06 July, 2006

And Another Drinks From The Fountainhead

Boy, with his blog underwater for so long, Jason apparently had a lot of time to read. And he read Ayn Rand.

Which, of course, I think is fantastic. He has, among many other things, this to say:
...just because intellectuals have read Atlas Shrugged since it was published in 1957 and have talked about the philosophy of Objectivism for decades shouldn’t mean there is no amazement left for the uninitiated. There is still room at the table of calloused didacts for a new reader to pull up a chair and say “this is an amazing book.”

He's dead-on about that, and about many other things he's taken away from Atlas Shrugged. It's funny, but I see that dismissive attitude alot. Hey, I'm an Eliot fan. In the world of poetry that's considered backward, awkward and sophomoric. I think it's interesting how people who rarely seem to have original ideas believe that laying first claim to the good ideas of someone else is the same thing. It happens a lot in Literature and Philosophy classes. "You can't like John Donne. I liked him first." Tiger Beat intellectualism at its finest.

Back on track, Jason also has this to say:
Rand believes that unmotivated selfless altruism is wrong and the Egoist with selfishness as his main goal represents the ultimate form of Man. At core this is antithetical to the concept of Christ’s guiltless, sinless, perfectly altruistic sacrifice. But the fact that Rand, an avowed atheist, was otherwise able to put together such a beautiful picture of the dignity of being alive reinforces the idea that Truth can sometimes be uncovered by any source.

I've always countered this point with the fact that I don't think Rand is wrong in the least. I think that she has her finger on the pulse of Man and Man's true nature. Altruism is not a part of the makeup of man. That's why Christ shows us a better way. That's why Christ was special, and His sacrifice was so very eloquent on so many levels. That's why when we Christians talk about striving to be more Christlike we are talking about shedding that selfishness and moving toward altruism.

It's also why many Christians like me are leaning toward libertarianism. We recognise that not all individuals are on the same wavelength. That bare selfishness is the fundamental impulse of man and that to expect to be governed by the better angels of others' nature is a foolhardy prospect. I had once (many years ago, before I dropped out) toyed with writing a senior thesis on the integration of Randian Objectivism with Christianity. But then my own selfishness got in the way.

By the way, he's not from here, but if you all aren't yet hip to reading Jason, you really need to give him a try.


At 6:22 PM, July 06, 2006, Blogger melusina said...

This is quite interesting. As someone who has always loved Atlas Shrugged, it fascinates me to hear the Christian response. I never thought a Christian could (or would) like Rand's work. I guess I can be a bit shallow about such things.

But, as my husband and I were discussing last night, I find the drive to be more like Christ to be an impossible feat, so contrary to our human instincts. (We were having this conversation in the context of the death penalty and the ability to forgive) I just can't see being able to shrug off how I feel naturally.

Your explanation here puts it into a bit more perspective.

(Ah, it is 2am here, I'm not sure I made enough sense)

At 10:16 PM, July 06, 2006, Blogger Kathy T. said...

I have been carrying Atlas Shrugged around for about 25 years now, determined to read it some day. I've gotten into about chapter 3 or 4 so far. Okay. I'm adding it to my to-do-before-I-die list. I will read it. I will.

At 11:44 PM, July 06, 2006, Anonymous Chris Wage said...

I haven't had time to develop a justifiable hate for Ayn Rand yet because all I've read is Anthem.

But it's coming -- you just wait.

At 10:48 AM, July 07, 2006, Blogger Chance said...

Don't feel bad. Before I read Atlas Shrugged, I assumed everyone was either a conservative Christian who loved capitalism or a non-Christian who hated capitalism. It's always interesting to see that you can't peg someone's political views based on their religious beliefs.

At 12:16 AM, July 08, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I think I can assure you that my Christian response is in the minority. Or it used to be--I believe it may be growing more common.

The drive to be more like Christ is an entirely impossible feat. It cannot be done in whole. It can be done in part, but humanity is too frail. Hence the Holy Spirit, sacraments and the other things we all do to try our best to keep from being who we were and striving toward who we want to be.

Read it, but maybe not in summer. I applaud Jason, but it isn't necessarily a summer type of book. Unless you like to really think during the summer. Me, not so much.

I have NO DOUBT that you will hate every last word of everything Rand has ever written. If only because you loathe so much about those who agree with her. ;-p It's part of your charm.

You said it.


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