Is Libertarianism Compatible With Religion?

Posted by  $  minniepuck 5 years, 8 months ago to Philosophy
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The article that is linked says yes. What is your opinion?

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  • Posted by  $  Maphesdus 5 years, 8 months ago
    Libertarianism? Yes. Objectivism? No.
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    • Posted by XenokRoy 5 years, 8 months ago
      I am religious, also consider myself an objectivist in every area except that I think god exists. I can combine objectivism with my religion just fine. In fact I would say that the one place that Rand was totally nonobjective is when evaluating the existence of some kind of creator. The idea that it occurred without a mind behind it is ludicrous.

      Its an Axiom that some mind capable of understanding the needed chemistry, biology and engineering processes of creating a world, sun, moon... had to do so at some time. As we gain greater understanding of how it was done we to may one day reach the point where we can create a sun, world moon and everything needed to have life evolve. It may have been watched and guided or it may have been left to do its thing on its own, all of the building blocks in place. The building blocks them-self needed a mind to put them in place, this is fact.

      One need only open there eyes and look around to know that some creator exists. To take it a step further, I think you can use objectivism to define a great deal of what that mind must of been like (or still is like) in order to accomplish what it so obviously did.

      For me my religion and objectivism click together and fit incredibly well. They complement each other. I think Glenn Beck (same religion) would see it as well. however Romney would not, and Herry Reid would see them as in direct conflict with one and other.

      As with all things with any complexity to them. If everyone agrees then only one person is using there mind. The rest are just following the one thinker in the room.
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      • Posted by patricking 5 years, 8 months ago
        How do you even vaguely converge the altruism that Christ demanded of his followers with the virtue of selfishness? The inability of Republicans to understand that these ideas are mutually exclusive is the reason the GOP is failing in every state.

        I might equally ask you what possible rational reason do you have to think that a 'god' exists?
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        • Posted by XenokRoy 5 years, 8 months ago
          Virtues of selfishness is a great book. I have read it twice and will likely read it again.

          Did Christ teach altruism or did it get added in later? Was it altruism that allows Christ to be a perfect being, or was it selfishness? Your view of Christ and mine are likely very different.

          As far as a rational reason to think god exists, just open your eyes look around you. The evidence is all around you. As to gods exact nature that is something that can be debated, but a creator who made the building blocks that life is built on is an axiom unless you wish to entertain the notion that creation can occur without a mind behind it. Such a notion is nonobjective, some mind was behind the creation of things. Could it still be around, sure. Could that mind have died out like is proposed in the fictional TV show Stargate. Sure. It is irrational to think that some type of creator does not exist.
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      • Posted by  $  BYJR 5 years, 8 months ago
        I agree with you. I am a Scientologist myself, and I see no problem between that and Objectivism, even though Scientology recognizes the existence of a supreme being of some type. Objectivism is a philosophy of life and a political movement, and not meant to to an end-all in itself. I'm sure Miss Rand would be the first to agree.

        Interesting point is that when I took the Objectivism philosophy course given by Dr. Piekoff in the 1970s, he defined "consciousness" as "that which is conscious of being conscious". Four years later when I read an intro book on Scientology, Hubbard originally used the term "awareness of awareness unit" as his scientific name for what traditionally we call a "soul", and he defined it as "that which is aware of being aware". Interesting parallel, eh?

        He later shortened the term to "thetan" which was derived from the Greek letter theta which stood for life itself independent of the body. Hubbard then went on to say that the thetan is the actual person, then the mind and body are components the thetan uses to operate in the physical universe.

        In any case, I agree with you that religion is very compatible with Objectivism. Whether religion is compatible with Libertarianism is quite another matter.
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    • Posted by  $  5 years, 8 months ago
      yep, which is why i think a lot of people here say they're not objectivists. what troubles me is when people say the libertarian movement has been influenced by Rand, who was an atheist. then, you have a schism between people who mostly agree with Rand, but still believe in god vs more objectivist leaning libertarians.
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 years, 8 months ago
        Yes, they come to Atlas Shrugged for the anti-socialist message, but have not integrated the philosophy into their personal worldview. If you understand even "Galt's Speech" you must be clear that religion is incompatible with reality, reason, ego, liberty, and pro-life art.

