The biggest stumbling block to communing with God is pride. Many Church Fathers have said that most sins, if not all, stem from pride. If Satan can amplify your pride then he can get you to commit all manner of sin. This will be made easy if you are born with one of three natural gifts that effortlessly make you proud: beauty, singing ability, or intelligence. The more of these gifts you have, the easier it is for Satan to turn you away from God.

1. Beauty

…the root of all sin is self-love. From self-love proceed pride, mercenariness, love of pleasure; and from these proceed all other passions, eight of which are considered to be chief, while the rest are without number. Every sinner has all the passions—some in deed, others in embryo—because everyone who sins conducts his affairs with self-love, the seed of all passions or sinful inclinations. —Saint Theophan the Recluse in The Path To Salvation

The worst trait to have in modern times is beauty. The world has become so carnal that possessing just a smidge of beauty, whether you are a man or woman, will lead to limitless material benefits and sexual offers that are hard to refuse. I have witnessed how beautiful women are treated, and I feel sorry for them. To no fault of their own, they are tempted multiple times every day by young men who want to date them, older men who offer them gifts and money for favors, modeling agents, casting agents, charming men in Italy, policemen, politicians, and on and on. What never happens to an unattractive woman is daily background noise to one who is beautiful.

With such a tsunami of temptation, often starting from pubescence, a woman develops enough pride in her beauty and what it can give her that she sees no need for an Orthodox faith. Why supplicate her will to God when there is an unlimited number of men around the world at her beck and call, who treat her like a false god? She merely needs to read one of the hundreds of unread dating app messages on her smartphone to order up her own male slave. What woman can resist this if she hasn’t been brought up with a zealous love of God?

While being a handsome man may not lead to as many material benefits, it does lead to continuous sexual benefits. Such a man will never have a hard time securing female attention and sexual partners. The women who love his appearance will keep him distracted and carnally pleased enough that he also doesn’t see the need to pursue the faith. Even worse for men is that their pride can elevate to stratospheric proportions, to the point that they believe they are without fault. A beautiful woman may look in the mirror and still see a flaw that she cries to others about, but a handsome man may look in the mirror and think he’s some kind of human god. His pride can actually end up separating him from God more than a woman who is tempted at a far greater rate.

2. Singing Ability

Pride is denial of God, an invention of the devil, the despising of men, the mother of condemnation, the offspring of praise, a sign of sterility, flight from divine assistance, the precursor of madness, the cause of falls, a foothold for satanic possession, a source of anger, a door of hypocrisy, the support of demons, the guardian of sins, the patron of pitilessness, the rejection of compassion, a bitter inquisitor, an inhuman judge, an opponent of God, a root of blasphemy. —John Climacus in The Ladder of Divine Ascent

I can’t sing, but I have observed the effects of those who can. During a concert, a male singer receives enraptured and adoring looks from women who have decided that are ready to be intimate with him—just from his singing ability alone. This phenomenon even affects women in the audience who have boyfriends or husbands. The singer doesn’t have to be famous or a major rock star, and he doesn’t have to be good-looking. If a man sings well in a tiny concert at a hipster café, he can probably pick from half of the women present with whom to at least go on a date. This makes him feel that his singing is a superpower that will get him what he wants in life instead of God.

Once I encountered a woman who was not attractive in my eyes, but because she was an incredible singer, she comported herself with a proud air as if she were a celebrity. While men don’t generally flock to female singers because of their singing, female singers still receive limitless compliments that elevate their pride. Satan will be quick to come in with thoughts convincing her that she deserves an elevated material existence without any need for God.

3. Intelligence

The flatterer is a servant of devils, a guide to pride, a destroyer of contrition, a ruiner of virtues, a misleader. Those who pronounce you blessed, lead you astray… —Ibid

If you’re ugly and can’t sing, there’s one more source for you to gain unlimited pride: intelligence. If your IQ is at least 115, which is one standard deviation above the norm, you will be filled with thoughts of intellectual supremacy. If your IQ is 130, it will be a constant temptation to not identify all the people around you as dumb and you as someone who should be their leader. You develop a superiority complex that causes you to not empathize with your fellow neighbor or have compassion for them. You believe that the unwashed masses are “beneath” you and not deserving of the material benefits that you’ve received according to your intelligence. Such an idea has infected oligarchs of the West to the point where their agenda involves massive depopulation through heinous means involving cultural degeneracy and medical poisoning.

