06.29.11

Should conservatives choose between Rand and Jesus?

Posted in Liberty, Society at 13:11 by RjZ

I couldn’t agree more. CNN wonders about the American Values Network video and article exposing the utter inconsistency between Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism and religious values espoused by conservative leaders of the united states. Paul Ryan and Rand Paul might explain that one can hold beliefs like these at the same time, by preferring the unfettered capitalistic views of Ayn Rand while choosing to believe in the morals of Christ in their personal life.

It’s a common problem for dogmatic religions. Science, for example, has little problem with religion, but religion is regularly trying to explain the natural world and inject itself into science, usually with no evidence or much predictive value. It is not necessary to believe every sentence of Atlas Shrugged and yet still ascribe to its basic tenets. Even several of the commenters at American Values Network seem quite capable of separating the values from Rand’s book that they agree with and integrating them into their Christian lives. One writes that Jesus’ edicts are “personal moral obligations” and not the realm of government action. The same is not so true, however, for devout Christians, particularly conservative evangelicals who believe that: anyone who doesn’t believe in each word of the bible shall be removed from the list of God’s righteous (Revelations 22:19), that is, go to hell.

Ayn Rand made no apologies for her statments that the beloved ideas of Jesus, are simply incompatible with her philosophy. As American Values Network points out “Where Jesus says, ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself,’ Rand says, ‘love only those who deserve it.’” Are these politicians, desperately seeking support from both fiscal conservatives and religious conservatives, able to find some middle ground between these two views? Are they suggesting that Rand’s utopia at Galt’s Gulch is compatible with the words of Christ (in red)?

Actions speak louder than words. I suspect that many of these Rand loving conservatives give only lip-service to the Christian conservatives who support them, trading their integrity for the power and opportunity to do what they believe in. It is likely that most politicians are not truly believers, but rather succumbing to the oft reported (even by medistrust of atheists in American society. Unfortunately, their tacit support of religious conservatism effectively amounts to support for the same kinds of attitudes that breed crusades and terrorism.

I may agree with the question American Values Network raises in their video, but not their argument. They seem to say that nothing Ayn Rand could say can hold any value because of her rejection of faith. They suggest that there is no reason to even listen to anyone who doesn’t share their religious faith. It’s not only Ayn Rand who rejects the teaching of Christianity, but every Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, and on and on. The American Values Network would have us close our ears to all of them. They also imply that Ayn Rand’s rejection of religion is also a rejection of morality. They equate religion with morality and, as common as this view is, it is demonstrably false in both directions (religious people are automatically moral/immoral vs. non-believers are automatically moral/immoral). This tired idea makes me honestly afraid that believers really would lie, cheat, steal, and kill, if they found they thought God wasn’t watching. That would be far worse than American politicians with questionable integrity.

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