Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-02-03 - John C.

Author Recorded Sunday February 3rd, 2019

There are 47 episodes in the Versus:Atheist series.

Recorded February 9th, 2019

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

Recorded September 11th, 2016

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

I met John on YouTube. John was raised Christian, but lost his faith because he could not reconcile a good God with the evils and sufferings in this world. He is a friendly guy whose philosophy is basically 'ride the wave' of life and try to make the most of it while you can.


Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-02-03 - John C.

Author Recorded July 30th, 2016

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These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
hi my name is John and you're listening to Catholic versus atheist so just tell us a little bit about yourself if you would please who you are what you believe and why you believe it I started out as a Christian I was basically born into it as most Americans and maybe most people in the West are or you're born into your religion so that was me I didn't really think about it very much until later in life I say late twenties and then I think I came to not believe in Christianity for emotional reasons I think most people come to change their beliefs or start their beliefs for emotional reasons though I didn't realize it at the time you know how that goes for me ultimately when I think back on my changing belief from Christianity to not Christianity though I didn't know what I was doing it was what I call the problem of the unnecessary suffering that convinced me that there's not this all-powerful God that cares about us yeah before we get into the problem of evil or the problem of suffering and all the interesting philosophical questions that you have for me too can you just talk a little bit about your experience as a Christian especially when you were very young I want some biographical background to just flesh it out so that listener gets an idea of who you are I grew up as an evangelical Christian I went to an Assembly of God Church unfortunately I was also had to go to Bill Gothard seminars I don't know if you ever heard of that it's a little wacky my parents are were extremely evangelical so Bill Gothard is a guy who has like a cult-like following I don't think they're really a cult but it's cold like you go to the seminar you live your life like Bill Gothard tells you to live you have these workbooks that you do and it's a whole thing and earlier you know one I thought that was just weird I didn't like it I wondered how a man who'd never been married can have entire series on marriage counseling it was just weird to me so that was my adolescent years and then I I also really love Jesus and I loved music so I learned how to play guitar and I was in a Christian rock band and we traveled around to different churches and played and one of the churches went to was in our local area and that's where I met my wife and I was the cool hippie long-haired guitar player in the band and then my wife and I packed our bags and moved just randomly we moved to Austin Texas and my beliefs and everything went with me but when we moved to Austin we didn't really fit in we were kind of otherwise do you know we were the crazy evangelical people who didn't know very much about culture so I meet different people from different backgrounds and the job I took we had people from Nigeria people from Sudan people from Egypt all different walks of life and they all work together for the common good of the company you know and had some really deep intellectual conversations with these guys and that didn't really change my mind too much you just was hey these guys think differently they're nice people they're not the crazy other people that are going to hell you know it was just oh well these are nice people it's unfortunate that they don't know Jesus is their Savior you know and my wife and I we we haven't been able to have children so we started adoption processes in foster care and for whatever reason those they fell through back and forth and that's what started me on my I think the adoption thing the letdown the hurt and that started it like kick-started me into thinking about things deeply before I had never even thought about it just was the way I was you know I'm a Christian but thinking about it where was God for me you know I'm a good guy why why did God allow me to not have children and that's what kicked it off this is your interview I'm not interviewing your wife but if you just give a little tiny summary of what your perspective is on her journey as she walked alongside of you just really briefly that is a mixed bag of emotions I did the wrong thing during the adoption process and trying to conceive there was a whole lot of emotional stuff that I was going through and I knew she was hurting through it so I didn't tell her I didn't say hey I'm having these thoughts I don't know if I really have a relationship with Jesus I don't know if Jesus is even a real thing I didn't want to burden her emotionally with that and I made the wrong by not telling her and it eventually you form different ideas in your mind and over time you get more comfortable with the way you think about the world and I inadvertently during a TV show when her favorite TV shows blurted something out and it caused this horrible fight because she didn't realize that where I was in my thinking so she still is in that tradition although she doesn't go to church I don't know why I think she doesn't feel connected to any of the churches around here your relationship is good now oh yeah I think it's great it's excellent I have I have a very loving and forgiving wife I am very fortunate nice so where are you today what are your interests and what are you excited about what are you reading I'm super excited about John Rawls theory of justice political philosophy I'm super excited about epistemology the study of how we know well we know philosophical and methodological naturalism really interested in those types of topics I'm just consuming as much as I can for a while I was into biology because my I I was also home schooled and I had a very Christian if you will home school they didn't teach us about biology the way that you learn about it in college they didn't teach us about evolution and how it works and how we know it's real and so I had to relearn those things as an adult and it was extremely fascinating and angering for me I think I've gotten over the Inger I'm not an angry atheists if you will but that definitely was a period in my life and the way I found you is I was watching YouTube and this thing popped up on there hey Matt Dillahunty