Ayn Rand: An Antichrist

Just to be clear, according to Mormon doctrine The Antichrist is Satan. An antichrist is anyone who actively teaches against Christ in an attempt to deceive believers. I have not read Ayn Rand’s books, nor anything written by her that I can recall, other than the snippets necessary to write this article. However, in recent weeks, I have heard a lot about her, and have even seen parts of old recordings of interviews with her. I believe I have learned enough about her to make this assertion; Ayn Rand was an antichrist.

One of the adjectives often associated with an antichrist is “cunning,” in that they tend to be skilled with logic and language – as Rand was – and use it to distort the truth to fit their views. The process of deceiving is most effective when it starts with indisputable facts. When it can also appeal to the natural desires of human nature it becomes very persuasive. In the case of Rand, she used the logic of capitalism, to promote the “virtue of selfishness.”

Rand used her vision of how capitalism should be as a lure to win over her listeners. She appealed to their base desires to win followers. She indoctrinated them with ideas in direct conflict with those taught by Christ, and ultimately asserted not only that God does not exist, but that believing that God exists is weakness.

Here are some of her core tenets and directly conflicting teachings from scripture:

Rand: “Very few in this world are worthy of love.”
Christ: “Love thy neighbor,” (Matt 19:19) and “love thy enemies”. (Matt 5:44)

Rand: “The evil of a robber does not lie in the fact that he pursues his own interests, but in what he regards as to his own interest; not in the fact that he pursues his values, but in what he chose to value”
A prophet: “If ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God…ye must perish.” (Mosiah 4:30)

Rand: “The reasons why man needs a moral code will tell you that the purpose of morality is to define man’s proper values and interests, that concern with his own interests is the essence of a moral existence, and that man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions.”
Christ: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matt 6:19-20)

This is only a cursory survey; I’m sure I could come up with more but I really have no interest in reading her material. (If you think of any, please leave a comment.)

There is no doubt that Rand was well-educated and persuasive. Unfortunately, her arguments were inspired by the worst of human traits, and served primarily as a means to justify wickedness. She was not an ethical person, as was manifested most openly by her public affair with a younger man. Instead, she tried to redefine “ethical” so that it applied to her, but this was merely calling black white.

Not everything Rand said or wrote is a deception or wrong. Her logic is very good to a point. However, the conclusions she draws cannot be reconciled to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her goal was not to enlighten others. If you believe her philosophies will bring society to a better place, you are deceived. Lasting peace and happiness can only be obtained through principles which are in harmony with God’s laws. Rand’s teachings may bring power, wealth and self indulgence, but never true happiness. “Wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10)

Perhaps Rand was sick – with uncontrollable sociopathic tendencies. Perhaps she herself was deceived. Perhaps. Ultimately, that makes little difference now that she is gone. Her words are her legacy, and her words are in direct opposition to Jesus Christ and everything He stood for. Her words are those of an antichrist.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matt 7:15-16)

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About thelogicalmormon

Devout Mormon. Graduate of MIT. Father. Technologist.

14 responses to “Ayn Rand: An Antichrist”

  1. S.M. says :

    I especially like your explanation of the use of cunning and logic to purport oversimplified and inhumane ideas. If you haven’t read Rand, or at least seen “The Fountainhead” movie, I highly recommend doing so. It is an education in the deceptive language currently being used in politics and from which value system it comes.

  2. bilbo bagins says :

    I think your judgement is a bit too quick. By your argument, any person who is an atheist, and publishes something atheistic, is an anti-Christ. Judgement, according to Mormon theology, is determined with respect to knowledge a person person has. Ayn was not raised by Christian parents. If you were raised in communist Russia under her same circumstances, can you be certain you would have discovered and converted to the only true Christian church? If not, better to “judge not” as Christ himself taught. Otherwise you will be held to that standard.

