Monday, December 12, 2011

Don't Believe Anything Ayn Rand Writes: An Advent Manifesto

One of my favorite preachers, Will Willimon has written a wonderful post repudiating the philosophy of Ayn Rand. I encourage you to read it, especially if you have been watching Ayn Rand movies or reading her books of late.

I have found that she is widely influential, widely read, and quite popular. I think her philosophy is dangerous, vulgar, and faulty. I reject it in its entirety.

I am continually surprised that so many Christians are enamored of her "philosophy." It puzzles me. Willimon writes:

The incarnation, as Luke tells the story, occurred among those on the bottom. Poor shepherds working the night shift were first to get the news that a poor, unwed Jewish woman was bearing Emmanuel into the world. Old people once made silent -- Simeon and Anna -- were the first to sing. These social leeches, as Rand regards them, were the first to be told by God of “God with us”. The rich and powerful, Rand’s chosen few, resisted Jesus from the day of his birth.
And Christians believe that strange story is the whole truth about God. Jesus Christ -- a poor, vulnerable baby whose family (according to Matthew) was forced to immigrate to Egypt, who cast his lots among the homeless, the hungry, the jobless and the poor -- is God among us.
This unexpected truth explains why North Alabama Methodists have spent the last eight months helping the victims of the April storms. That’s why this week (by my informal estimate) as many as five thousand people will be fed by our churches. That’s why some of our folks will spend Christmas Eve, not around the warmth of their family hearth but hosting some of Jesus’ less fortunate families at Christmas suppers and soup kitchens, allowing some to stay the night to keep from the cold.
Why? Not because we are soft-headed liberals, or because we have weak economic theory. No, it’s because unlike the devotees of Rand we really believe that the babe in the manger is the whole truth about God and about who we are meant to be. Ayn Rand is lying.
That’s the grand truth we get to preach this Christmastide.


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    My problem with Ayn Rand is that I'm hearing some rather influential Christians in the media and on-line confuse the freedom of the a Christian with Rand's brand of individualism. Since I don't hear many of my Christian brothers and sisters raising this concern -- and that Rand's sentiments are often used to justify the virtue of pure selfishness and neglect of the common good by people who purport to live by the Word -- I am moved to bring it up wherever her brand of selfishness rears its ugly head.