CVS Live Guest - 2022-11-27 - Kevin Nontradicath

Author Streamed Sunday November 27th, 2022

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Kevin has a YouTube channel called Kevin Nontradicath ( @NontraditionalCatholic ) and he reached out to do a two-way interview. He grew up going to the TLM, at an FSSP chapel in New Jersey founded by his grandparents. He says

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These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
I think that I'm live yeah I think I'm live on my end too hold on what's going on here uh yeah we are live I'm just going to adjust you a little bit your position so your head's nicely framed okay good so we're live I'm here with Kevin Kevin how you doing pretty good David uh thank you so much for having me on your show over the past few days I've been watching as much of your content as I can um and I'm I'm I'm a new fan excellent and uh I've discovered you because you reached out I haven't had time to really watch your stuff a little bit I watched a little bit but I don't like to form opinions about people I like to discover them on the on the interview so we're simulcasting here I hope it goes well technically everything seems good and I'd like to start just by asking you about your journey you can ask me about my stuff later but right now I want to start with you how are you raised I think you were raised uh fsp if I'm not mistaken but you'll fill me in I want you to jump back to your earliest memories uh of God and religion and prayer life and home Life Church Life and just fill in the gaps all the way up till today at your own pace certainly uh so I remember religion before I remember like you know anything else really um religion was a very big part of my family um so starting even before I was born I guess um my grandparents immigrated from Ireland to the United States um in the 60s when they got here this was right around the same time as Vatican II so they wound up um founding a church uh and the question at the time was should it be an sspx church or an fssp Church um because this was after the fssp had split off from the sspx uh and they wound up going with fssp um not because of anything else really I I think that uh it just came down to a vote and the congregation at that church voted fssp um and so uh I grew up in this fssp church and my grandparents helped to found so as I'm sure you can imagine there's a decent amount of like familial uh pressure you know hey you're the grand son of one of the founders and I was an altar boy from a very young age um in first grade I was serving low masses and by the time that I was perhaps 12 or 13 I was doing MC at traditional Shanghai masses which is the highest ranked altar boy so it's you know quite a complicated ceremony compared to a lot of like Novus Auto ceremonies and things like that um I took the confirmation name John Vianney because I thought I wanted to be a priest and Saint John Vianney is the Patriots uh and hey there he is look at that that's pretty cool so so my my full name if you count my confirmation name is Kevin James John Vianney O'Connor which I think has a given you know a very funny uh ring to it um but anyway uh I was you know I would have called myself a very devout Catholic um until I was about 18. um then when I was 18 I one of my friends from this tiny little fssp chapel um came out as gay and so that was kind of the first time that like I actually had like a challenge to my faith I guess um and so I understood that the church teaching was that homosexual relations were like disordered um I didn't fully understand why but I thought I better get to the bottom of this I better figure out why so I started looking into like teleology primarily because the church grounds its uh um understanding of you know marital relationships in teleology um and I realized that I just didn't really think that morality was teleological I didn't think that teleology was like a vertical thing really um and keeping this was over the course of a long time um so over the course of probably four years um piece by piece of my Catholicism kind of started dropping out um so uh from 18 I went from being pretty much you know as as Catholic as a Catholic can be to so I lost my belief in heliology and I lost my belief that you know um gay marriages were were wrong um but when you lose teleology that kind of opens up the door to everything else I started looking into like Greek philosophical thought in general I realized that I didn't really think that hylomorphism was vertical either so I kind of lost my belief in like substances and without substances you kind of can't have transparentiation at least I haven't figured out like a way to make it work without substances um so then I lost my belief in transubstantiation I still would have called myself Catholic at this point just a very unorthodox one um eventually I stopped calling myself Catholic and I started using like the see the the merely Christian Allah C.S Lewis um after another like year of that maybe I kind of just called myself like a theist but not necessarily a Christian um six months later I was calling myself Dias um and then maybe six months after that and you know by the this time I'm about 22 I'd say I just started calling myself an atheist though to be clear I never really had any real arguments uh for to make like a positive case for atheism um and I just continued you know reading philosophical papers and trying to listen as much as I could to the brightest Catholic Minds um and here I am today about you know so just I'm 27 now um so and the label that I use for myself is agnostic um I find that there's no like real label for like uh every single set of beliefs that you could possibly have right like you can have a different opinion opinion about muriology and nominalism and theism and morality and but you know if you don't fall neatly into a bucket like Catholicism then there's no real word for what you are yes kevinism I suppose um and that's that's pretty much where I am now so more than happy to go into each individual talk and kind of give you where I'm at now but I think uh you know we would be here all day let me let me just uh jump back to family relations how many siblings do you have three um only three which is small for that culture but I grew up a mile down the road from my cousins and there were seven of them so and uh what was and you you police yourself you watch what you say so you don't get yourself in trouble saying something about that's too personal or whatever okay um but uh I'll just ask and you can answer in a way that's appropriate um to protect your privacy and the Dignity of your family and everything but what was the reaction like was was there uh uh loving acceptance of your ongoing Journey or was there uh anger just talk a little bit about the different reactions the highlights that you're able to talk about yeah so I I will watch what I say here um but I I think that I'll be able to express it in a like a a proper in a proper manner um it was a negative reaction um do in large part to I think my delivery of the news um so I had gone through probably four years worth of you know Evolution for lack of a better term without telling anybody about um this and the reason I didn't tell anybody is because in that culture there is no uh freedom of you know uh opinion you know it's conform or be ostracized um and so it wasn't until I got a job offer that was going to move me um 800 miles away and I told them hey my girlfriend who I've been dating for five years is going to come with me because I stopped thinking that it was a sin to like live with somebody before you're married um so I kind of just told my parents all at once hey I'm not Catholic I haven't been Catholic for a long time they kind of saw this coming for like I hadn't been wearing a scapular for several years at this point um and I grew up with a brown scapular so they kind of saw it coming but I just you know I dropped multiple bombs on them at the same time which was not fair of me to do um and so as you can imagine the reaction was quite negative um I didn't wind up speaking to my family for over a year um I moved across the country um and we had we had quite a bad relationship for a long time um things are much much much better now um and and I think in some ways my so I was the first person in my family to actually like openly Express that I'm not religious and I I have noticed like changes in my family like my my younger siblings can do things my parents never let me do which I I found interesting um but I think that um there's you know I've evolved but I also think that my family and the culture that my family is in has also changed if that makes sense um so so it was a negative reaction but things are much better okay has there been any uh and again you'll watch what you say but has there been any explicit acknowledgment of fail failure on the part of your practice is very touchy but the failure on your part of your parents to uh you know to raise you and to oh yeah have the freedom and have they acknowledged some of their failings in the way that they've uh guided you in the faith and maybe haven't been in touch with your inner life and only concerned with the outer life and these sorts of things yeah so my parents um I'm pausing only because I want to think about the the words that I use here um emotional so I'm going to use a word that probably isn't the best word but I'm going to use the word manipulation um that's probably not the best word I can probably think of a better word if I thought about it a little bit more if I was just a brighter person but emotional manipulation is kind of a staple within that Community um and uh there was a lot of emotional manipulation when I first broke the news to them um there were words spoken such as oh you know your your elderly relatives will pass away when they hear this news because of how broken their hearts will be and um and oh if any of my like so if any of your siblings Kevin find out about your lack of belief in Catholicism um I will kill you uh things like that um In the Heat of the Moment you're talking about yes In the Heat of the Moment with apologies like you know the next day um but definitely definitely emotional manipulation and then also part of that too was uh you know oh where did I go wrong that my son wound up so you know oh I'm worried now that I'm gonna go to hell because my son so so Kevin not only are you damning yourself but you're damning your parents too you know through your actions so yeah there was there was a there was a lot of that it was not good but since that time like today uh things are better and they understand do they understand do they understand their own faith better that's what I'm asking you really do they understand their own faith better in the priorities within their own world view because it seems to me that in the Trad world there's a pharaoh cycle element and that that can come back to bite you so the answer is gonna be different for both of my parents the answer for my dad I think is yes the answer for my mom I think is no uh we just got a note from Haley luja saying Kevin your sound is not working on your end okay check your audio but you can always are you recording this so you can play it back otherwise I can send you a copy of this uh from my YouTube and you can post it as a pre-recorded um I'm very well might need you to share the recording with me I'm going to try real quick yeah set up your audio Yeah do you know Haley luja I do I do she's a friend I guess it's pronounced hallelujah hallelujah yeah her name's Haley but Hallelujah um so it was working when I did the recording which is confusing if I don't get this in about 60 seconds I will um no I