Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You Are Too Intelligent to Believe in God

I hope I got your attention. For those who don't recognize it, my title today is purportedly the infamous quote from Ayn Rand to a young William F. Buckley, Jr.. The purpose is that the Wall Street Journal today ran an article entitled "Capitalist Heroes" by David Kelley (no free link available) which contains a proposition a) with which I agree completely, and b) made my heart heavy all the way in to work. The proposition is that many people read Atlas Shrugged as simply a rip-roaring condemnation of socialism, when in fact the heart and soul (pardon the pun) of Rand's work is her philosophical system of selfishness, her idealization of living for one's self, and, although Kelley didn't use the term, I presume her atheism.

I am one of the people that Kelley must think of as a lost cause. I appreciated reading Rand's works about her childhood and her theories of education. I loved the depiction of the collectivist toadies in The Fountainhead. I am probably one of the few people who actually likes the "so awful its good" movie version in which Gary Cooper, of all people, explains on screen why he destroyed the housing complex because the decor was changed without his permission. But the clarity with which Kelley identified this fun stuff with Rand's moral system just got to me. Ayn Rand is the antithesis of what Doug and I are trying to do with this blog, which is to "combine biblical scholarship and deft economics to enable the faithful to be 'as wise as serpents'". If you have to be Peter Keating to be a Christian, or if you have to be John Galt to study markets, I want off this train.

I was turning over in my head bringing this up with Doug while I was walking into the building. But I didn't get the chance immediately because as soon as I arrived Doug asked "Did you see the e-mail I sent you last night?" I asked Doug if he minded me reprinting it, and here's what he sent me late the night before:

"The Kingdom of God is like …a market economy? How does a country grow? The Kingdom of God expands like a country would but God's economy doesn't trust in the dollar but the currency of spiritual fruits. What are the spiritual fruits? Love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self control.

Okay, so here goes.

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Luke 10:2

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 2 Peter 1:3-7

There is a purpose to the sequencing of these attributes. They move from monastic believers to distributors of these spiritual fruits. God calls us ultimately to love finally. Love is the greatest of all spiritual fruits and demands selflessness.

We are to be distributors of these gifts. Would anyone trade an item identical to the one they will get in return? No. Likewise we must live out our faith so we have the unique and uncompromised message of Christ. Nothing else will grow God's Kingdom better. We must give them something they will value: the fruits. Like the man that sold everything to buy the precious pearls. We need workers in the field. We need distributors. We need Christianity to be lived out.

Our House is built on nothing less than Jesus' love and righteousness."

I have never studied The Master enough to know what she thought about coincidences, but my guess is she was a complete materialist. I've long since left this behind. Are you too intelligent to think that God can intervene in small scale human interactions such as we call coincidences? If so, I think it is your God that is to small. Are you too intelligent to believe in God? I know that Doug is wise far beyond anything I ever saw in the Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged.

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