Objectivism, Religion and Reality

Posted by Ranter 2 years, 8 months ago to Philosophy
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There is one long string on this forum arguing whether or not an Objectivist can also be a Christian. I pitched in my two cents worth, because I am a Christian and I consider myself to be an Objectivist. People have been telling me that I understand neither Christianity nor Objectivism. I think too many Objectivists treat Objectivism (and their atheism) as a religion, in which the writings of Ayn Rand are their scriptures. If we become that rigid, we defeat the purposes of Objectivism and lose any audience we might have. But then, for some, it's not about building an audience for Objectivism, but about ridiculing people that disagree with them on anything. If that's Objectivism, I will not be long for this forum.


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  • Posted by khalling 2 years, 8 months ago
    ranter, please keep reading Rand's non-fiction. Be ok with the fact that religion and Objectivism don't mix.I am in agreement that Objectivism in order to be a philosophy has to be an open system, after all, Rand didn't touch in depth on every subject known to man, but religion is knocked out from the most axiomatic levels. Reason vs faith. If you believe in God, you practice faith.
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    • Posted by 2 years, 8 months ago
      I practice reason with respect to the physical universe and faith with respect to the spiritual. There is no conflict there, because the physical universe says nothing about the spiritual, and the spiritual does not assert anything about the physical except in terms of the meaning of the physical -- not its laws, its natural functioning, etc.
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      • Posted by khalling 2 years, 8 months ago
        there is one world. you live on the planet Earth. objectivists do not recognize a spiritual "world." that is faith which is not based in reason. the whole concept of faith requires one to suspend their reason as a test, initially, and then as a belief system. Reason rejects such concepts.
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          Posted by 2 years, 8 months ago
          Objectivists apparently endorse a belief system that denies the existence of God. That is as much a "leap of faith" as is the affirmation of His existence.
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          • Posted by 2 years, 8 months ago
            The universe, and science, can neither affirm nor deny the existence of God. To me, and to absolutely overwhelming majority of the human race, the non-existence of God makes absolutely no sense.
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            • Posted by conscious1978 2 years, 8 months ago
              Let's leave majorities out of the discussion. A quick glance at political voting results is illustrative. ;) As another example, I'm sure Galileo would Not have given the "overwhelming majority" much credence.

              Also, given your occupational experience, I'd assume your 'skin' isn't too thin. We all arrived in the Gulch via different courses of thinking. Many conversations here would be different if they occurred at points in our past. Still, we know that people don't easily change the fundamentals in their thinking without some level of struggle.

              Objectivism is something that needs to be understood, not accepted like another list of beliefs. Try to understand the axioms which give rise to Objectivist ideas and explain some of the responses you've received. Aristotle showed us that "A is A". Rand further discovered that "Existence is Identity" and "Consciousness is Identification". We cannot get around these axioms without using them. So, there is no room for the artificial split of the universe into the "physical" and "spiritual". These axioms also leave no room for a "God" outside of Existence, beyond Identification, and explained by means of non-Consciousness. It's philosophy that will explain "God makes absolutely no sense."
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              • Posted by 2 years, 8 months ago
                Majorities count because they must be convinced if Objectivist principles are to be applied to politics, economics and ethics. For those of us who believe in God, when Objectivists tell us that an Objectivist cannot believe in God, that tends to turn us away. I am not trying to convince anyone here of the existence of God. What I am trying to do is to convince Objectivists that the existence or non-existence of God has no bearing on the rest of Objectivist philosophy, and that an emphasis on God's non-existence turns away a great many who would otherwise come to accept the philosophy and apply it. If, indeed, it is true that an Objectivist cannot believe in God, then there is no place for me in this dialogue and I shall have to depart. I will continue to be an Objectivist, but I will not call myself that, and I will be unable to find common ground with those who call themselves Objectivists. That will be your loss and my gain. I will be able to reach a wider audience, but I will make sure I am not a part of any Ayn Rand-related organization.
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  • Posted by Mamaemma 2 years, 8 months ago
    Ranter, I have a lot of respect for your scholarship and study of Christianity. It just so happens that I am not an atheist, and I am perfectly ok with saying that I am not a strict Objectivist. I am, however, passionate about Ayn Rand's ideas.
    What I don't understand is why you seem to feel the need to defend your stance and convince others to think as you do and that you are right.
    I accept that I don't think exactly as everyone else on this site. That doesn't at all interfere with my enjoyment of the people in the Gulch and how much I have learned here.
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  • Posted by coaldigger 2 years, 8 months ago
    I am not religious and I favor objectivist principles but I have been hopeful of finding a logical means of co-existence of the philosophies. The primary reason I would want to find this common ground is that it will take centuries for Objectivism to be a dominating force in our society if it first has to supplant religion. I don't think Objectivism is a religion, nor do I consider the writings of Ayn Rand scripture. I see it as the natural consequence of basing conclusions on reason. When there are things I cannot explain with fact based reason I do not resort to mysticism. I conclude that I am missing all of the relevant facts. I do not see how anyone could be satisfied explaining observations as just a mystery and forgoing the quest for the knowledge necessary to solve the puzzle. This is how every advancement has taken place in human history so we owe our allegiance to man's thirst for knowledge. In most cases religious leaders have been threatened by this because every mystery solved reduces their hold on men's minds. Just think about poor Galileo being sent to prison and exile because he proposed that the earth revolved around the sun and he tried to prove his case with the evil instrument he had invented to observe the phenomena.
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  • Posted by 2 years, 8 months ago
    People keep pointing out to me that religion and Objectivism do not mix. If that is so, why do so many Objectivists insist on preaching the religion of atheism?
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    • Posted by khalling 2 years, 8 months ago
      ranter, I am atheist, but I do not think about it. It is not a group that I would ever identify with in any important way. It is simply a way to describe my take on the concept of God. I do not "practice" it, I do not suspend logic for it, I do not have faith in it. Atheism is NOT an institution. and that's not what you've see in this post. You are responding to objectivists, who have a philosophy of life that they practice and use to gain knowledge. There is no axiom-you must be an atheist. There is only reason and not the rejection of reason and logic. for anything or anyone. Rand:

      "PLAYBOY
      Has no religion, in your estimation, ever offered anything of constructive value to human life?
      RAND
      Qua religion, no—in the sense of blind belief, belief unsupported by, or contrary to, the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason. Faith, as such, is extremely detrimental to human life: it is the negation of reason. But you must remember that religion is an early form of philosophy, that the first attempts to explain the universe, to give a coherent frame of reference to man’s life and a code of moral values, were made by religion, before men graduated or developed enough to have philosophy. And, as philosophies, some religions have very valuable moral points. They may have a good influence or proper principles to inculcate, but in a very contradictory context and, on a very—how should I say it?—dangerous or malevolent base: on the ground of faith."-from the Playboy Interview 1964
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