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PTypes Pride Sin, Pride & Self-Acceptance

Pride and Distrust in God

From Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance by Terry D. Cooper.

"Regardless of which form of sensuality we pursue, it is built on the failure to trust God as the center of our world [compare Erikson]. Thus, we rely on our own resources to solve our anxiety problem. In trusting our own resolutions, rather than God, we become preoccupied with eliminating our anxieties. The attempts to eliminate our condition make the condition worse. For Niebuhr, any solution to the problem of human existence that does not trust in God is an expression of pride. Why? Because we are replacing at the helm of our lives our own solutions instead of relying on divine assurance. This may not look like an obvious form of puffed-up self-congratulatory pride. But pride is inherent in any form of God-replacement. Distrust in God and human pride are always two parts of a single process" (pg. 63).

"This distrust in God perpetuates our anxiety. We attempt to outmaneuver life and find our own "solution" to the problem of anxiety. This is what makes it prideful: we know better than God! We will seize on some type of security apart from the only security that can console us. This is Niebuhrian pride. The more we distrust, the greater our anxiety. The greater our anxiety, the more tempted we are to sin by acting in frantic ways to establish our own security" (pg. 153).


Relation of Anxiety and Pride

Terry D. Cooper (2003). Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance: The Problem of Identity in Theology and Psychology. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1996, c. 1941, 1964). The Nature and Destiny of Man: a Christian Interpretation, 2 vols. Louisville: Westminster Charles Knox.

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