Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-04-12 - Dylan Archbold

Author Recorded Friday April 12th, 2019

There are 47 episodes in the Versus:Atheist series.

Recorded February 9th, 2019

Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-02-09 - Greg

Recorded September 11th, 2016

Catholic vs. Atheist - 2016-09-11 - Renaud

Way back on April Fool's day Dylan reached out to me by email because we had been chatting in the comments of Aron Ra's interview. Dylan is a very cordial and polite gentleman and I enjoyed chatting with him.


Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-04-12 - Dylan Archbold

Author Recorded July 30th, 2016

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hi my name is Dylan Archibald and you're listening to Catholic versus atheist so tell us a little bit about yourself if you would please who you are what you believe and why sure my name is Dylan Archbold I'm 31 years old I'm originally from Alaska but I'm currently residing Vermont I'm currently an atheist but I was for the majority of my life a Catholic and it was only at about age 19 to about a two-year process to actually feel comfortable calling myself an atheist my father was very Catholic and my mother her entire side of the family they're not atheists they're just sort of apathetic about the entire concept of religion is nothing that's very important to them so I you know I call them apathy really which is actually a real term but they're not actually that so my father was really responsible for my religious education growing up you know I was baptized First Communion confession the whole nine yards and my the response before I actually like religious education was my grandparents best friend father Alfredo so for the majority of my life it was just a fact that there was a God in it that one true church was the Catholic Church this is these were facts that were unquestionable it but it wasn't until about age 14 that I found sort of rote answers that I'd been raised with to be unsatisfying so I really got into religious study on my own and that's what I started doing reading from early church fathers very prominent religious figures historically and that really got me into a much more secure much more fervent Catholic stance for the next couple of years I was very into having religious debates with people really proclaiming my convictions and it wasn't until like I said about age 19 that I ran into my first hurdle as it were because I mean I was I was so positive I was so sure in my pizza Balaji that you know God was so obvious you might as well ask if existed but one thing I really enjoy is debate so back in the day I used to watch videos with prominent atheists that would argue with apologists like William Lane Craig or Frank Turek or John Lennox and I was always I always went into that just assuming that the the atheists were of course unreasonable we're gonna get trounced by the the unassailable logic of the religious minded but I found almost every single time very disappointed in the apologist like wow that was actually that that logical track doesn't really hold the fight if I think about it and these atheists are making some good points and that sort of began my first scenes of doubt and then I started really educating myself into the the process of logic and maybe the schools and the history because I've always been a big fan of history but there's only so much you can cover with your own private studies and I eventually it took a couple years as I said but I've actually walked away realizing that the most base philosophical ideas that the epistemology the the presuppositions that people hold were not sound when it came to religion and since I value truth more than comfort I I had to realize that at that point my reasons for still being faithful were mostly emotional and as I said I don't find any value in that so I had to walk away and was no longer convinced there actually was a or any gods and that was after a very extensive religious education if you will and I threw myself into reading the Bible again I've ridden it cover-to-cover twice in my life once I was a theist and once as an atheist Knight read all sorts of I mean I read the Quran I've read The Book of Mormon I've heard Dianetics I had read part of the Vedas haven't finished that I don't claim to have read that very thoroughly but yeah so after a very intense study and studying the history of the churches and logic systems and philosophy I was just no longer convinced that there was any sound reason to be a theist and that's why I'm I am ACS I'm no longer convinced that there is a singular or any God yeah or supernatural forces at all what about um you're sort of coming out it was it difficult telling your dad or probably your mother wasn't so hard but can you just talk about how you navigated that sure it just wasn't I didn't make a big deal out about it I mean they they my parents are great wonderful people they're they're old hippies so they're pretty chill about most things I mean that my dad despite being a turbo Catholic as I call him he's an old deadhead he just like he's he wears a tie-dye shirt still in bandanas and he looks like were Tariq and Frank Zappa I mean that's that's how he looks like so actually I mean it wasn't something I confronted it'd set them down with it was just I no longer you know hung a cross above my bed I no longer went to go pray I based my my behavior changed and we know when it came up in casual conversation I was like yeah I'm just an atheist cuz I don't enjoy drama in my life and I had enough of it on without me adding to it so wasn't uh wasn't anything to write home about in the TV movie of my life this won't be a big dramatic scene for someone to to the scenery who's the leading role played by that's the question oh please me Oh clearly a Chris Hemsworth I mean who else could rival the majesty that is my visage do you have a significant other in your life I do I've been married for about three or four years now but we were together for about ten years