        I do not know what minniepuck means by a "schism". Differences exist, but no one is denied access to institutional engagements. The ARI and Atlas Society went their separate ways, indeed, but your being here or not is not contingent on your belonging to one or to the other or to something else. Schisms, though, do define religions; and for them, those do matter.

        Ayn Rand's letter to Reverend Dudley is easy to find. She had some nice things to say about Christianity -- but only one or two...

        It is important to understand that when Laurence M. Vance speaks of the King James Bible and says that it does not matter which version you use, he is being highly personal and highly putative. It is an article of faith that the only texts which are the Revealed Word of God are the original Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew texts. Any translation is only a GUIDE written by a person. Catholics make fun of Protestants by quipping, "The King James Version was good enough for Saint Paul and it's good enough for me." The KJV is missing several books. You can use the Bible to justify anything, good, bad, great, or evil -- and it has been done... and done too often.

        If you look into Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or whatever, the same is true. In India, Indira Gandhi's own Sikh body guards killed her for allowing a Hindu temple on a Sikh holy site.

        You show me where the students of Schroedinger, insulted over the non-dead cat, killed someone from Copenhagen physics, or where a student of Einstein use dice as shrapnel for an attack on Heisenberg's classroom.

        Can good people do good works because of their religions? Yes. Good people are good, by identity and tautology. But only religion can justify the horrible evils.

        As for the claim that "even Stalin could not wipe out religion" that misidentifies Soviet communism. Totalitarianism is just another religion. By the same token, the Calvinists could not wipe out the Baptists - there's a lot of bodies at the bottom of Lake Geneva - but both are still religions.
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        • Posted by XenokRoy 5 years, 8 months ago
          You have a contradiction in your comparisons.

          You compare a collective (religion) as bad to individuals as good.

          Religion is a tool of the mind, like anything else that requires thought. It can be used for both good and evil. Do people use science to accomplish evil? To say they do not is absolute rubbish.

          Good people are good and constantly attempting to be better. Those that are bad choose to be bad, and will use the tools they can to accomplish there bad designs.

          Religion has no more ability to be bad or good than science or philosophy. It is what a persons mind does with it that makes it bad or good. To state religion is bad is the same as stating philosophy is bad. Individuals are bad or good. Exactly what is bad or good can be determined by the results that individuals actions achieve, and nothing else.

          have people used religion for evil. Over and over again. have they also used it for good. Over and over again. Both will continue to be true no matter what the piece of knowledge is or what its called. It is the mind that determines how it is used and the consequence of the actions that determines if that use was good or bad.
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          • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 years, 8 months ago
            True enough. We all easily agree that the PERSON is good or evil and finds JUSTIFICATION in religion for their actions.

            The Scientific Method - five steps, nine or fourteen - is the process for creating and validating true claims. Where is the Religious Method?

            In Atlas Shrugged "Project X" was a betrayal of science. When a suicide bomber kills people in the mosque of another sect, where is the betrayal of religion?

            Whether Catholics vs. Protestants in Northern Ireland or Druse versus Marianist versus Hezbollah versus Hamas in Beirut, no standard of truth exists.

            Show us where the students of Linus Pauling blew themselves up to destroy the people working in the laboratories of Crick and Watson because they disagreed about the structure of DNA.

            You are a good person. But religion can be used for evil. Science cannot.

            Science can be betrayed. One of my specialities is misconduct in scientific research. Easily 20% of scientists are crooks. But that is betrayal. Show us where the religious leader betrays religion by calling for martyrs.
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            • Posted by XenokRoy 5 years, 8 months ago
              I wrote something big to counter each of your points but then deleted it. Your reply does not really alter or counter any of my original arguments.

