Stricken

So...what's the answer?

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I've spent considerable time studying Rand in quite intense admiration; I also hold some knowledge of basic theology and biblical concepts. I've argued with both sides for both sides in an attempt to stump one and uphold the other. Finding mature individuals who are convicted of their beliefs but remain calm and intelligent throughout the entire duration of a debate is nearly impossible, however; and this is why I find myself on an internet forum.

My dilemma is this; I'm on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings of Rand or the teachings of Christ. The linked audio file is an hour long lecture by a well respected theologian, and I personally have trouble arguing with it. I've tried, to frustration.

I come here searching for an objective third person perspective to help me argue the points in this audio clip and put my mind at ease. Here it appears there are some very knowledgeable and intelligent people; I'm hoping this thread attracts their attention and response.

http://www.gty.org/Shop/Audio+Lessons/2141...ophy-or-Christ#

Click listen.

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I've spent considerable time studying Rand in quite intense admiration; I also hold some knowledge of basic theology and biblical concepts. I've argued with both sides for both sides in an attempt to stump one and uphold the other. Finding mature individuals who are convicted of their beliefs but remain calm and intelligent throughout the entire duration of a debate is nearly impossible, however; and this is why I find myself on an internet forum.

My dilemma is this; I'm on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings of Rand or the teachings of Christ. The linked audio file is an hour long lecture by a well respected theologian, and I personally have trouble arguing with it. I've tried, to frustration.

I come here searching for an objective third person perspective to help me argue the points in this audio clip and put my mind at ease. Here it appears there are some very knowledgeable and intelligent people; I'm hoping this thread attracts their attention and response.

http://www.gty.org/Shop/Audio+Lessons/2141...ophy-or-Christ#

Click listen.

I don't have an hour to listen. But if you want to pick a point or issue, raise it here and we can discuss it.

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I have not listened to the video you linked to, but like Paul I am willing to discuss the things that you pick out. Although I would also add that if Ayn Rand could not convince you of the soundness of her philosophy I do not know how you expect one of us to do so. Ayn Rand's philosophy is fundamentally different than religious philosophies as one either starts from the the primacy of existence or the primacy of consciousness. One tells you that existence exist and only existence exist and to exist is to have a definable nature. The other one tells you that anything can exist as long as one believes it to be so; "I think therefore I am." Maybe our insights can help you to think through certain items, but it is you in the end that will have to do your own thinking while questioning everything.

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I highly doubt you'll find someone on this site who has an extra hour to spend on a Christian theologian. I know I don't. A fundamental difference between any religion and Objectivism is that religions believe that faith is their guide to knowledge while Objectivism holds that reason is the guide.

Obviously, Ray is not wrong to start with metaphysics as the fundamental difference, but I find that epistemology is a more concrete difference for the average person. Before reading Ayn Rand, I would not have understood the difference of primacy of existance versus the primacy of conciousness without serious backstudy, but I sure understood the difference between faith and reason. Frankly, like Paul said, raise a specific question and we'll answer it with a specific answer. Sometimes formulating the question can lead you to the answer. I've often gone to start threads on a topic that I thought was terribly difficult, only to easily find the error in logic by writing the argument down.

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I've spent considerable time studying Rand in quite intense admiration; I also hold some knowledge of basic theology and biblical concepts. I've argued with both sides for both sides in an attempt to stump one and uphold the other. Finding mature individuals who are convicted of their beliefs but remain calm and intelligent throughout the entire duration of a debate is nearly impossible, however; and this is why I find myself on an internet forum.

My dilemma is this; I'm on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings of Rand or the teachings of Christ. The linked audio file is an hour long lecture by a well respected theologian, and I personally have trouble arguing with it. I've tried, to frustration.

I come here searching for an objective third person perspective to help me argue the points in this audio clip and put my mind at ease. Here it appears there are some very knowledgeable and intelligent people; I'm hoping this thread attracts their attention and response.

http://www.gty.org/Shop/Audio+Lessons/2141...ophy-or-Christ#

Click listen.