will I will give it up so it should be working now um thank you so much for the note Haley um if it's working now she'll she'll respond soon probably okay okay we'll we'll keep on trucking if it doesn't work yeah what what did I ask you and what was your answer you just asked me if uh if my parents have come to like a different understanding of their faith through this whole ordeal and my response to that was that it's different for each of my parents for my mom no for my dad yes the reason I say for my mom no she is the kind of person who use the phrase like my faith is a simple Faith she doesn't necessarily know why she believes it um but um she kind of doesn't care um she's going to just live in this community and be part of the community and uh she likes it this way and so she doesn't need to read the Summa theologica just you know she's happy to leave things as they are um so it's working but it is working by the way the audio is working perfect thank you um but my my dad is the kind of person who's like into the Apologetics space um and so I do think that my dad has like changed um his stance on certain things and so I do think that if like a younger sibling of mine um came out as not religious I do think that my dad would have a very different reaction uh today than he did five years ago yeah well it's a very delicate uh the whole the whole story is not uncommon but it's uh so tragic and it's so delicate and parenting is not easy I'm not a parent sadly um but I don't envy parents I don't you know it's not easy any relationship is difficult but particularly when we're mixing in power dynamics and religion and guilt trips and stuff like that uh and I'm not saying that parents do it maliciously or easily it's just sort of like um it's just sort of something that is bound to happen in you know if your parents are highly placed in politics or business or anything there's always going to be that power Dynamic it's just a reality it's sad but that's what we have to struggle with in this sick and Fallen World so I do uh I do have a lot of sympathy for people that go through it of sympathy for you because of this this ordeal and uh I I frankly am proud of you that you are following the truth wherever it leads you and that you are struggling to find the truth and and you know that's more important to to me than having a good exterior where you're going through the motions of religion that you don't really believe in I think it's better to be honest thank you for saying that I definitely agree um right right obviously I agree right but um I the way that I kind of phrased what you just said is that I think I've taken the real Pascal's wager in as much as um you know I'm doing my best uh and if my best isn't good enough then I could kind of just say that I've left it all on the field and that I I hope that you know if there's a God that you know does exist I I think that that God would value truth seeking above going through the motions and so that that's kind of that's kind of where I am yeah well even if God doesn't exist and that's an absurd uh hypothesis but even if God didn't exist you would still have uh humans like myself who would encourage you to be sincere and authentic and so it's it's win-win for you to follow follow your not to follow every impulse of your heart because you're the impulses of your heart are depraved and Evil sometimes sometimes you know you know from your own experience with indulging in the wrong kinds of food or sex or whatever you know that you are prone to temptations that aren't always good even if you don't believe in God you still have that experience right oh yeah of course yeah every now and then I'm like you know I get this weird like uh hey wouldn't it be weird if I just jumped off this bridge you know and I'm not actually Gonna Do It um but certainly yeah not all inclinations are inclinations that should be acted upon certainly yeah yeah I agree with you 100 uh especially when it comes to uh suicide of thought about it in the abstract with zero emotional uh investment and uh you know I'm I'm against it uh with or without God I'm against it I'm against it in principle but my religion obviously teaches me that it's uh it's not good too and so uh we I personally like the idea of being able to play with ideas provided that we're grounded in solid principles and you with the childhood that you have with the family that you have I'm sure that you're grounded in a lot of solid principles and that you're not just going to flush them all down the toilet you're going to test them you're going to stretch the boundaries you're going to maybe come back to some of the ones that you thought you could abandon and it's an ongoing process you're very young I mean I'm 52 you're 27 so um not that wisdom necessarily comes with age but when you do get old and sick if you do get old and sick and are facing death that's going to help too two that's good I hope I get old one day but it will help it's it it really does help I think your spiritual life facing uh mortality the death of loved ones these sorts of things so I'm not wishing ill on you or anyone else but the nature of this Fallen World is from my Catholic perspective is that when we have to suffer uh we make some tough choices and we go back on some of our childish uh you know intellectual decisions that we made I was an atheist for most of my adult life and I'm not ashamed I'm not ashamed I was doing what I thought you know I was following my trajectory and you're doing the same thing everyone's got a very beautiful and unique path that's the way I see it it's a beautiful and unique path so I just cheer you on encourage you and I do that I do that for everyone yeah thank you yeah I uh I was listening to one of your your interviews earlier today and I uh I remember you saying something to the effect of you uh will often um have masses said for your guests and things like that and I think that's super good yeah that's awesome even me of course especially especially all right good something I get really um so I hesitate to use the word compatriot or or colleague or anything like that with like you know kind of hard atheists um but something I get frustrated with well with certain like you know capital A atheists is they they act like um like prayer is like uh insulting or at like the very least to lack as if it's like Preposterous and silly and the way that I view it is that um even if you assume the falsity of what the person who's saying that they're praying for you is you want to say at the the very uh like the least good thing that it could be saying is that they are thinking about you and they're wishing you well they want the best possible thing that could possibly happen to happen to you yeah how can you possibly be insulted or treat that how can you even trivialize that frankly yeah um but it's it's it's it's uh the appropriate reaction it makes the Gratitude the the appropriate reaction is gratitude deep gratitude you're wishing me well that's called love that's what that's what love is atheists should not reject love they should embrace it and they should have a lot of gratitude for it but you know people like I said people are I always confused people are confused I'm still confused I'm not going to say that I'm not confused now about the most fundamental important things and even the essential saving truths I'm confused about the Trinity I'm confused with Incarnation I'm confused about all these things I'm accused about uh who and what God is but uh you know it's it's the the heart and soul of religion is having good will that for me that's it the heart and soul and I told Aaron Raw who's a devote atheist I told him if you never have ill will then I don't know but I think you're going to heaven sorry I think you're going to heaven buddy he didn't like to hear that but uh yes and and Aaron raw and you know Matt delahunty and you know the list goes on those are the kind of people that I have in mind when I talk about the kinds of people who scoff at religious people saying that they're going to remember them in their prayers or something you know it's I don't think that's the right attitude so uh you did mention uh your gay friend or whatever that came out in the fssp community can you just shed some light on that because that's a very unique situation I've never heard about that it's probably kept Hush Hush for the most part oh uh can you just talk about that without uh impinging on the Dignity of anyone involved yeah absolutely so um his family was also very well connected um the church has a school that's associated with it I went to that school for first or eighth grade it's essentially homeschooling um except that instead of at my home it's at my church which was a mile down the road from where I lived anyway and my mom wasn't teaching me my friend's moms were teaching me um but uh uh my friend uh his mother and grandmother were both teachers at this school and he was kicked out of the school for being gay um so it was it was a very big deal but it was simultaneously a huge deal and they also tried to not talk about it whatsoever um he was kicked out but the going story was that like oh uh he was gonna go finish his high school education at the local Community College to set him up better for for college that was like the the cover-up I was like oh he's just very academically minded so he's gonna go finish his GED at the local community college instead of going to finish high school with everybody else um so yeah that was um I sometimes wallow in my own self-pity um and then I think about my friend um and how much worse it must have been for him you know all that I did was come out as a straight but non-catholic person in this Catholic Community and think about how much worse it must have been for him to come out as a not straight person in this Catholic Community it must have been way way way harder than what I went through so you you knew him you were sort of like a friend of his or something oh we were yeah we were very close Okay so uh was there any uh was there any indication that he was hesitating whether it was an unrepentant or a repentant uh condition that he was suffering from from my perspective okay he was he was Catholic when he came out um and so I'm sure that he went through the same thing that like a lot of Catholic gay people go through where it's you know the the whole you know well can I just live a Chase life forever um should I remain Catholic do I think do I think that this is really a sin I'm sure that he went through to be honest we didn't talk about that because I was still very much so Catholic at the time um like I the way that I explained it to you at the beginning was you know a sentence for every year that it took me to think these things through so at the time that he came out I really didn't talk to him for a while after that today so now we live on on different parts of the country so we don't talk as much as I would like but I do reach out to him every now and then and we we talk and whenever I'm back in my home state we you know not not whenever but I'd like to see it more than I do to be honest but I'm I'm I'm like that with a lot of my friends um so I don't see him as much now as I would like to but but we do still talk do you have any uh guilt whether you think it's Justified or not any guilt about your uh sexual activity my own or or it's yours no I don't have any guilt about mine um I was in the position where I had thought everything through pretty thoroughly before I acted on anything so um I and I really didn't do anything like well so I had pre-marital sex but um I was already in my 20s by then um so and we got married when we were 22. so we got married like pretty early me and my wife so I'm I'm married my wife