Saturday, July 14, 2012

Christianity: Personhood vs Individualism

“Ever since the Enlightenment, people have assumed that to be a person is to be an individual, one who is defined by separateness from others, by categories of “I” and “not-I.”  Here we return to the primal experience of our infant, who smiles at her mother even before the discovery of her own hand – we are, in the first place, persons because we are towards others, not over and against them.”  From Ecstasy and Intimacy, by Edith Humphrey

Here we can see the chaos of defining human rights from the framework of individuals rather than persons; here we can see the angst of the youth trying to define themselves "over and against" the other; here we can see the tragedy of being alone, yet surrounded by people.

Personhood, not individualism is the heritage of Christianity, revealed by the Trinity, the Divine Community of Persons that are perfectly 'towards' the Other.  We are invited into the fulness of this life, of this personship that is the heritage of humanity being made in the image and likeness of God.  Thus Jesus says, "Love your neighbour as yourself," and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," revealing your personhood of being 'toward' the other.

Lord have mercy,  Brian+