Catholic vs. Other – 2017-09-01 – Robbie Dillon

I met Robbie at a Meetup group called Misfit Island (Montreal). He was the original editor of Vice Magazine, a successful screenwriter, and a creator of content for several Cirque du Soleil shows. He is currently finishing a degree in Philosophy at Concordia University.


Please excuse any errors as these captions were automatically generated by YouTube.

0:00 hi this is Robbie Dylan and you’re
0:01 listening to Catholic verses other tell
0:08 the listeners if you would a little bit
0:09 about yourself who you are what you
0:11 believe and why you believe it well my
0:13 name is Robbie Dylan I live here in
0:14 Montreal I was born here in Montreal I
0:16 lived in Montreal all my life and what I
0:19 believe is I believe in God but I
0:22 believe in a God that’s very much like
0:24 an idea I believe in the idea of God for
0:27 practical pragmatic reasons but also for
0:30 very idealistic reasons I think my
0:34 family were for the most part Catholic
0:35 although there is like I’m part native I
0:38 have a native card and and and so there
0:40 is a kind of native sensibility about
0:44 the universe and so on but so my family
0:48 was Catholic and my mother was a pretty
0:50 devout Catholic
0:51 she was an unwed mother she would well
0:53 she in the end of getting married about
0:55 five days before I was born but my
0:57 mother was 17 when I was born and she
1:00 married my father my you know he knows
1:03 days that was pretty common though you
1:04 know that for teenagers to get pregnant
1:06 that was pretty much the way things were
1:08 done people I mean maybe not in really
1:10 good families but my mother came from a
1:13 decent amount of money but anyways at
1:14 any rate my grandfather was was so
1:16 Catholic that he still wanted to attend
1:18 like only the Latin Mass even after
1:21 Vatican – I think it is right and so my
1:25 mother kept going to Mass my grandfather
1:27 had thrown her out and my MA my mother
1:29 still wanted to go to Mass and she had a
1:32 baby though and so which was me and so
1:36 she brought me and what she would do she
1:38 would put me in the foyer like in the
1:41 entranceway of the church you know where
1:43 the pamphlets and things are and she
1:45 would put me there just inside the door
1:46 she would leave me there and she were
1:48 going in like candles and pray and do
1:50 whatever it is she needed to do in the
1:52 church and at one point the the priest
1:57 came and said ma’am is that your baby
1:59 out in the hallway and she said yes
2:01 that’s my baby and he said you’re going
2:03 to have to leave my mother said well I
2:04 came here to church to pray you know and
2:06 he said well then you’re gonna have to
2:07 put the baby outside and she said well
2:09 why he said well if the baby cries it’ll
2:10 disturb
2:11 the other parishioners and and my mother
2:14 said well baby’s not crying and then and
2:16 then he said well you know you’re just
2:18 gonna have to leave or put the baby
2:19 outside and my mother said it’s the
2:21 middle of winter and the priest said
2:24 what doesn’t matter it’ll be fine you
2:25 know I don’t know and my mother said you
2:27 know what I’m done I’m never coming back
2:29 to this church and she left the Catholic
2:32 Church now the interesting thing was we
2:35 you know we got through life my father
2:37 didn’t stick around and we ended up
2:38 going and living in a housing project
2:41 and it was a very tough little place and
2:43 not many of the kids went to church but
2:45 my mother said look I don’t believe in
2:47 this I don’t have any place for this in
2:49 my life but I will not let you grow up
2:51 not knowing so you’re gonna go and
2:54 you’re gonna go to church and you’re
2:55 gonna go to Sunday School and I’m gonna
2:57 go to we’re all gonna go on Sundays that
2:59 way if you choose when you’re teenagers
3:02 or when you’re grown up if you choose
3:06 sorry the cat there’s a cat here and the
3:09 cat is crawling all over me so if you’re
3:11 listening and you’re having trouble with
3:13 the way I’m speaking but I think we’ve
3:15 dealt with the cat problem so anyways my
3:17 mother wanted us to know what religion
3:20 was about to have some experience she
3:22 said well I’m not gonna let you be like
3:24 these other people in the housing
3:25 project who just rejected just out of
3:27 laziness because they don’t want to get
3:28 up on Sunday so she said you’re gonna go
3:31 you’re gonna do this and then at least
3:33 when you reject it you’ll know what
3:34 you’re rejected how many kids were you
3:36 we were three so we would go and my
3:38 mother would go to church and the church
3:39 way it was it was a Presbyterian Church
3:41 Knox Crescent in Kensington very good
3:44 Church the people were nice the pastor
3:47 was a doctor makai and they were very
3:50 nice to my mother they could see that
3:51 she was poor and so they were always
3:52 bringing her like clothes and and things
3:54 like that so we were probably the sort
3:56 of token poor people of the church but
4:00 uh yeah so then we spent quite a few
4:02 years going to church and going for
4:04 doughnuts after I always remember we got
4:07 to go for doughnuts that was very
4:08 exciting okay yeah no so so I have that
4:11 that background in that my grandfather
4:14 you know once or twice took me a lot in
4:16 Mass which I didn’t understand anything
4:17 and and yeah we went to this
4:19 Presbyterian Church for a while and you
4:21 know Sunday school and you know they
4:23 give you a
4:24 comic book pamphlet you know explaining
4:26 different things from the parables and
4:29 from the stories of the Bible
4:31 would you pray at meals and before
4:32 better stuff like that um we had at