Most of my pride has come from my intelligence (it’s fine if you believe I don’t have any). My attractiveness to women varies but my brain productivity is stable, so I have existed for many years in a state of mental superiority. I believed that I was better than other people because I was smarter than them, and they should shut up and listen to me because my big brain visibly pulsates at a more rapid frequency. Not only did this lead to pride, but I developed a false confidence that all my thoughts were correct simply because I was smart. In reality, my intelligence allowed me to better rationalize actions and behaviors that were completely wrong, sinful, and abusive. I believe the intelligent are even more susceptible to delusion because they believe they can never be tricked due to their intelligence.

Conclusion

‘Praises exalt and puff one up; and when the soul is exalted, then pride seizes it, lifts it up to heaven, and casts it down to the abyss.’ —Ibid

Woe to the man or woman who is intelligent, beautiful, and can sing! Within them will be a constant fountain of pride that not only stops them from humbling themselves before God, but which also leads to regular sins of the tongue and body. As someone who has decided for Christ, I’m happy to state that I’m steadily declining in physical attractiveness and also that I can’t at all sing. I may possess some intelligence, but I have my odious past to confirm that it cannot be trusted nor can it be salvific without the Orthodox faith. If you have at least one of these natural gifts, you must be on guard that it does not become a source of pride and distance you from the Lord God. Unless our gifts are used to serve God, we’re using them unwittingly to serve Satan instead.

Read Next: Do You Exempt Yourself From God’s Law?

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If you’re ugly and can’t sing

That's me right there. The intelligence section really hits home. And yes, it's the same for me - my past has shown me that intelligence isn't to be trusted, as it's almost certainly going to be used in a worldly way and not in a way to glorify God.

Turning to Christ has really made for a change of perspective, particularly at work. It almost seems distasteful to indulge in use of intelligent thought to earn a living, and the pride in a job well done doesn't seem to be there. Perhaps that's growth, or hopefully at least an indication of heading down the right path.

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Among the 3 sources of human pride that are pointed out here, only the third seems really universal to me.

The other two are more relative to the sick society we have today. Beauty causes far less harm in a reasonably Christian society where promiscuity is frowned upon (not to mention that the canons of "beauty" are socially engineered in today's society, like pretty much everything else). Similarly, even though the ancient Greeks and the Romans were decadent in many things, they never went as far as idolizing entertainers as we do. The human beings they idolized were political rulers.

If I recall correctly, the first girls who behaved hysterically at a Beatles concert were paid actors, and then the fashion caught on.

Idolization of people with singing ability is possible only in a society which has lost or never had a national musical culture. In more healthy traditional societies, every one, even the poorest people, have access to cultural treasures of their nation.

To pass from one system to another (from a traditional musical culture to MTV-style show business), you need a lot of social engineering, and often brutal military intervention. After WW2, the Germans were brainwashed to be ashamed of their centuries-old but allegedly "anti-semitic" high musical culture.

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I have all three, only after great pain have I begun to appreciate the people in my life and come closer to God. As a child I was worshipped like an idol.

There's a difference between wisdom and intelligence, innocence and beauty, harmony and chaos. The superficial nature of our time is blind to it.

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What would you say to someone who has a renewed sense of pride at age 35 from exercise and making more money, and now wants to leave a committed relationship and “sow their wild oats” with “more attractive females”? (had to put in quotes because I hate that this thought is constantly in my mind) I have been extremely disciplined for over 10 years in one relationship but now I feel like I’m “missing out”. I’m guessing the answer is to pray but the daily temptation is overwhelming me and I am afraid that I will give in.

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What would you say to someone who has a renewed sense of pride at age 35 from exercise and making more money, and now wants to leave a committed relationship and “sow their wild oats” with “more attractive females”? (had to put in quotes because I hate that this thought is constantly in my mind) I have been extremely disciplined for over 10 years in one relationship but now I feel like I’m “missing out”. I’m guessing the answer is to pray but the daily temptation is overwhelming me and I am afraid that I will give in.

This reminds me of the movie "White Sun of the Desert", wherein the main character, a Russian officer, is offered to keep a harem like a sheikh (who has died), instead of his one wife. One of the girls even offers herself to him as "the favorite wife". He declines and it's meant to be a joke to the audience.

