Ayn Rand, antichrist

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand. Wikimedia Commons.

“[A]s you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.”
–1 John 2.18

An interesting convergence of cultural trends and events has pushed Ayn Rand’s name and views back into the news, including the vice presidential candidacy of Paul Ryan, the multipart movie adaptation of her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, and the overweening policies of the current presidential administration.

But libertarians and conservatives — particularly those who confess Christian faith — should be wary of adopting Ayn Rand as their own lest they find themselves in the position of the man in Aesop’s story who took the snake to his bosom. Rand’s defense of capitalism comes couched in a philosophy that is fundamentally anti-religious and, even more to the point, anti-Christian.

Rand viewed faith not as the beginning of wisdom, but as “the negation of reason,” as she told Alvin Toffler in her March 1964 interview in Playboy. For Rand all appeals to faith were anathema because only reason, not revelation, leads to truth. Anticipating Christopher Hitchens, she deemed faith “extremely detrimental to human life” and denied that religion, as religion, provided any benefit.

Rand’s alternative was the philosophy she developed, Objectivism. Its political expression was capitalism, which is why many libertarians and conservatives like her. But the rest of the system is more problematic. Its metaphysics were, as she said, grounded in objective reality, which is to say blank materialism. Its epistemology was rooted in reason, leaving no room for divine revelation. And she summarized its ethics simply as self-interest. For Rand, selfishness is moral, and selflessness is immoral.

“My philosophy, Objectivism,” she wrote in the August 1962 edition of The Objectivist Newsletter, “holds that . . . [m]an — every man — is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”

She placed nearly the same words on the lips of John Galt in his lengthy disquisition near the end of Atlas Shrugged: “By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man — every man — is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.”

Such an elevation of the individual living alone for his own interest means that altruism becomes, in her scheme, the greatest of evils. This moral inversion places Objectivism in direct conflict with Christianity, which views charity as the greatest virtue. Christians don’t live for themselves but for Christ, and by extension (or rather inclusion) all others, even our enemies.

Rand’s disdain for altruism is at root a protest against the cross. Christ’s crucifixion was immoral for Rand not because people took Jesus’ life, but because he volunteered it. And worse, because he sacrificed his perfect life for our imperfect lives. As she told Playboy:

Christ, in terms of the Christian philosophy, is the human ideal. He personifies that which men should strive to emulate. Yet, according to the Christian mythology, he died on the cross not for his own sins but for the sins of the nonideal people. In other words, a man of perfect virtue was sacrificed for men who are vicious and who are expected or supposed to accept that sacrifice. If I were a Christian, nothing could make me more indignant than that: the notion of sacrificing the ideal to the non-ideal, or virtue to vice.

She went on to say that “in the name of [the cross] men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors,” something she abhorred. To love as Christ is, in other words, immoral, and what you do for “the least of these, my brothers” is a waste.

Rand explained the basic problem in a 1946 letter:

Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) gave men a code of altruism, that is, a code which told them that in order to save one’s soul, one must love or help or live for others. This means, the subordination of one’s soul (or ego) to the wishes, desires or needs of others, which means the subordination of one’s soul to the souls of others.

Any outside claim on another amounts to immorality. Because Rand could never tolerate the idea that one should elevate others above oneself, Objectivism rules out the very possibility of Christian community, of church.

Her disdain for Christianity was not limited to philosophical speculation. It had a practical expression, as well. For instance, she drove one of her admirers, economist Murray Rothbard, out of her circle because Rothbard’s wife, JoAnn, was Christian.

There are many things to recommend capitalism, but I see no reason to turn to Ayn Rand for the recommendation. Whatever her supposed contributions, she has been a corrosive influence on the culture and expounded values that stand in stark contradiction to Christian faith and life.

For an alternative to Rand, and one self-consciously Christian, let me introduce Wilhelm Röpke.

About Joel J. Miller

I'm the author of Lifted by Angels, a look at angels through the eyes of the early church. Click here for more about me or subscribe to my RSS here.

  • http://www.readerwriterrunner,com Steve

    Puts the believer in something of a quandary this election cycle doesn’t it.

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      This piece by Ben Wiker might shed a little light on how far Ryan takes his appreciation of Rand. Still makes me uncomfortable. There is a lot of unthinking enthusiasm for Rand.

      If you’re looking for a defense fo the free market that attempts to honor, rather than disparage, God, check out the Acton Institute. There is a good piece there on Rand worth reading.

    • pamala

      There is no quandary when you consider the alternative….a man who believes in infanticide. The election was lost in 2008 because (among other things ) some 30,000,000 purist Christians didn’t vote. Let’s hope they do this time.

      • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

        Pamala, vote for whomever you think is best. The piece was to explain just who Rand is and warn Christians that unthinking appreciation of her work is fraught with problems.

        • pamala

          yes…key word here…”unthinking”…

          • pamala

            but we can still “appreciate”…

    • Bob

      Your logic escapes me.

    • pamala

      I have heard Paul Ryan say that he followed more after Thomas Aquinas than Ayn Rand….

      • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

        That’s good news.

  • http://www.readerwriterrunner,com Steve

    Puts the believer in something of a quandary this election cycle doesn’t it.

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      This piece by Ben Wiker might shed a little light on how far Ryan takes his appreciation of Rand. Still makes me uncomfortable. There is a lot of unthinking enthusiasm for Rand.

      If you’re looking for a defense fo the free market that attempts to honor, rather than disparage, God, check out the Acton Institute. There is a good piece there on Rand worth reading.

    • pamala

      There is no quandary when you consider the alternative….a man who believes in infanticide. The election was lost in 2008 because (among other things ) some 30,000,000 purist Christians didn’t vote. Let’s hope they do this time.

      • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

        Pamala, vote for whomever you think is best. The piece was to explain just who Rand is and warn Christians that unthinking appreciation of her work is fraught with problems.

        • pamala

          yes…key word here…”unthinking”…

          • pamala

            but we can still “appreciate”…

        • pamala

          I thought I was replying to Steve…

    • Bob

      Your logic escapes me.

    • pamala

      I have heard Paul Ryan say that he followed more after Thomas Aquinas than Ayn Rand….

      • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

        That’s good news.

  • http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com Kate Gladstone

    Re:
    “Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) … ”

    How strange that Rand, an atheist, capitalized a pronoun whose antecedent was Jesus!

  • http://www.HandwritingThatWorks.com Kate Gladstone

    Re:
    “Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) … ”

    How strange that Rand, an atheist, capitalized a pronoun whose antecedent was Jesus!

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      I thought the same thing. Conventions are hard to overcome sometimes, I suppose, even if you’re an atheist.

      Mostly unrelated, but I found this article at Christianity Today interesting and worth reading: “Ayn Rand led me to Christ.”

  • TJ

    Yes, this article does a very good job showing why I am not a disciple of Ayn Rand even though I am a conservative. Rand’s ideas conflict with my Christian beliefs, primarily the cross. Thanks Joel.

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      You bet. Thanks for reading.

    • Bob

      “Why are those who are notoriously undisciplined and unmoral also most contemptuous of religion and morality? They are trying to solace their own unhappy lives by pulling the happy down to their own abysmal depths.”

    • nearsited

      One can agree with Rand’s anti-statist views w/o embracing her religious beliefs.

  • TJ

    Yes, this article does a very good job showing why I am not a disciple of Ayn Rand even though I am a conservative. Rand’s ideas conflict with my Christian beliefs, primarily the cross. Thanks Joel.

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      You bet. Thanks for reading.

    • Bob

      “Why are those who are notoriously undisciplined and unmoral also most contemptuous of religion and morality? They are trying to solace their own unhappy lives by pulling the happy down to their own abysmal depths.”

    • nearsited

      One can agree with Rand’s anti-statist views w/o embracing her religious beliefs.

  • Brendan

    EVERY KNEE WILL BEND!!!

  • Brendan

    EVERY KNEE WILL BEND!!!

  • John Smith

    Man is the only creature that God wills for himself.

    The extremely horrible 30 Years War killed 6 million.

    The messianic atheist humanist dictators of the 20th century killed:

    Hitler 20 million
    Stalin 60 million
    Mao 70 million

    Abortion > 500 million

  • John Smith

    Man is the only creature that God wills for himself.

    The extremely horrible 30 Years War killed 6 million.