4:36 different points we for instance we
4:38 would say like god is great God is good
4:41 let us thank him for this food before
4:45 like very quickly
4:46 I knew the Lord’s Prayer obviously I
4:48 knew the one now I lay me yeah exactly
4:52 yeah yeah okay you know all these they
4:54 pray that yeah now I lay me down to
4:56 sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep if
4:58 I should die before I wake I pray the
5:00 Lord my soul to take
5:01 I didn’t it’s interesting because you
5:03 know the only time I ever did that was
5:04 when I was very young and what like even
5:06 before I think we joined the
5:08 Presbyterian Church so like mom my
5:09 grandmother was kind of babysitting us
5:12 and my grandmother and my mother raised
5:15 me so we would do that and then we had
5:17 to say like god bless mommy and God
5:18 bless and God bless and and we had to
5:20 sort of do all that the list of they
5:22 drawed or that’s saying I mean when I
5:24 think back on it now it seems very
5:26 nostalgic
5:27 I never haven’t really thought about it
5:29 much and I didn’t find it a particular
5:32 chore you know it was like many things
5:34 in life it was just something you do you
5:37 learned that from your grandmother from
5:39 my grandmother for whatever reason I
5:41 mean my grandmother had a very hard life
5:43 I mean she was married to my grandfather
5:45 and then he threw when he threw my
5:47 mother out my grandmother left too but
5:49 if my grandmother had never worked the
5:51 day in her life she was a housewife and
5:52 and she had always lived in a nice house
5:54 with a fairly wealthy husband and you
5:58 know she went from her parents house
5:59 into her husband’s houses that’s how
6:01 things were done and so when my
6:03 grandfather threw my mother out of the
6:04 house my grandmother said well I’m going
6:06 to what was the reason for throwing
6:08 around oh yeah well you know it’s a bit
6:11 of a story but my obviously has to do
6:14 with my mother getting pregnant when she
6:15 was 16
6:16 oh she was wild should somebody you know
6:19 yeah I suppose so I guess yeah I think
6:21 she might have been a little wild it’s
6:22 very hard to understand if your mother
6:24 was wild or hot wild you know I think
6:27 you spend your whole life trying to come
6:29 to terms with the idea of your parents
6:31 not as gods but as human because
6:34 yo while your parents everybody’s
6:36 parents are eternal figures right they
6:38 have always been there until they’re not
6:40 there
6:40 mine are still alive and and there’s a
6:44 sense there that like well that is the
6:46 universe that is the world that’s
6:47 something that’s always been there what
6:49 would be your earliest memory like a age
6:51 five four three very distinct and and
6:55 it’s very interesting because I learned
6:57 how to read when I was three and when I
6:59 was six I was reading at a college level
7:00 because my mother would sit me on her
7:02 lap and she would read books to me and
7:04 at one point she was reading the the dr.
7:06 Seuss books and there’s a book called
7:08 hop on pop and it’s probably one of the
7:10 the more simple ones and it’s probably
7:13 the one maybe many people learn to read
7:15 with but I actually remember sitting on
7:17 the my mother’s lap and her reading the
7:20 book and you know at different points at
7:23 some point she was tracing the words
7:25 with her fingers and and at some point
7:28 she stopped tracing and then I just
7:30 started to understand like how the Opie
7:32 and the Opie and the Opie hop on pop on
7:36 top of pop hop on top on top of pop and
7:41 it started to make sense like oh that
7:44 sound repeats and those letters repeat
7:47 and I actually have a concrete memory of
7:50 when the sound and and the symbols came
7:53 together Wow I want to talk a little bit
7:56 about that sort of the dark side like it
7:59 was there ever a point where you’re an
8:00 atheist like a militant atheist hardcore
8:03 atheist or anything like that I think I
8:05 might have been just a lazy atheist I
8:06 don’t think there’s a lot of hardcore
8:09 atheists I think it’s a really it’s an
8:11 easy position to adopt and defend if
8:14 you’re lazy if you have lousy arguments
8:17 right like if you don’t want to confront
8:19 questions that are just unfathomably
8:22 vast and deep and that will never be
8:25 answered if you just want to pretend
8:27 those questions don’t exist well then
8:30 okay like yes be an atheist but like you
8:34 really have to pretend that those
8:37 questions don’t matter those questions
8:39 aren’t real in any way and and like you
8:42 know look in that they’re not much
8:43 different than
8:44 very dedicated people of faith who are
8:46 like oh well it’s just God’s will I mean
8:49 you know look you you you you know you
8:51 it happens on both sides just lazy
8:53 thinking so you know what you want is to
8:56 is to be like pushing on these questions
8:59 all the time and yeah you’re never gonna
9:01 answer them but you know I think the the
9:04 sort of things that come up as a result
9:06 of just asking those questions can be
9:09 very very interesting can you talk a
9:11 little bit because I know you’re
9:12 studying philosophy now right yeah so
9:14 can you describe just briefly for the
9:16 listeners why you chose to study
9:19 philosophy and what you learned and how
9:21 it’s different from what you thought it
9:23 was gonna be and where you’re gonna go
9:24 from here that kind of thing the
9:26 honest-to-god truth is that I had a
9:27 girlfriend and and she was maybe you
9:30 know drifting a little bit she had been
9:31 out of school for a year or two and I
9:34 think she was a bit shy to go to school
9:35 and I said well I’ll go with you that
