As world views, Objectivism and Christianity are characterized as foundationally opposed. We don’t see many pacifist NRA members or socialist businessmen. Likewise, Christians and Objectivists simply do not run in the same circles. Something about these two domains of thought and praxis, however, is deeply compelling to many Americans. Given that fact, one would imagine there are shelves of books comparing and contrasting these ideologies. In fact, there are not. To date, the Conversation between Objectivism and Christianity has not played out.
In the past few generations of American society, these two, very distinctive world views have stood as paragons for Faith and Reason themselves. Faith and Reason repeatedly fall prey to our inclination to avert complexity. They can be cartoonishly foisted against one another in simplistic bifurcation. In the twenty-first century, the term “New Atheists” has been coined by journalists to describe some hot, best-selling books—popular authors like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett—that carry the theme “Religion makes no sense.” Of course, atheism is not a new idea. For centuries, there have been atheists saying that religion is bad. What’s new is the message that respect for religion is bad: that to even be congenial and respectful toward believers is bad; that religion is the worst thing that has ever happened to humankind and it needs to be wiped out. In trying to counter the message of the New Atheism, there are plenty of Christians who simply raise their voices. They do not sympathetically put themselves in the shoes of the doubters. They don’t know how to engage in a Conversation. Instead, they heap scorn on the other side. The New Atheists do that too. This Nietzschean power struggle has resulted in alienation and a stalemate.
I wish it were not the case, but it is. And I want to do something about it.
What do you think of the battle between these two world views? What do you think can be done?