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Ayn Rand; The Philosophy of Atheism

  1. cjhunsinger profile image69
    cjhunsingerposted 2 years ago

    Ayn Rand was a Russian immigrant, a proclaimed American, adamantly Atheistic, a devote Capitalist, an accomplished writer and, in my estimation, one of the more astute observers of the human character and too, the human condition.

    As I am prone to add more words to a subject then is necessary, I have pasted Rand's central views in the two paragraphs below for the sake of brevity and focus.
    Rand's Atheistic philosophy of Objectivism is persona non grata in the academic
    community, but then the academic community is persona non grata in my community. I take this position not due to the shunning of Rand's thinking, but rather my experience with the academia of academics.

    "Objectivism's central tenets are that reality exists independent of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness (rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is one that displays full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans' metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally."

    This quote is a direct quote from Rand and sums up her thinking.
    'My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

    There are some points made by Rand in her philosophy of Objectivism that I would disagree with, but her central argument to the sovereignty of the individual, for me, speaks to the essence of individual freedom and a free society.

    One point of conjecture would be that she places objectivism (objectivity) as the essence of human life. I would assert that our capacity to reason is that essence, as the ability to be objective is predicated upon that very special talent.

    In that very special talent of reason, all that is perceived within and without of existence, that is reality and the imagined, is defined by the mind of Man, answered by us,  given purpose by us and dismissed by us.

    1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
      Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      The problem is our lives on earth are mere short visits in the scheme of reality.

      1. cjhunsinger profile image69
        cjhunsingerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Kathryn
        Your statement is obvious, but I would be interested your definition of reality. Perhaps, you might address the original posting.

        1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
          Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Reality deals with the realm we do not see.
          Atheism does not deal with that reality. Jesus does.

          < Ayn Rand: "That human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation".>

          Ayn Rand does not go where Jesus does. And I would rather Go where Jesus goes… Heaven is within…beyond the five senses.

          Thats all.

          1. cjhunsinger profile image69
            cjhunsingerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Kathryn
            Thank you for your comment.

  2. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 2 years ago

    Can atheism fight the rise of Islam extremists who are trying to take over the world... (according to some)?
    Does Atheism contribute to order as opposed to chaos in society?
    How?
    For instance, what prevents an Atheist from becoming a materialist... attached to things of this world?

    1. cjhunsinger profile image69
      cjhunsingerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      What prevents a deity worshiper from becoming a materialist or a Jim Jones or an Adolph Hitler.
      And what is so damning of materialism that it would be a bad thing?

      1. oceansnsunsets profile image90
        oceansnsunsetsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        You seem to be very confused about Jim Jones.  He was a self proclaimed atheist.  He used religion against people, for his own ends. 

        Hitler is a topic that atheists can't really seem to talk fairly about, imo, and in my experience, so I just avoid it.  It becomes a discussion defending an irrational belief.  So leaving that alone, I just had to make you aware about Jim Jones fact.

    2. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      "Can atheism fight the rise of Islam extremists who are trying to take over the world... (according to some)? "

      Sure.  It's called education.  When that fails (and it will with some), isolate those few.  Or destroy them as necessary.

      "Does Atheism contribute to order as opposed to chaos in society?
      How?"

      Yes.  Eliminating the thousands of false beliefs in the world will inevitably contribute to order as opposed to chaos.

      "For instance, what prevents an Atheist from becoming a materialist... attached to things of this world?"

      Nothing.  Same as everyone else.  Witness the trillions of $$ controlled or owned by just Christian churches.

    3. Slarty O'Brian profile image87
      Slarty O'Brianposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      You're definition of materialism is incorrect.  A materialist isn't a person who loves material things. That's a capitalist. lol... A materialist is of the opinion that the material world is all that exists and is sufficient for our existence. Most atheists who are science minded are materialists as opposed to spiritualists. 

      I believe a fundamentalist preacher coined the phrase :Physicalist. Which is fine by me.

      As for the isis threat, there are plenty of atheists who are fighting in the Canadian armed forces. And certainly we atheists do as much against the Muslim extremist threat as Christians do.We have as much to lose as Christians do if yet another pack of zealots take control of the world. We have lots of examples from Christians what happens when extremist Catholics and Protestants rule the world and burn heretics and atheists for not believing what they say we have to believe.

      The Muslim threat is yet another example of why religion is inherently dangerous. we would all be far better off if religion went the way of the dodo.

      1. cjhunsinger profile image69
        cjhunsingerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        As an American combat vet (Vietnam) I can attest to the fact that there are a great many Atheists fighting in all branches of the American military. And of those Canadian Atheists in Vietnam or any Canadian fighting force, I would fight with them anytime.
        The Atheist in the fox hole

    4. oceansnsunsets profile image90
      oceansnsunsetsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Those are great questions, worthy of contemplation.

  3. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 2 years ago

    That is one option.  As an atheist I would be on the opposite extreme.  I think out highest goal is to decrease the suffering and increase the joy of all people. Because we all have this one life, we are all ethically equal, suffering is bad for any person,  and we should all serve the common good. Objectivism in itself does not presuppose whether one is egotisitical (maximizing self satisfaction) or utilitarian (maximizing common good) or somewhere between the two. And I do think Rand was ultimately a huge benefit-accepting hypocrite.

    1. Aime F profile image85
      Aime Fposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Yep.

      I'm an atheist and I think that's probably the only view I share with Ayn Rand.

      1. cjhunsinger profile image69
        cjhunsingerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        What would that be?

    2. cjhunsinger profile image69
      cjhunsingerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      We are not all 'ethically' equal and I am not even sure what that is supposed to mean.
      In serving the 'common good', who defines that good? With regards to your last sentence, not true and I would suggest that if you are to suppose anything of Rand and Objectivism you should read her words and try not to supplant them with yours.

      1. psycheskinner profile image81
        psycheskinnerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Ethical equality means we all have the same basic human rights unless by our own actions we forfeit them.

        And the common good means: "the advantage or benefit of all people in society or in a group: In spite of our differences, we shall work for the common good"

        And like you I was stating my philosophy.  Whether you believe the same thing is 1) clearly not the case, and 2) irrelevant.  I assumed this was a thread discussing the relevance of Rand's philosophy to atheists.

        My reply was that is has no relevance at all to me.  Just as it ultimately did not apply to her own life choices.

        1. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          What basic human rights does everyone have, and who guarantees them?

        2. cjhunsinger profile image69
          cjhunsingerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          psyche
          Your altruism, as all altruistic positions, seems ambiguous. You have not defined the author of the common good and perhaps, you can explain why it is a 'good', Should I be required to forego my definition of good to accommodate the majority and if I do not what happens?
          'My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."
          This is also my definition of my common good, my happiness, my achievement, my ability to reason, my life. I do not live for others and I do not expect others to live for me.

    3. GA Anderson profile image84
      GA Andersonposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I am seriously curious why your believe you atheist's belief  influences your agreement or disagreement with Ayn Rand's philosophies,  True, the OP mentioned she was an atheist also, but how does your non-religious belief bear on the question?

      I would expect a religious belief to be more explanatory regarding disagreeing with Rand, but how does being an atheist affect your opinion? Why do you feel the explanation of your disagreement needs the clarification that you are an atheist?

      GA

 
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