    The messianic atheist humanist dictators of the 20th century killed:

    Hitler 20 million
    Stalin 60 million
    Mao 70 million

    Abortion > 500 million

  • jack smith

    You are taking her words out of context. Did you ever hear the saying, “you can’t give what you don’t have”. Well if you don’t have your health, you can’t give health to someone else. If you don’t obtain stregnth, you can’t help streghthen others. If you are sick and poor, someone who is not sick and poor can help you get on your feet, but you must understand, God helps those who help themselves.

    • Joe Smith

      No Jack Smith, it’s not out of context, you are! You must not have read the article, but jumped right to the punch. Jesus WAS sick and poor, yet healed the sick and fed the poor. Mother Theresa understood this, and became poor(and sick) exactly soshe could better serve the poor and sick. It is this way so as to glorify God and not the instrument. This is the wisdom of the Cross of Jesus Christ. God bless you Jack in your search for Truth!

      • Italy2007

        You don’t know your Theology very well do you. Jesus was not sick nor was he poor – I love how liberal Catholics always say Mary and Joseph were poor and that’s why Mary had to give birth in a manger – they were not poor.

        It’s a pity that Ayn Rand was an Atheist however, her book mirrors exactly what is happening today. We, the ones who are employed and pay enormous taxes and TITHE our 10% are getting sick and tired of providing for those who will not (not talking about those who can’t due to illness or other reasons)provide for themselves. It is “liberation theology” that many Catholics have clinged to that got the most anti-Catholic president in history elected and the majority of Catholics in NAME ONLY will probably vote for him again. Chew on that!

        • pamala

          kudos to Italy 2007….and dittos!

  • jack smith

    You are taking her words out of context. Did you ever hear the saying, “you can’t give what you don’t have”. Well if you don’t have your health, you can’t give health to someone else. If you don’t obtain stregnth, you can’t help streghthen others. If you are sick and poor, someone who is not sick and poor can help you get on your feet, but you must understand, God helps those who help themselves.

    • Joe Smith

      No Jack Smith, it’s not out of context, you are! You must not have read the article, but jumped right to the punch. Jesus WAS sick and poor, yet healed the sick and fed the poor. Mother Theresa understood this, and became poor(and sick) exactly soshe could better serve the poor and sick. It is this way so as to glorify God and not the instrument. This is the wisdom of the Cross of Jesus Christ. God bless you Jack in your search for Truth!

      • Italy2007

        You don’t know your Theology very well do you. Jesus was not sick nor was he poor – I love how liberal Catholics always say Mary and Joseph were poor and that’s why Mary had to give birth in a manger – they were not poor.

        It’s a pity that Ayn Rand was an Atheist however, her book mirrors exactly what is happening today. We, the ones who are employed and pay enormous taxes and TITHE our 10% are getting sick and tired of providing for those who will not (not talking about those who can’t due to illness or other reasons)provide for themselves. It is “liberation theology” that many Catholics have clinged to that got the most anti-Catholic president in history elected and the majority of Catholics in NAME ONLY will probably vote for him again. Chew on that!

        • pamala

          kudos to Italy 2007….and dittos!

  • Tom Stulc

    That is why we follow Christ and his church, Not men kind like Ann Rand, Hittler, Benney Hinn, Martin Luther, rev Moon, etc.

  • Tom Stulc

    That is why we follow Christ and his church, Not men kind like Ann Rand, Hittler, Benney Hinn, Martin Luther, rev Moon, etc.

  • Susan

    I’m confused by this article whic refers to books Ms. Rand wrote and comments she made decades ago. Didn’t she have a conversion to Christianty? Didn’t she even write a book on the childhood of Jesus? I read that book a few years ago and enjoyed it very much. Does the article’s author have anything more recent about her than the middle of the last century? Others may publicly embrace her old and discarded views on religion…I believe she herself has outgrown her aitheism. Any info?

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      You’re referencing Ann Rice, not Ayn Rand. Different story, but yes Rice had a conversion some years back.

  • Susan

    I’m confused by this article whic refers to books Ms. Rand wrote and comments she made decades ago. Didn’t she have a conversion to Christianty? Didn’t she even write a book on the childhood of Jesus? I read that book a few years ago and enjoyed it very much. Does the article’s author have anything more recent about her than the middle of the last century? Others may publicly embrace her old and discarded views on religion…I believe she herself has outgrown her aitheism. Any info?

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      You’re referencing Ann Rice, not Ayn Rand. Different story, but yes Rice had a conversion some years back.

  • mellinda

    Frankly, Ayn Rand is the face of thousands of Christians who profess the exact beliefs she has promoted. Try to speak to believers about the value in suffering and you will be hoorahed out of the assembly.

    • http://SpiritDaily Dee

      Mellinda, you most certainly speak the truth. I have always had a problem with “Christians” who believe wealth and power signify their state of righteousness with God. I find it interesting that gung-ho capitalist Christians never acknowledge Acts 4:32 — “…and nobody called any of his possessions his own. Instead, they shared everything they owned.” Wow — sounds like socialism to me. But I have noticed rich, rightwing capitalists have a selective reading of the Bible — very Puritanistic — oh, wait, they founded our country! I was taught you either accept all of the Bible, including the parts that make one uncomfortable, or none of it — you can’t have a selective Christianity that takes only the parts you like.

      • Italy2007

        So you know what Rich capitalists give to charity? Hypocrit!

      • trytoseeitmyway

        Dee is right about the duty not to be selective in our response to Christ and His teachings. But if she thinks that this warrants socialism, or taxation for redistributive purposes, then I think it is she who is being selective.

        I’m a Christian who has enjoyed Rand’s novels. She had a good sense of where sinful greed can really be found. And if you look past some of the rhetoric to the actual meaning, you see that she espouses a morality in which service to others and self-interest are intertwined. It is an explicitly Godless philosophy – and therefore I can’t accept it in toto – but her moral condemnation and outrage are directed toward those who respond to productivity and, hence, helpfulness with greed, resentment and a sense of entitlement. None of those attitudes are Christian virtues despite the views of many very self-righteous Christians to the contrary.

        • pamala

          nice response, trytoseeitmyway…. “She had a good sense of where sinful greed can really be found. And if you look past some of the rhetoric to the actual meaning, you see that she espouses a morality in which service to others and self-interest are intertwined.” Well put! Thanks!

          • trytoseeitmyway

            You’re welcome! :-)

  • mellinda

    Frankly, Ayn Rand is the face of thousands of Christians who profess the exact beliefs she has promoted. Try to speak to believers about the value in suffering and you will be hoorahed out of the assembly.

    • http://SpiritDaily Dee

      Mellinda, you most certainly speak the truth. I have always had a problem with “Christians” who believe wealth and power signify their state of righteousness with God. I find it interesting that gung-ho capitalist Christians never acknowledge Acts 4:32 — “…and nobody called any of his possessions his own. Instead, they shared everything they owned.” Wow — sounds like socialism to me. But I have noticed rich, rightwing capitalists have a selective reading of the Bible — very Puritanistic — oh, wait, they founded our country! I was taught you either accept all of the Bible, including the parts that make one uncomfortable, or none of it — you can’t have a selective Christianity that takes only the parts you like.

      • Italy2007

        So you know what Rich capitalists give to charity? Hypocrit!

      • trytoseeitmyway

        Dee is right about the duty not to be selective in our response to Christ and His teachings. But if she thinks that this warrants socialism, or taxation for redistributive purposes, then I think it is she who is being selective.

        I’m a Christian who has enjoyed Rand’s novels. She had a good sense of where sinful greed can really be found. And if you look past some of the rhetoric to the actual meaning, you see that she espouses a morality in which service to others and self-interest are intertwined. It is an explicitly Godless philosophy – and therefore I can’t accept it in toto – but her moral condemnation and outrage are directed toward those who respond to productivity and, hence, helpfulness with greed, resentment and a sense of entitlement. None of those attitudes are Christian virtues despite the views of many very self-righteous Christians to the contrary.

        • pamala

          nice response, trytoseeitmyway…. “She had a good sense of where sinful greed can really be found. And if you look past some of the rhetoric to the actual meaning, you see that she espouses a morality in which service to others and self-interest are intertwined.” Well put! Thanks!

          • trytoseeitmyway

            You’re welcome! :-)

      • Out in the Country

        Dee – Wow! Do you really believe that Acts 4:32 advocates socialism? Really?! Really?! And, you lecture people about reading the Bible?

