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Eric's Sunday Sermon; The Arrogance of Man

Updated on January 9, 2017

Are we arrogant toward the heavens or love?

For if I be arrogant and hold myself above nature I wreak havoc.
For if I be arrogant and hold myself above nature I wreak havoc. | Source

Arrogance is weird

We see arrogance in all that man does. Arrogance is just a word. Arrogance has negative connotations like so many words now banned in the name of sensitivity. To get into this point let us look at the word “weird”. For many like myself the word “weird” has a literary meaning and so we use it as such. The father told the daughter that a school mate of hers was weird. The daughter was just so offended that she spoke harshly at her father for calling the student weird. In the sub-social group of affluent High Schools calling someone different is taboo, yet almost all students are trying to be different yet accepted which is the literary of weird. But you cannot use that word because the definition has been changed by social acceptance.

Hair style is just the best area to look into in this regard. Of course we had long haired hippies in the 70’s and in the mid-range we had the Beatles and there was a group called “skinheads”. Now the man going bald generally either goes shaved or comb over, or spends hundreds or thousands on treatment of alopecia capitis totalis. Gray hair is sometimes dyed and sometimes worn as a symbol of wisdom. Radical coloring is not looked at as crazed but commonly accepted. So in a way everyone is weird. Diversity is OK but that means people are not the same but weird.

So that brings us to arrogance. We just assume that word means something bad. Arrogance just seems like another form of false pride, vainglory, over confidence, egocentric and hubris. But maybe it is a little different. Is arrogance the opposite of meek, mild, humble or quiet? In fact a closer look at arrogance shows us that it is a personal concept but it is made evil by how others view it. A man alone on an island who is arrogant does not offend himself. But put him with others and this attitude is only seen as negative. Even by himself, if he tortures animals or burns the forest, these are bad. But there is no absolute that arrogance by itself is bad.

Check out this arrogance -- yet it promotes a song that is about the power of love.

Takes a little arrogance to make this hike

Just how much confidence is "over confidence"?
Just how much confidence is "over confidence"? | Source

Sometimes it is the situation that makes something wrong.

So some things in life are only wrongful in how they affect others. Foul vulgar language may offend a proper lady, but has no intrinsically evilness to it. Gross farting by oneself is not wrong but perhaps very wrong in a car with four people especially if it is raining. Scratching one’s privates is not wrong at all but depending how it is done in public is horrible.

So this arrogance is more closely akin to a matter of how it is perceived. Is a bully arrogant? And yet I am not at all bothered personally by bullying. But school teachers very much are. Have you ever met a person with some authority and/or ranking within a religious group that was not arrogant? It does not even have anything to do with pride. It has to do with the self-importance of the virtues of a man.

So if arrogance is truly only a “relative to others issue”, then we look at the spiritual. If we are arrogant how does our God perceive and receive it? Is arrogance a barrier to that essential characteristic we must have called love? And so now do we concede that arrogance in itself is not evil, but in fact blocks good?

Does the artist or performer actuate their calling in a vacuum? Or must they retain just enough arrogance to abandon pride and share their work for better or for worse. Could it be that really arrogance is the absence of fear? We can think that a two word synonym for arrogance is “over confident”. Perhaps that is true, and I think it is. You see most of us are “under confident”. We have a fear factor of those who appear to possess great confidence. Fear in such a manner produces a resentment that is focused on the one with confidence. Should we consider it an envy, a jealousy? Funny thing about that; I am far more envious of someone with more inner strength than I, than I am of someone with more stuff or money. We know that is dangerously close to coveting thy neighbor’s stuff. But is it wrong to covet another’s peace and closeness with God? Most translations of that anti covet commandment (which can be anywhere from 10-14) simply deal with things not spirituality. So I think it fair to say that we can covet a person’s grace and love within. Do I covet your arrogance?

Who created this flower, the gardener or the ultimate gardener

Careful what you take credit for.
Careful what you take credit for. | Source

We must be careful not to take credit for God given talent

Do not judge yourself harshly, part of what makes you special is your humanity.

So can we agree that for better or for worse the “arrogance of Man” is responsible for much? Let us make a short list. The Great Wall of China, the Sistine Chapel, Mount Rushmore, Pyramids (Middle Eastern and in the Americas) the Taj Mahal, Eifel Tower, oh how the list goes on and on. And of seemingly miraculous things like penicillin, voyage to Mars, electricity and refrigeration. And of course any great work of art from writings to sculpture to music to paintings even athletics and dance. Indeed the mechanics and electronics of writing this and publishing it worldwide. What great confidence above the ordinary is responsible for such achievements? Is arrogance bravery?

