The Judeo-Christian tradition recognizes the individual, apart from the mob. That individual is invited to meet and talk, face to face and utterly spontaneously, with God, without interruption from any earthly authority. That encounter is the life spark of Western Civilization.
We define, and recognize, by contrasts. I learn much about Christian prayer and Christian monasticism by comparing them with their opposites. I think of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” and what it says about my faith – specifically, what it says about the Judeo-Christian concept of God, of man, and of prayer. I think of how that artwork and its implications contrast with other belief systems: modern Atheism, ancient Paganism, and Islam.