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Old 06-29-2011, 03:27 PM  
oldandslow oldandslow is offline
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Jesus vs Ayn Rand

Self disclosure...While imperfect, I am a spiritual person. I also tend to believe that Randian capitalism is immoral and unworkable. I thought this article captured my thoughts on the subject pretty well.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/0...th/?&hpt=hp_c2

Jesus or Ayn Rand - can conservatives claim both?
By John Blake, CNN

(CNN)– Can a person follow Ayn Rand and Jesus?

That’s the question posed by a provocative media campaign that claims that some prominent conservative leaders cannot serve two masters: Jesus and the controversial author of "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand.

The American Values Network, a group of political activists and pastors, sparked a debate when it recently released a video challenging some conservative and Republican leaders’ professed admiration for Rand, an atheist who saw selfishness as a virtue and celebrated unfettered capitalism.

Eric Sapp, AVN’s executive director, said the Republican Party cannot portray itself as a defender of Christian values and then defend the worldview of "the patron saint of selfishness" who scorned religion and compassion.

Sapp singled out Republican leaders such as Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh after all of them expressed admiration for Rand.

Ryan, architect of the GOP’s propsed budget and Medicare plan, once said that Rand’s philosophy was “sorely needed right now,” and that she did a great job of explaining “the morality of capitalism.”

Sapp sees little morality in Rand's worldview:

Rand said religion was ‘evil,’ called the message of John 3:16 ‘monstrous,’ argued that the weak are beyond love and undeserving of it, that loving your neighbor was immoral and impossible…

Sapp cited conservative leader Chuck Colson who released a video condemning Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” as a silly novel that “peddles a starkly anti-Christian philosophy.”

Sapp added:

Hard to reconcile leaders of ‘God’s Own Party’ praising someone who is about as anti Christ as one can get, huh?”

Onkar Ghate, a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights in Washington, said the philosophies of Christianity and Ayn Rand are incompatible.

Jesus taught that people should love and serve others, including their enemies. Rand taught that people's fundamental focus should be on their individual happiness, he said:

I don’t think what Ayn Rand advocates in 'Atlas Shrugged' and what Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount are compatible. She’s an egoist and therefore an individualist. Jesus is advocating altruism and collectivism.

Rand died in 1982, but she remains polarizing. The great recession has triggered new interest in her novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” The book depicts a bleak future where the U.S. government has seized control of private industry and discouraged innovation.

The book may have been rooted in Rand's childhood trauma. She was born in Russia in 1905, and saw the Communist Party come to power in a violent revolution. Her family was left destitute after party officials seized her father’s business.

She immigrated to the United States where she eventually became a screenwriter. She ultimately made her mark through her novels. Critics say Rand’s characters were stilted mouthpieces for her philosophy of Objectivism, which insists that individuals should be driven by “rational self-interest.” Still, "Atlas Shrugged" is now considered one of the most influential books of the 20th century.

Rand's philosophy didn’t say much good about religion. In a 1964 Playboy interview posted on the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights site, she said that religious faith is “a negation of human reason” and charity wasn’t a virtue.

Rand told Playboy:

There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.

Defenders of Rand say that a person can adopt elements of Rand’s philosophy and reject whatever clashes with their faith.

Yaron Brooks, president of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, also defended Rand’s philosophy in a recent CNN.com commentary.

He said while people call Jesus or Mother Teresa heroes, they should use the same description for people like 19th century oil tycoon, John D. Rockefeller and inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison.

Their pursuit of personal profit is a virtue because it enriches society, not just individuals, Brooks said.

Brooks wrote:

It is they, not the Mother Teresas of the world that we should strive to be like and teach our kids the same.

Elections, some say, are ultimately a contest of ideas. It’ll be interesting to see if those political leaders who admire Rand continue to talk openly about her philosophy as the 2012 presidential campaign escalates.

Or will they deflect a question I suspect they’ll hear again and again:

How can you invoke Jesus and follow Rand?
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:41 PM   #2
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Most Republicans really don't understand Ayn Rand. All they recognize is that she was a brilliant writer who philosophized about several things they agree with.

If any of them have actually read Atlas Shrugged (I'm going to assume most haven't) then they probably haven't read The Fountainhead, which would appall them. It speaks to the glory of not just the individual, but mankind itself; religions and gods that would say man is sinful, evil, weak, ignorant, and powerless hold back mankind's progress even more than altruistic intentions.

Republicans who champion Rand are a bit like the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark who have no idea what kind of power is inside the Ark of the Covenant. They clearly don't know what objectivism is all about.
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Old 06-29-2011, 03:54 PM   #3
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Ayn Rand is right.

