The first step of my philosophical journey was reading The Fountainhead. The novel taught me to uncompromisingly seek my own rational self-interest. If values are personal and selfish, then I must choose them myself. From my smallest choice of personal taste, to my choices in friends or career, I cannot depend on others to set my direction. For every choice I make, I must have a reason.
I advocate Christian Individualism. How can I do that? Many Christians believe Individualism is bad. Many believe it is incompatible with Scripture. Others believe Scripture has little to say on the issue.
It’s a hot topic. In a recent video by The Gospel Coalition, Don Carson said, “The Bible does not go around condemning individualism.” So what does the Bible say?
When you ask “why be moral?” your answer needs to be more than, “Because it’s the right thing to do.” That is circular. What makes something the right thing? What goal does a man achieve by doing right?
Some answer that, “Virtue is it’s own reward.” Others answer that “Morality benefits others, and that is what really matters.”
But what motivation does Scripture offer? Your life. Your reward.
In my last post I wrote that when we say “the world is good,” we have two specific, distinct meanings: 1) the world is useful for man’s life, and 2) the world and man are useful for God’s purposes.
Today I want to generalize and discuss the full meaning of “good.”
Let’s start with the most simple meaning: “good” can mean “useful.” A tree can be good for food. A pen can be good for writing. Here, “good” means functional.
In a post several months ago, I wrote, “Our mission requires self-denial, but we cannot make self-denial be the mission.”
What do you think about this idea?
A friend commented wisely, saying he doesn’t believe American Christians place too much emphasis on self-denial. We pay lip service to self-denial, but we tend to struggle with self-indulgence.
I agree with his points completely. Surprisingly though, I believe the solution to American self-indulgence is not less Individualism, but more.