Whether expressed with these exact words, or in some other form, I find it both fascinating and troubling how deeply this sentiment appears to be embedded within the church-at-large. And it's certainly not unique to the deconstructing postmodernists among us! Its much more widespread than that, being touted across generational and perhaps even ideological lines.
As I see it, we're standing in the midst of a culture that worships the autonomy of "self" -- a culture that empowers the legitimacy, authority, and infallibility of the individual. This is an emphasis which has been relentless in its undermining of social institutions: marriage, family, church, and communal responsibility. Why? Cause it's all about me! MY needs, MY wants, MY ideas, MY beliefs.
And when such a person's beliefs clash with those held by their community of faith -- or better yet -- when they clash with the "trajectory of belief," which Christians in all places at all times have always believed... well, then it's time in either words or actions to resort to the inevitable: "Don't tell me what to believe!"
Our churches are filled with people so addicted to the tenants of radical individualism, they are completely oblivious to how it is raping and pillaging our faith. Tradition, reason, and the authority of the scriptures are so quickly being set aside in favor of "personal beliefs." And the arrogance of such a hermeneutic is all too often ignored.
In the days of Israel's kings, it was Ba'al worship which often seduced God's people into committing spiritual adultery -- something the prophets repeated railed them for. Today, the idol of choice is no farther away than our own mirrors. And the infidelity continues.
Lord, help us!
Our Orthodox brethren remind us of the importance of letting our ancestors have a say in what we believe. To do so requires humility, surrender, a teachable spirit, and a greater sense of faith. These are qualities we desperately need more of -- qualities that just might lead to our deliverance from self.