Ayn Rand to the Reverend Dudley, October 23, 1943


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Out of more than 2,000 letters by her, I have included approximately 35 to 40 percent of the total, omitting repetitious material and many routine business letters.

Michael Berliner,
Letters of Ayn Rand
, Preface

Could the Dudley letter be seen as "repetitious material"? Perhaps one could argue that the letter to Sylvia Austin covers the same ground? I say no, the Austin letter was about how Roark is different from Jesus, the Dudley letter is about how Rand’s morality does reconcile with Christianity. It's a very unique piece of writing from her.

Holy crap! I just checked, and it's not in the Letters of Ayn Rand. Do you suppose it was left out intentionally?

My guess is that it was.

This would be consistent with a demonstrated policy seen in other publications sponsored/supported by the estate. Evidence against interest gets omitted (suppressed?), or rewritten (ahem, edited).

But in this case, even if this letter is in the archives, there would still be a kind of plausible deniability on Berliner’s part. He just didn’t come across this one, oops, my bad. Maybe they'll even add it to the next edition, since there’s nothing to lose at this point.

Rand was being extremely reasonable and tolerant with an individual who held an opinion quite contrary to hers.

Further, it calls into question just what her opinion was at this point.

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Here is an excerpt from a fascinating commentary by Chris Sciabarra which relates directly to this letter. The statements quoted by Rand in the first two paragraphs below are from The Letters of Ayn Rand, pp. 287-288.

. . .

I don't have a Nietzsche reference in front of me, but it is possible that this view of Jesus's egoist message being distorted into altruism ~may~ have been anticipated by Nietzsche himself. . . .

Chris Sciabarra

. . .

In a personal letter in 1946,* Rand related her idea of Jesus as proclaiming “the basic principle of individualism—the inviolate sanctity of man’s soul, and the salvation of one’s soul as one’s first concern and highest goal; this means—one’s ego and the integrity of one’s ego.” One great corruption of that individualism in Jesus’ teachings comes with the code of ethics put forth as the means of saving one’s soul: “One must love or help or live for others.” Who put forth this second doctrine? “Jesus (or His interpreters).”

One of the first books Rand bought after coming to America was Nietzsche’s The Anti-Christ. Within this work, Nietzsche sets down differences he sees between the exemplar to be read from the life of Jesus and morality proclaimed by institutional Christianity. One difference is Christianity’s exaggeration of the amount of pity needed in the world. “Christianity is called the religion of pity. [cf.] . . . Pity makes suffering into something infectious; sometimes it can even cause a total loss of life and of vital energy wildly disproportionate to the magnitude of the cause (—the case of the Nazarene). . . . Pity wins people over to nothingness! You do not say ‘nothingness’: instead you say ‘the beyond’; or ‘God’; or . . .” (AC 7; further, 17, 18, 26, 32, 33, 39–43).

There are several views of Nietzsche expressed in this work that Rand maintained in The Fountainhead, while leaving aside other Nietzchean doctrines, such as those I have replaced with ellipses points in the preceding quotation. Rand’s sensitivity to the possibility of incongruity between Jesus’ life and teachings, on the one hand, and Christianity, on the other, may have been taken home from The Anti-Christ. The particular doctrines in conflict in Rand’s eye, stated paragraph before last, are not among those in Nietzsche’s eye in Anti-Christ, but there is a prelude to the particular opponent-doctrines Rand stresses in Daybreak (132).

. . .

From SB composition of 29 May 2010. To be clear, by "opponent-doctrines" I was still referring to the suspected oppositions between Jesus and Christianity, suspected by Rand and by Nietzsche.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PS

Turning to the reference Daybreak 132:

. . . It was the residuum of Christian states of mind left when the very much antithetical, strictly egoistic fundamental belief in the “one thing needful,” in the absolute importance of eternal personal salvation, together with the dogmas upon which it rested, gradually retreated and the subsidiary belief in “love,” in “love of one’s neighbour,” in concert with the tremendous practical effect of ecclesiastical charity, was thereby pushed into the foreground. The more one liberated oneself from the dogmas, the more one sought as it were a justification of this liberation in a cult of philanthropy: not to fall short of the Christian ideal in this, but where possible to outdo it, was a secret spur with all French freethinkers from Voltaire up to Auguste Comte: and the latter did in fact, with his moral formula vivre pour autrui, outchristian Christianity. . . .

