The God-Shaped Hole!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ayn Rand - The Fountainhead

What is the God-shaped hole in this atheist humanist tome?

Choice. Love. Dedication. Idealism. Morality. Greatness.

I read this book from cover to cover. I enjoyed it tremendously. She captured the essence of choice, of strength. I am startled by her depiction of "the ideal man."

I am startled, too, by the contrast of a Christian establishment that did not recognize in her works the twentieth century it could have had.

Her egoism, her selfishness, is the God-shaped hole in her heart. She can conceive of someone who does great things, not for the adulation of others, but for the greatness of the thing. That is, in my book, true selflessness; to love something so completely that he loses himself in it, Roark is without self.

Self: defined in my mind as that thing that cares about appeasing other people's opinions, which clutters the mind with all its "what ifs" and "shoulds and shouldn'ts" and generally forces choices that would not otherwise be made.

The man who does not murder because he would be executed is not a moral man. He has morality forced on him, like a dog on a leash.

The man who does not sin because he will be punished is not a moral man. The man who does not sin because it would harm others, the man who does not sin because he does not want to, is moral.

The man who submits to God for the threat of Hell is not submitting to God, but to fear. The man who bows to God because of who God is is the true worshipper.

The person who likes what he likes because others like it is going with the crowd. The person who likes what he likes without being influenced by others is being original, no matter how many other people like it.

The person who is humble because he will be thought of more highly by others is not humble. The person who is humble because he has a low opinion of himself is not humble. The person who is humble because others have a low opinion of him is not humble. The person who is truthful about what he can and cannot do is humble. Thus, Roark is humble, though neither he nor Rand gives much thought to what he cannot do.

Jesus is honest about His abilities to raise the dead and heal the sick, about who He is and why He was here, about Himself being the only way to Heaven, no other name by which we might be saved, and thus Jesus is humble.

God has infinite ability, infinite smarts, and infinite passion. If God is 100%, I am a notch infinitesimally above 0%, as is any creation, including the angels. (If an angel had a stated percent of God's abilities, that angel would have an infinite ability too. The math is solid.) I am, in effect, nothing, compared to God.

Yet I am of the species which went to the moon in a tin can, which built the Internet and created the computer languages, including C++ and Basic. There is nothing in all creation that can rival us for creativity. Compared to a chimpanzee, to a parrot, to a dog, to a mouse, we are the most powerful beings on the planet. We can wipe out a whole culture or civilization (and have) through germ warfare and discrimination, or instantly with the press of a button.

God is an atheist. He has no one to worship, and has infinite abilities, smarts, and passion. Moral relativism is true: every choice is right or wrong in God's eyes. God can lie; He chooses not to.

Whose books and beliefs portray this God-shaped hole of beliving in one's own choices? Machiavelli, Nietzche, Rand, Heinlein, and Matthew Woodring Stover, whose blog is on this very network, and whose political leanings are (for various reasons) not the same as mine.


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