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Jesus or Ayn Rand - can conservatives claim both?
Author Ayn Rand stands in New York City in this 1957 photo. Her criticism of religion outraged some, but her books remain popular.
June 29th, 2011
10:22 AM ET

Jesus or Ayn Rand - can conservatives claim both?

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN)– Can a person follow Ayn Rand and Jesus?

That’s the question posed by a provocative media campaign that claims that some prominent conservative leaders cannot serve two masters: Jesus and the controversial author of  "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand.

The American Values Network, a group of political activists and pastors, sparked a debate when it recently released a video challenging some conservative and Republican leaders’ professed admiration for Rand,  an atheist who saw selfishness as a virtue and celebrated unfettered capitalism.

Eric Sapp,  AVN’s executive director, said the Republican Party cannot portray itself as a defender of Christian values and then defend the worldview of "the patron saint of selfishness" who scorned religion and compassion.

Sapp singled out Republican leaders such as Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and talk radio host Rush Limbaugh after all of them expressed admiration for Rand.

Ryan,  architect of the GOP’s propsed budget and Medicare plan, once said that Rand’s philosophy was “sorely needed right now,” and that she did a great job of explaining “the morality of capitalism.”

Sapp sees little morality in Rand's worldview:

Rand said religion was ‘evil,’ called the message of John 3:16 ‘monstrous,’ argued that the weak are beyond love and undeserving of it, that loving your neighbor was immoral and impossible…

Sapp cited conservative leader Chuck Colson who released a video condemning Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” as a silly novel that “peddles a starkly anti-Christian philosophy.”

Sapp added:

Hard to reconcile leaders of ‘God’s Own Party’ praising someone who is about as anti Christ as one can get, huh?”

Onkar Ghate, a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights in Washington, said the philosophies of Christianity and Ayn Rand are incompatible.

Jesus taught that people should love and serve others, including their enemies. Rand taught that people's fundamental focus should be on their individual happiness, he said:

 I don’t think what Ayn Rand advocates in 'Atlas Shrugged' and what Jesus teaches in the Sermon on the Mount are compatible. She’s an egoist and therefore an individualist.  Jesus is advocating altruism and collectivism.

Rand died in 1982, but she remains polarizing. The great recession has triggered new interest in her novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” The book depicts a bleak future where the U.S. government has seized control of private industry and discouraged innovation.

The book may have been rooted in Rand's childhood trauma. She was born in Russia in 1905, and saw the Communist Party come to power in a violent revolution. Her family was left destitute after party officials seized her father’s business.

She immigrated to the United States where she eventually became a screenwriter. She ultimately made her mark through her novels. Critics say Rand’s characters were stilted mouthpieces for her philosophy of  Objectivism, which insists that individuals should be driven by “rational self-interest.”  Still, "Atlas Shrugged" is now considered one of the most influential books of the 20th century.

Rand's philosophy didn’t say much good about religion. In a 1964 Playboy interview posted on the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights site, she said that religious faith is “a negation of human reason” and charity wasn’t a virtue.

Rand told Playboy:

There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue.

Defenders of Rand say that a person can adopt elements of Rand’s philosophy and reject whatever clashes with their faith.

Yaron Brooks, president of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, also defended Rand’s philosophy in a recent CNN.com commentary.

He said while people call Jesus or Mother Teresa heroes, they should use the same description for people like 19th century oil tycoon, John D. Rockefeller and inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison.

Their pursuit of personal profit is a virtue because it enriches society, not just individuals, Brooks said.

Brooks wrote:

It is they, not the Mother Teresas of the world that we should strive to be like and teach our kids the same.

Elections, some say, are ultimately a contest of ideas. It’ll be interesting to see if those political leaders who admire Rand continue to talk openly about her philosophy as the 2012 presidential campaign escalates.

Or will they deflect a question I suspect they’ll hear again and again:

How can you invoke Jesus and follow Rand?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Books • Business • Christianity • Culture wars • Economy • Ethics • Politics

soundoff (1,025 Responses)
  1. fuguewriter

    Contrary to so much of the disinformation out there about her, it isn't the case that Ayn Rand was against charity. She was personally charitable to her friends and donated to help Israel defend itself. In her own words: "My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue."

    Her point was that you have to have a healthy non-charitable sector in order to be able to provide charity, and that economic freedom (and nothing else) provides that health. How much can one donate if one is starving or dies at age 35, as before technology one did.

    Government welfare is a perversion of charity because it is ill-managed and cripples the productive sector over time. Look at the tens of trillions in unfunded liabilities that are going to cripple our economy; and it's just going to get worse unless we get the system right.

    One part of the foolishness of the recent debates about Rand is the idea that agreeing with Rand's prediction and diagnoses in "Atlas Shrugged" – the accuracy of which has been demonstrated in the last few years to a nicety – somehow magically commits one to agreement with her total philosophy. Would this argument be extended to an atheist leftist who recommends Tolstoy or Victor Hugo?

    The other part is a specific misrepresentation of Christianity. Christianity is not a pro-Statism religion; indeed, given who killed their Savior, it tends to the anti-State. (This is something the left has not yet dealt with.) Nowhere in the Bible does it say that wealth should be expropriated and redistributed by the dubious means of government structures; it speaks of personal and *voluntary* charity. One might add, looking at the horrific debt and unfunded liabilities situation that the U.S. is in right now, that the Bible and Jesus were wise in staying away from government panaceas.

    This entire kabuki charade is in bad faith. The Bible does not advocate any Progressive notions of "economic justice." The progressives who have suddenly discovered religion and its necessary role in politics – after thirty decades and more of stridently and rightly insisting it must be kept out of politics – are not sincere. After this temporary rhetorical bubble is over, they will resume their previous, also ad-hoc, declarations.

