3
   

Jesus vs. John Galt

 
 
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 11:22 am
Jesus and John Galt are both protagonists from works of literature. Some say the books they appear in are the two most influential books ever written. They both are men who reject mainstream of society and start popular movements. Beyond that, their philosophies could not be more different.

This thread is a discussion/debate of the value of the philosophies each represent.

I do not want to enter a religous discussion. Whether either or both is a fictional character is irrelevant to the discussion. For the purpose of this thread, we will assume that The Bible and Atlas Shrugged are authoritative in that they accurately reflect the true nature of the philosophies under discussion.

[Note: In case anyone is planning to read either of these books, this thread may contain spoilers.]

In this thread I will be arguing on the side of Jesus.

My thesis is that the philosophy of Jesus, which entails compassion, forgiveness and loving your neighbor, will lead to a better personal life and a more just, equitible and stronger society.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 12,629 • Replies: 83
No top replies

 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 12:02 pm
Too cool Ebrown_P. I've got a couple things to do but I'm looking forward to this one. I'll probably get my ass kicked... but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless. I sure hope we can keep on topic! I'll be back...
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 12:47 pm
Re: Jesus vs. John Galt
ebrown_p wrote:
For the purpose of this thread, we will assume that The Bible and Atlas Shrugged are authoritative in that they accurately reflect the true nature of the philosophies under discussion.


I probably can't contribute here because I don't know John Galt, and haven't read _Atlas Shrugged_. Would it be possible for you to summarize the Atlas Shrugged point of view, or is it necessary to read the book?
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 01:01 pm
Bill, you want to take this one?

In my opinion, this speech is the highlight of Atlas Shrugged and summarizes the philosophy pretty well.

http://www.atlasshrugged.tv/speech.htm

The sparks notes summary is here. The plot summary is interesting but the analysis of major characters gives a very good idea of what the novel is about.

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/atlasshrugged/
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 01:21 pm
Quote:
In this thread I will be arguing on the side of Jesus.


Yikes, that makes this look daunting. But I guess that leaves me with;
In this thread I will be arguing on the side of John Galt.


Disclaimer:
I want to disclaim up front that I mean absolutely no disrespect to Jesus, the Bible, the Church etc. etc. etc. As Ebrown said this is not about that and I will try my best not to answer any Theist Vs. Atheist posts. Though I will from time to time necessarily refer to organized religion and all other societal groups in unfavorable ways, I mean no offense to anyone with any particular beliefs. For the record, the people I love most on this planet are made up of folks from left of the most leftist lefty I've met on A2K, to right of Attila and I've seen brilliance from Theists and Atheists alike. Though I seldom ever edit a post, I reserve the right to edit this one if it becomes necessary add to this disclaimer.

Oops, that didn't take long: Since it's been a decade since I read either Atlas Shrugged or the Bible, I will no doubt make mistakes in quotes and interpretation of both. Please forgive any inconsequential errors and correct me only if it changes the point I'm trying to make. I will not be physically referencing either book during this discussion.

Another came to mind. I'm going to try hard to defend Galt's point of view, but will no doubt do a terrible job compared to what Rand herself did. So don't confuse my stumbling with her book. Just like the bible, you have to read it for yourself and decide what it means to you.




Okay Ebrown. You stated on another thread that Galt, by way of Ragnar Danneskjold, didn't understand the Robin Hood legend very well. Very provocative to a Galt fan like me. I say he nailed it right on the head. Robin Hood was a thief. Not a selfish thief mind you, but a thief nonetheless. He stole wealth from it's rightful owners and then justified his behavior by giving it away to those who hadn't earned it. As the story goes, this supposedly unselfish behavior is cause to make a kind of folk hero out him. Now according to Galt's philosophy, he wasn't just wrong because stealing is wrong, but also because the beneficiaries of his crimes were not entitled to the ill-gotten gains. Hence, he was doubly wrong which I agree with completely. If I steal and then share with my friends, I am still nothing more than thief and deserve to be treated accordingly. Where do I have that wrong?

Rosborn: I'm sorry but I truly believe you need to have read both books for yourself to understand what they mean to you. No two people I ever met got the exact same meaning out of either of them.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 03:13 pm
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Rosborne: I'm sorry but I truly believe you need to have read both books for yourself to understand what they mean to you. No two people I ever met got the exact same meaning out of either of them.