9:38 girlfriend has graduated now no longer
9:40 my girlfriend but in the course of that
9:42 I started accumulating all these credits
9:44 because I discovered that I really liked
9:46 philosophy and the interesting thing is
9:48 that the reasons why I like that have
9:50 changed you know so at first I liked it
9:53 just maybe for a chance to argue with
9:56 the professors and and then I became a
9:59 bit involved in in the social life
10:01 around philosophy its opportunity
10:03 there’s a lot of interesting people you
10:05 know the professors and the students
10:06 alike you know people I wouldn’t
10:08 normally encounter in my day-to-day you
10:10 know and the chance to have all these
10:11 great discussions with people and how
10:14 has it shaped your worldview what I mean
10:18 is did you have a set of assumptions
10:19 that you were happy with because you
10:21 didn’t question them and then by
10:22 studying you realize oh I’ve got to
10:23 abandon this I’ve got abandon that well
10:26 actually my assumptions the assumptions
10:28 that were you know most importantly
10:31 disposed of were assumptions about
10:34 school because I had grown up I mean
10:37 nobody in my family had ever been to
10:38 university and I had tried to register
10:41 at university I mean it is a bit bizarre
10:42 because I have this I’m not bragging or
10:45 anything but obviously I have a kind of
10:47 exceptional ability like intellectually
10:50 you know not extremely exceptional not
10:52 1% of 1% but I’m in that top 1%
10:56 and you know how did I drop out of high
10:59 school at 14 like how did you know why
11:02 was I not a good student you know but
11:04 it’s also there’s a lot of reasons for
11:06 that and one of but one of them is that
11:07 my family it doesn’t have that
11:08 experience at all so going to school and
11:11 discovering that no I mean if somebody’s
11:13 listening to this and they’re wondering
11:15 like oh gee I don’t want to go to school
11:16 I’m too old or well I’m 56 I’m in school
11:20 I’m having a great time that people have
11:22 been super nice to me the teachers have
11:24 been you know incredibly patient with me
11:26 I’ve learned so many things that I’m
11:29 grateful I’ve read so many books that I
11:32 probably you know would never have read
11:34 otherwise and it’s just been it’s just
11:37 been amazing so that would be the
11:38 biggest assumption that I overcame by
11:42 going to school and and then yeah I mean
11:45 I think the other one is is and it
11:47 probably relates to religion in a sense
11:51 is that we should be very very
11:55 suspicious of certainty because like all
11:58 of our knowledge is on a really unstable
12:01 foundation it rests on a big abyss a big
12:04 chasm of the unknown and like we can
12:07 live in it we can work with it you know
12:09 I know there’s a table here I know
12:11 there’s a that you’re here and we’re
12:13 talking and you know there’s a cat
12:15 running around the apartment and of
12:16 course I work in in that paradigm but if
12:20 I ever think about it all of this is
12:22 just happening inside my head I’m 100
12:25 percent certain that one plus one equals
12:27 two are you also certain to that yeah
12:29 well okay yeah so yeah well yes I have
12:32 but all you’ve just done is made a bunch
12:34 of sounds with your mouth one plus one
12:37 but when I you know when it comes to tax
12:40 time it’s not just a bunch of sounds
12:42 coming out of your mouth okay that’s a
12:43 very very good example like one plus one
12:46 equals two you have to pay your taxes
12:48 you did your calculations this is the
12:51 taxes you have to pay and if you don’t
12:53 pay these taxes you go to jail okay
12:55 that’s all very certain that all makes
12:57 sense and if you stop there you will
12:59 have a certain kind of life but you see
13:02 what the philosopher does this goes well
13:04 why do you pay taxes and why do you go
13:06 to jail if you don’t pay taxes who
13:08 decided that they have the
13:10 to go in your pocket and take your taxes
13:12 if you didn’t agree to it what if you
13:14 don’t want to pay your taxes right like
13:15 ultimately arrests on some guy with a
13:17 gun yeah
13:18 might makes right do you remember who
13:20 coined that is that a sophist oh yeah no
13:24 it makes right I know the expression
13:26 it’s actually there’s a great scene
13:28 you’d love this movie and I’ve forgotten
13:32 the title of it but Robert De Niro’s in
13:33 and he plays a priest he’s a sort of
13:35 missionary and it’s an old movie but
13:38 they have to climb up this waterfall and
13:40 Jeremy Irons Jeremy Irons and Robert
13:42 DeNiro
13:42 and they’re both priests and but Robert
13:46 De Niro wants to defend these Indians
13:48 who live in the jungle and he’s gonna
13:49 give them guns so they can fight off
13:51 like two conquistadors and Jeremy Irons
13:54 also loves the Indians he wants to
13:56 protect him too but he doesn’t want to
13:57 turn them into like killers and warriors
13:59 and Jeremy Irons says if might makes
14:02 right
14:03 then there is no place for love in this
14:05 world there are a lot of people that
14:07 deny absolute objective reality of
14:10 absolute objective morality and absolute
14:14 objective truth I think it’s a scourge
14:16 on our society what do you think there
14:19 may be very good reasons of morality
14:21 even if they’re they’re not objective
14:24 reasons there can be very pragmatic
14:26 reasons right like isn’t the life better
14:28 when we don’t all try to kill each other
14:30 and rob each other stuff and you know
14:32 like no one wants to get raped no one
14:34 want to get murdered right so you’re
14:36 saying that you sympathize with that
