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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. Lionel

    This is a great article. Well written. More reason not to vote for Robme/RAyn.

    August 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  2. ol cranky

    Rand may well have been an atheist but you do everyone a disservice when you conflate Randism with atheism. Atheism rejects a belief in G-d it doesn't reject any and all social responsibility and common decency in its quest for keeping the rich as rich as can be and giving the 1% an excuse, let alone the ability, to screw over others in the name of capitalism and deregulation

    August 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      I couldn't agree more. This should not be used as an excuse to bash aetheists, any more than the hypocrisy of the fundamentalists should be used as an excuse to bash humanistic Christians. I would love to see a truce in this regard, where aetheists and Christians on the left judge one another not on their deity beliefs, but on their common concern for humanism and earthly justice.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • El Flaco

      I'm an atheist and I consider Randism to be an evil philosophy. It is anti-human as well as anti-Christian.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  3. Woodrow

    The love of -– money is the root of -– all kinds -– of evil.

    1 Timothy 6:10. That book of the Bible was written nearly 2,000 years ago and you still can't quote it accurately? I'm sure the Gideons could get you a copy.. Instead, you twist it to say that money is the root of all evil. It's not what it says. So, either you're deliberately misquoting it in one of your key points which is entirely unethical, OR you went off of your limited knowledge of the Bible based on your own bias and didn't bother to even google the phrase, which would be incompetent. Which is it? Unethical, or incompetent?

    August 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • sirkyelnoc

      "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

      Ayn Rand LOVED money – his point is valid. Your retort is the equivalent of a chip in the marble of the Supreme Court.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  4. Lisa

    "... the myriad commenters (see below) who will no doubt object to my efforts to brand her atheism a religion."

    Jesus was not a Christian. The religion of Christianity was founded on his teachings. I can't see where considering Randism a religion is any less valid, even if Rand herself was an atheist.

    August 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      Boy, did the Catholic Church, followed by the Protestant Movement, mess up the Message of Jesus. I guess all things involving humans will never be perfect.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  5. Manny

    Dear Mr Stephen Prothero, can your next story be on why Husseini-Obama cancelled the mission to blow away Bin Laden three times before Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made him do it. Thank you in advance.

    August 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Dumb Republican

      Why does that matter? Its already happened, its really irrelevant what your asking. See that's the problem with Republicans, your lack of education shows.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Manny,

      so why was it that G.W.Bush never got the job done in the seven years he had?

      August 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      What silly fiction you write. You must be a fan of Ayn Rand.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • AL

      Yes Mr Prothero. dont you see this story can undermine the romney's chance to get elected. the people don't need to know how flimsey mr Ryan is what will they think that he is a flopper too like romney.

      you cant call yourself cristian and follow the teachings of another whose ideology is contrary to jesus' teaching.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  6. truebob

    "the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.” That was Ted Bundy's philosophy.

    August 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  7. Jerry J

    Yeah, i turn to CNN.com for my theological analysis. Not. It wasn't Jesus who said the love of money is the root of all evil. It was the apostle Paul. Paul also taught that Christians should work at whatever their task with a whole heart. He taught generous giving, not collectivism - and certainly not state collectivism. He also taught that those who would not work should not be fed. The author remembers a few things he has read or heard secondhand. I take the time to actually read the Bible on regular basis. That's why the "social gospel" doesn't fool me like it has this author.

    August 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

      And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Dean G.

      I see you avoid the Gospel all together. Jesus said “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” (from Luke 3:11)

      Luke 6:29-30 "To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. "

      31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

      Matthew 25:31-46
      41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

      Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

      This is the word of the Lord. I see you avoid Jesus, and only quote Paul. Perhaps you should stop calling yourself a Christian when clearly you worship Paul instead.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Ben

      I think you dismiss the author's criticism too quickly and are overlooking the extent to which sharing is taught in the New Testament. I don't think it is necessary to take the author's comments to include a recommendation for "collectivism". Your attribution of the love of money quote to Paul is technically correct; however, Jesus teaching in Matthew 6 is essentially the same. "...you cannot love God and money ... either you will love the one....".

      August 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Matt

      Hey Jerry, since you are an avid Bible reader, you should be familiar with these quotes from the bible about Jesus' approach toward money, the rich, etc:

      Matthew 19:23 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and tthe deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful

      Matthew 19:23-24
      And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person 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 a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."