prior to that before we eventually got hitched okay can you talk a little bit about how your worldviews work together or maybe if they don't work together just sort of the how does that part of your relationship go generally just fine actually she's she's also atheist but that wasn't really it was never really an issue in our relationship because we've known each other since early teenagehood pretty much but we didn't start a relationship until many years later so I always knew what her religious convictions guns whir and it wasn't really an issue I mean I was you know I'm ashamed at this point I'll have to admit that or many years in my later teen years where I was like and I just want you to believe in something come on you know yeah I want to call you to Christ that sort of thing and you know bless her heart she I can't believe she put up with that nonsense but I'm sure it's it's been great ever since I've dropped that aspect of my personality she wasn't raised religious him no but not not not a dedicated atheist household just mean she's tended culturally Christian you know that sort of vague nondenominational that everyone seems to be in the United States okay let's talk about some of the sort of areas philosophically where we differ maybe we can go straight to metaphysics ontology epistemology whatever interests you let's talk about it okay when I was a believer the arguments that convinced me that were compelling to me were the cosmological argument and the moral argument those are the two big ones for me and I think for a lot of people but in my subsequent watching as I said of YouTube debates I found that honestly a lot of the base level epistemological claims of not just Catholicism but all of religion are not based on any actual observable or verifiable phenomena they just seem to be baseless assertions and that's not me being confrontational or accusing anyone of anything it's just what I've been able to discern it just seems to be that here's the claim because and there's nothing really to justify it and I find that you know most people and I'd almost be willing to claim all people live their lives through inference and induction from the base level of once you get past hard saw ups ISM that's how we basically observe our surroundings and build models of our reality and there's nothing like that to be found in religion there's nothing I can be like this is a fact that I am NOT being misled by my flawed senses or I'm not being missed led by hallucination or drugs or there's no thing I can there's no consensus I can draw from other people there's no verification process there's no way to find an accurate model that would actually map to religious foundations so I find them to be invalid hmm so um what about Pinocchio do you like the story Pinocchio have you read it every familiar with the basic idea I've only seen the Disney version that was when I was a child I've been watching yours okay you know the little wooden doll wants to be a real boy and I think that if you found out that you were programmed to think say and do everything that used to think say and do you would want to be a real boy he really would yes well that may be the case but as I said I've got you to thought and comfort and it's if it turns out that we are or we'll just meet robots if it does turn out that all of our emotions and experiences are just electrochemical configurations of the brain if it does turn out that death is all there is is just the lights turn out oh well I mean it's maybe an unpleasant thought but I you know oh well what about the credible tales from 2,000 years of the saints which are replete with stories of the afterlife both heaven and hell and even stories of purgatory I mean I think it's a bit naive to dismiss all of the hundreds and maybe thousands of stories about the afterlife and real concrete experiences that people have had where they've been warned by a brother that died right in the middle of the funeral it's like stop praying for me that your prayers are doing me no good I'm in hell I can't be saved and there are lots of warnings like this how do you account for that I don't have to it's very simple actually it it doesn't actually it's actually kind of funny it doesn't matter if it's true or not if there's no way to investigate and verify the null hypothesis is that you just withhold judgment until such time as you can or you just never do I mean I I no more believe these Catholic saint stories than I do just the heroic attributes that are done in the sagas of the North's nor do I believe the legends of of the many American Indian tribes or the you know the African bush gods and whatever you want to say to me these are all varying competing stories I mean not just not just the supernatural ones either I'm not even restricting it just to that realm I mean Sophie I don't think there's enough evidence to conclude that people's act the council say alien abductions are correct or Bigfoot or the men in black style dimension hopper things that Chupacabra the Jersey Devil these are just things that do not have enough evidentiary or logical support in order to verify their existence and until that time comes you either withhold judgment or you find evidence to discount those and I'm actually currently even though I'm an atheist I mean I I'm actually quite convinced instead of role-specific gods it's not that I just don't believe in though I'm convinced of several of them actually do not in fact exist which is that more hard-line atheism but not for all I'm not prepared to go into every specific one on me hey you know what my definition of God is right he's the first cause the uncaused cause the only necessary being and it can't be two because God is infinite and every perfection so if there's another candidate we just need to compare and if they differ then the candidate is not God and if they don't differ then they're not two but one and my leap of faith is that I'm not God that God is God but people in the East tend to go the other way and they say that separation is illusion