I have not had the time to listen to the audio clip. But at the risk of being rationalistic, I will venture a guess as to what your "problem" may be.

In my experience. there is an epistemological "razor" that often comes in handy when discussing the issue of religion. That "razor" is the point which Ayn Rand stressed very strongly - that the *arbitrary* has *no* cognitive significance. My guess is that if you are having trouble meeting a theologian´s arguments, then the error that you are making may very well be that you are neglecting to reject one or more arbitrary assertions out of hand. I think that you should learn to reject each and every *arbitrary* assertion out of hand, or, of course, ask your discussion partner to produce evidence for the assertion, so that it does not remain arbitrary.

An example of an arbitrary assertion would be the theologian who pops the question - "But where did the universe come from, if it was not created by God?". This question builds on the premise, which is arbitrary so long as the theologian produces no reason to take it as true, that the universe must have "come from somewhere", i.e. that it cannot always have existed. But *why* cannot the universe always have existed. Why does the universe as such have to have had a "starting point". As long as the theologian gives you no reason to reject the idea that the universe has always existed, you should not grant him the premise that the universe must have had a starting point.

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I come here searching for an objective third person perspective to help me argue the points in this audio clip and put my mind at ease. Here it appears there are some very knowledgeable and intelligent people; I'm hoping this thread attracts their attention and response.

I listened to MacArthur's lecture and do have some observations.

First a caveat or two. One, I agree with what others have said already. No one here can, nor am I going to attempt to, state Miss Rand's case better than she herself did. Two, ultimately this is a decision that is in the hands of your reason alone.

Now I must observe his selection of so-called philosophers as representative of philosophy. By his selection you would think that the whole of philosophy was an atheistic boys club. He left out a bunch of thinkers: Bishop Berkeley, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Plato, Plotinus, and even Aristotle who found himself assimilated into Catholic teaching via Aquinas (although Aristotle's Unmoved Mover is rather a quaint, uninspiring sort of deity). It is only of the modern era that we find any such concentration of so-called atheists. The time of Paul of which he is referencing in the Epistle Galatians was not a time of rampant atheism, quite the opposite in fact.

His characterization of a thousand different philosophies is also incorrect. While, on the surface at least, there seems to be quite a divergent conglomeration of philosophical theories, there are in essence very few. The Greeks had the essential positions of philosophy finished long before Paul came around and they haven't changed to this day. There may be a lot of different concrete answers, but in essence there are very few fundamental positions. It is basically Plato and Aristotle. An observation you can gleam and be presented in almost any history of philosophy course.

Also I do not know where he gets his account of David Hume's death, from all accounts I have read, including from Adam Smith and Hume's own physician who was there when he expired, he died calm and clear-headed, although very ill, but, hey, he was dying. I also do not know his source for Bertrand Russell's last words, he should cite sources.

Also if he talks of the divergence of philosophers' views he may want to look at theology itself! He may even want to look at the many interpretation of Jesus' and Paul's own words that are out there. But this part is almost to digress.

There is also the point that he is taking a view that is pre-Aquinian Christianity. To go by faith in Christ alone, and to eschew human reason as a distorter, and philosophy as some serpent out to mangle you, as an enemy. Might as well convert to Islam.

Finally, and this is just my own point. You are obviously looking to make a reasoned decision, else you wouldn't be asking us this question, nor would you be seeking outside help. But I think this is a mistake either way in the long run. You said that you were on the fence between the teachings of Christ and the teachings of Ayn Rand. Go to the source for both and think, think, think. Even then, if you think you see more sense in Christ, you still have the problem of conjuring up faith in him (or God). I don't think that is like choosing to love a jelly donut.

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My dilemma is this; I'm on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings of Rand or the teachings of Christ. The linked audio file is an hour long lecture by a well respected theologian, and I personally have trouble arguing with it. I've tried, to frustration.