      Matthew 22:21 "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's"

      This wasn't spoken by Jesus but worth a read:
      James 5:1-6
      "Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure bin the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and gin self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in ha day of slaughter. You have condemned and imurdered jthe righteous person. He does not resist you."

      And if Peter is an apostle and a servant of Christ Jesus does he not speak on the behalf of Jesus in the book of Timothy? Please clarify your interpretation of who Peter is and what his role was if it wasn't for Jesus.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Wes Scott

      The "apostle" Paul was a fraud who never met Jesus and taught things that were directly contradictory to what Jesus taught. Jesus' own brother James had to travel all over the world following Paul and undoing what Paul was telling people about Jesus. You really need to read a lot more than just the Wholly Babble in order to know the truth which, as we know from the Wholly Babble, will set you free!

      August 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  8. Cubist Tut

    This article really didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Even Ayn Rand herself said that Christianity was not compatible with her philosophy of objectivism.

    August 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  9. ChuckB

    Steve, you forgot some of the logical consquences of Rand's philosophy of Objectiveisim. Rand stated that individuals have the right to control their bodies and, therefore, the choice to have a child is a moral option, i.e., she supported birth control. Also she strongly supported abortion, i.e., stating that, "a fetus has no rights." Was Ryan not aware of her positions on procreation choice or did it not matter as he was enthralled by her notion that greed is good, very good.

    August 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • So he worships the Hitler Youth Pope?

      All Republicans value money over life (at least someone else's). That's why they're all up in arms about abortion (where they don't see any monetary impact on them) and all the innocent women and children that were killed in the Iraq War – which lined all their pockets.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  10. jimmy

    jesus said "sell your possessions and give the money to the poor." he never said "tax everyone else and give the money to the poor." it's a big difference. also, ayn rand never said the poor were moochers and looters. anyone who takes money from others would be characterized as a moocher or looter, whether rich or poor. and she would never criticize hard-working poor people who try to better their lives w/o being on the dole. while rand may have personally been against charitable giving or voluntarily helping the poor, she did accept that others were free to help their fellow man. it is definitely possible to be both religious and objectivist...i am.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      How do you reconcile that whole camel/needle thing in your own head, then?

      August 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Dick Izinya

      Actually, she was only against the "dole" when other people collected it. She applied for and collected Social Security in later life while continuing to call her fellow SS beneficiaries "moochers". In the end, she was just as hypocritical as the Christians.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • So when does the sale start then???

      Well, put up or shut up. If you don't want to be taxed – DON'T BE. Sell all your stuff and give the money away like you were COMMANDED to by Jesus. Then you'll be poor and won't be taxed.

      SEE HOW UTTERLY SIMPLE THAT IS?????

      August 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • AL

      jimmy you can't have to masters.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • AL

      @ dick inzinia. pretty much like most of the tea B party. a lot of those old people speak rabidly against social services yet they are some of the biggest recipients of medicare or medicaid one of those two. so too ayn rand like you mentioned live off of social programs when she was old so much for the idealogies she preached

      August 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  11. chunk a chunk

    How is one cult following different from the next?

    August 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      As an atheist, I'm not happy to Ayn Rand mentioned as one. I would think ANY Christian, or anyone who considers themselves a moral decent American, would be ashamed to vote for Romney /Ryan. Still, Rand is the cult, not the atheism she professes. Christianity is a cult, and voting Republican goes against christian values.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  12. shaysite

    The problem with the use of Ayn Rand in the US is that, over here she's an exotic, invasive species. Though there are some apparent commonalities-her peculiar mix of ideas and, in fact, each one of them taken individually doesn't really fit with Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Franklin, Patrick Henry or even the contemporary religious right in the US. And over here, away from her natural predators-Russian anti-semitism, totalitarian government, and stalinism her views can't be understood. They don't really apply to us. And they are a threat to all American ideas-left or right.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      Yeah, but tying Ryan to an avowed aetheist is a fantastic wedge issue. You just have to dumb it down and repeat it a lot.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • ChuckB

      Kind of like, disregarding facts to the contrary, repeating over and over to anyone that will listen that Obama is a Muslim or that he was born in Kenya or . . . . The GOP established the playiing field.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • KK Denver

      I have been using the Russian born perspective to debunk Rand for years.. it's nice to see I'm not alone.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  13. TruthMatters

