“Oh shit, do I need help”. All of us have said this to ourselves in one form or another. Perhaps without the profanity, but certainly with the knowledge that, in our mistakes, sins, errors, or occasional cruelties, more often than we’d like we make our life profane. What is a sinner to do? As a Christian who is also an apostate from Objectivism, Ayn Rand’s rationalist philosophy, this writer knows ‘sin’ is in the eye (or mind) of the beholder (or the individual who has ‘sinned‘).
Unlike most Objectivists, however, this now Christian writer is fully prepared to identify himself as a sinner as well as with his sins (and his virtues). Why ‘with’? Because what we do is who we are. Does correcting our errors or, when applicable, asking for forgiveness, change our ‘sin’? Will it wipe away what we’ve done? I’m reminded of Christ‘s advice to the adulterer: go and sin no more. I’m reminded that Grace, when granted, is enough.
Do apologies or does cease and desist wash us clean? Christian theology says ‘you betcha’. Objectivism, properly understood, implies ‘not a chance’.
Why? For Objectivists following the philosophy’s ‘judge and be prepared to be judged’ premise, correcting one’s error and not repeating it cannot be enough. As an Objectivist one is always open to judgement, not to mention permanent, ongoing, and harsh self assessment when and if one is consistently vigilant and intellectually honest at introspection.
As creatures of habit people will likely make the same errors repeatedly – until they get themselves right. Objectivists are no exception to this. Many of them would, however, presume that thanks to Objectivism’s more ‘rational’ and ‘objective’ standards, they’ve a refined ability to see and to correct their own mistakes. This leads many an Objectivist to be harsh and unforgiving of himself and of others. This is, unfortunately, merely the upside of the ‘judge and be prepared to be judged’ premise.
For any individuals pre-inclined to avoid harsh truisms about themselves, Objectivism serves, ironically, as an encouragement to make excuses for their harshness and cruelties towards those they see as not holding to proper standards. They are quick to write others off as ‘irrational’ – thus without hope of being ‘moral’ enough for them. The Objectivist view of how and when to judge (oneself and others) leads Hunter pondering the Christian concept ‘grace’.
Never missing an opportunity to criticize (or to condemn) Christianity (and any form of ‘irrationalism’ and ‘mysticism’) the Objectivist sees Grace as a flaw in Christian thought; for her it is a chink in Christianity’s armor.
The Objectivist argues that Grace, a gift from a God they claim does not exist, must in fact be merely an excuse to rationalize away ones flaws or else a foolish conceit. Must ask those Objectivists: project much, do you?
Oh, would that the disciples of Miss Rand’s otherwise brilliant, consistent, and practical philosophy understand the nature of God‘s Grace – and would that they allow themselves to experience it.
In Get Me Right Carrabba sings to his love, who he sees as ‘the saving type’. The singer, seeking help, then calls on Jesus, acknowledging ‘I own a sinner’s heart, I know the rain falls hard’. For the Objectivist who believes Man should define himself by his virtues – and that he is perfectible if not perfect, acknowledging one has a ‘sinner’s heart’ would be a bit unnerving.
Carrabba tells Christ ‘I don’t mind the rain if I meet my maker clean’.
Grace has already found the singer. Still he seeks help in his ongoing work at wiping away the sins of his past (and present). He wishes to be certain he has earned the forgiveness of his love. The singer has told his love ‘I know you’ll get me right’, but fears his own mistakes and sins – his certainty as well as his doubts. In an apt description of how sin and the Dark disguises itself, Carrabba sings how ‘it cuddles up beside of me, in whispers it convinces me I’m right’.
It convinces the Objectivist and Christian alike. Christians, however, retain the knowledge they can be mistaken and are willing to forgive themselves and others for being wrong. Objectivism insists that it does not demand nor believe in human infallibility or omniscience. Yet, due to Objectivism’s unique take on moral judgement, in practice it encourages such foolish thinking.
Thank God that Christians have the possibility of Grace. Pity the Objectivist, in his ‘rational’ rejection of the reality of Christ, refuses for herself the experience and hope that Grace provides.
- Can You Be a Christian and Follow Ayn Rand? – Blog: Flunking Sainthood (religionnews.com)
- Something of my Intellectual History and Future Plans (thehypocriticaloath.wordpress.com)
- Ryan’s love-hate with Ayn Rand (politico.com)
- Ayn Rand – A Producer’s Intellectual Criticism of Objectivism — #Meme (mikeeliasz.wordpress.com)