Discussing
Should Ayn Rand be off-limits to Christians?

Daniel Burke

Brenda Heyink
June 17, 2011

To make the question of Rand more interesting, one can also ask about how her words actually fit into how she lived her life. After all, her 'dog-eat-dog' world had to have enough space for medicare - even if she denounced others that used it, she didn't hold on to her theories strongly enough not to accept it herself. Good commentary on this can be found at: <a href="http://gruntledcenter.blogspot.com/2011/01/ayn-rand-goes-on-medicare.html" rel="nofollow">http://gruntledcenter.blogspot...</a>

Brian Murphy
June 17, 2011

There is plenty of stuff in Rand's philosophy that isn't good. Much of it is mistaken, but she does make some good points. We shouldn't follow her philosophy blindly but we can take pieces of it that make sense. <br><br>Just because someone is an atheist doesn't mean everything that say and think is bad.

Craig
June 17, 2011

Unfortunately, Christianity gets pulled both ways by well-intentioned<br> Christians who believe that either unrestrained capitalism or <br>compulsory socialism is the economy of the Kingdom; neither is correct. <br>John Wesley's view of a healthy capitalism was to "make as much as you <br>can, save as much as you can, give as much as you can" - all three had <br>to be in play for capitalism to be biblical. And an understanding of <br>Acts 2 does not read as New Testament Marxist theory when one <br>understands that Communism saying, "What's yours is mine," is very different from Christianity saying, "What's mine is yours."<br><br><br>The extremes of pure capitalism or pure socialism are both evil, and <br>there's plenty of evidence in the world to support this claim. Whichever<br> extreme of the economic spectrum one may favor, Atlas Shrugged - in book or movie form - should serve as a nuanced critique of both rather than a simplistic rationale for either.<br><br>More here if you want it: <a href="http://dunhams.typepad.com/seconddrafts/2011/04/review-atlas-shrugged-part-1.html" rel="nofollow">http://dunhams.typepad.com/sec...</a>

Brian Murphy
June 17, 2011

John Wesley's view requires the free market (unrestrained capitalism), if people are to be able to give their money freely. Anything other than unrestrained capitalism is taking from others so that you can give it to others.

Gaosterberg
June 17, 2011

It's easy for us as Christians to simply dismiss any challenging work. If we can prove that they don't worship our God, then we can disregard anything from a particular source. The problem is that God didn't even follow that logic, often placing the prophets of the Old Testament under the influence, and often friendship, of leaders who didn't worship our God. Often those leaders did find a path to worshiping God, but the outcome was only certain to God never the people involved. Cutting ourselves off from authors, people, ideas, and modern day leaders, doesn't raise God up. We need to engage and connect, and prayerfully seek to turn all things to God's will. Of course, this all fits within Paul's warnings about not excercising our freedoms at the sake of our brothers and sisters. So, for example, if discussing Atlas Shrugged with a fellow believer caused them harm in someway, then we should refrain.

Jason Summers
June 17, 2011

It's a bit misleading to use a phrase like "unrestrained capitalism" and even more problematical to equate that phrase with free-market economies.  As Adam Smith and many since have noted, existence of free markets is predicated on a government structure that provides the space (rule of law) and the tools (fair measures) for those market to operate.  There is nothing particularly "unrestrained" about it.  Rather it is a carefully circumscribed system made possible only through the proscriptions of government.<br><br>Wesley's view is not so far removed from those of the founding fathers, who recognized the role moral frameworks must play in creating the conditions for our democratic republic.<br><br>The current practice of couching the question in the context of private-property arguments about whether one is fully autonomous in the use of money is both unhelpful and ahistorical.js

ReligionIsGhostStories
June 17, 2011

Economy of the kingdom?  Wow, its scary that this line of thought exists in America because it sounds like the kind of talk you'd hear about in Saudi Arabia.

StrngeFruit
June 17, 2011

I think your summary questions at the end are much better than the question in your title. Ceonsorship is not the answer at all here. Brian's comments speak well to this matter.

