It has been good to hear from you, and I do appreciate the words of encouragement. Thanks to those of you suggested the benefits of considering my progress to date. Of course, no excuse to pause, but you’re absolutely right. For those of you who have not been following my progress closely, let me give a brief synopsis of what I have so far.
The chapters of the book have undergone several iterations. Most recently (March 2010), the chapters are grouped into three sections. The first section, entitled “How Does It Happen?” contains the first two chapters. In the first chapter, I lay out my story and the conversation between Atheist Objectivism and Gospel Christianity that has played out in my life. I also introduce my two father figures, who represent these two worldviews respectively. In chapter two, I lay out the two worldviews, more or less through the agency of my two father figures. That is, I articulate these two worldviews the way I learned them. That’s how the conversation began. I ask and answer four questions from the perspective of each worldview: What is the nature of the universe? What is the purpose of man? What’s wrong with the world? How do you fix it? With a foundational understanding of each worldview, readers with little to no background in either worldview can be on the same page as those who are more familiar.
Chapters three through eight, comprising the second section of three sections in the book, provides the guts of the conversation. Remember, it’s a conversation between these two worldviews. I’m playing it out as a dialogue, but not strictly like the dialogue you see on stage or in the movies where two actors speak to each other face to face or on the phone. Instead, this conversation is taking place through an intermediary, an agent of ideas. That’s me. My two father figures don’t actually talk to one another. On an intimate level, that literal conversation stopped years ago. Over a long period of time (my life time), the ideas that I gleaned from John got played back in my conversations with my dad, and visa versa. The conversation wasn’t premeditated or rehearsed; it just happened as I was growing up, searching for answers, seeking my own worldview, trying to survive.
Consequently, the topics are familiar, but weighty. That’s especially true as I turn them over and subject the points of each worldview to its counterpart in the other. How does Ayn Rand‘s Objectivism, John’s philosophy, view money? What does Gospel Christianity, my dad’s worldview, say about it? How do they interact, overlap, challenge one another? What are the consequences of each view in the life of the holder? There is a chapter for each of these big topics: Money, Sex, Power, Reason, Selfishness, and Capitalism. Within each one of these topics, there are subtopics that I address. I can’t avoid addressing Freedom, for example, when I talk about Capitalism. The conversation drifts to Faith when in the chapter entitled “Reason.” How does John, an Objectivist, view Faith? How does my dad, a Christian, view Reason? Is Capitalism incompatible with Christianity? What does the Christian say to encourage the Objectivist about rational self-interest?
Finally, in the third part entitled, “The Wrap-Up” or “Take-Aways” or something catchy (ideas?), I conclude the book with chapters nine and ten. In Chapter Nine, entitled “The Impasse, From Start to Finish,” I share points of irreconcilable disagreement. There are some issues on which Objectivists and Christians need to agree to disagree. There are not, however, as many as each party might think at the outset of the conversation. That has been one of my life’s profound surprises, and the moment continues.
Chapter Ten, the “So what?” answers “Where do we go from here?” I really want to know, and so does the reader. In tomorrow’s blog, I will elaborate.
Meanwhile, please send me some encouragement and observations. This is me being vulnerable and reaching out. Thanks in advance.