I read the links EBrown_P provided, and while I find some of the ideas there (specifically "money is the root of all good") as interesting, and maybe even correct. I don't get enough out of it to be able to answer a comparison to the philosophy of Jesus (another area in which I'm no expert).

I also read the plot synopsis and barely understood it, so the book is probably not going to make it very high onto my reading list. Sorry.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 03:18 pm
Jesus vs. John Galt, eh?

Who plays the winner?
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 03:29 pm
A bit of research has uncovered the following:

_Atlas Shrugged_ contains the most complete presentation of Ayn Rand's personal philosophy, known as objectivism, in fictional form.

An Introduction to Objectivism is here.

For others, like me, who are lost in this discussion might find the following synopsis of Objectivism helpful. It is from the link above. It seems to me that each point is debatable, so to follow EBrown_P's intention, we would have to accept Objectivism summarily, and expand on how it differs from Jesus's philosophy.

The web page wrote:
0 Replies
 
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 03:39 pm
Damn, this is a really interesting one. I will have to jump in here later though, as the a-holes are coming out of the woodwork here at work.
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 03:47 pm
I still owe you one, don't I Joe? But, as worded, Ebrown should probably answer that question. I prefer Galt's lessons myself, but it's a pretty tough sell, so I don't know how I'll fair.

I started to write an initial post for that legal debate a couple of times, but kept getting stuck after:
"I don't know why I agreed to this, since I have no qualifications Shocked ,..." and then I couldn't think of what to contend.
I think that thread has since died though, so I suppose we could just pick things up there, where we left off, without bothering anybody. What do you think?
0 Replies
 
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 04:35 pm
I loved Atlas Shrugged, but I don't see how following Galt's philosophies could be more personally enriching than a life following the teachings of Jesus.

But as far as achieving a fair, equitable society, Galt's ideas would best achieve that, in my opinion.

Here is a quote from John Galt, about charity: "If you choose to help a man who suffers, do it only on the ground of his virtues, of his fight to recover, of his rational record, or of the fact that he suffers unjustly; then your action is still a trade, and his virtue is the payment for your help. But to help a man who has no virtues, to help him on the ground of his suffering as such, to accept his faults, his need, as a claim - is to accept the mortgage of a zero on your values."
0 Replies
 
Terry
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 05:06 pm
I don't think that the kind of society advocated by Jesus would be viable in the real world: sharing resources equally with no regard for the contributions of each individual provides no incentive to work hard, trusting that someone else (God or the State) will provide whatever you need is imprudent, getting the same pay whether you work one hour or 8 is unfair, if everyone abandoned their family and home to wander around making speeches instead of doing productive work we would all starve, and relying on prayer and miracles instead of logic and science is foolish.

I suspect that successful, self-reliant individuals are drawn to John Galt's capiatalistic philosophy, those who are uncertain of their ability to survive without the aid of others would feel more secure in a Christian world.

Who says that compulsory compassion, forgiveness without atonement, and loving people who don't deserve it would lead to a better personal life than the self-esteem resulting from everyone achieving their own goals through merit and hard work?

Why should a society value compassion over survival of the fittest? Yes, our society has taken great pains to instill charitable values in its citizens (in part because those who are in charge of redistributing wealth have a lot of power), but I am not convinced that a welfare state is ultimately good for anyone.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 05:09 pm
I haven't read on objectovism since 1964. I have read Jesus sporadically. Some of the Jesus literature seems contradictory "Do unto others -", "I bring a sword to set father against son, brother against brother -" and so forth. Most people think only of the compassionate Jesus, and that's what I will do on this thread. His teachings are not far from Zen, it often seems. At any rate, I am an atheist who loves the teachings of Jesus.
I do not like Ayn Rand's philosophy at all. It sets up elitism, gives justification to virtually enslave the masses (because they aren't able to keep up with the swift and moneyed). The workers are despised as some sort of communists if they want organized labor (in that context the bosses couldn't romp on them). Any organized societal help of the poor is frowned upon (only church and philanthropists allowed to give). The list goes on and on. All objectovism could do is perpetuate class warfare.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 06:57 pm
Kicky, you provide a good starting point for my defense (I was going to start with money, but we will get to that.)

