Thanks Don!

I'm thankful you are writing on this important topic. Having been raised religious I wrestled with the contradictions and definitely had the self-doubt/nervous confidence and damn sure didn't have the philosophy/psychology I have now. What an act of justice it would be to raise a child with reason, purpose, and self-esteem.

Most? of us, (pure numbers game and "the way we've always done it), are raised religious.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali who was raised religious kept the Epistemology of "faith and feeling and believing"- growing up she had faith in Islam, then of course NO faith IN Islam, then faith in Christianity. And her Ethics are the same - For god, For Others, and the same Metaphysics - Good v Evil, my team good, other team evil. She'll might even come up with a new religion by mixing in all she's been through. It's why we've got over 4,000 religions and counting.

The contradictions in a child and teen mind, and then adult mind, when we are "raised religious" are sure to produce a junk heap. I know they did in me.

“As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation - or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt,

Like a ball and chain in the place where your mind's wings should have grown.”

― ayn rand

The philosophy and psychology when we are "raised religious" ... and the data says most of us are definitely getting this messaging as we develop as children, then teens then into young adulthood.




Religion Is Child Mind Abuse (coming soon)

Destroying Faith to Make Room For Reason. (coming 2024)

Expand full comment

These were my short comments, made on MeWe, regarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali's piece on converting to Christianity. I focus more on her desire to "unify" and to "seek purpose in life" than on the religious aspects.


C. Jeffery Small

"But we can’t fight off these formidable forces unless we can answer the question: what is it that unites us? The response that “God is dead!” seems insufficient. So, too, does the attempt to find solace in “the rules-based liberal international order”. The only credible answer, I believe, lies in our desire to uphold the legacy of the Judeo-Christian tradition."

Well, it saddens me that Ayaan Hirsi Ali was apparently not exposed to a broader understanding of rational individualism with its respect for facts and reason as the core principle guiding self-actualization. I disagree that western culture is built upon Judeo-Christian tradition although much of our civilization was built in parallel with it. It was rationality that created the west -- and history, when dominated by Judeo-Christian rule, demonstrates that in spades.

"I have also turned to Christianity because I ultimately found life without any spiritual solace unendurable — indeed very nearly self-destructive. Atheism failed to answer a simple question: what is the meaning and purpose of life?"

I suspect that this describes a great many people who embrace religion. For me, it shows a lack of imagination in the possibilities of a self-actualized life. It is absolutely true that atheism has nothing positive to say about anything -- it is merely a position reflecting the acceptance of a fact of reality. A self-made man is one who asserts and pursues their own purpose. It is an abdication of that great opportunity to seek to find one's "purpose" defined by others and external to oneself.

“When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”

Not the rational man who grounds his thoughts and values in the facts of reality.

At the end of the day, there can never be unity between the rational and the irrational and I'm afraid the attempt to seek that is doomed to failure.

Expand full comment

I do like your point of a "lack of imagination." Have a very stark example of this. And it is an example I think Rand or other Objectvisits have mentioned. Bad philosophy moving into the sciences. I started reading a book titled "Every Life on Fire: How Thermodynamics Explains the Origins of Living Things" by physicist Jeremy England. I learned of the book after I read one of his papers on the same issues of thermodynamics and the origins of life. His novel take is really interesting. Here is where his lack of imagination comes in. He frames the book based on the Hebrew Bible! He thinks the paradies of the book give a vivid description of how life emerged and makes it easier for us to understand. It was quite disappointing I must say. I almost gave up reading it. But I want to get the physical ideas of it, so will stick thru it and sift thru the religious malarkey.

Expand full comment

And Ayaan Hirsi Ali attended one or more of the conferences of The Objective Standard. I know they are not the best, but it seems she went as a hired guest, rather than as someone whom takes the philosophy seriously. Unfortunately, I thought the same of Yeonmi Park's guest appearance at ARI's conference. I have followed her for a few years now on Instagram and YouTube. She regularly makes comments that are contradictory to Objectivism, but on stage at the conference she said things that seem to align with Objectivism. I think she was just being diplomatic and speaking to the crowd rather than being sincere. In the past couple of days she posted a YouTube short discussing one of the problems of the US being a move towards atheism. Very unfortunate. She might have seen herself as another hired guest who feels a duty to the crowd and so makes resonating, insincere commentary. Her story and Mrs. Ali's stories are very heroic and admirable. They are cultural forces, but I just wish they had better ideas.

Should they be paid to be students of ARI? Have regular visits and talks with ARI in some way? Not an easy task at all. They would have to be interested and maybe could be convinced to be interested. I don't have an answer here.

Expand full comment

Thanks Travis. Regarding the final point on paying people to learn Objectivism, I don't think that would ever be productive. You have to want to learn and engage before any learning can take place. I remember Barbara Branden saying that after years of trying to give up smoking, it wasn't until she REALLY told herself that she wanted to quit that she got immediate results without much struggling. I think this is true in all aspects of life. We only accomplish meaningful things once we become honest with ourselves. Maybe Ali will also reach that point somewhere in the future. I wish her a good journey.

Expand full comment

For people who really commit to rationality, seeing the irrational in others is particularly difficult. I am always surprised when a good scientist also holds strong religious beliefs. People are capable of compartmentalizing their minds in all sorts of ways and one of the most common seems to be separating rather than integrating the physical world from the spiritual (e.g., abstract) world. Time marches on. :-/

Expand full comment