For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
Clifton is engaging an interesting topic in the commenting on his post Tradmarking Christianity. Here is a part (a lengthy part) of what he says in one of his comments, which I found particularly intriguing:
I think at issue here, though, is the battle between Western senses of individual autonomy and what it means to be a person. There is the view that if somehow I have to believe a certain thing--especially if I have sincerely come to believe something which differs--that acquiescing to a have-to belief is somehow inauthentic and a violation of my personhood. It's heteronomy instead of autonomy.
But it is my contention that this is a mistaken emphasis which damages what it really means to be a person. Yes, there is a sense in which singular persons are autonomous, but autonomy is only a part, and not the main part, of what it means to be a person. According to Christian teaching, we are not individuals, we are persons. We are always already born into communion and cannot escape the implications of that.
Therefore the Christian paradigm is not to find out what I believe as an individual so I can live authentically. Rather the paradigm is how can I fully live into this communion which has given me life and sustaints me? And if I cut myself off from it, to what extent do I participate in the diminishing of my personhood? If I concieve of myself as in opposition over against those with whom I share life and living, then how am I any longer a person in communion, that is to say, a person at all?
I personally think alot about the philosophical presuppositions that led (fueled?) the Protestant reformation, and indeed to a lot of political reformations as well. Fundamentally I am seeing more and more that what Clifton describes here is the inspiration for how we have evolved our Protestant christianity today. Individual autonomy.
That phrase has become the rallying cry (sometimes silently and sometimes deafeningly) for our generation and though we may try and hide it in ourselves with words and/or notions like "community" or "postmodern", I think we needn't peel off to many layers to hear us all singing "I did it my Way!"
By the way, am I the only person who sees the devil in those lyrics?
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 7:26 AM [+]