Thursday, December 11, 2008

Development of the Individual Within Society

When I used to believe that evangelical inductive study was "truth", I understood that "context was king". Context meant what the text meant within the culture, and language of the given frame of "orginal meaning". Of course the context was understood with different textual "helps". I understood that there was diversity within the Church and understood many of the arguments which brought about separation or understandings of difference.

But, in postmodernity, there is a need to understand the human as made in God's image. What is a human being and how is one developed? This is a question that is not new, but is one that faces the Church in uncerstanding how people have come to understand their faith. In academic terms, this way of approaching the understanding of religion, is the psychology of religion paradigm.

Not only is the person's context to be understood, as this is what gives a person identification, but also, the person's way of interpreting, which is hard to define in America's diverse environment. Families are not built around tradition necessarily, as in the "old country". So, how does the psychologist understand someone else's faith? Some have said that it is not just cultural influence, but actual brain science, as neurobiology has many "new understandings" of what makes man, "man".

Experience is the everyday encounters with everything from what one reads, hears, but what one encounters through people and circumstances. I don't believe that man made in God's image will come to maturity without understanding themself as a separate individual, who understands that life is valued and valueable on many elements of "faith". How one defines faith depends on personal convictions and values.

Of course, some conservatives would find this problematic, as their belief that tradition is to continue to define truth, as any other way of thinking is idolatry or rebellion. I find that parenting has led me to believe otherwise. We support our children when they become adults, but helathy parenting wants them to grow into full responsible independent individuals. That does not mean that they disregard us as parent altogether, but that they only use our advice, as advice and don't feel compelled to believe as we do about any certain given area of conviction. I do not think that parents can take full responsibility for how their children turn out, as many factores influence and form the individual youg adult. We must, as parents, and teachers expose them to as amny opportunities as possible to broaden their world , so that they will be as free as possible from prejuidice and where they are biased, they understand and fully choose that bias.

This if the personal aspect of individual development. But, there is also, a moral responsibility toward our nation that is also an important value for the individual. I think that we live in a great nation, that is presently experiencing some challenges that we, the people, have been responsible for, but, these consequences are just the result of individuals seeking after their own interests at the expense of others. We cannot be a people without a moral responsibility and order that defends the values that we hold dearly, which is freedom and justice for ALL the people. If justice is compromised for those in places of power, then we will all suffer due to consequences that impinge upon our own freedoms. So, whenever anyone commits a crime, then there must be an understanding that we are morally responsible to hold the other to accountability. Justice maintains the structure that allows all of us to be "at peace" and seek our own interests within reason (reason being the consequences of not adhereing to law).

Terriorists are those who do not respect others in a just way. They seek to undermine our sense of security which is maintained by our laws. Therefore, it is imperative for us to hold these people to just laws and consequences that make them understand that the West will not allow disorder.

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