the other is illusion and some go so far as to say that the material world is illusion Maya and all these sorts of things there's a great swath of philosophies and religions that have this sort of solipsistic tinge to them so can you just talk a little bit about the East and about monism about hurt solipsism just sort of compare and contrast that with your own perspective on the material world and the other and the very fact of your own existence people think that it most most of these things are east herbs there's quite a lot a long tradition in Western philosophy that tackles this subject but the problem of salt isn't that the beyond me the the I that that problem everything external to me that problem is as far as I can tell unsolvable and as such most of these exercises seem to be relatively unfounded as far as I've been able to ascertain the often examples that people go to you know the dream of Brahma the the matrix that all of that good stuff of the brain and of that the the piece of the of the God the whole oh what's that term Obama no the we're all part of the trees and the rocks and everything pantheism bantha yes thank you pantheism all those things seem to propose basically that experience is illusory and that may be the case I I fully admit that I could be a brain in a jar or just a piece of a larger divine but I I don't seem to be experiencing that and until someone shows me a way that out of my experience as though I could not be and not take in the information that seems to be completely involuntary I don't seem to have any way of controlling what I sort of my linear experiences in my my sensory experiences and memory I don't seem to have any way of controlling or getting out of this reality if you want to put it that way and until someone shows me a way to do so or until someone shows me that the idea of an external outside reality or partial reality or whatever model you proposed until it feels sort of new way to do that or even if there's an indication that such thing is even real and not just an interesting thought experiment it's ultimately philosophy it seems to be sort of an interesting thought but ultimately sort of meaningless so the reason I brought up that sort of branch of philosophy and that whole category of worldviews which I sort of classify as solipsism or pantheism or monism whatever word you want to use to me it's all the same thing there's only God but to contrast with that is another possible that God is God there are mainline forms of Judaism Christianity and Islam which are strictly speaking classically theists meaning monotheistic and can you talk just a little bit about what you think characterizes that particular collection of worldviews which is typically referred to as monotheism the syphon the fact that there are all working the same God and from the same traditions yeah just what's your impression I just want to know what your impression is do these have a privileged place for you they certainly have a privileged place for me they are the first class I have three classes of religion the first class is monotheism which has God and heaven and hell my second class is those that only have God and heaven and my third class is for people that believe that were destined for complete annihilation and there's absolutely no trace of anything ever having happened ever that's what I classify as nihilism and there most atheists fall into that category so I just want to explore this first class with you the monotheistic class where there's a heaven and a hell well I've joked in the past and I don't know if this is sort of the answer that you're looking for but I if I was to I can't force myself to believe it I don't seem to have that ability that's why I'm here but if I if I had to choose a faith I actually find a lot of the pagan faiths are actually rather interesting I find some of their interesting ideas rather compelling but yeah if I if I had a choice I guess I'd go it's sort of that direction but I I can't find them all equally the supernatural in general just rather unconvincing at this point my life when I talk to ATS about the afterlife they just seem really reluctant to engage in a thought experiment about the pleasantness of heaven I don't think I could be happy in a place like heaven even as its described because there are activities that I enjoy that bring eek intense joy and happiness I feel a rib looking at the Bible probably aren't gonna be in heaven and that just sucks that's just enforcement no no no no everything you enjoy here there'll be something comparable or something way better in heaven select sex drugs rock and roll whatever you like it's all there it's all the good stuffs in having all the bad stuffs in hell but this brings me to my next topic which is sexuality sexual morality and what's taboo what is still taboo for you and why why are there any taboos whatsoever is it only to do with the possibility of having a deformed baby let me just start by saying if you haven't tried sex I'd give it a shot if I were you masturbation close second group sex with anonymous partners just just tops oh boy it's like it's just wet it way better than all of that so if you get the chance I try it as long as it's consensual honestly I'm pretty people would consider me very liberated and in that regard I'm pretty much whatever makes consenting adults happy even things that personally squig me out even things I initially recoil at I mean hey man if that's that's that if that actually giving you pleasure and you're not really getting hurt I mean more power to you you know so you could do anything that you want you can enjoy everything and anything as long as you're not sinning meaning that you're not hurting yourself you're not hurting others but there is a thought experiment I'd like to try on you if you don't mind it has to do with the sort of sexual morality do you have any young people that you care about like a niece and nephew a son of your own a daughter of your own I don't have any children but yes they do have young people in