Life seems to be a little slower in January so, I've got a topic that requires a little home work, hope you don't mind. If you like to read "Atlas Shrugged" is a 1200 page novel. If movies are your thing, about 5 hours of viewing are available on Netflix. If you like shortcuts the cliff notes are here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged and here http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/atlasshrugged/themes.html.
In her book "Atlas Shrugged" Ayn Rand essentially paints the idea of altruism as a source of evil in the world leading to a society's demise. Her antithesis is that selfish ambition and the profit motive of capitalism are beneficial to a society's welfare. Written in 1957 the book has held a love/hate relationship with it's readers. The critics were quick to discredit the book and it's ideas yet the book continues to sell to new readers over 50 years latter. I came across the movie version on Netflix a couple of weeks ago (2 -movies Part 1 & part 2 are available part 3 is due to be released this year) as well as a documentary about Ayn Rand. The critics have not been kind to the movie and I have to admit that the quality of the film is lacking. In spite of that I found the story prophetically compelling and caused me to think about the ideas in the story as they related to my belief system. Hopefully you will also find the story worthy of some serious discussion.
Some preliminary ideas for discussion:
How are the events in a story written 50 years ago coming true or not coming true?
Explain how could it be possible or impossible that altruism is the devil in sheep's clothing as Rand describes it? If so how do we place this idea into God's ideal for us? If not what other evil explains our social ills?
How do you square this idea of selfish ambition with Jesus' model of self sacrifice?
What did you see in the story that conformed or confronted you personal faith or experience.
Hope you take advantage of the early posting.
See you on the 30th.