        Let us review:

        1. The people involved here are giving FREELY – not being coerced by government….

        2. They are giving to the CHURCH — NOT to a secular humanist government….

        That is exactly how I believe our society should be ordered. Do you?

        • http://SpiritDaily Dee

          Wow people — the whole concept of “ownership” is so alien to what Jesus teaches I don’t get where Christians believe capitalism and ownership of things is Biblical. The holding on of “things” is taught nowhere in the Bible I read; but I noticed that sharing is. How much does one person need? When one is called before the Lord, who will have all the “things” that have been accumulated?

          • Out in the Country

            Wow indeed. You did not answer my question – are the two statements above something you support or not? If not, then you should stop quoting Acts 4:32.

            As far as your current post, it would appear your Bible lacks the commandment from God “Thou Shalt Not Steal”. No Christian Bible lacks that commandment.

        • http://SpiritDaily Dee

          “…it would appear your Bible lacks the commandment from God “Thou Shalt Not Steal”. No Christian Bible lacks that commandment.” Since your last post did not allow for a reply, I need to ask: what on earth in my statement of “ownership of things” makes you believe I advocate stealing???

          • Out in the Country

            You put words in my mouth. I never said that you advocated stealing.

            You stated that you did not “get where Christians believe capitalism and ownership of things is Biblical.”

            I merely pointed you to the source for that idea in the Bible.

  • pamala

    Tho what u say is true, Ayn Rand’s baby should not be thrown out with the washwater. She had something remarkably insightful to offer humanity at the time, and even now. It is a question of balance….between loving God in oneself and loving God in others. She was only trying to jerk us out of a very self defeating understanding of Jesus’s teachings. Rand’s gift to us is priceless in the light of what is happening in America today…we must listen with no prejudice and glean the jewels from her bright light. I am not saying that she was aware of these things that I just said…..she was an athiest….I’m saying that for many of us, it takes an athiest to shake us out of a very stagnant and destructive Christianity. She helped me gain a much broader appreciation of what “charity” really means. Indeed we were taught that it is better to give than receive…but what joy is there in giving if there is no one to receive?
    We must learn to give AND receive with our whole selves….I was one of those Christians who only knew how to give. I needed Ayn Rand to help me find some balance. She leaves God out of her equation, but all one has to do is put God back in and voila! You have a gift of God in her teachings.

  • pamala

    Tho what u say is true, Ayn Rand’s baby should not be thrown out with the washwater. She had something remarkably insightful to offer humanity at the time, and even now. It is a question of balance….between loving God in oneself and loving God in others. She was only trying to jerk us out of a very self defeating understanding of Jesus’s teachings. Rand’s gift to us is priceless in the light of what is happening in America today…we must listen with no prejudice and glean the jewels from her bright light. I am not saying that she was aware of these things that I just said…..she was an athiest….I’m saying that for many of us, it takes an athiest to shake us out of a very stagnant and destructive Christianity. She helped me gain a much broader appreciation of what “charity” really means. Indeed we were taught that it is better to give than receive…but what joy is there in giving if there is no one to receive?
    We must learn to give AND receive with our whole selves….I was one of those Christians who only knew how to give. I needed Ayn Rand to help me find some balance. She leaves God out of her equation, but all one has to do is put God back in and voila! You have a gift of God in her teachings.

  • Steven Cornett

    Rothbard did give Rand and the circle who worshiped the one god she did believe in, namely Rand herself, in the play Mozart was a Red

  • Steven Cornett

    Rothbard did give Rand and the circle who worshiped the one god she did believe in, namely Rand herself, in the play Mozart was a Red

  • Thomas Collins

    Ayn Rand seems to make the mistake of identifying personal autonomy with social alienation. By limiting “authentic” human
    relations to temporary symbiotic arrangements, subject to change
    when they become inconvenient, she seriously compromises the
    foundations of civilized society. Human freedom is not realized through fickleness, but through persevering fidelity to one’s freely embraced commitments.

  • Thomas Collins

    Ayn Rand seems to make the mistake of identifying personal autonomy with social alienation. By limiting “authentic” human
    relations to temporary symbiotic arrangements, subject to change
    when they become inconvenient, she seriously compromises the
    foundations of civilized society. Human freedom is not realized through fickleness, but through persevering fidelity to one’s freely embraced commitments.

  • Paul Becke

    If the Devil ever wrote a bible of his own, and Rand were still alive, he would be laying himself open to multiple charges of outrageously obvious plagiarism, as she seemed to have just about all his bases covered. And very proud she was of it, too

    ..

  • Paul Becke

    If the Devil ever wrote a bible of his own, and Rand were still alive, he would be laying himself open to multiple charges of outrageously obvious plagiarism, as she seemed to have just about all his bases covered. And very proud she was of it, too

    ..

  • jack smith

    Its my opinion that “reason” is a gift to humanity from Our Lord. And that it is His desire for us to use it as a tool, like a carpenter uses a hammer. But He never intended for humanity to worship reason as a god. In other words, He doesn’t want us to make “reason” the highest authority of our mind and soul. But to acknowledge His Divine presence in the world as well.

    • pamala

      I believe that as well, Jack….Jesus taught us to be grateful in all things….

      • Paul Becke

        If the premise is false, searing logic can only lead to ever greater madness, as J M Keynes once wrote concerning a book written by Hayek:
        ‘The book, as it stands, seems to me to be one of the most frightful muddles I have ever read, with scarcely a sound proposition in it beginning with page 45 [Hayek provided historical background up to page 45; after that came his theoretical model], and yet it remains a book of some interest, which is likely to leave its mark on the mind of the reader. It is an extraordinary example of how, starting with a mistake, a remorseless logician can end up in bedlam (an English insane asylum).

        The unfortunate thing is that our premises, our assumptions, even the most worldly, such as, indeed, apply to the field of economics, tend to be so abstruse as to be more a matter of one’s developed world-view over the current span of one’s life, than of ad hoc logic. In fact, we ultimately believe – the more so, the more abstruse and subtle the subject area – what we want to believe. What sort of divine judgment would be based on a person’s worldly, analytical intelligence? Not the Judaeo-Christian’s God, for sure. Although our faith and reason form a continuum corresponding with space and time; which is why the greatest figures in the history of science were all, at the very least, deists. Einstein was a panentheist, believing in a great, creating and guiding Spirit behind the universe, yet distinct from it, unlike pantheists.

        Scientists, particularly the atheists among them, who tend to pride themsleves on their putatively superior reason, tend to be among the very worst offenders when it comes to refusing to believe the empirical evidence. So much so that, Max Planck, the father of quantum physics physics remarked that science advances one funeral at a time. It takes a new generation to begin to accept a new paradigm, when their predecessors’ careers had been built on the old one.

        • http://plancksconstant.org/ bernie from planck’s

          Most scientists, particularly those at the highest level, are Atheists, and do have superior reason. Anyone who feels that truth about the Universe comes from anything other than reason is not by definition a scientist. If a man calls himself a scientist and believes in God then he is no different than a man who puts a meal in the microwave and calls himself a cook. He is deluded.

          As for Ayn Rand being a threat to Christianity, it is the exact opposite. If all the world’s leaders were Objectivists there would be no persecution of Christians. Millions of Christians are tortured and killed in the present world because too many of those who govern believe in God.

          Think about this: No follower of Ayn Rand burns down churches or tortures Jews. If I were a religious person I would pray for more of the world to worship at the altar of Objectivism.

  • jack smith

    Its my opinion that “reason” is a gift to humanity from Our Lord. And that it is His desire for us to use it as a tool, like a carpenter uses a hammer. But He never intended for humanity to worship reason as a god. In other words, He doesn’t want us to make “reason” the highest authority of our mind and soul. But to acknowledge His Divine presence in the world as well.

    • pamala

      I believe that as well, Jack….Jesus taught us to be grateful in all things….

      • Paul Becke

        If the premise is false, searing logic can only lead to ever greater madness, as J M Keynes once wrote concerning a book written by Hayek:
        ‘The book, as it stands, seems to me to be one of the most frightful muddles I have ever read, with scarcely a sound proposition in it beginning with page 45 [Hayek provided historical background up to page 45; after that came his theoretical model], and yet it remains a book of some interest, which is likely to leave its mark on the mind of the reader. It is an extraordinary example of how, starting with a mistake, a remorseless logician can end up in bedlam (an English insane asylum).

