I answered "Individual with Christ". Due to His love for Mankind, I believe that Christ would have come down to save the world even if there was only one person on it to be saved. Does this mean that the community is unimportant? No. But when it comes down to it, we are saved as individuals. That is why the Creed says "I believe" and not "We believe" as some Protestants have rendered it. However, since there is a Church and a community of believers, I believe that the individual has the responsibility to make use of every resource possible to work out his Salvation. Neglecting the community would likely not be helpfull for the Salvation of most people. There may be some, but I would think they are rare.
"Once upon a time there was a peasant woman and a very wicked woman she was. And she died and did not leave a single good deed behind. The devils caught her and plunged her into the lake of fire. So her guardian angel stood and wondered what good deed of hers he could remember to tell to God; ‘She once pulled up an onion in her garden,’ said he, ‘and gave it to a beggar woman.’ And God answered: ‘You take that onion then, hold it out to her in the lake, and let her take hold and be pulled out. And if you can pull her out of the lake, let her come to Paradise, but if the onion breaks, then the woman must stay where she is.’ The angel ran to the woman and held out the onion to her. ‘Come,’ said he, ‘catch hold and I’ll pull you out.’ he began cautiously pulling her out. He had just pulled her right out, when the other sinners in the lake, seeing how she was being drawn out, began catching hold of her so as to be pulled out with her. But she was a very wicked woman and she began kicking them. ‘I’m to be pulled out, not you. It’s my onion, not yours.’ As soon as she said that, the onion broke. And the woman fell into the lake and she is burning there to this day. So the angel wept and went away." (Grushenka to Aloysha in Chapter 3 of The Brothers Karamazov)
The moral of the story: We are condemned alone but are only saved with others.
Also the Creed originally reads "We" not "I" and it is in this form that every Church but the Latin and Byzantine recite it.
The Brothers K is one of my favorite books. Unfortunately you are quoting the scandalous Grushenka who does not represent the Church. Better to follow Zosima the Spritual Father at the monastery where in the same chapter we find: A haggard women tells Zosima she murdered her husband. Zosima tells her that God forgives all sins, and as long as she lives in perpetual repentance and loves God, her sin will be forgiven too.
And yet does not Grushenka eventually accept her role in the murder of Fyodor and share in the guilt, which is the first step to repentance and redemption?
And, if I recall, the tale Grushenka weaves is actually an old Russian story not of Dostoevsky's making.
I think others have already responded to this better than I.
By Michael on http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2010/10/pulling-onions.html
I think the parable wasn't trying to show that "onion giving" automatically leads to justification, but that selfishness – which includes trying to exclude other people from the grace of God – is antagonous to God. Or, to reverse the argument: love – which encompasses giving, sharing, mercy, self-sacrificing, grace, etc. – draws a man closer to God.
"God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1.John 4:16)
Believing in Jesus entails something far deeper than the agreement with a certain creed or doctrine:
"If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23
Keeping Jesus' words is not about just following a set of rules, but loving one another, as Jesus loves us. (John 15:12)
The woman in the parable was not yet ready to love – she had too much fear: it was the fear that, if she shared God's forgiveness with too many others, there wouldn't be enough left for herself.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." 1.John 4:18
Note that the greek word "teleia", which is translated here as "perfect", can also mean "whole". So you see, it is not about giving onions, whether it be one or ten billion, it is about giving our whole heart, and wholeheartedely loving. The woman in the parable was unable to give her whole heart – she insisted on clutching to it, keeping it for herself.
Let us hope that the torment in hell will teach her to let go and become more and more compassionate. As soon as she does, the hell-fire will stop for her, because whosoever has become whole and complete in love will cease to experience the torment that is caused by the hell of our own making: the hell of our fear, the fear that causes all selfishness (including all the extremely selfish theological ideas that attempt to exclude many of our siblings from the grace of God and banish them to an eternal hell) .