Maureen
June 17, 2011

Rand speaks strongly to individual responsibility. I can see how Rand's ideas about excellence translate for Christians who are trying to figure out how personal accountability before God applies to their financial and political lives. <br><br>Rand also names self-interest as the defining motivation for capitalism. Sometimes altruism is included in a political or philosophical position as a smokescreen to hide selfishness. I do appreciate Rand's honesty. And a society where everyone is striving for excellence (OT writers, Jesus and Paul all encouraged excellence), even if the motivation is selfish, is going to have some positive results. <br><br>Ultimately, though I think motivation has to trump results. Christ should be the defining influence for Christians.<br>

Adam Lehman
June 17, 2011

Rand's artwork is beautiful. He philosophy, while easily tied to government, can't be tied to love. <br><br>Highlighting her anti-religious views and using them to discredit the validity of her inspiration of governmental budgeting is a deceptive tactic. Her atheism has nothing to do with the validity of the inspiration of her politics. <br><br>As you mentioned in the article, Dems are using this to try to weaken the support of Christians for Repubs, not to make a legitimate point. It's inciting emotional response, not honest debate.

Seth
June 17, 2011

While I agree that you can't simply discredit Ayn Rand because she's an atheist (which clearly, the post did not do), on the other hand, once you engaged her work it is apparent that she defined her philosophy in contradistinction from religion. Therefore, much of her worldview is by definition un-Christian. Even, dare I say, anti-Christian. How one can "glean" from an anti-Christian philosophy is beyond me.

Jas-nDye
June 17, 2011

The problem isn't that Rand is an atheist. Hopefully, we all have atheist friends. We know that the apostles and church fathers borrowed or adapted heavily from pagan myths and philosophy (at the very least to make sense of this new kingdom ethos to a pagan culture. and often, because they themselves came from a pagan culture). I myself lean a bit towards socialism, and the biggest proponents of that theory are atheists.<br><br>Being an atheist isn't so much the problem. It's more *why* she declares herself to be an atheist. Like Nietzsche, she views Christianity and the cross (and sacrificial love) as weaknesses. In fact, she declares it to be evil. <br><br>For more: <a href="http://leftcheek.blogspot.com/2011/04/ayn-rand-v-jesus-christ-round-1.html" rel="nofollow">http://leftcheek.blogspot.com/...</a>

Jamesggilmore
June 17, 2011

Rand doesn't just "challenge" Christianity, though; she openly rejects not only the theology of the religion, but even the ultimate premise. For her, any act done for another person, any act of altruism, is a violation of a moral law to act for yourself first. That's not just a rejection of Christian doctrine (the idea that Jesus died and was raised, etc), but of the entire mindset upon which Christianity is based. It is completely incompatible with any Christian worldview, which holds the self-sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the very highest, very best thing that has ever happened. Ayn Rand declares the ultimate act of good to be an ultimate act of evil; that is 180º from Christianity.

Ross Kendall
June 17, 2011

Documentary film maker Adam Curtis has recently produced as 3 part series for the BBC here in the UK. The first part examines in depth the influence of Any Rand on American politics and economics.  I can highly recommend you watch this:<br><br>All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace<br>Episode 1: Love and Power<br><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz2j3BhL47c" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...</a>

KenLeonard
June 17, 2011

Interestingly, for years conservative Christians have derided anyone who supports anything that looks like Marxism ... but now are looking to defend Rand. To those of us who lack partisan loyalty, it's at once an amusing irony and sad reality of modern Christian life.<br><br>Anyway ... no, there is nothing redeeming in Rand. In order to say that there is, you have to get to such a simple point that you just think that market fredom is better than socialism. That's not original material to Ayn Rand. Once you start talking about the woman who wrote "The Virtue of Selfishness" without irony, there is very little of what she says that is compatible with Christian thought.<br><br>She wasn't just anti-Socialist. She was anti-charity. She referred to the celebration of the idea of self-sacrifice as treating humans as "sacrificial animals" and saw that as the real immorality. Not just being against government charity ... against charity.<br><br>That's your Ayn Rand for you. Doesn't really match up with the story of the sheep, goats, and "the least of these," methinks.