Let us not confuse arrogance with consuming hate and lust for power. But we must also admit that there is much arrogance in starting a war. Perhaps not in defending one. But in such matters it is not the arrogance at fault but rather its misguided direction.

So we take an attribute that is not evil in itself and make it evil because of its visceral impact on us. I always like the spewed words of “I could do that if only….” I would definitely be a better writer if I had more hutzpah.

So let us be a little slower in the condemnation of those with arrogance including ourselves. And yet let us not allow our arrogance to block the good and the love from coming into us. Our connection with our God would suffer if we do not have a doorway that is left open through that which can be the wall of arrogance. If arrogance offends our neighbor, we must be cautious that it does not offend our God.

Let us end with these question in our minds. Is a creation truly a creation if it is not shared with others? And doesn’t it take some arrogance to think that our creation is worthy to be shared? We think that arrogance in and of itself is not evil. Although we acknowledge that its use must be guided and a “thing” that is used for good. I pray that I may be given that “over” confidence that allows me to be the best me that God intended.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm a work in progress. Let's leave it at that. :)

      Happy Monday, buddy! Have a superb week and enjoy those warm temps.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 6 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Arrogance is the absence of fear? Eric, that's an amazing thought. And true, if not for arrogance would we have the masterpieces in the Louvre, St. Mark's cathedral, and all the wonders of the world. Would we have Microsoft and space exploration, and even the ability to fly.

      What a great hub--you've got me thinking on this cold Monday morning. Thanks my friend and have a great day (...in your 70 degrees and sunshine).

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 months ago from Southern Illinois

      There have been times when I first met a person they struck me as being arrogant, after getting to know them better, I found that they were just the opposite. They were fearful and hid that fact through arrogance. I guess we all have a bit of arrogance when we publish a hub, yet we are fearful that people will not like it or read it. You always bring up excellent what if's for us to ponder..Your last paragraph sums it up beautifully for me...

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill someone this morning lamented about growing old. We agreed it was a lot better than stopping growing. Being dead does not scare as much as being stagnant. Saw an ad for a heated doggie bowl. Now why would they target me for such a thing?

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oh Linda, you just made me pine for the sunshine. After all sun all day yesterday we are suffering rain and about 65. I am afraid it will be jumping in puddles and doing in a jig in the rain later with my little one.

      I am working on a piece about our "muse" or "angel" being a gateway to our twin souls in heaven. A connection.

      So I grapple with this concept of who causes what. When I think of you I am reminded that my mom knew darn well she was a great cook and that arrogance brought much joy to many people.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby I love your comment. When I think of all my ridiculous mannerisms to hide my shyness it cracks me up. I have this terrible habit of self deprecation so expectations are never missed. I also like to act deep in thought to avoid my input.

      In the legal area where I do all my ghost writing we writers get the hell beaten out of us as part of the process. That constant battle to get points across just right and between rules and persuasion. And not a sales or acclaim but quite often the remainder of someone's life. And yet I still am to shy to publish here for days on end.

      Funny we people.

    • clivewilliams profile image

      Clive Williams 6 months ago from Nibiru

      Arrogance, describes many world leaders. (Tied in with ignorance)

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I think not Clive. Interesting downer thought and thank you for raising it.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 6 months ago from The Caribbean

      We smile at arrogance in toddlers; they're cute. So it says something about us when we hate it in people with whom we can compete. That's why your advice is so reasonable: "Let us not allow our arrogance to block the good and the love from coming into us."

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      MsDora, what a great comment. My six year old and I, who I must run and get in few, are arrogant toward each other, as we compete in all our games and sports. We even have(very polite) trash talking. I am a monkey and an elephant most days;-) I hope that together we can learn those positive things. We do pray not to be prideful toward God.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 months ago from South Africa

      Interesting read about arrogance. I do think that people are inherently arrogant - especially when it comes to God and his creation. Even trying to make Him comprehensible, is arrogant.

      In a way everyone is weird, indeed. But this is only my personal conviction.

      The Israeli's have a word for arrogance and audacity: chutzpah (extreme self-confidence or audacity (usually used approvingly).

      "love him or hate him, you have to admire Cohen's chutzpah"

      I believe there are different categories of arrogance.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much Martie. You made me chuckle at a truth I had not thought of in a while -- Even trying to make Him comprehensible is arrogant. That is just so true.

      I really like that whole early Bible concept where God does not give a name. No calling card or number just this vague commitment to "I Am".

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 6 months ago from San Diego California

      I tell you from my own experience that gray hair is not always taken for wisdom. As far as farting in the car, is it still bad if the other people in there are your family members? Please write a sermon elaborating on car farting.

      Now, about arrogance. Sometimes arrogance is confused for confidence. I can tell you from my experience with postal management that arrogance is often incompetence disguising itself. Quiet arrogance, however, is powerful. What say you?

