A Sad Philosophy

Libertarianism, the political expression of Objectivist philosophy, is a continued force in American public policy. With prominent media coverage of the Religious Right, Christians should realize there is also an active atheistic faction in today’s Conservative political movement.
The Truth Shall Make You Free
Ayn Rand, who died in 1982, is best known as an author of philosophical novels, the most important of which, Atlas Shrugged, was published in 1957. Rand’s novels provide the primary statement of Objectivism, an atheistic system that attempts to give direction for human life based on a logical evaluation of reality.
Rand calls on each person to live by reason, claiming whatever opposes rationality or logic is evil. John Galt, the hero of Atlas Shrugged, expresses this view:
Do not say that you’re afraid to trust your mind because you know so little. Are you safer in surrendering to mystics and discarding the little you do know? Live and act within the limit of your knowledge and keep expanding it to the limit of your life. (p. 982)
Objectivism seeks to follow logic to maximize value, each individual acting in his or her own self-interest. Within this system there is a continual dynamic to abandon those things of lesser value to attain those of higher value.
This trenchant analysis of value has figured prominently in the development of Conservative economic policy. Alan Greenspan, for example, was a longtime friend and admirer of Ayn Rand.
The Greatest Truth Is God
Objectivism has its good points, especially its commitment to truth and freedom. However, from a Christian perspective, Rand’s analysis is deeply flawed. Her system, failing to consider God, has missed the single most important aspect of reality.
Rand’s atheism can only place the individual as the centerpiece of his or her world. This system consists of selfish economic calculations, each person’s highest value being only himself.
Objectivism, accordingly, is without mercy, sympathy, or any form of selfless giving.
“My philosophy,” Rand explains in an appendix to Atlas Shrugged, “in essence is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity and reason as his only absolute” (p. 1085)
Christians, in contrast, know that there is a God. This knowledge provides a much broader view of value than Rand’s system allows. Belief in God calls us to aspire to something greater than ourselves. Knowing God, Christians know the value of mercy, kindness, and love. These transcendent values provide a fuller appreciation for truth than any atheistic system can offer.

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Greg Tidwell

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