Jamesggilmore
June 17, 2011

There is no Ayn Rand in Christ, and no Christ in Ayn Rand. The two philosophies are completely incompatible; to accept any Ayn Rand is to accept the philosophy of Satan.<br><br>Christians hold that the sacrificial act and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the pivot of history, and the highest possible good. "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down one's life for one's friends." We are called to aspire to Jesus's sacrifice for others, to love others as Christ loved us by emptying ourselves for other people. The people admired by Christians are people who have done exactly that, who have sacrificed livelihood and wealth and even their lives for others or for Christ. Altruism is the highest good for the Christian, and selfishness the ultimate evil, the very act that got Lucifer cast out of heaven. Christ Himself says that when we are judged, we will be judged by what we did for "the least of these"—whether we fed the hungry, clothed the naked, gave drink to the thirsty, etc.<br><br>Ayn Rand turns that entire concept on its head, declaring any altruistic act to be a moral evil that is contrary to our true "objective" nature as self-interested beings; to her, the highest good is to take whatever one can from the world and exploit whoever one needs to exploit to get it, with absolutely no concern for the needs or well-being of others. For her, if she believed in the divinity of Christ, his sacrifice would be seen as the highest and ultimate act of evil; for God, the ultimate power in the universe, to sacrifice <i>anything</i> of God's-self for humans would be an archetypal act of immorality, a betrayal of the "everyone for themselves" nature of the universe. For Ayn Rand, "the least of these" are parasites wanting to feed off of the work of the exceptional people whose lives actually have value.<br><br>I don't see how even someone who supports capitalism (which is, of course, an economic system built entirely on selfishness) and the so-called "free market" (which is, of course, just as much a human construction as any regulated market) could simultaneously espouse the philosophy of Ayn Rand and the philosophy of Jesus Christ. Even if one believes that the ideology of capitalism and the ideology of Christianity are compatible, it's clear to this Christian that they are only compatible insofar as capitalism leaves room for those who are exceptionally good at making money to give away most or all of their wealth for the benefit of "the least of these"; Rand's philosophy rejects even individual, private acts of charity as moral evils incompatible with what she understands as the natural law of selfishness. <br><br>To Rand, "the least of these" should either go to work and make something useful of themselves, or have the good grace to dig a hole in the ground and die quickly in it, so that the productive people don't even have to waste their time digging a hole to bury their worthless bodies. No Christian could possibly accept even part of such a philosophy without the deepest, most profound, and most unacceptable forms of moral compromise.<br><br>I also can't possibly leave this comment thread <i>without</i> posting several of my favorite quotations about Ayn Rand:<br><br>"There are two novels that can transform a bookish 14-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood in which large chunks of the day are spent inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel. The other is a book about orcs." – From <i>The Value of Nothing</i> by Raj Pate<br><br>"The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail." – Flannery O'Connor, in a letter<br>

Jamesggilmore
June 17, 2011

Who's talking about or even suggesting censorship as an answer?<br><br>We don't need to censor Rand's ideas; that would only strengthen them. Rather, we need to be crystal clear in calling Rand's philosophy for what it is: A Satanic philosophy, completely incompatible with and opposite from any philosophy with Christ as its base. <br><br>There is no censorship there, only the completely justified and completely righteous moral condemnation of ideas that are the very essence and nature of moral evil.

Josh Larsen
TC Staff
June 17, 2011

I read "The Fountainhead" as a confident, know-it-all teen and was engrossed by its story of a supremely gifted architect who refused to compromise. Reading it again later, after a variety of life experiences humbled me, I still found it fascinating, but shallow. Perhaps that's what people mean when they frequently refer to her work as juvenile.

Mgeertsma
June 17, 2011

There's nothing wrong with Christians learning from an atheist. Much of the world's truth has been discovered by people who claim no religious belief. <br><br>What makes Ayn Rand's politics different is that they seem to wallow in the mire of our sinful nature. She doesn't just acknowledge human selfishness; she reveres it. This unapologetic glorification of greed, to our often repressed and censored selves, can seem a breath of fresh air. And from a purely humanistic perspective, perhaps it is.<br><br>However, Christians are to strive for redemption from that sinful nature--not just redemption in the world to come, but in this world. And in that light, Rand's ideas no longer breathe life--they suck it dry. I will not say that there is nothing true in her writing. I won't even say there's nothing appealing. Like most other religious and political debates, this one is not nearly as black and white as most want to make it.  <br><br>Yet I am saddened by the fervor with which so many Christians have latched onto (and loudly defended) Rand's ideas. A political philosophy devoid of grace, love and forgiveness simply cannot be reconciled with a Gospel built upon grace, love and forgiveness.

Brian Murphy
June 17, 2011

She says that her philosophy at odds with Christianity, in many ways she is correct, but in many ways she doesn't even understand Christianity.

Auret7
June 17, 2011

frankly. she is the antichrist.