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I would say overwhelmingly this forum will understand the truth of #3, yes.

One other thing I never understood (and I don't have a bad voice but just use it for harmony) was why singing doesn't make more people uncomfortable, sorta like dancing does when you are good. I've noticed that both of these seemed "gay" to me, because they always (whether the person desire it or not) have the "Hey, look at me" aspect of attention. It may just be me too, but novel dancing or singing (especially dancing, since you see this so frequently on shorts on social media, etc) becomes really boring, really quickly. You can do headspins or popping and locking? Or the moonwalk? Great, after 10-15 seconds I think we both know you can't use that skill to actually help anyone else in the world. Sad, but true.

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What would you say to someone who has a renewed sense of pride at age 35 from exercise and making more money, and now wants to leave a committed relationship and “sow their wild oats” with “more attractive females”? (had to put in quotes because I hate that this thought is constantly in my mind) I have been extremely disciplined for over 10 years in one relationship but now I feel like I’m “missing out”. I’m guessing the answer is to pray but the daily temptation is overwhelming me and I am afraid that I will give in.

I'd say you're not looking down the right path. Being in a relationship 10 years without getting married is enough to say that something needs serious re-evaluation. You're clearly seeing the world through a secular lens.

I don't know what you're looking for but you probably won't find it in random women, unless you're looking for a painful life.

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What would you say to someone who has a renewed sense of pride at age 35 from exercise and making more money, and now wants to leave a committed relationship and “sow their wild oats” with “more attractive females”?

I'd say that you're being tempted to sexual immorality, by the world, your flesh, and the devil. It is a trap for your soul! Don't do it!

St. Paul taught us to "flee sexual immorality". Not just avoid it, flee from it. Why? Because it is a sure ticket to hell.

I used to wonder what is wrong with sex outside of marriage. It's two people making each other feel good. But this is a lie. The truth is, this kind of thinking is equivalent to idolatry, and further, you objectify the other person, degrading their human dignity. Lust of the flesh is offensive to God.

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This article actually reminds me of God’s gifts that He gives us (Romans 12:6, 1 Peter 4:10, James 1:17). Beauty, singing ability, intelligence, as well as a multitude of other talents, are all gifts from God. There is nothing inherently evil or sinister about naturally being “really really“ good at something. *But* those extra special gifts must be used to glorify God, or they will be stripped away.

It’s interesting to see some of the “humble bragging” in this thread. There’s a lot of bragging all over this forum really (I’m not innocent either). One thing that I can say with certainty is: humble yourself before God or He will humble you.

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I have all three, only after great pain have I begun to appreciate the people in my life and come closer to God. As a child I was worshipped like an idol.

There's a difference between wisdom and intelligence, innocence and beauty, harmony and chaos. The superficial nature of our time is blind to it.

Oh no! Me too, in varying quantities, each a source of pride at one point or another in my life. Thank God brother Roosh a points out literally THE main pitfalls I personally face every day to snare me.

Lord humble us all, to better worship Him.

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@daft I believe that everyone can develop all three, if not one, and not necessarily be born with it. That's also a pitfall. I was really good at ballet, I had to quit from illness but I wouldn't be able to make it to the top anyway. Not everyone can resist their personal fantasy of stardom!

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@daft I believe that everyone can develop all three, if not one, and not necessarily be born with it. That's also a pitfall. I was really good at ballet, I had to quit from illness but I wouldn't be able to make it to the top anyway. Not everyone can resist their personal fantasy of stardom!

I'm in my mid 30s and still have the rock star fantasy. Started making youtube video covers of pop music about 5 years ago, to glorify myself in a narcissistic way. Objectively I'll never "make it", as that is not only a lie told to the masses (see 'fight club'), and satan's "special" servants (Or as vox day calls them, 'ticket takers'). It would be better not to "make it".
What actually gives me joy is sharing as someone stated, the national musical culture, flawed as it is in USA. Im an elementary and middle school music teacher and there is more real fulfilment in bringing the joy of music to the children than the false path of self glorification and narcissism.
Thank God I can sing the hymns in church and share the musical training with children. It aught to be, and is enough.