    • thelogicalmormon says :

      It is not being a vocal atheist that makes Rand an antichrist. I have known many vocal atheists who were ethical people. Nor do I mean to suggest that I know how her final judgement will go. She absolutely had a life that biased her against doing things for the common good. However, all people are given the Light of Christ (a conscience), so have the innate ability to tell right from wrong. It is only by rebelling against that, that anyone can become an antichrist, but that, again, is not sufficient.

      What makes someone an antichrist is when they take the truth, distort it using their own logic and present a revised truth as deception and further, use that truth and deception as a basis to build up oneself as a teacher. When one actively recruits and attempts to deceive (Rand would probably say teach) followers, and lead them away from the truths of the Gospel, one becomes an antichrist.

      I do not want to judge Rand. She expressed her arguments. I have expressed mine. I will happily and gratefully leave the judgement to God.

  3. Lucie LeBlanc Consentino says :

    Great bog Tyler..thanks for sharing your insight.

  4. Sweet Em says :

    For the record, The Fountainhead is one of my top 7 fiction book choices but the only thing of Rand’s that I have read. It was one of the first books that made me realize I love reading philosophical fiction and in which I could go through the book thinking “I agree with this”, “I disagree with that”. Also, as an architect protagonist Roark is undeniably COOL. As for the actual philosophy – whenever I would ask my mom advice she would say “Do what is best for you.” It was up to me to realize that often what was best for me was actually what was best for “we” so in essence I have combined what I agreed with in the Fountainhead with a healthy dose of Charity. I often fear becoming like the foil in “Fountainhead,” Peter Keating, who abandons his own passions and beliefs and becomes ridiculous and pitiful.

    I understand the doctrine of selfishness that you are describing and can think of noble characters in the book that Rand wrote as pathetic in nature. But for me that was the fun of the book: weighing my beliefs against what was written.

    • thelogicalmormon says :

      There’s nothing wrong with reading her work as fiction. And as I pointed out, in many cases she starts with undeniable truths and builds her logic from there, so naturally, there are many things a rational person would agree with. It can also be very enlightening to try to understand another point of view which is very different from your own. So, as with anything, there are good parts and bad. The important thing is to understand the difference between the two.

  5. thelogicalmormon says :

    Interestingly, I found another Mormon blogger who made essentially the same point a few years back: (http://notesfromamormon.blogspot.com/2010/07/ayn-rand-is-korihor-anti-christ-in-book.html)

    And another Christian blogger making the same assessment just a few days before I published this: (http://joeljmiller.com/ayn-rand-antichrist/)

    • Larry Cole says :

      In other words you read someone else’s essay, put their ideas into your own words and ran with it. What ever happened to “thou shall not steal?” Poser.

      • thelogicalmormon says :

        Though you may not believe it, I am fully capable of doing my own analysis. I wrote the post having no knowledge of anyone else making the same assertion. The only reason I found those articles was because I was looking for ways to promote the post after I had written it.

        Even if I had read the other articles first, you can see that they both take substantially different approaches. Writing this article after reading those would still not have been plagiarizing. If it were, you’d have to call this whole blog plagiarized, as most of the core ideas are not mine, but are those taught by my church.

  6. John says :

    Why is it that religious people need to try to claim reason? You just can’t do it. Faith-based beliefs (this seems obvious, but bears repeating here) are based in faith. They are not based on reason.

    I’ve had many Mormon friends, and I defend Mormonism to people of other faiths all the time (my view is Mormons are no more crazy than any other religious group, haha). But the Mormon friends I have admit that their beliefs are faith-based. Rand was a reasoned human that lived on this earth and in reality. Her writings are all pro-human. She wrote beautifully against racism, poverty, injustice, etc etc. Yet, religious people are threatened by her because she, logically, used reason to point out the fact that there is no such thing as gods. Why can’t you just have your faith without trying to use….reason to argue against…..reason? You really are swimming upstream. Think about it, you try to argue in a blog post by making points you hope others will agree with in the form of some sort of reasoned work, yet your sources are bible quotes?!? Hello…..?

