Freedom doesn’t mean without restriction. The fish outside the restriction of water, it is not free. When the fish is confined to the water, only then does it have the freedom to move about and thrive.
Both Objectivists and Christians feel that they are the truly free ones, and that the other is in some kind of slavery. Objectivists sense that a Christian is enslaved to his consciousness. In the Objectivist’s estimation, the Christian has acquiesced to belief in a God that does not exist and is limited by that. The Christian is trapped because he refuses to go beyond his consciousness, back to the first principles of existence. He has let his imagination capture his intellect and now he must conform to some “higher standard” over which he has no control whatsoever. The Christian is relegated to the realm of “faith,” where there is no room for freedom. In contrast, Ayn Rand sees the only path to true freedom as that which frees the mind from all constraints which cannot be substantiated through observation, integration, and reason.
Christians say the Objectivist is obsessed, and therefore enslaved, to achievement. Because the Objectivist puts himself as a Producer at the center of his identity. Consequently, s/he must continue to achieve in order to prop up that identity. Hence, the slavery.
In my natural state, I am not free because I am constantly looking around me for props or something to hold me up and give me the self-esteem that I need to carry on. I need the approval of others, or the validation of some superlative achievement, or some comfort in my life without which I feel I cannot live a happy life. If I truly do look to these things for my identity, then I am enslaved to them. And these things—while perfectly good in themselves—are not designed to sustain my deepest needs for identity and validation.
For that, I must dig deeper into myself? That’s an answer? I trade some external standard that I can’t live up to for an internal standard that I can’t live up to?
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free from the penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
Whereas the Objectivist sees the deepest level of freedom is the freedom of the mind, the Christian sees that a person is only as free as the authority he serves. While the Objectivist may say that she should cease looking outwardly and look inwardly, the Christian is unwilling to trade some arbitrary external standard that cannot be satisfied for an internal standard that she is not any more capable of living up to. Unless, of course, she decides to lower her standards. But then she has to esteem herself as someone with low standards, and that’s even less acceptable. The Christian concludes that freedom is not within her grasp apart from God.
How do you think that Christians and followers of Ayn Rand are in agreement on the idea of Freedom?