Common Ground? Author Marries Bible, 'Atlas Shrugged'

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Only one book out-sells Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and that's the Bible.

Although Rand was a fanatic atheist, she was a fierce believer in liberty, limited government, and the free market - all things conservative Christians love as well.

Now Christian author Mark David Henderson, who's also a Rand disciple, is trying to bring the Bible and Atlas Shrugged together in his new book The Soul of Atlas.

Henderson shared more about his book in a recent interview with CBN News Sr. Reporter Paul Strand. Read the full transcript below:

Strand: We're speaking with Mark David Henderson, the author of The Soul of Atlas. Mark, basically you are a Christian, but also you believe in the teachings of Ayn Rand - is that true - she being the woman who wrote Atlas Shrugged?

Henderson: Yeah, I grew up with two fathers who raised me from different perspectives. My biological father is a Christian. My stepfather is an atheist and a follower of Ayn Rand. So I really combined those kind of things.

Strand: And now what are you trying with this book, The Soul of Atlas? Are you trying to bring the two philosophies together somehow?

Henderson: Well, the subtitle says "Ayn Rand, Christianity: a Quest for Common Ground," and that's really what I'm trying to find: common ground, things that both worldviews hold very dear in value.

Strand: Now the main problem is that Rand was an atheist, right? And she was somewhat an enemy of Christianity?

Henderson: She said she wanted to be known as the greatest champion of reason, the greatest enemy of God. So, yes, God is really off the table for her.

Strand: But as you think about it, is it the economic philosophy…what are some of the areas where you find some common ground for a lot of Christians in America today and Rand's philosophy?

Henderson: Well, you know there are some philosophical common ground areas like objective truth and the capacity of man to reason that sets us apart from the animals. But the limited government perspective that Rand had and the espousing of capitalism as an economic system, that's where I think we find a lot of common ground with conservative Christians today.

Strand: And your stepdad, who is the producer of the Atlas Shrugged movies, he's called for the two groups to work together, hasn't he?

Henderson: He has, and you know, between the two fathers who raised me, I was just trying to bring them together - not just to engage with them, but to understand where they're coming from and then find that common ground so that we can act together. And that's what John Aglialoro is really trying to do - bring those two together so that we can accomplish more together than we could ever do separately.

Strand: John being your stepfather, the thing is I guess what we can say today is that much of liberal philosophy is an enemy to both Christianity and the conservatism and capitalism espoused by Rand. Is that true?

Henderson: That's true. And I think individual liberty is really at stake. The government is over-reaching its rightful role. And I think Christians and objectivists, from a different foundation, can agree with that very practical, ethical ground or sort of results of that thinking.

Strand: Are there famous people today in politics that we know of who are Christians but are also believers in Rand's philosophy, guys that we might recognize right on Capitol Hill today?

Henderson: You know, I think Paul Ryan is sort of the obvious. And he's got a long history with Ayn Rand. I think Rand Paul as well. So I think yes, there are people who believe there is common ground, don't necessarily agree with everything on either side, but it's not an all or nothing thing.

Strand: And in fact Rand Paul, his name…

Henderson: His name he said is not actually after Ayn Rand…

Strand: Oh, it's not?!

Henderson: There was a YouTube video where he dispels that. But, nevertheless, it's given a lot of Ayn Rand enthusiasts reason to sit up and cheer.

Strand: His famous father Ron Paul is a big backer of Rand, isn't he?

Henderson: He's really well-aligned with all of the things she said, not necessarily per se, but that's why he has a lot of fans among the objectivists and secular libertarian community.

Strand: Are you getting good reactions from people on both sides?

Henderson: Yes. And in fact the most encouraging thing for me is that some of the myths and misunderstandings about Christianity that objectivists have, Ayn Rand enthusiasts have, are being dispelled, and vice versa. So I think that's a "win" as long as we can continue to engage and ultimately get to a place where we can accomplish more together.

Strand: Alright. Well, thank you so much. We've been talking with Mark David Henderson, the author of The Soul of Atlas.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.