In reflecting on my recent debate regarding who had the better moral philosophy, Jesus or Ayn Rand, I thought about a question my debate opponent Ben asked me that I didn’t give a very good answer to. The question had to do with my claim that all humans were equally valuable because we are made in the image of God. If this is so, Ben reasoned, shouldn’t Christians only keep as much money, and own as much possessions, as needed to survive and give everything else up to the poor? I thought it was a fair question, and I wanted to provide a thoughtful response. Interestingly, the response I gave borrows from certain free market arguments that Ben might make were he to share my view about human egalitarianism!
The debate last night over whose moral philosophy was superior, Jesus’ or Ayn Rand’s, went very well! I have the audio recording below and we should have video at some point soon as well.
I emphasized the relational nature of humanity since we are made in the image of God as well as the fact that Christian morality is rewarding and doesn’t require sacrifice for no good reason. I also tried to bring out the arbitrariness of self-interest as the primary moral motivator and the lack of grounding for objective morality on Rand’s view.
Thank you to Ben Doublett (my opponent), Carl Franco (the moderator), Larry Christensen (the sound guy), and everyone who was involved. Everyone in the audience seemed to enjoy the discussion and most felt moved in one direction or another by Ben’s and my arguments.
Slides from my opening presentation:
Last year, I had the opportunity of interviewing an older Jehovah’s Witness couple regarding some of the central JW teachings. They were both quite knowledgeable and the husband had even worked for the headquarters in Brooklyn at one time. They were also very friendly, as is evidenced by their willingness to dialogue with me.
I included the recordings below in hopes that they might be instructive for those who are curious about what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe and the arguments they are likely to use in dialogue with Christians. I, for one, found it to be a fascinating conversation that reiterated to me why the teachings of Christianity, in contrast to the Jehovah’s Witness religion, are so important and precious. Click the links to view in your browser, or right-click to save them to your drive.