Adopt? That is not the way to approach it because that smacks of the mindless acceptance of a position. One doesn't adopt, one works to a position by referring to reality. Every bit of religious dogma you have ever heard is via other men, and they in turn got their vies from men before them. Not one of them has a confirmation of their views via observing reality.

I have never accepted the idea that other men can know about a God, that I myself can never verify. Where is their verification then? If they don't have it, why listen to them pretend they do?

Don't adopt beliefs from anyone. Get your ideas from reality, or if the ideas come from others, confirm them against reality itself. Never ever accept ideas via adoption because you then surrender your mind to others.

A pox on those who claim to know about mysterious worlds beyond reason; I find it staggering that anyone can believe the absurdity of the ideas they present.

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Sorry to be asking this, but are you sure you got the correct link? This stuff sounds more like a parody of a mindless bible-thumper than anything else. There even seems to be an actual thumping sound after he says "Stick with the Bible!" around -19:58...

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I've spent considerable time studying Rand in quite intense admiration; I also hold some knowledge of basic theology and biblical concepts. I've argued with both sides for both sides in an attempt to stump one and uphold the other. Finding mature individuals who are convicted of their beliefs but remain calm and intelligent throughout the entire duration of a debate is nearly impossible, however; and this is why I find myself on an internet forum.

You will find that most internet forums on such subjects are anything but calm and intelligent.

My dilemma is this; I'm on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings of Rand or the teachings of Christ. The linked audio file is an hour long lecture by a well respected theologian, and I personally have trouble arguing with it. I've tried, to frustration.

I come here searching for an objective third person perspective to help me argue the points in this audio clip and put my mind at ease. Here it appears there are some very knowledgeable and intelligent people; I'm hoping this thread attracts their attention and response.

I don't listen to rehashes of theology either, but if you want a systematic explanation of the Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology in particular you should read Leonard Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, the first part of which is dedicated to those subjects, contrasting the Objectivist position with the alternatives commonly encountered so you can see what is right and what are the fallacies.

You can't "argue against points" without knowing what is right first. If you understand what is right then you don't "adopt teachings", you simply understand it first hand and intellectually grow from there. If you don't, then your mind will never be at peace. But if you do, then you don't have to go through lectures point by point with arguments setting up a bulwark against them for your own peace of mind because you know and are confident in what fundamentals and premises are right or wrong. You know when someone is plunging into the middle with rationalizations.

You should also listen to Leonard Peikoff's recorded lecture series on the history of western philosophy from the ancient Greeks through the twentieth century. It will tell you in a systematic way what the major problems and issues of philosophy are, how and why different philosophers addressed them and responded to their predecessors the way they did, and how Objectivism answers them in the historical context.

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I come here searching for an objective third person perspective to help me argue the points in this audio clip and put my mind at ease. Here it appears there are some very knowledgeable and intelligent people; I'm hoping this thread attracts their attention and response.

http://www.gty.org/Shop/Audio+Lessons/2141...ophy-or-Christ#

The most important point, as I see it, is to keep "searching for an objective third person perspective..." As far as I have ever known, you will search forever and in vain to find such a thing in any religious account. Religion, by its nature, demands faith, not objectivity.

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My dilemma is this; I'm on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings of Rand or the teachings of Christ.

Before I can give you an answer, I have a few questions.

  • You say that you cannot decide between polar opposite teachings. Why not?
  • What are you looking for?
  • What about Ayn Rand do you find appealing? What about Christianity?
  • What about Ayn Rand is problematic? What about Christianity.

Once I know those things, I may be able to help you.

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Have you read Ayn Rand's FICTION? In particular, her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged?

Some philosophical ideas are inherently difficult. But many more are difficult because they have been so thoroughly obfuscated by previous intellectuals, who, instead of challenging the conventional "wisdom," compound the problem by building error upon error.

