Individualism does not necessarily mean that each person lives a solitary life, yet the Christian life is based in love, which implies living in relationship to others. In order to love we need someone to love. Individualism can cause us to forget that humans are relational beings – from the time of our conception in our mother’s womb, we are meant to be in relationship with others, interdependent with others, living in love with others. “One Christian is no Christian,” says Tertullian (d. ca 220AD). St. Basil the Great (d. 379AD) asked those Christians who wanted to live a solitary life, “whose feet will you wash?” The implication being we can only imitate Christ by living in loving service to others. The Christian life consists in learning to live in relationship to brother, sister, parent, neighbor, others, and even enemy.
“But a life passed in solitude is only concerned with the private service of individual needs. This is openly opposed to the law of love, which the Apostle fulfilled, who sought not what was profitable to himself but to many that they might be saved. Furthermore, a person living in solitary retirement will not readily discern his own defects, since he has no one to admonish and correct him with mildness and compassion…” (Chryssavgis, John, The Way of the Fathers: Exploring the Patristic Mind pg 43)