    As for the "sociopath" accusation, this is what comes of copying attack website garbage. The whole thing rests upon one author – Michael Prescott's – highly selective excerpting and chopping up of a private [i.e., thinking out loud without clarifications ] journal written when Rand was barely out of her teens, fresh from the blood bath of 1920s Soviet Russia – and still made it very clear that her read on the personalities of the observers showed that they were not appalled by Hickman's crime – she said there had been far worse, without the same spectacle of glee – but by his flamboyant and mocking defiance of society. She – who was writing about a *legally innocent man* at the time of the trial – even called him a monster, a pervert, a repulsive and purposeless criminal. Enough with the disinformation and – yes – Satanizing of Ayn Rand.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • kbnj

      Nicely written, with a twist of common sense. Thanks.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Michael

      Thank you. Well done.

      NOBODY COMMENT UNTIL YOU HAVE READ THIS ^^

      June 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • IndependentReader

      Thank you for posting this. Unfortunately, the clarification you have offered is insight that can only be gained from reading 'Atlas Shrugged'. Something of which, most of these Democrats and Rand-bashers have likely failed to do.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • CommonCents

      Your commentary should've been posted INSTEAD of the actual article. Kudos

      June 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • James

      Two things to point out. 1. It is not mainly the "bleeding heart liberals" on the attack. It is the far right religious zealots. 2. Picking and choosing from Rands philosophy dilutes it to be basically meaningless and just a talking point used to push your own agenda. Rand failed to predict the other end of the pendulum where egoism leads to a road block to progress, which is what we are looking at now.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • realdeal

      I'm assuming you never read Atlas Shrugged. There is more literary worth in a steaming pile of feces.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • realdeal

      Seriously, not to put to fine a point on it, but the book is just awful. I'm pretty sure the people who like that book will like anything they're told to like.

      The Fountainhead was good though.... Unfortunately it doesn't espouse the same crap morality of Atlas Shrugged, so I guess we'll not be talking about it.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Howard

      @ fuguewriter ... Nonsense! Since Jesus proceeded Rand by almost a couple thousand years, it's only reasonable you first decide whether you are a Christian. According to Jesus, there's no halfway. Either you embrace ALL of what he taught, or you're not part of the Faithful; you're just a "fan." If you've made up your mind to embrace ALL of Jesus' teachings, then you're free to see what little of Rand's philosophy you can embrace without rejecting Jesus' teachings. This doesn't have to be complicated. Jesus claims to get you to Heaven; Rand effectively says there is no Heaven.

      June 29, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Ronic

      Sounds like "fuguewriter" should have everything taken away from him/her to underscore the ridiculousness of any Randian position.
      How about it, fuguewriter? Shall we take away everything you have? That's what you want to do to other people.
      We can even take away your life and family, as you do not "need" them and don't have any "moral obligation" to them.
      Heck, why stop there?
      We should obliterate all capitalists for our own selfish gain, thereby doing what they say is the way to go.
      We would just be following what you say is best, right?
      No rights for you, as we, using your personal beliefs, take yours away for our own gain, using our own "rugged individualism" to do so.
      Nothing to stop us, is there?
      And who cares if you starve to death? Not me. Ironic how that works, eh?

      June 29, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  2. TWylite

    This question hints at the main fork in the road that generally separates conservatives from libertarians: what is the purpose of political and economic freedom, and more generally of human life itself? Christianity and Objectivism are light years apart, and cannot be reconciled in any meaningful way. The overlap in specific political and economic policies are largely coincidental. Christians believe the purpose of our lives is to glorify God. Objectivists believe it is personal happiness. There are plenty of shades of gray to choose from in between and outside of these lines. Fundamentalists of both camps will get the most press and deny this: you have to choose Us or Them. Fundamentalists of any stripe are usually wrong.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • IndependentReader

      Excellent point!

      June 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • James

      Except human nature tends to favor Rands approach as a default. So the claims of altruism are often grossly overestimated.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • realdeal

      Good point, but the principles of American Christianity (Christian Conservatism) are no longer founded in the bible. While they espouse Jesus and God's name, they forgo many of the pillars of Jesus. Jesus was all about helping the poor, not judging people, keeping the money lenders out of the church etc... It makes me laugh as I drive by Traders Point Christian Church, with it's Eagle Creek Coffee Company trading inside!

      June 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • fred

      You say "Christians believe the purpose of our lives is to glorify God. Objectivists believe it is personal happiness" As a fundamentalist could not agree with you more. Our purpose is outside ourselves and others is them selves. If you are being Objective there can only be one thing in first place. That being the case there is no grey area

      June 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • GJ

      That was a fantastic point. I tried to articulate the same in my own opinion but had not had the chance to have read yours before writing.

      June 30, 2011 at 4:07 am |
  3. Jesus

    How about Ayn Rand and I dunk it out and the winner will gain the followers?

    June 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Frogist

      You wouldn't hit a girl, would you , Jesus? 😉

      June 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  4. JE

    It's amazing the lack of intelligence that exists at CNN.com. This topic addresses two mutually exclusive areas...religion and economics. "Economic" conservatives, like myself, appreciate Ayn Rands' economic philosophy. "Social" conservatives probably do not appreciate her religious leanings. It would be nice for a change if the brainless, liberal, ilk at CNN.com could actually write a piece that distinguishes between the two TYPES of conservatism!

