The Virtue of Selfishness
When I was a sophomore in college when Ann Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness hit the market. The title itself rocked most Christians who read it. It still does. I re-read the book three years ago and it still slaps most Christians in the face. Not because Ayn Rand was an atheist, but because labeling selfishness as good completely challenges most Christian’s worldview.
Virtue of Selfishness was one of the earliest books detailing the doctrine
of “objectivism.” In this ethical system selflessness or altruism is bad or
stupid and "rational selfishness” (or in its softer form, “enlightened
self-interest”) is good and smart. It is a book on ethics, though Christian
readers often reject
Why this book deserves
discussion today is that Christians are right now trying to think through the
relation of their Christian faith to economics. Many Christians have in the
last several decades supported laissez-faire capitalism adopting some of Ayn Rand’s deregulation-laissez-faire approach to
capitalism and life while rejecting her own logical extension to insisting that
individual women also have the right to choose abortion. Her case for rejecting altruism and
enshrining selfishness is so frank and honest that when Christians read her
work they often say, “It makes sense economically, but I can’t bring myself to
fully accept this way of thinking as a Christian. One of the things I admire about
With our economic system
crashing about us, this might be a good time to discuss
And, to flip the issue, how far can you take the libertarian approach to how we run the church—like the freedom of an individual member to vary from doctrine and lifestyle from centralized church government?
So what do you think?
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