In the early part of the First decade of the New Millennium, The New Zealand Objectivists at The Free Radical Foundation invited one of their most revered Clerics to New Zealand. Tibor Machan. Joy and I traveled up to Auckland to hear him speak.
After everything had finished there was opportunity to have one on one conversations with him over a coffee. I had a question I wished to ask.
When my chance came, I introduced myself and asked him “ Do you think it is possible to live in perfect accord with Objectivist values?”
After a moment he said “Yes,… Of course.” He said he believed that was one of Objectivism’s most important attributes.
Now, as a Free thinking Christian, That answer has always provoked contemplation within me. It must be nice to have a system of values and ethics which is not only attainable, but also leaves you with an absolutely clear conscience, and faith in the perfectibility of Humanity… Indeed faith in ones own self- perfection.
When one understands ‘The Egoism’ which is the central tenet of Objectivism, it is easy to draw the inference that such a Religion requires one to think of one self as ‘The ideal Human Being’.
Now when this system is compared to the Judeo-Christian world view of Man as a Fallen and sinful being, guilty before God, One can see the appeal of such a faith, and the Temptation involved in wanting this world view to be true… by those whom seek to ‘shrug off’ Guilt, and a Code of Morality which says Man has moral obligations beyond self-interest, and that ultimately we must all give account of ourselves before a supreme Moral Judge.
This is what freedom means to the Atheist. They think obligation to a moral code set by a Higher Power is a form of slavery. (I wonder if they also think of themselves as slaves to the Law of gravity!)
Now to me these notions smack of subjectivity! Of whim. How convenient it is to invent your own code of values that magically sanitizes all your selfish actions and absolves you of Sin!
It also occurs to Me that Objectivism is a Patent rejection of Objective morality… which if they exist at all… are not merely a system of convenient sanctions that justify self interest… but are true whether convenient or not, even if their truth convicts us of evil.
From my perspective Objectivism far from truly being Objective reeks of Psychological motivation, and may be clearly seen as just one more revolt from Christian/ theistic values. What is interesting about this is that Ayn Rand cherry picked many Theistic values such as Human rights, limited Government etc as suited her, and attempted to cloak them in atheist Garb.
This is a laughable ploy because an Atheist reality is an Objectively A moral reality… the only codes of ethics and values of necessity being merely subjective conventions, and not Obligatory upon anyone.
There is good reason why I have started my post with this stab against Objectivism. It serves as a good back drop for contrasting my own beliefs and the dilemmas that they involve… and how My Christian world view causes me to humble myself, and confess my many short comings as a sinful Man.
It is my experience that the Biblical story of Humanities fallen Nature is tragically real…indeed it is one of the most established facts of Human Nature. This being so it becomes clear how far from the truth the ideas of Objectivism are Though they may appear to have very pleasant ‘opiate effect’ for the conscience… They are nonetheless a flight into pure self delusion.
Now I was born in 1967, into a world in which The King James Bible is a reality.
I did not write it. I did not invent the God of the Bible. I did not invent Christianity.
These were objective realities that existed independent of me, just as other realities like Beautiful woman, and Murder, and War.
How is a Man like myself supposed to treat this Objective reality call ‘The Bible’?
The decision to embrace it as truth, or reject it as simply one of many deceptive fabrications, requires a thorough and impartial investigation.
Though there are Millions of man made false religions in the world, and many things contained within the scriptures that are cause for alarm, esp the News that I am a sinner and that my sin puts me at variance to the Holy God …creator of the Universe… These things are not grounds enough to reject it.
Ie Just because the world is flooded with Primitive superstition, and the world is wracked by religious conflicts, does not mean Religion is evil, or that All Religion is merely the fruit of Human imagination. To reach that conclusion is a very shallow pitfall that sadly many people are quick to leap into. They do it with glee… thinking they are escaping Moral obligation… the self flagellation of guilt, and the eternal fires of Damnation.