        The unfortunate thing is that our premises, our assumptions, even the most worldly, such as, indeed, apply to the field of economics, tend to be so abstruse as to be more a matter of one’s developed world-view over the current span of one’s life, than of ad hoc logic. In fact, we ultimately believe – the more so, the more abstruse and subtle the subject area – what we want to believe. What sort of divine judgment would be based on a person’s worldly, analytical intelligence? Not the Judaeo-Christian’s God, for sure. Although our faith and reason form a continuum corresponding with space and time; which is why the greatest figures in the history of science were all, at the very least, deists. Einstein was a panentheist, believing in a great, creating and guiding Spirit behind the universe, yet distinct from it, unlike pantheists.

        Scientists, particularly the atheists among them, who tend to pride themsleves on their putatively superior reason, tend to be among the very worst offenders when it comes to refusing to believe the empirical evidence. So much so that, Max Planck, the father of quantum physics physics remarked that science advances one funeral at a time. It takes a new generation to begin to accept a new paradigm, when their predecessors’ careers had been built on the old one.

        • http://plancksconstant.org/ bernie from planck’s

          Most scientists, particularly those at the highest level, are Atheists, and do have superior reason. Anyone who feels that truth about the Universe comes from anything other than reason is not by definition a scientist. If a man calls himself a scientist and believes in God then he is no different than a man who puts a meal in the microwave and calls himself a cook. He is deluded.

          As for Ayn Rand being a threat to Christianity, it is the exact opposite. If all the world’s leaders were Objectivists there would be no persecution of Christians. Millions of Christians are tortured and killed in the present world because too many of those who govern believe in God.

          Think about this: No follower of Ayn Rand burns down churches or tortures Jews. If I were a religious person I would pray for more of the world to worship at the altar of Objectivism.

  • Amy Chapman

    Great article. Thank you. Ayn Rand is being taught at my son’s Catholic high school and I am none too happy about that. This at least gives me a springboard from which to explain things to my son as well as others.

  • Amy Chapman

    Great article. Thank you. Ayn Rand is being taught at my son’s Catholic high school and I am none too happy about that. This at least gives me a springboard from which to explain things to my son as well as others.

  • Epictetus

    Perhaps the joke is ultimately on Ayn Rand’s philosophy and reveals to us the ugly face of materialism and pride in one own’s abilities.

    A little more time with Jesus in the New Testament always trumps Nietzsche and his superman Ubermensch (originally she wanted Nietzsche quotes to begin each chapter of Atlas Shrugged).

    Context is critical and I’d be more quick to criticize Alan Greenspan and his relationship to Objectivism than Paul Ryan simply because there is much less content to work with in understanding him and his intentions surrounding an extremely emotional and politically charged topic like budget reform.

    What does strike me as fascinating exercise is to probe into the views of any individual over 30 who professes to be a follower of Ayn Rand and seek to understand their views on the accumulation of wealth, the value of intelligence relative to virtue and their view what it means to be free and how these three threads all tie into their perception of how the individual relates to a community. Usually it is quite Darwinian and isolating.

    • trytoseeitmyway

      Re-read the parable of the talents, fella.

      • Epictetus

        I don’t see your point, pal. Please elaborate.

        • trytoseeitmyway

          You referred to “the ugly face of materialism and pride in one own’s abilities.” Yet in Matt. 25, Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to an obligation imposed by a master on servants to generate a return on the investment of money (in the parable) or of spiritual gifts (as we understand the allegory). The servant who neglected to put the money to work with “usury” (return on investment) was scolded by the master on his return. I take this to mean that we ARE to put our abilities to work and that we be prepared to account to the Lord for what we have done with them or failed to do. This is not materialism or pride but obedience and self-reliance. It is the opposite of covetousness, whereby the unproductive man seeks gain at the expense of the faithful and diligent one. Hope that helps.

          • Out in the Country

            Although I see where you are going, I believe that you make the same mistake that liberals make – that Jesus came to provide economic instruction and advocate for a particular economic system. He did not. In the case above, the parables refer to the gifts that God gives each one of us, gifts which He expects to be optimized in His service. Those gifts can only be optimally expressed in a free society. When government takes over Charity, and replaces Christian teachings with secular humanist beliefs (i.e. atheism), then the Christian has abdicated his responsibility before God in favor of the government, and has thus squandered his talents.

    • Out in the Country

      Easy. Mother Church already has the solution: Subsidiarity.

  • Epictetus

    Perhaps the joke is ultimately on Ayn Rand’s philosophy and reveals to us the ugly face of materialism and pride in one own’s abilities.

    A little more time with Jesus in the New Testament always trumps Nietzsche and his superman Ubermensch (originally she wanted Nietzsche quotes to begin each chapter of Atlas Shrugged).

    Context is critical and I’d be more quick to criticize Alan Greenspan and his relationship to Objectivism than Paul Ryan simply because there is much less content to work with in understanding him and his intentions surrounding an extremely emotional and politically charged topic like budget reform.

    What does strike me as fascinating exercise is to probe into the views of any individual over 30 who professes to be a follower of Ayn Rand and seek to understand their views on the accumulation of wealth, the value of intelligence relative to virtue and their view what it means to be free and how these three threads all tie into their perception of how the individual relates to a community. Usually it is quite Darwinian and isolating.

    • trytoseeitmyway

      Re-read the parable of the talents, fella.

      • Epictetus

        I don’t see your point, pal. Please elaborate.

        • trytoseeitmyway

          You referred to “the ugly face of materialism and pride in one own’s abilities.” Yet in Matt. 25, Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to an obligation imposed by a master on servants to generate a return on the investment of money (in the parable) or of spiritual gifts (as we understand the allegory). The servant who neglected to put the money to work with “usury” (return on investment) was scolded by the master on his return. I take this to mean that we ARE to put our abilities to work and that we be prepared to account to the Lord for what we have done with them or failed to do. This is not materialism or pride but obedience and self-reliance. It is the opposite of covetousness, whereby the unproductive man seeks gain at the expense of the faithful and diligent one. Hope that helps.

          • Out in the Country

            Although I see where you are going, I believe that you make the same mistake that liberals make – that Jesus came to provide economic instruction and advocate for a particular economic system. He did not. In the case above, the parables refer to the gifts that God gives each one of us, gifts which He expects to be optimized in His service. Those gifts can only be optimally expressed in a free society. When government takes over Charity, and replaces Christian teachings with secular humanist beliefs (i.e. atheism), then the Christian has abdicated his responsibility before God in favor of the government, and has thus squandered his talents.

    • Out in the Country

      Easy. Mother Church already has the solution: Subsidiarity.

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  • john

    The more I read Ayn Rands quotes..the more it sounds like something straight from the mouth of Satan..actually if you read the diary of St.Faustina..there are parts where the devil comes to her to dissuade her from doing what Jesus asked of her and the devil uses the same old trick..focus on self and selfishness.To think that this woman was required reading in my junior high school..the school is rife with atheists,liberals and perverts who are shaping the minds of our future generations..thats why we have the mess we have today.parents better start to take back control by staying on top of what their children are being taught and to de-educate them from authors such as Ayn Rand and the like.

  • john

    The more I read Ayn Rands quotes..the more it sounds like something straight from the mouth of Satan..actually if you read the diary of St.Faustina..there are parts where the devil comes to her to dissuade her from doing what Jesus asked of her and the devil uses the same old trick..focus on self and selfishness.To think that this woman was required reading in my junior high school..the school is rife with atheists,liberals and perverts who are shaping the minds of our future generations..thats why we have the mess we have today.parents better start to take back control by staying on top of what their children are being taught and to de-educate them from authors such as Ayn Rand and the like.

  • R. Borw

    I don’t understand. We have whole-hardheartedly adopted Margaret Sanger’s philosophy, in fact it is a beloved part of the new U.S. healthcare system. But Ayn Rand isn’t acceptable, why is that? Please compare.

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      Neither are acceptable.

    • pamala

      @R Borw….ratt on

  • R. Borw

    I don’t understand. We have whole-hardheartedly adopted Margaret Sanger’s philosophy, in fact it is a beloved part of the new U.S. healthcare system. But Ayn Rand isn’t acceptable, why is that? Please compare.

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      Neither are acceptable.

