St. Patrick’s Cathedral over Atlas on Fifth Avenue

When I see the scene in the scene in this photograph, I see the story of The Soul of Atlas: Ayn Rand, Christianity, a Quest for Common Ground.

The location is New York City: Fifth Avenue at 50th Street. An iron statue of Atlas is supporting the world on his shoulders in the foreground. In Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, Atlas represents the producers of the world, the creators of value, those who sustain the economy of the nation and the world. When they realize that the world despises them for what they hold sacred, they shrug off the weight of the world and go on strike. As a consequence, the world topples and plunges deeper into decay.
Standing steadfast in the background, St. Patrick’s Cathedral illustrates orthodox Christianity and the world view of the West for centuries past. These two world views represent the ways of seeing the world that my two fathers spoke into my life. My stepfather is a follower of Ayn Rand and my biological father is a Christian. Both men are devout and passionate. Both world views have shaped Western culture and my own life as well.

What factors have shaped your life? Can you think of any places or pictures that are metaphors for your experience or world view?

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