|The last I looked Christians outnumbered objectivists about 10,000/1.|
I'd be inclined to say that estimate is off by perhaps an order of magnitude. If there are 2 billion or so Christians, your estimate would mean roughly 200,000 Objectivists scattered throughout the world. According to this quote, there have been perhaps 18 million readers of Atlas Shrugged:
(Link is here: http://aynrandcontrahumannature.blogspot.com/2009/05/objectivisms-cultural-change-project_15.html)
"Atlas Shrugged's sales in the 50-odd years since it was published seem to be about 6,500,000, so (assuming these are mostly in the US) each copy should have about 3 readers. Seems possible enough, at least in a back-of-an-envelope way, so let's grant this research could be reliable.
But the key question is: of the 18,000,000 or so Americans that have read the book, how many have become Objectivists as a result?"
By contrast, there are currently almost 14 million Mormons worldwide, and perhaps double that number of Mormons who have ever lived since the Church was founded in 1830. So, perhaps 30 million total. Drop back down to 14 million to account for the half of Mormons who, like me, leave the faith. Googling, I found that about 120 million copies of the Book of Mormon have been printed total, a ratio of about 8 books per every active member. And this is for a book where a large number of copies get handed out by missionaries for free to people too polite to decline, who then chuck the book in the trash first chance they get.
Whereas, a large portion of the people who buy or check out a copy of Atlas Shrugged do so on their own because they are curious about it, rather than being given a hard sell by missionaries determined to meet a quota of books to give away.
So, my back of the envelope guess is that there might be one million or so people in America who hold Objectivist beliefs largely as a result of reading Atlas Shrugged, not even counting the number who found this philosophy by other means, or who live outside the U.S.
(Edited by Jim Henshaw on 4/11, 7:43pm)