This is a continuation of my post on Altruism. There, I discuss an article that Felix quoted by an Adventist critiquing a prominent view within Christianity: that Christians should give up the self.
Like a lot of critics of Christianity, I wonder if being a Christian requires me to give up my individuality. We’re all supposed to be like Jesus, right? And Jesus was a cheerful extrovert who reached out to people.
This criticism was around in C.S. Lewis’ day, for he addresses it in Mere Christianity. He says that becoming a Christian means we can be ourselves more, not less.
At the present time, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I’m not a cheerful extrovert who reaches out to people. I just don’t have that within me. A lot of times when I do so, I am wearing a social mask. So me being like Jesus is not the same as me being myself, in terms of acting according to my nature.
At the same time, that’s not entirely true, since my reserved demeanor in public is not entirely who I am. I’d like to share myself with others, but it’s hard to get my voice in.
One other thought: I flinch at the idea of being an evangelical Jesus clone. But why would I want to be a world-clone: caring about what the world cares about, evaluating my worth according to the world’s standards (e.g., money, education, how many women I can get into bed)?
Is there a way to be like Jesus while also being an individual?