Jamesggilmore
June 17, 2011

While I think it might be fair to say that she might not understand the finer points of Christian doctrine, she understood two of the key philosophical and moral underpinnings of Christianity: "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down one's life for one friends," and "Whatever you did for the least of these, you also did for me."<br><br>Her philosophy not only rejected but explicitly opposed both of those things, suggesting that both are evil in that they violate the high moral law of self-interest above all other things. I'd say that her statement that her philosophy is at odds with Christianity is the case in every way that matters—and that, as Christians, we should reject all things Rand.

Jmichaelel
June 17, 2011

Not exactly. Rand would argue that sacrificial love is perfectly acceptable, altruism isn't. In other words, it is perfectly acceptable to sacrifice for someone you love and enjoy, not for someone you don't. As a Calvinist, this is how I understand the atonement.

Gaosterberg
June 17, 2011

My response was directed to the leading question: is Rand off limits to Christians? I would agree that the philosophies don't seem to be compatible, but does that make her work "off limits"? I feel that even with those who we disagree widely, even at a basic level, there is no reason on a general level (personal conscience would be an exception) that engaging with them or their ideas would be prohibited. Engagement does not require agreement or even acceptance. Perhaps I misunderstood the thoughts behind the post, but my concern was that the idea of "off limits" would suggest a kind of intelectual isolationism. All worldly knowlege can be received and then weighed in light of Godly knowledge as handed down to us in Scripture.

Oceanranch
June 17, 2011

Rand in her novel "The Fountainhead" uses as an analogy the cigarette to show man's power to control nature, as shown in the controlled burning of the tobacco and paper. I thought when I read this how this was really an ironic metaphor of how the godless, like Rand, are really controlled rather than vice versa. They have only the illusion of control and are slaves to countless substances of this world (when she wrote this, the full evils of smoking were not yet realized). Rand, a heavy smoker contracted lung cancer and died of heart failure in 1982. Rands Objectivism is in no way compatible with following Christ. You cannot serve two masters. Choose self or choose Christ. You cannot have it both ways.

Saint Stewart
June 17, 2011

If you aren't for YHWH, you are against Him. Revelation 3:14-22. Especially verse 16. <br><br>Following someone who doesn't follow the Lord is not only the blind leading the blind, it is beyond stupid. You set yourself up as an enemy of the Lord.

Wmrharris
June 17, 2011

As long as we think of these as simply competing philosophies, "Rand v. Christ, the ultimate smack-down!" then it certainly is possible reconcile. In fact, it is possible to completely ignore the Randites or the poor (your choice), it's just a philosophy.<br><br>However, the problem is not at the level of philosophy but at the level of moral and ethical truth claims. That is, what do we base our living on, what claim does God make on our lives? It would seem to be pretty clear, that the  Gospel calls to us to have certain ideas (and act on them) with respect to the poor and weak. If the Gospel is right that we must "remember the poor" then it is no longer a debatable point, rather, the issue is how the gold of Egypyt as it were, helps us achieve the Gospel mandated ends. <br><br>

Jamesggilmore
June 18, 2011

And yet, we are called to love and serve all. Even if you accept a doctrine of limited atonement—and to be perfectly frank, I find the idea that there are some people God <i>doesn't</i> love to be utterly repugnant in its characterization of God and in its potential social consequences—there can be no doubt that God calls the Christian to act out of love and service toward all people, and makes clear that God will judge the person by their treatment of "the least of these." <br><br>Such sentiments would be explicitly opposed by Rand, who would suggest that only productive people are worthy of love (and then, only insofar as they serve some use to your own selfish desires as an individual), and the "parasites"—who would be the very people Jesus describes as "the least of these"—are worthy only of scorn and hatred, if one pays them any mind at all.

Jamesggilmore
June 18, 2011

Oh, I completely agree that we should <i>engage</i> Randism. We should learn all that we can about it so that we can expose it for the anti-Christ philosophy it is. Our immediate aim should be to make it clear that it is categorically impossible to be a follower of Christ if one accepts any of Rand's teachings; our ultimate aim should be to utterly dismantle it as a socially-acceptable philosophy. (It once was considered such, until the most recent "comeback" by Rand's followers in the Tea Party.) We should engage it like we would engage any other philosophy that completely opposes Christ and the Kingdom.<br>Not only should we hold Randism up to the light of the special revelation we have as Christians—as found in Scripture, the traditions of the church, and our reasoning minds as honed through life in the Kingdom community—but we should also hold it up to the general revelation received by all, pointing out that it is not only completely opposed to Christian doctrine and practice, but it is also opposed to even the most basic dictates of the human conscience and morality.<br><br>I don't think Randism should be "off limits" to Christians to talk about, but I do think that clear lines need to be drawn: There is no Rand in Christ, and no Christ in Rand. My understanding of this post was that it was asking whether or not a Christian could get something useful out of Rand—not whether we should add it to some kind of de facto "banned books list." And my answer to the former question is an emphatic, unequivocal "NO." There is absolutely nothing for the Christian in Ayn Rand.