    • pamala

      @R Borw….ratt on

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  • J. Tolve
    • pamala

      @ J. Tolve….thank you SO much for sharing this brilliant piece by Katie Kieffer….she just said it so well!

      • J. Tolve

        Yes, Katie nailed it. I delved into Rand’s writings 20 years ago. I don’t recall her novels ever addressing religion in any way, but I found her thoughts on individual liberty, personal achievement and the virtues of capitalism to be spot on and inspiring. In fact the current state of country in which we’re living is very much like Atlas Shrugged. Very prophetic. When I ran into some of her non-fiction pieces and interviews where her atheism came to the forefront, like Paul Ryan, I simply disagreed with that aspect of her thinking and discarded it. Also, her personal relationships with her husband and others in her inner circle simply became immoral and warped (quite the turnoff). However, it was simply a part of my life journey, which has led to my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior so much stronger. IMHO, if there’s a threat to the country, it’s not the writings of Ayn Rand, but the social justice/liberation theology many Christians embrace – such as Obama, which is just another statist back door for more government control over our lives in the name of helping us. Have to remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

          Rand’s whole project is religious. She claimed as her identity someone introducing a new morality. Unfortunately, it was an inverse, evil morality.

          But by holding Christian socialists and Rand as your only alternatives, you are trapped in a false dichotomy. Have you read any Wilhelm Ropke?

          • J. Tolve

            Hello Joel. Not at all trapped in a false dichotomy. I’m surprised you said that since you don’t know me personally. Assumptions – must be careful when making them. And I’m completely open to reading Wilhelm Ropke. Never heard of him, but will check out his writings. Looks interesting. I look forward to it. I also understand your reaction to Rand. It’s one I’ve encountered before. What can I say other than the “chaff” part of her thinking wasn’t something I accepted – the glory of man over the Glory of God. My personal success in life I attribute to my use of the talents God blessed me with. Rand never addressed the issue of “where” those talents came from and in fact discounted the whole idea of an afterlife – I think she said that when you’re dead, you’re dead. Complete rubbish. But when I read her novels, it did focus me in developing those “talents” as well as showing a very logical cause and effect relationship about the dangers of government in suppressing those talents and the consequences to the individual and society as a result. Done all in the name of the “best of intentions” of those running the government. That’s why our tax dollars are funding abortion and maybe even free contraception if things don’t change soon. I start to raise an eyebrow with people such as yourself when I see labels like “anti-Christ” and “Devil” being used to describe people. I only use those words for monsters such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.

        • pamala

          @Tolve….have u viewed The Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged…?…Netflix has it….
          I, too, see the wisdom in Rand’s writings and know how to take the good and leave the chaff….and yes if Obama is re-elected this country will go the way of other countries that refused to learn from history. Some have the idea that it could never happen here…we’re AMERICA…well it’s happening as plain as the nose on your face….it is happening. The anti-christ is seducing his way into the hearts and minds and souls of the useful idiots and the progressive intellectuals.

          • pamala

            oops…i meant to put “progressives” in quotation marks…

          • J. Tolve

            Haven’t seen the movie version of Atlas Shrugged yet. Will have to check it out one day, but I’d be surprised if it does justice to the scope of the book. As to Joel’s article he is taking a “black and white” approach to her writing, something that she herself was guilty of doing when approached by people that disagreed with her. You have to be careful about that. There are genuine examples of evil (the black) in this world (past and present) and one example of pure white – Christ. The majority of us are shades of gray with wheat and chaff. That’s what makes us human. I found wheat in Rand’s literature and rejected the chaff.

  • J. Tolve
    • pamala

      @ J. Tolve….thank you SO much for sharing this brilliant piece by Katie Kieffer….she just said it so well!

      • J. Tolve

        Yes, Katie nailed it. I delved into Rand’s writings 20 years ago. I don’t recall her novels ever addressing religion in any way, but I found her thoughts on individual liberty, personal achievement and the virtues of capitalism to be spot on and inspiring. In fact the current state of country in which we’re living is very much like Atlas Shrugged. Very prophetic. When I ran into some of her non-fiction pieces and interviews where her atheism came to the forefront, like Paul Ryan, I simply disagreed with that aspect of her thinking and discarded it. Also, her personal relationships with her husband and others in her inner circle simply became immoral and warped (quite the turnoff). However, it was simply a part of my life journey, which has led to my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior so much stronger. IMHO, if there’s a threat to the country, it’s not the writings of Ayn Rand, but the social justice/liberation theology many Christians embrace – such as Obama, which is just another statist back door for more government control over our lives in the name of helping us. Have to remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

          Rand’s whole project is religious. She claimed as her identity someone introducing a new morality. Unfortunately, it was an inverse, evil morality.

          But by holding Christian socialists and Rand as your only alternatives, you are trapped in a false dichotomy. Have you read any Wilhelm Ropke?

          • J. Tolve

            Hello Joel. Not at all trapped in a false dichotomy. I’m surprised you said that since you don’t know me personally. Assumptions – must be careful when making them. And I’m completely open to reading Wilhelm Ropke. Never heard of him, but will check out his writings. Looks interesting. I look forward to it. I also understand your reaction to Rand. It’s one I’ve encountered before. What can I say other than the “chaff” part of her thinking wasn’t something I accepted – the glory of man over the Glory of God. My personal success in life I attribute to my use of the talents God blessed me with. Rand never addressed the issue of “where” those talents came from and in fact discounted the whole idea of an afterlife – I think she said that when you’re dead, you’re dead. Complete rubbish. But when I read her novels, it did focus me in developing those “talents” as well as showing a very logical cause and effect relationship about the dangers of government in suppressing those talents and the consequences to the individual and society as a result. Done all in the name of the “best of intentions” of those running the government. That’s why our tax dollars are funding abortion and maybe even free contraception if things don’t change soon. I start to raise an eyebrow with people such as yourself when I see labels like “anti-Christ” and “Devil” being used to describe people. I only use those words for monsters such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.

        • pamala

          @Tolve….have u viewed The Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged…?…Netflix has it….
          I, too, see the wisdom in Rand’s writings and know how to take the good and leave the chaff….and yes if Obama is re-elected this country will go the way of other countries that refused to learn from history. Some have the idea that it could never happen here…we’re AMERICA…well it’s happening as plain as the nose on your face….it is happening. The anti-christ is seducing his way into the hearts and minds and souls of the useful idiots and the progressive intellectuals.

          • pamala

            oops…i meant to put “progressives” in quotation marks…

          • J. Tolve

            Haven’t seen the movie version of Atlas Shrugged yet. Will have to check it out one day, but I’d be surprised if it does justice to the scope of the book. As to Joel’s article he is taking a “black and white” approach to her writing, something that she herself was guilty of doing when approached by people that disagreed with her. You have to be careful about that. There are genuine examples of evil (the black) in this world (past and present) and one example of pure white – Christ. The majority of us are shades of gray with wheat and chaff. That’s what makes us human. I found wheat in Rand’s literature and rejected the chaff.

  • Paul Becke

    As for application of the word, ‘philosophy’ to her ‘oeuvres’, that has to be one of the biggest jokes of all time. They are just a long, long grunt. A baby would not be more primitive in its behaviour; and psychologists, I believe, talk abut the ‘little emperor’ syndrome in connection wth babies’ behaviour.

  • Paul Becke

    As for application of the word, ‘philosophy’ to her ‘oeuvres’, that has to be one of the biggest jokes of all time. They are just a long, long grunt. A baby would not be more primitive in its behaviour; and psychologists, I believe, talk abut the ‘little emperor’ syndrome in connection wth babies’ behaviour.

  • Paul Becke

    A few apposite quotes from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John:

    And he said to them all, “If any man desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

    For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

    He who does not take his cross, and follow after me, is not worthy of me.

    He who finds his life shall lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake shall find it.

    And whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

    Rand would have considered Jesus, a homeless, indigent pan-handler.

    • trytoseeitmyway

      Right. I think that Rand would have had (or did have) a hard time with those passages. As an aside, most Calvinists and other Protestant Christians, too, have a hard time (though they’d never admit it) with those passages, because they are hard to square with the one-time, saved-by-grace, sinner’s prayer interpretation of the scriptures. But that’s an aside. I suggested in response to an earlier comment that the person re-read the parable of the talents. The idea that the second greatest commandment somehow relieves us of responsibility to be productive, or that it gives others a claim on the fruits of that productivity, is anathema to the New Testament as much as it is to Rand.

