Michael Stuart Kelly Posted July 20, 2008 Share Posted July 20, 2008 Objectivism and ChristianityA Letter to a Christian ObjectivistRecently, while keeping on top of posts on another forum because of an issue presently being vented between the two forums, I came across this lettered example of philosophical erudition:I'll be buggered ... The Christian Objectivists no lessThe thread was in reference to a blog called Christian Objectivists, where a person called Lilybeth is working out her thoughts on God, Objectivism and the why of it all in general. I don't think I need to say that there was a bunch of mockery and pompous sanctimonious crap on the pseudo-Objectivist forum. They didn't even know this person, but apparently they knew enough about her to despise her or pity her or have contempt for her. Objectivism must have given them the wisdom to do that. Right?Frankly, this kind of thing ticks me off. I don't know Lilybeth either, but I bet if she is writing her thoughts on a blog, she is sincerely seeking to put the best in her soul on display. Starting from that default, I believe this merits an initial attitude of respect, not derision. If she turns out to be a bonehead, then there is always time for derision or whatever. But I saw no signs of boneheadedness. I saw a sincere person seeking wisdom. What's contemptible about that?I clicked on a link on that blog and it led me to a Google Group called Christian Objectivists. It is not too active, but I saw a real spark of intelligence in a girl named Sarah. The more I thought about all this, the more I began to wonder who I would trust my children in the care of. There was no contest. The Christians won that one hands down. (I would not be able to say the same thing if the forum were OL or a couple of other places in Objectivism-land, but it definitely holds true with respect to Solo Passion).I seek the life of the benevolent universe and I will take it where I get it. Where I find it is where I want my children to go. It's that simple and I don't care what who says Ayn Rand wrote. Let the nasty folks stew in their own bile.At any rate, I wrote Sarah a long letter out of the blue. I since received a reply and she is a marvelous person. Ditto for that group of Christian Objectivists. I found it interesting that she has received just as much persecution from Christians as she has Objectivists.Of course I have philosophical differences with these people, but I simply cannot demonize them, imagine that their efforts will undermine Objectivism or cut short the saving of the world from orgies of God knows what or whatever. On the contrary, if there were more folks like these folks, the world would be a hell of a lot better place.I don't think we have to agree with people like this to call them our friends. I think we would do well to look at them, see their manner of being and learn this aspect from them. That's a hell of a thing, to look at someone and say, "I disagree with you, but I want to be like you."It's a premise. And it's a check. And it needs doing.Here is my letter to Sarah.Sarah,Hi.This is Michael Stuart Kelly writing. I run a discussion forum on Objectivism (and other matters) called Objectivist Living.I came across your Chriatian Objectivist group because people in a very nasty online pseudo-Objectivist group (Solo Passion) were mocking you guys. I do not condone what they do.I, myself, have been damned on all tribal sides in the Objectivist subculture because my own focus is to encourage people to think for themselves instead of singing a party line. I was perplexed and hurt at first, but I have since stopped caring. On the up side, through this attitude I did manage to attract some of the finest minds in what I call the renegade Objectivist world. For instance, Barbara Branden is a very dear friend of mine. There are many.I strongly believe in one thing. When people think for themselves instead of preaching this or that about what OTHERS should think, I believe the good in the philosophy enriches their lives, irrespective of whether their focus is on religion or atheism.I am not a Christian, but in your language, my thought could be expressed as we are all God's children and we should be grateful for that and try to reflect the Him that is in each of us. A very wise person (not an Objectivist) once told me that they can take everything away from you except for one thing: what you are going to experience. They can even take your memory of the past, but they cannot take from you what you are going to go through. That is yours and yours alone.All the more reason to think for oneself and not be too worried about what others think.My own standard is not whether people are Objectivists or not. It is whether they are good people or nasty bitter souls. I know many Objectivists and Christians of both stripes. Being good or nasty is a deep personal choice and, from what I observe, which philosophy or religion one professes does not seem to influence that much. Give me a good Christian any day over a bad Objectivist and vice-versa.I suppose I have to say something about God to show where I stand, so here goes. God-wise, I have many thoughts on what might or might not be, but no certainties. (How's that for a different kind of Objectivist?) I simply don't know and I have found peace with my ignorance. In a very strong cathartic moment of doubt in my past, I concluded that (1) I don't know everything there is to know and will never know everything, and (2) the universe is a very big place. There's a lot not to know. So I keep my mind open to spiritual matters as well as cognitively rational ones. Strangely enough, I feel great strength in my doubts. I am using my own mind and no other. That's a top value in my world and it brings me deep comfort in a serene sense of metaphysical correctness (for lack of a better term).Anyway, this is a long topic. Enough of my meandering on about metaphysics.Like I said, I do not like nasty people. Unfortunately there seems to be many emotionally damaged people who are attracted to Objectivism. Some of the extreme ones border on autistic while other extreme ones are just plain nasty spiteful rotten little people who are bad because they like being bad. They think displays of arrogance, hatred and bad manners are sexy.I have not read much of what your group discussed, but being Christians, I imagine you guys are good folks. And good folks are good enough for me. In sense of life terms, I feel much more aligned with Christians than I do with some of the alienated Objectivists I have run into online. (However, there are many wonderful, warm and caring people among them, too, so please don't think Objectivists are all warped.)A heroic symbol can illustrate this better. The Objectivists I do not like are sanctimonious, ape Rand's heroes and get great pleasure out of stating Roark's line, "But I don't think of you." (I notice that they are usually looking out of the corner of their eye when they do that, too, thinking about the person they are not thinking about.)In my vision, there are only facets of Rand's heroes that cause me to vibrate. Being fiction and selective recreations of reality, that actually is as it should be. For a complete heroic symbol, my kind is the typical American good guy of the Old West: a bit rugged, self-reliant, extremely competent, but polite, helps old ladies cross the street and smacks down bullies when he sees them maligning the weak. Pure Hollywood, maybe, but that's what's inside me.Regardless of whether I ever agree or disagree with you, I admire the fact that you have the courage of your convictions and do not try to hide what you think. (I am speaking to you because the Google group said you were the most active poster, but in my mind I am actually speaking to all the like minded people around you as well. Please feel free to share this email with them if you so desire.)It just occurred to me that I don't know you from Adam and I have written this long-winded email. Ain't that something? I didn't plan on it being this long, but when I get on a roll, off I go.I am actually writing to you—the thought that prompted me—because I want you to know that there are good people out here in the Objectivist world, Sarah. Good people who believe you have a right to try to integrate Christianity with Objectivism if you think you can. Good people who say, "Go for it." Good people who will face down bullies who mock you (so long as you are good people and not a bully yourself) for no other reason than being a good guy. Good guys do not admit crap like bullying and spite to be held up in public as the good in their world.I don't have to agree with you nor vice-versa for my kind of world to be, either. Or, as you would say, God's kind of world. If I were to believe in your religion, I would still feel the identical preverbal conviction I presently feel at the deepest level of my being. Words don't matter down there. Objectivism certainly doesn't matter.The very act of feeling sincere—almost innocent—reverence and gratitude for life and this marvelous universe we live in brings what you would call God's presence to my soul. All the rest, to me, is nothing but words so I don't really care what someone else calls that inner sense of completeness. Some call it Jesus. Others call it Allah. Others call it Oneness of Being. Others call it metaphysical serenity. There are almost as many names as there are cultures. But it's still the same universe, still the same earth, and still the same species (human beings).I hope to see you around somewhere sometime. I am certain you have a precious mind and soul. Please give my regards to the good folks among you.Best,Michael Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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