    Since Rand shows you clearly that you can’t argue against reality, reason, justice, etc, using faith-based beliefs, why are religious people so intent on clinging to the faith-based beliefs? Was the indoctrination so pervasive that when confronted with truth, the religious person has to shut off his or her mind in order to have faith in their baseless belief? You have the right to whatever faith you want for whatever reason, just don’t try to reason against reason, it makes no sense. And certainly don’t CLAIM reason. Doing so is a simple affront to the definitions of the words we use to communicate and a direct insult to reality.

    Uh oh, I suppose I am an anti-Christ since I am ‘skilled with logic’ and use ‘indisputable facts’. Uhhh, what better way to make a point than use logic and facts? Any of you see how ridiculous it is to demonize someone who simple MAKES A POINT BASED IN FACT and uphold as noble someone who asserts the higher ground based on faith, yet claims reason at the same time? WTF are you thinking? Just be religious, have your faith. I know Mormons generally to be nice, generally good people. Go on with that. But don’t try to claim reason when you are so clearly the ‘anti-Reason’.

    • thelogicalmormon says :

      I actually have a half written article on how both logic and faith are necessary. I was going to discuss it primarily in a religious context but you’ve inspired me to extend it to the scientific community, because, although they don’t like to admit it, they need faith just as much as we “religious people.”

      When I contrasted Ayn Rand with Christ, it seemed to me the most widely accepted authoritative source on Christ is the Bible. I am not concerned with the peripheral arguments that Rand made, and could not possibly analyze her entire body of work. However, her doctrine of selfishness as a virtue seems core to her philosophy. That is what I think is most dangerous about her teachings. She may have made some good points in other places, but this teaching will never lead you to happiness.

      I don’t intend to argue against reality, reason or justice. If you have found some flaw in my logic, by all means, please point it out so that I can either explain it more effectively, or correct it. On the other hand, to insinuate that we have absolutely no evidence for our beliefs is ridiculously false. In some ways, you’ve proven this point already, by suggesting that Rand used logic against things that we only believe to be bad because of the core of Christianity in our culture: racism, poverty, and injustice. The very fact that these things were logically deduced by Rand to be something to work against is a proof that Christianity got it right in the first place.

      I don’t know enough about you to judge your teachings. But, part of my point is that Rand not only said these things but wrote prolifically to support her views, actively promoted her philosophy as an alternative to Christianity, and finally spoke directly of Christianity as folly. Believing these things does not make you an anti-christ. Attempting to proselytize and take down Christians might. Most anti-christs, including Rand, would probably gladly take the label. You don’t sound like this kind of person to me.

  7. John says :

    Ill just go in the order of your paragraphs.

    First, science (or atheists like me) don’t need faith. As much as you don’t want to admit it.

    Next, you have utterly and completely missed the point of Rand’s writings, which you admittedly haven’t read much of, so I’ll educate you. You she used the word ‘selfishness’ on purpose because of its bad connotation. It was to get attention. But, you are selfish. Everyone in your church is selfish. By selfish she means following one’s own self interest. That does not mean screw people over, ignore others, never help people or any of the other crap people attribute to her writings. It simply means one should be free to pursue their own happiness. She explains how helping the ones you love, supporting a family, etc are all selfish act because they require acting in accordance with your values. For you, being a Mormon, having a family, etc, is all very selfish. And that’s a good thing. Selfishness, or more clearly stated for those who miss the point or don’t read her points, living free, is a virtue, and I can attest first hand that I and countless others have been lead to happiness by this virtue.

    Next paragraph. There is a flaw in your logic, a tragic flaw. It is simply that it is not based on logic. Your ‘logic’ is faith-based, so it cannot, by definition, be logical. Also, we don’t believe things like racism, murder, injustice to be bad because of the core of Christianity in our culture. We believe them to be bad because they are bad. It’s that simple. Because Christianity managed to get a few obvious things right is not proof of the whole. Yes, congratulations Christians, you agree murder, rape and stealing are bad (although each is condoned in various parts of the Bible). Rand explained WHY they are bad in a consistent, logical philosophy based on reality and human rights.

