Friday 5 September 2014

Yes, modern people are excessively proccupied with personal development; but - personal development is also intrinsic to Christianity

It is true to say that modern people are excessively preoccupied with their own personal meaning of life without sufficient attention to general things.

It is therefore understandable, and probably the correct priority, for Christians to emphasize general duties, general principles, obedience and sacrifice to the needs of others - above personal development...

However, I expect that, like me for much of my life, modern non-Christians are aware that even if everything about Christianity were correct - all its general purposes and precepts - then even all of that is not enough.

The fact that it is not enough, may lead them to assume that:

1. Christians believe that it is enough. And

2. That (therefore) Christianity actually wants its adherents to be undifferentiated 'cookie cutter' clones (and sometimes Christians do talk that way).

However, however - all people are different, things are set-up that way: personal development is part of the divine plan (and an extremely important part) - so cannot and should not be neglected, ignored or suppressed.

And indeed, real and specific personal development is only possible in a context of general purposes and precepts - so the modern notion of personal development in isolation from religion or any general system of objective beliefs and duties is sheer nonsense.

So it turns-out that only within, inside-of, Christianity (or something very like it) is real, genuine and objective personal development possible. 

If you are an individualist, creative, feel that you have some personal and specific 'thing to do' in life; then you ought to be a Christian first



Bruce B. said...

It’s interesting. Some people within Christianity seem to be in maintenance mode. Just trying to remain Christian in a world that wants you to be an apostate. There doesn’t seem to be much time or room for personal development if you’re one of these people.

Adam G. said...

Very interesting. What this made me think of is that every sin is a virtue gone wrong. So if the modern world has made a wicked cult of navel-gazing and personal development, its likely that there are positive versions of the same thing that are being obscure.

Geoff said...

This is definitely the case. One of the things I notice as a high-school teacher and a Sunday school teacher for the college kids is that Christian college ministries often pressure the young'ns to do things other than their studies. So Christians often do not make good grades or change to easier majors to avoid the conflict of interest between "ministry" and difficult work in philosophy, science, math, or vocational school.
Christians, because we have the true narrative about world history, have the impetus for self-improvement beyond any other group because we believe there is transcendent purpose behind any vocation that is not in direct service to sin.

Leo said...

I once remarked that when you are dating someone and get to see his or her bookshelf, it is a good sign if they have a self-improvement book or two, but a bad sign if their whole library consists of self-improvement books.