proud-lucifer.jpgThere’s a lot of talk among the pious about pride. They all seem to agree that pride is bad, and that bad people have pride. But what about evangelism? Is it a fundamentally proud position?

For a change, this post isn’t about the origins of the universe or the possibility of God.

I’m going to submit that evangelism is a prideful activity, and that if one believes pride is a sin, that person cannot (in good conscience) evangelize.

Evangelism, as popularly practiced, involves spreading the “good news” of God’s word to those that are either not religious, or just the wrong type of religious.

Paired with evangelism is the desire to have certain tenets of faith enacted as laws. Laws which not only affect Evangelists, but also other citizens of a country that don’t necessarily agree with the Evangelist’s beliefs.

In order to subscribe to an Evangelistic worldview, a person would have to believe that he or she has a flawless understanding of God’s word. Uh oh, does anyone else see where this is headed?

The belief that you have an absolute, incontrovertible understanding of God’s word is a proud belief.

I’m going to anticipate a few Evangelistic objections:

1. “I don’t believe I have the correct understanding of God’s word, I have the Bible. The Bible is the living, perfect word of God.”

Obviously, there are some people that refuse to acknowledge the internal and external inconsistencies in the Bible, but they certainly exist. Whether we’re talking about what colour Christ’s robe was during the passion, or even something more important, such as how Judas died, to say the Bible is literally consistent ignores the actual words.

If we allow that the Bible has inconsistencies, thoughtful exegesis might reconcile them, but now we’re in a position of subjectivity. One man’s thoughtful exegesis is another man’s blasphemy.

If the bible has room for interpretation, then it’s no longer the perfect word of God… Making any belief that it is rather proud, wouldn’t you say?

2. “Pride is only bad when it’s hubris, that is, the belief that you are self-made, and therefore not subject to God.”

Also known as “the pride of atheism,” hubris additionally applies to anyone that believes they can transmit the word of God as articulately as God himself. Even if you believe that the Bible is the incontrovertible, living word of God, then the only way to evangelize without pride would be to repeat the words of the Bible — preferably in the original Aramaic.

Any attempt to paraphrase, summarize or even translate constitutes a belief that you are able to express God’s word in a better way than God himself. Certainly if your modern phrasing or logical arguments were better than simply reading the Bible, God would have included them in his book, yes?

3. “Fine. But is there any way to talk about God and not be proud? I mean, we’re just trying to spread the good news here!”

Certainly. I believe that many of the more liberal denominations of Christianity engage in discussions about God that are not proud. Many acknowledge that they are simply interpreting God’s will to the best of their abilities — not that they know his every desire.

And of course, the Talmud, a sacred text in Judaism, is full of rabbinical discussions focusing on how to best interpret the Torah.

This is why I never submitted that belief in God is inherently proud, simply that Evangelism as a worldview is.