It is my testimony that when the Bible is considered Objectively, that like a Man passing through a Labyrinth, with Dead ends, Booby traps, and even a Minotaur or two… that there is one route trough all the confusion, and that, though battered and brused, it is possible to make the traverse that establishes the Bible as believably the Revelation of God to man. It is via such a quest for truth… such a voyage of perseverance and discovery, that the Older man may contemplate his pilgrimage, and realize all the Snares and pitfalls were laid down by those of malicious mind, or of weak intellects overcome by the fashions of their times, and by those whom despise the implications that arise when one accepts the bible as truth. The world is filled with such Naysayers whom desire to halt the Pilgrim in his tracks, and to deceive them into thinking their journey of faith is a lost cause.
I will soften this a bit, as I know but by the Grace of God there go I also.
I marvel that The gracious God has seen fit to reveal himself to me!
So thick are the groves of the Labyrinth, and so prone to selfish whims that I am, I wonder how I managed to become a vessel so filled with the Magnificent mysteries of God Almighty!
I too am a creature of my Time. I have the luxury of Living today in New Zealand.… the luxury of hindsight. Thus I do not equate the luminosity I have received as a sign of my own genius, Indeed I wonder that I have received it, in spite of my manifold weaknesses and folly.
And perhaps this is the greatest secret of it all! God looks to the heart of a Man, rather than his intellect, and in this age of Grace God calls a man to his service, not because of his personal piety, but for His own Divine purposes…
“Who [God] hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2Tim1vs9)
This is where My story as a morally weak and insignificant human being connects with the Divine plan, and is an example of how Christianity is diametrically opposed to Rands Ideals of Egoism.
What is incredible to realize is that because of our fallen Nature, our intellect can easily be trained to think diabolically and to vain imaginations and Grand delusions.
Yes Intelligence is no safeguard to avoiding error! It can be the source of great vanity and foolishness! It is prone to inventing false accusations against God… and thereby exacerbating our alienation from him, and keeping us from a knowledge of the truth. This is why the Christian is told to avoid vain janglings of philosophy, and beware science falsely so-called. Thus it is when a philosophy or scientific assertion is made that contravenes the scriptures it must be thoroughly examined.
It is my experience that such assertions will inevitably prove to be vacuous. Or expose a false doctrine regarding the interpretation of scripture. Ie we must be careful not to simply throw out the assertion simply because it conflicts with our current ideas. I have learned mountains of truth from the critics of the Bible and Christianity!
They have helped me correct many errors.
Being a Christian does not mean shutting your mind.
Indeed though I am a man full of weakness and vice, yet still it appears to suit God’s Divine purposes to use such a weak vessel as I.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe… For ye see your calling brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; The Base things of the world, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen… And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with Excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified….And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of Man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God…” (1Cor1vs19- 2vs5)
Let us hear what St Paul says about himself…
7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
St Paul (2Cor 12vs 7-10)
Here St Paul confesses to his own spiritual imperfection… his sinfulness… his inability to live up to Gods Holy standards. Moreover he says that he glories in this because God uses his weaknesses, to achieve his ends… and thus we see that Paul is humbled by his knowledge of his own weakness, That he keeps his intellectual vanity in check, knowing that he is not saved…. Not raise to a higher plateau by his own genius, but rests in the grace of God Almighty, and the simple truth of The gospel… That Christ Died on the Cross for our sins, and was buried, and rose again for our justification.
There is no space for Egoism in the gospel!
The Gospel is not the preserve of Human genius!
And it is for this reason that many Vain intellectuals despise it!
Christianity is no elitist club… no Utopian enclave like Galt’s Gultch!
According to the Bible any Plonker can go to heaven! Indeed Christ seems to busy himself saving the simpletons and scum of the Earth!
And Happily… I am one of them.
The Bible is clear that as a fallen race of beings we cannot live up to Gods Holy (Objective) Moral standard. Though we can learn and reform ourselves… and become better people…We cannot perfect or Save ourselves.
Confession time. I am a man whom has many short comings. I am very Carnal… full of thorns in my flesh.
