Roark’s Answer or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love God
“Until you stop hating all this, stop being afraid of it, learn not to notice it.”
-spoken by Howard Roark, Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead
Resonant words for me when I, in the eleventh grade, read Ayn Rand’s first major literary success. The Fountainhead was largely motivated by Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism. While I didn’t agree with objectivism on the whole I found Roark and the idea of the “pure goal” fascinating. Objectivism dealt much with the stripping away of subjective elements and external influence on the self. For instance, you would risk your life to save another not for the inherent value of the other human being but because perhaps you especially liked that person; someone else can save someone you don’t hold dear. An objectivist argument exists that Christmas should be more commercialized since the economic stimulus provides more concrete benefit to society than anything else society at large reaps from the holiday. You can see how objectivism can be selfish and detached.
However, let’s get back to that idea, that simple term that supposedly lies at the heart of objectivism, of the “pure goal.” The concept is that the only reason you are pursuing a goal is for the simple perfection of that goal. You’re not doing it to impress your dad or add it to your college apps or only because it pays well. The pure goal is one you simply enjoy and practice for the sake of the act itself. And it’s even scripturally sound as even Solomon encourages the same in Ecclesiastes 3:12 & 13 despite the fact that nothing we accomplish will last beyond our own years, at best.
When the architect Roark gives the aforementioned advice to the love-interest Dominique Francon, she’s asked him how he can deal with a world that is so very diametrically opposed to his own worldview. That’s what resonated with me. What better way to walk with Christ in a world that chases after Satan? Whether or not the world is aware of it, it’s not all that far from objectivism. Christmas has become so commercialized that it pervades every store and public arena for at least two whole months out of the year! It’s supposedly a celebration of the birth of Christ and yet atheists are in on the festivities, too—whether or not it’s out of irony or the more secular reasons for the season. Kids today are encouraged to find themselves despite the results and school faculty is encouraged to help hide controversial identities from disapproving parents. Have you seen the gender section of your Facebook profile recently? There’s a custom option that also allows you to dictate that Facebook should use a neutral pronoun when referring to you, in case you reside outside the limited constraints of male and female. The current worldview encourages you to establish your identity as an individual and that anyone who says differently is no one with whom you need to associate. The result is a myriad of exclusive cliques who band together based on acceptance of flaws and communal mindsets, regardless of whether or not these mindsets are edifying or toxic.
This is the world we live in: a world ruled by the Accuser, the Enemy. That’s clearly evidenced in Matthew 4:8-10.
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Here are a few points to take from this passage. Firstly, Satan offers Jesus all the nations of the world. You can’t give something of which you don’t have possession. Secondly, Jesus does rebuke Satan’s offer but He does not refute his claim that all those nations are his to offer, verifying the idea that this physical world is controlled by the Devil himself. Thirdly, he owns and controls all the nations.
All of them.
That list would include America. Yes, even our own beloved America. And isn’t it proven by even the scraps of evidence I already mentioned? Let’s not even try to look down the rabbit hole that occurs when American opulence and the pursuit of amorality collide. It’s clear America and the other world powers are relabeling all their bitter as sweet.
Why is Roark’s mantra so resonant, so applicable to our peculiar people? We’re a minority in this world and it’s bearing down on us like the walls of the Red Sea. If Satan had his way, this world would crush us with so much pressure we wouldn’t have time to drown. This world is full of pitfalls and distractions. The more we get wrapped up in the tumultuous issues that infect this world, our very nation, the less progress we can make as Christians.
Let me present a conundrum. The church takes a hard stance against gay marriage. I want to ask why we should get involved in that discussion at all. The logical fallacy in arguing against gay marriage is that it bypasses the more pertinent question of whether or not homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle in God’s eyes!
“Until you stop hating all this, stop being afraid of it, learn not to notice it.” The more effort we spend dealing with issues that plague the world, the less effort we have available to deal with issues that plague us. America is ultimately run by Satan, who is the father of lies and an artist of division. Of course, he can distract us with issues close to our hearts and create divisions when we do not agree with our own brethren. The more we worry about Obama taking our guns, the less we keep in mind that God provided us a shield, a bulwark never failing. That shield runs on faith and faith requires practice to live within it. Daniel 2:21 tells us that God removes kings and establishes kings. This means that despite Satan’s current lease on the mortal world, we should have enough faith to know that whoever gets put into office is still going to be another step forward in God’s plan.
When we stop hating all of this world’s sins, when we stop being afraid of what this world could do to us, when we learn not to notice all the distractions and pitfalls, the only thing left to look at is Christ and the coming Kingdom. That’s where all our strength and effort and emotion should be focused. It can be worded no simpler than by the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Let this be our “pure goal,” without agenda and without strife. Let us give up our lives for Christ because of how much He means to us.
I feel confident in saying that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have saved America, Gary Johnson wouldn’t have saved America, and neither will Donald Trump. In fact, even Jesus Christ won’t save America. He’ll save some Americans, some British, some Brazilians, some Filipinos, some Russians, and so on. But he won’t save those nations. He’s coming back to establish His government and His kingdom when He takes back His world. He’ll break all ties and bind us together under His banner!