Frangible
June 18, 2011

Seems most people here haven't read Aristotle. What strikes people as unconventional her work would have been immediately comprehended by that great min, Aquinas, a thinker Rand herself took some pains to praise.  Here use of the genetic-causal method, building up from precepts to concepts to arguments, her assertion of the objective existence of The Good, the emphasis on Arete - all of this, in the world of the Summa, perfectly sound. Perhaps Rand is more of a problem for Protestants, who reject  Roman Catholic dogmas such as that the existence of God can be proven through the use of the unaided reason. In the war against the New Idols, from communism through fascism and on to today's tyranny of the politically correct, I say of her what Maritain said of Aquinas - not merely that she was right, but is right.  <br><br>As to how one could appreciate Rand and be a sincere Christian, may I commend to your attention a novel "The Rainbow Cadenza" in which two characters, one a Christian priest and the other a female artist, represent what the author calls "The two leading exponents of reason in the 20th century - C.S. Lewis and Ayn Rand".

Jason Summers
June 18, 2011

F-<br><br>There's an interesting discussion (that quickly devolves) of this very idea you mention to be found here: <a href="http://catholicforum.fisheaters.com/index.php?topic=3430399.0" rel="nofollow">http://catholicforum.fisheater...</a><br><br>There is no doubt Rand wanted to place herself in the lineage of scholasticism, but it seems to me that the majority of those who share that view also support her other views. (cf. <a href="http://www.soulofatlas.com/2009/07/soul-of-atlas-ayn-rand-meets-cs-lewis.html)" rel="nofollow">http://www.soulofatlas.com/200...</a><br><br>In any case, Schulman is certainly an interesting character (e.g., <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Neil_Schulman)" rel="nofollow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J...</a>, but it seems he is certainly among that group who wish to harmonize a prior commitment to Rand with the scholastic tradition of Christian thought.<br><br>As for Lewis and Rand, I imagine she and an early (sexist) Lewis would have made for a great cage match between the wars and a later Lewis wouldn't have had much use for her less erudite classicism. <br><br>js

Sistersharonblcl
June 18, 2011

EVENING ALL<br><br>                             IT SPOOKS ME TO SEE THINGS LIKE THIS NOT BELIEVING IN OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST...WE HAVE THE NERVES TO NOT TOO BELIEVE WHEN GOD BLOW HIS BREATH INTO OUR BODIES AND GAVE US ALL LIFE WOW NOT QUITE SURE WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE LIKE THAT I ONLY PRAY THAT GOD WILL TOUCH AND SAVE MINDS  BODIES AND SOULS... I WOULD NEVER EVER WANT TO SEE A LOST SOUL AND IN KNOWING THAT... THAT MEANS IF THEY DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE GOD THEN WHEN HE COMES IT IS SAID TO SAY BUT HE WILL SAY FLEE FROM ME AS I DO NOT KNOW YOU AND CAST THEM INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE WITH SATAN. WOW)))))))) HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE YOUR SELF ENOUGH TO GO STRAIGHT TO HELL...HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE GOD ENOUGH TO ENTER INTO THE GOLDEN GATES OF HEAVEN AS HE HAS PROMISE US... BUT WE ALWAYS CLAIM THAT WE LOVE OUR SELVES ... BUT THE REAL LOVE COMES FROM GOD AND HIS SON JESUS THAT IS REAL LOVE IN GOD'S GRACE AMEN.

Greg Corron
June 18, 2011

Rand's answer to the question, "What is truth?" is exactly in step with the Bible's.  She would be in total agreement, for instance, with Proverbs chs. 1 and 2, extolling the virtues of understanding clearly the meaning of things, and how this understanding is the most important thing to the soul of man.  She rightly rejected mysticism, but wrongly supposed that people were born without original sin.  I wonder how she could have concluded that, since almost everyone alive failed to live up to her expectations?

