The Common Good

Choosing Between Ayn Rand and Jesus

In one of the most-viewed articles on several weeks ago, writer Onkar Ghate presents a choice of competing moralities between Ayn Rand and Jesus. While his exegetical powers leave much to be desired, he is correct in noting that the choice many Americans will have to make, as far as political philosophies go, is between Ayn Rand and Jesus.

I grew sad reading while his comments stating that Ayn Rand is the best representative of the neo-conservative vision for America -- one where the individual is responsible only for the individual and selfishness is a virtue.

Now, this is not about Republican vs. Democrat. For many years, both parties have agreed on the basic morality that was defined by Jesus. They disagreed on the policies to create these moralities. For example, take the welfare reforms of the '90s. Both Republicans and Democrats agreed on wanting to lifting people out of poverty. While Democrats believed in government programs of help and training, the Republicans believed that time limits on welfare would give people the incentive to work their way out of poverty. The basic morality of both views, however, was the same: the importance of helping the poor.

Now, there is another vision that is rising: a neo-conservative vision informed by the philosophies of Ayn Rand that place individualism above helping others.

Maybe it was born of the permissive cultural revolutions of '60s, or out of political think tanks, but the reality is that this new political philosophy is now finding a voice out of people's frustrations about our current economic mess. The core of this philosophy is a call to the individual, regardless of any concern for the community or the other. Any concern for the community or the common good is dismissed as "collectivism." Actually, this is an age-old philosophy that is summed up in the book of Judges:

In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes. (Judges 17:6)

As Christians, the choice is clear. We must choose life. We must choose community over ourselves. We must choose Jesus.

portrait-ernesto-tinajero1Ernesto Tinajero is a freelance writer in Spokane, Washington, who earned his master's degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. Visit his blog at

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories


Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)