Read Atlas Shrugged. Besides its other virtues, thoughtfully reading that book trains one's mind to see distinctions and links that one has not seen before--in many cases, distinctions and links that previous philosophers have massively obfuscated. One cannot thoroughly grasp a philosophy through non-fiction. One needs the specific concretization that fiction provides, to show what the ideas mean, what the virtues mean, in practice. That's why all religions have their mythologies.

You can then choose between, say, the life-as-the-standard morality of Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged, with its soul-body integration, and the sacrifice-as-the-standard of Jesus, with its soul-body dichotomy.

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My dilemma is this; I'm on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings of Rand or the teachings of Christ.

Before I can give you an answer, I have a few questions.

  • You say that you cannot decide between polar opposite teachings. Why not?
  • What are you looking for?
  • What about Ayn Rand do you find appealing? What about Christianity?
  • What about Ayn Rand is problematic? What about Christianity.

Once I know those things, I may be able to help you.

Stricken said he has "spent considerable time studying Rand in quite intense admiration" so I presumed he had read the basics, including Atlas Shrugged. Assuming this is a serious question I suggested OPAR as a more systematic presentation for someone serious about philosophical questions he is trying to resolve. That level of generality seemed a reasonable response to someone with a serious question about what is wrong with an hour of some theologian's arguments, with no specific questions, since no one here is inclined to waste time listening to an hour of religious appeals.

Now that I have briefly looked at the link provided I see it is for the homepage of a website selling CDs with sermons with the worst kind of attempts at emotionally manipulative "bible thumping" dogmatic ramblings. The one at the "listen" and "read" links we are asked to respond to isn't even coherent. If the nature of the transcript is any indication, there aren't any "points in the audio clip" to "argue", so I have to wonder how serious a philosophical question this is and what stricken found admirable about Ayn Rand. When someone says he is "on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings" of one or the other of the opposites, it isn't a good sign. We will see if there are serious responses to Betsy's questions.

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My dilemma is this; I'm on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings of Rand or the teachings of Christ.

Before I can give you an answer, I have a few questions.

  • You say that you cannot decide between polar opposite teachings. Why not?
  • What are you looking for?
  • What about Ayn Rand do you find appealing? What about Christianity?
  • What about Ayn Rand is problematic? What about Christianity.

Once I know those things, I may be able to help you.

MacArthur's sermon can best be summarized with the following verse found in Romans: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Paul wrote this to the church in Galatia in regard to the Ephesians at Ephesus and their idol worship and sexual promiscuity, if I remember correctly. I listen to the last 6 minutes of MacArthur's message and entertain the notion that's he's right; if done honestly and with a clear mind that's terrifying.

Betsy - It's not that I cannot decide between polar opposites, as in a broad sense, but specifically in regards to Objectivism and Christianity. I guess you could say I find the arguments compelling on both sides. Other philosophies, and especially other religions, fail to convict or convince me in any way. If I'm to adopt one I have to completely drop the other, and that's hard when you find both compelling.

I am looking for truth. Unadulterated and unbiased without motive or agenda.

I don't find anything appealing about Ayn Rand; her personal life, favorite composer or author I find irrellevant and outside my realm of concern. Whether or not she cheated on Frank with Branden and the potential reasons why doesn't put food on my table or tools in my hand. I'm interested in her mind, in her ideas, in her creation of Objectivism. Now to answer your question, Betsy, when I'm finished reading a chapter of Atlas Shrugged I crease the upper corner of the page and put the book down. When I lift my head up, I see things differently. My sense of awareness, not only of my surroundings but also of myself, is enhanced. It's been so powerful to me at times it's almost alarming. Objectivism provides an answer to the purpose behind things and people, including their motives, in direct relation to myself.

Christianity provides an answer to everything. If you take it as a whole, without exclusion or provision, it's complete. It's the only worldview I've found that provides a conclusive answer for everything; the question is whether that answer is correct.

