This past weekend I finally finished reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged
. It was very gratifying to discover that all the ideas mulling around in my head had already been given clear, articulate voice by an established author.
The climax of the book is, of course, John Galt's radio broadcast to the world which runs from pages 1009-1069, which you can listen to in serial format if you click here
and fast-forward to 1:24. Be prepared; it's only part 1 of 17. In addition, the first part especially might be a little confusing if you haven't read the book.
As I was reading it, a conclusion was forced upon me: How much more grandiose, epic, succinct, insightful, and universally applicable to the human condition is that particular section of the book than all of the LDS Standard Works combined? As I read it, the realization dawned on me that what I was reading was, in every respect I could name, superior
to the Standard Works.
I stepped back and took an inventory. Compared to pages 1009-1069 (and also compared to other enlightening and, dare I say, "revelatory" sections in the book, such as Francisco D'Anconia's lecture on the nature of money), the scriptures seemed, believe it or not, amateurish
in comparison. Now, in FAIRness, I'm sure that many if not most of the original biblical authors intended their documents to be nothing more than rote recitation of their accepted history, and would've been shocked and amazed at the level of importance that people nowadays place upon them, but nevertheless the scriptures--especially the books of the Old Testament--seem like nothing more than poorly-constructed myths, like what the rough drafts of something like Grimm's Fairy Tales might look like, compared to that particular section of Atlas Shrugged
Sure, the Bible appears epic thanks mostly to its ancient-ness (gr?) and similarly appears grandiose thanks to its now-obsolete dialect of early 1600s English--the Book of Mormon also looks that way thanks to the authors' specific attempt to imitate the Biblical style--but as far as a beginning, middle, and end description of the human condition and the proper way to advance to a higher state of being, Atlas Shrugged
beats the Standard Works hands-down.
When they aren't being bogged down by minutiae, the methodology by which the Standard Works seek to elevate mankind is through prescribing quasi-arbitrary conduct by which to appease and placate an invisible deity. On the other hand, that section of Atlas Shrugged
examines man's inner nature and uses pure, unadulterated logic to appeal to the greater virtues and outline a correct path to follow.
Of course, I'll be the first to admit that some portions of the Standard Works are better than others--the four gospels, in particular, outshine most works of literature in terms of pure quality--but taken as a whole, page-for-page, as far as sheer practical
(as opposed to spiritual
) value to humanity is concerned, I daresay that pages 1009-1069 of Atlas Shrugged
--along with a number of other passages--are, on balance, superior to the four LDS Standard Works.
If you've read the book, I'd like to hear your thoughts..