Galt's statement here relates to personal ethics not to social policy. Of course personal ethics affects the community. I assume that Galt would follow this belief regardless of law or people around him. Jesus would follow his beliefs as well.

The philosophy expressed in this quote is requires a level of arrogance. If you come to me with a need, I must judge whether you are worthy of my help. Do you want to judge the "unjustness" of someone's suffering? Will you interview him and ask for a believable performance to prove this? Do you want to judge someone else's virtue?

I don't want to be in this position. I probably won't do a good job. History tells us that "virtue" is often judged by irrational measures. People tend to be swayed by height, weight, race etc. We have trouble hiring employees fairly. If everyone lives by this, it will amplify the inequities in society.

In contrast, Jesus' philosophy is summed up by

Jesus (Gospel of Luke chapter 6) wrote:

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
...
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned


These quotes from Galt and Jesus are both extreme. But which is better for society and for the individual.

"Do to others as you would have them do to you." is a very logical statement. A community with this standard will be united and will work together for the common good.

The fact that I will give without judgement takes a burden off of me. There is a basic fairness and goodness about this. I am not forced to decide whether you deserve my help or wrestle with my prejudices.

In a community with this standard, I don't need to worry about bad times that may come. The entire can be confident their needs will be met-- as a community.

A society that lives by Galt's standard will be arrogant, unfair and will disunited. People will not work together as they will be worried about whether their neighbors have the "virtue".

When Terry doesn't help Kicky in his time of need because he didn't rate as virtuous, you think Kicky is not going to remember this? This society will tend to break down into people who will never help each other.

A community that excepts the philosophy of Christ will have more confident people who work together for the good of all. Under Galt's philosophy people will be arrogant, and will face the arrogance and judgement of others. They will not have support during times of need nor work together with their neighbors.
0 Replies
 
tcis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 07:34 pm
0 Replies
 
the reincarnation of suzy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 08:04 pm
I agree.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 08:13 pm
OCCOM BILL wrote:
I still owe you one, don't I Joe? But, as worded, Ebrown should probably answer that question. I prefer Galt's lessons myself, but it's a pretty tough sell, so I don't know how I'll fair.

I started to write an initial post for that legal debate a couple of times, but kept getting stuck after:
"I don't know why I agreed to this, since I have no qualifications Shocked ,..." and then I couldn't think of what to contend.
I think that thread has since died though, so I suppose we could just pick things up there, where we left off, without bothering anybody. What do you think?

Uh, I don't know what you're talking about. Do you owe me a response from a previous thread?
0 Replies
 
OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2004 08:53 pm
Yep. Something came up during a conversation about one of Edwards' Legal cases... and it seemed too far off topic... so after a couple of back and forths I suggested we should do it on a new thread... you agreed and told me to start one... but I never did. It doesn't sound like you missed it too terribly bad though. Laughing And I can't remember where it was (I've babbled a lot since :wink: ). Oh wellÂ…
0 Replies
 
john-nyc
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 07:00 am
I shouldn't really post to any of these threads because I have little time to defend any arguments that I might offer and I am a painfully slow hunt-and-pecker. Mostly I just enjoy reading the give and take.

HOWEVER, consider this: Rand herself was an imperfect egoist.

A true egoist would find utopia in a world of altruists. S/he would not feel the need to spread his/her philosophy, which, in itself, would be an altruistic act. While the world was going around sharing and sharing alike the egoist, acting in his/her own self interest, would be in a position to take advantage. It would not be Rand-ian to wise up the suckers.
0 Replies
 
Terry
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Jul, 2004 07:17 am
edgar, Galt's philosophy does not allow anyone to be enslaved. No one may be forced to work for someone else or have the fruits of their labors taken from them. Of course workers may organize, but they may not coerce factory owners into paying them more than their labor is worth through violence, intimidation, or acts of Congress.

Anyone may help anyone else for any reason. But the state may not forcibly take my money and give it to someone who IMO does not deserve it. I should not be forced to support behavior that I deem immoral.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Jesus vs. John Galt
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 10/19/2021 at 10:05:20