is my absolute best friend marrying her was the best thing that I ever did um I do regret the we both regret regret the way in which we got married um but we got married when we were 22. um and getting married itself was an excellent decision and um and I really don't have any I I have way more regrets about getting married so young than I do about any kind of you know sexual activity I don't think that I've done you know so I I wouldn't consider any of the sexual things that I've ever done to be like wrong like immoral you know because that list for me is a lot smaller than it would be for somebody who's like you know an orthodox Catholic yeah of course of course of course so you did mention the the teleology and uh its connection if any to morality did you want to expand on that just I've never heard I've never heard anyone uh talk about this disconnect between that teleology is it a common theme uh that you encounter the disconnect between teleology and morality um no it's not common really so I try to find people talking about this just on the internet when I was looking into it and I really only found one person talking about it his name is um Dustin crummit I believe he is a PhD um Theologian who he's Protestant he's not Catholic um and he he is I mean he's kind of in the same boat that I'm in in the sense that he doesn't think that morality is teleological in nature um but the only the only arguments that I could find Catholics using for the immorality of homosexual relations were teleological um and I couldn't ever find any real justification for why morality should be teleological so at that point it's just kind of like an Occam's razor of like well morale you have mustn't feed heliological I don't see why it would be so until I'm convinced that it is I'm going to think that it's not and if the only reason why we can imagine um gay relations being wrong or teleological reasons then I guess I just don't think that gay relations are wrong um so uh and Dustin Comet who is really the only philosopher I could find like talking about it um of course Aquinas has an entry I don't recall the number off the top of my head um but uh Aquinas has an entry in the Summa where he talks about um teleological morality and I'm I'm very confused by it to be 100 honest because Thomas argues that it's actually not um so he he argues that it is immoral to frustrate the Telos of an act but then in a very domestic way he says um you know but what if and then he like you know sets up like you know he tries to steal man the opposite end and so he he brings up um an acrobat he says like well an acrobat might walk on his hands as part of a circus act the tli of the hands is not to walk so by walking on your hands you are frustrating the ends of your you're frustrating the Telos of the hand when you use it to walk so is that a sin and Thomas says no it's not a sin for the acrobat to walk on his hands and the justification I'm going to butcher this um so so please don't like uh please don't be don't take anything that I say is Gospel but the effect what Thomas says about this is more or less it's not a sin because it's not actually unhealthy for you or anything like that to walk on your hands um like it's not bad for the human person to walk on your hands therefore even though you're frustrating the Telos of your hands it's not wrong and to me I almost find that like a tacit admission that morality is not teleological in nature um but then that's kind of it um and then Thomas that's really like the only mention that I could find in like the whole Summa of like morality being teleological in nature um so you know and I'm just a kid right so don't listen to me about it but well I mean you know my approach to uh if you want to call it apologetics I call it slopologetics because I'm very slow I apologize but you know the basic the basic um idea of why I talk to people is to see where at their where they're at on their journey and to support them to love them and whatever to pray for them but uh also if I can nudge them in the right direction so the my basic approach with an agnostic or an atheist is to talk about uh the fact that you exist and how do you think that you exist are you the source of your own existence and one small point before we go on I always like to ask my guests uh if they believe in evolution did you believe in evolution uh in the fssp or did you believe in young Earth creationism as I do I grew up a young Earth creationist um however we wound up getting a priest when I was in like seventh or eighth grade uh who came in and like shook the World by um saying uh it's okay to believe in evolution um I myself didn't wind up accepting Evolution quite yet um I didn't go to that um to that church school the fssb affiliate school for high school I went to my local public high school for high school um so in high school I had a whole bunch of like my scientific beliefs Challenge and so by the time that I was probably 15 or 16 um I did wind up accepting the old Earth and um Evolution but even the evolution that I accepted then was probably like still special creation for man like like Man was created in the manner in which we have to believe like Adam and Eve were were created and or at least they were at the very least they were given Souls like even if God kind of created them out of the great apes like he infused the first first immortal Soul into one of those great apes and that was Adam so that was that was at least what I believed by the time I was like 16 um but I did grow up a young Earth creationist we used the um a Becca brand of textbooks um and the Becca brand of textbooks are kind of famous or maybe Infamous um for including religion in all of their topics so the math the math problems were like oh you know Mr Jones tie it's 10 of his annual income his annual income is sixty thousand dollars so how much does Mr Jones tithe every year um and the science textbooks were also like creationist science textbooks so interesting how do you spell Rebecca or Rebecca a b e e k a or perhaps KK it's pretty famous anyway to be honest and so it's one pay I looked it up a b e k a okay and um they are famous but really they're more famous in um uh Protestant okay circles okay yeah um they were used by like Evangelical Protestant homeschooling communities um but we use them oh and you know what's funny is that our history textbooks would teach about the Protestant Reformation right but whenever my school bought these books they would go to all their um references for their reformation and take a a Sharpie and cross out the word reformation and then write Revolt in its place so it was the Protestant Revolt not the Protestant Reformation but these were Protestant books so interesting very interesting kind of funny I am quite surprised that you're one of your priests FSS P priests was uh pro-evolution but yes he wasn't an fssp priest um my Chapel wound up like adopting this um just traditionalist friendly priest who went through the normal Novus Auto Seminary um and uh he got special permission from the bishop of the Archdiocese just to kind of have his home base being in our fssp Chapel even though he himself was on fssp and he had a master's degree in like biochemistry or something so he was like a particularly science-minded person but he was he was just a um he was probably more akin to your Diocesan Latin Mass priest than he was fssp okay okay interesting so yeah I misspoke earlier so but that confirms my uh my hunch that you won't get a lot of ffs I don't have a lot of experience with the fssp although I did meet a couple of priests here and I've gone a couple of times and I do really uh love and respect the fssp I don't really care for the SS PX but that's a different topic but I wanted to if it's possible to sort of um talk about ontology like you exist you can't deny that you exist this is how I came to God right just contemplating the fact that I exist and I was studying philosophy as an amateur uh so how do you explain the fact that you exist or are you not really uh are you not concerning yourself are you happy to be agnostic about the most fundamental and important questions or are you actually curious to have a grounding and a basis philosophically for your world for you even though you call yourself an agnostic right now yeah yeah yeah so this is going to be a lot of different moving pieces let me do my very best to explain this as succinctly as I can um so am I happy with like The agnosticism Happy's definitely not the right word because I wish that I was like omniscient and I knew everything um but I guess I do have some kind of like tacit acceptance of my agnosticism because I do you think that there are some things that I cannot know um so in that sense I might be agnostic about certain things one of those things is hard solipsism I cannot claim to have solved horse solipsism I cannot prove to you that I'm not a brain in a back being poked by you know aliens on Marvel yeah I cannot prove that to you however that's soft solid solipsism if you're being poked by another being if there's a material Universe yeah it hurts and you're a disembodied mind yes thank you yes you're the god of Buddhism at that point yes and I I can't disprove either solipsisms really I I can't claim that I've solved it I'm not smart enough to happen you don't have the lab equipment for that just kidding right yeah um so so in that sense I'm like I'm kind of just tacitly um like I've made my piece with it but I'm certainly not happy about it in that sense um however um I do think that I can move I can I can so I really liked your video where you had um the Venn diagram with the three circles overlapping and you had Faith but faith alone is fidaism you had doubt but doubt alone is um did you have that labeled as uh solipsism that alone is solipsism no um what was it remind me let me see if I can pull it up here I'll keep talking while you pull it up um so I I do agree with this particularly with the faith part I think that everybody does need to have at least some modicum of faith in the sense that I can't solve heart solipsism but I live my life as if I have um and because I live my life as if I have solved heart solipsism you could certainly call that Faith so I'm just gonna I have faith that's all autism isn't true why I have no evidence for this Matt just take it on faith and live my life that way and nah that's the best I can do yeah we have uh up at the top with it it's exclusively Faith it's futism if it's exclusively doubt it's nihilism if it's exclusively reason it's agnosticism and then if you have a mixture of doubt and reason it's solipsism you get a mixture of only doubt and Faith then it's cynicism or naive realism and then I had a mixture of faith and reason giving you fanaticism and then the perfect balance in the center is Roman Catholicism it's one of my favorite episodes that I've done and uh I stand by it I I don't uh it's not infallible obviously it's just a thought experiment and it's just talking aloud but I'm glad you took the time to listen to it appreciate that yes yeah and really I agree with like the vast majority of what you said there um now the the one and we'll get here I'm sure but the one place I disagree is the very center being labeled right right obviously right but um but I really do agree with the vast majority of that and so let me back up now so am I happy about it no I'm not happy about it but I've kind of made my peace with it moved on um I want to know all about um everything frankly like I'm I'm just a naturally curious person um and I love wrestling with these questions just about like ontology at large um and uh and kind of one of the reasons I started my YouTube channel was so that I could have conversations exactly like the