Siarlys Jenkins
June 18, 2011

It is rather difficult to conform "Love your neighbor as yourself," much less "sell all that you have, give to the poor, take up your cross and follow me" with either the sheer individuality or worship of capitalism that Ayn Rand offers. You can be a reasonably successful investor or entrepreneur without ceasing to be a Christian, but Ayn Rand's economic philosophy is rooted in her atheism. A rough comparison could be made to Neitzche: the strong will rule, and the weak can crawl off and die.<br><br>One of the great conundrums for anyone who takes Christianity seriously is that almost any aspect of mundane life can be viewed as in conflict with the sacrifice Jesus called for. A few years ago, there was an essay in <i>The Wittenburg Door</i> which took on the statement "You can't run a country according to the Sermon on the Mount." The response offered was "I'm not claiming you can run a country that way, I'm just pointing out, that's what the man said." At the very least, it calls into question whether there is or can be such a thing as a "Christian nation."

Siarlys Jenkins
June 18, 2011

If you want to focus on governmental budgeting, Paul Ryan, who represents a district just south of where I live, is a bold-faced liar. His "plan" for Medicare, for example, amounts to "The Incredible Shrinking Voucher," which will disappear in about ten years. Yes, that will save the government gobs of money -- and leave the elderly without what the Republicans SWEAR they won't take away: any medical care at all, other than what they can afford on a private pay basis.<br><br>Most of the Republican budget is like that. They aren't concerned with finding a way to make everything balance. They are concerned with creating the greatest imbalance possible, in order to have cover to cancel out programs they never liked in the first place. Why do you think budget deficits went up under Reagan and both Bush's, and only went down or into surplus during the closing years of the Clinton administration? Why do you think Cheney announced that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter?" If we had been continuing to pay down the debt during the good times, the spending necessary to avert Great Depression 2.0 would have raised the debt from around $3 trillion to a manageable $7-$8 trillion. Instead, the Republicans doubled it from $5 trillion to $10 trillion, then screamed about fiscal prudence as money was spent to avoid disaster, running us up to $14 trillion.<br><br>What does that have to do with Ayn Rand? It is true that an atheist can advocate economically sound policy. But Rand, and the current Republican leadership, both indulged in a mix of deception and self-deception, and THAT should suggest a philosophical connection for any Christian to be wary of.

Brooklyn
June 19, 2011

On the surface, just because an atheist grows an orange tree doesn't mean you can't/shouldn't eat the oranges.<br><br>However, taking a deeper look into Rand's ideas is a bit scary, one that Christians should not embrace. The question is, to what extent is her policy injected into the budget? Is it merely principal, and ends on the topic of money, or do the philosophical ideals seep into the reasoning of the budget as well?

Stephen Hale
June 20, 2011

I agree wholeheartedly. On Christians embracing her ideas: I think it's very strange to see Christians abandoning Jesus when it comes to politics. Something is going on here, and we need to get to the bottom of it. I suspect that, whatever it is, will be rejected when identified. "That's not it!"<br><br><br>-Stephen

Stephen Hale
June 20, 2011

I think, after reading the Bible, it is hard to deny that the kingdom of God (Jesus' fave theme) has practically at it's core explicitly economic values/truth claims. You may not like the phrase, but if you're to take the Bible seriously, the phrase doesn't matter. One needs to interact with the Scripture behind the phrase, and see if the phrase represents the Bible well.<br><br>God makes economic claims on His followers. For those of us who claim to be in the Kingdom of God by the work of Christ, we're obligated to submit to those claims God makes, even the economic ones.

Jewel
June 23, 2011

my husband just preacheda sermon on ayn rand....very interesting! Go to TLCRaleigh to check it out! you'll find it interesting, i promise!<br>yaya

Johnh2o
June 24, 2011

I think it is worth noting that on many more occasions than not, Jeus asked "the least of these" to be helped up and not forever...Christians, myself included are consistently made to believe that the only aim of our life and happiness is to "help" others.  Jesus never said to help everyone!  HE never said to allow a third party middle man (government) to "help" on our behalf.  He never said we should automatically and in all cases lay our lives down over a man or womans self made crisis!  Christians are ridiculous in general and love even more to than to help "the least of these" to "wait, and know that I am god", "the wait" part being the most adhered to.  Consistently waiting for god shaped coins to fall from the sky and consistently bashing men of genius that provided the technology to follow along in a sermon from a big screen at the front of the church.  Oh yeah, that's right, the screen wasn't just miraculously zapped in place, in was created by a mind, purchased by a mind, and then placed by a mind.  This is the essential theme of Ayn Rand's discourse with religion in general, that religion (Altruism) preaches self-sacrifice and more specifically forcible self sacrifice.  She argues how evil it is no matter where the Altruistic morality comes from.

