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  Global Views
Rational Christian Response to Ayn Rand
Special Contribution
By Babu G. Ranganathan
Ayn Rand. A Russian-born American novelist and philosopher, known for the novels We the Living, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and the novella Anthem (under construction).
image courtesy of www.frogtownbooks.com

As a Christian I wish to respond to Ayn Rand's non-theistic and self-centered philosophy and arguments against Christian altruism. I am quite familiar with Ayn Rand's philosophy, and the fact is Ayn Rand would be totally correct in her "objectivism" and denial of God's existence if Darwinian macro-evolutionary theory were true.

The actual and objective scientific evidence, however, shows that there are natural limits to evolution in nature and that we are not here by chance or by macro-evolutionary processes (please read author's essay "The Natural Limits of Evolution" at his website for an in-depth scientific analysis of this issue). Natural selection in nature is not a creative force as many think. Natural selection can only "select" from biological variations that are possible and that have survival value. The real issue is what biological variations are naturally possible. There is a God to Whom Ayn Rand and all of us must give an account. God is not being egotistical. Truth demands that God be the center of our lives.

Ayn Rand misunderstands the concept of Christian altruism and the proper context in which Christian altruism is to be applied. Christian altruism does not mean that we should give to others unconditionally in all circumstances because that would not be for the true benefit of others. Christian love seeks what is for the true benefit of others, not whatever they desire or want. For example, the Bible teaches that a person who is not willing to work should not eat. Therefore, feeding such a person is wrong since it would only be helping to increase the selfishness of such a person.

There is a difference between selfness and selfishness. The first involves proper Biblical love and care for oneself as God intends. The latter is based on ego and pride. Christianity is not against legitimate self-interest. We are created in God's image so, of course, God would want us to love ourselves as well as to love others.

Ayn Rand rightly claims that "A" cannot be "non A" but she misapplies this principle in her critique of Christianity. For example, when Christ said that "the first shall be last and the last shall be first" there is no true contradiction (i.e. "A" being "non A"), as Ayn Rand claims, because the both cases in which the words "first" and "last" are used within the context of the passage have different applications and reasons for usage. Jesus was simply saying that in this world a person is considered "first" or "last" for different reasons than why a person is considered "first" or "last" in God's kingdom. Again, there is no real contradiction (i.e. there is no "A" equated with "non A").

According to Christian teaching, the individual (or self) is not an end in himself but rather is a means to an end - that end being to live for God and to please Him and to do His will. Part of living for God is to do good for ourselves as well as for others because we belong to God and are owned by Him.

Christianity is not against the enjoyment of material things; it is against the worship of material things. God alone is worthy of worship! The Bible does not teach that money itself is the root of all evil but rather the Bible teaches that it is "the love of money which is the root of all evil."

God is glorified when His creatures enjoy the provisions, bounty, and wealth that He provides, but if it is God's will and purpose in a particular case for an individual to give up all that he has and to give it to the poor then it is only right that the individual do so. After all, everything belongs to God, even the wealth a person gains in this life for nothing would be possible without God's power and undeserving grace.

Contrary to popular belief, Jesus was not against self-defense in all cases. "Turning the other cheek" simply means that Christians should not retaliate against personal insults by returning insults. "Slapping another"s cheek" in Jewish culture was considered a figure of speech for throwing verbal insult at someone. Jesus, in fact, allowed His disciples to carry swords for self-defense. This is why Peter pulled out a sword to protect Jesus at the time of His arrest. However, Jesus told Peter to put away the sword because it was the Father"s will at that time for Christ to be delivered to suffering and death in order to pay for the sins of the world.

There is nothing wrong with capitalism or making a profit. What is evil is when profits are made without any sense of obligation and duty to God and His commandments. It is God Who enables the capitalist to make money and it is God who requires the capitalist to have due and proper concern for his fellow man's health and welfare. Profits made at the expense of God's commandments are an abomination to the Creator and society. CEOs take notice! My fellow conservatives and Republicans take notice!

The above are just some of the Christian arguments refuting Ayn Rand's philosophy.

*Some other Internet articles by the author are: "Why The Traditional Doctrine of Hell Is Not Biblical," "Artificial Life By Intelligent Design," "Where Are All The Half-Evolved Dinosaurs?," "Creationists Right On Entropy, Evolution," "Are There Natural Limits To Evolution?,""Intelligent Design On Another Planet?," "How Does My DNA Work?," "Christ Was Begotten, Not Made," "Any Life On Mars Came From Earth!."The most up-to-date versions of these and other articles may be accessed at: Babu G. Ranganathan's Articles.



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