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Ayn Rand vs. Christianity

by Elliot Banfield

We know that the Atlas Shrugged premiere was two weeks ago and that the film’s producers have admitted it was a failure. We know that everybody has weighed in on the fact that, just as with the Founding Fathers meme, Tea Partiers have been duped into thinking the message of Atlas Shrugged is in line with their own. And we know, above all else, that drinking too much Tea can rot your teeth and distract from important policy discussion and action taking.

Still, we came across an ‘Ayn Rand as she relates to the Tea Party’ memo so complete, and from such a respectable source (Burns Strider‘s Eleison Group), that we simply could not resist the chance to share in the philosophical fray that the novel’s theatrical release has created.

The numbers before each quote in Eleison Group’s “Ayn Rand vs. Christianity: A Fight for the Soul of America” pertain to the MIN:SEC in this Ayn Rand interview…

“Ayn Rand vs. Christianity: A Fight for the Soul of America” by Eleison Group

Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged has been among Amazon’s top 20 best sellers for much of the past year,. This year she’s outsold Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, and The Shack combined! Rep. Paul Ryan–the Republican choice to address the nation following the State of the Union and author of the Republican budget–credits Ayn Rand as the reason he got in to politics, and he requires all his staff to read her books.

So who is Ayn Rand, and why this spike in interest in her teachings? Ayn Rand has resurfaced in recent years as the philosopher championed by the Tea Party and many prominent Republican leaders. Her militant views on the virtue of selfishness and the “evil” of helping others, combined with her strident opposition to any social safety nets or government regulation of the economy has many natural affinities with the Tea Party and extremist Republican circles. But Ayn Rand’s strong atheism, absolute rejection of Christ’s teachings, and goal of replacing religion with her belief system stands in absolute opposition to all that which America’s faith community holds most dear.

Below are quotes from Ayn Rand that most starkly highlight this conflict, as well as pertinent Scripture.

Ayn Rand on why the Christian Message is “Monstrous” and Christ’s Teachings are “Evil”

4:19 – Mike Wallace: “You are out to destroy almost every edifice of the contemporary American way of life, our Judeo-Christian religion, our modified government regulated capitalism, our rule by majority will. Other reviews have said you scorn churches and the concept of God. Are these accurate criticisms?”

Rand: “Yes”

Print Interview >> Rand: “According to the Christian mythology, [Christ] died on the cross not for his own sins but for the sins of the non-ideal 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. And it is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used. That is torture. ” John 3:16-21

3:03 – Rand: “If you take Jesus Christ as the example of the ideal human being, and that is properly the view of Christians, what do you do with your ideal human being? You put him on the cross. You torture him and murder him for the sake of those who are less virtuous . . . I think that is a monstrous idea.” John 10:11

5:20—Wallace: “You say you don’t like the kind of altruism by which we live. You like a certain kind of Ayn Randist selfishness.”

Rand: “‘Don’t like’ is too weak a word, I consider it evil.” Luke 6:27-30

Ayn Rand on Why One Must Choose Between Following Her or Following God

6:42 – Rand: “It must be either reason or faith. I am against God for the reason that I don’t want to destroy reason.”

2:34 – Rand: “I am the creator of a new code of morality, which so far has been believed impossible, a morality not based on faith, not on arbitrary whim, not on emotion, not on arbitrary edict, mystical or social, but on reason. A morality that can be proved by means of logic, which can be demonstrated to be true and necessary.” Matthew 5:15-16

5:06 – Rand: “[Faith] is a sign of a psychological weakness . . . I regard it as evil to place your emotions, your desire, above the evidence of what your mind knows. That’s what you’re doing with the idea of God.” Hebrews 1:1

Print Interview >> Rand: “If I had to choose between faith and reason, I wouldn’t consider the choice even conceivable. As a human being, one chooses reason.”

4:50 – Rand: “I am challenging the base of all these institutions, I am challenging the moral code of altruism, the precept that man’s moral duty is to live for others, that man must sacrifice to others . . . since I’m challenging the base, I’m necessarily challenging the institutions that are the base of that morality.”

0:04 – Rand: “I have no faith at all, just convictions.”

3:02 – Rand: “I don’t approve of religion.”

Ayn Rand on How Her Followers Should “Love” One Another

8:36 – Rand: “You love only those who deserve it.” Wallace: “And then if a man is weak or a woman is weak he is or she is beyond love?” Rand: “He certainly does not deserve it. He certainly is beyond it . . . he cannot expect the unearned, neither in love or in money, in matter or in spirit.” Matthew 5:5

9:08 – Wallace: “There are very few of us in this world, by your standards, who are worthy of love.”

Rand: “Unfortunately yes, very few.” John 13:34-35

6:30 – Wallace – “What’s wrong with loving your fellow man? Christ, every important moral leader in history has taught us that we should love one another. Why, then is this love in your mind immoral?”

Rand: “It is immoral if it is placed above love of oneself. It is more than immoral, it is impossible.” 1 John 4:7-12

3:52 – Rand: “Each man must live as an end in himself and follow his own rational self-interest.” Matthew 22:37-39

Ayn Rand On Paul’s Claim that “Greatest of These is Charity” and Love of Neighbor

Print Interview >> Rand: “What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.” 1 Corinthians 13

9:08 – Wallace: “Isn’t it possible that we all believe in it [collectivism] because we’re all basically lonely people and we all understand that we are our brothers’ keepers?”

Rand: “You couldn’t really understand it because there is no way in which you could justify, nobody has ever given a reason why man should be his brothers’ keeper, and you have every example, and you see examples around you of men perishing by their attempt to be their brothers’ keeper.” Genesis 4:9-10

Tea Party and Republican Quotes

Rep. Paul Ryan – “I give out Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents, and I make all my interns read it.” He posted two videos on his Facebook page praising Rand – video 1; video 2 and he said she is the reason he entered politics and came to Washington.

Senator Rand Paul – “I am a fan of Ayn Rand and I’ve read all her novels.”

Rush Limbaugh – “The brilliant writer and novelist, Ayn Rand, has written about this. Let me give you a couple quotes from Ayn Rand on this.” Sp. Ct. Justice Clarence Thomas – “”I tend really be partial to Ayn Rand, and to The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.”

Freedom Works, the conservative grassroots organizing group headed by former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey, played an active role in promoting the film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged.


One Comment on “Ayn Rand vs. Christianity”

  1. […] But what is the trouble with Christians drawing on the ideas of Ayn Rand? Surely many Christians have drawn on philosophies outside of Christianity to clarify their faith. While that might be the case, there are two major problems with any attempt to marry the philosophy of Ayn Rand with Christianity. The first is that Rand’s ideas fundamentally contradict the teaching of Christ, his apostles, and the prophets. Jesus taught us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27,35; Matthew 5:44). Ayn Rand said: “I regard compassion as proper only toward those who are innocent victims, but not toward those who are morally guilty” and that “You love those who deserve it.” […]

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