              Evil is still determined by the mind, not be religion or science. No additional arguments are needed.
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          • Posted by khalling 5 years, 8 months ago
            you have to admit there is a lot of chasing the good with the bad in religion
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            • Posted by XenokRoy 5 years, 8 months ago
              Not only will I admit it, but its even in the bible, more clearly in the book of Mormon. It states people would go around in his name (gods or Christs depending on where you read it at) and call good evil and evil good. They do, always have and always will.
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              • Posted by khalling 5 years, 8 months ago
                "The first question that has to be answered, as a precondition of any attempt to define, to judge or to accept any specific system of ethics, is: Why does man need a code of values? "
                and that is why Man needs values.

                "Let me stress this. The first question is not: What particular code of values should man accept? The first question is: Does man need values at all—and why?"
                The Virtue of Selfishness

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        • Posted by Hiraghm 5 years, 8 months ago
          Guess I don't understand Galt's speech... or I understand it well enough not to swallow everything he had to say. I've heard enough soothsayers in my life not to fall for any of them.

          The small part of his speech that was anti-religious was bullshit, plain and simple.
          There is evidence that the universe was created.
          The attempt to learn of and understand the intelligence behind that creation is not mysticism, nor irrational, nor does it require sacrifice, nor an assumption of the inherent evil of mankind; no more than the search for the Higgs Boson is irrational mysticism.

          Manipulators of men's minds have long used the pursuit of understanding creation as a means to gain power over their fellows. That doesn't mean the pursuit itself is nothing more than a means to gain power over people.
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    • Posted by SteveWeiss 5 years, 8 months ago
      What you should have said is that you are a theist and not an Objectivist. Theism is an irrational belief in an undefined, unidentified something which acted in ways unknowable at some unspecified time. Faith and reason are opposites and cannot be integrated. The universe is eternal and requires no creator. Existence and identity are axioms and are presumed in the act of explanation. Please be honest and say that you reject Objectivism at the most fundamental level.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 5 years, 8 months ago
    Organized religions tend to be more about organization and authority than about God. Deism, which is by its nature "unorganized", is one religion that should have the least conflict with Libertarianism. Deism, which has as its sole divine direction the belief that you should leave the world a better place than when you arrived, as much as possible, seemed to suit several of our nation's Founders, who were also very Libertarian in their beliefs.
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  • Posted by Rozar 5 years, 8 months ago
    I think libertarians need to realize they have a wide umbrella of like minded people with a common goal of minimal government. There's a lot of infighting that goes on especially when they have such a simple goal.

    I saw the same infighting among communists when I circled their groups, but their differences in beliefs are a lot more conflicting than the libertarian goal.
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    • Posted by XenokRoy 5 years, 8 months ago
      I think this goes both ways. When the Alaskan governess got involved with the tea party it started to loose ground. Why? She forgot what it was about when she brought up anti-abortion at a tea party convention. That movement like the libertarian party is about small government and having the government tell doctors yes they have to do them, or women no they cant have them is just the opposite.

      There are people from every walk of life that want free agency. The ability to choose for themselves on all maters that do not involve the use of force on another person. Shortening the net to exclude religion would simply be foolish.


      Libertarians are completely comparable with religion as long as they do not go the path the the republicans before them. Small government and free agency (individual choice) must be the trump card over personal bias.
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      • Posted by Rozar 5 years, 8 months ago
        I see your point, it's hard to get people behind your movement of their going to start misrepresenting your platform. Then they bring others in and so on until you've essentially been hijacked or splintered.

        It's essential to keep things simple, and the non-aggression pact needs to be the only basis to both let the majority in and keep personal differences out.
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  • Posted by kalkalmanek 5 years, 8 months ago
    The pieces of this puzzel fit so well together that I, myself, believe that the universe was not an accident. Building a VW is not an accident, people created it. Do you think that a VW could have existed in nature or was it created. How about a tree. Can anyone out there create a tree. Or a baby from scratch. I believe, yes, I believe in a supreme being or intellgence whatever it is. Kal
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  • Posted by swmorgan77 5 years, 8 months ago
    Libertarianism is simply the idea of individual rights and the non-aggression principle, so yes it is "compatible" with any religion that doesn't demand that you personally commit aggression. If a libertarian were living, however, under edicts of the Old Testament God who commanded his people to kill all the survivors of the canaanite tribes, then at that point it would not be compatible.

