Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Vainglory: The Forgotten Vice

Academic journal article Journal of Psychology and Christianity

Vainglory: The Forgotten Vice

Article excerpt

VAINGLORY: THE FORGOTTEN VICE. Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012, Pp. 157, $14.00. Reviewed by Rod Bassett (Roberts Wesleyan College/Rochester, NY).

For most of us, the construct of pride has largely obscured the construct of vainglory. However, in the age of Facebook, Lady Gaga, and Gaston (from Disney's Beauty and the Beast) the author makes a convincing case that we need to reconsider the vice of vainglory. The author is a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy at Calvin College. Her thinking about this topic has been largely informed by the early Christian desert ascetics, St. Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. I confess that sometimes, when I read the work of a philosopher, I feel like a colorblind individual walking through an art gallery: clearly I am missing something. However, DeYoung writes well and with clarity and she makes reading her book a very interesting and intriguing journey.

DeYoung first begins by distinguishing between the constructs of pride and vainglory. Pride is about position and power and vainglory is about attention and acknowledgment. "Put simply, the prideful person desires to be greater than others, whether others recognize this or not, while the vainglorious person wishes to attract others' notice and applause, whether she is better than them or not." (p. 42). DeYoung also comes from the theological position that vice is always twisted virtue (e.g., St. Augustine). Her primary concern about vice is that vice will interfere with love: love of God and love of others.

DeYoung presents glory as 'goodness displayed.' She the makes the case for the potential goodness of glory (ala, Aquinas). First, there is scripture (e.g., Matthew 5:14-17 and Jesus's command to "let your light shine"). And, second there is the way that good things normally work. Good things naturally tend to reveal themselves. …

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