Joining that one with the idea that there could be a division between Jesus and Christianity, such as is found in Anti-Christ 7, gets one to the vicinity of Rand’s idea in the Letter to Sylvia Austin. But only to the vicinity.

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Although there is an obvious relationship between the points made in her letter to Rev. Dudley and her letter to Sylvia Austin, there has also been a change in her point of view.

So the letter to Reverend Dudley isn't "repetitious" in Berliner's sense.

Robert Campbell

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Evidence against interest gets omitted (suppressed?), or rewritten (ahem, edited).

I think it would be interesting to compare the point of view Rand expresses in this letter to the thesis of Peter Schwartz’s Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty. He denies that you can be for Capitalism without the full Objectivist philosophy behind you. She claims that the morality expressed in The Fountainhead is consistent with religion (“any” religion), provided free will is part of the faith.

If they had published this letter, wouldn’t they have been throwing Schwartz under the bus? I'm thinking of hierarchy and all.

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I usually apply a 'Keep it Simple' approach first before looking for more complicated explanations.

Since we (without exception) always hope to gain from every action we take, what could Rand have wanted to gain from writing this kind of letter to the reverend?.

Imo the key passage is at the end of the letter:

[Rand]: "Of course, I did not intend all this for use in you review of the book - but you may use any part of it that suits your purpose.

I am very grateful for your interest in "The Fountainhead", and I appreciate profoundly the desire you expressed to give it a larger circle of readers. " (end quote)

Rand's regarding in her letter certain features of the Christian religion with a "favorable eye" can be seen as a smart 'marketing strategy'.

For in a country where in 1943 a large number of 'potential readers' belonged to a Christian denomination, Rand's likely goal in pointing out to a reverend her 'favorable interpretations' for use in his book review was to attract also those readers who normally would shy away from 'atheist messages' in a novel.

But on the factual level, Rand's argumentation that Christianity is no altruistic religion is wrong. Amazing how she could leave out the crucial premise: the Christian God. And that god is to come first in a Christian's life. For the Christian has to dedicate his life to god, it is god which is the center, not man. God's will is to be served and while this god gave man "free will" not to obey, in case of desobedience, the consequences of eternal punishment will await man.

All that "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" argumentation used to present Christianity as 'not anti-selfish' pales in comparison to the actual message of the belief when looking at the complete picture: You all have to serve God first. This is pure altruism in the Objectivist sense.

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I usually apply a 'Keep it Simple' approach first before looking for more complicated explanations. Since we (without exception) always hope to gain from every action we take, what could Rand have wanted to gain from writing this kind of letter to the reverend?. Imo the key passage is at the end of the letter: [Rand]: "Of course, I did not intend all this for use in you review of the book - but you may use any part of it that suits your purpose. I am very grateful for your interest in "The Fountainhead", and I appreciate profoundly the desire you expressed to give it a larger circle of readers. " (end quote) Rand's regarding in her letter certain features of the Christian religion with a "favorable eye" can be seen as a smart 'marketing strategy'. . For in a country where in 1943 a large number of 'potential readers' belonged to a Christian denomination, Rand's likely goal in pointing out to a reverend her 'favorable interpretations' for use in his book review was to attract also those readers who normally would shy away from 'atheist messages' in a novel.

The cynicism implicit here astounds me.

Could not "keep it simple" provide the most obvious explanation?

Which is, that she honestly meant it.

How many times have you read of Rand negating her fierce integrity for 'a marketing strategy'?

Amazing...

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I think Angela is partly on the mark in #30 about this letter of 1943 to the minister.

