Ayn Rand, Christian Soldier?
“The Greatly Ghastly Rand” (August 30), by Jason Lee Steorts, analyzes Ayn Rand and her writings accurately and not altogether without sympathy. Allow me to add my own sympathetic note.
At age 16, when I ran across Atlas Shrugged, I was always trying to stretch myself. I fell in love with Rand immediately. I wouldn’t put the book down, and had soon plowed through the rest of her novels, convinced that her “Objectivist” philosophy was perfectly rational and declaring myself an atheist on its recommendation.
It didn’t last. Rand’s belief in absolutism defeated her in me, for it became clear that no “objective” standard could be the product of an individual’s mind. Of course, it didn’t help that a Lutheran pastor had given me a copy of Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis.
It took five years for me to become a Christian, and my experience was not too unlike Lewis’s own, as he described it: I was not at all happy to find that the “absolute” Rand referred to was really found only in God.
Still, I have much to thank Rand for. In a very real sense, she set me on the right course, though not at all one of which she would have approved. She wouldn’t have admitted it, but the one issue where she is in complete agreement with the Almighty is the value of the individual.
One night, many years ago, I heard her in Sacramento on a 50,000-watt clear-channel Los Angeles AM station. Rand could tolerate no challenge to any of her views. I smiled at that then and do so now, while hoping George MacDonald was right in his apparent belief in the ultimate redemption of everyone.
After all, Ayn Rand was instrumental in leading at least one person to Christ. For that, I will always be grateful.
“The Greatly Ghastly Rand” contains the following sentence: “There is a passage [in The Fountainhead] in which Roark does not know that something he has said has given a passing character ‘the courage to face a lifetime.’” Roark does converse with the character, but the description would be more accurate as: “something he has done.”