    June 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • JW

      Economic and religious/moral issues do at times overlap, such as when it comes to what we should do to help the sick or poor.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • JPtigercat

      That's ridiculous. Jesus taught people to love and care for the weakest among us; Rand taught people to despise them. Period. (Nice use of loaded words such as "ilk", however. Ad hominem attacks are always in style.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Michael

      jptigercat

      dont be a fool. ilk is a GREAT WORD.
      also, she didn't teach people to despise people, but to not give to the undeserving. she advocated trade as a way to benefit from others. stealing is immoral to Ms. Rand.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Michael, the definition of " undeserving" is flexible , to say the least. The industrialist, Like John Gault, is nto deserving of the government's charity, yet manipulates the system through accountants and lawyers to pay not taxes at all, while the average Joe is forced to pay through the nose. The reason why Rand is a lightnig Rod is that she has given a philosophical justification for what most would term selfishness. I'm not going to say its a moral justification, since extreme self-interest is no greater a form of virtue than when its compelled by the state. Ask yourself if her vision is one that should eb toaught, or if it belongs on the scrapheap with other cranks like Michael Foucault. Foucault believed that prisoners were the freest individuals, because their minds were able to wander anywhere beyond the prison walls. Complete fantasy, but so is Rand's ideas as well. A Society that does not show compassion and that does not reflect that in its state policies is not a state worth living in. I will never advocate a nanny state, but I want help for me when the unforseen arises.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • James

      Do conservatives actually differentiate? Why blame the liberals for your parties inability to deal with the issues without using wedges like religion? And religion aside I hear many republicans talk about fiscal conservatism and "free commerce" but I have yet to see them put their money where their mouth is. Rands philosophy has lead to less concern for country and more for self. Now we see the fruits of Rands ideals in the death of the middle class and the opposite of progress and innovation and a return to Slave economics.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  5. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    "How can you invoke Jesus and follow Rand?" It is called hypocrisy. Conservative Christians are very good at it.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Kyle

      AMEN

      June 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • kbnj

      Get a dictionary. And then open your mind a little.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Howie76

      It is worse than hypocrisy it is "cheap grace" These are so called Christains who do not understand the basics of the Bible.

      June 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  6. SCOTO

    A pre-requisite for critiquiing Rand's work is the necessity to actuall READ what she wrote. My guess is that Limbaugh and company (who appear to read absolutley nothing that would advance their knowledge) have not fulfilled this first requirement.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • JW

      They probably have not read much about Jesus either.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • realdeal

      Reading Rand won't advance your knowledge, it'll just waste hours of your life! I know because I read Rand.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  7. Student of World Religions

    My question is: was Jesus a Relativist or Objectivist?

    June 29, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Ronic

      Look it up, student. There will be a quiz later.

      June 29, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  8. Student of World Religions

    "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." – Theodore Roosevelt

    June 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  9. Mr. Fluffy Bunny Conquers The World!

    Jesus or Ayn Rand? That's easy – ignore both. You will be a better human being if you do.

    June 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Peter

      Oh, yes. Let's follow your teaching, O great master! What have you ever accomplished that we should listen to you?

      June 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • Zeppelin

      Peter, before making that type of demand, please tell us a bit about yourself and what you've accomplished.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • John Galt

      @Zeppelin- I think there is no requisite to be a listener.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  10. Mikesensei

    It's almost necessary that Rand's philosophy be tempered with Christian morality. While I agree with much of what Rand advocates, if we take her whole philosophy on its own terms it will lead to empty materialism. Private enterprise and individual initiative are what drive the world, but without a higher system of morality, that world is soulless and cold. Rand may have no place for charity, but where Christian conservatives and Rand agree is that government should not be a tool for ANYONE to implement their own particular brand of charity or social policies. That is best done by individuals and private organizations.

    (And I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't try to use the Roman government or Sanhedrin to force everyone to live up to his standards, so there is no way anyone can call him progressive or liberal in the sense we know. You can't call him conservative either, since his message was in no way a political one.)

    June 29, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • JW

      I think both liberals and conservatives try to force beliefs on others to an extent. I would call Jesus liberal because he cared for the sick and poor, he lived peacefully, and he was accepting of others.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Frogist

      I know people justify that position by saying Jesus never said to do so by governmental means which they interpret as charity can ONLY be done individually. But isn't that a personal interpretation based on a gap in Jesus' words rather than any hard and fast rule or commandment? I would think that charity no matter who or what does it would be praised rather than condemned. I see no reason why a distintion needs to be made between personally doing things for charity and doing things collectively for charity as long as the needy get helped.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • James

      Funny how "conservatives" use the argument that Jesus didn't mean for govt to give charity but still claim that the government was founded on Christian values.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Ronic

      How ironic! Yes!

      June 29, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  11. Ayn Rand Center

    Dr. Onkar Ghate address this issue in a Fox News Opinion article today:

    "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?"

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/06/29/does-america-need-ayn-rand-or-jesus/#ixzz1QgFRsV4h

    June 29, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  12. JohnR

    I myself serve NO master.

    June 29, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • John Galt

      You are a slave to your own ambitions and a captive to your own faults.

      June 29, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Artist

      John Galt

      You are a slave to your own ambitions and a captive to your own faults.
      -----------------–
      Translation: One is accountable for their actions. They do not blame an evil myth. I would rather be a slave to myself and my actions, rather than be a slave to Man and his man made god.
      ,
      Enjoy your delusional bonds

      June 29, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • John Galt

      @Artist- You are welcome to whatever delusions you think you have about yourself. But you are not a servant, you are a slave to the concept that is, regrettably, yourself.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • JohnR

      @John Galt What does it even mean to be a slave to one's faults? Seriously, what does that even mean? As for delusions, same question. A SLAVE to one's delusions?

      June 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • JohnR

      Sorry, I read the word 'delusion' on here so often I'm starting to hallucinate. In any event, 'slave to one's faults' seems downright incohere. 'Slave to one's ambition' is no doubt for some people a reasonable metaphor, but I wasn't talking metaphors. I was talking MASTERS. I don't look up what I'm supposed to believe in ANY work. THAT is stupid. You can sift through anything and get a useful insight here and there and occasionally you'll find someone who seems to have a lot of interesting things to ponder on, and possibly even believe. But people who hang one ANYONE'S every word, be it Jesus, Rand, Malcolm X, Gandhi, WHOEVER, are fools. So I reiterate, I serve no master. And there's nothing terribly unusual about that.

      June 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  13. Frogist

    Since I have never actually read 'Atlas Shrugged' I don't feel I can comment fully on Ayn Rand's philosophies beyond what the article says.

