Skip to comments.Atlas Shrugged-Contradictions Where None Can Exist(VANITY)
Posted on 07/22/2002 4:31:37 PM PDT by dubyagee
Having heard Atlas Shrugged touted often on Free Republic as one of the greats in literature, I recently undertook reading all 1,000 plus pages of this objectivist bible. I was suprised to find that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and while I agree with much that Ayn Rand preaches (and boy, is she preachy) I find the fact that she denies that God exists quite contradictory to her reason. So from a Christian perspective, I have decided to place some of these contradictions before you, in order that I might be abused by your intellectual snobbery (grin)
First, Rand makes the mistake of lumping all believers in with looters. Were this the case, there would be no believers here at FR decrying big government or taking offense at the fact that the government wants our paychecks each month. The right wing fundamentalist bigots would not exist. Christians would be considered left wing lunatics. Clearly, there is a mistake in her presumption that all supernaturalists are the same. On a personal level, I have never met a Christian who would presume that the government should take care of those who refuse to take care of themselves, but only Christians who might venture to say, But by the grace of God, go I
Secondly, for someone who professes any form of supernaturalism as contrary to reason, Ayn Rand repeatedly refers to the ugly side of man as evil. Rand obviously believes that evil does exist. But if man is only truly alive and good when he is true to himself and his virtue, how can evil exist? Where did it come from? How could this good and wonderful being called man, distort and pervert good to the point that it became evil? What is the source of this evil? Religion, Rand might say. But why would this marvelously intelligent creature pervert what he knows to be true for the sake of destroying his species? In the words of Francisco DAnconia (I love this character, btw), Contradictions cannot exist. Good and evil contradict one another. The presence of both in this world is clearly a contradiction. Reason tells me that there must be a source from which each came. My reason tells me that each is trying to destroy the other, knowing that the two cannot exist indefinitely together.
Third, Rand does not believe that men are made up of nothing more than chemical reactions, but that they have a soul. A soul is supernatural in itself. We cannot see it. We cannot prove that it exists, but there are few who believe that it does not exist. If reason overrides all superstition, how can she make the claim that a man is more than what meets the eye? Does this not contradict the very essence of reason?
Finally, imagine Hank Reardon, creator of a vast empire, watching it be torn apart by those he has aided. The helplessness he felt, knowing that nothing he could say or do would convince them of their own smug self-righteousness. In that smug self-righteousness they desire to kill Reardon because he causes them to think, and therefore to see the evil within themselves. Now, if you would humor me for a moment, imagine the execution of a man named Jesus, who comes to this world He created, in a desire to save it from destruction by looters. He is, indeed, killed by smug self-righteous men who fear his logic. But instead of going to the ground, never to return in his greatness, he does return. And he acknowledges those who acknowledged him. And he gives gratitude to those who have shown him gratitude. And to those who did neither, he says simply, I knew you not. It is often said by those who belittle the intellectual capabilities of Christians, that the bible is full of contradictions and that a loving God would not turn his face from humans simply because they did not believe. But God, above all, would know, as did Ayn Rand, that evil does exist. The difference is that God would know from whence it came. And if he accepted all humans, regardless of their belief or unbelief, wouldnt he be aiding the looters in his own destruction and the destruction of those who were right? Wouldnt He be denying that He desired gratitude? Wouldnt he be denying that he deserved gratitude? Wouldnt that be a contradiction of all Ayn Rand professed to be right? If God exists, isnt acknowledgement and gratitude the least he deserves in return for his creation?
If a soul can exist, so too, can God. If, for the sake of argument, God does indeed exist, Rand has brought herself down to the level of the evil looters. Her greatest contradiction is her refusal to acknowledge the possibility that God does exist, thereby offering him no acknowledgement and no gratitude for that which she worshipped above all a great Mind. IMHO, Rand errs in her belief that this great mind that man possesses came from nowhere and from nothing because that in itself in contradictory. My reason tells me that greatness must come from that which is greater. Her denial was for the purpose of pursuing her own code of morality, which she perceived to be superior to that of God. She praises man and ignores the possibility of God, thereby corrupting her own belief system of giving gratitude and adulation to that which is greater than her.
The last thing that I am doing when I choose to believe in God is abandoning my reason. I am not practicing Morality of Death because before I believed in God I still believed in doing what is right. The bible does not contradict this; the bible simply makes it clear that men consistently choose that which is wrong over that which is right. Has history not proven this? Good and evil exist on this earth, of that no one can deny. Good and evil are contradictions in themselves, yet they both exist. Therefore, contradictions do exist. Although, according to my beliefs, one day they will cease to exist. But they will not cease before Atlas(God) shrugs(wink).
Ask any serious philosophers what they think of Ayn Rand (that is if you are lucky enough to know any...)
Must say that I am not lucky enough to know any....
For those of us who don't know any what would they say?
Hmmm...I hadn't thought about it like that.. ; * )
Not only that, but it's common sense. That's putting it mildly, trust me. Nice piece.
Reason can be used for (what most would consider) great good or great evil. Gandhi and Stalin both employed reason in just about everything they did. Similarly, religious believers do not abandon reason. Christ told his followers to be as wise as serpents.
If I asked a serious philosopher about Marx and he DIDN'T laugh, I'd be a bit taken aback. But that's not the way it is. Marx is taken quite seriously by many different areas of scholarship.
Man is a rational animal. When he is no longer rational he becomes evil.
"To know one's own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: rationality." - Ayn Rand.
What causes man to become irrational?
So goodness is about selfishness (not working for the good of the whole)?