Ayn Rand and Christianity: An Intellectual Exercise

It’s an understatement to say that there are foundational differences between Ayn Rand’s philosophy (Objectivism) and Christianity. Yes, there both world views are misunderstood, but still. There are irreconcilable differences. Nevertheless, some of their conclusions are similar and those similarities can be unifying.

Is there any way to reconcile these two perspectives? At the very least, these worldviews should talk. Sometimes there are just irreconcilable differences. I get that. But, each worldview can teach the other something.

There are two aspects that comprise the intellectual dimension of the Conversation. It shouldn’t be surprising that there are fundamental differences in the two worldviews. The Conversation pins these down, exploring what they are and why they exist. What is the nature of the universe? What is the highest purpose of humanity? What’s wrong with the world and how do you fix it? These are the questions that help define the differences between Christianity and Objectivism. They are foundational and unavoidable. Strong though the temptation may be for each party to leave the sandbox with toys in tow, there are reasons to stay and play.

castle-1The best part of the beach is the sand castles. In addition to the sun, sand, and surf, there are always kids ready to play. While you always have the choice to build your own, one reason to play with someone else is that you like what they’re doing, the tools they use, and the progress they’re making. If at any time, you want to vacate the project, you can do so with no backlash, no recrimination, no questions asked. It’s the same way with Christians and Objectivists. Despite fundamental differences, for example, ethical conclusions–regarding faith, reason, self, sacrifice, work, and virtue–reveal surprising similarities. And agreement in these areas, as we’ll see, is far from universal in today’s pluralistic society. In some cases, it’s Objectivists and Christians here, and everyone else over there. Common values makes for cooperation and the stakes are much higher in life than building castles in the sand.

Can you see ways that finding common values may be beneficial? In what areas do you think common values may be found?

The series of posts listed below explores these ideas in more detail:

As always, I appreciate your posts and your feedback on this site.