Johnh2o
June 24, 2011

There are many times that she described loving someone and helping them if someone wanted to.  She never argued the concept of charity by itself, she argued that "forced" charity, i.e. taxation is immoral.  Christianity fails to remember that Jesus didn't help everyone and continued to walk the path when people didn't want him.  He also regularly admonished people for being scared and lazy.  "Stand up, ye have little faith" ring a bell.  Ayn Rand had her philosophical view that religion is unprovable.  So?  What she argues for in the rest of her philosophy is the overriding theme of what Bible I have read thoroughly.  She argues slavery and so does the bible.  Christians!  Stop arguing moot points in the leaves and find the root of the issue.  Stop standing around "waiting, and knowing he is god" and do something to stop the slavery that the "Moral Majority" has sanctioned against us.

Johnh2o
June 24, 2011

You said "rand's philosophy rejects even individual, private acts of charity as moral evils incompatible with what she understands as the natural law of selfishness".  Sir, this is an outright lie, this is not a direct quote from her as I have never seen her say it anywhere in all of the writings of hers I've read.  When I say I have read everything of hers and watched and listened to everything she has ever said, I mean everything and this statement you've made isn't correct.  You, like many others have misunderstood what she specifically says.  She is against a group like Christians who use a third party to FORCE an individual to give his/her property to another.  Jesus never used force!!  He like Rand argued that non violent discussion of ideas and argumentative coercion are the only legitimate tools someone can use against another human being to get them to understand help may be needed.  She has never said charity in of itself is immoral, but that the act of forcing an individual to be charitable IS.  Jesus came to free the slaves remember.  Jesus would have been an ardent capitalist.  Rand said whenever one compromises food with poison, no matter the amount, it is poison that will win.  It is as simple and black and white as to say you are either for FREEDOM or you are for slavery.  If you are implying in your dialogue that I should agree to any form of slavery in order to qualify as Christian, then I loudly disqualify myself!!