Rand is being politic. The same goes for the letter of 1946 to Miss Austin. She is addressing the individual who has written to her from where he or she is coming from. I do the same thing in talking to evangelists. It is not that the agreeable parts I lead with are things I think untrue; it is that that is the way to get going in a possibly productive dialogue, or anyway communicate something of value.

Like Kant, Rand was fluent in tap dancing around Christians, inviting them into a new perspective on their interlocutor’s own religion. In some situations, as in the letter of 1943—as Angela rightly underscores—Rand is at the same time trying to accomplish the particular personal purpose of expanding her audience. There is record of that occurring again in 1948.

It was not until a Supreme Court decision in 1952 that films were brought under First Amendment protection of freedom of speech. Prior to that, if it did not win approval of The Production Code Administration, “a completed motion picture faced arbitrary re-cutting by state and local censorship boards, or even outright prohibition” (Britting 2007, 107). The PCA officials were supposed to be non-sectarian, but as one might guess, Papa was there. Rand recalled one meeting with the officials over the script:

Here we got into a discussion with this man [likely], and I was telling him, “Well look, the speech advocates reason.” And he began to say . . . “Well, it might be offensive to many religious people, to their religion.” And I said, “How can it be? Thomas Aquinas, the great champion of reason?” That knocked the props from under him. He obviously knew nothing about Aquinas, besides knowing that that is an official Catholic saint. And anytime I told him, “Now here is what Aquinas said . . . here is the Aristotelian line”—I gave him a few explanations—he had to agree to everything. (ibid., 107–8)
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I think Angela is partly on the mark in #30 about this letter of 1943 to the minister. Rand is being politic. The same goes for the letter of 1946 to Miss Austin. She is addressing the individual who has written to her from where he or she is coming from. I do the same thing in talking to evangelists. It is not that the agreeable parts I lead with are things I think untrue; it is that that is the way to get going in a possibly productive dialogue, or anyway communicate something of value. Like Kant, Rand was fluent in tap dancing around Christians, inviting them into a new perspective on their interlocutor’s own religion. In some situations, as in the letter of 1943—as Angela rightly underscores—Rand is at the same time trying to accomplish the particular personal purpose of expanding her audience.

Well, interesting and slightly new slant, there.

Thanks, Stephen.

Tony

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You all have to serve God first. This is pure altruism in the Objectivist sense.

Not exactly, in the believer's view. There is the "selfish" reward of eternal life in heaven, not hell.

This is correct from the believer's view (and from the universally applicable principle that we all, without exception, intend to gain from our actions), but since Objectivism regards the idea of religion and god as irrational (iirc, Rand even went as far as verbatim asserting that "no supernatural dimension exists"), an individual hoping for reward by a non-existing agent (a 'higher supernatural power'), would not qualify as 'rationally' selfish, but as irrational.

And even in a non-supernatural context, e. g. a Marxist expecting "reward" for his actions in the form of a medal of merit would also be called an 'altruist' by Objectivist standards.

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Xray,

In my understanding, objective reality is the equivalent of God to Ayn Rand.

Michael,

the difficulty is that Rand rejected 'God' as an "invalid concept."

Whereas to equate objective reality with God is a position which comes quite close to the approach mysticism takes, a position which Rand rejected but about which (I think NB pointed this out) she understood very little.

For the mystic, reality and god are not separated, but one. Everything that exists is 'divine energy'.

In the unio mystica, there is no dual opposition 'god - man'.

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Xray,

Take a look at the characteristics of the concept of God and the concept of reality with respect to their fundamental power over man.

That's what I meant. They are identical. To the proponents of God and reality, these omnipotent existents respectively rule over man independently of man's will.

I'm not debating whether God exists here. He does to people who believe He does, thus they form a concept. Whether that concept is valid or not--and what the standard is--is another issue. It's still a concept. How can an invalid concept exist if it is not a concept? Mental abstractions exist in living human brains irrespective of their correspondence to other stuff.

And another thing. Obviously I did not mean that Rand thought that reality somehow created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. That's not what I meant when I said objective reality is the equivalent of God to Rand.