    No the trickle down effect doesn't work. The rich want and work to be richer so how can anything trickle down if they are taking more and more? Millionaires want to be billionaires and billionaires want to be trillionaires (they're almost there), while the poor and middle class want to pay rent, buy food, buy clothes, go to school, and get medical treatment when needed.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • ChuckB

      Increasing the tax rate on the rich does not endanger their health, put them in risk of homelisness, set them up for malnutrition, etc. They aren't even close to being put in danger of missing a meal.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  14. Jim in PA

    I am going to spend from now until election day talking with Republicans about that evil aetheist Ayn Rand, and the grip she has on Paul Ryan. Not because I believe that aetheism is evil, mind you, but because it's a great wedge issue against the GOP.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • HA25

      And you would argue with them at the same time that the problem in America is acrimony in Congress, right? You should call yourself Kettle.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      Who would have thought that the sword which Ronald Reagen used in 1980 against Dems. would now come back to strike Repubs. ?

      August 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      HA25 – I'd prefer to call myself "pot." It will anger them more.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • ChuckB

      No more Mr. Nice Guys.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • @ha25 - "And you would argue with them at the same time that the problem in America is acrimony in Congress, right? "

      "And you would argue with them at the same time that the problem in America is acrimony in Congress, right?"

      No, I never said that. I would argue that the problem in America is that we allow Republicans to BE in Congress. Their traitorous asses should be run out of the country on a rail.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  15. Bob

    Who cares what Ryan thinks about a dead Russian woman, Gilligans Island, or Lassie. Who has got a plan to fix the economy? This article is beltway babble that no one cares about except the other writers.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Lassie didn't advocate the death of the indigent and poor, sick elderly as a path to social wellness.

      August 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Lisa

      Both candidates have a plan to fix the economy. The problem is, neither plan will actually work.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  16. lantenec

    A religion of individualism, that's comical. Never really understood that whole 'words have meaning' thing did you there Stevie...?

    August 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  17. Dick Izinya

    Mystics love to couch rational value systems as "religions" so that they can understand them. The main difference between Objecitvism, or any rational value system, and religion is an outright rejection of the supernatural. Rationalists don't believe in things that go bump in the night, while religionists live in a demon-haunted darkness.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • ChuckB

      Yes, but it appears that some calling themselves atheists or irreligious still believe in myths. Rand may have claimed these things, but she was no rationalist. Rationalists do not claim their beliefs are beyond dispute; they leave themselves open to argument and do not create dogma.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  18. jo an

    Ryan is one 'shallow' confused dude.....He basically has no education. His profs at Miami U. in Ohio were about Rand and capitalism....I'll bet he has traveled little, known very few poor people, people who look different, he is not a 'grown up'...he is a frat boy who is playing a 'dirty trick' on America....Romney is not different....Sad!!

    August 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • bettye douglas

      No jo ann, the sad and very misinformed one is you.............nothing but insinuations that have no credence whatsoever !

      August 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Wes Scott

      Right on, jo an! If a guy claims to be a Christian AND claims to adore Ayn Rand, then he is obviously uneducated. If a guy claims to abhor abortion and freedom of choice AND adores Ayn Rand, then he is obviously uneducated. Ryan seems to have no concept of how what he says at one time radically conflicts which what he claims to believe at other times. He is merely a slightly more educated Sarah Palin ... only slightly!

      August 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  19. c

    Ayn Rand was a serious nut, anybody who calls him/herself a Christian cannot compare Rands kind of greed to the teachings of Jesus. Hypocrits. The only decent thing about the Fountainhead was Gary Cooper

    August 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • HA25

      C – you completely miss the backstory as to where Ayn came from. The horrible results of communism – altruism taken to the extreme. In that context, her stories are relevant lessons and she is no more a nut than Ben Franklin was in talking about protecting from the dangers of a monarchy.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • @ha25 - Communism is NOT Altruism

      Do you just put words down without any rational thought at all?

      Soviet Communism was NOT altruistic. It never claimed to be, either.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Wes Scott

      Please help me because I am confused. Have you actually ever read The Fountainhead or seen the movie? If so, then were you paying attention, or did you just lack comprehensive ability to absorb the message?

