Skip to comments.Ayn Rand Really, Really Hated C.S. Lewis
Posted on 05/11/2013 12:12:17 PM PDT by JerseyanExile
Ayn Rand was no fan of C.S. Lewis. She called the famous apologist an abysmal bastard, a monstrosity, a cheap, awful, miserable, touchy, social-metaphysical mediocrity, a pickpocket of concepts, and a God-damn, beaten mystic. (I suspect Lewis would have particularly relished the last of these.)
These insults and more can be found in her marginal notes on a copy of Lewis Abolition of Man, as printed in Ayn Rands Marginalia: Her critical comments on the writings of over 20 authors, edited by Robert Mayhew. Excerpts appear below, with Lewis writing (complete with Rands highlighting and underlining) on the left and Rands notes on the right.
(Excerpt) Read more at firstthings.com ...
Ayn Rand was a very intriguing author and philosopher but she was vehemently anti-religion and pro-abortion. And she despised Ronald Reagan for not sharing her views.
Ayn Rand was right about the world...up to a point. But CS Lewis found the ultimate truth. Ayn Rand died in denial.
I’ve read most of their books, and Rand makes a good case for refuting Progressivism but her dream world is a harsh place of misery for most. That’s why her books refute progressives so easily. Because they envision the same world of misery, only with different masters and slaves.
Is anyone surprised?
For my 2 cents Rand can’t hold a candle to Lewis.
Well Ayn Rand was an atheist which kind of explains her hatred of him.
Ayn Rand had some useful insights into politics, government, etc.
She definitely made a contribution.
Faith or theology did not seem to be her strong fields, however...
Ayn Rand thought she was god.
There was a time when I was quite enamored with Ayn. Indeed her life story is an amazing one....but I also began to note her philosophical disdain _for_ the metaphysical and for the supernatural.
I also learned how men I respect like William F Buckley were not particularly fond of her “philosophy”. Additionally, I was disappointed to learn of her other moral failings...she seemed in them to be a supremely selfish (and not selfish in a morally good sense) person...her breaking of trust with her spouse, for instance, was not an ideal behavior.
Her interviews, available on youtube (some even near the end of her life, like on the Phil Donahue show) were interesting and showed someone who seemed to be supremely interested in the world empirically and politically but not spiritually...which made me sad. Her loneliness was evident.
My conclusion after internalizing all of this leads me to think Ayn Rand was quite right in her conclusion that capitalism was the best economic system, but her dismissal of the spiritual, religious sphere of life was woefully wrong.
My guess is her hatred for C.S. Lewis might have stemmed from the fact that they both seem to have come from the same fountain—an atheistic one—but Lewis was drawn out of that mindset, and she may have been angry about his conversion.
Atlas Shrugged reads more like prophecy these days than a novel. It’s all coming true.
Rand wouldn’t like Lewis, or Tolkien, or any non-atheist. Greed-fundamentalist, which still covers a lot of ground.
A reasonable idea from her perspective. She didn't believe in an afterlife and therefore she was to be the best she could be, please herself foremost and concentrate on what was best for her. This is an empty hollow philosophy as far as world interaction. I find it unlikely that many people could find happiness in that construct or find/receive/give love.
It occurs to me, there are no signs that her atheist views are coming true.
You apparently haven’t read Atlas Shrugged and have no idea what the plot entails.
When judging people, you had better be correct. It’s better to just judge actions rather than people. Regardless, I’ve read basically nothing from either of them.
Ping for later
Yep, I read her works as a teen and never saw it as anything more than some thought provoking nuts and bolts fiction that I could learn from in regards to that you mention, it never occurred to me to look into who she was as a person or to pay any attention to her in regards to God and faith.
I’m not much of a C.S. Lewis fan either but Rand would have disliked any real Christian.
If Rand has given any original argument for atheism, it can only crumble under the weight of God’s truth.
Ayn Rand, like Christopher Hitchens and Bertrand Russell, etc., are currently having their theology straightened out.
By the way, I did read JRRT’s authorized biography. Tolkein it seems had many conversations with C.S. Lewis within their mutual writer’s club (the Inklings). It seems JRRT convinced Lewis to become a Christian. I have known at least one Christian who disliked Lewis because of his earlier paganistic writings. I hope not to be judged based on my youthful ignorance.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy is one that leads souls to hell, and nations to destruction.
Tat was a very poorly constructed sentence on my part. Oh well. You know what I meant.
This point is not missed—that the atheist is led by ideology to hate the Christian, while the view of the Christian is to love the atheist.
Then I am done ever even thinking her name, because Lewis was an intellectual giant and creative genius aside as well as one of the most significant Christians of the 20th century.
The content weight of all the Bibles and Korans on Earth is nothing compared to the weight of scientific truth about evolution found in modern technical publications. The Earth, for instance, came into being about 4.6 billion years ago, long before Jesus appeared ... prompting a question. Why did God wait so long to send humans (and only humans) a savior?
I consider the works of Lewis to be among the most important re politics and theology of our time. You have missed out on a great treasure.
I wonder whether Ayn Rand would even have known what capitalism is without the insights of the Protestant Reformation that found Scriptural basis not only in the profit motive but the obligation to pursue that profit in the context of thoroughly incorporated ethics. Like don’t cheat your customers, you win in the short run, but you lose in the long run.