      Or, read the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The ones who came to the field late received a much higher rate of pay than the ones who began early. The Master tells the early arrivers to quit complaining already! – they received what they agreed to accept. The Savior’s view of justice – which he likens to the kingdom of heaven in the parable of the talents – doesn’t pander to the slothful or the resentful.

      • Paul Becke

        ‘The idea that the second greatest commandment somehow relieves us of responsibility to be productive, or that it gives others a claim on the fruits of that productivity, is anathema to the New Testament as much as it is to Rand.’

        That is nonsense. Read the Sermon on the Mount, notably: Regard the lilies of the field, they labour not, neither do they spin, and yet I tell you that Solom in his glory was never arrayed as one of these.’

        And this related to concern for something as basic as having the money to obtain clothing to wear.

        As regards the parable of the workers in the vineyard, it is actually precsiely antithetical to any notion of due reward. The workers felt aggrieved because they might have been paid on their time-based ‘productivity’, but the late-comers certainly weren’t! Instead, the boss chose to be generous. He says: ‘Boo-hoo! Get over it! If I choose to be generous to other people what’s it to you?’

        As regards the Parable of the Talents, the currency Christ is talking about is the currency of heaven: Charity: self-giving, self-sacrifiing, love, the ‘wedding garment’. He could scarcely have spoken more contemptuously about money during his ministry. The ‘deferred pleasure’ of the monied classes was not a virtue in his eyes at all. Live for the day, take no thought for the morrow, was his teaching. If you have a question about that concerning prudence, address it to Christ in your prayers.

    • Out in the Country

      It is unclear how you jump from the quotes to the conclusion that Rand would have considered Jesus an “indigent pan-handler”.

      In economic terms, Jesus was self-sufficient, demanded no coerced taxation of others to support Himself, and was able to convince people via their own free will to follow Him. I see nothing that Rand would have opposed. Being an atheist she would have mocked His faith in God, but she would have done the same to the rich Roman elites as well.

      I am also lost as to how any of the quotes above goes against Ayn Rand’s theories of economic freedom in general.

      Your post *seems* to imply that government solutions are the ONLY solutions, and therefore Christians MUST support them or be against the teachings of Jesus. But, perhaps I have read too much into what you have posted?

      • Paul Becke

        Not at all. I doubt you have read too much into my post.

        ‘ Indigent – Christ had nowhere to rest his head.’
        ‘panhandler’ – we are told in at least one of the gospels that he was looked after by a group of women – not at that time or indeed throughout most of history, in a position to be the best of providers. Rand would have regarded him as a stumble-bum, bumming, in that conceptual sense, off other bums. He was an indigent, itinerant preacher.

        You might contend that he chose to be. Well. He did so for a reason, and we know that that reason was exemplary in every sense of that word. Notably, here, as an example of spiritual asceticism, as opposed to the ‘go-getting’, degenerate ‘ethos’ of the worldling, so personified and, since she was clearly a a narcsisitic psychopath, apotheosised by her good self – and Herod, among others.

        Incidentally, Herod was what you people would call a great wealth creator – ironically even a Keynsian in the sense that he employed hordes of workmen on major building projects, including a palace for himself.

        ‘Being an atheist she would have mocked His faith in God, but she would have done the same to the rich Roman elites as well.’

        That you so blithely, dismissively and anomalously assimilate Christ with ‘the rich Roman elites’, in Rand’s and evidently your own view, speaks volumes about your thought processes. What would Rand’s assimilation of Christ with ‘rich Roman elites’ have to do with the price of fish and chips? She was one very confused person. There is not doubt she would not ahve believed he could support himself miraculously if he chose to. To her, Jesus would just have been just an indigent, itinerant preacher, being looked after by a bunch of crazy women.

        You clearly don’t understand even the meaning and nature of freedom.The New Testament tells us both that Christ sets us free, and that we have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

        In this life, freedom entails responsibilities, religious responsibilities summed up in the first two mmandments. THE SECOND ONE IS NOT NEGOTIABLE.
        .
        Indeed, that is precisely what I am saying. One emphatic point Christ made among his many fulminations against the monied politico-religious estabishment, was that they strained at a gant, only to swallow a camel. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
        In other words, putting a few dollars – or even a few thousand dollars on the part of a rich man – in the poor box, instead of promoting a major institutional, structural change in the economic set-up of our society and indeed our world. These latter are now, as result of the greed of the far right, becoming imperative. Your party have brought the world to the verge of an economic catastrophe, as a direct result of your siphoning off more and more of the national wealth.

        Justice: “You never give to the poor what is yours; you merely return to them what belongs to them. For what you have appropriated was given for the common use of everybody. The land was given for everybody, not just the rich.” St. Ambrose, 4th century bishop of Milan

        “The bread that is in your box belongs to the hungry; the coat in your closet belongs to the naked; the shoes you do not wear belong to the barefoot; the money in your vault belongs to the destitute.” St. Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, c. A.D. 370

        “Nothing is your own. You are a slave and what is yours belongs to the Lord. For a slave has no property that is truly his own; naked you were brought into this life.” Asterius, Bishop of Amasea, from “The Unjust Steward,” c. A.D. 400.

        But here is the article those quotes are taken from*:

        http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/quotes-from-the-fathers-on-mercy-that-might-enlighten-or-offend-you

        *Note this second paragraph:
        “Let’s take a look at what some Church Fathers had to say on the topic, and if we remember that justice, as well as charity, is also the foundation of mercy, perhaps we
        ill not be so shocked by any appearances of proto-Communism, crypto-Socialism, or being less than fervent Free Market Capitalists on their parts.”

        • Out in the Country

          Regarding Rand – as I stated, and you failed to refute, Christ and the apostles were self-sufficient – they did NOT require coercive government taxes to live off of. Perhaps the problem is that you do not understand what we “right wingers” mean by self-sufficient – we mean we do not live off of other people’s money that was taken from them against their will. When you can show that Christ was living off of some Roman government welfare system, then your claims have merit.

          Similarly, in regards to Herod, you really shouldn’t speak for people like me, when you clearly have little or no grasp of what we believe. For people like me, Herod represents exactly what is wrong with putting power in the hands of government officials: corruption, graft, laziness, taxes, secularism and too much power in the hands of a few.

          Your lengthy quotes regarding charity greatly clarify where we part ways. I believe in the quotes you give from religious sources. I presume you do as well.

          Where we differ is in “how” to do it.

          I believe that people should voluntarily donate to charities of their preference, especially religious organizations whose members you quote so much in your post. That way the Charity is not given in a vacuum, but rather has a religious message with it.

          There is no Church teaching against voluntary Charity. There is no Church teaching requiring that Charity be done via government. Therefore, the libertarian economic methods proposed by Rand are 100% compatible with Christianity.

          And, thankfully, there are now legions of folks like me who are promoting this method of God-oriented Charity, and working to stifle and shutdown the godless, secular-humanist government approach to “charity”.

        • http://plancksconstant.org/ bernie from planck’s

          The poor in America are richer than most of the well-to-do of the world. Our so-called poor live in more numerous and larger rooms and certainly have many more luxuries than the majority of the world. That is not due to Christian Charity but the result of heartless Capitalism which provides so much wealth that the crumbs that fall of the table are like seven-course meals anywhere else in the world.

          Good intentions not only pave the way to hell in the next world but to poverty in this one. The only reason we have poverty in America at this stage of our history is that there are so many entitlement programs that keep them in perpetual poverty.

          Please, for the sake of the poor, stop helping them. 2000 years of Christian Charity and another 5 years years of Jewish Charity and we still have the poor with us. It is time we try another approach.

          • http://plancksconstant.org/ bernie from planck’s

            That should be “5 thousand years of Jewish Charity”

  • Paul Becke

    A few apposite quotes from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John:

    And he said to them all, “If any man desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

    For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

    He who does not take his cross, and follow after me, is not worthy of me.

    He who finds his life shall lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake shall find it.

    And whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

    Rand would have considered Jesus, a homeless, indigent pan-handler.

    • trytoseeitmyway

      Right. I think that Rand would have had (or did have) a hard time with those passages. As an aside, most Calvinists and other Protestant Christians, too, have a hard time (though they’d never admit it) with those passages, because they are hard to square with the one-time, saved-by-grace, sinner’s prayer interpretation of the scriptures. But that’s an aside. I suggested in response to an earlier comment that the person re-read the parable of the talents. The idea that the second greatest commandment somehow relieves us of responsibility to be productive, or that it gives others a claim on the fruits of that productivity, is anathema to the New Testament as much as it is to Rand.