one that we're having today um I wouldn't have discovered you if it wasn't for one of your fans telling me to reach out to you and I wouldn't have had that fan of yours telling me to reach out to you if I didn't start my channel so for this reason alone I'm happy to have started my channel just because I get to have this very conversation um but but um uh yeah that's why I started the channel was to kind of wrestle with these topics exactly like you've like you said amazing yeah that's the thing it's such a dynamic journey and uh if you were to talk to Future Kevin and future Kevin says hey dude I'm no longer agnostic uh and then the the operation disappears and you're like wow I wonder what it'll be like am I gonna be Buddhist Hindu I'm gonna be a hardcore or atheist that thinks he knows everything like what am I going to be am I going to be uh Protestant Christian like Muslim Jew any hunch oh man so like the cynical part of me worries that I would label myself as I got like a heart atheist and I'll explain why I'm I have that worry um I have an engineering degree I'm very science minded um I I like I love math and science and so I think that I have this like empirical um uh bias in my brain probably and so I always try to fight against it but if I have this future Apparition that appeared to me and says hey I'm not agnostic anymore then proof disappears my very first thought would probably be despair oh no I have fallen prey to my appearances of I'm an empiricist now this is terrible um if I was less um suspicious of my own you know heart and my own future self I might be happy thinking that I had actually made some kind of breakthrough and then I had fallen to some kind of theism I suppose who knows what that would be I have no idea um but like having solid Arguments for something would be much preferable to just kind of calling myself a hard atheist for presumably no good reason and just kind of labeling myself as an empiricist so I would worry but maybe you would have a camera I don't know well we're just going to see what we're going to see what happens we're going to stay in touch and I'll be watching your channel and we're going to see what happens but uh speaking of your YouTube channel I want you to give me a summary and this is a good exercise for you to do too it's good for you to think about what you've been doing like what who you've been talking to and what you've been learning and what what emphasis have you been placing consciously or even unconsciously where you look back you watch back what you've been uh interviewing people are doing videos you look back and you say wow I didn't realize but I put I seem to put a real emphasis on this or that dimension of my life or of philosophy or of things in general uh have you learned anything about yourself and where do you think that emphasis is now that you can see yourself and play it back because it's an interesting psychological phenomenon where we can look at ourselves right yeah I'll give you an answer right now but I'll the best thing I could probably do is continue to reflect on this and think of a new answer every day you know what I mean um so I think that where I've so recently where I I just did three videos four videos in a row about Eucharistic miracles that was not where I saw my channel go um they were my best take out of like hey like let me go into this as open-minded as I can and kind of just see where what the evidence looks like um that's not what I intended when I started my channel um what I really intended was having conversations exactly like this one and so one video that I'm particularly proud of is I just did an interview with a a PhD theologist um whose dissertation was on transubstantiation and so he's he's kind of like the world's leading expert on trans potentiation um and I was particularly proud of that interview um it was very challenging for me he you know he's much more intelligent than I am um but I felt honored to have that conversation and I would like to make more content like that um but the Eucharistic uh Miracles video came out of a Catholic friend of mine who suggested it to me he's like hey I think you should really look into Eucharistic Miracles so this was kind of my like hey you know I'll take you up on that that offer to look into the Eucharistic Miracles so that wasn't something that I had intended it was just kind of something that fell upon me um but I would like to continue making more content like the interview with the world's leading expert in transubstantiation because I think that that's what I selfishly That's What I Gain the most from what's the difference for in your experience between reading a bunch of books on philosophy religion or whatever and just chatting just uh in a very relaxed conversation just chatting what what is it about a conversation with another human being who is so unique what is it about that that feeds your soul more sometimes than uh just reading a bunch of Dusty old books the first thing that comes to mind is just like the interactivity of it um if I'm reading a book and a philosopher is building up this argument and he's got premise one two three four five six seven eight and Lynn I disagree on premise one I can't interrupt the author be like wait a minute wait a minute can you can you please explain premise one to me more I don't I don't know if I get that he's just gonna move on um but when I'm having a conversation with somebody I could be like wait wait hold on I'm the Braves I'm I'm particularly dense please explain premise one to me in more detail so the interactivity of it is probably like the most valuable for me because because I can be iridense um but uh another thing that I really like too is just that um I think that there's a decent amount of communication that's lost when you only have the words in writing I think that a lot of communication is um non-verbal um so the very best form of communication is yeah the the very best form of communication is face to face um like if you and I were sitting at a coffee shop together uh with some really like a fantastic cup of tea or coffee and we were just chatting about this stuff like live live in person that's the best it's better but what you and I are doing right now is Dawn close and saves us a ton of time and money with so I am more than happy to do pretty much the vast majority of my communication over video call um but uh then you know it gets worse after that if you try to you know a phone call is better than YouTube comment sections because at least you get the inflection of the voice even if you don't get the facial expressions but then if you remove the infection of the voice you're left with text alone and so text alone to me is absolutely better than nothing but um I much prefer doing what we're doing now because there's so much communication that's lost when you're relying on text alone for sure I mean uh I've had I mean I didn't want to have confrontations with people over email but it's happened because they can't they can't read the tone like just can't read the tone and this is with friends and family friends and family they can't read my tone what what's going on you know yeah I've had the same thing happened to me and perhaps that's a failing of my like writing skills um but I blame that on my engineering education only partially didn't but um but I I think that I communicate more effectively when I can use facial expressions and and when I can laugh and when I can change the instruction of my voice I think that I do a better job communicating than I do when I'm just typing so not to go not to gossip but do you have like a spectrum of you've already talked about uh some of the capital atheists and they rub you the wrong way or this you don't like their approach or whatever but do you have a spectrum sort of from cultural Heroes like you love this man or woman because the way they communicate all the way down to uh people you think are despicable because they're just trolling constantly with hatred in their heart uh just talk a little bit about that Spectrum in terms of consumption because there are a lot of people today sadly who have more social life online than in real life and that's my case um it's it's just sad but that's the way it is we get a lot of content online um and we pick our favorites you know and we keep going back to the same Talking Heads and these sorts of things just talk a little bit about that uh personally and then step back and look psychologically what maybe is happening with our society generally from your perspective yeah so for me personally I I can list people on both sides of the spectrum that I admire and then I can list people on both sizes of both sides of the theism divided there's people that I admire and that I despise on on both sides um so let me start with the negative and then move to the positive so and let me not use the word despised because that's a very strong word but let me say that yeah there's people I wouldn't I wouldn't want to emulate um okay so I think that somebody like um Matt Dillahunty is somebody that I would not want to emulate on the atheist side did you hear my conversation with him by the way I did oh wait no no I'm sorry I'm sorry no I did not that's on my two watch list I watched the time that you called into The Atheist Experience and you didn't get Matt Delonte profit and somebody else that was lame yeah I didn't I didn't enjoy that they didn't engage with you no they didn't and and they just don't have the education I I guess I mean neither do I I do my best but let me not yeah anyway you're going to enjoy the Matt Dill hunting one I think I think it's on my to watch list it is um so so I I don't want to emulate Matt De La Hyundai but then on the other side there's a lot of people who I don't want to emulate like like Ken Ham I don't think that Ken Ham is like a person that really many people should want to emulate I don't think that he's like an intellectual icon uh uh yeah and then there's other people too like kind of Copeland and stuff like that who I just think are not not the best um but then let me talk about people who I really like on both sides of the spectrum so um on the atheist side obviously Grandma everybody talks about Grand Mafi but I I think that he's um like an awesome thinker uh who I respect deeply but then let me also list some other like smaller people who are just like on YouTube who I really appreciate and want to emulate um there's a YouTuber named Nathan Lind I think his last name is but he goes by digital gnosis on YouTube I've had both those guys on My Show by the way get out of town I haven't seen those episodes I'm gonna have to watch the digital noses episode for sure well I interviewed him the first time he was Christian the second time he was agnostic ah okay okay yeah and then I did like a 14-hour uh debunking of his uh arguments against Christianity I'm gonna have to check that out that's awesome um and my grandma P1 was pretty fun too I'm gonna check that out for sure um I've I've been digesting as much of your content as I can within the past well it's only been like three or four days since and and you know two of those days I had family over for Thanksgiving so I wasn't doing too much YouTube um but uh um uh you've you've made up a big chunk of my YouTube time for the past couple of days I think you'll continue to do so because I like both of those guys by the way but um I don't know if uh digital gnosis really likes me he seems to have bad chemistry with me which I find okay I find regrettable but that's just the way chemistry is that's just the way kind of yeah you can't really and I often wonder this is a tangent but I often wonder you know when I'm watching people on TV like my wife and I watch reality TV even