“The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world– God versus man.”
In this episode I and special guests Ben Doublett and Jackson Ferrell watched Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and talked about its examination of the problem of evil and how it portrays a Christian answer to the problem by way of Superman’s identification with humanity. We also discussed the idea of one’s view of God being shaped by their relationship with their father, as portrayed in the film. Because Ben is an atheist influenced by the egoistic moral philosophy of Ayn Rand, we also had some excellent discussion of egoism and altruism (and which of the heroes represented which view). A very philosophical episode!
Ben Doublett’s recent novella, Kung Fu Gladiator, can be found on Amazon. Jackson Ferrell’s blog, Chocolate Book, can be found at www.chocolatebook.net
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.
I’ll have the wonderful opportunity of taking part in a debate with my great friend Ben Doublett on the topic of the relational ethics of Jesus in contrast to the atheistic ethics of rational self-interest that Ayn Rand promoted. If all goes well, the recording will be hosted for free on this blog for anyone who is interested to listen, download, or share.
In my preparation, I’m revisiting or, in some cases, reading for the first time a number of works that I think should help me to articulate the best case for the ethics of Jesus, as well as the best case against Ayn Rand’s view, that I can. Any other recommendations would certainly be appreciated!
My reading list:
Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness
Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism Harry Binswanger’s “Volition as Cognitive Self-Regulation”
Scot McKnight’s commentary on The Sermon on the Mount
Dennis Kinlaw’s Let’s Start With Jesus
John Piper’s Desiring God
Gregory Boyd’s The Myth of a Christian Nation
C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory
and selections from William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith where he deals with the moral argument for the existence of God
Ben’s reading list: Selected essays from “The Virtue of Selfishness” by Ayn Rand Selected essays from “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology” by Ayn Rand Selections from “The Fountainhead an
“Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics” by Tara Smith
“Volition as Cognitive Self-Regulation” by Harry Binswanger
“Christian Ethics” by Georgia Harkness
“God in the Dock” by C.S. Lewis
“The New Testament”