Interesting Articles

Monday, March 26, 2007


In one of my readings for class, the argument is made that individualism and consumerism are closely related and "mutually reinforcing". "The drive to accumulate - to consume - is driven by the individual's desire to satisfy immediate personal wants, and conversely, the more the individual forsakes any notion of a collective interest, the more individual consumption is validated and said wants heightened."
The article takes a look at the issue from an Islamic perspective, but it easily applies to Christians and indeed, any non-Muslim. It goes on to attack the 'love of self', saying that it "is a characteristic of 'undeveloped man', that needs to be resisted... To think of oneself more so as part of a greater whole, as opposed to an autonomous and ego-oriented, potential-filled agent, surely dampers the need to express one's individuality thorough conspicuous consumption." This is in sharp contrast to what is widely believed in the U.S. and other western cultures where we emphasize peoples uniqueness and encourage independence.
While scanning through the radio channels yesterday, I came across a preacher man talking about this very same thing. He mentioned that 'self esteem' is a modern invention that has become a major priority in today's society - especially in raising children. This sense of individualism that we are teaching goes completely against the teachings of Christ. He tells us that we are to deny ourselves (Matt 16:24) and Paul reminds us that we are not our own (1 Cor 6:19). As Christians, we are to surrender our very selves, for we belong to Christ. We are part of the body of Christ and we are always to put other's needs before our own. Unfortunately, Christians are as guilty as anyone of creating a world that actually discourages surrendering the self to the good of the community.

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