    Objectivism much more than "libertarianism" because it is a whole systematic philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics) whereas liberarianism is just a determination about ethics as relating to gov't. Objectivism is not compatible with any religion that asserts the mystical or upholds belief in the absence of perceptive evidence and/or reason.
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  • Posted by Rex_Little 5 years, 8 months ago
    Certainly blogger "Vox Day" (voxday.blogspot.com) thinks they're compatible; he bills himself as a Christian libertarian. And to turn it around, atheists are quite comfortable with authoritarian beliefs. Try going to Pharyngula (freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula, an atheist site largely devoted to debunking Creationism and explaining evolution) and mentioning you're a libertarian or Objectivist. Have your virtual umbrella handy, because it'll set off a shitstorm.
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  • Posted by  $  ObjectiveAnalyst 5 years, 8 months ago
    Certainly. Of course some religions have tenets that are not compatible and some organized religions presents additional complications, but in general the belief in a supernatural power is not in itself exclusionary.
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  • Posted by patricking 5 years, 8 months ago
    It depends on the religion. One cannot follow the rules of Christ and also be a Libertarian and practice the virtues of selfishness. Rand herself makes this as clear as glass. Christianity is an altruistic religion, Catholic or Protestant makes no difference. Christ's words are what they are and either you follow them or you don't. It is the inability to converge these incompatible philosophies of Christ and Rand that is the reason for the failure of the Republican Party in the USA. Dump Christ and go with Rand or mark my words there will be a NEW CONSERVATIVE party in the USA by 2016.
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  • Posted by SkySoldier 5 years, 8 months ago
    Since the author admits to sharing the same religion as Glenn Beck (Mormonism) then I'd ask what "god" they yield to and what works must they do to reach their so-called celestial kingdom and become a god? For this reason and others Libertarianism is NOT compatible with Judeo-Christianity because it fits more with a humanist theology... self serving.
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    • Posted by  $  blarman 5 years, 8 months ago
      Ultimately, that is one of life's greatest questions is it not: Did we exist before this life, what is the purpose of this life, and what happens after we die?

      If one wants fulfilling answers to either of these, Libertarianism is going to leave them wanting. If one is satisfied with one's direction in life and being concerned with being able to direct one's own affairs with a minimum of outside influence, Libertarianism fits that bill to a T.

      I would also note that Glenn Beck does not describe himself as a Libertarian (capital T) but that he identifies with many libertarian principles such as the right to self-determination, limited government, etc. He stops short of a 100% Libertarian (such as John Stossel) who favors legalization of drugs and prostitution and other fairly liberal social policies. In that I would agree with SkySoldier that a 100% Libertarian is not going to jive with a 100% Judeo-Christian belief. Can they come close? Sure - a lot closer than either will come to a Progressive.
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  • Posted by Hiraghm 5 years, 8 months ago
    I'm not sure whom I'm paraphrasing, but I think it was Heinlein...

    There is no philosophy so noble that it cannot be hijacked by those hungry for power over other people.
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 5 years, 8 months ago
    How can any rational, thinking person considering the history of religion in our world conceive of compatibility between libertarianism and any religion? I'm not talking about a personal belief in the concept of a god or higher power. Though I find no basis in reality for a belief in either, I don't argue another's belief.
    But libertarianism is strictly based on the limits to governance of only using violence for defense of the natural rights of the individual, while the history of religion is violence after violence against those same rights and the total denial of those rights in many cases. Religions seem to be primarily interested in demanding compliance and justifying violences against others just to make their ism more 'true' than the other's.

    KYFHO
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    • Posted by Hiraghm 5 years, 8 months ago
      Hm...history of religion would include Scientology, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, the Amish, Quakers, Wicca, and, of course, atheism.