though it's cringy but we watch it and I just love people I love people right and I love picking my favorites and I like even I like even not liking someone you know but yeah I often wonder does that chemistry translate into real life like if I were to go and hang out with these people would I still would my favorite still be my favorites and you know or would there be some some changes I wonder about that you know like I'm talking to you right now I'd like you but if we went for coffee would I be yeah would your pheromones turn me off I don't know yeah it's interesting to think about I don't think so I don't think so I think I think I don't think so I think the chemistry is is reliable even through technology that's what I think I think so too end of tangent and one more sentence on the tangent you and I just seem like kind of kindred spirits and it has in the ways that we communicate in our in in the ways that we try to search for truth um well I'm guessing I'm guessing that you are also of English Irish Scottish Heritage so there's something to your facts yeah it sounds racist to say but there is something to it yeah I think you're right um but but then I think I had one category left of people who I don't admire no people who I do admire on the Christian Center right right um so um uh there's there's a lot of people who I buy are on the Christian side so even somebody like The Joe Rogan of Christianity Cameron fertuzzi from capturing Christianity mad respect for him for converting in such a public manner either that takes a crazy amount of guts and I think that takes a crazy amount of um honesty to do that in such a public manner um so um I respect Cameron vertuzi for that alone even I view Cameron Morris the guy who has the guests on he's more of like The Joe Rogan than he is anybody else but um mad respect for him um even though I'm on the opposite side of the issue um uh other people that I respect greatly are the people like the Trinity radio people I talk to them like every single live stream um so Trinity radio is a Christian uh Christian they're the Christian Ministry who loves API I hang out over there all the time just interact um uh so that's Braxton Hunter he's a preacher from Indiana um he's part of Trinity radio um there's people like um like Gavin ortland who I think does a very good job of like respectfully disagreeing with conflicts I do engage a lot more with Catholic content than with non-catholic content um but I think Gavin orland is like a shining example of like a non-catholic um uh Christian person who who interacts in a charitable manner um and then there's you know people like Jimmy Aiken I'm a huge fan of people like Matt fradd father Gregory Pine I mean the list goes on there's there's way there's the list of Catholic public figures and thinkers who I admire is way larger than the list of Catholic thinkers and public figures who I who I don't admire what about uh this is a little bit off the wall but I just it just came to me what about Pope Francis before your deconversion and after what about Pope Francis foreign I tried to adopt that um forget the exact expression but it's something like the most Pious people who ever lived where the peasants who like never knew what was going on in Rome or something like that so I tried to just tune it all out because I was not a fan of Francis um at the time uh however I I did wind up leaving the church no I never officially left the church which is why I'm still kind of Catholic depending on your definition of the word um but when I stopped practicing my Catholicism was only it was 2000 um uh 18. so um uh Francis had only been hoped for like some of the craziest stuff hadn't happened yet like when did pachamama happen 2000 that might have been like 2017 or something yeah just before the medical stuff happened okay yeah so not everything that had happened today had happened at that time but enough had happened that I knew I didn't like him so I kind of just tried to tune him out um did your community bad mouth the pope oh yeah huge huge yeah um the fssp and the sspx aren't as far removed as a lot of people think um so there was there was a decent like undercurrent of state of decantism in my office history Chapel um yeah yeah so there was a lot of bad mouthing with Pope Francis and then you know to their credit there was a lot of people who also chimed in and said hey you know you shouldn't bet not the pope like that you might I disagree with him too but you you know he's still the pope and you shouldn't okay so there was both um but but there was a set of mechanism for sure wow um yeah um and and and today what do I think about Pope Francis yeah um I don't think that he's so like I I still kind of when I think about Pope Francis I'm probably still impacted by my traditional suffering so I I'm even struggling I think he's somebody who's trying his best to like keep the church unified when he sees this huge divide between like you know the German Bishops and the synonymity and and and then he also sees the growing popularity of the traditionalist movement and so I think that he's somebody who's trying to walk a tightrope um like politically I think he's trying to be a politician and I I find that confusing because I feel like as a religious leader it should be a lot more cut and dry just to kind of say like well hey like these guys are right and these guys are kind of Heretics so I don't listen to them so I'm trying not to sound too negative but I I find Pope Francis confusing now even as I found him confusing when I was sarcastic so uh the respect meter hasn't uh the needle on their spect meter hasn't really moved not a whole lot okay uh just so you know I do I do love and respect the pope and I also like him I happen to like him but I'm a quirky individual that I like to I like to I'm a bit rebellious in my nature I like to swim upstream and it kind of it makes me like him more that the rat trads don't like him that's awesome that's really funny [Laughter] my friend my friend I got a couple friends in the chat I got Nicola chrysic hey brother love you and then I got David Walker David Walker just made me laugh out loud he said I like your Ali G style of interviewing you know who allergy is the YouTuber um he's um David Sasha Cohen or whatever his name is Ali G he pretended to be a hip-hop rapper guy in England he did a bunch of uh gorilla interviews where he would embarrass politicians or famous people with awkward questions do you remember that yes yeah that's pretty funny so I take that as a compliment uh this David Walker I met him at church one time uh one of the few anglophone churches here in Montreal Quebec Canada I don't know if you know do you know Montreal do you know no I've never been to Canada okay and I used to live in the Northeast United States so I was like you know four hours away from Canada at any given time I never visited the state of the church here is in rough shape but um I suppose that's not really your concern anymore you don't have a horse in the race yeah so this uh we've done an hour I'd like you I'd like to sort of pass over the Reigns to you now and you can wrap it up whenever you feel like it but in the meantime you can ask me about my journey or you can bring up topics that you're interested in whether it has to do with my faith uh and or my experience with uh you know yeah anything like that if you wouldn't mind jumping into some kind of like philosophical stuff I really appreciate your take on a lot of philosophical stuff so I kind of want to pick your brain while I have it yeah um so let's go to that Venn diagram um and right in the center of the Venn diagram is um the Catholic Church let me explain where I kind of see the center of the Venn diagram okay and then I kind of just want to get your take on that and just kind of you know riff with you and see see where that takes us so um because I essentially agree that um there's some level of faith in order just to defeat solipsism um but I also view it as kind of the the duty of the um the rational thinker to minimize the number of presuppositions that one must presuppose so you as a rational thinker you should presuppose as few things as you must that's kind of how I how I see things um that leads me to kind of presuppose a few things so I presuppose that there is this objective world that we share like you know heart solipsism is is false um and then I also presuppose things like the laws of logic like the laws of identity non-contraditional middle um they seem to work all the time um but if they didn't work I'm not sure how I would know that they didn't work so I kind of just assume that they do and I live my life more or less at peace with that and that's about it those are really all the presuppositions that I make the church makes a few more and I'm going to use the word presupposition in a very sloppy manner here but a Dogma is something that Catholics have to accept now I understand that there's grounding for these dogmas but it's not something that a Catholic can question and so um to me that makes that seem like the church leans more heavily into the faith side of that Venn diagram then I'm arguing the rational Seeker should um so so I guess my question to you is um how do you see um how do you see the church at the center of the Venn diagram and um in particular with that Faith balance um um what is it about the church that that makes you think like ah they got the faith balance just right yeah well we have to we have to bear in mind the context the very particular context which is the church militant the church militant is imperfect it's flawed it's full of Wheat and weeds and sheep and wolves and sheep's clothing it's a hot mess here blowing this church militant okay that's the context the context is not the Garden of Eden the context is not Paradise Lost or Paradise found in heaven it's that's not the context the church triumphant is perfect and there's no faith in heaven okay it's just love there's no hope there's no faith there's just love okay that's the traditional catholic teaching so we're in the context of this messy sloppy world where we don't even know we're a brain into that so that's the context so when I talk about the Catholicism being in that sweet spot between faith hope and reason I'm really talking about uh for a flawed sinner like myself who's selfish and really struggling to adhere to the truth much less to God and His will um you know that's where the struggle is so that's the context for my Venn diagram that's the context for this existential um exploration or Journey that each one of us is on so that I really want to emphasize that now in terms of the uh the dogmas and Faith sort of being imposed you have to believe this you can't not believe this well no you you're living proof that you don't have to believe it you're living proof you are exploring you are exploring so you don't have the faith that I have I have more faith my Catholic faith is stronger than your Catholic faith at this particular time could we swap positions yeah of course we already have we already have swap position my faith was weak your faith was strong now mine's stronger than yours whatever it's it's it ain't over until the fat lady saying so that's the overall context and if you want to drill down and get more specific about the faith uh doubt and reason thing um then you could just ask away maybe I can I can ask you something that you that you said um so you you said uh so my faith in so you said that here I am proof of somebody who doesn't accept all the Catholic dogmas and like yeah yeah that's correct um my question to you is this so I I kind of start or end each of my videos with saying something like I'm the non-traditional Catholic or maybe X Catholic it kind of depends