      Or, read the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The ones who came to the field late received a much higher rate of pay than the ones who began early. The Master tells the early arrivers to quit complaining already! – they received what they agreed to accept. The Savior’s view of justice – which he likens to the kingdom of heaven in the parable of the talents – doesn’t pander to the slothful or the resentful.

  • JP

    Please go to the website – http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com. God bless you and America.

  • http://aomin.org Jeff Downs

    This recent article from the Spiritual Counterfeits Project Journal titled “The Janus Face of Libertarianism – Ayn Rand” maybe of interest. The article is located here.

  • http://aomin.org Jeff Downs

    This recent article from the Spiritual Counterfeits Project Journal titled “The Janus Face of Libertarianism – Ayn Rand” maybe of interest. The article is located here.

  • Kent W

    Enlightening article, thanks.

    Joel…do you think she even read the bible? Or someone actually interpreted this for her, correctly? The biggest misconception of Christianity is “doing good gets you to heaven.” Not what I am taught (and trust me, I’m no Bible expert) but God’s word thru Jesus is crystal clear…
    Luke 10: 25-28 (from the Good Samaritan story)
    25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

    27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”

    28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.

  • Kent W

    Enlightening article, thanks.

    Joel…do you think she even read the bible? Or someone actually interpreted this for her, correctly? The biggest misconception of Christianity is “doing good gets you to heaven.” Not what I am taught (and trust me, I’m no Bible expert) but God’s word thru Jesus is crystal clear…
    Luke 10: 25-28 (from the Good Samaritan story)
    25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

    27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”

    28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.

  • JP

    Speaking as n Objectivist, I have just one question:

    Isn’t the Anti-Christ supposed to be a pretend healer? Someone who joins people together, who preaches world peace, and collects power to himself in pursuit of that goal? In short, he is supposed to behave in a manner very similar to Jesus, but in a very politician type way. Whereas Jesus would be using something we might call the WalMArt method, which cconsists of going directly to the populace first, and approaching society elites later.
    I think you could make a much better case for Barack OObama to be the Anti-Christ than Rand. She makes no bones and offers no decptions about herself or what she bbeleived or taught.

    PS I’m typing somewhat badly because this txt box won’t scroll down, so I have to guess when I make a typo.

    • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

      I think there are a lot of misunderstandings about the antichrist, but what’s clear in the 1 John passage quoted at the start is that there are many. I’m not saying Rand is the antichrist. I’m saying she’s an antichrist.

      There are two principal things that factor into that designation. She sets herself in opposition to Christ and she sets up another alternative/competitive system. The anti in antichrist doesn’t mean merely against; it means in place of. Objectivism is a substitute gospel.

  • Jon

    I began to smell the funk of objectivism when I got to the part in The Fountainhead where Howard Roark rapes the woman. This character, a rapist mind you, was supposed to be an illustration of Rand’s ideal man. Thanks for the good article, and the derpy photo of Ayn Rand.

  • Jon

    I began to smell the funk of objectivism when I got to the part in The Fountainhead where Howard Roark rapes the woman. This character, a rapist mind you, was supposed to be an illustration of Rand’s ideal man. Thanks for the good article, and the derpy photo of Ayn Rand.

  • Paul Becke

    “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein

    … but what did he know? You tell him how it is, Ayn, with his cod philosophy!

  • Paul Becke

    “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” – Albert Einstein

    … but what did he know? You tell him how it is, Ayn, with his cod philosophy!

  • http://newchristianad.blogspot.com/ kibs

    much as there may be differences in understanding it’s shouldn’t act like a hindrance towards our believe in Christ Jesus. Malachi 3:6 says,”I’m the Lord and i don’t change” so God still remains God.

  • http://homiliesprayersbread.wordpress.com/ Lee

    Rand’s views are….interesting. It’s interesting to me how easily she dismisses spirituality, while Maslow, the father of American psychology and noted atheist, believed that becoming spiritual/religious was a sign of self-actualization…that only a psychologically complete individual could be spiritual, having faith in something outside themselves, in something that couldn’t be seen.

    Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “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. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.” Strong words…

  • http://homiliesprayersbread.wordpress.com/ Lee

    Rand’s views are….interesting. It’s interesting to me how easily she dismisses spirituality, while Maslow, the father of American psychology and noted atheist, believed that becoming spiritual/religious was a sign of self-actualization…that only a psychologically complete individual could be spiritual, having faith in something outside themselves, in something that couldn’t be seen.

    Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “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. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.” Strong words…

  • http://thelogicalmormon.wordpress.com TheLogicalMormon

    I published a post recently coming to the same conclusion. http://thelogicalmormon.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/ayn-rand-an-antichrist/

  • http://thelogicalmormon.wordpress.com TheLogicalMormon

    I published a post recently coming to the same conclusion. http://thelogicalmormon.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/ayn-rand-an-antichrist/

  • mnemos

    There is a concept from Judaism, and I am still trying to recall where I read it, of 2 natures of man… a nature of self-interest and a nature of other-interest. The self interest is what guides us to take care of our bodies, have a career, form a family, have children. The other-interest guides us to more altruistic behavior – caring for others, helping those who cannot help us. Both natures are gifts of God, and both serve Him. Either can be abused. This seems sensible to me, and not necessarily in conflict with Christianity… “…and the second is like the first ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” assumes some love of self to have meaning. I think in our current age we have a tendency to glorify extreme altruism, so that a book like “Atlas Shrugged” can actually provide a counterbalance. The excess of greed is easier to point to as a flaw than the sort of co-dependence generated by a blind altruism. In part this shows up in how critics of Ayn Rand often assume that “self-interest” is interchangeable with “selfishness”. If you were to assume “self-interest” were interchangeable with “self-reliance” you would come to an entirely different viewpoint.

  • Jason Keuter

    A wholesale rejection of Ayn Rand is equally problematic to a wholesale rejection – from a Christian perspective. Note that I said “a” not “the” Christian perspective.

    Ayn Rand’s ideas are about morality and address many important questions about moral obligation. She is as concerned as any Christian with the question of good and evil and shares, at least with some Christians, the strong and consistently expressed belief that we should all be held accountable. Well, the Christians I’m thinking of believe that we will be held accountable.

    Rand, wrongly thought of as a defender of capitalism, was a philosopher defending good against evil. She may not have been right, but her principal ideas are all about minimizing what is bad in favor of what is good. In her view, altruism multiplied evil; therefore the person professing it (who more often than not did not live by it) and the person receiving it both not only reward evil but encourage its perpetuation. Moreover, in elevating the commission and forgiveness of evil to a kind of penultimate moral ritual ritual, altruism blinds evil doers to the role the play in perpetuating wrong. Last, in perpetuating what is wrong, they do daily battle against that which is right.

    There is a lot in this that is very Christian, but not from a modern Christian’s perspective – namely, not from the perspective of people who have reduced Christianity to accepting Christ as the road to salvation and then seeing their Christian duty almost exclusively as simply radiating happiness and getting others to come to Christ too. This is a Christianity stripped of the exacting and painstaking moral self-evaluation that lies at the heart of Christian doctrine.
    Ayn Rand’s overt anti-Christian statements should not blind us to just how much she has in common with Christianity; not only that, the overemphasis on the usually misconstrued stance against altrusim (which is actually an attack on valuing bad at the expense of good) and her equally misconstrued pro-capitalism (which is actually her response to the core phiolsophical question of “how do we achieve the good?), blind us to just how close she was to Christianity in so many ways.
    I ask that you think of CS Lewis’s discussion of other religions, in which he identified them as 99% right. He said Christianity was 100% right, and likened it to a complex Algebra problem. He said other religions, working on the same problem (what is the purpose of life? what is good? how can it be achieved? ) are like the student who made one small miscalculation in working on the Algebra problem, and, in the end, come up with a wrong answer. The appropriate Christian response is not to focus on the wrong answer (like Rand’s atheism) but instead all of the right and good work that was done coming up with it. Lewis, in other words, pointed out that anyone that would dedicate themselves to addressing the same problems as the Christian clearly has their heart in the right place. Moreover, it would be decidedly unchristian to focus on the 1% they got wrong and ignore the insights provided by the 99% they got right. After all, would that not be a dangerously arrogant assumption? Might it be that some Christians might be following an unChristian path that could be corrected by one of Ayn Rand’s insights? Or has the Christian simply decided that they’re 100% right?

