Saturday, April 2, 2011

An Objectivist In Sunday School

A fictitious satirical dialog :)

Jenny was a rather ingenious girl, something of a prodigy at age 12. She had read many long books. her favorite author was Ayn Rand. Having recently finished "Atlas Shrugged," it was a rather unfortunate time for her to watch Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" with her grandparents.

As the ending credits began to roll, Grandma wiped her eyes beneath her spectacles, and turned to Jenny, and was taken aback to see the cross look on the girl's face. "Did you like it?" she asked.

"It..." Jenny began, "It's just so irrational"

"Well, dear" There aren't real ghosts of course, "it's just to show the moral of the story"

"The moral of the story is irrational! It isn't RIGHT!" she exclaimed

Later Jenny's grandmother had a talk with her mother about the incident, and it was decided that her moral instruction had been neglected, so the following weekend, Jenny was sent to Sunday school.

Miss Franklin was a kindly woman who dressed a bit frumpily, in Jenny's opinion. She carried a drab, well worn little bible with several ragged paper place-markers of various colors hanging out the top. Her body language was timid, her manner was pleasant but not vital in the least. Jenny wasn't at all sure that she had anything to learn from a person of such lacking self-confidence.

"As I mentioned last week," Miss Franklin began, "our church will be starting our Christmas food-drive this week, and we'll be looking at some passages from the Bible about our responsibilities to the less fortunate, and what you as children can do to help" She opened her bible to a crinkled blue place-marker. "In Proverbs 3:27 tells us 'Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them.' " Jenny raised her hand, "yes, Jenny?"

"But how do we know who deserves it?" Jenny asked skeptically

"Well, these can be complicated things for children to understand, but I have a few more passages that can hopefully help us understand..." she turned to a ragged pink place-marker "In Luke 6:20, we read 'God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.' That is a rather hopeful thing for those who we aren't able to help. But there we have a responsibility to help as many people as we can. As Jesus goes on to say 'What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. 'What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you. What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.' You see, when we have more than we need, and others have less than they need, that is a situation that deserves our help. Does that make more sense now?" miss Franklin smiled meekly to Jenny

"But that situation has causes..." Jenny was becoming indignant.

"Yes..." Said Miss Franklin, "...perhaps this will help..." She flipped to yet another page marker,

"'As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, 'Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?'
'Why do you call me good?' Jesus asked. 'Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: 'You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.' '
'Teacher,' the man replied, 'I've obeyed all these commandments since I was young.'
Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. 'There is still one thing you haven't done,' he told him. "Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'
At this the man's face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!'
This amazed them. But Jesus said again, 'Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!'
The disciples were astounded. 'Then who in the world can be saved?' they asked.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, 'Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.'"

"But that isn't fair," said Jenny, "He followed all the rules. Above and beyond the laws of the land. How can he say that it is imperfect for him to have his reward?"

"Maybe we had better talk about this later, with your parents," said Miss Franklin

"But you're telling everyone here to follow this mysticism, and they won't be able to reason for themselves." said Jenny, her self-esteem welling up inside her, "It is rational thinking that is perfect, and you are telling them to ignore it, because some old mystic said they have to share what they have earned with those who didn't earn it. Then THEY will have to rely on force to make people who do think rationally give them what THEY haven't earned!"

"I'm going to have to have you go sit in the sanctuary until we're finished with our lesson. This has been enough of a disruption."

"Always the use of force to stifle reason, and to keep people mindlessly sacrificing themselves!" groused Jenny as she defiantly left the room.

As the door slammed shut, Miss Franklin turned back to the class and sadly said "Lets all say a prayer for Jenny, for 'What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?'"

And they all bowed their heads obediently...


  1. Interesting, isn't it true though that more lives have been lost defending concepts that forbid killing? Amazing how people justify their wrongdoings.

    I liked you story!

  2. Some use Scripture as a weapon rather than as a tool. How very sad.

  3. I loved this story. Just another frustrating example of Bible "issues".

    BTW, I was taught that the Eye of the Needle was a passage way in the desert and that it was difficult to get through, but you could do it. So the traditional interpretation that it was impossible for a rich man to enter Heaven was misleading.




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"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestible unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it." -- Constitution of Massachusettes (1780)