14:38 sort of pragmatic moral relativism
14:41 whereas I’m saying it’s a disaster
14:43 you’re saying well it works because we
14:46 all want the same sorts of things well
14:47 again it just depends how you interpret
14:49 it right like you know Kant was very
14:51 much like a what we call deontology so
14:53 there’s very much like lines about what
14:55 is right what is wrong and so one for
14:59 Kant is you should never tell a lie he’s
15:02 got very very good rational arguments
15:05 and and lying is at the basis of so many
15:07 other sins right but you know belonging
15:09 lying and lying somehow is part of them
15:12 so you should never lie okay so there’s
15:15 a killer he’s chasing people someone
15:17 runs into your house and says hide me
15:19 hide me so you hide them underneath the
15:21 couch and then the killer comes to the
15:23 door and
15:23 hey that guy I’m looking for I want to
15:26 kill him is he in there
15:27 now what’s the right thing to do lying
15:30 is wrong you can read st. Augustine
15:32 actually as a section in one of his
15:36 works where he describes 9 different
15:38 types of lives so there’s like lies of
15:41 comission lies of omission lies that are
15:44 benevolent lies where you tell someone
15:46 something to save their feelings there
15:48 are lies oh yeah there are you can lie
15:50 to someone in order to get them to do
15:52 something and the worst one is
15:54 equivocation saying what the other
15:55 person wants to hear but in your mind
15:57 you’ve like switched up the definition
15:59 like I’ll give you your money when the
16:01 Sun rises but in my head I’m thinking
16:03 the Sun doesn’t rise the Earth rotates
16:04 you know what I mean so it’s like you
16:06 get to hear what you want to hear and I
16:08 get to keep my money that I owe you ha
16:09 ok yeah quit vocation yeah no that’s
16:12 interesting so I like to change gears a
16:14 little bit get on to more religion so
16:18 why are you not more religious you know
16:21 to be fair I’ve gone to church services
16:24 and things and and I I like some of the
16:26 things that happen there I I mean I was
16:27 going to a Lutheran Church I went to a
16:29 Catholic Church as experimenting at one
16:32 point I was wondering like oh maybe this
16:34 is a part of my life that I need to get
16:37 involved in so maybe I’m a good person
16:39 for this podcast I wasn’t sure but
16:41 because I actually do sort of flit her
16:43 around even just the other day I saw
16:45 something there’s a black church down
16:46 the street and I was thinking well I
16:48 wonder if they would let me go to church
16:50 there it’d probably be a lot of fun
16:51 probably be interesting um obviously I
16:54 believe in something supernatural
16:56 something beyond and I try to live in
17:00 accordance with Descartes so Descartes
17:02 now a lot of people think that Descartes
17:04 Descartes doubted everything in blah
17:06 blah blah and they think that some of
17:08 the things he put in about God he just
17:10 kind of put them in there just because
17:12 he didn’t want to get in trouble with
17:13 the church because he was aware of
17:15 Galileo and he didn’t want to end up
17:17 like Galileo and then other people will
17:19 say that well you through God in there
17:21 just because he didn’t have a good
17:22 answer but Descartes says well we know
17:26 that there’s some idea of perfection and
17:29 yet there’s nothing about us and about
17:32 our world that is perfect so how could
17:36 that exist
17:37 and so in Descartes therefore there is a
17:40 God so when I think about God and when I
17:44 think about religion as a motivating
17:46 force in my life what I’m thinking of is
17:49 like there is something in me that is
17:52 not in me it is beyond me it is much
17:55 much better than I can ever be it is the
17:58 idea of perfection and I judge myself
18:02 against that perfection you know when
18:05 I’m looking for the answers to the big
18:07 questions I have to always measure it
18:10 against the infinite against the eternal
18:11 against the perfect and so it’s me
18:14 that’s God so are you drawn to the big
18:19 three of monotheism Judaism Christianity
18:22 and Islam are you particularly drawn to
18:24 those three as a group or to any one of
18:26 them individually these these big three
18:29 as you call them to me they’re just kind
18:31 of social movements that are trying to
18:34 interpret this idea of perfection
18:36 eternity infinity so we create gods and
18:40 rituals and as a way to try and confront
18:44 those questions they’re tools so let’s
18:47 say I die and there’s God and gods like
18:49 oh you didn’t you didn’t take the son of
18:52 God here as your Savior and so on I say
18:55 well I’m sorry you’re God you didn’t
18:56 make a very good case for it you have to
18:58 think of it in terms of courtship when
19:01 you meet a woman on a first date she
19:03 doesn’t just take off her pants and
19:05 spread her legs right ah
19:06 yes she does I’m very charming man I’m a
19:10 very handsome man okay carry on it’s a
19:16 courtship it’s a seduction it’s a
19:18 seduction and there’s just enough skin
19:21 shown to get you excited too if you love
19:23 God you’re going to get excited and
19:26 you’re gonna take the next move in the
19:27 next move after you’ve been dating for a
19:29 while you’re gonna be engaged and then
19:31 finally get married that’s what heaven
19:33 is heaven is the marriage okay and then
19:35 you consummate that intimacy that’s
19:38 reserved for the marriage right so it’s
19:41 it’s a love affair and on this planet
19:44 we’re in a fallen state which means
19:46 mixed in with this courtship is
19:49 error weakness deception disability all
19:53 the dark stuff you know war greed
