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How Objectivists Respond to Religionists

How Objectivists Respond to Religionists

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January 26, 2011

Question: How do Objectivists respond to those who believe in an anthropomorphic God, Satan, heaven, hell, and a soul, supported only by faith and a belief in myth?

Answer: Objectivists are advocates of reason, so we first try to reason with people who believe in ideas supported only by faith.

Of course, Objectivism rejects faith as a means of knowledge. You can read more about this in our " What is Objectivism " essay section on the web, and in our FAQ answer regarding Objectivism and religion .

Many people believe in religions for reasons having to do with needing a sense of meaning in life. So we try to show why we do not need a father in the sky or other anthropomorphic super-natural figure to achieve this. Or people may say there is Satan, to make others fear evil. Well, evil, which is at root irrationality, is a present threat to anyone who practices it in this life, and we try to show why there are perfectly good reasons not to do evil here on earth.

If we are dealing with people unamenable to rational discussion on this issue, we try to work with the rational aspect of their character. Most Americans, after all, profess a faith in God that is unshakable, but do not accept faith as the standard of knowledge for any matter of practical importance. So with such people, it can be worthwhile to set religion aside at least in the short run and try to bring out the dominant, rational side of their character.

But if a person is so dominated by unreason that in character he is evil and is working evil quite regularly, then we are faced with a person we must morally oppose, and possibly even denounce. After all, we must fight the evil of irrationality vigorously if we want a better world.