To be clear, I meant that where other people talk about an omnipotent eternal existent that ultimately controls man, created man and permeates man, and they call that existent God, Rand recognizes that there is such an existent, but she calls it objective reality,

Michael

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It may interest OL folks to know that one of my friends in academe sent a multi-recipient email in which he questioned the authenticity of the 1943 Reverend Dudley letter, because it shows Rand as saying that "the soul is the ego," when Rand "should have" said it the other way around.

In my reply, I pointed out that in one of Rand's letters that ~was~ included in the Berliner compilation, viz. the 1946 Sylvia Austin letter, Rand wrote: "Jesus was one of the first great teachers to proclaim the basic principle of individualism—the inviolate sanctity of man's soul, and the salvation of one's soul as one's first concern and highest goal; this means—one's ego and the integrity of one's ego."

I further wrote:

Here, in a letter ~known~ to be authentic, Rand ~also~ equated the soul with the ego, and in that order. Nor is it odd or inauthentic for her to have spoken that way.

Rand was a very deft communicator, trying to build an intellectual-personal bridge with whomever she spoke or corresponded. In corresponding with Sylvia or to the Reverend, she was addressing them in ~their~ terms: "what you call the soul is what I call the ego." When addressing fellow atheists and Objectivist, she would of course reverse it: "what we call the ego is what Christians call the soul."

So, really, there's no reason to doubt the Reverend Dudley letter's authenticity on the ground you suggested; quite the contrary, in fact, unless you want to question the authenticity of the 1946 Sylvia Austin letter as well!

REB

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It may interest OL folks to know that one of my friends in academe sent a multi-recipient email in which he questioned the authenticity of the 1943 Reverend Dudley letter, because it shows Rand as saying that "the soul is the ego," when Rand "should have" said it the other way around.

On OO authenticity was questioned right away, not for this reason, but here's a bit of my reply:

The signature looks fine to me (mine varies much more), but if there’s a dispute there are experts who can confirm it came from her typewriter. In the Soviet Union that was a big deal with samizdat writers like Solzhenitsyn. There was a terrific German movie called
The Lives of Others
where a secret typewriter is a key part of the plot. I think the views she’s expounding aren’t too different from what you find in Isabel Paterson and Rose Wilder Lane, and she was friends (sisters in arms?) with them at this time. I think it’s authentic, there’s no serious doubt about it in my mind.

http://forum.objecti...ndpost&p=281419

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I'm not debating whether God exists here. He does to people who believe He does, thus they form a concept. Whether that concept is valid or not--and what the standard is--is another issue. It's still a concept. How can an invalid concept exist if it is not a concept? Mental abstractions exist in living human brains irrespective of their correspondence to other stuff.

Rand in ITOE on "invalid concepts":

[P. 148]:

Prof. D: "And what common features of particulars retained in order to get the concept "God"?

AR: I would have to refer you to a brief passage about invalid concepts

[p. 49. "There are such things as invalid concepts, i. e. words that represent attempts to integrate errors, contradictions, or false propositions, such as concepts originating in mysticism - or word without specific definitions, without referents, which can mean anything to anyone, such as modern "anti-concepts". [i would have been interesting to see Rand provide an example of such "anti-concept"].

Invalid concepts appear occasionally in men's languages, but are usually - though not necessarily - short-lived, since they lead to cognitive dead-ends. An invalid concept invalidates every proposition or process of thought in whichit is used as a cognitive assertion."]

[she continues on p. 148, applying her "invalid concept" idea it to "God"]

This is precisely one, if not the essential one, of the epistemological objections to the concept "God". It is not a concept. At best, one could say it is a concept in the sense in which a dramatist uses concepts to create a character. It is an isolation of actual characteristics of man combined with the projection of impossible irrational characteristics which do not arise from reality - such as omnipotence and omniscience. :

And another thing. Obviously I did not mean that Rand thought that reality somehow created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. That's not what I meant when I said objective reality is the equivalent of God to Rand.

