The concept of pride is similar in many religions. Most view it as focusing too much on the self, and not enough on God. Often, doing away with the ego is considered a prerequisite for true belief in God. Choose one of the five major religons below to explore more about each faith's teachings on pride.


Buddhism stresses the importance of shedding the ego, the sense of a self-identity. Pride is seen as not letting go of this sense of self.

The Diamond Sutra explains that one cannot reach enlightenment without letting go of this sense of self and pride. "'Subhuti, what do you think? Does a holy one say within himself, 'I have obtained Perfective Enlightenment?''" Subhuti replied, 'No, World-honored One...If a holy one of Perfective Enlightenment said to himself, 'Such am I,' he would necessarily partake of the idea of an ego-identity, a personality, a being, a separated individuality.'"

Buddhism also warns against not taking pride in one's learning or one's advances on the road to enlightenment. This kind of pride causes one to expect special status and homage. As the Dhammapada states, "Only for his ruin does renown come to the fool. It ravages his bright fortune & rips his head apart. He would want unwarranted status, preeminence among monks, authority among monasteries, homage from lay families."

The Sutta Nipata tells a similar story: "A questioner asked the Buddha: 'I would like to know about the state of peace, the state of solitude and of quiet detachment. How does a person become calm, independent, and not wanting to grasp at anything?'

"'A person does this,' replied the Buddha, 'by eradicating the delusion of 'I am.' By being alert and attentive, he begins to let go of cravings as they arise. But whatever he begins to accomplish, he should beware of inner pride. He must avoid thinking of himself as better than another, or worse or equal, for that is all comparison and emphasizes the self.'"


Pride is often considered the foremost vice in Christianity, since it is contrary to love of God. As Christian thinker and writer C.S. Lewis, "According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind."

Christianity teaches that there are many different manifestations of pride. They include "boasting of men (1 Corinthians 3:21)," doing something "from selfishness or conceit (Philippians 2:3)," and refusing to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21)."

Like Islam, Chrisitanity views pride as a hatred of God that was the reason for the fall of the devil. The Catholic Catechism teaches, "Hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments."

Orthodox Christianity also warns against pride. "A festival for the spiritual man," Saint Ephraim the Syrian writes, "is the observance of the divine commandments, and his consolation abstinence from evil. His pride is the fear of God, his real joy the day when the Heavenly King calls him to inherit His eternal riches." This passage from the Desert Fathers teaches that a life of humility before God should be enough for man.

The Mormon Doctrine & Covenant similarly states, "Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride."


Hinduism teaches that one must renounce the ego in order to understand the Self and reach ultimate reality. Pride inhibts renunciation. One can only come to a state of true knowledge by letting go of pride and one's "ego-sense." As the Bhagavad Gita states,"Those who know truly are free from pride and deceit (13:7)."

One who does not focus on oneself sheds all pride and is able to understand ultimate reality. Krishna says later in the Bhagavad Gita, "Living beyond the reach of I and mine and of pleasure and pain, patient, contented, self-controlled, firm in faith, with his heart and all his mind given to me-with such a one I am in love."

But in Hinduism, pride is not always bad. The Tirukkural explains: "Not all pride is bad: "Just as wise men know the goodness of non-coveting, so Fortune herself knows their goodness and draws near. There is a desire for another's possessions which is thoughtlessly destructive. There is a pride which, refusing to covet, is mindfully triumphant (Tirukkural 18:179-180)." If one has enough pride in oneself, one won't covet the possessions of someone else.


Islam teaches that pride is what caused the downfall of Iblis, the devil in Islam, when he refused to obey God's commandment to prostrate himself before Adam. This kind of pride, pride against Allah, is considered the worst type of pride, because it is essentially a rejection of faith. Islam also warns of the sin of pride against others, or arrogance.

Many verses from Islamic texts demonstrate these Muslim beliefs about pride. The Qur'an explains in several verses that Allah disapproves of arrogance. "And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster (Surah 31:18)," it states. The Qur'an later says that proper belief is only possible without pride. " Only those believe in Our Signs, who, when they are recited to them, fall down in adoration, and celebrate the praises of their Lord, nor are they (ever) puffed up with pride (Surah 32:15)." Pride in Islam is seen as thinking one can live independently of Allah, as the text says, "Nay, but verily man is rebellious For he thinks himself independent. Lo! unto thy Lord is the return (Surah 96:6-8)."

Several hadith, sayings of the Prophet, teach that pride is wrong. As Sahih Muslim reports, the Prophet said, "God has revealed to me that you must be humble, so that no one boasts over another, or oppresses another." Another hadith, in al-Tirmidhi, says, "He is a bad man who is proud and puts on airs and forgets the Most Great and Sublime One."

But the hadith also teach that prideful arrogance is different than having pride in one's appearance, as Allah loves beauty, but not causing injury to others. As Sahih Muslim reports, the Prophet said: "'No one will enter Paradise in whose heart there is a single grain of arrogance.' A man said: 'But one likes his clothing to be nice and his shoes to be nice.' He said: 'Verily Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance is disregard for the truth and contempt for people.'"


One Jewish midrash, a collection stories or allegories of exegesis on the Torah, tells the tale of God choosing a mountain on which to reveal the Torah. (Read the story.) The midrash says God chose Mount Sinai because it was the most humble. Humility, especially before God, has since been an important virtue in Judaism.

As Rabbi Noah Weinberg has written, Judaism teaches that arrogance stunts spiritual growth, and that people should take pleasure, and not pride, in their accomplishments.

Judaism also warns against taking too much pride in one's knowledge or wisdom. The Talmud teaches, "Who is a wise person? The one who learns from all people (Avot 4:1)." The Pirkei Avot, Ethics of the Fathers, explain this concept further: "Rabban Yochanan, the son of Zakkai, received (the tradition) from Hillel and Shammai. He used to say: If you have learned much Torah do not ascribe any merit to yourself, because this is the purpose for which you were formed." This has been interpreted to mean that learning Torah should humble a person, and only one who has properly learned Torah knows that Torah study should bring humility and not pride.

These are examples of spiritual pride, but pride can also be harmful physically. As Rabbi Joseph Telushkin has written, the rabbis warned about pride deterring people from asking for something when they are in need, such as money when one is in poverty. This kind of pride is also a sin because it can cause a person to harm oneself.

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