That’s the problem with the cult of Rand. Materialist atheism, whether Randian or Marxist, is going to produce a world no sane person would choose to live in. There is no humanity in either of their visions. She may have done good service as a counterweight against the intellectual bankruptcy of socialism, but at the end of the day she was still selling a brand of madness. Two sides of the crazy coin, IMO.
She really understood socialism but just from reading Atlas Shrugged, you can tell she’s a b*tch
It begs the question, would Rand have been willing to die in defense of her beliefs? Would she have expected others to do so? If a Randian utopia, a Galt's Gulch were established and came under attack, would its citizens band together to repel the threat and face mortal peril for the good of their fellow man (and in doing so violate their own canon), or would they merely stand fast and just defend their own property?
“The content weight of all the Bibles and Korans on Earth is nothing compared to the weight of scientific truth about evolution found in modern technical publications.”
When viewed from eternity, the “weight of scientific truth about evolution” won’t count for diddly. At heart, it is assuming the right to question God, to see if God is good enough to satisfy OUR morality. As CS Lewis points out in “God in the Dock”, that is ridiculous. If God is great enough to create the universe, then it is not for us to judge Him. What matters is not what we think about God, but what God thinks about us.
We are inveterate poets. Our imaginations awake. Instead of mere quantity, we now have a qualitythe sublime. Unless this were so, the merely arithmetical greatness of the galaxy would be no more impressive than the figures in the telephone directory. It is thus, in a sense, from ourselves that the material universe derives its power to over-awe us. To a mind which did not share our emotions, and lacked our imaginative energies, the argument from size would be sheerly meaningless. Men look on the starry heavens with reverence: monkeys do not.
(CS Lewis, God in the Dock, p.41).
Ayn Rand despised everyone who did not share ALL of her views. That was her ultimate tragedy - frankly she was a very arrogant and unpleasant person (as many philosophers are) and the fact that life dealt her a particularly unpleasant hand may be a reason, but not an excuse for that.
Ayn Rand had a bolt loose.
One thing that's always disturbed me about Ayn Rand was her lack of faith and atheistic views.
Still, on economic systems and the need for a profit motive, I believe she was exactly correct.
On matters of faith, I trust CS Lewis.
Strange that the two books that completely altered my life view were first the Bible and second Atlas Shrugged.
4.6 billion years is a blink of the eye in eternity. And Jesus (being divine) is eternal.
The arguments for evolution constantly change as what was supposedly scientific proof a few years ago is shown to be incorrect. You can place your faith in scientiffic journals which look ridiculous in 15 to 25 years but I will put my faith in the never changing word of God which has stood the test of time and is every bit as relevent and true today as it was the day it was written.
It is also worth remembering that many christians have trouble distinguishing between personal charity and sacrifice called for in the bible and collective efforts that are really sloughing off those responsibilities to "someone else".
I just bought an e-reader which I should have done long ago. Your advice is appreciated.
Yup. I can say a lot of nice things about Rand, but she certainly had flaws. If I had to choose between these two thinkers, I would trust that Lewis was closer to the real Truth. Not a close competition. But Rand did understand human nature better than some folks.
Freep-mail me to get on or off my pro-life and Catholic List:
Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
CS Lewis is also the gateway drug that leads a lot of people to Chesterton :-)
They in fact have trouble distinguishing between giving to the poor and giving to the state. Mainly because of the constant flood of lies and brainwashing from the government-controlled media. Can you blame them? Partially perhaps. Pity would be more appropriate.
“...both seem to have come from the same fountainan atheistic one...”
Godless souls ALWAYS manifest their human anger. Truth was breathed into the dust of Men at the dawn of time and it cannot be denied.
I love ‘em both, but both have their “issues”.
As a believing Christian, my heart aches for Rand, because true capitalism can’t flourish unless it is underpinned by Christian ethics.
The recent tragedy in Bangladesh, where over 1000 workers were killed in a factory collapse is a perfect example. When the profit motive (which is NOT particularly evil in and of itself) is not constrained by the “Golden Rule”, it deteriorates into exploitation, corruption, and greed. (and finally...death!)
The Judeo/Christian Ethic is NOT incompatible with free enterprise. It is, in fact, essential to its proper functioning.
The best and most profitable businesses are those where the owners treat their workers as fellow human beings, and not just parts of the machine.
I realize, of course, that Rand was raised in the USSR, as a secular Jew. I can’t even imagine what her childhood was like.
You sound like me..I loved her novels but would have never thought to become some devotee of her ‘teachings’ like a cult follower or research her life, etc.
The 1960’s and 70’s was full of authors and thinkers with cult followings...I just never had much use for stuff like that. In fact..whenever I sensed an author like that, I would run in the opposite direction...lol. I remember my hippie older sister coming home with a book called..’Be Here Now’ by some moron. I remember picking it up and thinking it was the stupidest book I had ever read...lol. Hippies everywhere carted it around like a bible or something.
That does not mean I have to live my life for those people. But I am a better person for helping give other people the opportunity to improve their lives. The opportunity though, and not simply living my life for them or taking from other people and giving to people who have no desire to improve their lot. Therefore, I'll never be a Rand follower. She can be admired for her fierce opposition to the totalitarian state, but her love of complete selfishness does not appeal to me.
Interesting. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" was the first step in my conversion to Christianity, a life changer, and I wouldn't claim "Atlas Shrugged" altered my life it was a strong influence in my thinking.
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