I know you did not mean that Rand thought this. But going by what she said of "invalid concepts" - (i. e., the issue here is is not about whether her idea of "concepts" / "invalid concepts" makes sense from an epistemological standpoint, but about applying her own premises to the letter she wrote -) imo her reagarding the "god" idea as in any way acceptable contradicts these premises.

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Here is an excerpt from a fascinating commentary by Chris Sciabarra which relates directly to this letter. The statements quoted by Rand in the first two paragraphs below are from The Letters of Ayn Rand, pp. 287-288.

. . .[When] a fan (Sylvia Austin, 9 July 1946) compared Jesus and Roark, Rand recoiled at the comparison, but still acknowledged: "Jesus was one of the first great teachers to proclaim the basic principle of individualism—the inviolate sanctity of man's soul, and the salvation of one's soul as one's first concern and highest goal; this means—one's ego and the integrity of one's ego." She goes on to say: "But when it came to the next question, a code of ethics to observe for the salvation of one's soul—(this means: what must one do in actual practice in order to save one's soul?)—Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) 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 (or ego) to the wishes, desires or needs of others, which means the subordination of one's soul to the souls of others."

She continues: "The solution? We have a choice. Either we accept the basic principle of Jesus—the preeminence of one's own soul—and define a new code of ethics consistent with it (a code of Individualism). Or we accept altruism and the basic principle which it implies—the conception of man as a sacrificial animal, whose purpose is service to others, to the herd (which is what you may see in Europe right now—and which is certainly not what Jesus intended)."

Note above, Rand's suggestion that Jesus's alleged altruism may have been an outgrowth of "His interpreters." She repeats the charge in the early drafts. In notes for Roark's speech (1942), she mentions "Christ and Nietzsche" in the same breath and in an earlier version of Roark's courtroom speech, Roark mentions both of them in a list of creators who were made to suffer. The list includes Socrates, Joan D'Arc, Galileo, Spinoza, Luther, Hugo, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Nieztsche, Ibsen, Dostoevsky, and Jesus Christ ("against the majority of [indecipherable] crucified").

Shoshana Milgram makes the additional point in her analysis of these drafts (see THE INTELLECTUAL ACTIVIST, August 2001) that Rand had curtailed allusions to both religion and Nietzsche in THE FOUNTAINHEAD. But she reveals a very interesting passage that was initially included in Roark's speech: "Men have come close to the truth, but it was destroyed each time. . . Christ proclaimed the untouchable integrity of Man's spirit [stating] the first rights of the Ego. He placed the salvation of one's own soul above all other concerns. But men distorted it into altruism. Nietzsche, who loved Man, fought against altruism---and destroyed his own case by preaching the Will to Power, a second-hander's pursuit."

I don't have a Nietzsche reference in front of me, but it is possible that this view of Jesus's egoist message being distorted into altruism ~may~ have been anticipated by Nietzsche himself. Rand's early drafts are peppered with a few additional religious references---religious metaphors are actually plastered all over the published version of THE FOUNTAINHEAD---including a Biblical quotation from Matthew 12:31-32, which centers on the issue of sin against one's own highest virtues. Rand goes a long way toward explaining the power---and reclaiming the imagery---of religious metaphors in her 25th anniversary introduction to THE FOUNTAINHEAD.

Chris Sciabarra

Roark singing the praises of Jesus. Wow! This sheds considerable light on the changes in Rand's thinking between The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

From an Objectivist view, isn't singing the praise of Jesus a case of context-dropping?

For isn't Jesus who was sacrificed to take away the sins of mankind the classic case of a "sacrificial animal"? He is even called like that: "The [sacrificial] Lamb of God".

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Xray,

Not one thing you posted contradicts what I wrote.

Let me try to make an analogy using "concept" as a container and content and see if this helps.

Suppose we have a conceptual container called "Government of a Geographical Territory."

Now suppose Person A puts "USA" in that container, but Person B uses it for "Constitutional Republic."

Now suppose both are discussing law and one asks, "Where does this law apply?" And you start getting conflicting answers. Finally it dawns on you that "law" can only apply to people within a geographical territory under a government, regardless of whether, in this case, it is a Constitutional Republic in general or the USA in particular.

