I was in an office waiting room a few years ago, and while I waited, I had a copy of Ayn Rand’s book, “The Fountainhead”. I’ve read “Atlas Shrugged”, but I favor “Fountainhead” because it’s about a single creative man who stood by rock solid values no matter what. A lady happened to walk by and said “Oh, you’re reading The Fountainhead!”
I said “Yes, have you read it?”
“No, we were assigned to read it in high school, but the parents found out about it and made the school cancel it”.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because Ayn Rand was an atheist, and they didn’t want atheism taught in the schools”.
Maybe they had a point. If you can’t teach religion, should you be free to teach atheism? The problem is, there’s such an emphasis on the right to believe or not believe, nobody seems to stop and ask, what is the truth?
Christians claim to have rock solid values. Jesus himself said “the wise man built his house on the rock”.
Assuming, as we must do philosophically, that truth is consistent with all truth, can we believe that the atheist Ayn Rand told us the truth, and therefore the bible did not? Or vice versa?
Ayn Rand called herself an objectivist. That is, she based her conclusions on axioms, such as “A is always A. It is not both A and non-A at the same time and under the same conditions”.
That part in “The Fountainhead” where Toohey revealed his strategy for conquering the hearts and minds of men is priceless, beautifully written.
“Every system of ethics that preached sacrifice grew into a world power, and ruled millions of men”.
Wait a minute! Isn’t the bible about sacrifice? Didn’t Jesus himself set the example for us by his sacrifice?
Religions would have us believe and accept this as the standard of truth, yet religions can’t agree among themselves exactly what IS truth. Jesus warned his disciples that “many shall come in my name, and shall deceive many”. That’s over 38,000 versions of Christianity and growing. To what, exactly, would Jesus have us sacrifice ourselves?
Well, he also told us, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.
Jesus also told us in Matthew 13:11, John 14:17, and other places, that truth is not a “given”. We can’t just say “I accept this idea of truth, and now I don’t have to question again”.
Thinking is hard. Most people avoid it, and most would rather let someone else do the thinking. Follow someone who sounds good, or even better “if it feels right”.
Yet logically, we follow 38,000 confusing varieties of Christianity, all professing to be the elect. If truth is consistent with all truth, one of them, most of them, or ALL of them, must be wrong.
As I’ve already pointed out, Jesus gave us the only logical truth concerning those who would “come in my name”:
“If any man says to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not(Matthew 24:23)”.
Paul has written that the natural mind is enmity against God’s laws, and cannot be subject to God(Romans 8:7).
These two verses, therefore, are equivalent to what Ayn Rand said! If our minds are enmity against God, and if there are many who will deceive us in the name of Christ, what is the ONLY logical choice left? Don’t follow any of them!
Of course, many “believers” will try to qualify those statements of Paul and Jesus, and each will offer their own perspectives of truth. And what, usually, is the perspective they offer as justification?
The people! Millions of people believe such-and such! How can all those people be wrong?
We like to justify ourselves by finding those who agree with us, and, failing that, we start proselytizing and “converting’ them to our view.
As Eric Hoffer wrote in his classic study of cults and mass movements called “The True Believer”:
“The true believer is everywhere on the march, and both by converting and antagonizing, he is shaping the world in his own image.”
Yet Jesus told us of a “spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive…(John 14:17)”
As we see in Matthew 7:14, jesus pointed out that “strait is the gate, and narrow the path, and few there be that find it”.
Notice, he didn’t say “choose it”. He said “find it”. A thing we must search for, try to understand and choose for ourselves, because only few will find it.
If we look further down to verse 21, we see:
“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven”.
It would seem there is something we must do, something we must search for, but what? That’s the HUGE problem! Everyone who professes to believe in Christ disagrees on some point!
Te instant we start thinking about it, we run into uncertainty! Can we prove that God exists? No such proof has shown up yet. Can we prove that any specific religion truly represents Christ? If we could, I’m sure that religion would waste no time in advertising.
In fact, we are increasingly told that we must be “tolerant” of other religions. But why? If we have the truth, shouldn’t we be able to show it? If truth is consistent with all truth, why doesn;t God just show us that truth so we can follow it and show others the way?
But THAT, you see, is exactly the problem: we have seen in history what happens when any group rises to power and can coerce others to believe it has the one and only truth. We see evidence of violence among religions of all kinds. Terrible, horrible, collective violence in which thousands are killed for a belief.
Jesus himself told us, “the time will come when those who kill you will think they do God a service”.
As Ayn Rand wrote in “The Fountainhead”:
“We’ve taught men to unite. This makes one neck ready for one leash. We’ve found the magic word. Collectivism. Look at Europe, you fool…One country is dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the collective is all. The individual, held as evil, the mass–as God. No motive and no virtue permitted–except that of service to the proletariat….Watch the pincer movement. If you’re sick of one version, we push you into the other. We get you coming and going. We’ve closed the doors. We’ve fixed the coin. heads–collectivism, and tails–collectivism. Fight the doctrine which slaughters the individual with a doctrine which slaughters the individual. Give up your soul to a council–or give it up to a leader. But give it up, give it up, give it up”.
That is how millions are enslaved, because it doesn;t matter what you believe, as long as you follow some approve group. There will be no individuals!
“Offer poison as food, and poison as antidote”.
In that, both Jesus and Ayn Rand gave us the ONE TRUE SOLUTION!
“If any man says to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not”.
But don’t we have to believe? Of course! Believe that Jesus paid the penalty of “sin” in your behalf. And what is sin? Lawbreaking(1John 3:4).
You are free of the law as long as you harm no other. You are under grace, free to live as you choose, to use your own mind as an individual!
To “choose Christ” is to choose the same individual freedom from all men as that freedom proclaimed by Ayn Rand!