PRIDE: An unwarranted feeling of self-sufficiency, usually manifested by an arrogant bearing and a disregard of the worth of others. The word is used both in a religious and in an ethical sense; but the two forms of pride are closely related, since pride toward God is also directed against society, while arrogance toward one's fellows becomes arrogance toward God. At present the word is employed chiefly in the ethical sense. In the Bible, however, where pride is contrasted with humility, it is the religious sense of the word that prevails. God hates "a haughty look" (Prov. vi. 17), and in his sight all manifestations of pride are an "abomination" (Luke xvi. 15). In the New Testament the Old-Testament contrast between pride and humility is made the basis of the distinction between Pharisaical piety and true religion. While humility is that feeling of dependence which necessarily accompanies faith and love toward God, pride is that self-assurance, or self-righteousness, which prevents one from feeling the need of the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Considered ethically, pride consists in self-exaltation, with correlative depreciation of others. Aside from moral and religious pride there is social pride, which, when combined with benevolence, becomes condescension. In the religious field the worst form of pride is intellectual pride, which carries with it the danger of hypocrisy (Luke xviii. 11-14). Since the normal religious consciousness includes absolute trust in God, while pride is characterized by trust in one's own powers, it is evident that pride is an obstacle to salvation. The transition from the sinful state to the state of grace is possible only in the experience of absolute dependence upon God, and of utter powerlessness to save oneself. From its very nature, faith excludes pride. However, pride persists in Christian life as a blot and a sign of disease.
The conception of pride was completely shifted by the rise and development of Roman Catholicism. Through the authority of the Roman hierarchy submission to the Church and its teachings was substituted for submission to God by faith, and any attempt to separate from the Church was looked upon as wanton arrogance and self-exaltation. Hence, pride came to be regarded by the Church as the basal sin. Since in the monastic orders obedience (i.e., humility and self-renunciation) was the chief requirement, any refractory independence was identified with pride. By this suppression of personality, pride, or superbia, was shifted into the category of the worst, or the very root-sin. Augustine repeatedly characterizes superbia as the chief and basal sin, the source of all other sins, and praises obedientia as the maxima virtus. Prudentius calls superbia "the root of all evil." This conception was introduced into scholasticism by Peter Lombard in the "Sentences." He makes superbia the first of the seven mortal sins and deduces from it all other sins. It is made to account for the fall of the first man, and even of the devil. The fall of man is still too often ascribed to pride (the wishing to "be as God"), which makes the thing to be explained the explanation; for if the origin of sin is to be explained, and pride is sin, it must be shown whence pride arose. If the essence of sin is selfishness, pride can not be regarded as a special sin either toward man or toward God; in both relations it is the evidence of a false and exaggerated estimate of one's own worth, wherein the sin consists.