19:55 disease mental illness you know you name
19:57 it so it’s a bit of a messy affair but
20:00 the courtship continues and that’s how
20:03 you have to look at it and st. Augustine
20:04 famously said that only those who love
20:07 God and God alone get to see God naked
20:12 it’s a love story and we we are given
20:15 just enough clues to find God if we love
20:19 God and if there was too much evidence
20:21 then everyone would find God if there
20:23 wasn’t enough evidence then no one would
20:25 find God so there’s just that right
20:26 balance
20:27 yeah he’s the trickster god there’s no
20:31 trick he’s a trickster god he’s like
20:33 Here I am
20:34 no I’m not no yes oh maybe I have oh
20:36 wait I’m gonna do this other trick so
20:38 that you think me there was the own
20:40 exists there was a famous Greek
20:41 pre-socratic who said that nature loves
20:43 to hide we can’t grasp it but we can
20:46 confront infinity and a lot of the
20:49 ancient philosophers talked about God
20:51 they may not have had a sophisticated
20:53 understanding of what a relationship
20:55 with God could be in salvation and that
20:57 sort of thing but certainly the
20:59 perfections were being hammered out by
21:01 the yeah so-called pagan philosophers
21:03 but I don’t think perfection is hammered
21:05 out I think perfection is the thing that
21:06 exists like when you’re talking about
21:07 God you’re talking about something that
21:09 is eternal infinite perfect so we’re all
21:13 trying to find like a path towards that
21:16 right so we’re all trying to put it into
21:18 a form and and so yes like you say I
21:20 think primitive people will go it’s a
21:24 giant woman with blonde hair and her
21:27 hair is the Sun and you know but you’re
21:29 just trying to put it into some form you
21:31 can understand but this goes back to
21:32 post-modernism what do we do like we
21:34 take these things and we try to put them
21:36 into language what is language languages
21:39 symbols and sounds but you know Jesus
21:42 famously talked in parable a lot and
21:44 this is language at work well that’s it
21:46 but more trees Jesus is talking about a
21:48 rich rich man going through the eye of a
21:51 needle and now people what did they do
21:53 they say oh no the eye of the needle he
21:56 doesn’t mean a literal
21:57 needles they didn’t even have needles
21:58 back then what he means is you know he
22:01 means there was a gate that went into
22:04 Jerusalem that was called the eye of the
22:06 needle and and it was a fairly narrow
22:09 gate so if you had like a skinny camel
22:11 and not too much stuff you could get
22:13 through but if you if you had bags and
22:16 bags you couldn’t get through I mean you
22:17 know this kind of thing it’s like all
22:20 kinds of things have been lost in
22:22 translation yeah you know there’s like
22:24 you know some people will say no no
22:25 Jesus if you go back to the original
22:28 Aramaic and it says like no Jesus was
22:31 walking by the water and somebody turned
22:34 you know somebody who didn’t understand
22:35 their Aramaic but Jesus was walking on
22:37 the water and now we have a problem I
22:39 firmly believe he walked on the water
22:41 okay well you know and and and no but
22:44 these are discussions right where like
22:46 to buy the water on the water II but the
22:50 one about the virgin birth is very
22:52 interesting because there are virgin
22:54 births like going back through all the
22:56 mythologies like long before Jesus yeah
22:58 but there’s also the problem that the
23:01 word for virgin in the original text and
23:03 the word for a young unmarried girl are
23:06 the same word yeah do you believe Mary
23:09 was a virgin i I don’t even know if any
23:11 of these people existed okay oh you
23:13 don’t believe even in historical jesus
23:15 it seems that there’s a very strong case
23:19 for a person who had certain
23:23 characteristics had a following and and
23:25 in Judaism there’s a problem at that
23:29 time because there are so many Masonic
23:31 cults so there’s there’s basically guys
23:33 popping up on every corner going I’m the
23:35 Messiah I know I’m the Messiah you know
23:37 and even here today in Montreal we still
23:39 have like mosaic the Lubavitcher ‘s were
23:42 were a thing and now that guy is dead
23:44 you know so anyways but if you can
23:46 imagine back then my understanding is
23:48 that there’s all sorts of these guys you
23:51 know and probably why you asked about
23:52 the big three religions I I would
23:55 probably if I ended up going to church
23:56 it would probably be a Christian Church
23:59 I’ve asked people to bring me to mosques
24:02 you know but you can’t actually ask
24:03 someone because then they’re obligated
24:05 to bring you but I’ve asked people yeah
24:07 if you ask a Muslim I would like to go
24:09 to the mosque
24:09 obligated to bring you but so I have
24:11 Muslim friends who go this is how you do
24:14 it but don’t ask me because I’m not
24:16 bringing you you know like like cuz they
24:18 don’t want why don’t they want to bring
24:19 you well it’s a pain in the ass yeah
24:21 because it like the Muslims that I know
24:24 are not super devout okay right okay so
24:27 they’re like yeah look if you you know
24:29 that’s how I know about this rule so I
24:31 know a couple of Muslims but yeah so you
24:37 know look my upbringing my culture is
24:39 probably much closer to the Christian
24:42 thing and and they’re probably some
24:44 questions asked there but I do like the
24:46 Christian ideals and you know it’s
24:48 interesting because you have the Gnostic
24:50 Gospels you have all these things that
24:52 are going on and and most of the Bible
24:53 is written what a hundred years after or