    Firstly, I think it must be noted that not all atheists, or other non-believers, follow Rand's ideology. Most people think so but they are mistaken. Charity and kindness to others is not dependent on one's belief or non-belief in a god.
    Secondly, I think it's not really that hard to twist the Bible's words to suit anyone's needs. It's been used to sanction slavery, the oppression of women, wars etc. It's not hard to recognize that the Bible can also be used in conjunction with Rand's position.
    That being said I cannot understand how anyone can say they are pro-Jesus who clearly advocated for care of the needy and selflessness, but adhere to what is a position of greed and self interest above and beyond everything else.

    I know this is a little more than just Rand v Jesus. It's also about gov't policy and taxation and social responsibility. This topic isn't being discussed in a vacuum. Rand's "me philosophy" is being discussed as a remedy for poverty, joblessness, homelessness etc etc on a national scale. But I honestly don't see the connection between being as greedy an individual as possible and how that helps reduce the growing numbers of the needy across the country. The only connection I really see is that if we look at the rich as moral people, we must look at the poor as immoral. That is certainly a way of soothing any guilt or shame the well-to-do might have about hoarding their wealth amidst so much hardship that surrounds them in the current economy. In other words it's easy to dismiss the homeless guy by saying he's just a drug addict who needs to get a job, rather than having to deal with your feelings about the fact that you will be sleeping in a warm bed while he is on the cold ground. How can you feel any empathy or imperative to realistically help someone if you have already condemned their position as punishment for being immoral? I guess it's the old black and white morality. If you decide that anyone who is needy is immoral because they don't work hard enough, then you ignore any other factors that contribute to their position. And that can never solve the problem of their individual or collective hardships.

    Anyway, I've always been confused about this topic. I've never understood why being greedy could be considered a beneficial trait to society as a whole. I'm looking forward to learning more about it.

    June 29, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • JW

      I think our government is a good example that the people in the highest positions are not necessarily the most hard-working or competent.

      June 29, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Frogist

      Hey CK !

      I have read and studied some of Rand's work. As a starter, if you don't desire to jump into a book, you may want to look at some 'quotes' that may give you a better initial feel for her thoughts and intentions.

      http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/432.Ayn_Rand

      I hope that this may help give you a quick 411 backdrop to Rand.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      June 29, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Frogist

      @Peace2All: You know I appreciate all the help I can get! And my stack of reading just keeps getting taller and taller! LOL! So anyways, yes, thanks for the link. Hope you're having a wonderful day, SM.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Laughing

      I agree and can no stress enough that religion does not have the final word when it comes to morals and ethics. I find it incredibly unfair when a person of any faith immediatly assumes that I am completely greedy, selfish, egotistical and otherwise selfish because of my stance of religion.

      As for your last comment, " I've always been confused about this topic. I've never understood why being greedy could be considered a beneficial trait to society as a whole. I'm looking forward to learning more about it." It's not necessarily being greedy that's beneficial to society as a whole. In theory the idea is that society will greatly benefit from individualistic tendencies because a person who is only out to make himself better still has to work in the model of capitalism, which means that if that person is a successful capitalist, then society in turn benefits as a consequence of his work. It's not working for society its working for youself and society getting the beneficial runoff so to speak.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • JW

      I dont think that living a moral life depends on religion. I have known Christians who were horrible and atheist who were great people. Morals depend on how you live not what you believe.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Free

      Laughing
      "In theory the idea is that society will greatly benefit from individualistic tendencies because a person who is only out to make himself better still has to work in the model of capitalism, which means that if that person is a successful capitalist, then society in turn benefits as a consequence of his work. It's not working for society its working for youself and society getting the beneficial runoff so to speak."

      Can't it be argued then that a single business that has taken all of the market away from several smaller businesses while employing fewer workers and narrowing the choices of consumers isn't working as much for society as it is working for itself?

      June 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ Free

      Absolutely, except the market has rules in place to specifically stop that from happening. Since capitalism relies heavily on competi.tion the two rules; free market entry and anti-trust are in place so no one can monopolize any industry.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • MNguy

      "Can't it be argued then that a single business that has taken all of the market away from several smaller businesses while employing fewer workers and narrowing the choices of consumers isn't working as much for society as it is working for itself?"

      June 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @Laughing: You said, "Absolutely, except the market has rules in place to specifically stop that from happening. Since capitalism relies heavily on competi.tion the two rules; free market entry and anti-trust are in place so no one can monopolize any industry."

      Ayn Rand *despised* anti-trust legislation. She believed he only way monopolization should have been permitted to be broken was through innovation and compet.ition.

      While I don't completely disagree with her ideas, I don't believe they can work in a system that's as stilted as ours is now, and it has nothing to do with government interference. The reason why it won't work is because the distribution of wealth is so top-heavy now, the ideas of a "free market" are breaking down. I would probably equate it to the problems that Einstein's Relativity Theory has the closer you get to the moment of the Big Bang. Couple that with natural human greed and corruption, and I can't imagine Rand's ideas work anywhere else but in a vaccuum.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Free

      Laughing
      Even without complete monopolies is the trend towards mega-companies, unions, churches, ... what have you, actually 'good' for society? Are we better off, for example, getting most of our food from large agricultural companies than we were from local farmers? Sure, food may be cheaper, but has that actually made us healthier, and isn't there more food actually being wasted as a result? Someone's getting rich at the expense of small traditional family farms, as well as our health, and it seems like the greatest trick ever pulled was convincing these people that big business is looking after their best interests.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  14. John Galt

    "I refuse to accept as guilt the fact of my own existence and the fact that I must work in order to support it. I refuse to accept as guilt the fact that I am able to do it and to do it well. I refuse to accept as guilt the fact that I am able to do it better than most people – the fact that my work is of greater value than the work of my neighbors and that more men are willing to pay me. I refuse to apologize for my ability – I refuse to apologize for my success – I refuse to apologize for my money. If this is evil, make the most of it. If this is what the public finds harmful to its interests, let the public destroy me. This is my code – and I will accept no other."

    It may be harsh, but is there no truth to this statment from Atlas Shrugged? I believe most that have a faith would only argue that the statement lacks any humility and does not lend itself to co*mpas*sion.

    June 29, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Frogist

      @John Galt:
      I don't think anyone can completely disagree with the fact that some people are better at their jobs, do more important work and deservedly make more money for it. To ask those people to feel guilty is not fair. But in all honesty, who is asking those people to feel guilty? I think that's a misrepresentation and a bit of a falsehood. Society at large is not asking the rich to feel guilty. Whether they do because they see the hardships of those around them is another story entirely. I know certainly Christianity has a tradition of advocating giving away one's possessions, but I don't really see any huge backlash against those who are rich from any single Christian movement.
      Personally I think it is false to say that people who make more money are just more important or better simply because they make more money. I guess it has to do with where we place our emphasis as a society. But I'm not sure I can agree that the investment banker is more important to society than the wildlife researcher, middle school teacher or president by the mere fact that he makes more money than they do. That's a connection I don't really get.

      June 29, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Free

      Matthew 19:23-24
      -Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

      The rich have a tendency to be greedy, in Jesus' view, right? Meanwhile, Rand's philosophy shines through in the words of Wall Street character Gordon Gekko: "The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good."

      I see your point. On one level every entrepreneur that ever existed was motivated by some degree of greed, and most people owe their employment to the greed of someone who chose to start a company to better themselves first. The question for an individual considering the rewards they deserve for their talent, then, is if their greed serves them, or do they serve their greed? Lots of very rich people would say that money doesn't buy happiness, after all.

      June 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Free

      Frogist
      Agreed! Being rich is nothing to be guilty of in itself, but how you got to be rich might be. There's a lot of underhanded business dealing, unfair treatment of employees, poor safety and quality standards in products, fudging on taxes, and so on done in the name of 'the cost of doing business', or 'remaining compet.itive.' Where's the pride in one's accomplishments then, eh?

      June 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      Well put. The rich man, one with many worldly possessions liked everything about Jesus except he wanted both his stuff and the things of God. Jesus made this example clear you cannot have both. This not to say you cannot be rich as many in the bible were. The rich man did not understand the proper order of things – seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all other things you need will be given to you. The rich man could not take that step of faith to follow Jesus above all other things. Jesus further went on to show each is given different talents and is held accountable for the talent given. So, John Galt above being the smartest on block is not a negative but a great thing on one hand yet more is expected of him.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Patrick

      Don't call yourself a Christian if you believe that.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Piet

      Unfortunately, a lot of what Ayn Rand had to say, was putting up false strawme of the ooposition's arguments and the tearing them down. I have never heard anybody say people should feel guilty about being blessed, only that hey should be gratefiul

      June 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • larry c. lyons

      And that was authored by the same person who had no problems accepting Medicare and Social Security from the government. I think that says a lot about her adherence to her beliefs.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      The question then become whether a Christian, who knows already the path to the kingdom, can then be a business person who exploits their workers, cheats on their taxes, compromises on safety and quality, and does other things in the name of producing more profit and personal wealth, right? Like all observant Christians, the rich ones would also have integrity, yes?

      June 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      There is no need to apologise for one's talents, but you have to put it in perspective: a life without compassion and decency is an empty life. We have all see type-A personalities that end up lonely and embittered because they were jerks, and they either break down or they keep convicing themselves, a la John Galt, that they deserve their success even if it costs them everything worthwhile. Remember Ebenezer Scrooge, anyone? His redemption comes when he allows himself to feel. The moment when these fools realise that talent is worth nothing unless you have people who appreciate the person who has it, is a glorious moment to experience and witness.

      June 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • fred

      Free
      You are correct thus it is easier to go through the eye of a needle. Few can do this as Jesus mentioned on a few occasions and the path is narrow. What I found interesting is that Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb. Now scripture says this was so that prophecy could be fulfilled (which is was). Yet, this man risked his life and his family’s life to put Jesus body in this tomb.

      June 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • sarah

      If God gave you your talents and your opportunities, as a Christian you should feel grateful, not guilty. At the same time, God tells you that you must not only share your wealth but sell it all and give to the poor in order to go to heaven. So good luck? I will agree with the article that the two books don't seem to be compatible in any sort of logical sense. You really have to rationalize to make that work which would mean that Atheists really are correct that religion is completely made up.

      June 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • fred

      Sarah
      You have hit upon the purpose of that parable. The rich young man could not do what was necessary to get into heaven and Jesus further explained no one can thus God has made a way for imperfect man to get in as all things are possible with God. In short we cannot earn our way in by good deeds it is by faith not works. It is not how much do you give to the poor but how you love Christ

      June 29, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      Or that bit was only added later in an attempt to make Jesus' life appear to fulfill prophecy, which it may very well have.

      June 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Free: Yes, that is my concern as well. How you got your riches is to me more important morally than how much you have. Which is why I have a bit of a block really understanding Rand's position. Is it for her that the ends justify the means?

      @The Real Tom Paine: I agree with you. I'm reading some of her writings now because I know very little about her. And she seems to be very afraid of emotions. She seems to think they are dangerous unless within very strict boundaries which, to be honest, seems a little unrealistic. And that always make me wary.

      June 29, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      Good works may not earn one's way into heaven, but Jesus did expect them to be a natural byproduct of being 'saved', yes? So, you can argue whether they are like chickens or eggs all you like, but if you are a Christian you cannot dismiss their importance.

      June 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      As to rich burial being added:That is one of those “faith” things, i.e. is the whole bible 100% Gods word / God inspired. It cannot be 99% as God makes no mistakes. So I say it happened just as mentioned. Both Joseph and Nicodemus were rich men, important people, Sanhedrin and secret believers (not sure they were ever born again and little else mentioned about these guys). They were most likely afraid of the Jews afraid of what others would say so stayed in the shadows. They came out now while the other 12 apostles fled for their lives in fear suddenly these too cowards come out of the darkness. Encouraging that we may get a calling or sudden change of heart at anytime and do the right thing. That is all speculation as we only read these two rich guys took care of Jesus body properly. Would someone find it necessary to add one more prophecy fulfilled to the 718 already shown? Someone went to a lot of trouble just to create a religion yet not enough trouble to make it believable without faith.
      As to good works yes they go hand in hand and would flow from a heart and a man that "works as if working onto the Lord"

      June 29, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      "is the whole bible 100% Gods word / God inspired."
      Another question is whether or not the Old Testament was the same scripture that Jesus and Paul read?

      Take Luke 24:44-49,

      44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
      45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

      And 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, for example,
      3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

      Now, which scriptures are they referring to? Where is there a prophecy that explicitly predicts that the Messiah would rise from the dead on the third day? Is it missing from the scriptures we have today?

      Then there is Matthew 27: 9-10. Did the author really mean to say that the 30 pieces of silver and Potter's field prophecies were made by Jeremiah, or did he mean Zechariah (11:12-13) and was he merely mistaken?

      These are just two examples. A consideration of all the Bible's discrepancies and mistakes would bring it way, way below even 99% accuracy. A purely human creation of scripture allots for such discrepancies, but not a divinely crafted 100% correct one. I think there was a lot of speculation and "reading between the lines" involved in shoehorning Jesus into prophecy. Shoehorning that, in turn, gave birth to whole new theologies, like the spinning of the fact that Jesus would have been 'cursed' for having been hung on a cross into the idea that his death removed the curse of death from humanity. What do you think?

      June 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      1)“the Old Testament was the same scripture that Jesus and Paul read?”- All we know is that Jesus knew this scripture inside out and given his audience he was referring to the scrolls read by the Jews. We could rephrase my statement to read: the original scripture Jesus referred to thus allowing for possible translation and all sorts of stuff that impacts today’s version of the Bible. Paul was a highly educated Jew and Roman knowing exactly which scrolls were accepted scripture. There was no need to identify them. I know it is a conveniant cop out to point to original scripture as being free from error since we do not have them anymore. Thanks to Romans sacking Jerusalem in 70 AD we lost much of what could argue for or against our view.
      2) “ prophecy that explicitly predicts that the Messiah would rise from the dead on the third day” – Explicitly there is perhaps nothing as the Old Testament spoke often in a picture language. However, Jesus leaves no stone unturned (or rolled back as at the tomb) and tossed in the bit about Jonah being 3 days in the belly so to the Son of Man (Jonah 1:17). I love it, out of all the references Jesus could have used he picked this one ! Everyone wants to see a good miracle “but none will be given it but the sign of Jonah”. Those fools of Nineveh who listened to the gospel will see these wise Pharisees at judgment when they are condemned for their unbelief.
      Three days: (Hosea 6:3) on the 3rd day he will restore us to live, Leviticus 7:17 19:6 sacrificial offerings had to be eaten or burned before 3 rd day also this is why Jews did not want Jesus still on the cross for Passover, Passover lamb big symbolic tradition Jesus was the Passover lamb, Exodus 19 people had to prepare for 3rd day Moses brings them to the mountain to see God. The biggie I think is Abraham on the 3rd day was provided a lamb to sacrifice as he was about to kill Isaac “for you have not withheld your son” (Genesis 22). The Jews of the day could not mistake what the sacrificial lamb on the 3rd day was all about.
      3) “Is it missing from the scriptures we have today?” – not missing from the New Testament explicitly and not missing from today’s Old Testament in the thread of blood sacrifice needed for atonement of sin in the form of a perfect “Lamb of God”

      June 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      “Then there is Matthew 27: 9-10. Did the author really mean to say that the 30 pieces of silver and Potter's field prophecies were made by Jeremiah, or did he mean Zechariah (11:12-13) and was he merely mistaken?” – It was the custom in the day of the author to refer to the older more prominent prophet as the source (as there was but one book of prophets) in this case Jeremiah 32:6-9 “The word of the Lord came and said buy my field at Anathoth …..so I bought the field…..17 shekels“ . Now Jeremiah honored God by obedience in buying land that appeared to have no future value. In Zechariah they insulted him when offering 30 pieces (the price of a slave) for his work as shepherd (representing Messiah). That which the Jews found worthless (outer appearance) was of great value – they valued him at the rate of a potter’s field not a king’s ransom. This is what the author was saying.
      Now the ancient Syriac version does not mention the prophets name at all. The Jews claimed the Spirit of Jeremiah was in Zechariah thus they were like one prophet. Some say it was Jeremiah who actually said this and Zechariah noted it. Either way Matthew was writing to the Jews and they got the point. Now how Divine is that

      June 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      And you honestly buy everything that you said? Oy!

      June 30, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      "And you honestly buy everything that you said? Oy!" I honestly go with the Oy part. These were the best of 12 excuses I read as to how Matthew managed to say it was Jeremiah. I am not comfortable with any of the excuses. I will let you know if have a moment of clearity on this as it is bugging me.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:48 am |
    • Free

      fred
      If you are not comfortable with any of the excuses then why not accept the most likely conclusion: That Matthew attributes the prophecy to Jeremiah by mistake? Most believers come to moments like this, where they either have to face the reality that the Bible is indeed flawed, or force themselves to be reas.sured by defences so ridiculous that they must be embarras.sing to even think about. Ask yourself if God would want you to believe in him at the cost of your intellectual integrity?

      July 2, 2011 at 12:36 am |
    • fred

      Free;
      Matthew combined Jeremiah as to the potter’s field which was purchased together with the 30 coins tossed into the temple and value they placed on the Good Sheppard’s work from Zechariah. The argument that it was custom to mention Jeremiah and not those prophets that follow could be credible since it was done before. Matthew a Jew writing to Jews it would not matter since they knew the scripture referred to. It could be a mistake however, that would not change the purpose of inclusion Matthew had in mind. The purpose of this “mistake” if we want to look at it such actually makes the statement regarding 30 coins more applicable today. Today some see what appears to be mistake and use it to devalue the work of Christ just as the Temple priests devalued Christ by mistaking his work to be worth but the value of a slaves life. They further pointed to their mistake valuing others less than themselves worthy only of a potter’s field at death. They thought the potters field would make them look good yet all soon called it the field of blood. Gods providence will always rule over mans failed attempts to bury the truth.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  15. Peace2All

    The article's ti-tle presents a kind of false dichotomy of choice, in a way. And, it's nice to be able to take a look and compare and contrast different world-views, and where there may be some over-lap.

    I would suggest that taking ideas that work for you in your life, from Rand and Jesus, whether it is a 'healthy' self-interest with a 'healthy' desire to help others seems like a fine balance interpersonally and collectively.

    Of course, everyone will have their own opinion as to what that means and where that fine line is... and how to balance them all, however it is worth exploring the interplay and intersection of those ideas within oneself, and how to apply them in one's life... IMHO.

    Peace...

    June 29, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  16. Free

    Funny thing is, I much prefer Jesus' ethics to Rand's, and I'm an atheist.

    June 29, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • JW

      I think that many people would agree with much of what Jesus taught even if they do not consider him to be the Son of God. It is kind of sad that conservatives preach his word more than anyone but are the worst at living by his example.

      June 29, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • fred

      JW
      Jesus claimed he was God, claimed he would be raised again on the third day. He either was a liar , a mad man or who He says He was – God. What is said was truth or lies. Jesus talked to the “Father” who as many on this site say is the “invisible man”, myth, fairy tale – what kind of mad man is this! Jesus came with one purpose in mind and when He died on the cross said “it is finished”. From that point forward those who believe in Him are saved and those who do not are condemned. Jesus does not leave any wiggle room. It does no good to simply find him to be a nice guy with some good words. As an example to us on how to live he lived that example out to the fullest to death just as He said and all prior prophecy stated. I see no where in His living example where He said Father I am just going to adhere to those things you suggested that are pleasing to me. He did not take the easy path but the hard path. He also warned that to follow His way was not possible for man alone so He sent a helper the Holy Spirit to guide and lead believers in the ways of righteousness. Without the Holy Spirit one cannot comprehend the things of God. It is for this reason many say I do not believe, I do not believe Jesus was God……but, ya know he did say some ok stuff.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Stevie7

      fred,

      No one really knows what jesus said. His words were recorded many decades after they were supposedly said by people who weren't there in the first place. It is quite easy, despite what you may believe, to take value away from many teachings in the new testament without actually acknowledging the divinity of jesus. Thomas Jefferson did this quite nicely.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • JW

      Fred you were missing the point of what I was saying. I was not arguing whether Jesus was God or not. I was talking about the way that he taught his followers to live.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • fred

      Stevie7
      No one knows what Jesus said ? Sorry, but we have it in writing from before he lived as to what he was going to say then he said it and did just what was prophesied. As to what was recorded in the Gospels that quoted Jesus even the majority of scholars of history accept some things. Let us start with the the work of Paul the apostle. Even if you only take those writings that “scholars of history” accept from Paul you find support for Jesus positions and statements.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      "Jesus claimed he was God, claimed he would be raised again on the third day. He either was a liar , a mad man or who He says He was – God."

      Kinda depends on if Jesus taught that being the messiah meant that he was divine. We read the t.itle "Son of God" and think literal son of a god, like the Greeks would, the culture that Paul catered to, but the Jews used that ti.tle for either all of Israel, or her (entirely human) leaders, especially the messiah who was to lead Israel into a new age, yes? Simple cultural confusion, really!

      June 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • fred

      Free
      The Jews of his day knew exactly what he meant and picked up stones to stone him when he said “I tell you the truth before Abraham was born I am” (john 8:58). As to son of God yes I agree with you that can have different meaning in some cases.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      Because, if the tale were true, then what he said would have been as blasphemous then as anyone claiming to be God today, right? The Jews weren't always, but by Jesus' time they were pretty firm in their monotheism, and God having an actual 'son' like Hercules was too polytheistic an idea. Your saying that God being a Trinity was as plain as day to any Jew willing to believe what they read in scripture is just ridiculous. You have to remember that it took the great Church thinkers hundreds of years and several heretical battles to actually define the Trinity into an idea that Christians could sorta wrap their brains around, and even now how many can actually explain it sensibly?

      June 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • fred

      Free,
      True anyone claiming to be God today gets a modern day stoning and yes explaining trinity is tuff. As to Jesus claiming to be God to the Jews in John 8:58 he used a phrase that they knew from Exodus which claimed he was God not one of the trinity or Jesus. I will not hang my hat on it since the footnote in my bible directed me back to Exodus otherwise my initial understanding was more along your line. But, thanks again you have given me something to look into

      June 29, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      Sorry buddy, but I just find the entire idea that the Jews should have been expecting God to make a physical appearance to people in a personage other than the hidden One they worshipped just silly, and insulting to Jews. They've had the same view of the Messiah for 4000 years, and he was always supposed to be human, not an avatar of God. So, no second coming, everything would happen in his lifetime. The Messiah would also physically rebuild the temple, all the Jews would return to Israel, and there would be an end to the Jews' sufferings. Jesus was really the beginning of their real suffering, wouldn't you agree?

      June 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • fred

      No, I do not see Jesus as the beginning of their real suffering. It was their own stubborn unbelief and rejection of God. They were the chosen ones given full advantage of the knowledge of the law and personal history with God yet fell away time and time again. So they spent 430years under slave masters that oppressed them in Egypt . In the Desert they would not follow God and turned back from taking the promised land as instructed resulting in 40 years of wandering in the desert. Exiled by Babylonians for 70 years then sacked by the Romans in 70AD. Each time God brought through a remnant as promised. Jesus did become their stumbling block when the rejected him and continue to this day.

      June 30, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • Free

      fred
      Yours is a view of Jews through a certain Christian eye, and not at all how they view themselves. You do understand that, right? It's like the difference between European American and Native American views on the history of this place. I see a lot of similarities in how white people use to think that the indians didn't make anything of the land so the forces that be handed it to them to develop instead. The end judgment is the same; that the original owners (Jews/indians) didn't know what they had and deserved to have it taken away from them.

      That seems to be Paul's view; that the Jews didn't deserve new faith so let's give it to the Gentiles instead. You have to remember that, originally, the first Christians were Jews and, if it hadn't of been for Paul, it seems, the followers of Jesus would have remained a Jewish sect.

      Tell me, do you respect the Jewish people's right to interpret their history and scriptures (and it really is their history and scriptures) for themselves?

      June 30, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • fred

      Free, Ooops you got me ! My only perspective was the Christian view of how Jews looked at Christ. I had a problem with a Rabbi that never looked at the new testament or Pauls writtings so I could not understand why he denied Christianity. Well let me see if I can't look at this from their perspective. I will need to ask him again since it has been a while and my ears were partially closed back then. I will let you know if his view jells closer to yours.

      June 30, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Free

      fred
      You know, of course, that Jesus himself was also "a Rabbi that never looked at the new testament or Pauls writtings". He probably would have denied Christianity as well, probably for the same reasons as your other rabbi friend. There is nothing to indicate that Jesus wanted to start a new religion, or even intended his teaching for gentiles. He was just a rabbi.

      Have you read any of the Talmud? Might I suggest that you do if you are still interested in dialogue with your rabbi friend. Fair is fair after all, right?

      June 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  17. pete

    This is what i've been saying to friends and family when they ask why i don't consider myself a conservative anymore. It is my opinion that God loves all and wants us to help all. The older i've gotten i feel like conservatives only love white men with money. "Lets keep taxes low for everyone (except the rich...we'll keep their taxes even lower) and the we'll cut funding for programs used by the poor. Cause lets face it rich white people don't use these programs. The poor need to pull themselves up the boot straps."

    June 29, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • JW

      This article proves that Jesus was a liberal.

      June 29, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Of course Jesus was a liberal. I don't know many that would consider what he did as conservative.

      June 29, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Jen

      Liberals are stupid. Conservatives do not desire that a bunch of white men have lots of money. Conservatives desire an atmosphere in this country where someone who runs a business can make investments that support our communities through hiring. This will also keep people from becoming welfare recipients, allow us to cut cost ineffective programs such as Obamacare and help the government save a dollar or two.

      Jesus can't be a liberal because he required limits on behavior. Dems...not so much. I don't think the anything goes atmosphere of the democratic party would fly if JC were still around. Also, God said help the poor, not give your money to someone who will waste 50% of it and then give some of it to the poor. Why do I need the government to do this for me? I am more than willing and able to take my future tax dollars down to the local medical clinic where the funds will provide immediate relief for the sick and needy.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • John Galt

      @Jen- Being liberal does not mean you are automatically a Democrat.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • JW

      Jen in what ways was Jesus conservative by today's definition?

      June 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Jesus can't be a liberal because he required limits on behavior. Dems...not so much. I don't think the anything goes atmosphere of the democratic party would fly if JC were still around'

      'anything goes' huh? such as?

      'Why do I need the government to do this for me? I am more than willing and able to take my future tax dollars down to the local medical clinic where the funds will provide immediate relief for the sick and needy'

      That would put in you in the extremely small minority then, thats why the government needs to do it.

      And seriously jesus would be marked down as way liberal in a census.

      June 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Free

      Jen
      "Jesus can't be a liberal because he required limits on behavior. Dems...not so much."

      Within Jesus' society there were the ordinary folk, such as himself, and the elitists who claimed a higher level of piety, the Pharisees. When Jesus challenged the Pharisees was he advocating against having any limits at all, or just pointing out that those who were the strictest in their placement of limits were, in fact, hypocrites? Who would Jesus consider the Pharisees of our day?

      June 29, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • sarah

      Jesus actually said sell all your possessions and give to the poor. He said quite clearly, in fact, that rich people will find it hard to get into heaven.

      "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me"

      "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

      June 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Free

      sarah
      "Jesus actually said sell all your possessions and give to the poor. He said quite clearly, in fact, that rich people will find it hard to get into heaven."

      Oprah would be the most likely to be an exception, wouldn't you say?

      June 29, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  18. JW

    I think selfishness and individualism describes conservatives fairly well.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  19. Frogist

    Hi CNN: The link to the full commentary from Yaron Brooks is broken.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  20. John Galt

    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Then there's my favorite fiction, that one with the virgin birth and the talking snake and all. A lot of kiddies never grow up past that one.

      June 29, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • John Galt

      Did we hit a nerve?

      June 29, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Frogist

      @ I prefer the one about the rabbit that can tell time and the child who falls down a hole after him. Maybe we can create an economic philosophy out of that. Oh wait, isn't that where the Tea Party came from?

      June 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • thersa

      Great quote

      June 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • Free

      Frogist
      Tea Party economic philosophy: "Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is - oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate!" Alice, Alice in Wonderland.

      Tea Party political philosophy: "Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic - Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision." The Mock Turtle, Alice in Wonderland.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Jim

      Tea Party math.

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7106559846794044495#

      June 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • John Galt

      Where did the Tea Party come into this topic? Bad enough when atheists shoe horn their non-beliefs into a specific religious topic...but the Tea Party has nothing to do with Rand. Hugh Hefner has more to do with this story than the Tea Party.

      June 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Jim

      Tea Party math

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bfq5kju627c&w=640&h=360]

      June 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Free

      You might find this flattering, if not informative, "John Galt".

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tNheAEHprI&w=640&h=360]

      June 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • John Galt

      Considering there is nothing there for me to see....I doubt it Free.

      June 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • sarah

      hehe... I like it.

      June 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Free:
      LOL!
      Or their moral philosophy:
      "The moral of that is – The more there is of mone, the less there is of yours."

      June 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Free

      Frogist
      On their public speaking skills: "Speak English! I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!" Eaglet, Alice in Wonderland.

      And one last one summing up their entire platform: "Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense." The Mock Turtle, Alice in Wonderland.

      😉

      June 29, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.