Make Your Choice

"...if you take religion seriously, you can’t be a fan of the atheist Ayn Rand...Rand’s moral teachings are fundamentally different from Jesus’ teachings. "...In Rand’s argument, morality is not about subordination or service to others or to some 'higher power'; it is not about self-sacrifice.  Hers is a morality that upholds egoism and individualism: it seeks to teach you the difficult task of pursuing the values that achieve your own individual self-interest and happiness.

"Only an explicit or implicit individualist and egoist, Rand held, will understand and demand the rights listed in the Declaration of Independence: his inalienable rights to his own life, his own liberty, and the pursuit of his own happiness.  He will demand his political freedom and reject all government controls designed to restrict his liberty and make him sacrifice for the 'public interest.'  He will oppose the welfare state.

"Given her positive teachings, Rand must reject what is usually taken to be the core of Jesus’ moral teachings, the Sermon on the Mount.  But before you dismiss this as unthinkable, ask yourself the following question.  Did Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers not reject the Sermon’s advice in creating America?

“...When the British struck America’s right cheek, did Jefferson in the Declaration tell America to turn to offer them the left?  Did Jefferson love his enemy—or did he go to war with him?  Did Jefferson, who had a gallery of worthies in his home, portraits of men like Isaac Newton and John Locke, think that the blessed are the poor in spirit—or that the only people worthy of admiration are those who choose to make something of their spirit?  Did Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers think that the meek shall inherit the earth—or that, in Locke’s words, the rational and the industrious shall?  Did Jefferson give up riches—or did he seek them?”

"Today we face similarly stark choices.  If we are to reject the welfare state as immoral and thereby restore the American dream of individualism, don’t we need a rational morality that challenges the centuries-old creed of self-sacrifice and instead argues for the individual’s moral right to his own life and happiness?

"In other words, don’t we need Ayn Rand?"

--  Onkar Ghate, "Does America Need Ayn Rand or Jesus?"

Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: "‘I brought you to the land of the Amorites who lived east of the Jordan.  They fought against you, but I gave them into your hands.  I destroyed them from before you, and you took possession of their land.  When Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, prepared to fight against Israel, he sent for Balaam son of Beor to put a curse on you.  But I would not listen to Balaam, so he blessed you again and again, and I delivered you out of his hand.

“‘Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho.  The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands.  I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings.  You did not do it with your own sword and bow.  So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.  But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.

"But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

-- Joshua 24: 2,8-14 (NIV)

Jem Jam

Thinkage