The words of St Paul ring true for me…
“For what I would, That I do not, but what I hate…that I do… Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”…. (Rom 7vs14-25)
Yes I assert the doctrines of St Paul to be 100% true!
When a Person receives Christ they are ‘Born again’ and are sealed by the Holy Spirit. They begin a new Life, and yet they are still carnal, Mortal…still sinful.
They have in fact become two people. Described as the Old man and the New Man, and will not become spiritually perfected until a special day called ‘The Day of Redemption’ when God creates us new bodies that are no longer full of evil lusts.
Until that day Life involves a struggle between our two Natures, between our sinful carnal Nature and our new spiritual Life from Christ.
And what a struggle it is! Depending which Nature we ‘feed’ the most determines which Nature rules in our lives.
And I confess to being hopelessly carnal. This is my Achilles Heel! For all my knowledge of the scriptures, my lusts and carnality consume me to such a degree that I am unworthy to minister over others. I could never be the pastor of a congregation because I don’t know how to live a Godly Life. If holiness is the measure of Christian success…I am a complete failure! A part of me is so ashamed that sometimes I wonder if I ought to stop preaching about Christ and go and hide somewhere… yet when I read st Paul I realize That apart from Jesus Christ, God has never had perfect servants working for him. All of his children have had to function under his benevolent grace and forgiveness.
I rest in his Grace, and stand fast in the liberty of Christ! (Gal5vs1kjv)
I trust in the Gospel truth that I have been deemed righteous by Faith without works, and that I have the righteousness of Christ, whom took upon himself my sins. (Eph 2vs8,9kjv)
Before I understood dispensationalism, as a young Christian I was taught that God only saves the Good people… that I must repent of all my sins and forsake them to be saved, and that if I ever returned to my old ways I would loose my salvation.
That was to fail to understand the gospel of grace and to be literally enslaved to the Jewish Law again…’the yoke of bondage’ (This is not the same type of ‘slavery’ that atheists think of when they condemn religion…This is talking about having to do works for salvation, not as atheists think… a system of Human subjection and control)
I was told Sex, Drugs, and rock and roll were all of the Devil, so I Tried to quit them all… burned my records, and avoided many of my old Lost friends… yet always ended up relapsing.
I failed to maintain my promises to God to be a good boy.
Thus I learned never to make such promises to God, and thankfully though I struggled to live a godly life, I never abandoned my faith, and eventually I discovered the dispensational truth that I was completely under Gods grace, and Free from the Law.
Thus being set free myself, and knowing my own short comings this led me to having grace upon others as God has grace upon me.
My own personal struggles with life have helped me to be more understanding, more compassionate, and more tolerant of the struggle and sins of my fellow human beings.
Gods grace towards me has made me a Libertarian, because I see the hypocrisy of being full of vise myself yet calling the Law and government to persecute the vices of others.
Gods has shown tolerance and forgiveness of my sins, and calls me as a Christian to preach this ‘Good News’ to other lost sinners… not lobby the State to persecute them.
Thus I am humbled before God, and the thorns in my flesh have helped me to see the glory of Gods grace clearly, and the true libertarian nature of Christianity.
Today though I am no Pastor, I am a witness for Christ and the truth of The King James Bible to anyone who will listen.
I wont caste pearls before self righteous Christ hating swine. As a Guy who Grew up in Glen Eden West Auckland, I have always Been a Bogan Westy and alway will be. I write this Blog with Richard in Bogan style, preaching a very Bogan Gospel.
I dont preach self-righteousness.
I despise Pharisaic Hypocrisy.
Putting my faith into practice, I busy myself in Libertarian Activism, standing up for justice and the rights of the oppressed minorities like Prostitutes and Drug addicts.
I don’t reject the Holiness of God simply because in the light of it I fall short.
I hold it to be objectively true in spite of the fact that such an acknowledgement means I must confess my own sinfulness.
This is an intolerable thing for an Objectivist to contemplate.
In their own eyes… to have self esteem… they need to delude themselves of their own perfection.