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The Soul of Atlas: Ayn Rand, Christianity, a Quest for Common Ground Paperback – February 27, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
There were times when I rolled my eyes at the author's philosophical compromises. I was often frustrated with his interpretation of Rand's philosophy and the limits of his conclusions about Objectivism. The fact that he doesn't address her axioms head-on caused me to question the book's intention at times. Regardless, I think the message is valiant and his personal quest can be well received by the most Randian of fans. I certainly walked away with a more compassionate appreciation of the dance between reason and faith, and a desire to hear (understand) more.
I'm adding the author to my list of interesting people I'd love to have lunch with.
Mark considers these philosophies using the voices of his father ("Dad") and stepfather ("John") - each articulating the best understanding of their respective philosophies/worldviews. Mark becomes the impartial arbiter of his fathers' perspectives and invites the reader to join him in the arbitration as he navigates the arguments and the life-decisions that emanate from them. This approach is more compelling than an exposition of each idea on its own terms, because it feels like more of a conversation. But in many ways it is better than a conversation, because it allows each person to fully establish their arguments, without the messiness that usually comes with actual argument.
Additionally, the two-voices approach brings the differences in philosophy to life and demonstrates how those differences flow into key areas of life (e.g., money, sex, power). Henderson does not merely examine differences though; he defines the common space between the philosophies. His conclusions are surprising, thought provoking and provocative.
Henderson's deep respect for his fathers translates to a thoughtful and nuanced handling of the philosophies that they embody. Consequently, this is a book that both objectivists and Christians will find appealing. It will allow each to better understand his own worldview and to better appreciate the perspective of those who don't share it.
On another note, individualism as an overriding premise ignores the achievements of collectivist thinking. When you scratch the surface you find that individuals have rarely achieved much or as Rand likes to say "produced" much without a form of philosophical plagiarism or first standing on the shoulders of others and using the labor of still more. And that's not just true for Hoover Dams and Notre Dames and the Parthenon and Pyramids. It also applies to Democracy and capitalism and US Constitutions and art and philosophical hedonism. Objectivists ought to look into the Nash equilibrium theory or the version of it uncovered by Cournot (oligopoly). In laymen terms - my desires are more effectively and efficiently achieved by taking into consideration the desires of my competitors.
For some reason Rand makes me think of another neo-Nietzschean voice of the sixties, Eric Hoffer. Hoffer demanded of his readers that they think through his aphoristic summations. He worked from similar premises of individual freedom and responsibility but often came to subtly different conclusions than Rand and far less ideological in tone. His shortcoming was of course a dearth of solutions, the plague of most ideologies, and the occasional inconsistency, the birthright of all reasoning. All that ideologies really possess are their premises and a guess that those premises will produce some desired solution.Read more ›
He sanctifies this Conversation by drawing us into the intimacy of its most poignant struggles. His unique journey includes fathers of both the Objectivist and Christian viewpoint, and he skillfully relates his pursuit to find common ground from the people closest to him.
Subtle and approachable, yet deep and nuanced, like any fine meal, be careful with this book lest you over-indulge. It is best taken in measured doses, perhaps a chapter a day. I'd also recommend an excellent digestif - that you start your own conversation along the way!
I hope that the Conversation doesn't end here; we need more dialogues modeled after this one, where we first seek to understand prior to being understood. Perhaps the first discussion could be titled, "Who was more selfish? Jesus, or Ayn Rand?" Bravo, Mark, for kicking off the Conversation!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thoroughly enjoyed. I have long been a believer in both camps ideals, this book takes away the confusion. God Bless!Published 6 months ago by Eric J. Rose
I first read Atlas Shrugged, and then The Fountainhead, after I had completed my bachelor's degree in philosophy and a masters in theology. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Philly Lawyer
The Soul of Atlas takes the reader on a beautiful journey to reconcile two seemingly opposite worldviews: objectivism and Christianity. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kelly
For years I have been telling people that the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand is not in every way contrary to Christianity. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Shawn T. Miller
Exactly what I was expecting! Great product - I would absolutely recommend this to anyone.Published 18 months ago by brittney little
What I like about this book is Mark David Henderson’s self-reflection, his recognition of how his personal experiences affect his beliefs and values, his attempt to set into... Read morePublished 23 months ago by AJC
This book is the authors attempt at showing the differences and similarities of objectivism and Christianity. Very compelling and makes you think.Published on June 26, 2014 by Donttreadonme
Although libertarians have been known to say that it usually begins with Ayn Rand, Christians – especially Christian libertarians – have varying views of Rand and the objectivist... Read morePublished on June 2, 2014 by Norman
Seasoned with the perfect amount of philosophy and personal story, Henderson successfully weaves together the two contrasting views of his childhood: Objectivism and Christianity. Read morePublished on April 21, 2014 by Jodi Byrne