I just finished Atlas Shrugged… the unabridged version. Actually, to be truthful, I listened to it because I could do so while working on mindless projects (like cleaning or painting, etc) and driving the car. I can’t whole-heartedly recommend the book – it’s got some things in it unsuitable for young audiences, and I did find myself fast-forwarding in an embarrassed hurry a few times. Get the abridged version if the length puts you off (perhaps it will skip the few – unnecessary – sexual portions as well). If it wasn’t for these brief scenes I’d make all my kids read it.
I am inclined to think it should be required reading before one is allowed to drive a car – just because that is the age where pretty much everyone agrees that there needs to be a level of responsibility and cognitive engagement in how things work economically. It was sobering to know that a book written in 1957 had so many “prophetic” words in it.
It made me think. I certainly don’t agree with all that the books puts forward. Unfettered selfishness is not God-honoring no matter how you slice it. But unbridled entitlement is just as wicked – because it really is selfishness with the power of legislation and weaponry.
But, as I mentioned, it did make me think.
What would the world look like if we were each free to perform his/her best at whatever we truly delighted in producing? What would the world be like if, rather than being jealous of someone who is better than we are at something, we desired to learn from them? What would life be like if we could teach our children to be people who were all-out, whole-hearted, productive people who worked hard and succeeded because of whatever talents and abilities they possessed? And what if, rather than competition for the sake of grinding someone else to a pulp, it was to improve one’s production, talents, abilities, etc.?
Oh wait, maybe that’s what heaven will be like. Where we will see things clearly and we will love (and be loved) purely. Where we’ll rejoice in what God gives to us, but also rejoice in what God gives to others. And most importantly, we’ll rejoice in God – period. We’ll stop looking at ourselves exclusively and our gazes will remain lifted.
Isn’t it amazing that even from a thoroughly god-less perspective like that portrayed in Atlas Shrugged it is abundantly clear that we yearn for the perfection that God intends for us? We were created in perfection – designed for it. We cannot help but long for the day when right prevails and wrong is defeated. We can’t stop ourselves from hoping that some future force will make things as they ought to be.
The trouble is, we think we can accomplish this. We are so proud and haughty in our estimations of our own selves. Even those who look at human history and realize that those same attempts have been made over and over again cling to a hope that “someday” we’ll get it right.
Only Jesus ever got it right – only Jesus ever will. But praise God that he has and that he invites us to participate in that victory with him!
If you’ve ever longed for heaven on earth, you’re not alone. The very fact that you’ve longed for it is proof that God has written the truth of that reality on your heart. Come to him. Believe what the Bible says about the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. You will see the world around you with new eyes and your thoughts of heaven will delight you.
Who is Atlas? Who cares. It’s Jesus you need to meet!