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. jamesnyc

    Interesting that Atlas Shrugged is being debated along with Christian morality but the arguments I have read thus far have failed in some ways:
    I don't necessarily disagree with some of Rand's philosophy (I have read the book a few times). Individual success should be rewarded and not used to subsidize those that refuse to get off their butts;however, that is not what is currently happening with the Republicans. They want to take the money and the work and give it to their cronies whether they deserve it or not. I remember during the '92 election hearing something really insightful on a clip talking to two gentlemen from New Hampshire during the primaries: "Democrats tax and spend, Republicans BORROW and spend". Has everyone forgotten "bridge to nowhere", Medicare D and other Republican pork? That's what I thought: they are Randists in Name Only or RINO's 😉 They are hypocrites and are in denial about their culpability.
    The Democrats want to give everybody money including illegals. This is where the Christianity thing comes in. This charity is also a big part of Islam as well. Giving to charity and giving someone a hand up is one thing but when you give so much it becomes "Enablement", then we have a problem. We may be doing too much enablement. We have to stop giving hand outs and start giving hands up.
    Further, "charity begins at home" we need to take care of the citizens of this country first and Obama needs to listen the needs of the majority not just minorities.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  2. One one

    Rand's message is simple. Take care of yourself as your first priority. That is what every living creature on this planet does, it's called survival.

    When you are on an airplane, the instruction you are given is, if the plane looses pressure, and the oxygen masks drop down, PUT YOUR MASK ON FIRST, before assisting the less capable, I.e. children.

    There is nothing wrong with self interest. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to help anyone else.

    August 15, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  3. Jeff

    Can someone explain how someone with the biblical credentials of Stephen Prothero (a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," "Religious Literacy", "American Jesus" and others) could incorrectly attribute a quote to Jesus. Not just any quote, but one of the more famous quotes in the NT regarding the love of money. Seems he should have no business writing about Christianity if he cannot get a popular quote correct. A quote that is part of the vernacular of this country and is frequently used in journalism. CNN should hire more proficient journalists. It apparently took a reader to point out his mistake (that the Apostle Paul wrote this. Jesus did not say it) which CNN later corrected and acknowledged. If Steve doesn't know what Jesus did or did not say, than how can his article be taken seriously when he attributes beliefs and quotes to Jesus that are not factual. I wish I could be this incompetent and earn a living. No research, no footnotes, no editing. Dream job. So is he just making stuff up and attributing quotes and beliefs to Jesus that Jesus never uttered or believed?

    August 15, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • What IF

      " No research, no footnotes, no editing. Dream job. So is he just making stuff up and attributing quotes and beliefs to Jesus that Jesus never uttered or believed?"

      Sorta like the writers of the NT, eh?!

      August 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Bob

      Jeff, how is it that you know what Jesus said? And why isn't what you think you know consistent with Prothero and all the thousands of other deluded folk who claim to be certain what a guy said even though it was 2000+ years ago?

      August 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm |

    While i do not put a lot of stock in objectivism....neither do i in Prothero's somewhat liberal Christianity. Rand's idea of achieving happiness as the the highest moral seems completely ridiculous taken to it's end. Her philosophy should be subjectivism...i see no reason why that would or should be humanities goal? Is the meaning of life happiness or does that seem like Dr. L. D. Rue's madhouse option in which all of humaity is absorbed in self fullfillment regardless of the consequences...that will not work for obvious reasons. Just a brief look at Protheros liberal Christianity

    " 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."

    Paul did state the *love of money* is the root of all evil...however earning money and being successful is not inherently evil. Don't we all strive to make a good living and save for the future and our childrens future? "Proverbs 13:22 votes
    A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous." Rand may have had money as her god...she has or had her reward.

    "“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."

    Blessed are the poor in spirit...not the poor as Prothero seems to be confusing the text. And yes..it easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Where Prothero is wrong is the rich man has his god...it is money, however someone rich who puts God first in his life has his priorities in order. As for the moochers and looters comments...the Bible plainly tells us in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." We who can work...should work for our living and not rely on someone else to take care of us and i am afraid there are a great number of people today who are not working that could be. Having said that, of course we should and do take care of those who cannot do for themselves. I think i will stick with my Christian faith...it has served humanity well and myself included.

    August 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Young Autistic Man

      I mostly agree with you. I did read "Religious Literacy" and he had some good points. However, with the article, you have very good points concerning with the Bible and had verses to back it up.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • jamesnyc

      Like what you said. I think we have a problem with "enabling" people. It's a tough thing to fight especially in your family.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Galt928

      Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead and other writings have many messages, lessons and themes. Unless you are Ayn Rand herself it would be hard to agree with everything in the many books and essays. For me, the big take away is Self Reliance and the drive to give it your best shot. If you fail and your family and friends can't help you recover then and only then should the Government kick in. Our current course has way too many people looking for assistance without giving it there all. And Obama thinks this is the way to go.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  5. One one

    I don't quite get how this guy is conflating Rand with Christianity. Christianity is a religion based largely on mythology and fantasy and a lot of wishful thinking.

