Christians misuse the term 'pride,' and Aristotle's conception of pride does a better job than the Christian conception of pride, as the Christian conception of pride is contradictory, convoluted, and ambiguous.
As a final note, I find it interesting that the "Rational Gang" have swept Satan under the rug, even though the confusion in the meaning of the word pride can be somewhat attributed to the belief that Satan was a fallen angel that was kicked out of heaven due to his excessive "pride." After I explained the history of Satan, and that there is no "fallen angel" story in the Old Testament, and that Satan is one of the "sons of god" in Genesis 6, and is a spy and adversary of men who works FOR Yahweh in the Old Testament according to the Jews who wrote the text--they did not bring up the subject again. Interesting.....;)
Addendum: I emailed the "Rational Gang" (I find the name rather amusing, for many reasons) and asked them to either offer a rebuttal, or admit the truth. I'm still waiting.....
Addendum 2 - As of June 2012 (the last time I checked) the "Rational Gang" is no more. Perhaps they couldn't take the "heat."--lol.