    • Jason Keuter

      I am sorry but my first sentence should read that a wholesale rejection of Ayn Rand’s ideas is as problematic as a wholesale acceptance of those ideas .

  • John Carter

    I haven’t ever read Fountainhead but I realize it was inspirational for some. I do have a question for fans. If Howard Roark is the ideal man, is rape OK? Or is this rationalized as “gritty” when Rand’s sadomasochism emerges? I think what is more likely to be the case is that there are aspects of such writing that cause our souls to sing to a frequency that may be beyond what Rand is capable of … not because Rand inspires but because she presents a close copy of something that inspires. Sounds like the Spiritual Counterfeits article heads in a similar direction although I haven’t read it yet.

    We need not hate on ourselves if, in our innocence, we yearn for the Herculean. We do need to remember that the story of Hercules is a tragedy as is the story of Ayn Rand. So for my friends that have been fans of her books, let me suggest to you that what you found that was of great value was yourself … and not what the author was offering.

  • http://joeljmiller.com Joel J. Miller

    I think there are a lot of misunderstandings about the antichrist, but what’s clear in the 1 John passage quoted at the start is that there are many. I’m not saying Rand is the antichrist. I’m saying she’s an antichrist.

    There are two principal things that factor into that designation. She sets herself in opposition to Christ and she sets up another alternative/competitive system. The anti in antichrist doesn’t mean merely against; it means in place of. Objectivism is a substitute gospel.

  • http://SpiritDaily Dee

    Wow people — the whole concept of “ownership” is so alien to what Jesus teaches I don’t get where Christians believe capitalism and ownership of things is Biblical. The holding on of “things” is taught nowhere in the Bible I read; but I noticed that sharing is. How much does one person need? When one is called before the Lord, who will have all the “things” that have been accumulated?

  • http://SpiritDaily Dee

    “…it would appear your Bible lacks the commandment from God “Thou Shalt Not Steal”. No Christian Bible lacks that commandment.” Since your last post did not allow for a reply, I need to ask: what on earth in my statement of “ownership of things” makes you believe I advocate stealing???

  • Out in the Country

    Wow indeed. You did not answer my question – are the two statements above something you support or not? If not, then you should stop quoting Acts 4:32.

    As far as your current post, it would appear your Bible lacks the commandment from God “Thou Shalt Not Steal”. No Christian Bible lacks that commandment.

  • Paul Becke

    Not at all. I doubt you have read too much into my post.

    ‘ Indigent – Christ had nowhere to rest his head.’
    ‘panhandler’ – we are told in at least one of the gospels that he was looked after by a group of women – not at that time or indeed throughout most of history, in a position to be the best of providers. Rand would have regarded him as a stumble-bum, bumming, in that conceptual sense, off other bums. He was an indigent, itinerant preacher.

    You might contend that he chose to be. Well. He did so for a reason, and we know that that reason was exemplary in every sense of that word. Notably, here, as an example of spiritual asceticism, as opposed to the ‘go-getting’, degenerate ‘ethos’ of the worldling, so personified and, since she was clearly a a narcsisitic psychopath, apotheosised by her good self – and Herod, among others.

    Incidentally, Herod was what you people would call a great wealth creator – ironically even a Keynsian in the sense that he employed hordes of workmen on major building projects, including a palace for himself.

    ‘Being an atheist she would have mocked His faith in God, but she would have done the same to the rich Roman elites as well.’

    That you so blithely, dismissively and anomalously assimilate Christ with ‘the rich Roman elites’, in Rand’s and evidently your own view, speaks volumes about your thought processes. What would Rand’s assimilation of Christ with ‘rich Roman elites’ have to do with the price of fish and chips? She was one very confused person. There is not doubt she would not ahve believed he could support himself miraculously if he chose to. To her, Jesus would just have been just an indigent, itinerant preacher, being looked after by a bunch of crazy women.

    You clearly don’t understand even the meaning and nature of freedom.The New Testament tells us both that Christ sets us free, and that we have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

    In this life, freedom entails responsibilities, religious responsibilities summed up in the first two mmandments. THE SECOND ONE IS NOT NEGOTIABLE.
    .
    Indeed, that is precisely what I am saying. One emphatic point Christ made among his many fulminations against the monied politico-religious estabishment, was that they strained at a gant, only to swallow a camel. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
    In other words, putting a few dollars – or even a few thousand dollars on the part of a rich man – in the poor box, instead of promoting a major institutional, structural change in the economic set-up of our society and indeed our world. These latter are now, as result of the greed of the far right, becoming imperative. Your party have brought the world to the verge of an economic catastrophe, as a direct result of your siphoning off more and more of the national wealth.

    Justice: “You never give to the poor what is yours; you merely return to them what belongs to them. For what you have appropriated was given for the common use of everybody. The land was given for everybody, not just the rich.” St. Ambrose, 4th century bishop of Milan

    “The bread that is in your box belongs to the hungry; the coat in your closet belongs to the naked; the shoes you do not wear belong to the barefoot; the money in your vault belongs to the destitute.” St. Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, c. A.D. 370

    “Nothing is your own. You are a slave and what is yours belongs to the Lord. For a slave has no property that is truly his own; naked you were brought into this life.” Asterius, Bishop of Amasea, from “The Unjust Steward,” c. A.D. 400.

    But here is the article those quotes are taken from*:

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/quotes-from-the-fathers-on-mercy-that-might-enlighten-or-offend-you

    *Note this second paragraph:
    “Let’s take a look at what some Church Fathers had to say on the topic, and if we remember that justice, as well as charity, is also the foundation of mercy, perhaps we
    ill not be so shocked by any appearances of proto-Communism, crypto-Socialism, or being less than fervent Free Market Capitalists on their parts.”

  • Out in the Country

    You put words in my mouth. I never said that you advocated stealing.

    You stated that you did not “get where Christians believe capitalism and ownership of things is Biblical.”

    I merely pointed you to the source for that idea in the Bible.

  • Out in the Country

    Regarding Rand – as I stated, and you failed to refute, Christ and the apostles were self-sufficient – they did NOT require coercive government taxes to live off of. Perhaps the problem is that you do not understand what we “right wingers” mean by self-sufficient – we mean we do not live off of other people’s money that was taken from them against their will. When you can show that Christ was living off of some Roman government welfare system, then your claims have merit.

    Similarly, in regards to Herod, you really shouldn’t speak for people like me, when you clearly have little or no grasp of what we believe. For people like me, Herod represents exactly what is wrong with putting power in the hands of government officials: corruption, graft, laziness, taxes, secularism and too much power in the hands of a few.

    Your lengthy quotes regarding charity greatly clarify where we part ways. I believe in the quotes you give from religious sources. I presume you do as well.

    Where we differ is in “how” to do it.

    I believe that people should voluntarily donate to charities of their preference, especially religious organizations whose members you quote so much in your post. That way the Charity is not given in a vacuum, but rather has a religious message with it.

    There is no Church teaching against voluntary Charity. There is no Church teaching requiring that Charity be done via government. Therefore, the libertarian economic methods proposed by Rand are 100% compatible with Christianity.

    And, thankfully, there are now legions of folks like me who are promoting this method of God-oriented Charity, and working to stifle and shutdown the godless, secular-humanist government approach to “charity”.

  • http://plancksconstant.org/ bernie from planck’s

    The poor in America are richer than most of the well-to-do of the world. Our so-called poor live in more numerous and larger rooms and certainly have many more luxuries than the majority of the world. That is not due to Christian Charity but the result of heartless Capitalism which provides so much wealth that the crumbs that fall of the table are like seven-course meals anywhere else in the world.

    Good intentions not only pave the way to hell in the next world but to poverty in this one. The only reason we have poverty in America at this stage of our history is that there are so many entitlement programs that keep them in perpetual poverty.

    Please, for the sake of the poor, stop helping them. 2000 years of Christian Charity and another 5 years years of Jewish Charity and we still have the poor with us. It is time we try another approach.

  • http://plancksconstant.org/ bernie from planck’s

    That should be “5 thousand years of Jewish Charity”


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