on your terms I've had a lot of people when I tell people that I'm ex-catholic I've had a lot of Catholics say well you know actually you're still Catholic because you were baptized you've never been excommunicated you never formally um wrote a letter to the Archbishop of the diocese defecting so you're still Catholic um but then I've also said like well I'm kind of technically still Catholic and I've had Catholics say like well come on now you're not you know you're not really Catholic so um and then but then you highlighted me as somebody who's like proof of like you didn't say a Catholics and I don't mean to put words in your mouth but we were discussing the center of the Venn diagram which is the Catholic church and so the way that I interpreted what you said which may not have been what you meant is that I fall under that bucket of people in the middle all that Venn diagram which is the Catholic Church um but I'm not certain that many Catholics would put me in that same bucket so I was kind of wondering what your thoughts are do you would you call me Catholic uh well you you to answer that question and it's a very um it's a very important question it's a very delicate question my new way of answering this question because it's it's the same question for you as it is for myself or for anyone else it's the same question who is a Catholic what is a Catholic and Vatican too I don't know how you feel about Vatican too but Vatican two answers the question very very charitably and I know that if there's anything you value you as an agnostic is it's charity right so um the charitable answer given by the church in the sacred Council of Vatican II is that uh there are only two kinds of people you may have heard me say this before and my listeners are sick of hearing it but I love it the two kinds of people those who ultimately will say no end up end up in hell and then everyone else who is a member of Christ and there are three kinds of people that are members of Christ those who are who have the faith and are in in the State of Grace okay so if you've been to a confession recently and you have the faith there then you're in that first category the second category you have the faith but you're not currently in the State of Grace so you're in the state of mortal sin but you're going to go to confession uh in five minutes from now and you're going to fix that situation the third category of members of the body of Christ is the one that I'm most interested in and it's the most charitable thing I've heard the church say which is that if you don't have the faith and certainly are not in this state of grace but you're not in the State of Grace but you don't even have the faith you are a potential member of the church you're you're a member of Christ because you have the potential to eventually before you die get the faith and get in the state of grace and that's how I that's how I view you why not because I'm a nice guy that's how I view you because that's what mother Church tells me I have to view you as a potential member of the church because the alternative is the alternative is that you are going to help that's the alternative and the church says no no no no no no no we cannot say that we cannot say that even after you're dead so Kevin drops dead today no touch word quickly uh fingers Crossing we'll say tomorrow to make it a little bit less okay much better and so I can uh the church will not say that you're in hell it just the church will not say that okay we're going to find out on judgment day but in the meantime we say well it's in God's hands and we have to give the benefit of the doubt and we cannot despair it's the same it's a sin to despair of the Salvation of yourself or of anyone else that's alive on this planet and Christ died for Kevin and so uh we have to give the benefit of the doubt and so you are in my eyes as uh sort of to wrap this up with the bow and just give the short answer the short answer is I believe that you are a potential member of the Catholic Church okay now now here's like a follow-up question isn't every living human a potential member of the Catholic Church no I'm a full member in good standing and I'm in the state of grace and I uh yes let me let me fix that isn't every human living either a member or a potential member of the Catholic Church no because there's some unfortunately some are going to go to hell but even those who go to Hell aren't like predestined to go to hell right then while they're living yeah while they're living uh because we take the perspective of God and we're not Calvinists okay we acknowledge Free Will and Grace and they work together mysteriously but um the sad reality is the church teaches me the sad reality is that humans can and do choose to go to hell that's the sad reality and we just don't have a list here below to say yep Kevin's on the naughty list he's going to hell so uh you know treat him accordingly what would that look like it'd be awful oh geez oh boy so I hope you understand it's a very nuanced uh position that I take it's the Catholic position emphasized by Vatican II and other writings before that that says that we cannot presume uh that anyone's lost God forbid God God wants everyone to be saved and God uh took on flesh and died for us so that we could be saved and those uh you know those means of Salvation are available to us especially when you're when you have the faith and you've availed yourself of the faith and you're in the State of Grace that's the best place to be and uh I hope to God that that's where I am and I'll uh I haven't been to confession for a few weeks I'm going to go soon but it's important it's very important to me to remain in the State of Grace because I don't know when I'm gonna die I was going to confession once a week when I was like epic I was uh you know I was in it you know I was I was I was I was really in it I'm gonna ask you a really really difficult question and so absolutely feel free to say Kevin I really can't give you a solid answer on this right now uh I'll think about it and then write you an email later so full this is gonna be a tough one in your opinion if I died right now or even tomorrow and I didn't go to confession do you think that I'd stand a chance of making it to Heaven even with a long stay in purgatory or do you think that since I'm currently not convinced that you know Catholicism is true that it's kind of game over for me well I mean I think uh I I tend to err on the side of uh presumption because you've got despair on one side we're not allowed to despair of anyone's salvation but we're not allowed we're not allowed to presume either right so I can't despair I can't presume so I have to leave in God's hands on this sort of thing so I'm just preparing my answer my answer is that I'm not worried about it I'm not worried about it that is a sincere authentic you can see it in my eyes you can feel it in my voice I'm not worried about it I'm not worried about it you could drop dead right now in front of me I would not be worried about it okay because I see that you love truth you love uh you know charity is number one for you and if the rad trads want to say oh David you're too liberal and this and that yeah go ahead I don't care like you're you you're trash talking the Vicar of Christ and you're worried about little old me I'm a nobody say what you want okay I tend to be very liberal when it comes to that but I do tend to err on the side of presumption and I shy away from despair so um I'm going to be praying for you as you know I'm going to be praying for you and uh time is elastic if you've ever done any hard drugs you know time is elastic have you done her drugs nothing nothing worse than weed so we know not not hard enough to if you do enough weed weed is a hard drug it is a hard drug if you do enough of it but you would call it hard oh yeah oh yeah maybe I just haven't done the stuff but well it's about quantity it's about quantity okay fair enough I ate a gram of hash and smoked a bunch of joints and I had a really really uh dark pressure natural experience that haunts me to this day but anyway um I'm not worried about you because God loves you and Christ died for you I mean Satan is an idiot he's just an idiot and like his power over you is given to him by God and it's just like it's it's exactly it's playing out the exactly the way it has to be for you given your proclivities given your taste given your intellect given your will everything it's custom made for you it's like I'm excited I'm excited to meet you I'm excited to see where you go and if you drop dead God forbid I'm not going to lose any sleep over it so I think that tells you the sort of confidence I haven't got but your will you know your will um the the the trick the trick for me is do you have Goodwill or are you full of hatred and vitriol and selfishness you don't strike me that way so I'm really not worried about you period period yeah and I'm not just saying that I'm not just saying that it's authentic I don't think you are just saying that I can tell um I like to think that I'm a good judge of character and you you don't seem like somebody who would just say that for the sake of my feelings or something you you strike me as somebody who would say the truth even if it did hurt my feelings and so I do think that your answer was you know super honest and authentic and honestly it was probably one of my I asked this question to a whole bunch of people I want to talk to the rad Chad it's like well you definitely hell no not all the rad chats of course but so your answer was one of my favorites I think that I've ever heard I think that was a very good answer yeah I think you know I don't need to tell you that I don't need to explicitly tell you that yeah I would be excited if you found your way back into the faith and the State of Grace I don't need to tell you that right you know that oh yeah because you know what the church is you know what it teaches I don't need to sit here and Bash you over the head like okay you've got till next Thursday to uh you know get back in shape or whatever it's like it's that that's just not the way it works uh Saint Augustine's mother Saint Monica she said uh God said to her or somehow she documented it or Saint Augustine documented it that it's not about talking to the person uh the Wayward person about God is talking to God about the Wayward person so that's really the the the approach that I try to embrace so all that very serious talk with God about you that's all I can ask for yeah um if you don't mind me kind of jumping to a different topic of course um so I'm super interested to kind of explore a little bit more about our um so our I guess um opposite stories so I kind of explained my thought process from uh from Catholic to agnostic um and I have watched some you know some of your uh your videos so I know a little bit of the answer so feel free if you want to kind of you know skip over some of the stuff that you're just bored to tears explaining over and over and over again um but I'd love to hear more about your journey into the faith and then um I might try to you know poke and prod a little bit where I have like questions where something doesn't make sense to me um yeah but yeah I'd rather do it I'd rather do it with short form answers so you give me a very specific question okay you have a short answer then you do the follow-up question I'll give a short answer because I don't want to ramble like I've done so many times and I'm really sick of hearing it okay okay so the jump from deism to theism never did it never really okay that's I was gonna say that I I didn't I don't think I've heard you talk about it so when you said that you never did it how did you how did you get it from atheism to theism