We may talk about individualism, but we never question it. There is an 'I' that is distinct from what others perceive or desire. I may choose to conform, but this is still an expression of my will. This is a fundamental, unstated, tenet of Western culture that is unquestioned by us.
We filter everything through the grid of justice, this is intricately bound to our individualism. The all important 'I' must not be violated; this bends our mind toward questions of right and wrong. We feel the injustice when we are transgressed against, and we feel the guilt when we transgress. This is so ingrained in us that we are largely incapable of framing things outside of the scope of right and wrong.
Some of the fascinating questions I have been pondering:
What does this signify for theology crafted in Western culture?
What would a theology crafted in another cultural framework look like?
Clearly our notions of sin, salvation, atonement, righteousness, and more, are deeply colored by this aspect of our culture! Our gospel is largely portrayed against the backdrop of individual transgression against the 'right-and-wrong' of God's Law, and becomes a salvation that is largely about setting individuals right with God.
What theological missteps has our culture pushed us into?
What theological insights does our culture lead us to see more clearly?
What theological insights could the Church in other cultures offer us?
Clearly this only deepens the need for a global theology. Dialogue with other cultures are a mirror that allow us to see our own more clearly. We have a great need to interact with the Church in other cultures, and in other eras...