versus our Catholic versus Matt Dillon and then you had one Catholic versus our in raw as I go we'll watch this I know these guys were out they shouted their interlocutors they they don't really contribute to the conversation but it's fun to hear them in their element and I think that's people like that it's a kind of catharsis for people that have exited their faith if you will so I saw the Matt Dillahunty on the Atheist experience and you were trying to use PSR as a good way to come to a belief about something and I don't think that's a good way to have an epistemology I don't and so I made a comment couple comments on your YouTube and so we can start there if you'd like sure yeah the principle of sufficient reason for those listening who don't know is a fundamental axiomatic assumption that things like the scientific method are built on there's always a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything including God God has a perfectly reasonable explanation for his existence he is uncaused he is the only necessary being he's the only being whose essence is existence he is that than which nothing greater can be conceived he is infinite and every perfection and so on and so forth so everything has a perfectly reasonable explanation when we're in the laboratory looking at data that we've collected when we see anomalous data we always ask why is there this anomaly is it human error is there something exceptional that we didn't take account of is there a variable that we weren't able to eliminate from our experimentation what is this anomaly that's making my nice smooth curve of data jagged at that one particular point and so if you're a true scientist who knows that the principle of sufficient reason is universal and there is no exception to the principle of sufficient reason you will not say you will never say that that data point has no explanation that data point is random in the strict sense of the word meaning uncaused we always know there is a cause for everything so that's my take on the PSR I think it's airtight I think if you argue against the PSR you have abandoned reason period I think you're you're right to a point I think the principle of sufficient reason can be used hand-in-hand with statistical analysis which is something we use in science I think it doesn't work for that reason to account for the beginning of the universe say or where is God what is God I don't think we can use it for that we haven't really observed anything coming into existence so we can't apply the principle of sufficient reason because we have a subset of one so in statistics you can't make assumptions about how to quantify it if you only have a variable of one the arguments for the existence of God are not statistical the arguments for the existence of God are not impure the arguments for the existence of God are purely rational and they are arrived at in a negative fashion meaning that we have no other alternative but to admit even though it's paradoxical we have no other alternative because of the contradictions that arise when we examine the other possibilities that there is no first cause or that the first cause is purely natural those possibilities lead to genuine contradiction and therefore we have to acknowledge even though it's paradoxical we have to acknowledge that there is a first cause and that that first cause is not natural and that is the source of everything that is everything that is in the natural world comes from this uncaused first cause which is supernatural it's not natural and it's infinite in every perfection because of the principle that an effect cannot be greater than its cause so every perfection that we see here in this natural finite world where everything is contingent and composed of parts and constantly in flux we see little hints of perfection of beauty and justice and goodness and love and freedom and reason and all these sorts of things we see hints at least of these perfections and therefore because an effect cannot be more perfect than its cause we attribute to the uncaused first cause all of those perfections and infinite power in order to bring something out of nothing I don't think we can say anything about how the universe came into existence we don't know enough about it we have assumptions but you can't make reasons about things which you have assumptions I think it's best to be agnostic about it it's best to say I don't know if you can't falsify something you can't say I know something now I think that's where the principle of sufficient reason can't be used for where the universe came from we don't know and we just have to simply say I don't know let's say for example that there is no first cause what does that mean in a universe a natural universe that is spatial and temporal what that means necessarily is that there's infinite time behind us and it means that there's infinite time behind every point of time that's the thing with an actual infinite compared to potential infinite as soon as we realize I have to stop you for a second I'm not a but I do understand some things about how time works and time is relative to mass so I don't think it makes sense to talk about time that way the way you're talking about no but listen we cannot separate the spatial and the temporal we're always moving at the speed of light are we moving at the speed of light only through space or only through time or in some combination well usually there's a combination of space and time this is the famous arrow of time but but well yes and I think it fails because we don't know what we're moving through we haven't observed moving through anything there's nothing to move through so matter is just relative to itself yeah there is no absolute space there is no absolute time this is straight out of iron Stein's relativity right that's only our local presentation of the universe I've listened to some physicists give talks about other places where there's more matter and the mathematics that we use to calculate things sometimes doesn't work like we don't know what happens past the event horizon of a black hole we have to say I don't know we don't say well we can use the principle of sufficient reason and decide what happens in fact if like oh we just have to say I don't know right now yet there are limitations on science but when we clump together all of the matter energy and that includes dark matter which dominates the universe in terms of mass right there's dark matter there's dark energy well now there's I've read some papers questioning the idea of dark matter but anyway that's but my point is not that I'm committed to one particular model or another my point is that we can clump all of it together including all the bouncing universes all the string theories all the multiverses we can