"Now choose to perish or to learn that the anti-mind is the anti-life. ... Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. ... His mind is given to him, it's content is not. To remain alive, he must act, and before he can act he must know the nature and purpose of his action."
- Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, p.926, 50th Anniversary Edition, Signet Books
A comment from the last post asked me about my new political views and what of their influence on my religious views. It's an interesting thing. While my shift in political views and my new found interest in Ayn Rand and her philosophy has changed the way I think about about everything, including my faith and religious beliefs, it hasn't actually changed them.
I've always enjoyed questioning things - especially authority! It's not that I won't "do what's right" or make good decisions, I just hate being told to. Just ask my parents. I was a fun child to raise. As I've grown up and become more of an adult I found this translated into a love for the more philosophical and more abstract parts of faith and religion. I say more philosophical and abstract because most faith is just that. When I finally settled on a course of study in college, it was religious studies with most of my focus in Jewish studies. I loved finding the similarities between different religions. I enjoy - no, love - no, thrive - to question faith, not to prove it wrong, but to prove it right. There is so much of this world, universe and existence that we don't understand and probably can't comprehend. That's where faith and hope step in. It excites and even more than that, it thrills me to think that there is more out there. That life continues after my body dies. That whatever the part of who I am that continues to exist after my body has grown old and died, the soul, spirit, or intelligence, will continue to learn and grow. Forever. I truly believe that I will be able to still explore faith, fact, and beliefs into eternity. That is how I "act" - I question and in turn learn and grow. I think the same is true of the "next life." That if we don't think, we won't survive.
That's what the quote of the top of the page means to me. That "blind" faith is equivalent to the act of choosing not to think and therefor, not to live. Mind you this is my own personal belief and standard that I choose to hold only myself to. For others, "blind" faith during this life is a good and satisfactory existence. I don't judge - we are each individuals.
And as for how Ayn Rand's philosophies have affected me. Well, I have found more common ground than not. And I've been proven right. Again.