|Nathaniel Brandens Case
God, Omniscience, and Non-Effort
by James Kiefer
Unpublished dot-matrix printout dated
I promised at the beginning of this paper [Objectivism and Theism] that, after presenting the positive case for theism on Objectivist grounds, I would examine Dr. [Nathaniel] Brandens arguments and state where, in my judgement, he goes astray. To this task I now turn.
Dr. Branden says: To gather ones knowledge by a process of struggle and effort is abhorrent to the mystic.... The concept of omniscience is a psychological monument to the mystics hatred of effort.
I am puzzled by this remark. It seems to say that it is unwholesome to dream of anyones knowing things without effort. But clearly this is not its meaning, since that would be an attack on Miss Rand. She has written:
If I were as ill disposed toward Objectivism as Dr. Branden is toward theism, I would quote a series of such passages and say: The portrayal of the character of Francisco dAndonia is a psychological monument to the Objectivists hatred of effort. But I
[Editors notes are in blue.]
* The title refers to Nathaniel Brandens lecture The Concept of God, from his lecture series The Basic Principles of Objectivism. That lecture is fully transcribed in his book The Vision of Ayn Rand, chapter 4. Partial and perhaps complete audios seem to be available throughout the Internet. See also
Atlas Shrugged, 93vv-94d [hardback] (92rr-93c [paperback]).
Atlas Shrugged, 92uu-93b (92rr-93c).
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