      Howard Roark (Gary Cooper) did not portray "Rands (sic) kind of greed", as you state. To the contrary, he refused compensation for the project he subsequently destroyed. He did not even take credit for its design and construction, allowing another to take the credit and the monetary rewards. All Roark sought was the personal satisfaction of having designed a project and then seeing it built his way and to his specifications. I fail to see the "greed" to which you refer.

      On the other hand, the greed that was present was NOT the greed of Rand, but rather was the greed that Rand opposed. The greed was not that of Rand's champion, Howard Roark, but rather the greed of those who sought to beat him down, force him to compromise and compel him to subjugate himself to the "collective" mindset for the "greater good of mankind" at his own personal expense of his integrity and freedom of thought and expression. They offered to pay him well if he would just compromise and play the role of lamb being led to slaughter, but Roark refused to compromise his principles, which seems to me to be a high ideal worth celebrating.

      The story tells of one man who stood against such arcane ideologies that repressed individual thought and expression in favor of a herd mentality. The glaring difference between Rand's philosophy and religion of ANY ilk is that no religion encourages individual thought or expression, but rather subjugation to the dogma established by a ruling class akin to those who fought Roark from the time he was a college architectural student on through his adult life as an architect struggling for the right to have creative thoughts and design concepts that were not in the same mold as that of the masses.

      Personally, I do not subscribe to what Roark did in destroying the project he created, but over which he had no construction control, received no credit or compensation, and which represented a breech of contract for his design concept. But, taking the book (and the movie) as a whole, it tells a compelling story of the struggle between individualism and the collective mindset of compromise and subjugation. Those who lack the ability to think for themselves often see compromise of one's integrity as a "just and reasonable" thing. I do not subscribe to that philosophy. I found a lot of depth in the book each time I read it.

      As Roark correctly pointed out, ALL of the great achievements of mankind have stemmed from the individual, creative thought process. If left to the mundane, commonplace mindset of the collective masses our world would be black and white with all buildings built as rectangles or cubes. Creative expression would be shunned and we would have no Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, Kilby, Jobs, Gates, Wrights (aircraft designers OR architects) or other geniuses to give us form and function that breaks the mold through innovation and free spirit.

      You might want to go back and re-read Rand, or get the Cliff Notes version by watching the movie (it only takes about 90 minutes rather than several days or weeks), and then get back to us on exactly how you rationalize your statements about Rand's work.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  20. Aaron

    "About as possible as loving God and mammon since Christianity and Randism are, in my view, two competing religions." – The author of this article..

    "The materialism of affluent Christian countries appears to contradict the claims of Jesus Christ that says it's not possible to worship both Mammon and God at the same time. " – Mahatma Gandhi

    Looks like someone hasn't learned his lesson about plagiarism.

    August 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Paul

      Plagiarism? So once someone uses a concept, no one else can? If that's how plagiarism works in your world, you just plagiarized Fox News by being whiny and misinformed.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Lynell

      Plagiarism of whom? Jesus? He said it first.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Nurse143

      are you calling Gandhi a plagiarist because that quote about Mammon is directly from the Holy Bible? Or are you stretching to call the author of this article one because he came to the same comparative conclusion when assessing Rand specifically as had Gandhi when assessing materialism in affluent Christian countries?

      August 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Tex71

      First, it is not plagiarism unless it is a direct quote failing to identify itself as such. Second, Gandhi was referencing Jesus Christ – no doubt "plagiarizing" too..? Finally, if you have no idea what you are talking about, or if you are unable to express yourself coherently, it is better to remain silent and observe until you learn enough to contribute in a meaningful fashion.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Wes Scott

      Looks like somebody does not know the definition of plagiarism. Paraphrasing, or saying something similar to what somebody else said, is not plagiarism. If that were the case, then ALL speech would be plagiarism since, for the most part, there is no such thing as original thought.

      August 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Aaron

      Guys, please take a deep breath. I was just trying to say that it sounded similar to Gandhi's quote. Any one can have an influence from another person, and I am not denying that. In my opinion, it is not plagiarism as long as you attribute the quote to the original person. A recent example is Fareed Zakaria who lifted someone else's quote without attributing to that person and got suspended. That was the immediate thought running in my mind when I saw this comparison similar to one that I read somewhere else.

      Also, to the person who asked me to shut up, thanks for telling me what I can and I cannot do!

      August 15, 2012 at 3:26 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.