clump them all together into what I call the universe it doesn't matter how complicated it is how sophisticated how magical and wonderful and strange and you've got universes bumping into each other and creating each other and all this sort of thing I don't care how crazy and wacky it is take all of it altogether with all the different models and all the different rules for how mathematics works and how the fabric of space-time is twisted contorted and stretched clump all of it together under one heading and that heading is the universe that's what I call the universe other we'll use the term cosmos which i think is an even better term because cosmos means a well-ordered world and languages yeah language is a funny thing because we can only express what we understand so when we talk about things we don't understand it's weird yeah yeah if you want to go down that route we're not gonna get very far yeah no that was another interest of mine some time ago post-modernism not exactly post-modernism the theory of language and how we can only use words to describe it's not exactly post much post-modernism is rooted in that yes yeah one of the accusations I get in the comments section a lot and Matt Dillahunty actually brought this up to me too he protested when I said I was 100% certain that there's a supernatural first cause he said we cannot be 100% certain about anything so you've already made some mistakes there some sloppy thinking there but what I say is that we have access to reality with our senses the real world is real there are many things we can know with 100% certainty by using pure reason unaided by faith unaided by empirical and inductive methods I don't know I think there's there there's the we could live in a simulation idea I don't think we live in a simulation I have to live my life as if I don't live in a simulation or else I'll just be solipsistic but I I think that's a possibility we can't rule that out I mean in in the Catholic doctrine we basically live in God's simulation so yeah if you read mystical theology I think you will see a definite overlap with things like solipsism and Buddhism you will see an overlap and I think that's valid I think that there like I said I think there's truth in every worldview and every philosophy even Scientology is full of truth Catholic truth so there's a planet Kolob that part I don't think is true the thetans we all have thetans they live inside of us that part is also not true I guess it's a question of equivocation like when they say Phaeton I say demon and then true you know what is the demon the name of the office is angel the name of the nature is spirit so God created spirits who are incorporeal meaning they don't have bodies they're just pure sweet li I know what the doctrine says I'm asking what a diamond is like how do you know what a demon demons are fallen angels they're angels that rebelled against God how do I know that yes it's dogmatic teaching of the church that I belong to this is if you believe in demons because the church said the demons are real that's one reason it's not the only reason that's not a good reason we need to tear down my Catholicism and then tear down my Christianity and then tear down my monotheism and then start from scratch which is solipsism the first step the first step for the atheist is to move from atheism to monotheism and then we can have fun deciding if it's Judaism Christianity or Islam and then if you choose Christianity we can have fun arguing from authority that the Holy Roman Catholic Church is the one true church of Jesus Christ but if you don't believe in Jesus Christ there's no point in talking about Catholicism and if you're not a monotheistic about Jesus Christ or Christianity we need to start at the beginning we need to start with God the first cause and we need medical naturalism I don't think we can understand the world in any other terms except for the naturalistic we are hopeless in that respect we cannot understand anything outside of the natural as far as I can tell I don't know what it means when you say spiritual it is a nonsense word it will be nonsense until you get that first step of monotheism all of the monotheists believe in demons so you need to take that first step so that's what we all of this yeah Judaism Christianity and Islam Judaism I categorize Sikhism as solipsism because there's only one outcome you are guaranteed to go to heaven basically you are God already right there's an ultimate there's an ultimate deity is why what I think if we can talk about like definitions but I don't know if that's productive I don't want to define something into existence and be guilty of saying this thing exists because it has to exist because I defined it that way that's just stupid and I think that's what that's what sufficient reason does when you try to use it for to say God exists I don't think it solves any problems is not explanatory I think you have to be explainatory to say you have knowledge you have to be able to demonstrate it what you are asserting sadly and tragically is that you do not have free will first of all you don't have the free use of reason you can't weigh options in your mind and come to a rational decision about it you're just a you're just a machine right because you don't have free will this is I'm gonna save a whole big conversation I think I'm a compatible list yeah but compatible lists are hard to terminus right but it feels like we have freewill yeah but that's just a feeling and that's it that's just a feeling it's just a few humans operate off feelings we're feeling people that's how that's how we work talk to a psychologist that's how we arrive at all of our beliefs because of feelings we don't arrive at beliefs because of rational reasons and we're lying to ourselves as if we say we do yeah but given all of that which is true enough your view of reality is impoverished because you don't have freewill therefore you don't have the ability to freely choose between intellectual options and come to a rational decision about anything it's just it is what it is sure so I think that's the compatibilism your decisions are made by your mind before you realize it the idea of the will is just an illusion yeah everything is what it is and there is no way for it to have been otherwise every stay just have you ever seen the movie the surfer surfer dude Matthew McConaughey just ride the waves just be happy right the way I think there's great there's great pleasure to be had in just riding the waves and it's wrong to say that it's you can't derive pleasure from being a nihilist or being a solipsistic that's just not correct because I do I have no doubt that you enjoy your life I have no doubt it doesn't matter I mean if you could flip a coin say I'm this I'm that I'm a