24:56 at least thirty years after Jesus’s
24:58 death but the central message the idea
25:01 see and I think this is again this is
25:04 what’s interesting about religion
25:05 because always trying to touch on things
25:07 that are eternal and universal and when
25:12 we talk about things that are universal
25:13 what we’re really talking about is that
25:15 all human beings have them in common it
25:18 doesn’t mean it’s universal universe so
25:21 all human beings believe that one plus
25:22 one equals two
25:23 but there may be beings that for which
25:26 one plus one doesn’t equal two but
25:28 that’s that’s a another conversation I
25:31 disagree but anyway you’re allowed to
25:32 disagree I mean you know but that we are
25:36 all somehow connected and I think that’s
25:40 very present in Christianity in a way
25:42 that’s not present in other religions
25:45 the other religions seem to me to be
25:47 more tribal I’ll be honest like you know
25:50 the the Judaism is very much a tribal
25:52 religion look where you’re born into it
25:54 we don’t even want you to join right and
25:58 Islam from what I see of it and from
26:02 what I understand of it is like oh
26:04 there’s the Muslims and there’s the
26:06 infidels and like Christianity seems to
26:09 be much more open to the idea that look
26:11 we’re all connected we’re all connected
26:14 living and dead and in faraway countries
26:17 and all human beings come under the same
26:20 umbrella
26:21 even if someone is not a Christian even
26:23 if someone’s an atheist like kind of
26:25 like what you’re doing here there’s not
26:27 like oh they must be converted or
26:30 destroyed or no Christianity is quite
26:34 willing to accept like oh you just don’t
26:36 quite see it yet we don’t hate you we
26:39 feel kind of sorry for you when I was an
26:42 atheist and I converted to God the
26:44 Father it happened in a heartbeat while
26:46 I was reading discourse on method by
26:48 Rene Descartes and actually laying in
26:50 bed reading this and boom I realize I’m
26:51 not God goddess God because I was a
26:53 solipsist I believed that I was God but
26:55 the reason I asked about monotheism is
26:57 because if there are two gods then
26:59 either one there’s st. Augustine
27:01 famously said this either one will lack
27:03 some of the perfections that the other
27:05 God has in which case he’s not God or
27:07 they will have an identical set of
27:09 infinite perfection in that case they’re
27:11 not two but they’re one so there’s only
27:13 one God let’s say you take a Greek or
27:16 Roman pantheon of gods well they’re
27:20 obviously superior to us they’re
27:23 immortal they’re eternal well right
27:25 they’re not perfect yeah it’s funny
27:27 because if you read the City of God in
27:29 that book
27:30 st. Augustine famously confronts the
27:32 pagan gods and he says look I’m
27:35 perfectly happy to say that Seuss is God
27:37 and that Vulcan is God and that all
27:41 these other gods are God provided that
27:44 we take the fertility of this God and
27:47 the wor like strength of that God and we
27:50 take the wisdom of this God
27:52 Hermes or whatever it is and all of
27:55 those perfections I’m happy to accept
27:56 all of these gods but they are one and
27:59 Hinduism if you speak to a Hindu they
28:01 will admit most of them will admit that
28:03 there is only one God but these are
28:05 aspects of God so I want to talk about
28:08 something a little bit controversial
28:09 that’s sin do you acknowledge that you
28:11 are a sinner yeah I mean I don’t know
28:14 that I would necessarily use those those
28:18 terms I process good and bad in many
28:22 different ways I probably should have
28:24 some kind of idea of sin if you take my
28:28 idea of how I am religious if I’m
28:30 religious
28:31 if you even want to accept that then
28:33 then then I would say that my idea of
28:37 sin then is well whenever I’m moving
28:40 away from that perfection or from that
28:43 objective right whenever I’m moving in
28:45 the wrong direction that would be sin
28:47 okay so people will say oh these are
28:50 we’re not living in the religious times
28:52 or not really living in times that are
28:53 influenced by religion right and yet I
28:57 can say look Montreal is a very Catholic
29:00 city even though all the churches are
29:01 closing down nobody goes to Mass there
29:03 was a time when people would get up at
29:06 5:00 a.m. to go to Mass before they went
29:08 to work and it was it was pretty much
29:10 you know a lot of people don’t realize
29:11 they look at Montreal and they see there
29:12 were all these 24-hour restaurants and
29:14 they assumed oh that’s the bar flies out
29:17 at 4:00 a.m. after the bar is closed and
29:19 they’re not wrong certainly the bar
29:22 flies but the bar flies were not the
29:23 business and that’s why all that there’s
29:25 just as many people going to bars now
29:27 but there’s no more 24-hour restaurants
29:31 now that’s interesting isn’t it so think
29:32 about it and the reason that all those
29:35 24-hour restaurants did business why
29:38 they were able to stay in business was
29:39 not to service the bar flies you know
29:42 and and the you know people like that
29:45 that’s only a small part of their
29:48 business the bulk of their business was
29:49 people who came and had breakfast at
29:53 5:00 a.m. so that they could get to 7:00
29:55 a.m. mass before they went to work at
29:58 9:00 a.m. you know why does Montreal so
30:02 Montreal has all these we have we’ve
30:04 always had more liberal drinking laws
30:06 and and drinking hours than Toronto
30:09 Toronto actually still has what are
30:12 called dry zones
30:13 you know the Protestant Church would say
