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Religious Right Leader Colson warns of Ayn Rand’s Negative Influence

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Given the growth in popularity of Ayn Rand’s philosophy among influential politicians such as Paul Ryan, John Campbell, Ron Paul and Ryan Paul, some Christian leaders are expressing their concern.

Religious Right leader Chuck Colson isn’t happy with the Ayn Rand retrospective. He made a two minute video attacking Rand and her devotees, deriding Rand as an anti-Christian atheist. “Not only should you stay away from the film,” Colson says, “you ought to stay away from anybody who wants to see the film, unless their interest is ironic.” Colson warns that Rand’s “patently anti-Christian ideas seem to be gaining steam” among conservatives, cautioning that her Objectivist philosophy is the “antithesis of Christianity” and that her followers are “undermining the Gospel”:

Mr. Colson wrote an article, expressing confusion on why any leader, especially one who describes himself as a Christian, would choose to follow Rand’s perverted philosophy.

What makes this newly-renewed regard especially troubling is that Rand’s worldview is explicitly anti-Christian. She once said she wanted to be known as “the greatest enemy of religion.” And when Rand said “religion” she meant Christianity, which she once called the “kindergarten of communism.”

For Rand the idea of God, as understood by Christianity, was “degrading to man.” According to her, the only god who can bring men peace and joy was not the great “i am” but “I.” Yet even some prominent Christians are being sucked in.

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that her worldview, called Objectivism, which rejects love of God, has even less regard for love of neighbor. Jennifer Rubin, who wrote the definitive biography of Rand, says that “whereas traditional conservatism emphasized duties, responsibilities, and social interconnectedness, at the core” of Rand’s ideology “was a rejection of moral obligations to others.”

Thus, Rand could say that the world was “perishing from an orgy of self-sacrifice.” Not because it was true but because, for Rand, any regard for your neighbor was an offense against the only god who mattered: the self. How such a toxic idea can inspire “public service” is beyond me.

All of which makes the new respect for Rand, well, strange. There are better justifications for reducing the size and scope of government, ones that don’t sound like a scene from Lord of the Flies.[…]

We must re-build a culture of ethical behavior in America. And rejecting Rand and her odious philosophy is a very good place to start.

Additional reading: Ayn Rand: Goddess of the Great Recession

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Written by Valerie Curl

May 11, 2011 at 4:03 PM

8 Responses

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  1. […] Ryan, John Campbell, Ron Paul and Ryan Paul, some Christian leaders are expressing their concern. Read The Full Story Comments closed | Trackback […]

  2. Rand’s philosophy isn’t based on an anti-religion mindset, it’s based on a pro-reason mindset. Objectivism is based on the absolute sanctity of an individual’s right to his own life, and the freedom to pursue his own happiness. It therefore MUST by necessity include the individual’s right to the fruits of his own labor.

    Nowhere in her novels has she ever said that one should not help those less fortunate than oneself. What she HAS said is that all individuals have the absolute freedom of choice on what to do with their assets. The “producers” whom Rand honors, have historically been the most generous people in the world. From the Carnegie’s, the Mellon’s & Howard Hughes, to Warren Buffett & Bill Gates who are giving the vast majority of their wealth to charitable causes which they believe in, the hypothetical greed which people like Colson and other Rand critics like to ascribe to her heros is an illusion used to discredit her because her utter devotion to logic and reason by necessity makes her an atheist. But Colson, like most religious extremists doesn’t even understand what it means to be an atheist.
    The true atheist doesn’t say that there is no god. What he actually says is that he sees no evidence to make him believe that god exists. By definition, one cannot prove the “non-existence” of an unknowable supreme being or spirit any more than one can prove its existence. People like Colson hate Ayn Rand because the perfect elegance of her philosophy threatens their own own belief systems. Leftists hate her because she advocates a political system of freedom and liberty, free markets, and personal responsibility.
    But there’s one important thing which these two groups of Rand haters have in common, and that’s the fact that 99% of them have ever read her works.
    fs

    Swemson

    May 12, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    • Actually, what Rand said in interviews was that she dispised the needy and poor; that no one should feel any obligation or need to give to charity or to help others; and the “I” is of primary importance. In other words, her’s was a philosophy of selfishness and self-centeredness. That’s quite the opposite of “commonweal” by which people came together for self and mutual benefit, accepting the idea that they each had to give up some independence to live in the community that benefited all its’ members.