      The nice thing about the way Christianity has evolved is that the vast majority of sects believe that "coming to Jesus" is an individual matter (evangelicals, I believe, refer to it as "a personal relationship with God").

      There's a quote from Henry V, as delivered by Kenneth Branaugh, that I've always liked:
      "Each man's duty is to his king, but each man's soul's his own."

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  • Posted by  $  Susanne 5 years, 8 months ago
    I found the biggest social liberals are non-religious.... They follow in the footsteps of brother VI Lenin... The more they follow the athiest dogma, the more they seem to follow the moocher dogma... Jus' sayin...
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  • Posted by oldmuttonhead 5 years, 8 months ago
    You people are something else. No wonder libertarianism isn't mainstream. I'm a Christian and I hesitate to say I'm libertarian precisely because of what I see here. If you *truly* believed that a free person can do what he wants without the government getting involved, than who cares if an individual is a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, or whatever else they want to be? You leave me alone, I leave you alone. Goodness sakes, people. Stop trying to be the smartest person in the room and let's band together to get the government out of our lives and quit arguing about all this petty stuff. You guys make the GOP look like one big happy family.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 5 years, 8 months ago
    Science is the how of doing things. Religion is the why. I think highly of Michael Crichton's observation noted in Jurassic Park "Yeah, but your scientists were so busy trying to figure out if they COULD, they never stopped to think if they SHOULD."

    Ayn Rand's open hostility to religion deprives her of the WHY of doing things. If the almighty dollar becomes the WHY of capitalism, is not that idol worship in and of itself?

    Now don't misunderstand me, I in no way approve of the behaviors Rand specifically criticized in "Atlas Shrugged" - the moocher mindset. I believe very firmly that the principle of being rewarded for one's actions is not only a good principle of finance, but also for life in general and in no way detracts from religious value. But I believe that if you make money the object for productivity, you are in effect setting up money as your god and are creating your own downfall, just of a different kind. The drive to be productive is admirable, but if money is all you care about, you also lose the part of the argument Galt makes about money being a symbol of productivity and pervert it into being the object, destroying the symbology entirely.
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    • Posted by khalling 5 years, 8 months ago
      "If the almighty dollar becomes the WHY of capitalism, is not that idol worship in and of itself?"
      first of all, idolatry is a Christian concept and NOT part of Objectivism . Rand:
      "The Objectivist ethics holds man’s life as the standard of value—and his own life as the ethical purpose of every individual man."
      the pursuit of money in a free society is to pursue creation and trade-those who do not pursue money-trade people and use force
      Money is a medium of exchange-a tool. Two people decide to engage in a transaction that is mutually beneficial to both parties. Murder for hire is not consistent with capitalism, for example.


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      • Posted by  $  blarman 5 years, 8 months ago
        If the pursuit and acquisition of wealth is the defining property of the worth of a man as Rand claims, then money becomes the idol of worship of Rand's philosophy. Idolatry has existed since the dawn of man, it is merely the identification of objects as the targets of veneration in philosophy, where the Christian ethos claims to venerate a being rather than an object.

        Question: how does one value "man's life" as in Rand's claim if the only tool she acknowledges is money? If religious morality does not enter into the picture at some point, would not then a man's value terminate at death - regardless of his productivity during life? Without a valuation that supercedes monetary assets, death ultimately renders all actions in life moot, does it not?

        Rand's observations about capitalism being the best method for wealth creation in society are accurate, but her denial of a moral responsibility to guide in the acquisition of wealth is completely undermined by the actions of the characters she chooses to employ. Her characters refuse to murder or steal or lie to accomplish their goals. Why? If wealth acquisition is the end game, why are these off limits?

        In reality, Rand does acknowledge that there is morality which accompanies the pursuit of wealth, she just doesn't want to label or acknowledge it as such. (It's also the reason why Galt's interminable speech at the end of the book goes on longer than a politician's bloviation during an acceptance speech.) Thus to me, her philosophy is incomplete. She identifies some truths, but lacks the larger context.