      I look forward to your next sermon on car farts. You seem to have some expertise. Marvelous sermon!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 6 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Excellent hub! I appreciate your deep thoughts and analysis on this subject.

      I agree with you that humans tend to become arrogant quite easily even for their small achievement. It needs a lot of effort and perseverance to achieve calmness in nature and remain humble.

      Thank you for an interesting and though provoking read!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel, you raise interesting questions on the whole gastronomical extravaganza type flatulence. Not to be confused with flagellation. The guidelines and etiquette for enclosed vehicle gas passing with only family present are quite simple. Not with wife or mother, especially mother-in-law. A date is your call.

      Keep in mind that if you are inclined to not be around these folks, we certainly suggest that frijoles copiously ingested at least one hour before the notorious wind is created.

      Now to the mundane. Arrogance seems to be the go to mode for camouflaging so many fear based insecurities. It is fun to watch someone you know switch it on when speaking to a group. We certainly get fooled by it when it is used to cover up incompetence.

      And do you think we are in a nina or a nino?

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      ChitrangadaSharan, Thank you for your coming by and commenting. There certainly seems to be a direct correlation between humility and serenity. It seems to me that if a subject is addressed in an overly arrogant manner that conflict is sure to follow.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 6 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I think I tip the scales on the side of "weird" rather than "arrogant" , Eric. But I guess there is a little of both in most of us. I guess I can be quietly arrogant if I am confident I am good at something but I try not to make it obvious. Another good sermon to exercise the mind.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Jodah this morning for my reading I read Psalm 23, the "Psalm of David. That one that is about The Lord being my savior and walking through the valley of the shadow of death. It is cool looking at it with confidence/arrogance in mind. I still have much to learn in this area.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 6 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Sometimes people can judge your confidence as arrogance. I think arrogance is the negative opposite of confident. Although, some can be overly confident, which would make them appear arrogant. People feel that you are weird when you embrace your uniqueness and don't try to follow the flock. Most people who follow the flock are not confident enough to be themselves, so they label the person who is as "weird".

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana it is great to here from you and hope you are in a safe place from flooding and all.

      I was trying just today to kind of make a list from one side to the other of pride. And I just kept coming back to "why?". Not why make a list but what changes occur as to being good or bad. It brings me to a notion of not thinking of something as bad or good but rather is.

      For if we see through God's eye love just is and it is not calculated or conditioned. So now I can love my brother be he arrogant or meek. And I pray the same for myself.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 4 months ago from Tasmania

      Just now came across this hub, Eric. Good one, lots of food for thought there. I am probably too arrogant sometimes - especially when confronting someone else whom I regard as arrogant!

      One of the greatest examples of arrogance, from my point of view, is the presumption that we humans, as a species, are so much more important than any other living organism,

      The antithesis of that is seeing ourselves as completely integral to all that IS, not separate, not better, not secondary or superior ... just belonging to, at-one with all of our neighbours, big-small, gigantic-microscopic, pretty-ugly, intelligent-idiotic ..... the differences are what bind us, not break us.

      With this awareness, arrogance looses it's sting - completely. Imho.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I swear I checked comments yesterday and this was not here -- 9 days?

      Any how. I am a nutcase environmentally. Let us do all we can to protect and serve and conserve. It is a must as we share. But I see this arrogance of man in thinking that he could ever kick nature's ass. Two simulataneous heavy spewing volcanoes and we are but toast with our climate. Some violent Teutonic shift and shores will change without regard to cities.

      Our job is to do the best we can humbly and in meekness. But these wild ideas that man is in control of nature are bizarre.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 4 months ago from Tasmania

      Lots of interesting points here, Eric. I see one common arrogance as that which presumes I, as a human creature, stand superior and separate from all the other creatures of this world.

      Sure, a bigger brain than most, but only because it can enhance our survival as a species (at least when it's used!).

      The sense of one-ness with creation is the essence of love and non-arrogance, in my estimation.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Alan, thank you for sharing that wonderful sentiment. Please don't take this as brag. I have stood in shorts a 120 degrees in the Canyon of canyons. I have survived during survival training 7 nights at 12,000 plus feet in winter (we really did build an igloo). I have got knocked of my canoe in the largest navigable rapid in the USA. And I ain't nothing compared to my brothers (Dan and Brian - same last name, look em up) over sixty still do it for fun.

      My point is that if we are not one with nature in our best. Then how can we know nature in our worst.

      If we loose the juice of the nectar of a pine tree or the sweet scent of rotting growth bearing grubs to fish with we just get lost. We say our "duty to take care" and we should say "the greatest gift man can have". My young son can already ID 8 type of scat. He can track a dog or a coyote. I love this earth. My footprint looks like a newborns.

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