      Valerie Curl

      May 12, 2011 at 8:47 PM

      • @Valerie Curl
        What you say is pure rubbish. She never said any such thing.
        What she did despise was the ideology that said that the purpose of a man’s life is to help others. She believed that a man’s primary purpose in life is to take care of himself and his loved ones. But she never said that being generous and charitable towards others wasn’t a good thing. Merely that it shouldn’t be the primary purpose of one’s life. As that kind of thought is at odds with the teachings of most religions, it should be obvious why her ideas are seen as a threat to the religious establishment.
        Those who have never read her, tend to parrot back the lies and distortions about her whenever her name comes up. Since the 60’s I’ve been hearing people say that she’s a fascist. Nothing could be farther from the truth. She put forth a philosophy of rational self interest. Her hero’s oath towards the end of Atlas Shrugged should dispel any such foolish misinterpretations.

        “I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

        The fact that there was a dark side to her personal life should not be cause to color one’s opinion about her philosophy. The best way to truly understand her is to read her. Atlas Shrugged, at over 1,000 pages is a long read, and many have found it hard to get into. If anyone tried to read Atlas in the past, and had that experience, I suggest reading The Fountainhead now. After that, you’ll have no trouble reading Atlas.
        fs

        Swemson

        May 13, 2011 at 1:41 AM

        • While I understand your and Rand’s viewpoint and some things to be admired in it, overall I find it infantile in the real world. Mankind is not perfect, never has been, and never will be. If given the opportunity, men will take advantage of any political system for their own selfish political and economic self interests. Such has been the case since the first communities developed in the modern day Iraqi basin.

          I may be called a religious fool by Randian followers, but I do believe in the words Jesus and Buddha spoke regarding helping (caring for) those who need help the most. I do believe in the Sermon on the Mount as well as the words of the Prophets who exhorted the People who cared more for themselves and their wealth than the poor to beware the coming destruction God would reek upon them. The People laughed at the Prophets, continuing to hoard their wealth and seek ever more, and lo, destruction came upon them.

          God said giving to the poor and needy was a requirement, not a choice. God said all mankind needed to be given the opportunity to achieve his own dreams to the best of his ability but was required to give back to his community as much as he could afford.

          Jesus stated that the widow who gave a penny, all she had, was more favored in heaven because she gave all she had than the rich man who gave only what the law required of him.

          These are not the words of a Randian “Ovjectivist” but the words of a compassionate moral human being who believes in something and someone beyond his own self-interest. Someone who believes in the “commonweal.”

          But don’t let me argue my point, let Rand speak for herself when she argues against religion, altruism, and caring for the least able in our society.

          Here is Rand herself:

          Valerie Curl

          May 13, 2011 at 10:58 PM

          • It’s hard to believe that you’re arguing against a philosophy based on reason & logic, by quoting Jesus and other faith related ideas. Are you really that obtuse?

            Of course Rand rejects any philosophy based on “faith”, because “faith” is the opposite of “reason”, but the real issue here is your twisting of her words into something other than what she meant.
            Rand doesn’t reject the idea of having compassion for the needs of others, she merely says that it shouldn’t be the primary focus or purpose of your life.

            All of Rand’s real life heros have one thing in common, and that’s the fact that they left the world richer than they found it. Warren Buffett has spent his entire life in the pursuit of making money, and he became one of the richest men in the world. His motivation was success, winning, or whatever you want to call it, but now as her career reaches its final days, he’s giving 90% of his money away. While building his fortune however, he was never motivated by all the good that money will do for mankind. The same is true of the all of the great artists, composers, authors, scientists, inventors. They were all motivated by their own selfish desire to discover their own truth, to solve the problems that fascinated them, to express their deepest feelings and emotions in the art, and all of them have left the world immeasurably richer for their having been here. Ms Rand said that pursuing that kind of “selfish” goal, is the ultimate goal that we should all strive for. You, and millions like you on the other hand, choose to characterize the “selfishness” she refers to as simply being greedy, and keeping everything for one’s self, while caring not a damn about anyone else.

            Beethoven was a nasty piece of work. He lived his entire life for the sole purpose of creating his music, and spent whatever money he had or could borrow on booze & women. He never went to church, or did any of the warm & fuzzy things that you so admire. But if you can point to anyone who’s done more for mankind, who’s lifted more spirits, and spread more joyous rapture to the people of the world than Beethoven, I’d like to know who that is.

            Rand saw “god” in the majesty of man’s greatest creations, in the potential within all of us to achieve greatness. She experienced (as I do) what you would call a state of spiritual rapture or ecstasy in Rachmaninoff’s piano concertos, or a beautifully designed skyscraper.

            If you could suspend your irrationality for a while and actually read her novels, you’d see that you have more in common with her than you ever thought possible. But you probably won’t, because sometime ago, in your formative years, you subconsciously chose to take the easy way out by accepting all of your moral & ethical philosophy “on faith” rather than thinking things out for yourself.

            What a shame.

            fs

            Swemson

            May 13, 2011 at 11:56 PM

  3. […] agree that Ayn Rand had some issues that despite the Tea Party adaptation of her philosophy, makes her ideas unpopular in mainstream […]


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