Objectivism is not complete, it's a work in progress. I struggle with the possibility of how any creature can explain his own existence. Finally, when did your keyboard manifest itself? It didn't, it was created. Our existence itself is a study of creation. Nothing our senses provide us make a case for unexplained manifestation without cause or beginning.

Christianity relies on emotion, and obviously isn't palpable. The daily struggle of fighting your own conscience not knowing whether it's a devil or angel on your shoulder giving you supernatural insight makes life a process of rolling one ball up two different hills.

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Christianity provides an answer to everything. If you take it as a whole, without exclusion or provision, it's complete. It's the only worldview I've found that provides a conclusive answer for everything; the question is whether that answer is correct.

Objectivism is not complete, it's a work in progress. I struggle with the possibility of how any creature can explain his own existence. Finally, when did your keyboard manifest itself? It didn't, it was created. Our existence itself is a study of creation. Nothing our senses provide us make a case for unexplained manifestation without cause or beginning.

Christianity relies on emotion, and obviously isn't palpable. The daily struggle of fighting your own conscience not knowing whether it's a devil or angel on your shoulder giving you supernatural insight makes life a process of rolling one ball up two different hills.

It is easy to have answers to "everything" when all you have to do is make them up. In other words lying to yourself and others is simple when no attachment to reality has to been shown.

Their is no daily struggle within myself, I know what is in my rational selfish interest and I do not do the other. A rational man does not desire the irrational.

And you might have done a lot of reading of Ayn Rand's works, but it does not seem that you have understood much if anything. To begin with Objectivism is a done deal, I cannot add to it, you cannot add to it, and none of the psuedo-Objectivist can add to it. It is the philosophy of Ayn Rand which she titled Objectivism. If you want to create your own philosophy feel free to do so, but it will not be Objectivism. But, it already seems that you know that and hence you weak attempt at destroying it with your irrational and illogical statements.

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Now, I won't be kickin' if this post gets stricken.

Stricken is stricken by Christianity "complete";

Stricken is stricken, and lies at Stricken's feet.

And the soul sinks down in a poisonous ocean

Where "unexplained" existence is a wave of emotion.

Christianity is so complete 'twill forever hate Reason,

"Unadulterated", "unbiased", in every season.

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My dilemma is this; I'm on the fence with polar opposites, whether to adopt the teachings of Rand or the teachings of Christ.

Before I can give you an answer, I have a few questions.

  • You say that you cannot decide between polar opposite teachings. Why not?
  • What are you looking for?
  • What about Ayn Rand do you find appealing? What about Christianity?
  • What about Ayn Rand is problematic? What about Christianity.

Once I know those things, I may be able to help you.

MacArthur's sermon can best be summarized with the following verse found in Romans: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Paul wrote this to the church in Galatia in regard to the Ephesians at Ephesus and their idol worship and sexual promiscuity, if I remember correctly. I listen to the last 6 minutes of MacArthur's message and entertain the notion that's he's right; if done honestly and with a clear mind that's terrifying.

Who is the "they"? The world is crawling with 'fools' professing to be wise. But that observation doesn't explain what is in fact right or provide an argument to believe anything in particular -- most likely someone else's 'foolishness'.

Betsy - It's not that I cannot decide between polar opposites, as in a broad sense, but specifically in regards to Objectivism and Christianity. I guess you could say I find the arguments compelling on both sides. Other philosophies, and especially other religions, fail to convict or convince me in any way. If I'm to adopt one I have to completely drop the other, and that's hard when you find both compelling.

I am looking for truth. Unadulterated and unbiased without motive or agenda.

What is 'compelling' to you about a position that says you don't have to validate what you believe because you take it on faith? Where is the argument that is supposed to be "compelling"? How is that supposed to provide you with truth about anything, let alone everything?

