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In an age of skepticism (certainty is impossible) and nihilism (nothing means anything), many people are desperately searching for a guide to life, a philosophy.
As Ayn Rand wrote in her book Philosophy: Who Needs It: “A philosophic system is an integrated view of existence. As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy.
Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation — or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined convictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance.”
Instead of turning to reason, many are turning to what they think is an alternative: religion. It is easier, and it’s what they hear everywhere: Politicians, community leaders, and even professors all tell them that that there is no rational certainty, thus leaving them with the implication that to have principles means to accept religious dogma.
Religion is a primitive form of philosophy because it attempts to provide a theory of the nature of man, man’s place in the universe, and a guide to human action. But religion admittedly has no rational basis, meaning: no basis at all. “Faith” is merely someone’s assertion (without evidence) that something is true. As a “guide” to life it couldn’t be more dangerous.
And it is becoming an increasing danger to Americans as the 21st century opens. The religious right’s efforts to enforce religion and destroy our rights is all around us: laws preventing abortion and assisted suicide, censorship, school prayer in public schools, laws
against homosexuality, laws mandating the teaching of “creationism.”