Thursday, August 14, 2008

Individualism and the Christian Life

Andrew Thompson speculated about the pervasiveness of individualism in American culture and asked:

Is it possible to embrace a robust understanding of individualism without that including narcissism or selfishness as well?

And if not, doesn't that present an enormous problem for the church when it is forced to exist in a consumer culture like the one we've got in America?

My own thoughts are here.

1 comment:

Larry B said...

It's interesting how Andrew draws the conclusion that narcississm and selfishness are what is driving the consumer culture (at least that's how I follow the logic in the clip you cited).

I think our freedoms allow us to experience religion in a more individualistic way and that that's not necessarily something to be concerned with. There were as many problems with the religious experience of people under state run churches. No system is without it's problem.

My own readings of Hayek have led me to believe that the free exercise of religion is crucial to a free market economy and the market economy thrives when religion is allowed to be freely practiced. So consumerism for me is a natural outgrowth of our freedoms and as I believe Hayek was trying to say, religion can be a critical element in restraining the morality of a society so that we can continue to enjoy free markets and free societies.