    Rand has a world view based on observations of the reality of how the world works .

    August 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  6. margie

    @mark thinker's are always able to reflect what about you?

    August 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  7. Child of GOD

    John 8:47-"He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

    John 3:18-"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

    John 8:44-"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

    Matthew 13:38-"The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,

    John 3:16-"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

    2 Corinthians 4:3-4-"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

    It is very simple unbelievers do not belong to GOD. I know it sucks really really bad but this is the reality of truth. Now atheist you understand why it is impossible for you to believe, it is because you are already condemned. You are blinded by your father. You are not of GOD but of the devil, and the devil along with his seed shall perish forever according to the word of GOD Almighty.

    P.S. “I would rather live my life as if there is a god and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.” Albert Camus

    August 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Oh lovely another useless bible quote troll.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I thought it was sinful to curse people to the devil?

      August 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • QS

      I need no shepherd for I think and reason...and I am not a sheep,
      I shall want only what serves humanity best;
      I lie down in green pastures because I choose to, not because anything makes me.
      I swim in still waters, I need not be led beside them;
      If a soul exists it is mine and is for me to restore how I see fit.
      Paths of righteousness will never fail to lead a person astray…
      especially for His name’s sake.

      I will walk through many valleys, it’s called life;
      the shadow of death follows one and all, no matter where we walk.
      I fear evil;
      evil is created by man, which is to be feared far more than any of the countless versions of god;
      your rod and your staff do not comfort me as they are herding tools...and I am not a sheep.
      I would be arrogant to think goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, for I am human and we make mistakes.
      I shall not dwell in any house that believes me to be nothing more than an animal which must be told where to go and when.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • What IF

      Child, " “I would rather live my life as if there is a god and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.”

      This is another tired repeti.tion of Pascal's Wager - thoroughly refuted since the 17th century

      - What if the real "God" is Allah, or Vishnu, or Zeus, or Quetzalcoatl, or any of the other of thousands which have been dreamed up over the centuries? Some of them are very jealous and vengeful and will relegate you to nasty places for not worshiping them. You'd better cover your butt by believing in ALL of them and fulfill their wishes and demands.

      - What if the real "God" prefers those who use logic and reason and punishes you as a silly sycophant?

      - What if the real "God" detests those who believe something just to cover their butts in eternity?


      There is not a shred of evidence that your Bible is the "word" of any god... quoting it means nothing.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • kindless

      Oh my! Albert Camus. This dude Paul Ryan – he's kind of like that dude Camus, only very very very green if you know what I mean. He's like a young Camus just trying to learn things, and going all over the place trying to get there. my oh my. I'm starting to read more about this Ayn Rand lady. She sounds like she was ahead of her time – I mean that movie Mommie Dearest didn't even come out until 1981 – she probably would have been real good in that.

      As for this list of blabble quotes – let's see that's easy for me to organize:

      John – he was a lawyer, and a politician and a lobbyist
      Matthew – this dude too!
      Paul – and this dude too! and they missed the boat especially
      on this last one – normally a publisher would have pulled that book, but the people that wrote the end of it kind of had a monopoly on the publishing house. people probably would have realized what a ridiculous book that was, but it was kept hidden from them for so long and every one just opened their mouths like baby birds and ate whatever those old popes were putting down their throats..I've read that book, I know some of that food is nasty..it's not like mama's gumbo. my goodness.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Craig W

      Oh Stephen,
      As a religion scholar, just a guess, but you are probably atheist and at best agnostic! Therefore, you are not lead by the Holy Spirit, right? I see your article as nothing more than another unbeliever's attempt to degrade and diminish Paul Ryan's character and sway the most important election in my lifetime! Since you know the scriptures, you know then that the Devil is the great accuser, accusing the brethern day and night before God. Well there you have it, being led by the forces of this world, you are doing the bidding of the Great Deceiver, the Devil! Don't feel bad, this can even happen to believers, please change your ways and ask God to open your eyes! If I'm wrong, I'd like to hear back and better understand your religious convictions!

      August 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  8. margie

    Sam are you a hater too?

    August 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • sam

      Margie, can you find the reply link all by yourself? Do you need some help finding your way around?

      August 15, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • margie

      I guess I was right you are a hater!

