Ayn Rand vs. Jesus: A Different Perspective
Yesterday there was an article online in the Fox News Opinion section comparing the philosophy of Jesus Christ versus Ayn Rand. The author, Onkar Ghate, asserts in his final line that at this time in history America needs Ayn Rand and not the teachings of Jesus.
Before people begin to start throwing rotten tomatoes at Mr. Ghate, let me defend him a little bit. There are points in his article that are absolutely sound, namely the celebration of the emergence of the belief of the moral superiority of capitalism over the welfare state. Where Mr. Ghate goes awry is in his characterization of Christians and Christian teaching. To be fair, I do not believe it is a purposeful mischaracterization and I do not find his article malicious or attacking. But I did read it as written by someone who is largely unacquainted with Christianity.
Mr. Ghate begins his discussion on faith by referencing a group known as the American Values Network (AVN) who is sending out attack ads against Ayn Rand’s work in Paul Ryan‘s district. The group is questioning how a person could be religious and read Ms. Rand, due to Ms. Rand’s anti-religious stances (as if someone who was a Christian would suddenly stop believing in Christ after reading Rand). He correctly views this as a negative thing, but then begins to somewhat make the same point that AVN is making (unknowingly). It is as if there is no thought that a Christian could disagree with Ms. Rand on her anti-religious/pro-Reason beliefs and agree with her on her pro-capitalism stance.
(A quick, but important side note is that AVN is nothing more than a group of Progressives who are more about destroying the GOP and Paul Ryan than promoting “values” and the teachings of Jesus Christ. A quick review of their website will tell you that. Their scriptural gymnastics to support Leftist causes would be laughable, if it were not so sad and dangerous. Suffice to say, the ads that they are running are nothing short of religious manipulation using Rand’s works as the means to accomplish their Progressive goals. I would also venture to guess that these are the same people who use the words of Jesus when convenient and disregard them when they are not).
In the middle of his article, Mr. Ghate becomes guilty of taking certain portions of Scripture (the Sermon on the Mount) and ignoring the rest. While Jesus did advocate meekness and self-sacrifice in the Sermon on the Mount, He also advocated mercy, justice, faith, and a whole host of teachings outside the Sermon on the Mount that would take too long to expound upon in this diary. One important note to point out though is that Jesus always boldly proclaimed truth and was certainly no promoter of group think. In fact, Jesus was constantly speaking against the religious leaders of the day and challenging their thought processes. In every sense of the word, He was the original revolutionary. These are aspects of Jesus and His teachings that were left out in Mr. Ghate’s comparison of Ms. Rand’s teachings and those of Christianity.
After these comparisons, Mr. Ghate makes the rather odd assertion that the Founding Fathers would have had to reject the Sermon on the Mount in order to create America. This rather singular viewpoint would certainly have been news to Samuel Adams, whom Thomas Jefferson referred to as “the Man of the Revolution.” Adams was a devout Christian who used his faith to justify and promote the Revolution and he was not the only one. Other notable Founders who were Christians were Patrick Henry, John Jay, Elias Boudinot, and John Witherspoon.
Apparently these Founding Fathers did not think they had to toss the Sermon on the Mount out the window to support the Revolution. On the contrary, they probably would have argued Matthew 5:6 in the Sermon on the Mount which states ” Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for they shall receive it in full.” Even Jefferson and Franklin, who were not of the Christian faith, believed the teachings of Jesus were good moral teachings and would not have seen them as a hindrance to advocating for the creation of America.
The bottom line is that even though there are significant differences between the philosophy of Ayn Rand and Jesus Christ, it is possible for a Christian to support the pro-capitalist stance of Ms. Rand while tossing out her anti-faith rhetoric. Unfortunately, this was not given as an option in Mr. Ghate’s piece.
Mr. Ghate had an opportunity to refute the ridiculous maneuvers of AVN, but instead I fear he provided them with fresh ammunition. This will make it that much harder for Conservative Christians to refute AVN’s nonsense. It is my sincere belief that all Conservatives desire to defeat socialism in this country whether they be people of faith or not. It would be valuable for us to remember at this time in our nation’s history that our great nation was born out of an odd mix of Enlightenment ideals and Christian faith.
Maybe that is really what America needs right now.