Ayn Rand, Christians and the GOP Budget

I’m frequently dismayed by the way Christians talk about atheists.  There seems to be a tendency to make people who do not believe in God into some kind of existential threat to the rest of us.  I don’t buy into that thinking, and I certainly don’t believe in villifying people just because their experience and perception of the world does not include the divine. 

To be honest, I don’t think there are that many true atheists.  I would venture that a significant number of those who profess atheism are more accurately agnostic.  It take a lot of faith and conviction to say that you “know” that there is no God.  It takes less to say that you don’t know if there is a God.

Still, I know a couple of folks who I believe are truly atheists.  One is very liberal.  Another is pretty libertarian, but not so much so that he does not bow to practicallity at times.   At least that’s my take. I could be wrong.

I don’t know of anyone that I know who is a hard core Ayn Rand devotee, however I do see her values being touted by supporters of the GOP’s world view and budget priorities.  The funny thing is that many of these same Republicans and conservatives who are engaging in class warfare by prioritizing the rich over the poor and the powerful over the powerless with their budget priorities, are also the quickest to trot out the falsehood that the United States is a Christian nation and somehow try to use their piety to justify their draconian budgets. 

Finally, someone is calling the GOP out on its hypocrisy! Look, here’s the thing.  If you’re not a Christian and want to hold up Ayn Rand as someone you follow, be my guest.  I’ll disagree with you on the policy, but I won’t call you out on hypocrisy.  But don’t come to me with a Bible in one hand and The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged in the other and say that they justify cutting aid to the poor and giving tax breaks to the rich.  They don’t.  If you’re a Christian, you have to choose.   Rand or Jesus.  They don’t say the same thing.

There’s always going to be tension and debate over the role of religion in the public square and its influence on public policy.  I’m a Christian.  I also advocate separation of church and state.  At the same time, most, if not all, of my public policy positions have an underlying Christian basis.  I just try to make sure there’s a secular way to advocate for those positions.  I wish there were a bright line dividing church and state, but there’s  not, and it makes for quite a bit of tension.




About Andrew

I'm a Christian, American, liberal, geeky, thoughtful, Northwest-transplanted Angeleno husband, father, and pundit who writes about anything he can think of.
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One Response to Ayn Rand, Christians and the GOP Budget

  1. Ironica says:

    I just have to point out… atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive. Agnosticism was originally coined (by Thomas Henry Huxley) to mean “the belief that it is immoral to purport to knowing anything in the absence of direct evidence.” It wasn’t originally specifically about religious belief; rather, it expressed a general skepticism and reliance on scientific methods of proof.

    Atheism is to be without a belief in any gods. While there are those who state that they KNOW there is no god (sometimes called “strong atheists,” usually by people who would be describing themselves ;-), most, as you note, do not believe there is a god, but would not state they KNOW this as fact. They are still atheists, but are also agnostics.(They are also sometimes called “weak atheists.”)

    The fun part is, there are agnostic believers, too. They feel strongly that it is incorrect to state that they KNOW there is a god, but they believe in their god(s) and on a day-to-day basis, act as though (t)s/he(y) exist. They don’t doubt their faith, but they acknowledge the lack of direct evidence, and stop short of asserting knowledge they don’t actually have.

    But your salient point, about the conflict between Randian and Bibilical philosophy, is well taken.

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