Skip to comments.Reconciling Ayn Rand with the Gospel
Posted on 04/23/2011 7:42:56 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
“If Anyone Will Not Work, Let Him Not Eat.”
The Christian religion is a religion of self-reliance combined with *voluntary* Charity given by believers to those who are incapable of work.
For those for whom this simple statement isn’t enough, Jesus himself retold it in the form of a parable.
Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, “Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!” Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise answered, saying, “What if there isn’t enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.” While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” But he answered, “Most certainly I tell you, I don’t know you.”
The Christian is industrious, prepared, and self-reliant.
Rand’s philosophy is not incompatible with true Christianity. It is incompatible with the false gospel of the Sojouners.
I know Paine believed in God but didn't believe that Jesus was the literal Son of God or God in the flesh.
It sounds like Rand may be in that category. But I don't know. That line about, "In the beginning was Logic and Logic was with God and Logic was God", I find fascinating.
Rand proclaimed herself an atheist.
RE: Did she proclaim herself an atheist or was she branded an atheist like Thomas Paine?
From Wikipedia (EXCERPTS):
“She later recalled that while in high school she determined that she was an atheist and that she valued reason above any other human attribute.”
“In metaphysics, Rand embraced philosophical realism and atheism, and opposed anything she regarded as mysticism or supernaturalism, including all forms of religion. In epistemology, she considered all knowledge to be based on sense perception, the validity of which she considered axiomatic, and reason, which she described as “the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by man’s senses”
“Chris Matthew Sciabarra has called into question the motives of some of Rand’s critics because of what he calls the unusual hostility of their criticisms. Sciabarra writes, “The left was infuriated by her anti-communist, pro-capitalist politics, whereas the right was disgusted with her atheism and civil libertarianism.”
I was an Ayn Rand rah rah back in the 60’s and greedily devoured everything she wrote. Nathanial Brandon came to speak on our campus and his presentation totally turned me against Objectivism. First of all, and please it’s been many years... he said in essence, to take everything they have to say to the letter, it’s all or none. Secondly, any form of religion is not Objectivist and to love one another as Christ teaches, is absurd, love of self comes first.
He made it very clear that you cannot pick and choose what they offered... you must swallow it whole. Isn’t that kinda like religion? Would one be an objectivist if they took 100% of what someone else said? It just seemed to be contradictory and certainly against who Jesus is in my life.
To the extent that Rand was yearning for freedom, you can. The Gospel message is that you can be FREE in Christ. Perfect freedom.
2 Peter 2:19
They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravityfor people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.
2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
I've only read your article here and haven't seen this movie, but I would argue that Rand is not necessarily correct in this statement. As Aquinas, Coke, Blackstone, and others discussed, there are various types of reason and not all are tied to godly reason. Reason is a subset of God. You could say reason is a subset of truth. You could also say reason is a subset of faith. Reason is not absolute, but God Himself, of course, is.
Oswald Chambers has said (sans my additions in italics), Reason without faith is rationalism (what we have a great deal of today) and faith without reason is fanaticism. God's life is not without reason, of course, but His life reaches beyond the comprehension of our reason where only faith can go. We ultimately walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7) and are to trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not to our own understanding (Prov 3:5). So reason is our servant, not our master, and certainly not "absolute" because our reason is fallible and can be exercised apart from God Himself. We are to be ultimately ruled by God Himself, not by our reason.
Rand was a product of her Soviet environment. She did not have the benefit of religious influence in her young life, and left on her own, didn’t explore anything beyond what she witnessed through her own eyes. A realist to the max.
But she DID see the horrors of collective thought that suppressed individual achievement and personal success. And she saw man’s ugly side, the desire to profit from the work of others.
In the name of compassion, we’ve taken that concept to a whole new level of it being forced instead of voluntary. Rand saw this dangerous trend here, saw what it did to the human spirit in Russia, and developed her philosophy of Objectivism. Sure, it’s not even remotely like Christianity or any other religion, but it does overlap quite nicely.
So she was an atheist. She still had a lot to say of value.
The Christian religion is a religion of self-reliance combined with *voluntary* Charity given by believers to those who are incapable of work.Everything great in Western Civilization -- the Rights of Man, modern science, free markets -- all stem from the Christian religion.
That's why the leftists hate it so much.
(Of course, a lot stems from Islam too: pedophilia, rape, murder, subjugation of women, jihad, boys humping boys... got to give credit where credit is due.)
I'd say there's a lot of things, including what you mentioned, that cause leftists, and others, to hate Christianity. For instance, the Christian view of the nature of man is anathema to many.
To attempt to reconcile Ayn Rand to the Gospel is an act of futility or idolatry. Psalm 14:1; 53:1.
Then, read Acts 2:42-47 for how the early church lived and then 2 Corinthians 8:10-15 for the way the churches were supposed to act toward each other in this part of the Church Age.
Rand was against charity. Try this; Ephesians 4;28.
Ayn Rand’s philosophy is interesting but evil. Either God is on the throne of your heart or you are. If you are, then you are serving the Devil himself. Enjoy the ride.
You’re right, of course. There are many reasons. But I think the Rights of Man stem from the nature of man as viewed by Christians.
For instance, the Christian view of the nature of man is anathema to many.
They can not stand the idea of original sin. They will not admit that humans are fundamentally flawed. The basic premise of the leftist state is that man can be perfected with the application of the right state policies.
The best parts of Rands Objectivism are thinly disguised elements of theistic Natural Law, painted over with a thin patina of atheism to make them palatable to a broader audience. Objectivism recognizes a great truth, also accepted by theistic Natural Law, that economic process works best in terms of matching needs to resources when it is conceived of as the interaction of self-interested peers. However, it arrives at this right conclusion for the wrong reason. Reality is objective and reason may be used to discover much about it. But reality is also bigger than anything we can see with either our eyes or our minds. Limiting our definition of morality, as Rand recommends, to asking the single question, Whats in it for me, falls well short of the better solution provided in theistic Natural Law as the Founders used it.
Why? Because without rights being a grant from the Creator, there is no logical stopping point whereby we may prevent ourselves from descending into the Nietzschean nightmare struggle for individual dominance, the surrender of all reason and morality to an eternal battle among selfish selves, irresolvable for lack of an Arbiter. This, BTW, is why Marxism and Objectivism end up at the same destination. Marxism, as a system of ideals, is nothing but a facade to get buy-in from useful idiots; the real game is what it has always been, what Rand and Nietzsche say it is, that some pigs end up being more equal than others, just because they can be. In the end, there is no separating Rand from Nietzsche, and therefore there is, apart from principles borrowed illegitimately from theistic Natural Law, no reconciling Rand with Christian theism.
Weak argument. See my blog post on this topic at www.offgridblogger.wordpress.com.
A nonsensical headline.
Ayn Rand was the only one who could reconcile Ayn Rand with the Gospel, and she refused to do so.
I read the book, wish she had been a Christian, but she’s right about freedom of man and how the state should not lord it over the individual man and overtax.