        I would also point out that your example of the murderer-for-hire is actually entirely consistent with capitalism. It is the morality of the transaction that is at question: the value to both parties clearly exists - it just comes at the expense of a third. But that's what happens when I choose one washing machine brand over another, is it not? Of course I take the example to the absurd end, but I do it to show that the example is bad - there is nothing in capitalism that guarantees no harm to a third party during a transaction. It is rather a matter of valuing one product or service over another, but it does come at a cost to the one not chosen, does it not? Is that not the concept of a superior product or service? The reason none of Rand's characters employ murder isn't because they wouldn't like to get rid of the idiots, but simply because they believe that on a level playing field their superior products/services would prevail and elimination of the competition in any way other than in the marketplace would not be a true measure of the value of their products/services - a just recompense of their opponents' inferior production.
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        • Posted by khalling 5 years, 8 months ago
          "I would also point out that your example of the murderer-for-hire is actually entirely consistent with capitalism." this is an outrageous statement. Either you are ignorant about capitalism or you are purposely mis-characterizing. Capitalism is based on natural rights, which the most fundamental part is that you own yourself. Thus the murder-for-hire transaction is completely immoral because it violates the natural right of owning oneself.
          If you want to criticize Rand publicly, you should at least know what she actually said. I would start with Capitalism The Unknown Ideal. Then come back to have this discussion. I'll be here. Here is a link.
          http://www.amazon.com/Capitalism-Signet-...
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          • Posted by  $  blarman 5 years, 8 months ago
            You really need to read the entire comment. I intentionally took the statement to the extreme to illustrate the inherent absurdity in the statement in the first place.

            Of course murder for hire is immoral, but Rand's defense of such on the principle of owning one's self completely fails to address a particularly meaningful part of the equation: WHEN we become our own masters. If we do not truly exist prior to birth, would not our parents have claim on our output and creativity until such a time as we had repaid them for their expenses in raising us? Would not this initially qualify as charity - anathema to Rand - since children consume far more in resources than they produce? That conundrum is answered quite easily by religion, but which Rand's philosophy stumbles over.

            It is this type of reasoning that leads me to conclude that Rand's philosophical views which intentionally discount and exclude religion are limited and flawed. Christianity asserts that the reason for being self-aware in the first place is because we existed prior to this life - that parents are caretakers. Does that mean that Rand's economic theories are to be discarded? Certainly not. Only that her open disdain for organized religion colors her objectivity and prevents her from placing such in context of the greater whole.
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            • Posted by khalling 5 years, 8 months ago
              Rand spoke at great length about the responsibilities of being a parent. Where does Objectivism fail in regards to child-rearing? A child's most valuable productive role in a family is to gain knowledge and consciously think rationally. A two year old still struggles with the mastery of rational thinking over emotions. I am not a doctor so I am unsure where it changes but I would say somewhere in one's teens. I think it is rational and healthy for parents to encourage their children in productive, capitalistic pursuits prior to leaving the home and starting their own life.
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              • Posted by  $  blarman 5 years, 8 months ago
                I don't disagree with you - you make excellent points, I just point out a glaring flaw in Rand's philosophy that directly stems from her antagonism towards and disdain for religion, which in my opinion is unjustified and more than a little shortsighted. How does one objectively value the productive role of a child? I ask this seriously as a parent of nine. Estimates according to the USDA place the costs of childrearing at $17,000 per annum for just the first child. Extend this to 18 years (adulthood) and you get quite a tidy sum - enough that it would be ridiculous to expect recompense over even a lifetime of productivity without creating slaves of the children. If monetary value comparison is insufficient, to what other measure do we turn? Christianity provides a very simple solution: charity and one's relationship to God as His children. Objectivism rejects such concepts simply because they originate in religion and must then turn to lengthy rationalization, which just comes up short to me.

