Essay on Two World Views

Submitted By rmangrum
Words: 1057
Pages: 5

INDIVIDUALISM AND COLLECTIVISM

Individualism and collectivism are two views of culture widely accepted by many disciplines. While “there is no single definition” of culture or its subgroups, these two terms describe worldviews of culture used to help define the term. (Estep and Kim, 2010, p275) These terms are found not only in the text of our class but in many other theological textbooks and reference works in many of the social sciences. Understanding their definitions, how they compare and contrast each other and how they can each impact our personal ministry or leadership is a worthwhile challenge. They are very different. Our textbook does a nice job of summarizes some their differences. (Estep and Kim, 2010, p276) Collectivism views society as one big family, all needing each other. It is the “we” perspective on life. We should all be connected, flexible to the needs of others and completely public about all parts of our life. We should work hard to fit in to society and help the collective group. All that matters is that the group succeeds. It’s all about the team. The most important thing in life is to do your duty and serve the whole of society. It’s not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country that matters most, to paraphrase a popular President. To succeed is to be lost in the group. Generally, countries with communist or socialist backgrounds are considered examples of collectivism. South Korea is a good example. Individualism is what the root word implies, about the individual. It is the “I” perspective on life. We should respect others while prioritizing personal achievement. We should be independent, connected to other only as much as is necessary to succeed. We should be private about our lives. Being a part of a group is acceptable but not required. Life is not a team sport, but an individual event. Another popular President called personally for the leader of another country to tell down the walls around his society. He didn’t call on the country to do so. He called on the individual. To succeed is to win the gold medal or be the team leader. Generally, countries with democratic backgrounds are considered examples of individualism. The United States is a good example. How does the understanding of these two worldviews impact the strategy of a missionary or an individual on a mission? It is about knowing the audience. Understanding the context or perspective from which a person hears your message can go a long way in crafting a successful message. If your listener is not hearing your message, you will not be effective. How do you put idea to use or to the test? In presenting the idea of salvation to a person or people group with a collective background, presenting it in a manner that speaks to a shared-experience would be welcomed. Salvation is an experience that can be shared with others. It can lead to the inclusion in a group of believers who support and love each other commonly called the church. As a Christian, you become part of the largest more successful belief group in human history. You can be part of serving the God of all the Earth. You can one day sing in the heavenly choir! All God’s people will come to your support and assistance once you because part of “God’s people”. It is a very theologically sound presentation. A listener with an individualistic world view would hear this message quite differently. If presented as just described, they would quickly leave the building! They would have no desire to accept salvation. A different, equally theologically sound approach could be much more effective. Salvation is an individual experience. If in doubt, ask the thief on the cross. He had no group to join or support. Salvation is also private. If needed, it can be accomplished privately without even say an audible word. The salvation experience and the resulting walk with God are the ultimate of individual…