Then you say, "'Constitutional Republic' to Person B is equivalent to the 'USA' to Person A."

Do you get the logic?

They are both talking about "Government of a Geographical Territory," which is the wider concept.

In NLP this kind of thinking is called "chunking up." In Objectivism, it is called looking to premises, or looking at the more fundamental abstraction in a conceptual hierarchy.

Getting back to metaphysics, the container called "Eternal Omnipotent Controller of Man" (for lack of a better phrase) holds "God" as the content to some people and holds "reality" as the content to Ayn Rand.

The container is identical. The content is different.

This is basic concept formation.

Note that the conceptual content (God or reality) cannot have fundamental elements that contradict the conceptual container (Eternal Omnipotent Controller of Man), but, when there is more than one content in the same container (because different people see it that way, i.e., God and reality respectively), they can have fundamental elements that contradict each other and still belong to the same conceptual container (Eternal Omnipotent Controller of Man).

But the moment they contradict the container, a new container has to be designated.

One error I see you consistently make is equating content with container, then getting stuck on a word--most often where--concept-wise--that word stands for the content to a poster and the container to you, or vice-versa. That usually happens right before (or right after) you say the other person is wrong and then dig in like a mule.

:)

Did that make sense, or did that confuse you more?

Michael

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And another thing. Obviously I did not mean that Rand thought that reality somehow created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. That's not what I meant when I said objective reality is the equivalent of God to Rand.

I know you did not mean that Rand thought this. But going by what she said of "invalid concepts" - (i. e., the issue here is is not about whether her idea of "concepts" / "invalid concepts" makes sense from an epistemological standpoint, but about applying her own premises to the letter she wrote -) imo her regarding the "god" idea as in any way acceptable contradicts these premises.

I’m not sure where you got the idea that Ayn Rand believed the idea of God was somehow “acceptable.” In contrast to Peikoff, however, she did appear to be “tolerant” of religious viewpoints.

Rand to Reverend Dudley:

“If it is held than man is created by God, endowed with an immortal soul and with reason as an attribute of his soul, it still holds true that he must act in accordance with his nature, the nature God gave him, and that in doing so he will be doing God’s will.”

She said something similar in her article on “Man’s Rights:”

“The Declaration of Independence stated that men 'are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.' Whether one believes that man is the product of a Creator or of nature, the issue of man’s origin does not alter the fact that he is an entity of a specific kind—a rational being—that he cannot function successfully under coercion, and that rights are a necessary condition of his particular mode of survival.”

Rand did not mean to imply that the religious view of God as the Author of Nature was “acceptable” from a rational perspective. She was simply trying to find common ground with a religionist, taking his premises as “the given” and trying to show where their conclusions might potentially be compatible.

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Roark singing the praises of Jesus. Wow! This sheds considerable light on the changes in Rand's thinking between The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

From an Objectivist view, isn't singing the praise of Jesus a case of context-dropping?

For isn't Jesus who was sacrificed to take away the sins of mankind the classic case of a "sacrificial animal"? He is even called like that: "The [sacrificial] Lamb of God".

I suspect that it is because Jesus is a symbol of self-sacrifice that Rand deleted any reference to him from Roark’s speech.

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I’m not sure where you got the idea that Ayn Rand believed the idea of God was somehow “acceptable.”

I got the idea from certain passages in the letter she wrote to the Reverend Dudley:

[AR]: Since man is a rational being, his morality must be individualistic, for the mind is an attribute of the individual and there is no collective brain. If it is held that man is created by God, endowed with an immmortal soul and with reason as an attribute of his soul, it still holds true that he must act in accordance with his nature, the nature god gave him, an that in in doing so he will be doing god's will. But this implies that god endowed man with free will and the capacity of choice. It will not hold with god as a deterministic ruler.

Doesn't this allow the inference that a god who is no deterministic ruler would be acceptable to Ayn Rand?