What do you think the concept of 'truth' means and how do you think one finds out what it is? You don't just "adopt" some comprehensive outlook in its entirety, in accordance with some magic criterion you haven't yet found, and then live your life from there. You have to understand everything you believe and why.

I don't find anything appealing about Ayn Rand; her personal life, favorite composer or author I find irrellevant and outside my realm of concern. Whether or not she cheated on Frank with Branden and the potential reasons why doesn't put food on my table or tools in my hand. I'm interested in her mind, in her ideas, in her creation of Objectivism.

Betsy's question was a brief formulation of what do you like about Ayn Rand's writing and philosophy. As a basis for agreement with ideas it doesn't matter what you think of anyone's personal life or if you think you would have liked her personally.

Now to answer your question, Betsy, when I'm finished reading a chapter of Atlas Shrugged I crease the upper corner of the page and put the book down. When I lift my head up, I see things differently. My sense of awareness, not only of my surroundings but also of myself, is enhanced. It's been so powerful to me at times it's almost alarming. Objectivism provides an answer to the purpose behind things and people, including their motives, in direct relation to myself.

Christianity provides an answer to everything. If you take it as a whole, without exclusion or provision, it's complete. It's the only worldview I've found that provides a conclusive answer for everything; the question is whether that answer is correct.

As Ray stated above "It is easy to have answers to 'everything' when all you have to do is make them up." There is nothing "conclusive" about that. "God did it" is not an explanation for anything, let alone everything. Positing a supernatural creature somehow outside of existence and responsible for all of it explains nothing. It only makes your problem worse because now you have a more fantastically complex invention to explain, while having explained nothing about reality. If one is a mystic, it isn't explanations and the truth about existence that he seeks or obtains.

Objectivism is not complete, it's a work in progress.

Objectivism is Ayn Rand's philosophy and nothing further. There is always more knowledge to obtain, and better understanding to seek in more details, relationships and new discoveries. We are not omniscient. You can't change that no matter what you believe.

I struggle with the possibility of how any creature can explain his own existence.

Explain what about it in what sense?

Finally, when did your keyboard manifest itself? It didn't, it was created. Our existence itself is a study of creation.

There are man made objects and there are objects that come about through natural causes, including biological causes in accordance with the nature of living beings.

Nothing our senses provide us make a case for unexplained manifestation without cause or beginning

Our senses don't "make a case" for anything. You have to integrate what you perceive into concepts and think on the conceptual level.

Things do not happen without cause, but causality means an entity acting in accordance with its nature. It does not means some conscious creature had to do it, and it does not mean that all of "existence" -- the totality of all that exists -- as such requires a "cause". Causes occur within reality, not outside of it. An explanation is always in terms of something else about which you already know and which exists. That is how the concepts of cause and explanation arise. To ask for a cause of all existence itself, outside of existence, is a contradiction in terms; it denies the meanings and origins of the concepts of causality and explanation.

For advanced, complex realms of knowledge explanation requires the special sciences, like physics, chemistry and biology. That requires following a scientific method appropriate to the subject matter, investigating what things are and how they work, and validating your theories. You don't get that from your "senses" alone.

Christianity relies on emotion, and obviously isn't palpable.

It amounts to "emotion" but it is deeper and worse than that: it relies on faith -- belief without or in spite of reason -- as an alleged short cut to knowledge, bypassing the requirement for validation. That short-circuits and invalidates all your knowledge. Knowledge requires validation because our thinking is not infallible. Reality comes first, then consciousness perceives and identifies it. You can't bypass that relationship and the necessity to validate what you claim to know. There is no "sixth sense" providing you with infallible mystical insights, which in operation are no more than unexamined emotional reactions. Start mixing that in with what you have validated and you no longer know what in your alleged knowledge you can count on.

The daily struggle of fighting your own conscience not knowing whether it's a devil or angel on your shoulder giving you supernatural insight makes life a process of rolling one ball up two different hills.

