In For the New Intellectual,
Rand warns against "death-worshiping mystics" who control and
humiliate through the use of guilt and fear, preaching that a man’s
pursuit of happiness here on earth is evidence of depravity and
selfishness, that his independent mind is a source of arrogance, his
body a source of evil, that his liberty, self-esteem and individuality
are desecrations of the commandments for obedience, humility,
suffering, renunciation and self-sacrifice.
"There is no way to
make a human being accept the role of a sacrificial animal," writes
Rand, "except by destroying his self-esteem."
That was published in 1963, but, you know, Rand was just a kook who didn’t know what she was talking about.
Well, at least Ralph R. Reiland, writing in The American Spectator, doesn’t seem to think so. Or John Venlet.
Update: Ah, hell, I can’t resist:
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as
filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the
wind, have taken us away.
I vividly recall to this day my maternal grandfather, Clarence Goodsell, throwing a fit when he heard this verse quoted at a family gathering. I must have been around 10 or so. I also remember my great-grandmother (his mother-in-law) snickering, as if to signal: "who does he think he is?" I don’t recall his exact words, but there was a "bullshit" and other expletives in there, somewhere. He was really in quite a rage for a bit there. Though I didn’t know how to tag it at the time, I eventually came to realize that it was moral outrage. That’s right, moral outrage at a Bible passage <ha!>. The essence of his reaction sticks with me to this day. No God who inspired such loathsome words is a God worth worshiping.
My grandfather had self-esteem that was unshakable, rightly so, which is ultimately why he was never a very religious man. I’m certainly glad that he instilled in me such a powerful message at such a young age. Most children learn only to submit and never question. I learned the exact opposite, and will be eternally grateful.