Saturday, August 29, 2015

Disordered Individualism=Selfishness

The speed of change is accelerating. Rationalism and Individualism have entered our culture from the West, and brought changes. Many of our traditions have become dead letters so writes a seminary professor in the Kyeongyang Magazine  under the title of temptation.

We are looking  for happiness and leaving aside the rules and regulations that were passed on to us. With the economic betterment and without serious worry about eating and what to wear we are searching for a better quality  of life  which means money and  pleasure. The moral code also becomes  centered on self. Pope Francis mentioned individualism  as a  danger both within and outside the Church.

However, when we talk of individualism, we need  to distinguish  it from selfishness. Individualism has been given great help by the  teaching of  Christianity.  Our individuality,  happiness  and freedom  are values that can't  be replaced. When we are ignored and looked down upon, not treated as persons  and used, we know the sadness that it engenders. In the Gospels,  we see how Jesus related with those who were hurt, the poor, the suffering, those who lost hope they were all  made in the image of God, his  temple, and  received God's love.

A wrong understanding of this individuality is something quite different. When you forget the dignity of others and only see your own dignity, and treat others as tools to aggrandize yourself, we have a distortion of the individual. The same way we look upon ourselves; we need to look upon others and the community otherwise we have a disordered individualism and fall into selfishness and egotism,

In spiritual words when one is only concerned with his own salvation and  forgets  others and not concerned with the needs of the world this is not what Christianity is all about.  Nor is it on the other hand, concerned only with  present needs or blessing.

How do we overcome this disordered individualism?  To believe is  to answer the call  we have received, to give answer to  God's word, his will, which requires   forgetting ourselves. We also have to remember that we are called to be evangelizers and this is not only to increase the numbers of Christians but to expand God's kingdom, which is filled by the love of God. With  this love, we interact with others and the world. "If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples" (John 13:35).

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