Is that "daily struggle" against "your own conscience" what you are personally experiencing or is that only your characterization of living in accordance with religion (which is true)? (I think that Ray assumed it was the former.)

I still think that you should read Leonard Peikoff's OPAR for the reasons given in my first post. That will provide you with an organized understanding of philosophical questions, their hierarchical dependency, and how to answer them in the proper order. If you don't get that sorted out you will never answer your question, or worse you could by default wind up as a mystic detached from reality and from the truth about it that you wanted. A proper understanding could either fall into place relatively quickly for you or you could wind up in a real mess due to prior entrenched emotional attachments to a destructive psychology of thinking which would have to be uprooted.

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I struggle with the possibility of how any creature can explain his own existence. Finally, when did your keyboard manifest itself? It didn't, it was created. Our existence itself is a study of creation. Nothing our senses provide us make a case for unexplained manifestation without cause or beginning.

The science of evolution gives an adequate, secular explanation for how man came to exist. But if you are wondering - "Where did the universe come from? Who created the universe?" - then I have to ask you - "What makes you think that there was ever a time when nothing existed?" (actually that is something of an invalid question, since there would be not time "when" nothing existed). The universe was not created, it has always existed.

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Christianity provides an answer to everything. If you take it as a whole, without exclusion or provision, it's complete. It's the only worldview I've found that provides a conclusive answer for everything; the question is whether that answer is correct.

Which brings us to the question of how do we decide whether or not something is correct. We need a standard by which we tell whether an idea is true or false. In order to find this standard, we need to consider what we mean by words such as "correct" and "true." There must be a reason why you are looking for a correct set of ideas rather than just any random ideology that may or may not be correct. Can you put your finger on what that reason is?

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RayK - Obviously I don't understand as much of Ayn Rand's philosophy as yourself, however based on your replies you're not understanding much if anything of my posts. Please read my posts more thoroughly before replying.

ewv - I will wait for Betsy's reply before I answer yours so I can avoid repeating myself and walking in unnecessary circles so to speak.

Henrik - To be frank I'm not even sure evolutionists believe in evolution anymore, except in regards to some sort of monetary or political profit. I may have taken a leap earlier by saying Christianity is 'conclusive', but it would be treason to call evolution scientific fact. It does give an adequate secular explanation, but so does anything if it's convenient, whether that's Cro-Magnon man or Jesus Christ. I can throw in the Easter bunny and some leprechauns and somehow make it a proper explanation for that matter.

Capitalism - your post made me think the most and I think cut to the essential core of this entire discussion. To answer your question in 10 words or less, I'd say 'to live'. What's life without meaning, and what's meaning without understanding?

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I am looking for truth. Unadulterated and unbiased without motive or agenda.

What is 'compelling' to you about a position that says you don't have to validate what you believe because you take it on faith? Where is the argument that is supposed to be "compelling"? How is that supposed to provide you with truth about anything, let alone everything?

What do you think the concept of 'truth' means and how do you think one finds out what it is? You don't just "adopt" some comprehensive outlook in its entirety, in accordance with some magic criterion you haven't yet found, and then live your life from there. You have to understand everything you believe and why.

As a former Christian, and a rather serious one at that, I think I can relate to this. Religion leaves a scar of platonic tendencies in thinking that is long in undoing, if it even can be undone. Christianity emotionally cripples a human being, filling them with this profound need to find some kind of 'sacred truth' or 'divine meaning' to existence outside of existence itself.

The transition from Theism to Atheism is not always easy. It was an episode in my life that was psychologically unsettling, as it was impossible to rip the belief of god from yourself without simultaneously feeling as if meaning in life and existence wasn't being ripped away as well. It was hard to finally realize that not believing in god wouldn't leave a void in my life.

Non-objectivity is not practical; to the degree that it's practiced it is psychologically destructive.

I struggle with the possibility of how any creature can explain his own existence.

Explain what about it in what sense?

Finally, when did your keyboard manifest itself? It didn't, it was created. Our existence itself is a study of creation.

