The Religion and Philosophy of Ayn Rand

The Religion and Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s first important novel was one that she’d planned to write about skyscrapers: “The Fountainhead” (1943) is about an architect named Howard Roark who blows up a housing project he built because his design was corrupted by the influence of others. When his trial, Howard explains his philosophy that, in order to achieve greatness, individuals have to be allowed to realize their own personal vision, and not be tied down by the concerns of society. These ideas became the basis of Rand’s philosophy, called Objectivism, which she also explored in her novel “Atlas Shrugged” (1957.)

Her novels outline her philosophy of Objectivism. In her Appendix to “Atlas Shrugged”, Rand wrote,

“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.”

We the Living and The Fountainhead have been made into movies, as has Parts I and II of a projected trilogy of Atlas Shrugged.

In James Baker’s biography “Ayn Rand”, Rand is described as “identifying religion and communism as brothers under the skin. … Both subordinated man to a higher power: religion to god, communism to the state. … [She] held firmly to atheism throughout her life; and she felt it just as important to fight the witch doctor’s mysticism as Atilla’s collectivism.”

In “For the New Intellectual”, Rand wrote,

For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket—by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners.

Biographer Barbara Brandon quotes Rand’s 1934 private notes in the biography “The Passion of Ayn Rand”

“Religion is the first enemy of the ability to think. … yet before they learn to think (men) are discouraged by being ordered to take things on faith. Faith is the worst curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought.”

Posted in Faith and Religion Philosophy and Wisdom

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