Rich, as to your observations about social skills and approach of Objectivist towards theist – I agree with you on many points.
Over 90% of humanity adheres to some form of mysticism, and for the most part (especially in the western world) this not the result of trauma or irrationality. For the most part it is merely the outgrowth of cultural and traditional norms that developed over time from the more primitive and simplistic types of philosophies we now call religions. In dealing with a person of this background one must take this context in mind, and judge accordingly.
Furthermore, the influencing of a culture does not entail the creation of a utopian objectivist state; these are the ramblings of the kook fringe of Objectivism. Cultures are changed incrementally, and success and failure are properly measured by degrees, not either-or total victories or defeats. However, there is an enormous difference between being tolerant and understanding of non-Objectivist that adhere to a mild form of mysticism, and those that call themselves Objectivist or cloak themselves in objectivist jargon and still maintain the validity of theism. What is not evasion and irrationality in the context of most people within the culture at large; is most definitely evasion/irrationality within the Objectivist community itself.
A novice Objectivist from a religious background may go through an Objecti-Theist stage. This is common, and should be expected. But the operative word here is “stage”. The first time he broke down and understood the fundamentals (starting with existence-exist, this automatically points towards certain conclusions), he had already intellectually dispensed with the concept ‘God’, he had no choice. All that remained was to release the psychological dependency on the concept. However, at the point that this “stage” becomes a permanent state of affairs, and the person attempts to re-invent Objectivism to suit his own personal agenda, it is at this point that patience and ‘kid gloves’ should go out the window when dealing with such a person.
The reasons for this should be obvious; in regards to theism - a mixed-premised Objectivism is a contradiction in terms. In fact, I believe there was once an Objecti-Theist Catholic that posted on Solo. Imagine the impact of such entities being taken even remotely seriously within Objectivism.
(Edited by George W. Cordero on 7/13, 4:19pm)