without like you know bridging that deism Gap well I it's well documented that I was reading Rene Descartes discourse on method and I was a hard solipsist at the time okay so that's some context some pretty heavy context I was also also an atheistic Satanist calling myself explicitly calling myself a Satanist didn't believe in God or Satan but you know Anton levay style of Satanism right reason you know whatever all that nonsense um because I've always been prone to rationalism that's sort of uh I sort of attracted to rationalism I like Spinoza you know stuff like that um so I was reading Renee Descartes and I just realized because he gave me an out he just said well there's no solution to Heart solipsism but you know we just know that God is good and they exists and that you know that was it boom he gave me just a little crack in the door it wasn't scientific it wasn't like deep it wasn't philosophically rigorous it was just like well of course God is God you know and then I'm just like boom I'm out of here I'm done with this solipsism I'm in 100 in I'm not the source of my no existence God is a source of my existence I don't know who or what he is but I know that he is he is life and I partake of life I'm a participant in life and God is life God is that that eternal life that is without beginning and I was so excited to be a generic monotheist I still hated Christ I still hated the church and I still hate it in particular the Catholic church but I was so excited to to no longer be God what a feeling What a Feeling amazing yeah so you know I have a couple questions here I guess because I spent a while in this like you know deistic Cavern right like you know on the one side you have like theism and on the other side you have like you know at least like some kind of non-theism I'm not going to call it atheism but agnosticism they all kind of live on the other side um but I spent probably close to a year in this idea stick you know Abyss where I figured okay I've got this like um this ground right I've got this like unpaused cause and this very like you know classically theist kind of way but I can't say anything about um this thing having a mind like this thing could just be like a force in the same way that gravity is as far as we can tell just one of the four forces I work in the universe maybe this thing is just like the grounding Force like it's just it's why there's something instead of nothing and that's kind of all I know about it um and I was there for a long time so I guess um is does this jump over this Cavern this theistic Cavern for you fall under the faith part of the Venn diagram as opposed to the oh okay no no no no no no no no I know with certainty I know with certainty without recourse to Faith or any faith-based beliefs I know with certainty that God exists and that he is not only subsistent being but that he has uh these transcendentals uh and these attributes okay God is love I know that I know that God is wisdom I know that I know all of this through classical theism and I was a generic monotheist I was a classical theist before I became a Christian when I became a Christian that was my leap of faith that was my Leap of Faith and I want to help you with a simple principle called the principle of proportionate causality uh I can I can help you to debunk your deism even though you're over it now but I can help you to help someone else to debunk their deism just by asking you very simply do you love foreign so I would say yes but here's where you and I might have a hard time with a conversation like this I'm a nominalist so I don't actually think that love is like a uh um like a thing when you say do you love and I say yes what I'm saying is there are neurons that fire in my brain that make me feel a certain way you think Love's a feeling so I think you think you think you seriously think that Jesus Christ the God man Jesus Christ commanded us to have good feelings towards our enemies oh so I don't think that Jesus Christ is God man anymore right so um but so I think that like the the the historical Jesus may have said something like love your enemies yeah I think that he may have said that and what do you think he meant oh he he probably didn't have any idea what a neuron was so well you know okay from your perspective yeah from your perspective yeah yeah yeah yeah perspective but you didn't used to think that you didn't use it no no I didn't used to think that um I didn't I didn't arrive at this nominalism until I was already in this theistic Cavern to be honest yeah so yeah so we're gonna have to we're gonna have to like play a lot of hypothetical games like thinking yeah about like putting yourself like putting myself in your shoes and like going back in time how I used to see and these sorts of things it's very complicated but when you look at me and I'm I say that I'm Catholic you understand that when I talk about Jesus saying commanding us to love our enemies you have to understand from your agnostic whatever position that I believe that love is not a feeling love is not just some you know random configuration of matter energy and space time you have to understand that I believe that I was created by an all good God and that love is an act of the will where we wish uh we have good will we wish the best and we uh you know know it's it has nothing to do with good feelings because the the whole notion of an enemy stirs up natural feelings of antagonism and all the rest so we don't stifle those feelings and try to Overlay them like a blanket of snow in Luther's worldview where there's the dung covered in snow and I've got my hatred my antagonism covered up with this forced smile no the feelings are there naturally and God was not frustrated when he wanted to create humans to be natural and they are natural we are a natural we have natural proclivities and inclinations and tastes and when I talked earlier to you about chemistry you and I have good chemistry I've had Catholics on my show I won't mention their names and I had bad chemistry with these uh you know hardcore Catholics it's just chemistry so Jesus Christ understands that we have the certain proclivities and chemistry and he's not trying to do something unnatural far from it he wants us to live in accordance with nature in accordance with reality and wishing the best for our fellow men like I mean you appreciate it you appreciate it that I wish you well and that I'm not worried about your Eternal salvation you appreciate that and you can feel that that's a charitable position and it's the same thing with my enemies even those uh like Matt De La Hunter you mentioned or iron raw I happen to have good chemistry with Aaron raw I like him a lot but with Matt Dillahunty you know he was annoying but I I can distinguish very easily my feelings of antagonism or whatever it might be from my sincere desire which is authentic I really really really am excited to see Matt Dillahunty in heaven it's amazing it's amazing say you know or Hitler I use the example of Hitler like I'm excited to see Hitler in heaven I hope he's there is there good reason to doubt you know that he'll make it yeah there is sadly unfortunately same thing with Judas but um you know it is what it is I'll celebrate either way but it would be kind of kind of nice to see all the bad guys up in heaven so it's all about that Goodwill it's all about that Goodwill yeah yeah for sure uh yeah I think it's super cool when Catholics say um like I hope I see Hitler in heaven because I feel like that turns heads um but like like what's the alternative like you hope he's in hell like what are you a monster like you hope that somebody's in hell you know what I mean like so I I think you're being consistently Catholic when you say that you hope that Hitler is in heaven and even though that turns some heads I think that's the right way to be I don't want to get all uh prideful but I do look down my nose when I see online Christians wishing hell on other Christians I know it's like oh I'm so tempted to judge these Christian I'm so tempted it's unbelievable so Satan's working through very mysterious ways when he when he puts two Christians fighting online for me to watch it's like oh I feel so Superior I and I allow myself to say that I feel Superior because that's reality I do feel Superior to those people but I also have an intellect and I know that I'm not I know that I'm not I know that I'm not because I know that I'm a faithless sinner too and I've uh you know I'm worse I'm worse I'm worse I Know Myself and I know that I'm worse than any of these Hypocrites online yeah it's fun it is fun to feel Superior it is a lot of fun um if you don't mind turning back to the like the love the love thing all I was gonna say is all I was going to say is that you love and an effect cannot be more perfect than it's caused therefore God loves period and end of argument but you've gone to nominalism which just undermines everything it undermines everything so I don't know what that material is from here yeah so nominalism wouldn't undermine materialism okay so you've got you've got a bunch of uh individual things I guess for lack of a better word and there's some patterns and some similarities and some differences and you know um and it just is what it is basically right yeah but yeah I mean yeah that's that's where I'm at I'm a muriological nihilist so in the sense of me existing as something apart from the things that make me up I would deny that I would say that I I am the things that I am the combination of the things that make me up a phenomenon yeah so I yeah I'm I am so when I say Kevin what I really mean is the meteorological symbols arranged Kevin wise okay um and um and as best and I know it sounds silly to like a lot of people um but as best as I can parse things this seems to be the most parsimonious view that I can imagine um I don't need um anything else beyond the meteorological symbols arranged Kevin wise to explain all the things that Kevin does and Kevin is um and so like positing something beyond the meteorological symbols arrange Kevin wise just seems unneeded to me um so are there any household names that hold your exact view on this uh oh like like so um household names um I don't know um I think that people like certain YouTubers are heading in like a meteorological nihilistic way I've heard people like Alex O'Connor Cosmic skeptic talk about meteorological nihilism recently but the the guy who I turn to as like the meteorological knifeless guy is Ted cider Ted cider is a philosopher um he has an a paper that changed my life when I read it called um against Port Hood um that's like a 2013 or 14 paper I didn't read it though until 2018 or 19. um cider spelled how s-i-d-e-r Okay um and Theodore cider okay um he goes by Ted but um he's the philosopher that like single-handedly made me a meteorological nihilist he's not a household name so I you know is there a household name like not really but there's a guy okay but his name is Ted cider um and and yeah I being like 100 honest with you I feel like my meteorological nihilism is probably either that or my nominalism which kind of seemed to go hand in hand really um those would be like the biggest like uh hurdles um like I can't find a way to be both Catholic and a mariological Minds right like they seem like they're incompatible with each other yeah um so like I'm gonna have to lose the meteorological nihilism in order to become Catholic right like I I maybe there's somebody way smarter than me who can actually make them work together but I haven't figured out a way you can't even be a nominalist in a Catholic right exactly you have to be a moderate realist at least um so uh without like uh removing those barriers for me I don't I don't see away to the church um yeah