I would suggest looking up "Dogma" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon. (Welcome to Objectivism, by the way, if you are here out of curiosity, inspired by your seemingly Objectivist friend.)
answered Jan 26 '11 at 03:10
Ideas for Life ♦
Objectivism holds that morals do have an absolute standard of value. And yes, that does mean that Objectivists are necessarily intolerant of opposing viewpoints. However, in Objectivism -- unlike religion -- the standard isn't set arbitrarily with unanswerable questions about why some given action is or isn't moral. Objectivism holds that man's life is the standard of value, and that one can determine good and evil by referencing what, in reality, is and isn't good for his long-term happiness and well-being. Thus, if two people have a disagreement about whether a specific action is or isn't moral, the standard can be observed, measured, and judged (i.e., did it work out to be in his long-term best interest).
On the other hand, a religious morality is not open to criticism, evaluation, or judgement. One is required to accept that specific practices are moral and others aren't. For example, some branches of Christianity hold that homosexuality is evil, but with the only justification being a few verses from an ancient book. One is simply expected to accept this is true, and there is no means left open to the adherents of that morality for evaluating the correctness of that practice on their own. This crucial distinction between religion and Objectivism: by it's nature, Objectivism gives you the tools to figure things out on your own, where religious belief specifically denies you those tools.
answered Jan 26 '11 at 03:35
Andrew Miner ♦