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phaedrusjaapovlitos
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The Contender
Duncan
Con (against)
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Ayn Rand's philosophy isn't compatible to popular religions

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/29/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 596 times Debate No: 36122
Debate Rounds (3)
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phaedrusjaapovlitos

Pro

Hello all! This is my first debate on this website, so I'd like to begin by thanking you all for your intellectual insights and foreknowledge of debating online. I appreciate your time and look forward to learning how it is done.

That being said, I would like to debate on the controversial author Ayn Rand on her philosophy, objectivism, particularly in the sense of religious applicability.

In The Fountainhead, Rand describes Roark's passion for architecture as a religious zeal, as being the only religion he has in his life. Given that Rand uses Roark's character to model an active disciple of her philosophy, this seems, to me, to indicate that she, in fact, regards her philosophy as a religion.

Would that make her philosophy compatible to other religions, specifically as applicable to those religions? I daresay that it is not. Even if you agree with religious relativism (which I do not), it isn't compatible to popular religions such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, etc. This is due to the fact that they advocate altruism, which is the direct opposite of the egotist ideals Rand praises.

Thanks again for anyone that chooses to provide a rebuttal; I look forward to a good first debate!
Duncan

Con

...Is it someone new?... I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No!' says the man in Washington, 'It belongs to the poor.' 'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'It belongs to God.' 'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'It belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Debate.org, a site where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, Where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Debate.org can become your site as well.

Ayn Rand's philosophy is a way of life that she believed was the most logical way to survive in society. It could be considered a religion as it is a way of life, a culture, and a belief, and while most religions involve a supernatural, her religion uses the concept of value as a thing to be worshipped. While you may say that religion teaches altruism, far from it. Religions such as Judaism and Islam hold their roots in a tribal way of life which involves furthering one's one tribe at the justified expense of others. Christianity followed suit. They may say thou shalt not kill, but that only means people in your own tribe. Others are fair game. You may point out that nowadays, the major world religions preach peace to try and regain some lost followers, nut their past remains. Ayn Rand's religion is a young one, still in the selfish and violent state, and would possibly grow to be more lenient if it were practiced in the real world, but their are few who follow that path. It holds the characteristics of a young religion, but a religion nevertheless.

Awaiting your response,

Duncan.
Debate Round No. 1
phaedrusjaapovlitos

Pro

Hello Duncan! Thanks for the entertaining introduction of how you came to debate.org.

My first point would be to point out that Ayn Rand's objectivism is not meant to help people survive in society, but rather to ostracize them, thereby giving them peace and true happiness through fulfillment of things the individual valued. In The Fountainhead, Roark and Cameron demonstrate this specific point because they did purely what they were passionate about, and fitting in with the egotism of objectivism, they did this so purely that society hated them and attempted to destroy them (succeeding with Cameron). Another individual would be Gail Wynard, whom perversely bought the souls of men who carried similar ideals as Roark and Cameron with trinkets, which made them part of the soulless masses.

As for the religious applicability, TRUE disciples of the mentioned faiths, have always followed an altruistic path in the regard that they, their own actual personal self, were part of something greater and were to look after their follow man. This being said, I think you take it a bit off track when you mention that Islam and Judaism specifically once took care of their tribe over others. It's a bit of a fallacy because, really your tribe, even though they are yours, are other people. It'd be the same as taking care of your family first and foremost before the needs of others, which isn't condoned by the religions but rather encouraged.

Ayn Rand's philosophy is purely a selfish, self-centered one, and she never tried to hide that. Compared to the other mentioned religions, I will agree that her way of life, in a religious sense, is a new one. After all, she was a Russian writer from the mid-20th century, but none of the other religions, even in their earliest stages, truly had this unpopular, violent start that you say they do. Like I said, look to the true believers, not the zealots or radicals, and you will deduce similarly.

Phaedrus
Duncan

Con

Ayn Rand's philosophy is a selfish one, yes. But selfishness does not determine a religion. You have said that true members of a faith practice altruism, but a true Christian would follow the bible word for word, and would prepare a calf for slaughter each week. Over the years, the tone and interpretation has changed to be kinder and more appealing, but the roots are undeniable. The same goes for Objectivism. Perhaps if it was practiced over time, it would preach altruism or generosity, but as few practice it, we could never know. Objectivism carries the traits of a young religion; selfish, aggressive, and not yet dynamic enough to expand fully. But it carries those traits regardless.

Awaiting your response,

Duncan.
Debate Round No. 2
phaedrusjaapovlitos

Pro

To begin with, Christianity no longer practices sacrifice because Jesus became the last sacrifice.

That being said, Ayn Rand says specifically that objectivism goes against Altruism. This isn't a debate on whether or not a religion could go against altruism, which it could, but whether or not it would be compatible in mindset with popular religions of today, which it doesn't. It's also important to note that in their earliest days the religions mentioned were never violent, and neither does Objectivism. That came with moral corruption, not the basic theologies surrounding and defining these religions.

Purely in the mindset, objectivism and the popular religions contradict each other. Each condones the others ideals for what man should stand for: objectivism standing for a man whom focuses on his own happiness and altruism standing for helping others. Therefore, they are not compatible with each other.
Duncan

Con

Ah, but you misunderstand my approach here; Christianity may have reformed itself, but a time existed when the hierarchy of the church cheated the people out of their money, not very altruistic at all. And they have changed, but you cannot deny its past. Rand's philosophy is still in the young state, so you may as well be arguing that an acorn is not compatible to an oak. Now, I have a new argument, sorry for not using it earlier, but I only heard of it recently. Nothing done can ever be selfless. Basic things like eating, obvious, working overtime, still for personal gain; but when you help someone...

You help someone because you see them in a bad position, and that distresses you; you wouldn't help them if you didn't care. Next, when you help them, you are given a surge of happiness and pride for having done a good thing. In this way, altruism is in fact self interested. True, a good action is a good action regardless of the reason, but if helping other people makes you happy, then helping people is integral to the pursuit of self happiness. It just so happens that you help others along the way.

It's been fun, and perhaps we'll debate again,

Duncan.
Debate Round No. 3
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