      August 15, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  9. Drew

    I think this underscores the fundamental hypocrisy of the GOP over the last 20-30 years. How do the right wing, fundamentalist Christians so coveted by the Republican Party square their religious beliefs with the power base of the Republican Party that worships at the alter of Ayn Rand? Their beliefs and their priorities, in theory, should be diametrically opposed. And, yet, they pretend to co-exist. A Christian cannot be a Randist, and a Randist cannot be a Christian, almost by definition. Something's gotta give!

    August 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Drew, it's easy. As we see from their sparring here all the time, many of these so-called Christians are not very "Christlike" in their beliefs. So full of hate for anything different or foreign. They exercise cognitive dissonance in their beliefs, why not in their politics as well?

      So long as the agenda is gay-hating, pro-life*, anti-immigrant, pro-gun and pro-Jesus, they'll ignore any other 'facts' about a candidate and not only vote for them, but defend them tenaciously.

      * Literally this is a meaningless term (since no one is pro-death) but I am using the conventional meaning.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      At all cost... make the facts fit the story. This is the only method by which religion can survive in an ever-evolving and advancing world.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • kindless

      oh my. prayer will make your silly as s miss the bus, that's for sure. child, why are you writing all this garbage? you don't need make believe people to collect your thoughts or meditate. my oh my. you need to get those characters out of your head and start being responsible for yourself, dear!

      and you know truly, atheism is wonderful for children and all people. just don't try to apply it to plants. plants need just the right amount of water and the right amount of light. my begonia is finicky, but i know how to keep it happy without involving make-believe characters. my goodness.

      stop hurting society by committing grave misdeeds and then running and hiding those within religion. be a responsible member of society.

      mama kindless

      August 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      becomes atheism

      August 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @stupid followed

      Awww the worthless troll has returned. I guess trying to find an actual purpose in life escaped your grasp.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • truth be told

      speaking from experience or wishful thinking on your part?

      August 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @truth be told

      Speaking from looking at the lack of depth in the posts from that person. You, on the other hand, seem to make your purpose not addressing anything that is brought up against your posts directly, and to default to a sociopathic mindset cloaked in religious dogma.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • truth be told

      It IS experience speaking then.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @truth be told

      Nice red herring. Would you like me to start a count of fallacies you post like I'm currently doing with Chad? Then again, you just gave credence to a part of my post. Now tell me how you'll be laughing at all the people being tortured forever.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Typo

      * "Prayer changes things"

      -should be-

      Payers change things.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Linda123

      2 hands working will accomplish more than a thousand hands praying.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  11. Jim McDonald

    I can;t see anything Christian in Ann Rand's thinking or fiction. She seems more of a pseudo Nietzsche in her contempt for Christianity's preference for the poor and weak but without the real Nietzsche's nobility of spirit.

    August 15, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  12. jerry

    If you read only one post on this thread, read Rita's at 5:42 pm. Her's is the only intellectually sound posiiton on this topic. I only wish I had written it myself.

    August 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Rita

      I thank you, sir!

      August 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • 1crusader

      Christianity and "Randism" are not compatible.Christ spoke of "laying down" one's life for friends.He said that "It is more blessed to give than to receive", and there are special blessings attached to giving to the poor.We are told to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick.Rand has contempt for those she views as weak and misfortunate.Rand's thinking permeates the Ryan BUDGET AND AGENDA, WITH LITTLE CONCERN SHOWN FOR THE ELDERLY, THE POOR,STUDENTS,ETC.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  13. Sam Yaza

    yup conservative christian republican is an oxymoron on the highest level

    republican are vary much anti king and actually it is the opposite of aristocracy and extremely progressive to the point it was created for rapid progression in society

    Christian extremely authoritarian it favors aristocracy divine right and all Jesus is the king of kings, and change is a bad word because god does not change

    conservative is anti progressive,.. stay the same is all they want and actually the Pharisees hated Jesus because he was to liberal and progressive for them they were conservative

    August 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Young Autistic Man

      Putting Christ's label as a "consevative" "liberal" or "moderate" is ignorant.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      no Christ was liberal fact he hated families and felt helping others was more important then tradition,...fact

      August 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Young Autistic Man

      He did not hate family, but he knew Christianity would divide families. Introduction of new ideas could separate people.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  14. Dave

    Lat time I checked, objectivism was a philosophical view, not a religion. Rand did reach some very different conclusions than most Christians would, but the axiomatic portion of objectivism works for both. The difference seems to be in the conclusion that is reached.

