Dear Ayn Rand: God Is Not a Communist Dictator

Ayn RandIn my recent post at Common Sense Concept, I tackle some issues surrounding that most beloved of libertarian icons, Ayn Rand. More specifically, I focus my critique on her views about Jesus and his teachings.

Many people have criticized Christians for admiring Rand’s political views, primarily because Rand was an atheist who abhorred Jesus’ teachings on self-sacrifice (Rand prefers the term altruism). Christians should certainly be wary of the anti-Christian elements within Rand’s thinking, but I think examining her errors will help us better understand the implications of Rand’s philosophy, as well as those of Christianity properly understood.

I think Rand’s fundamental error is that she doesn’t think any personal good or personal profit can come from self-sacrifice, whether in the spiritual realm or in the natural. Jesus taught, on the other hand, that properly executed self-sacrifice yields gains in both.

Here’s an excerpt from my post:

The message of Christ is both self-sacrificial and self-interested all in one. The Beatitudes don’t read “cursed are the poor,” yet they also don’t read “blessed are the rich.” Likewise, Jesus constantly qualifies his demands for sacrifice with promises of reward, whether in this life or the next. For anyone who reads the Gospels in full, Jesus is consistent and intentional in the way he elevates the ideal of self-sacrifice alongside the ideal of rational self-interest.

In a sense, I am sympathetic to Rand. After all, her views about the Christian God have been reinforced by the church itself. As I have discussed recently (here and here), the church consistently paints a picture of a God that elevates the role of oppression alongside salvation:

Whether or not we want to admit it, the historical church has been complicit in painting God as Rand does — as some lofty and detached communist dictator who delights in limiting our ambitions and seizing his fair share. Like Rand, many Christians opt for a one-sided Jesus who delights in our suffering and whose heavenly Father sees oppression as a prerequisite for salvation.

To read the full post, click here.

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    New post on Ayn Rand vs. Jesus: God is not a communist dictator. #tcot #tlot

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  • Reyjacobs

    “the church consistently paints a picture of a God that elevates the role of oppression alongside salvation:”

    Because unless God is an oppressive and unjust tyrant, salvation is not necessary. It is GOD HIMSELF that we are saved FROM according to Christianity.

    Think about it. If Christianity represented God as a just judge that simply punished us for our sins IN PROPORTION to how bad they, then ‘salvation’ as a concept and ‘justification’ would disappear. If you tell a little white lie you get 10 secs in hell (or whatever its worth). If you punch someone you get 30 secs (or whatever). If God was depicted as JUSTLY punishing in proportion to sin’s badness, we wouldn’t need to be ‘saved.’ Its only because he is depicted as an unjust tyrant who will burn you FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER AND EVER regardless of how good or bad you were that ‘salvation’ becomes the word we use and the concept we think about. We need to be saved only because we are unjustly condemned to a punishment we DO NOT deserve. Otherwise, rather than ‘salvation’ we would talk about minimizing the punishment your accrue over time by sinning less in the future. Rather we talk of a full erasure of sin. Since God has unjustly condemned me to hell for all eternity for telling one little white lie, therefore I need a god-man to die as a sacrifice for my sin so it can be erased so that having no sin God cannot unjustly send to me eternal way over the top punishment that is way out of proportion to the sin. Thus runs Christianity. Without this concept that God is an oppressive monster, Christianity would either become modern Judaism or Deism. The cross would become unnecessary without an unjust God. If God doesn’t condemn everyone to hell eternal whether they deserve it or not, then the cross is unnecessary. If my little white lie will only earn me a minute or two in hell, I don’t need Jesus to die for me: I just need to grit my teeth and bear two minutes in hell. Hence, Christianity cannot stop making God out to be an oppressive tyrant without ceasing to be.

    The proto-Catholics who had access to change the gospels in the 2nd century (if they weren’t the actual authors themselves) clearly infused some communism in the gospels. In Luke for example, Luke 12, I think, the idea of not storing your treasures on earth but in heaven (also found in Matthew’s sermon on the mount) is explained as **the more sacks of money you give away on earth, the more treasure you have in heaven.** This then is reinforced by the story of the rich young ruler where Jesus is depicted as telling him “give all you have to the poor.” What, and make himself poor and in need of a handout? thus dilluting the charity that the poor were already getting by taking it for himself after they wasted all his money that he gave away on drugs and booze? This economic ERROR in the Bible has to be addressed.

  • Remnant Culture

    What did Ayn Rand get wrong about the Gospel? It is both self-sacrificial and self-interested all in one: