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My Take: Christianity and Ayn Rand's philosophy are 2 distinct religions
Ayn Rand's book "The Fountainhead" and the Bible.
August 15th, 2012
11:29 AM ET

My Take: Christianity and Ayn Rand's philosophy are 2 distinct religions

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Now that one of the Republican Party’s least ideological men (Mitt Romney) has christened one of the GOP’s most ideological men (Paul Ryan) as his running mate, Ayn Rand is back in the news.

Ryan, who used to give away Rand’s novel "Atlas Shrugged" for Christmas, once described this Russian-born preacher of heroic individualism as "the reason I got into public service.” “There is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism," he told the pro-Rand Atlas Society in 2005, "than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works."

Ryan’s religious conservatism obviously distinguishes him from Rand, an atheist who despised efforts by Ronald Reagan and others to marry church and state. And recently Ryan has tried to distance himself from her.

In an April interview with the National Review, he rooted his controversial budget plan, not in Rand’s laissez-faire philosophizing, but in Catholic values. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he said. “Give me Thomas Aquinas.”

Which makes me wonder just how these two influences on Ryan stack up against one another. Is it possible to love Aquinas and Rand at the same time? About as possible as loving God and mammon since Christianity and Randism are, in my view, two competing religions.

I know that Rand was an atheist, so it may seem like a stretch to call Randism a religion. But there are plenty of religions (Buddhism, for example) that have rejected God. And like Christianity, Randism has its founder, its scriptures and its miracles (since in the Gospel of Ayn Rand there isn't anything laissez-faire capitalism and its secular saints cannot do).

Randism also has its committed devotees, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and conservative talk-show hosts Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, not to mention the myriad commenters (see below) who will no doubt object to my efforts to brand her atheism a religion.

Here are five big differences I see between the  theologies of Christianity and Randism:

1. Jesus preached the virtue of selflessness; Rand wrote a book called "The Virtue of Selfishness" (1964). Altruism is evil, she argued, and egoism the only true ethics.

2. The Apostle Paul called the love of money the root of all evil. Rand wore a dollar sign brooch and saw to it that a florid dollar sign stood guard by her casket at her funeral. She also put a love letter to the almighty dollar on the lips of one of her "Atlas Shrugged" heroes, copper magnate Francisco d’Anconia (a speech Ryan has said he returns to repeatedly when pondering monetary policy). There d’Anconia calls money “the root of all good."

3. “Blessed are the poor,” Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke. And he says in the Gospel of Matthew that “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.” In the Gospel according to Ayn Rand, however, it is the “traders” (“job creators” in modern parlance) who like Atlas carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, while the poor are denounced as “moochers” and “looters."

4. The hope of the Christian gospel is the kingdom of God, but Rand's objectivist philosophy opposes "collectivism" at every turn. “Man - every man - is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake,” the inventor John Galt proclaims in "Atlas Shrugged," “and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.”

5. The ultimate concern of Christianity is God. The ultimate concern of Randism is the unfettered freedom of the individual. While the Christian Trinity comprise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Rand’s Trinity is I, me, mine.

For years, Ryan and other conservative Republicans have been trying to have their Jesus Christ and their Ayn Rand,  too. But the two clash at least as much as an Obama/Ryan ticket.

Conservative icon William F. Buckley rightly recognized this fundamental incompatibility, running a blistering review of "Atlas Shrugged"in his National Review and denouncing that novel himself in a Charlie Rose interview as "a thousand pages of ideological fabulism.”

Evangelical leader Chuck Colson was equally critical, referring to Rand’s “idolatry of self and selfishness” as “the antithesis of Christianity.”

To his credit, Ryan seems to be acknowledging the gap between Randism and Christianity by attempting in recent months to distance himself from an intellectual mentor and emphasizing instead the Catholic roots of his budget plan.

But as Jesus once said, “By your fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:16), and I for one still see much more Rand than Jesus in Ryan’s Robin Hood budget.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this piece said that Jesus called the love of money the root of all evil. The statement should have been attributed to the Apostle Paul.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Christianity • Economy • Paul Ryan • Politics • United States

soundoff (1,069 Responses)
  1. GodFreeNow

    "But there are plenty of religions (Buddhism, for example) that have rejected God."

    I love this. Buddhists reject god?! No... they don't reject god. They just don't accept that the monotheistic god exists. This is the typical self-exposing language of monotheists. Deeply, they feel that "rejecting" god is a rejection of them. They take it personally if you don't believe what they believe—hence the word, rejection.

    Most atheists ACCEPT the possibility of a monotheistic god. Should satisfactory (i.e., verifiable) evidence be presented in favor of a god, this would strengthen our belief in that possibility. To use language like "reject" presupposes a god must exist to reject. Just believing it doesn't make it true. Wishing for it to be so, doesn't make it true. And faith is only a psychological defense mechanism to dealing with doubt (which I might add is the seed of reality). The graves are full of people who believed, wished and had faith that they would live longer than they did. Reality stands apart from this.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Deanbo

      As a Buddhist I am qualified to say "Well said" lol................

      August 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @GFN,

      these are semantics. In this context, disbelief, denial of the existence of God, rejection of God etc really do mean the same thing. Denial/rejection do not represent a tacit recognition that God exists but atheists are too stupid to realize this.

      You've been arguing with religionists for too long. 😉

      August 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV,
      Thank you for the feedback. Well, of course I disagree. As someone who once rejected god, I understand the subtle difference between rejecting a notion and accepting evidence-backed truth. They come from different places. Internally rejection usually implies anger or some kind of forced action. Whereas only accepting truth is a very passive position. We may disagree, but I don't want you to think that I'm just blindly arguing semantics and picking at one line to make a point. I actually experience the expression of this mentality from many christians. I find it to be factually inaccurate, so I feel it should be mentioned.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @GFN,

      I understand your point. It is indeed a necessary distinction in some of the back and forth that goes on with other readers here.

      I was less offended by it in context in Mr. Prothero's piece. If he had said 'rejected the concept/idea of God' the meaning would have been less open to this interpretation, but of course the religionists would jump all over him saying that he implied that 'God is no more than a concept'.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV,

      It's true. 🙂

      August 15, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  2. donna bernard

    Disgusted that someone considers
    Ayn Rand's philosophy is a religion.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Everything is a religion to a religious person.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Most of the theists here contend that atheism is a religion. (Though of course I would agree it is not.)

      Most people agree that Buddhism is a religion.

      Is Taoism a religion, or a philosophy?

      Mr. Prothero was making a point. Her belief system could be construed as an 'alternative' to Christianity as a set of principles.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Mandie Grace Taylor

      Is cynacism a religion or philosophical point of view?

      August 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @MGT,

      since Cynicism literally refers to the beliefs of an ancient school of Greek philosophers known as the Cynics, I'd say philosophy, wouldn't you?

      August 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  3. eroteme

    Ayn Rand's atheist opinions have no bearing on her governmental opinions. Either one stands far and wide apart with no relationship to the other. She could be right or wrong on both, right on one and wrong on the other.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @eroteme,

      but you agree that objectivism is at variance from Christianity, no?

      August 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  4. Theend

    Ayn Rand was an atheist who rejected Christianity because of its altruism - and said that altruism was the cause of all wars, etc. "...a code of ethics to observe for the salvation of one's soul...Jesus...gave men a code of altruism, that is, a code which told them that in order to save one's soul, one must love or help or live for others. This means, the subordination of one's soul....to the wishes, desires or needs of others, which means the subordination of one's soul to the souls of others...This is a contradiction that cannot be resolved. This is why men have never succeeded in applying Christianity in practice, while they have preached it in theory for two thousand years. The reason of their failure was not men's natural depravity or hypocrisy, which is the superficial (and vicious) explanation usually given. The reason is that a contradiction cannot be made to work. That is why the history of Christianity has been a continuous civil war..."

    August 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  5. Moby Schtick

    Prothero god it dead right, this time!

    Right-wing, Republican, capitalist, selfish, might-makes-right, egotistical values are at direct odds with Christian, serve-the-poor, compassionate, church-of-Acts-communal-resource-sharing ideology.

    Capitalism is economic survival of the fittest, dog-eat-dog, anarchy of power. You christians claim it's not what you stand for, but in practice, it's what you do and who you are. And of course, it's how you vote.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Charles

    I fairly proud of being an atheist and someone who denounces Rand as a self-serving fool.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • QS

      Ditto! 🙂

      August 15, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  7. Young

    Prothero's analysis is too limited when it comes to Randism. Many devoted fans of Ayn Rand feel that she recommends a practice of "enlightened self-interest". If we adopt Prothero's interpretation of Randism I would have to choose what's best for me in the moment. Enlightened self-interest accepts that as a living, thinking, caring animal I can expand my choices to include action now that might produce a better result in the long run.
    While I am an Athiest I do not think that the ideal of enlightened self-interest is as inconsistant with christianity as Prothero suggests.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Frank

      I suppose it was very enlightened to call those on Medicare and Social Security 'moochers' while filing for the same benefits under a pseudonym.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I guess it comes down to your definition of 'enlighted self-interest'.

      You suggest: Enlightened self-interest accepts that as a living, thinking, caring animal ...

      I'm no Rand scholar, but the consensus opinion of objectivism seems to be that it excludes 'altruism'.

      If that is true, you can strike 'caring' from your list for an 'objectivist'. This appears to be the heart of the discussion.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • What IF

      Young,

      "Enlightened self-interest"

      Yes. Thank you for bringing up that term (and concept). I had forgotten it; but it was a favorite of a very smart, wise man who I once knew.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • What IF

      Frank,

      I think that the "moochers" that Ayn Rand referred to are the chronic welfare cheats and others who unfairly cadge government funds. She paid into the Social Security system all of her working life after it went into effect (was forced by law to do so, in fact)... no different than redeeming shares of a long-held mutual fund or other investment.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Mandie Grace Taylor

      Thank God someone spoke up- I read this article and the oversimplifications were an insult to intelligence – I felt if you put quotes supposedly by Christ on one sheet of paper and Rand of another sheet of paper – he would have a 50/50 chance of getting it right by guessing – but ........

      August 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • What IF

      p.s. From 1974 until her death in 1982 Ayn Rand collected a total of $11,000 return of her Social Security investment. The exact figures of how much she paid into it over her long career are not available, but over 35 years-worth is likely to be a substantial amount.

      http://www.patiastephens.com/2010/12/05/ayn-rand-received-social-security-medicare

      August 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  8. mizo boy

    God created everything.. He made human. He made the eye.. think about your eye..its amazing why you can see. you will think there is no creator of livingthings..God made a man like His image. Thats what i believe. and i will not become an atheist..

    August 15, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • FarLeft/Tallahassee

      Sooo.., exactly what does your comment have-to-do with this article or ensuing discussion? This article is about Ryan flip-flopping on his beliefs. Anyone care-to argue THAT? He used-to give out copies of Rand's books as gifts, now he is back-pedalling.., 'trying to distance himself...' That, ladies and gentlemen, is waffling, period.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • ggargoyle

      OK, then who made God? Did 'He' just appear?

      August 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • sam

      Try not to wet yourself, son.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • illusive

      Our eye is not even all that unique, actually deer and other animals have better eyes, and can see the Ultra-Violet spectrum. Actually our eyes are among some of the worst in world.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • QS

      Waffling? I simply call it cowardice.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • jaman

      What's most amazing about the eye is not what it can see, but what it cannot see. There are many more things in the universe that remain invisible to the naked eye (like infrared for example). On the larger scale of things, we are practically blind.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • CrazyinAK

      Actually if how much god loves us is based on how the eye is made and can see, then he loves the squid best. Look it up.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  9. Steve

    Ayn Rand is right and is in fact how most people live, including largely all Christians. How many do you know are "altruistic", loving , or giving? People may not admit it but they are just lying to themselves. We'd be a much more productive and happier society if the bible went into the garbage and everyone openly embraced their selfishness per Rand.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • QS

      It's necessary to be selfish sometimes, to some degree, as it is innate self-preservation. But the type of selfishness on display by conservatives for the rest of the world to witness is grossly overboard and out of control.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Mandie Grace Taylor

      Altruism is the key word in this discussion – altruism has a point of reference – can anyone provide that without descending into a lengthy rant about right wing politics?

      August 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • abcdxyz

      If you look at the news any day of the week, you will see that there are plenty of people who fully embrace their own selfishness. The challenge for any society is to get people to cooperate so that they can live together and advance everyone's best interests.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  10. mikithinks

    Romney, Ryan and Rand, oh my! Ayn Rand ranted against helping anyone until she collected Social Securitry and Medicare. She was for it when the $$$ went into her pockets. A real trail blazer for both Romney and Ryan who can change directions on a dime. Oh, sorry, change directions of billions of dollars.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  11. shraeve

    In the time of Jesus, and throughout most of history before the industrial revolution, most wealthy people obtained their money either through military domination or by rising to a high position in a religious hierarchy. The actual producers, the farmers, merchants, and artisans, had to give up most of what they produced to men with swords or those who were backed by men with swords. The productive people got to keep little of what they produced.

    Ayn Rand correctly observes that the men with weapons (Attila) and the men with holy scriptures (the Witch Doctor) are the ones who have done the most harm to humanity throughout human history.

    In the present day the men with weapons collect money for the state in the name of helping the people. The Witch Doctors are pretty much the same except they are a lot richer than in Jesus' time, such as the the highly successful televangelists and the obscenely wealthy Catholic Church.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Dowgirl

      I think you hit it right on the head, the villians in Rand's fiction are people in power already, petty, small minded people who have come to power by any means except real ability. Everyone harps and harps on her themes and I am guessing they all read the shortest writings they can find, which seem exagerated to make a point. Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead are long books and a difficult read. And they also feature strong willed women, most of the men in either book are not cast in a flattering light. So my question is why do white men identify with theses stories? The bad guy in her books isn't society, rather the bad guys are men who USE the plight of others to enrich themselves, who use government and insider knowledge to take money regardless of who it hurts.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  12. polter

    When did buddhism reject god ? codswallop.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  13. jabee

    If there is a hell, the far right has inherited it.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  14. Brian Fr Langley BC

    What a staggering load of codswallop. Seems liberals not only have zero understanding of capitalism, they have zero understanding of Christianity. (some of you folks need to read a little history or even an actual book)???? First laizez-faire capitalism was never meant to be understood as pure and simple gambling without even the necessity to actually buy something or sell something) Second the Ten commandments (which Jesus supported) made stealing and coveting (property) a major breach of God's laws. Since by definition both theft and coveting require the offended party to OWN the stolen or coveted item, the Bible specifically condones and supports the ownership of private property. Socialism by definition does NOT allow for the idea of personally held property ownership (particularly if it conflicts with the "greater good") The Bible on the other hand does. In these and many other ways, one can find philosophical common ground with capitalist non believers.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Brian: as I said below...

      yes, we should learn from people with whom we disagree, but it's naive to think Ayn Rand's fundamental convictions (which are stridently anti-Christian) don't inform her views on personal responsibility.

      There's a reason the Bible talks about greed 10x as often as it does se.xual sin: it's more subtle. It's easier to rationalize. You know it if you've slept with someone other than your spouse, but almost everyone thinks: there's someone else greedier than me.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      "Covetousness" has nothing to do with stealing. That's ridiculous. Covetousness is a thought crime. Stealing is an an action.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • QS

      We understand capitalism better than you think....we also happen to understand the downside of it better than conservatives do. Or it could just be that conservatives are just selfish enough to understand the downside, but not care about it.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Owen Murphy

      Brian, so very well said.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  15. Laughing.

    Ayn Rand was laughing all the way to the bank cause people bought her crap.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  16. Phooey

    Both are works of fiction.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Mark

      ...that we're based on her belief in objectivism

      August 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  17. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog:

    And more yackety-yack from Stevie P who still does not know what to believe about the gods and religion even though he is a professor of religion.

    So Stevie P what sayest about the following with respect to your illumination of the magic man Jesus?

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do, think or say?

    August 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Mark

      I am not Christian but even I find you annoying, presumptuous, and arrogant – and he still knows a lot more than you ever will. If anything, this column shows the hypocrisy of those that claim to be good Christians but long loved that sociopath of a philosopher – you obviously missed that part.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • stevensb

      re your comment on Jesus being declared legally insane ........ wouldn't happen , mental health services in this nation are next to non-existent ........ he would just wander around until he got p.o.'ed enough to exercise his God( daddy ! ) given 2nd amendment right and buy himself a light weight , personal sized weapon of mass destruction and ........

      August 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • selfevolved

      Pretty sure is point is that the majority of Republicans care what the preacher/magic man would do, think or say, yet hypocritically never follow the preacher/magic man's teachings. And it's not just in relation to Ayn Rand, but in relation to pretty much every aspect of life.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Mr Christian

      Jesus left us a promise to return to the earth and will collect people who believes in Him, bring them to heaven where he made home . He rose from death. thats the reason why we believe. and you want to see some miracles of God? dont worry the gospel of Jesus Christ is all over the world. there are miracles everyday. go to http://www.adventistmission.org

      August 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Sister Christian

      @Mr Christian: what's your price for flight?

      August 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Clay

      You sure care.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      August 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  18. Leigh

    GOP.

    Greedy Obnoxious Plutocrats.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  19. Basing your life on the writings of Ayn Rand...

    is only slightly more valid than basing your life on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Making your name part of your post...

      does not increase the validity of your post.

      August 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Irony is...

      something I like.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  20. Razorking

    I will admit that I have not read Ayn Rand's books but, I have read of her and there are interviews on YouTube that will give a fair understanding of her philosophy. I find her to be an interesting and thought provoking personality however I also disagree with many of her beliefs. She was obviously very opinionated on practically everything and I struggle with people who proclaim to have all the answers – none of us do. What I find to be endlessly fascinating is how any true Christian can be so enamored with Ayn Rand – she was an atheist and her views are clearly diametrically opposed to teachings of Jesus. But the far right political views are a direct contradiction as well – and many supposed Christians continue to support the party – so maybe nothing should be surprising at this point.

    August 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Hannah

      I think these right wing republicans who say they are Christians are really CNO, Christian in name only. They couldn't pass the test of a true Christian. But maybe this will help them to understand who they really are. Naw. Too much to hope for.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Mark

      I have not read her books but have read some of her articles and saw her in the Mike Wallace interview – if your conservative and vouching Ayn Rand – then you can't be a Christian too – the two are mutually exclusive. Personally i think she was a raging sociopath. And Ryan can't distance himself from the fact he adored her.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • margie

      yes like saul alinsky, rev wright and all the radicals obama has associated wiith why don't you write about those affliations

      August 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • sam

      margie...that was all dealt with in 2008...but feel free to keep it going. Are you a birther, too?

      August 15, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Mandie Grace Taylor

      Your answer to not going to church all these long years has been, "why stand there with hypocrits for two hours....."

      August 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Mark

      @margie, because you've had your 15 minutes of fame for the last 3 1/2 years, we've heard it all – now Ryan wants to play with the big boys, and his beliefs are no less open to scrutiny.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
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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.