Jamesggilmore
June 24, 2011

<i>I think it is worth noting that on many more occasions than not, Jeus asked "the least of these" to be helped up and not forever</i><br><br>Not sure what you mean by this. Also not sure where you're getting it.<br><br><i>Christians, myself included are consistently made to believe that the only aim of our life and happiness is to "help" others.  Jesus never said to help everyone!</i><br><br>You mean He <i>didn't</i> say "love your neighbor as yourself," and then when asked "who is my neighbor," make it crystal clear that our neighbor is anyone we run across who needs help—even if that person is a member of a rival ethnic group?<br><br><i>HE never said to allow a third party middle man (government) to "help" on our behalf.</i><br><br>Well, yes and no. He was talking to a time where a notion of government similar to ours didn't exist—but He did come to proclaim not only spiritual revolution but also economic revolution. In the synagogue in Luke, Jesus's proclaiming from Isaiah that "the year of the Lord" was at hand, was understood as a proclamation of the Old Testament Year of Jubilee—when all debts would be forgiven and the land redistributed equitably among the people. The Law makes it pretty clear that God does not intend for indebtedness and wealth to be permanent or even generational attributes; providing for Jubilee once every half-century was God's way of "hitting the reset button" on the nation's economy every generation or two.<br><br><i>He never said we should automatically and in all cases lay our lives down over a man or womans self made crisis!</i><br><br>What is human sinfulness, but "man or woman's self-made crisis"? And yet Christ did not hesitate to lay down His life for us. And we are called to follow Christ's example.<br><br><i>Christians are ridiculous in general and love even more to than to help "the least of these" to "wait, and know that I am god", "the wait" part being the most adhered to. </i><br><br>Again, really not sure what you mean by that.<br><br><i> Consistently waiting for god shaped coins to fall from the sky and consistently bashing men of genius that provided the technology to follow along in a sermon from a big screen at the front of the church.  Oh yeah, that's right, the screen wasn't just miraculously zapped in place, in was created by a mind, purchased by a mind, and then placed by a mind. </i><br><br>First of all, women are engineers and computer programmers too. Please use gender-neutral language rather than excluding over half of the human race.<br><br>Second, please provide me a link to whoever's "bashing" the people who invented digital projection technology. (Some of us intentionally don't use such things at our churches, by the way.)<br><br>Third, I don't really see how this is relevant to the discussion at hand. So someone built, bought, and installed digital projectors. I don't see how that operates in any way as a justification for the Randian worldview. The building, purchasing, and installation of digital projection technology can occur in the context of other economic theories besides Rand's.<br><br><i>This is the essential theme of Ayn Rand's discourse with religion in general, that religion (Altruism) preaches self-sacrifice and more specifically forcible self sacrifice.  She argues how evil it is no matter where the Altruistic morality comes from.</i><br><br>Darn right it preaches self-sacrifice. (Forcible self-sacrifice isn't really self-sacrifice.) That's the whole point of Christianity, that God sacrificed God's-self for us, and that because of that we should do the same for one another. To reject the notion of altruistic self-sacrifice is to reject Christianity; to describe it as "evil" is to describe Christianity as evil and proclaim one's own philosophy as being in opposition to it. That is precisely my point. <br><br>Christ tells us that we should love everyone and sacrifice ourselves for everyone, that we should give to "the least of these"; Rand suggests that "the least of these" are parasites feeding off the labor of the truly valuable people and are unworthy of sacrifice. Which simply demonstrates what I have said repeatedly throughout this discussion: There is no Rand in Christ, and no Christ in Rand.<br><br>If you'd like to continue defending the (in my opinion, rather adolescent and shallow) ideology of Ayn Rand, please do be my guest and do so. But please don't pretend that there's any such thing as a Christian defense of Rand, or that the two ideologies are in any way compatible.<br>

Fnord23
August 24, 2011

"Can Christians take anything constructive away from Rand’s writings, or is her work antithetical to the Gospel?"<br><br>Yes, and yes.<br><br>Obviously Christians who believe in and support individual rights will find loads of moral support in Rand's works. But any religious person must realize that the metaphysical basis of Rand's view of individual rights is very different from that of Christianity. It is a contradiction to accept Rand's concept of individual rights and still be religious. Some people aren't bothered by living with a contradictory mental state, and if you're comfortable with that, knock yourself out.<br><br>I am an atheist and an Objectivist. I would much rather fight the current policies of the State alongside Christians who support individual rights than get hung up on points of metaphysics. Things are trending so bad right now that we need each other's cooperation. But certainly once the fight is won, you will go your way and I'll go mine. And the good part of that is since we respect individual rights, we'll leave one another to our own business.<br>

Sally Wideman Morse
August 25, 2011

“You can agree with Rand’s critique of collectivism as enervating<br><br>and soul-destroying without adhering to her overarching philosophy.”<br><br>I agree with this statement. While we as Christians are individually called to help the helpless and to look out for one another in the church and our families, we do not need a nanny government to which all look for sustenance. In such a case, the government replaces God and becomes all powerful, eroding all industry and creativity, which are attributes of our humanity, the mark of the image of God in man.

Billwald
January 25, 2012

Why are Christians afraid of opposing views?

Amsie
March 17, 2012

I do accept some points from her philosophy.I think we Christians need to like ourselves and care for ourselves as any human being and we need to have the right level of ego developed which is important for living competently and to serve Jesus to the standard.

Tou
March 26, 2012

Something to think about. When Jesus said - when you did it to the least of these, you have done it to me ; he was talking about helping the poor and the needy. Without question the bible teaches this. I believe there should be no need within the church. However, a person cannot give what has been taxed away. The government is not the church. Far from it, it is busy removing God from all aspects of government. In addition it promotes abortion as a right and the inclusion of non-Christian religions and immoral behavior. In addition, there is no virtue in taking from other people and giving their money to others. God wants us to give from our own possessions. Ayn Rand was an atheist and was also an immoral person but her views on capitalism vs socialism were dead right on and much can be learned by studying her. Capitalism allows people to keep their own possessions and socialism takes from the individual and gives to the secular collective. Having said this, economic and political systems won’t mean a thing when we get to heaven and we as Christians need to remember what is really important – my 2 cents.

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