Buddhist I'm a Scientologist I'm a raelynne or whatever you're gonna ride that wave anyway and you're still going to enjoy the things you enjoy and the like the foods he liked and the people yelling that's why I'm not yelling at you I know you're just a good guy you just you just don't understand the principle of sufficient reason is so I do so what are some of the other topics that we could just touch on briefly before we wrap up vicarious tradition of sins is a disgusting idea it's a totalitarian system it has compulsory love we're condemned in advance of our life we must most love in fear the Dear Leader of the social dictatorship I don't see any way out of it being a celestial dictatorship my first principle is that God is infinitely good so as soon as you place yourself above God like you know better than God you are more moral than God you can't place myself above something I do not believe exists I know but this picture that you've painted of this mean bully in the sky you've placed yourself firmly above him so that being that you've designed and that you're calling God that's not my god I don't worship that God that's a false God you should run away from him John knew that man would fall of course did God know that so many people would go to hell because of man fault yes he knows everything so he's okay with all those people that he loves and he created going to hell he'd prefer that they didn't but he's okay with it he's perfectly happy yes yes oh yeah of course you know when you're privileged it's an easy position to have when you don't have to suffer so this is vicarious Redemption and sin requiring compulsory love in a system that he created it was flawed it says I made you flawed and now you're sick and the only way you can be saved is by worshipping me because I made you sick that's not good no what we need to back up and look at creation God created us freely the meaning that he didn't need to create us he doesn't need anything and he gave us freewill meaning that we are truly free not in every way but we are free to choose between good and evil everyone has their own idea of what God is they can't explain it because they can't demonstrate it if you can't demonstrate then you can't know something well I can demonstrate I thought I'd demonstrated it with the first cause argument where that doesn't demonstrate the first cause you don't know how the universe came into existence if it came into existence at all there's also mathematical equations it's a could possibly be infinite we don't know we have to say I don't know we have to be agnostic you can be agnostic but I know with certainty that there is a first cause which is supernatural because you made a special pleading fallacy no not at all I did this conclusion is not arrived at by looking at what I want God to be it's arrived at by ruling out the two other options the two other options are there is no first cause meaning a beginning of this natural universe or there is a first cause but it's natural which means the same thing it means a beginningless natural universe and nature is spatio-temporal and our local presentation of the universe is spatial temporal no but our local presentation of the universe is what you are claiming is only part of a bigger space-time conglomerate right I don't know I can't see past what light has come into - telescope lens I don't know I I'd say I don't know everyone that thinks about it will know that space-time is spatial and temporal space-time is spatial and temporal if decart thought is anything is that the only thing we can know for sure is that we exist because we're thinking exactly and if you take the leap of faith into the existence of the natural world they to me is just pretending you know what you don't know but you just said and I agree with you that the only thing we know without faith is I am that's the only thing we know with certainty without faith nope that I think the only thing you can arrive it by reason pure reason is I think well the cogito is I think therefore I am that's the punchline so even if we deny our existence we're affirming our existence so it is the one reality that does not rely on faith but if you're going to pause it au n-- averse that is natural then you have taken a leap of faith and then you can use reason to prove that the first cause does exist and that it's supernatural we don't know that there's not a cause of the universe that wouldn't be within the realm of science or what we can detect we don't know they do know with certainty that God is not within the realm of science we do know that yeah he's in the realm of make-believe he says hey he's in the realm of the supernatural you don't know your God created anything it has not been demonstrated yet it could have been Marduk that created the universe the only alternative to my god is not Mar do the only alternative is an infinite nature and that is impossible it cannot be the case or you and I would not be here right now because nature always changes nature is spatial and temporal therefore the first cause must exist and it must be supernatural because if it were natural it would imply infinite time behind us you don't know who created the universe you're saying I know that God created the universe because he is maximally powerful you're defining his characteristics and then saying just because I think of that that's why it is and that's just wrong think you know I'm doing the exact opposite of that I'm saying let's assume that there is no God there is no supernatural realm what would that imply and it what it implies is impossible therefore there is a supernatural first cause I have you I'm not we know we know for sure that we have a supernatural mind because we have free will you deny free will I used to think that free will was the thing until I understood what that meant but if you were to acknowledge openly that you have free will the way that I admit openly that I have free will then you would necessarily be acknowledging the supernatural what kind of bird aside I don't know it sounds like a cardinal nice so we do have to wrap things up I'm sorry we didn't make more progress in terms of agreeing but no one's gonna change your mind here it seems like I'd take an interesting philosophical stance on that I don't want to change anyone's mind I can't that's good so at the end of my interviews I do ask my guest to give a little closing thought so if you don't mind just a little message of hope something positive for the listener what do you think that you might be able to say to anyone that's out there listening now you know you you are the way you are and that's okay to do the things they've life to the fullest all you got to do is all you got to do got to do

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