my lips that I care about intensely three kids that are very young and two brothers and a sister and we take care of us sometimes so listen these three cute little kids I'm just gonna ask you to picture a scenario where some really nasty people have a sexual fetish where they like to have dolls they're not real humans or dolls but they look exactly like these three cute kids that you love and they have these dolls are so realistic and they're animatronic that means they can move around and they're doing all sorts of gross stuff to them sexually and torturing them and killing them eventually and they're filming it all and they're sharing it amongst their friends that are all into this do you think they've crossed a line or is it all good because it's among consenting adults and no one's getting hurt yeah pretty much I mean I just because I would be personally repulsed by it doesn't actually I think they're actually crossing any moral lines I mean and if it turned out that these were the caretakers and guardians and like the teachers and priests and everyone that your three innocent children were constantly being around and that there were weekends away with these kids and with these creepy people that wouldn't bother you amen as long as they're keeping it to the robots I mean they find that at least all the research that I've seen actually the more pornography the more prostitution the more degrading and seedy sexual things in society I mean I've seen a ton of studies that say the more of that there is in a society the actual lower the rates of sexual assault and pedophilia or a million at sexual assault pedophilia in meaning look in my eyes even a pedophile which society deems to be like the worst of the worst of the worst is if they've never acted on that if they've never heard a child they mean go nuts and then they haven't actually done anything I don't believe in punishing people before a crime okay I mean obviously as a as an adult with children that I care about if I if they were very open about that they're like hey I have these thoughts and I'd always keep a wary eye on them but I'm not gonna I don't believe in quite a few people before or crime I don't believe in thought crime either these thoughts are thoughts and so a lot of them are involuntary people don't choose these things so I would be hypocritical of me to punish someone the best for having thoughts when I'm sure I've had thoughts of disgust other people I'm sure I've had thoughts that would rival your own even to this day it's not like my conversion has cleansed my mind of all the evil thoughts that come into my mind you know I'm still a sick person it just so happens that I've put my trust in the doctor and I've signed up for the surgery right but I want to talk a little bit about paganism and some of your fantasies about what this weekend would be like this pagan weekend just make me a little picture of what attracts you about paganism and what you think you might be able to get out of it if you were to get involved well I actually find some of their moral systems to be truly intriguing so for instance in monotheistic religions it's sort of a divine command where the commandments come from on high it's black and white it's sort of a checklist but in a lot of paganism there's not that sort of system in fact I mean they sort of the I know it's not they like to claim that's the case but it actually isn't that which Wiccan ISM that sort of everything comes back to you threefold I find that interesting it's almost related to Karma in that regard I find karma interesting not the watered down American colloquial Karma that people talk about but the actual karmic system that that the the wages of your action change who you are as a fundamental person in the next life which is similar to sin in that regard except they just don't see it as a transgression it's just sort of a fact it's sort of an amoral fact I find that interesting and the religious system that I find the most fascinating is sort of the the heathen read the the the nor the Germanic neo-paganism Thor and Odin and tear and Fran all those actually that the head system is way I just think those stories are cool I mean just fighting Giants and it's just fun but sort of their moral system was much more pragmatic and sorted by our standards it would be cold but I find the whole the inborn loyalty and the sort of well you do what you do when you have to do it that's a very interesting idea to me and they're much more flexible and much more situational and I kind of find those that interesting as opposed to the rigid hierarchal yes no kind of bad I mean I grew up with it for twenty years now I'm looking at other stuff the grass is always greener sort of thing I mean for sure for sure so at the end of my episodes as you may know I do ask my guests to give the closing thought just something nice and positive for the listener that's out there you don't know who's listening but just to wrap up what do you think you might be able to say sure I mean I have some positive thoughts I was like to leave with people and that's attending was listening who's perhaps depressed or struggling with thoughts of problems of that nature please seek psychiatric help that's always they may not seem it at the time and I've you know I've been in those bleak situations before but they actually help us there for you if you need it and just because you don't have an external force in your life that's looking out for you doesn't mean that other people are looking out for you and if you feel that you don't have people in your life right now and you need someone else that you would have certainly find in faith there are people out there that can help you there's many organizations that can and if you ever find yourself you know what a lonely road just because you find yourself alone doesn't mean that you can't find others that are also walking that path that can then bring you into the group so everyone can find someone else out there and we can all be good happy sunshine friends together