There are man made objects and there are objects that come about through natural causes, including biological causes in accordance with the nature of living beings.

Nothing our senses provide us make a case for unexplained manifestation without cause or beginning

Our senses don't "make a case" for anything. You have to integrate what you perceive into concepts and think on the conceptual level.

Things do not happen without cause, but causality means an entity acting in accordance with its nature...

If Stricken's situation is similar to what mine was, then no amount of logical explanation can help. You feel that there is this void that can only be filled or supplanted by appealing to some kind of meaning or 'ultimate truth' outside of reality. For myself this was a radically transformative period, that forever changed the relationship between my life and the world. I don't know what kind of advice can be possible given, as this is primarily a psychological battle that only he can wage.

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RayK - Obviously I don't understand as much of Ayn Rand's philosophy as yourself, however based on your replies you're not understanding much if anything of my posts. Please read my posts more thoroughly before replying.

I read and understood your post and did not notice any ideas that I have not read or heard before nor of any use in reality and one's pursuit of a life that is natural (this worldly) to man.

The meaning of your life is set by you, not some god or religious doctrines. You are the one that has the power to choose values, (of which your life is the primary value) set goals and then take the action to achieve and or maintain them which includes the maintaining of your life. It is only a rational moral standard that can help you do the things I mention and achieve happiness and enjoy your life of which your standard of good and evil is life; that which enhances life is the good and that which detracts from life is the evil. And to be able to determine what is good or evil requires and understanding of the nature of reality/existence and man's tie to it which you will not find in any religious text/scripture.

To "be frank" your comments on evolution are not even worthy of my time to reply.

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Henrik - To be frank I'm not even sure evolutionists believe in evolution anymore, except in regards to some sort of monetary or political profit. I may have taken a leap earlier by saying Christianity is 'conclusive', but it would be treason to call evolution scientific fact. It does give an adequate secular explanation, but so does anything if it's convenient, whether that's Cro-Magnon man or Jesus Christ. I can throw in the Easter bunny and some leprechauns and somehow make it a proper explanation for that matter.

Evolution is scientific fact, and science is much more than just "convenient secular explanations". It's an objective, hierarchical structure of knowledge that was obtained through exhaustive analysis of the facts of reality and the careful induction and abstraction of theories from that, all the while making sure that scientific-theory and observational-fact are self-consistent.

I would caution you that there may be serious and fundamental flaws in your thinking habits to have formed such a slippery chain of reasoning, the same kinds of flaws that may be leading you to your "Christianity vs Objectivism" sticking point.

Having clarity and consistency of meaning in your own thoughts is probably the most important habit you'll ever make.

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Objectivism is not complete, it's a work in progress.

I disagree with this particular assertion. The "concept" of Objectivism, the philosophy (I am probably using the wrong words) IS complete. One great thing about the philosophy of Objectivism is that it is extremist and does not compromise. Because of this fact, it is quite easy to build a base relatively quickly from which you can then build your understanding of the world (which takes a lifetime).

I'd suggest you read Philosophy: Who Needs It by Ayn Rand. That book, even more so than Atlas and The Fountainhead, really changed my life by explaining philosophy in terms my simple non-literary mind could understand, and clarifying much that was left implicit in Atlas. It's a very short read, and a very good one. I am now profoundly happy, and have been so through some of the toughest times of my life, because of this philosophy.

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I believe it was OPAR, but I distinctly remember reading Ayn Rand saying that certain details of her philosophy had to be finished and built up as time went on. Correct me if I'm wrong, but she wasn't an outright supporter of Evolution. Carlos or RayK, would you be kind enough to provide me resources that support evolution as scientific fact? Obviously for one person to exhaust all possible sources is impossible, maybe I missed something important along the way.

RayK, I suppose this current 'quandary' I'm in could be considered a detraction in itself. Carlos, you hit the nail on the head with your first post.

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