She arrived at the correct conclusion, she simply came at it from a different direction and using a different line of reasoning than your typical Republican does.

As anyone versed in mathematics or engineering knows there is often more than one way to reach the solution of a difficult problem.

I myself am an atheist and a diehard conservative.
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mikey23545 View Post
Ayn Rand is right.

She arrived at the correct conclusion, she simply came at it from a different direction and using a different line of reasoning than your typical Republican does.

As anyone versed in mathematics or engineering knows there is often more than one way to reach the solution of a difficult problem.

I myself am an atheist and a diehard conservative.
Thank you for your honesty. I understand your philosophy, and why conservatism and atheism are quite compatible.
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by oldandslow View Post
Thank you for your honesty. I understand your philosophy, and why conservatism and atheism are quite compatible.
And I understand your veiled insult.
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:07 PM   #6
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And I understand your veiled insult.
No insult intended. Seriously. I am very appreciative of an honest answer.

Objective self interest and spiritualism are diametrically opposed imo. Therefore I understand why one is an atheist and conservative.
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mikey23545 View Post
And I understand your veiled insult.
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by oldandslow View Post
Objective self interest and spiritualism are diametrically opposed
Not true. In fact spiritualism, in a person who practices objective self interest, would seem to me to be potentially more fulfilling than religion would be in a person who practices altruism and collectivism.
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Old 06-29-2011, 04:50 PM   #9
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Not true. In fact spiritualism, in a person who practices objective self interest, would seem to me to be potentially more fulfilling than religion would be in a person who practices altruism and collectivism.
I think you are defining nihilism, not spiritualism...The Sermon on the Mount is not about self interest. Nor, in my case, is the Sun Dance.
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Old 06-29-2011, 10:52 PM   #10
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I'm definitely not a Rand fan.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:05 PM   #11
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I dialed in to Rand when I was an atheist. (And yes, SNR, I read The Fountainhead three or four times, and preferred it to Atlas Shrugged, which I only read once.)

I have abandoned Orthodox Objectivism reluctantly as I've gotten to know God better. I am still distracted by some elements of it, though, and I have tried to find compatibilities that Ms. Rand was unable or unwilling to explore.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:30 PM   #12
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Most Republicans really don't understand Ayn Rand. All they recognize is that she was a brilliant writer who philosophized about several things they agree with.

If any of them have actually read Atlas Shrugged (I'm going to assume most haven't) then they probably haven't read The Fountainhead, which would appall them. It speaks to the glory of not just the individual, but mankind itself; religions and gods that would say man is sinful, evil, weak, ignorant, and powerless hold back mankind's progress even more than altruistic intentions.
Hmmm....scratching head. Are you referring to Roark blowing up that building for low income folks?
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:36 PM   #13
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Self disclosure...While imperfect, I am a spiritual person. I also tend to believe that Randian capitalism is immoral and unworkable. I thought this article captured my thoughts on the subject pretty well.

Can a person follow Ayn Rand and Jesus?

How can you invoke Jesus and follow Rand?
Absolutely yes. The message of Jesus is not a political or govt one. Govt is force, so giving is not a voluntary act under it which Jesus was asking people to do. His message was not of this world but about personal salvation on an individual basis. Taking from one through law, even in representative republic, doesn't not fulfill the message of Jesus. It violates it because it breaks God's commandments to not covert they neighbors goods and to not steal ( even if the herd aka majority votes for it and thinks it's okay.)

I think Rand had personal flaws, one being she lacked spiritual values, but the kind of capitalism she addresses is moral as it benefits more people not less over a longer time. Rand opposed collectivism—a system that reduces individuals down to one tribe. Those systems did not advance peoples. ( I realize that some prefer to live like that though.) That's immoral. This does not imply people shouldn't help others.

I would say not being able to reconcile these two philosophies, means the message of Jesus is not understood. However I am talking about her ideas on economic freedoms. I haven't really studied her Objectivism. I read some of it years ago but don't remember much of it. I liked her book on Capitalism.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:40 PM   #14
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I think you are defining nihilism, not spiritualism...The Sermon on the Mount is not about self interest. Nor, in my case, is the Sun Dance.
The Sermon on the Mount is addressed to free individuals who stood there freely and decided to accept that message for personal spiritual salvation. It is but one message of Christ. He also said to render under Caesar what is Caesar's. That doesn't mean he necessarily agreed with Caesar either.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:43 PM   #15
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No insult intended. Seriously. I am very appreciative of an honest answer.

Objective self interest and spiritualism are diametrically opposed imo. Therefore I understand why one is an atheist and conservative.
Wouldn't that depend on what the spiritualism believes? I think so. There is so much variety out there.
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