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I’m not sure where you got the idea that Ayn Rand believed the idea of God was somehow “acceptable.”
I got the idea from certain passages in the letter she wrote to the Reverend Dudley:
[AR]: Since man is a rational being, his morality must be individualistic, for the mind is an attribute of the individual and there is no collective brain. If it is held that man is created by God, endowed with an immmortal soul and with reason as an attribute of his soul, it still holds true that he must act in accordance with his nature, the nature god gave him, an that in in doing so he will be doing god's will. But this implies that god endowed man with free will and the capacity of choice. It will not hold with god as a deterministic ruler.
Doesn't this allow the inference that a god who is no deterministic ruler would be acceptable to Ayn Rand?

Politely meeting the Rev half way?

Entertaining the 'god-notion' with the intent to show how Christianity had contradicted itself in its own identification of god? Perhaps a rare Sophist argument from her to expose the religion's false premises. .

Whatever, her "acceptability" was never an option.

Tony

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I’m not sure where you got the idea that Ayn Rand believed the idea of God was somehow “acceptable.”

I got the idea from certain passages in the letter she wrote to the Reverend Dudley:

[AR]: Since man is a rational being, his morality must be individualistic, for the mind is an attribute of the individual and there is no collective brain. If it is held that man is created by God, endowed with an immmortal soul and with reason as an attribute of his soul, it still holds true that he must act in accordance with his nature, the nature god gave him, an that in in doing so he will be doing god's will. But this implies that god endowed man with free will and the capacity of choice. It will not hold with god as a deterministic ruler.

Doesn't this allow the inference that a god who is no deterministic ruler would be acceptable to Ayn Rand?

X-ray,

No. Did you see my prior post above?

Rand did not mean to imply that the religious view of God as the Author of Nature was “acceptable” from a rational perspective. She was simply trying to find common ground with a religionist, taking his premises as “the given” and trying to show where their conclusions might potentially be compatible.

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I'm enjoying this discussion, and still going over some of it. I don't want to mess up the flow, but for sure I think it wouldn't hurt to point out that REB's new avatar is very gnarly, manly, and buff. I think this retirement thing (or whatever he calls it) is working out well. A bit more of this and I'm thinking he'll rocket from the tombs with a breakout shitkicking country-mariachi band.

Nice work, you Stud of the Slippery Slide: may you never run out of high-quality cream.

r

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I'm enjoying this discussion, and still going over some of it. I don't want to mess up the flow, but for sure I think it wouldn't hurt to point out that REB's new avatar is very gnarly, manly, and buff. I think this retirement thing (or whatever he calls it) is working out well. A bit more of this and I'm thinking he'll rocket from the tombs with a breakout shitkicking country-mariachi band. Nice work, you Stud of the Slippery Slide: may you never run out of high-quality cream. r

Rich, thanks for the kudos on my avatar. That photo was taken in late June 2010 at a quick-stop market somewhere in Arizona on Route 66. Becky and I were motoring from CA to TN in order to shop for a house, and I fell in love with the hat and immediately bought it and snapped a pic of me wearing it (not necessarily in that order!).

Becky's younger daughter is a talented visual artist and photographer, and she is going to do an oil portrait of me, working from that photo. (I sent her an 8x10 just the other day.) She has agreed to do her own quasi-Van-Gogh thing to it, and I can't wait to see it!

A Country-Mariachi band? Now, I had not considered that. But I ~am~ seriously considering putting together a Bluegrass-Pop band. Not to give away some of the ~better~ ideas, but try to envision (aurally) Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" as a (as you say) shit-kicking Flatt-and-Scruggs or Ricky Scaggs style piece. Huh? HUH???? You betcha!

While I wait for the manly creative juices to reach a boil, I'm mostly working on logic and epistemology these days, plus reading sci-fi and thriller novels, plus having fun with the wife, kids, and grandkids, plus doing music gigs, plus enjoying the beauty of "the Greenest State in the Land of the Free." (Did I mention that we have no state income tax here, and that the cost of living is a helluva lot lower than in California? <g>)

REB

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