Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘indvidualism’

CS Lewis has some potent thoughts for us on our value, individualism, collectivism, and finding yourself in “Membership,” a sermon included in the book, The Weight of Glory.

If value is taken in a worldly sense – if we mean that all men are equally useful or beautiful or good or entertaining – then it is nonsense. If it means that all are of equal value as immortal souls, then I think it conceals a dangerous error. The infinite value of each human soul is not a Christian doctrine. God did not die for man because of some value He perceived in him. The value of each human soul considered simply in itself, out of relation to God, is zero. As St. Paul writes, to have died for valuable men would have been not divine but merely heroic; but God died for sinners. He loved us not because we were lovable, but because He is love. It may be that He loves all equally – He certainly loved all to the death – and I am not certain what the expression means. If there is equality, it is in His love, not in us.

Our value is not some cultural notion of equality but in the fact that God demonstrated His own love for me on Cross. My value is not found within but in God Himself.

It was not for societies or states that Christ died, but for men. In that sense Christianity must seem to secular collectivists to involve an almost frantic assertion of individuality. But then it is not the individual as such who will share Christ’s victory over death. We shall share the victory by being in the Victor. A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life. Nothing that has not died will be resurrected. That is just how Christianity cuts across the antithesis between individualism and collectivism. There lies the maddening ambiguity of our faith as it must appear to outsiders. It sets its face relentlessly against our natural individualism; on the other hand, it gives back to those who abandon individualism an eternal possession of their own personal being, even of their bodies. As mere biological entities, each with its separate will to live and to expand, we are apparently of no account; we are cross-fodder. But as organs in the Body of Christ, as stones and pillars in the temple, we are assured of our eternal self-identity and shall live to remember the galaxies as an old tale.

CS Lewis presents the paradox of how we find ourselves in Christ. Christ died for me personally but also made me a part of the Body of Christ. This is not a middle ground between individualism and collectivism but a whole different thing.

There is no question of finding for him a place in the living temple which will do justice to his inherent value and give scope to his natural idiosyncrasy. The place was there first. The man was created for it. He will not be himself till he is there.

Our value is found in God’s eyes through the sacrifice of God’s own son while our true selves are found in Christ and becoming a part of His Body. The more we are given over to Him, the more we become and are revealed to be who God made us to be.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV)

Read Full Post »