    As a practical matter, objectivism does not work because it is subtly self-contradictory – the happiest people are generally not the greediest. The happiest people are generally those who are both grateful and generous.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  15. Bman

    Ayn Rand what a waste of air.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Bugmenot


      August 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  16. Moses

    "religion is a scam"??? you must define the word religion; if you mean Christianity then your word religion does not fit; Christianity is based on historical facts; Jesus is God and He died and then He rose from the grave; pure and simple

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

      Thank you for demonstrating how blind faith can lead a person to a blurring of reality and supersti tion.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • kindless

      Oh my! You made me laugh so hard, I spilled all the okra that was supposed to go into my gumbo. My oh my. But that's ok, I have plenty of okra. But really, Moses, you need to get a good cup of tea and mosey on over and sit down and think about what you are saying here, child! Christianity is based on things lawyers and politicians told other lawyers and politicians. And then, some other lawyers and politicians started smoking too much of that weed and starting trying to describe all the weird transactions that went on between these people who, you know, most of us wouldn't trust to wash our car. my goodness.

      mama kindless

      atheism and atheism lite™ (agnosticism) are just fine for kids and grown ups too. it will make you a responsible person instead of someone who runs and hides their misdeeds within their religion

      August 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  17. smeeker

    Don't forget that the repugs also worship Ronald Reagan and trickle down economics.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Young Autistic Man

      I kind of describes myself as a registered Republican, although not a Tea Party nut job. I and most registered Republican do not worship Ronald Reagan.

      August 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      There is no real consensus on what conservatives really believe.

      The GOP of 2012 is not the same as the conservatism preached by WIlliam F. Buckley in the National Review. It is not the Barry Goldwater conservatism that valued personal liberties. Most conservatives seem to think Ron Paul is nuts but he is closer in ideology to Goldwater than any other prominent conservative.

      Conservatism should not include 'religious' planks at all – these belong in Churches, not in Congress. Yet the only 'principle' that unites Republicans are the social wedge issues – gays and abortion. This is a movement that grew in Reagan's time and its high priest was Karl Rove.

      Neocons spend more money than Democrats. Not only did Regan spend vast amounts of money, but he actually raised taxes. H.W.Bush commited political suicide by raising taxes, but history will remember him well for this act – it needed to be done. His son was the worst of all. He increased spending while cutting taxes.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ooops – G.H.W.Bush

      August 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  18. Young Autistic Man

    I do kind of support capitalism, but greed is a human vice and greed is a loose cannon in capitalism. However, no economic system, like capitalism, socialism, and mixed, is perfect and all carries vices.

    August 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  19. Rita

    1)"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And when I am for myself, then what am "I"? – Hillel the Elder.
    Why do you assume the two are mutually exclusive?

    2) Where does Jesus actually ever say that the love of money is the root of all evil? (Notice, not "money", but the "love of money") I do know he said to render unto Caesar what is Caesars and render unto God what is Gods. Indicating, I believe, that both can co-exist.

    3) The poor can very easily be blessed, and it may be harder for a rich man to enter Heaven; and, in fact, the meek may, hopefully someday, inherit the Earth. How does that make the "moochers" and the "looters" that Ayn Rand addressed, who actively work to destroy instead of create, better people than the "traders" or "job creators"?
    Ayn Rand famously said there is no such thing as a contradiction, you just have to recheck your premises.

    4) Because the achievement of ones own happiness as an end mandates the necessity to value happiness! Valuing happiness as an end, one can not reasonably, logically or with any good motive seek that which would destroy the happiness of others.
    And, on what premise do you assume that "collectivism" in its modern vernacular use is the working structure of Heaven?

    5) How is God separate fro the "I"? How can the "I" be separate from God?

    Your conclusion has two major flaws:

    A) Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rands philosophy were never intended as a religious debate.
    She clearly states that she detest the power of the "clergy" and the power of the "gun". Because your view is so obviously prejudiciously Progressive Liberalism, you ignore the supposed anathema of Progressive Liberalism towards both religion and the "gun"...unless they serve YOUR proposes. I fear that true Progressives, unfortunately, detest the clergy much more than the power of the gun. Please recheck your premises again.
    B) The only major problem I've always had with Christianity was Jesus' concept of turning the other check. I was taught to believe in it as a concept of subjugation. John Galt showed me that it can be a concept of strength by simply taking the "sanction of the victim" out of the equation. Maybe Jesus meant it to empower us over our enemies not subjugate us to them! Wow...imagine that!! How's that for rechecking your premises?? (I'm confident you know exactly the point in the book I reference here.)

    August 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • jerry

      Brilliant rebuttal! Well done Rita.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Rita

      When I first read the article he had Jesus as saying that the love of money was the root of all evil.

      August 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Bugmenot


      August 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  20. organically

    religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanty

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

      Bingo. We have a winner, an organic one even.

      August 15, 2012 at 7:24 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.