30:15 no this is a dry area this is a
30:16 temperate zone no one can have a liquor
30:18 permit no it can consume liquor in this
30:20 area that goes back to I don’t know
30:22 hundreds of years anyways and you can
30:25 actually still find them on the map I
30:27 think they still exist now that’s what’s
30:30 interesting I think the the confession
30:32 is a very healthy thing practically and
30:36 it has very interesting effects in
30:38 society so you’ll see like when you go
30:40 to Irish place you know and people get
30:43 really drunk and they get in a fight and
30:45 have sex with their sister or whatever
30:47 and and then they you know they they
30:50 they go to church and they confess and
30:53 everything’s wiped clean and you try
30:55 your best to be good but then you know
30:57 next Saturday you screw up again and and
31:01 but you go to confessional and you get
31:02 another chance whereas like you know the
31:05 Protestant sort of mentality is like oh
31:07 no you’re screwed for life oh you did
31:10 this no you you will always have this
31:12 mark upon you like they’re they’re much
31:14 less forgiving and you see that you see
31:16 that in in so many different policies
31:18 like a you know for instance like the
31:21 penal system it’s a very Protestant
31:24 system in the United States it’s a very
31:26 much more Protestant than Catholic
31:27 country and so you you you know there’s
31:29 life imprisonment imprisonment without
31:31 the possibility of parole you are
31:34 condemned for life whereas Canada which
31:37 was originally a French place before the
31:39 English even showed up and so even in
31:41 the Protestant places that French code
31:44 very much a Catholic mentality still
31:46 exists isn’t it interesting that in
31:49 Canada you could have like the most
31:50 horrendous people Clifford Olson Paul
31:52 Bernardo these are serial killers these
31:54 people are like let’s face it they’re
31:56 never getting out of jail but on paper
31:59 it’s written in the constitution of the
32:03 penitentiary system of Canada that no
32:06 inmate is beyond the possibility of
32:09 rehabilitation and that’s the difference
32:12 between the Catholic and the Protestant
32:13 mentality I believe the historic
32:15 influence of it the very notion of being
32:18 penitent yeah in the penitentiary if
32:20 that’s the whole point right
32:22 and I agree that the confessional is is
32:25 a gift to humanity it’s amazing I
32:28 recommend it for everyone like you know
32:30 I was a thief for quite a while in my
32:33 life and and I was heavily influenced in
32:36 that direction by my environment by the
32:38 people in my life by you know my father
32:41 and my uncles and things now it seems
32:44 it’s not a really fair commandment thou
32:46 shalt not steal because rich people have
32:50 a lot less motive and temptation to
32:53 steal than poor people so if thou shalt
32:56 not steal is gonna be like a law from
32:58 God
32:58 universal law it should protect and sort
33:03 of restrict everybody equally right like
33:06 someone who’s rich who steals he should
33:09 go to special hell because like you
33:12 already started up on the front foot
33:14 God’s put a law in place not only to
33:17 give him an unfair advantage in obeying
33:20 that commandment but he’s also
33:22 protecting him the stuff that he already
33:25 gave him you know you think at least God
33:27 would say okay I’m gonna put some people
33:29 here with some stuff I’m gonna put some
33:31 people here without stuff but it’s fair
33:34 game if you can get his stuff that’s
33:36 fair yeah and like why if stealing is
33:39 wrong then it should be equally wrong
33:41 for everybody yeah every it’s a
33:44 case-by-case basis and and God
33:46 understands the the circumstances and
33:48 the extenuating really because don’t say
33:50 that you know I didn’t say the ten
33:52 suggestion it says the Ten Commandments
33:55 it didn’t say thou shalt not steal
33:57 unless maybe in the you know under these
34:00 circumstances but you know that’s law
34:03 well the point of talking about a God
34:06 who is eternal and perfect and infinite
34:08 is that the law should also be eternal
34:11 and perfect and infinite you shouldn’t
34:13 be able to equivocate
34:14 there’s no equivocation in the Catholic
34:16 Church and the nuanced interpretation of
34:18 the Ten Commandments but there is a
34:19 loving mercy it’s adjust but it’s
34:22 merciful and this is this is the way God
34:23 is he’s perfectly just and he’s
34:25 perfectly merciful how do those work
34:27 together we can’t comprehend it but we
34:29 can apprehend his perfect justice and
34:32 perfect mercy in the church and I think
34:35 the confessional is a good example of
34:36 that there’s a perfect mercy than yes
34:39 understand when you know when I get up
34:41 there and I go WOW oh yeah hey listen
34:43 listen we have to have a talk you know
34:46 at the end of my interviews I always
34:47 asked my guests to speak directly to the
34:49 audience and just sort of wrap up the
34:51 show but just as a ray of hope something
34:54 from your perspective that you learned
34:55 from your life experience what would you
34:58 say to anyone that’s out there that
34:59 might be listening well my life has been
35:01 at times very challenging I think I
35:04 think most people would agree with that
35:05 and it hasn’t been easy there was a lot
35:07 of different kinds of abuse when I was
35:09 young and
35:10 I think that stays with you all your
35:11 life I mean I’m also a sort of byproduct
35:15 of native residential schools my
35:17 grandmother’s family was broken apart
35:19 and they were sent to schools all over
35:21 the country where they were raised not
