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People are regularly invited to attend events that are tied in with religion and religious rituals -- like weddings and funerals. How does an Objectivist handle this? Skipping these altogether would mean missing out on something important, but participating in the religious rituals seems counter to Objectivist values.

asked Sep 18 '10 at 09:42

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦
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edited Sep 21 '10 at 13:53

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
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Of course!

Most of us have non-Objectivist friends and family who are values to us. Because we value them, we want to participate in their happy wedding day, or comfort them in the loss of a loved one. We can participate in those events without participating in the explicitly religious aspects of the events.

For example, at my grandfather's Catholic funeral Mass, I was there for the entire service, with my family. I did not participate in communion or in speaking the prayers. Being there was important to me, though, because I wanted to be with my family to say goodbye to him. Some of our family members participated in the service; some didn't. But we were all together, and that was comforting.

Friends or family who value me will understand why I choose not to participate in the religious parts of such ceremonies, and indeed, nobody worried too much about it.

answered Sep 18 '10 at 10:12

rationaljenn's gravatar image

rationaljenn ♦
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Certainly they do!

The question of religion in the daily life and decisions of an Objectivist is a trivial one.

Values, on the other hand ... including the immeasurable happiness that can, in the best cases, arise from beloved friends and family ... are taken most seriously by any rational man.

The question seems to imply that "Objectivist values" are exhaustive ... that the highest philosphic values ... such as reason, purpose, self-esteem ... are the only values of consequence to an Objectivist.

But in fact, a rational man cultivates a value-rich life, filling his days with what matter most, the people he respects, the activities he enjoys, the pursuits and passions that arise from fully knowing what he loves and why.


Incidentally, if this topic is of value to you (!), I highly recommend Andrew Bernstein's, How To Be An Impassioned Valuer.

answered Sep 18 '10 at 09:58

Robert%20Nasir's gravatar image

Robert Nasir ♦
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Asked: Sep 18 '10 at 09:42

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Last updated: Sep 21 '10 at 13:53