Ayn Rand and Christianity: Breaking Down Barriers, Reconcile

Series: Ayn Rand and Christianity, Breaking Down Barriers

Thus far in this series, we have heard David Kelley introduce Mark David Henderson at the CATO Institute. Mark went on to explain the “how to” of breaking down barriers between followers of Ayn Rand (Objectivists) and Christians. Put another way, how can we bring together secular libertarians and Christian conservatives?

The first two steps lead to the third…

The first step is to engage with one another. Too often these two groups (and all of us, really) stay away from people that we perceive are not like us. Because of this, we miss out on understanding one another and perpetuate our ignorance. The second step–what we do when we engage–is understanding. Mark offers 4 questions to ask of any world view in order to become familiar with it and establish a foundation for understanding. (I could devote another series of posts to the misunderstandings that Objectivists and Christians have of each others’ views of the world.) Without that foundation, we will miss a vital opportunity to reconcile.

Reconciliation is important.

In particular, it’s vital to reconcile these two world views because they make up the backbone of our country, as discussed in this excerpt from the last chapter of The Soul of Atlas (page 208-209).

Throughout this book, I have demonstrated that world views affect everything using the particular world views of my fathers as an example. Their guiding philosophies exemplify this private/public intertwining of ideals. And these particular ideals, I maintain, have been enormously influential on our culture. Perhaps no other philosophical or ethical influences can be understood to be more quintessentially American than Christianity and Individualism. The architects of the American experiment were motivated by precisely these two governing principles that, at first glance, may appear contradictory. Yet individual liberty and Faith in a Sovereign Creator have endured through two hundred and fifty years of this nation’s development. And so it is that any thoughtful person wishing to comprehend the “American spirit” (for better or for worse) must recognize the pervasive influences of these ideas. Moreover, in the last hundred years, these ideas come to us in even more apparently juxtaposed forms. In their contemporary incarnations, the political philosophy of Ayn Rand is a distillation of the rationalism that informed the American founders and the contemporary secular expression of their Biblical principles.

The 40-foot iron statue of Atlas across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral outside Rockefeller Center in New York City is a metaphor. It represents the conversation between Ayn Rand‘s philosophy and Christianity. This video, the fourth in the “Breaking Down Barriers” series, offers three examples of reconciliation from The Soul of Atlas.

What other examples of reconciliation come to mind? What questions does this bring up for you?

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