"The Modern Christian Credo: 'Since we're definitely going to heaven, let's start looking down on people now just for practice...'"
-Saint Brian the Godless
The Christian system of morality, being based in coercion and not in teaching genuine empathy, and thereby promoting an egocentric rather than an 'other-centered' worldview, is as noted here before, heavily flawed. It too often accomplishes that which it pretends to guard against. It produces a type of love based in fear, a type of empathy based in self-centeredness, and a type of humility based in pride. It teaches people to look outside themselves for evil, but never within.
Let’s face it, it’s hard to be humble when you know that you’re right. It’s hard to be humble when you’re one of the chosen few that are beloved by God. It’s hard to be humble when you know that God is going to save you when so many others will not be saved. (heh heh) It’s very hard to be humble when you know that you are a good and righteous person, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and that those who disagree with you are evil, because you belong to the Right Faith and they do not.
Hey, let’s face it; it’s hard to be humble when you’re a Christian.
Franklin Graham is in the news lately. He’s the son of Billy Graham, so he definitely has a lot of name cred. Mr. Graham is in the news because he is of the opinion that Islam is an evil religion, and is not afraid to say so. (He should look in a mirror sometime…) The Pentagon disinvited him to one of their Prayer Services due to this. So now he’s the darling of the right and Sarah Palin; ‘the poor soul, censored by the Obama Socialist Regime for merely telling the ‘truth…’’
One of his comments during all of this stands out to me. He mentioned that he loves all Muslims and wants to let them know that they do not have to strap explosives to themselves in order to get into heaven; they merely have to give up their own evil religion and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Way to go, Frankie boy! Now, that’s what I call Pride with a Capital ‘P.’ In his overweening pride, he has, in reverse, actually managed to echo Osama Bin Ladin himself, who said that if the West wanted the terrorism to stop, the first thing it had to do was to ‘convert to Islam.’
You see, Mr. Graham is not in doubt as to his humility. He knows perfectly well that he is good, humble, righteous, and loving. And he knows that he knows best here. He knows this, because his faith in his religion tells him so. It informs him of his goodness and of the wickedness of others. It is his guide and his very being is based in it. It’s what helped him to be what he always wanted to be, after all, a good and righteous man. A humble man of God. Heck, he'd even be the first to tell you that he's only a wretched sinner, because he loves how humble that sounds. So, by 'knowing' all of this, by believing in this manner, he has no need to question himself in any of these areas ever again. He’s covered!
Good thing too, because it allows him to concentrate on ‘saving’ everyone else so they can be as perfect, as acceptable to God someday, as he is now. God willing, of course.
Mr. Graham is now free to be proud of his humility.
What Mr. Graham is missing for some reason here is that if one is proud of being good, of being humble and proud of acting humble and of being thought of as humble by others, then one is still as caught in the grip of pride and egocentricity as if they were an outright braggart braying their virtues to the world.
I guess that's why pride is the deadliest of all sins, and also the root of all evil. It's so deceptive. When you try to fight it you wind up playing right into its hands, unless you are really aware of what's happening and unless you are able to question yourself with an open mind. Sadly, this is actively discouraged by Christianity, both the ‘self-questioning’ and the ‘open mind’ parts.
Real pride is not necessarily overt. Real pride does not always show itself. The man who openly brags about his accomplishments is one example, but so is the man who does not brag solely because he knows that it would not look good to do so, and the second type of person is much more common.
And so also is any man an example of pride that truly believes himself to be humble; for no truly humble being would be able to know that they themselves are humble and remain so. It is not possible for a truly humble person to know in their own mind that they are humble, for such knowledge is the very death of humility itself. Such knowledge is the seed of pride. Such knowledge ends the process of self-questioning and self-examination which is the very key to genuine humility.
So basically, the proud man believes himself to be humble, but the humble man knows himself to be proud.
Christianity, by teaching that evil is always easy to see and to define and that pride is something obvious, does the faithful a great disservice. By painting the very subtle as simple and overt, it leaves it’s believers in a state of vulnerability. They always look to the sins of others, while being totally blind to their own. This allows them to actually become proud, evil wretches in the world, all the while being absolutely convinced that they are the diametric opposite of all that.
Once a man truly *believes* that he himself is definitely not evil (or is definitely good) and therefore that he would not do anything that was evil, that’s precisely the moment when he becomes capable of doing real evil. Real evil, the darkest kind of evil, always comes wearing sheep’s clothing. Real evil always masquerades as goodness. Just look at the Catholic Church. This is not because Satan likes it that way either; it is because Satan is a (very twisted) myth designed to cover up the fact that the real source of evil in the world is merely living and breathing people who are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that they themselves represent only the highest good and that they know what's best for everyone else, too.
People just like Franklin Graham. Or Osama Bin Ladin, for that matter. Or maybe... you?