                I also point out the case of a severely autistic or Down Syndrome individual, like my 52-yr old uncle. Rand can not account for such under her objectivist philosophies because these individuals are of such high maintenance as to render them incapable of successfully engaging in society at a level of creativity or productivity to offset their development and maintenance costs - potentially ever. Do they own themselves? As perpetual "moochers" are they entitled to the fruits of the productive? Is there an entitlement owed by the productive to those of such limited cognition and ability? If so, where is the line drawn between the capable non-producer and the incapable non-producer? If not, what do we do with them?

                I pose the questions only because that is how one refines a philosophy - by looking at as many cases as possible and attempting to come up with a ruleset that encompasses every case. If a philosophy stumbles upon a case for which its rules create a direct contradiction, this suggests an imperfection or incompleteness in the philosophy which should be addressed.
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        • Posted by khalling 5 years, 8 months ago
          To your statement that idolatry has been going on since the dawn of time. Please recognize that mysticism has been going on since the dawn of time. The definition of praying to a "false" God as Christianity teaches is merely a subset of mysticism in general. Ayn Rand on point:
          "Mysticism is the claim to some non-sensory, non-rational, non-definable, non-identifiable means of knowledge, such as “instinct,” “intuition,” “revelation,” or any form of “just knowing.”
          Reason is the perception of reality, and rests on a single axiom: the Law of Identity.
          Mysticism is the claim to the perception of some other reality—other than the one in which we live—whose definition is only that it is not natural, it is supernatural, and is to be perceived by some form of unnatural or supernatural means." Philosophy:Who Needs It?

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          • Posted by  $  blarman 5 years, 8 months ago
            Rand would have been greatly improved to have discussed her theories with CS Lewis. One of my particular favorites is "The Problem of Pain". I completely agree with her that it is pointless to believe in something irrational and non-definable, but I reject her overly broad characterization of organized religion - especially Christianity - as such. In order to be able to make such a pronouncement, she would be claiming her own omnipotence (all-knowing power), would she not? Is that not the height of self-deceit - to assert that someone else can know nothing simply because one says so?

            No one is required to believe in Christianity or any other religion just as they are not required to believe in Rand's philosophies, but that does not mean that they are exclusive to each other, though I am aware Rand believes so. Nor does it support the assertion that one can not contain certain truths and the other also. Religion merely offers answers to questions of life that Rand's philosophies do not address. Does religion require faith in things that are but may not be immediately obvious at first? Absolutely and intentionally. Can these things eventually be empirically proven and substantiated? Yes, but only after believing that they MAY be first. Believing that they are not is self-fulfilling prophecy. But I digress.
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  • -1
    Posted by MikePusatera 5 years, 8 months ago
    It is not hard to reconcile Rand's teachings from Christianity. Jesus' golden rule is "Do unto others as you would have them do to you. How different is this from what John has inscribed on his power plant. A believe in man's greatness and a belief in Genesis and God's gift of freedom are compatible.
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    • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 5 years, 8 months ago
      The intention of good will reflects your own essential good. That is true. "Do unto others..." is not the same as "I swear by my life..." The first is other-directed; the second begins with "I". And it makes a difference. You may not know what someone else needs. Treating them DIFFERENTLY than you want to be treated might be the better alternative. Certainly you must know of times when you were troubled and wanted to be left alone to sort it out; and at other times, you wanted to share with someone else. So, how am I to know your mood versus my own preferences? You might say "Leave me alone" and I might accept that. But your mother would know whether you mean it or not.

      As above, I suggest that you have no idea what Jesus really said unless you have access to the original works. Translations are interpretations. In Italian, regarding translation of Dante, they have a pun: Traduttore e traditore - "To translate is to betray." (Literally, to carry over is to deliver.) I find it highly ironic that fundamentalist Christians rely on books that were held for over 1000 years by the Church they condemn as false. They are no more reliable records than the newspapers in Orwell's 1984: who controls the past controls the future.
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    • Posted by swmorgan77 5 years, 8 months ago
      "I swear by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for another man's sake nor ask him to live for mine".

      Now, doesn't the fundamental doctrine of Christianity hold that are born deficient and that you must be saved by having another (Jesus) who lived for your sake?
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