Nimrod and Ayn Rand and other things

While preparing for the sermon Sunday, June 13th, on Christian families, I decided to begin with the Tower of Babel. I traversed from there to Jesus' parable about the men who built houses on sand and on The Rock.

In studying I found out some curious things about Nimrod and Ayn Rand. In several scholarly sources, I found comparisons between the two, with several scholars expounding on the philosiphies of both. It was interesting to note that the similarities between their philosophies were extremely close. It is also interesting to note that both Nimrod and Rand held similar ideas about the primacy of The Human Spirit versus ideas about God.

While I have my questions about the comparisons made by those scholars, it is interesting to note that Nimrod's arrogant belief that he would lead humans to become "like gods," and Rand's belief that humans, not God, are the primary force in the universe are so similar. And...both easily lead humans to unhealthy patterns of living.

In today's conservatively extreme adherents, we find a great resurgance of Rand's popularity. "The Gospel of Selfishness" espoused by Rand is the meat and potatoes of Wall Street and the Corporate World. Rand's belief that extraordinary people need not be bound by conventional mores easily translates into a mantra for unbridled greed. It also easily translates into rhetorical cant which speaks of "divisions" between human classes based on innate ability and ruthless selfishness. Extremist elements within the conservative movement are using this philosophy and the fears inherent in a time of change to bring about one of the most divisive times in American history.

Nowhere do we see this more poignantly illustrated than in the rampant growth of the divide between the rich and poor and in the racial/class warfare promoted by nativists and white supremacists in today's immigration battles. These divides stand in direct juxtaposition to God's message through Jesus. Nowhere in America is this more amply illustrated than in Arizona's law against immigrants which was written by State Senator Russell Pearce, a man with proven ties to Neo Nazi groups and white power organizations.

It is important for all of us Christians to realize that the Gospel is as radical a belief for unity and the good as are the beliefs of hate and nativist groups for evil. It is important to remember that Jesus taught a radical understanding of all humans as brothers and sisters: Children of God. It is important for Christians to realize that the power of evil is evident among us, and we need to be ready to radically affirm peace and justice in the name of Christ.

In our midst we are watching a great battle. It is a battle as old as humankind itself. It is the battle between good and evil. The battle ebbs and flows, but it is never done. We are called always to be harbingers of peace and justice in the divisive tug-and-pull of this eternal battle. As Nehemiah stated in his reply to Sanballat who wanted him to come down from Jerusalem's wall he was rebuilding so Sanballat and his cronies could slay him and terrorize Nehemiah's followers: "I am doing a great work, I cannot come down."

Curtis Rivers
June 14, 2010

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