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I'm in my mid 30s and still have the rock star fantasy. Started making youtube video covers of pop music about 5 years ago, to glorify myself in a narcissistic way. Objectively I'll never "make it", as that is not only a lie told to the masses (see 'fight club'), and satan's "special" servants (Or as vox day calls them, 'ticket takers'). It would be better not to "make it".
What actually gives me joy is sharing as someone stated, the national musical culture, flawed as it is in USA. Im an elementary and middle school music teacher and there is more real fulfilment in bringing the joy of music to the children than the false path of self glorification and narcissism.
Thank God I can sing the hymns in church and share the musical training with children. It aught to be, and is enough.

I had that experience in high school. I could never make it to soloist in school choir, but at my tiny church I was the only female singer!

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If you’re ugly and can’t sing, there’s one more source for you to gain unlimited pride: intelligence.

Intellectual pride is the most dangerous of these by far because beauty is a more passive thing, and singers and entertainers have only a limited ability to do harm. But a clever, ambitious, prideful, arrogant intellectual usually craves power and control over the multitude. Not the power of Lady Gaga or Madonna to seduce millions of cheering fans, but the power to remake society in his own image.

Some obnoxious actress and fashion model may become insufferable and stuck up because of the privileges of her beauty, but unless you’re a member of her inner circle you can avoid the impact. But nobody can avoid the impact of Klaus Schwab and the other WEF tyrants on all of life.

Also, beauty fades with time, so even great beauties receive a dose of humility someday. while power-seeking, self-declared intellectuals tend to become even more arrogant and entitled with age and experience. The now ancient George Soros and super-ancient Henry Kissinger are more vile, despicable and wicked than ever.

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It helps to remember that whatever you're proud of, there's someone who is more of that than you are. Usually lots of someones. You're smart? Some people are geniuses. You're handsome or pretty? There are people who are drop-dead gorgeous. God gave you whatever you have anyway.

It can go the other way too. If you are tempted to despair over your sins, there's always a worse sinner than you are. If God can save that person, He can save you. (This is not to say that we should focus too much on other people's sins. This is not to excuse our own sins, but to help us not to despair over them because God saves repentant sinners.)

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It helps to remember that whatever you're proud of, there's someone who is more of that than you are. Usually lots of someones. You're smart? Some people are geniuses. You're handsome or pretty? There are people who are drop-dead gorgeous. God gave you whatever you have anyway.

It can go the other way too. If you are tempted to despair over your sins, there's always a worse sinner than you are. If God can save that person, He can save you. (This is not to say that we should focus too much on other people's sins. This is not to excuse our own sins, but to help us not to despair over them because God saves repentant sinners.)

Maybe I should have clarified that if you are trying to combat despair over your sins, it's best not to look at the sins of specific other people. Just, in general, you know that some people have done things that would horrify you even to hear about, and God will forgive them if they ask, so He will forgive you too.

I think pride and despair are two sides of the same coin.

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That's me right there. The intelligence section really hits home. And yes, it's the same for me - my past has shown me that intelligence isn't to be trusted, as it's almost certainly going to be used in a worldly way and not in a way to glorify God.

Turning to Christ has really made for a change of perspective, particularly at work. It almost seems distasteful to indulge in use of intelligent thought to earn a living, and the pride in a job well done doesn't seem to be there. Perhaps that's growth, or hopefully at least an indication of heading down the right path.

Wisdom is better than intelligence. More practical.

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This article actually reminds me of God’s gifts that He gives us (Romans 12:6, 1 Peter 4:10, James 1:17). Beauty, singing ability, intelligence, as well as a multitude of other talents, are all gifts from God. There is nothing inherently evil or sinister about naturally being “really really“ good at something. *But* those extra special gifts must be used to glorify God, or they will be stripped away.

It’s interesting to see some of the “humble bragging” in this thread. There’s a lot of bragging all over this forum really (I’m not innocent either). One thing that I can say with certainty is: humble yourself before God or He will humble you.

Humility is more about not thinking much about yourself at all. If it's I,I,I all the time then it's not really humility.

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It’s interesting to see some of the “humble bragging” in this thread.

I don't think it is "bragging" to offer an honest assessment of the talents God has given you, especially if they are relevant to the topic at hand and you are making the statements to support the point of your comment.

If the topic of conversation is "what are your talents?" are you supposed to lie and say "I don't have any?" I don't think that's right.

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