35:23 by their family not by anybody who cared
35:25 about them but by well actually by nuns
35:27 so strangely
35:30 strangely I have a not a terrible
35:32 relationship with the Catholic Church
35:34 but you know the Catholic Church was
35:36 implicit in the whole residential
35:38 schools thing now that I didn’t even
35:40 think of that while we were talking but
35:42 and as a result of that though you know
35:44 my grandmother was a good woman but she
35:47 also had no sense of how to give love or
35:49 show love and she didn’t show love to
35:51 her children really well and my father
35:54 especially didn’t turn out very good as
35:56 a parent
35:57 he’s very abusive so I can probably
36:00 understand what it is to feel really low
36:03 at times to feel really unloved to feel
36:06 lonely to feel like not worthy of being
36:09 in the world to feel like you’re less
36:11 than other people
36:12 I mean self-esteem is a huge issue is a
36:15 huge issue for my father and it’s been
36:17 an issue for me something I’ve struggled
36:18 with all my life and I have that time
36:22 felt very very down very suicidal to the
36:25 point where you know I when I was
36:27 younger I had quite a few guns and I
36:29 would just tell people like come and get
36:31 the guns and take them away because I
36:32 think I might harm myself and so I’ve
36:35 been there I’ve been there again and
36:36 again and all I would say to people is
36:39 that it can always get a little better
36:42 and the thing is when you’re really low
36:44 it seems so far from the light you seem
36:47 so far away that you know you want
36:52 something big to happen you want to win
36:53 the lottery or you want like somebody to
36:56 come and apologize to you somebody who’s
36:58 not gonna apologize to you in a hundred
37:00 years or or you just want some kind of
37:02 big gesture and and the truth is how
37:06 I’ve gotten myself out of these holes is
37:08 just to take some tiny little action
37:11 even the the smallest thing you can
37:14 think of it could be just you’re lying
37:16 in bed you just can’t face the world you
37:18 just don’t want to get out of bed it’s
37:20 okay get out of bed you know if you
37:22 can’t get out of bed just sit
37:24 on the edge of the bed like and I
37:26 promise you you’re gonna feel a tiny
37:28 little bit better but also when you see
37:31 that you’ve taken action and you’ve made
37:33 yourself feel a little better that’s the
37:36 most hopeful thing because then you’re
37:37 like well what else could I do
37:39 can I walk over to the bathroom and wash
37:41 my face okay and so you walk over the
37:44 bathroom and you wash your face and you
37:46 know what you’ll feel a little better I
37:47 promise you and and you build these
37:49 things up one little step at a time and
37:52 because I think they’re really the big
37:53 inclination when you’re when you’re
37:55 really sad and really lonely and down
37:57 low like you want something really
37:59 amazing to happen like a romantic comedy
38:01 or you want to win the lottery like I
38:02 said or you you you know if you’re
38:04 feeling sick you want you don’t want to
38:06 get better a little bit you want to get
38:08 a lot better very fast it’s very
38:10 frustrating I’ve been injured I haven’t
38:12 been able to walk for like a couple of
38:13 weeks and I’ve spent like a year limping
38:16 around and it’s it’s not pleasant not
38:19 too long ago you know I was having
38:21 suicidal thoughts and because that’s
38:24 part of the problem being a philosopher
38:26 especially existentialist philosopher is
38:28 it’s very hard to find a meaning for
38:31 life so I just decided well you know
38:33 what I’m gonna do I’m you know go in my
38:34 spoon and fork drawer I said well I’m
38:37 gonna wipe off all these spoons and
38:38 forks and I’m with the spoons in a spoon
38:40 slot and I’m gonna put the forks in the
38:42 fork slot and and you know that was
38:44 really all I wanted to do that day that
38:46 was my big project for the day because
38:48 I’ve been through this before but when I
38:50 was finished I looked at the drawer and
38:52 I felt just a little bit better so I
38:54 thought well let me look in the next
38:56 door and the next drawer is full of
38:57 menus from the takeout restaurant and I
38:59 said you know I got all these disgusting
39:01 menus all this disgusting food then I’m
39:03 gonna order and I’m gonna eat it to try
39:05 and make myself feel better but then I’m
39:07 gonna feel like crap because I ate all
39:09 this crappy takeout food so you know
39:11 what I’m gonna do I’m gonna take all
39:12 these menus most of them are out-of-date
39:14 anyways I’m gonna throw them all in the
39:16 garbage and then you know and then I’m
39:18 gonna rearrange that drawer it’s full of
39:20 menus and maybe throw out a few things
39:22 that don’t belong in there and now I
39:23 have two drawers that are clean and you
39:25 know over the next couple of weeks I
39:28 rearranged my whole house and cleaned it
39:30 all up and and suddenly would each each
39:32 little thing that I did it made me feel
39:34 a little bit better and it also gave me
39:36 a little
39:37 motivation to go on because I saw the
39:39 results so yeah I would say to anyone
39:41 you know you’re feeling pretty hopeless
39:44 just think what one little thing could I
39:46 do one little thing to make myself feel
39:48 a little better
39:49 rearrange your sock drawer fold some
39:51 t-shirts you know put some clothes in
39:53 the laundry and you’d be surprised how
39:55 quickly that snowballs and that steam
39:58 rolls and things just get better and
40:01 better all you got to do is all you got
40:14 to do
40:16 [Music]

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