    If you define someone as anti-christ if they disagree with Christianity and would like to see the teachings of Christianity ignored, then I guess I would be one. My problem is that the connotation is associated closely with satanism. Atheists, and more clearly, objectivists, find the belief in the existence of such a being as ridiculous as that of a god, and the worship of one even more ridiculous. Much like you misunderstood what Rand means by selfish, most would misunderstand what you mean by anti-christ, so I would prefer to not have the label. I do, however, wish for mankind a future free of mysticism and one guided by reality and reason, for that would be a prosperous, peaceful, happy future indeed.

    I didn’t address the points in your article in my first post and focused more on why the whole concept of your article was flawed. I’d be happy to point out where each thing you say is misguided if you’d like. I find it extremely sad you have been made aware of Ayn Rand and the beautiful philosophy she left us for the happiness and prosperity of mankind and have ‘no interest in reading her material’. Going forward, it might be a good idea to actually know about what you sit down to write about. And if you haven’t read something and don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t write about it, because it makes your writings sound ridiculous to those who do know the subject.

    • thelogicalmormon says :

      John, thanks for your comments.

      Faith is to trust something that or someone whom you believe to be good, when you have no first hand evidence on which to base your assessment of the truth they claim. If scientists did not have faith in each other — or at least in the system of peer review — we would not be able to make the scientific progress we have made. Without faith, everything must be verified empirically by the faithless. It may be that you misunderstood what I meant by faith. If so, I hope this clarifies.

      I understand what Rand was trying to say about selfishness. I simply do not agree. The main problem with her philosophy on this point is that it is impossible for an individual to truly know what is in their best interests at all times. I completely agree that I follow my religion because I see it as a great benefit to myself. However, the wisdom of many of Christ’s teachings lie in the fact that we human beings are happier when we are making people around us happier. Selfishness, by definition, is introspective. When people train themselves for that introspection, they lose a great deal of their ability to see the larger picture. They become more cynical about the motives of others. They become unhappy more easily when they don’t get their selfish desires met. It may be possible to avoid these pitfalls if you are exceptional, but for the average person selfishness is detrimental.

      The logic of my post was faith-based because I was targeting Christians as my audience. If I had meant to target Atheists or Randians, (not sure if that’s the proper term…) I would have used an entirely different approach. Logic is not the process of using empirical evidence to draw conclusions, it is the process of drawing conclusions consistent with a set of givens. Givens being of religious origin do not make them unfit for a logical process.

      I am quite sure I would not agree with the reasons Rand came up with for why certain crimes are bad. I also did not expect to be able to base the truthfulness of Christianity as a whole on a few social principles — that would be irrational. My intent was to point out that Christianity provided these principles as virtues originally (at least as far as modern society is concerned). For Rand to re-invent the wheel in these situations is an indication that at least some of Christianity is logical, if not explicitly so.

      As for the label of antichrist, again, my target audience is Christians. My goal was to point out explicitly how her teachings are in direct opposition to those of Christ, and so, if you call yourself a Christian, you cannot also condone Rand’s contrary philosophies. “No man can serve two masters.” Her writings are spiritually dangerous, though I’m sure that’s meaningless to you. It is because of not only her opposition to Christianity, but her effectiveness in deceiving Christians that I felt it important to call it as I see it.

      The primary reason I’m not interested in reading Rand’s writings is time. I did read several pages worth of excerpts in preparing this post, and found philosophical flaws in several places. I don’t have time to read the books I want to read, let alone reading a book I would feel compelled to criticize and post about every few pages. I enjoy my life and do not believe for one second that her logic would enlighten me on any subject.

      The Gospel I believe in is one of joy and happiness. I believe it is the only way to true happiness. I’m sure that you can get some degree of happiness from Rand, and I wish you the best of luck with that, truly.

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