what do you think about that like you know I think it's I'm sure you've had a lot well no I don't have a lot to say I've got I'm going to repeat what I said earlier which is you're young you're exploring you're having fun and then you're gonna suffer you're gonna suffer a lot and then you're gonna reach out to God and you're gonna say hey I don't care about all that straw the house of cards that I built bye see ya I'm not I'm not attached to that anymore right now I'm suffering and I'm in an existential crisis and God help me boom all this all this fantasy you have about nominalism and your nihilism whatever you want to call it it's just a childish fantasy no no offense intended it's just it's just a childish fantasy and you're going to see uh one in one way or another and I think probably if I had to guess I would say through suffering let me ask you a question do you think that beliefs Reach This Way do you think that reaching a belief in that manner is like a reliable Pathway to reaching true beliefs through suffering and Desperation yeah like through like reaching out in desperation and stuff yeah because you you let go of Illusions you let go of all the fantasy and you cling desperately to what you cling to reality that's what it is that's my conversion story is letting go of my fantasies my many you know incoherent fantasies that were built up by reading Philosophy for 10 years and just being a selfish human and gripping on for dear life to reality that's the conversion process every time it's always the same thing and you've admitted yourself you're dense you're a dimwit you're a dimwit just keep reminding yourself remind yourself and God is not a dimwit he's not stupid he is wisdom itself so I mean you're going to when you reach your breaking point existentially you will cling to God unless your love of self and your pride in your Rebellion is so powerful and I don't see that I just don't see that you're not a candidate for me for someone that's going to flip the bird to God when you're even when you're desperate and when you're suffering I see you as someone that's going to just say yeah I'm a silly I'm a silly kid and I found my daddy like my daddy is here and he's telling me that he loves me and my natural response is to reciprocate that love period even though my love isn't perfect even though I'm silly even though I'm small I'm just a child that's the reality of the the conversion experience that I envisioned for you and for everyone and including myself okay because like I'm clinging to all kinds of fantasies and checklists with my religiosity and I'm doing this and I'm doing that it's the same for me okay it's the same thing for me I'm stupid I I stink I'm gonna get sick and die we're all in Sample but all this fancy philosophical talk is useful because that's part of the journey that's part of the journey but you're going to put it in perspective like one one way or another uh sooner or later you're gonna put it all into perspective and God's going to help you and God has a plan for that so that's my perspective there's a lot that I have like you know in mind here but I would worry about getting bogged down sure do you do you want to maybe yeah we could put a pin in that right there and probably move on okay um well tell you what David maybe if I can ask one I've kept it for what an hour and a half already um maybe I can ask like one kind of final question for you and then move into like a wrap up okay um so um something I've been talking about like recently in my conversations with various Catholics is Pascal's wager um and um sometimes I get pascals wagered before I can bring it up myself and I'm I'm glad it didn't happen this time because now I you know I get to look like the person who brought it up but um uh the way that I often phrase it is this I think that I've taken pastel in as much as we spoke about this a little bit at the beginning um I'm looking for truth and following wherever it leads and I think that that's better than just kind of going through the motions and hoping I'm right um do you would would you agree with my characterization as I'm going through Pascal's wager um and then I guess like you know if you do or don't like would put yourself in my shoes and imagine that you are convinced of the things that I'm convinced of namely like meteorological nihilism and uh nominalism of these things and like what would you do if you were me like um besides just wait for something bad to happen no no no I think uh you know suffering is just sort of like the uh the most dramatic uh conversion the means to conversion but you can certainly think your way back to God there's no there's no doubt about that you can definitely change your mind about your pet theories there's no doubt about that okay no doubt about that if I talk to you in a year from now I guarantee you're gonna have some modifications that you've impressed for sure I had modifications from yesterday yeah exactly exactly so that's that's the nature of this journey that you're on uh you wanna um phrase sort of give me your most popular or favorite phrasing of Pascal's waivers wager so I can deal with it uh in a concrete manner yeah so when I think of Pascal's wager I think of a Christian saying um hey um if you're not sure it's better for you to just choose to believe it because the consequences of you not believing it and being wrong or way worse than the consequences of you believing in a big problem that seems weak to me that seems very weak to me I would I would rebel against that if I were you if I were you I'd rebel against that and I just say well hey I I have free will and reason I don't know if you believe that you have free one reason but I'm a compatibilist so I'm I'm like uh I think that I have will that definitely adjective free before it is like a little funny but I'm a compatibilist about Free Will okay okay okay anyway you could just say to anyone that throws Down The Gauntlet it's like what I would say is hey I'm gonna do me and you do you how's that yeah and you know why would you believe a lot why would you believe a lie willingly I don't think you would I don't think you would like I mean if you told me look if you told me a different story other than the story you told me if you told me living on the streets and I got my girls are making money for me and I Supply them with the drugs and this is my lifestyle I got the guns and I got this and that and I'm doing all this crime and whatever and whatever then I might think Hmm this guy seems to be motivated by some uh nasty selfish motivations but your path I think is motivated by the good AKA God period right so um you know Pascal's wager it's like yeah you are you're you're doing you're doing it you evaluate right now what you're doing is you're evaluating both sides you're just evaluating both sides that's what I think I mean correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me that's what you're doing so I like to think I like to think that's what I'm doing anyway you know I'm you know doing my best do you have any uh exciting future guests coming up uh that we can look forward to seeing on your uh show I fly by the seat of my pants I don't know what I'm doing on YouTube um so no I have I have no I don't know what kind of video I'm putting out like you know tomorrow and you know uh so no I have no guests on the horizon to look out for I wish I did how did you find the uh Eucharist guy well so it's funny he actually so I for a long time I didn't have a YouTube channel but I commented in um like you know uh Pines with aquinas's live chat and stuff like that and this Catholic YouTuber Kyle Whittington was just starting his channel he now has a couple hundred uh 500 perhaps 600 subscribers like a way more than me I have like 50. um and um I was commenting just my thoughts and Kyle I said something about how I'm an extraditionalist and Kyle was like oh you sound interesting do you want to come on my show for an interview um so I did I went on the show for an interview and he said well why don't you start your own channel um and so I did I started my own channel um and that was just like two months ago or whatever now um and then Kyle um just challenged me say hey I think it would be cool if you like did an exploration of egress of Miracles but make sure that you're being fair about it um and you know don't accuse anybody of you know dishonestly without like really solid evidence of dishonesty and I'm like yeah man I think I could I'm gonna do my best um so that that's how Kyle uh wound up challenging me Kyle Whittington uh he's an excellent Catholic YouTuber for for anybody who might be listening you know a lot of my I struggle I have to be honest I do struggle to get guests and lately people luckily have been sending me tips and like email addresses and contact info and uh even just directly intervening to get it to happen so I I don't know if it's my communication style that doesn't work or what it is but it's just been a struggle to uh to get people to come on um and that's of all Stripes like Catholic non-catholic atheists whatever like it's just is people maybe are shy or they just see that I don't have good numbers on my podcast so they're just not interested for that reason I don't know but um if you do know some freaky individuals that you want to send my way I'd really appreciate it and when I say freaky I just mean opinionated yes hardcore feminist hardcore vegan whatever it is just send them my way you know anyone that's opinionated I just love talking to people I can think of a couple people I'm gonna send your contact info to a couple people you'd be like hey if that's the best I want to talk to somebody just here you go um and and David uh your conversation Style worked perfectly for me so good um if you ever wanted to do this again one day I am more than happy to come back on yeah yeah um I don't know if you know but I do have repeat guests like I've had some people on like 10 times this sort of thing so I like that I do like that I like that a lot and I like what I really like uh what I really really really like and I'm excited by is seeing changes in perspective like where you I hate this word evolve but just means change you know I used it too and I don't like it either but yeah but you're gonna change and I'm gonna change and you know my my attitudes are changing and it's just fun it's just fun to catch up that's part of the that's part part of the trip with this podcast so I really appreciate you taking the time and uh thanks for uh simulcasting and we'll definitely uh talk again for sure for sure that'd be awesome thank you so much and thank you for helping me with my audio problems at the beginning uh you know I'm showing how how green I am not a problem my friend so God bless you I'm gonna be praying for you and yours and I hope that you'll send Good Vibes my way I will I always wish that I could say something like I'm praying for you too it's not true right because I you know I'm I'm not there um and I can say I'm sending good vibes your way but I don't think that actually does anything so normally what I settle for at this point is just hey I honestly thoroughly really appreciate it I really do because you can offer me something um that I can't offer you without lying about it right I could lie and tell you that I'm going to pray for you but like you know I don't think it's vertical so um so the best the the response that I give is just hey honestly really like like thank you um because uh you're wishing me something better than the best thing on Earth really like right you're wishing we haven't so that's gratitude is really all I can offer you so gratitude it is thank you thank you so much and we'll talk very soon my friend all right until next time bye