A Case for Common Ground, Part 3

The Soul of Atlas is a very personal, vulnerable story that took me deeper than I might have otherwise gone. The context of my own life makes the conflict and the convergence of Ayn Rand’s philosophy and Gospel Christianity unavoidable, as these two world views came to me through the lives of my two fathers. My experiences with these two men illustrate the essence of each world view, the fundamental exclusivity between them, and the ethical conclusions that unite the two men and their beliefs.

Since my parents’ divorce and my mother’s remarriage when I was eleven years old, my life has been characterized by absorbing, balancing, and reconciling the devout Objectivism of my stepfather, John, and the passionate Christianity of my Dad. One is a champion of rational self-interest, the other a thoughtful man of faith. My intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development played out in the process of conversations with these two, brilliant men. Through this book, I invite you to enter into that Conversation so you might consider where these world views vary or unite with your own.

This is the third post in a Five-Part Series entitled,
“A Case for Common Ground: Finding Common Ground between Ayn Rand and Christianity”

Today, people claim and disclaim both world views with very little comprehension. Arguably, people do this with all kinds of thinking. Unaware, they embrace parts of varying philosophies without regard for consistency. Or, perhaps worse, they dismiss the “other” as misguided and villainous. The merits and influence of these world views mandate more thoughtful consideration. Understanding is a precursor for a meaningful exchange between these two, influential vantage points, if not from other vantage points, as well. These pages lay the groundwork of understanding as a foundation for a productive dialogue.

Let me say that the Conversation is not only for those, like me, familiar with both world views. Perhaps you have come from the perspective of Dad, as a Christian or even another faith tradition. Perhaps your intellectual background is more sympathetic to John’s Objectivism. No matter; keep an open mind. In fact, I would argue that productive interchange requires it. If you come to the Conversation as an atheist or strict rationalist, Dad’s well-reasoned Gospel perspective will challenge you. If you approach as a Christian, John’s passion and ways of thinking will inspire you to deeper understanding and cause you to question. Finally, if the world view that you articulate differs from both of these men, I envy the adventure that awaits you.

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4 thoughts on “A Case for Common Ground, Part 3

  1. Because of your willingness to uncover and expose your profoundly personal journey of discovering your philosophical leanings, you DO provoke feelings of curiosity about my own journey. Having lived with "Father #2" for eight years prior to you, my own journey consisted of witnessing his disenchantment with his Catholic beginnings, converting to Episcopalian when he married my mother, and then joining a local Unitarian church–where he met and later married your Mother. Growing up with so much questioning of religious doctrine, I gained a deep skepticism of all religions in general. Though I espoused many of the ideals, I felt betrayed by the personalized judgements and preaching that pervaded. I think that is why my leanings and studies today have been toward Mahayana Buddhism. Thank you for engaging me in this thought process!

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