We make a serious mistake when we assume that the motives of conservative-minded individuals are basically standardized (Of course the same would apply to the liberal-leaning). Some are much more compassionate than others. Some are much more rugged individualist than others. From my own point of view, at least, I have often found myself very embarrassed to find that I've been completely misled in my estimation of another's character.
For instance, I once belonged to a facebook group for more than a year before I realized the moderator was the full-time leader of an organizational movement, based on a loose interpretation of conservative Christianity, but primarily driven by unabashed Randian objectivist philosophy. This realization was a fairly gradual process.
The mod actually gave me the boot when I called into question the sudden transformation of the group logo from a Christian-themed image with a miniature figure of Atlas bearing the world upon his shoulders in a lower corner, to that of merely the latter, front and center, large and in charge.
We had a short conversation about the possibility of actual compatibility between textbook objectivism and Biblical Christianity. It began with my simply asking him if he was really going to move forward with the prominent "Atlas Shrugged" imagery as his permanent logo, to which he replied, simply: "Yep." It ended with my inquiry as to how the quintessential objectivist John Galt mantra ("I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.") was in any way expressive or representative of the Gospel of Christ. That seems to have torn it. He banned me immediately.
We then had a private conversation in which I charged him with cowardice for his freely admitted censorship of my questions. This "name-calling", he was quick to announce, infuriated him. I then assured him that at least in my estimation, a single act of cowardice does not a coward make. He seemed quickly able to draw the distinction and, somewhat surprisingly, seemed almost suddenly at ease and amenable to my views.
We parted rather peaceably. I have long prayed that the unfortunate young fellow would be touched by God and cease his deception. His method is to attract highly intelligent, yet impressionable followers of Christ, and allow them to discuss nearly anything, while he sprinkles the group with posts containing mostly subtle content espousing Randian philosophy. It is a clever work and the vast majority of participants exhibit little if any awareness of his agenda.
The group's title is literally that of one of Ayn Rand's bona fide philosophical texts, with the word "Christian" strategically inserted. It took me a while to spot this since, although I had made a brief study of her life and work, I had only actually read three of her works, all novels.
Friends, I say this largely apart from regard to my experience and opinion: It is generally unwise to identify with a "flavored" form of Christianity. Little, if any, Spiritual fruit is ever cultivated in this manner. This may seem ironic or even hypocritical coming from a sectarian such as myself, but in the interest of avoiding any further expansive commentary, I will offer only this as explanation:
My chosen faith came to me as a twenty-five-year-old adult. I was already in steadfast allegiance to the Southern Baptist system of doctrine, having experienced conversion thereby at age eight. I resisted a change of communion greatly. But I believe God urged upon me the urgency and timely relevance of the mission of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.
If I were to somehow find that I have thus deceived myself, I would almost surely become non-denom or agnostic. To become atheist would, to me, require proof that God could not possibly exist. Not gonna happen, folks.
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