There is a literary classic by author Ayn Rand called “Atlas Shrugged.” It is regaining popularity for a number of reasons. The two main reasons seem to be a recent series of movies made depicting the book, and the second being dire predictions Rand made about collectivism seem to be coming true around us.
This isn’t about the movies. I haven’t seen the movies, but expect them to be horrible (they are too long.)
Ayn Rand is the founder of a movement called collectivism. Rand was an interesting, heroic person: survivor of an antisemitic purge as a child who lost her family, self taught in English, typing, and novel writing.
Why Jesus shrugged? Ayn Rand led me to Jesus.
I may have left out when summarizing Rand’s professional accomplishments that she was an avowed atheist, and quite vocal in that regard. I suspect she was deeply scarred from the horrors of hiding behind a false back in a coat closet while her family and everyone she knew was tortured and killed. Her writings led me to Jesus, I never knew her personally. I ask only acceptance from the atheists who might find this offensive.
Ayn Rand’s teachings are largely regarded to be in opposition to Christianity, especially by the Objectivism advocates, the movement she founded. It is a little humorous. The Objectivism Institute is a collective, like the ones objectivists rail against. I have been told I can’t join because I have embraced one religion they all partake in and won’t worship the one god they worship: the religion being atheism and the one god being self.
The teachings aren’t in conflict. Take money. Rand says people should be good stewards of it. So does Jesus.
Jesus says to store up treasures in heaven.
You see? We are talking exchange rates here, the production is the same. A Christian missionary is in a sense seeking to be a heavenly millionaire.
Rand (through her characters) rail against those “religious” who say money is the root of all evil. She goes on to say money is the root of all good.
Jesus never said money was evil. He said the “love of” money was the root of all evil.
Jesus talked so much about money we should think of him less as a carpenter and more as a financial advisor. The parable of the talents could have been slipped into the manuscript of Atlas Shrugged and fit right in.
Hank Rearden didn’t love money. He loved achieving, creating wealth–money was just how you kept score. The collectivists who wanted to take his money — they loved money.
Rand takes heat from the left and the religious right for perhaps her seminal work: “The Virtue of Selfishness.”
I want to avoid meaninglessly pedantic arguments. (Christians aren’t selfish for helping others in order to go to heaven, anymore than atheists aren’t selfish for their feelings of altruism.) Let’s nail it down to a specific often cited example.
Rand argues that we shouldn’t feed the starving in Africa. Our guilt offerings merely prolong the suffering into new generations.
Jesus says similar stuff in the Bible. He says that before you build a tower you should count the cost. He says God doesn’t want our guilt offerings, they offend him. Where Jesus is revolutionary is he says we should love our brothers in Africa.
Where do I come down? I have been to Africa doing famine relief. Jesus commanded us to love, to donate our resources. I personally observed the guilt offerings, those supplies taken at the point of a gun by government as foriegn aid did harm, ultimately funding bloodshed.
Blaise Pascal has an amazing quote where he says there is a God shaped hole in everyone.
Ayn Rand is Jesus– robotically, without the love.
Atlas shrugged and left the world. Jesus shrugged and entered it. Rand got revenge on the collectivists, Jesus gives them a chance to escape the eternal flames.
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