Thursday, July 22, 2010

Anthem by Ayn Rand (Halcyon Classics)Anthem by Ayn Rand

A deceptively quick read. You can read it in an afternoon but I guarantee you will still be thinking about it days later. "Anthem" is the first book I've read by Ayn Rand, though I am somewhat familiar with her philosophy called objectivism. The tenets of that philosophy intersect with my Christian world view on some points: the value of the individual, personal responsibility,property ownership, etc.

The title of this book encapsulates the part of her philosophy that I take issue with. "Anthem" infers music infused with the divine, and in this case the praise is unabashedly directed toward the "I" or man's ego. Ayn Rand seems to believe there is no power higher than man's reason. I choose to believe that reason must bow to God, and that my thoughts are judged by the higher revelation contained in His Word (the Bible).

Nevertheless, this book presents a valuable exercise in considering where collectivism leads us. Very apropos for our times, especially in light of the political ideas being bounced around today, i.e. "collective salvation", social justice, and equality. She paints a chillingly accurate picture of where these popular ideas will lead a society. Antithetically, she drops rosy hints about where objectivism leads and here is where I feel her to be unrealistic & Utopian. Why is she able to see man's sin so clearly in collectivism but fails to see that those same seeds must be harbored also in the heart of the free & reasonable man?

I'm looking forward to discussing this book in depth with my 16 yr old son this year. There's a fine line between respect for the individual and worship of the individual, and I can't wait to bounce these ideas around verbally. The Sovereign God who declared Himself the "I AM" created us in His image. I am an individual with the freedom to make choices because of how HE made me. I celebrate my individuality but I do not worship it. Just goes to show you, religion can be neatly divided into two antithetical camps: you either acknowledge JEHOVAH IS GOD or you claim I AM GOD. I recommend this book if you like to wrestle with philosophy and think about where it leads society.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
View all my reviews >>


Go quickly and tell said...

Just a little food for thought...

Poiema said...

Thanks for the link, Dana. I'll check it out.

Melissa Placzek said...

One of my favorite books by Ayn Rand. The Fountainhead is at the top of my list though. ;)