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Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance

From chapter 6: "Pride and Self-Hate: Two Sides of the Same Coin?" in Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance by Terry D. Cooper.

"Thus far, we have seen that both excessive pride and low self-esteem often describe the human condition. We have examined the Augustinian-Niebuhrian conviction that pride is primary, the feminist objection that pride does not describe women's experience and the humanistic psychology position that pride does not adequately account for anyone's experience. For humanistic psychology, if pride emerges, it is a false front designed to protect an undervalued self. Along the way, we have occasionally hinted at the possibility that this pride versus self-contempt debate may not be an either-or question after all.

"It is my conviction that the work of neo-Freudian analyst Karen Horney offers promise in dealing with our deadlock between the overvalued and undervalued self. It is important to understand her treatment of the pride/self-contempt dichotomy before we move into the final chapter, which explores possibilities for integrating both views.

"Horney's discussion of basic anxiety, the "idealized self, the "tyranny of the should," the "pride system" and the nature of self-hate all point toward the intertwined relationship between neurotic pride and self-contempt. Her insights are crucial for understanding how a vulnerable, insecure self underlies an arrogant appearance. But her perspective is also valuable in understanding how a neurotic pride system underlies an appearance of self-contempt and low self-esteem. Put simply, she points toward the insecurity in pride and the pride in insecurity. Horney's work has largely gone untapped in helping develop a Christian understanding of the dynamics of sin. It is the purpose of this chapter to explore her work with an eye toward how pride and self-contempt may both be part of one process, rather than polar opposites" (Cooper, 112-13).

Idols of the Types

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

Sin, Pride, and Self-Acceptance

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1. Pride and Self-Contempt

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