Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-07-31 - Nick Stumphauzer Part 3

Author Recorded Wednesday July 31st, 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

Take a look inside the mind of filmmaker Nick Stumphauzer as he attempts to return to a belief in God documented in his feature film 'The Prodigal'. Nick's podcast will serve as the 'captain's log' throughout production, as well as a battlefield of ideas and a fertile ground for debate with the audience and promote Nick's personal growth as a thinker and a man. (See https://anchor.fm/theprodigalpodcast for more information)


Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-07-31 - Nick Stumphauzer Part 3

Author Recorded July 30th, 2016

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so I am here with David Ross the host of Catholic verses thanks for coming on the show David thanks for having me a Nick it's always a pleasure talking to you so as I've told my listeners and as I've told you this is in the effort to get out of my own way and you are an incisive interviewer as well as deeply connected with the Roman Catholic Church which I left so I wanted to talk to you and see if you might help me find my blind spots via spots places where I might be obstructing God's work in my life or obstinate or arrogant in some way the phrase that I hear you use often is ill-will so I'm looking to try and find those areas in an effort to hold true to what my mission is for this film which is to prove my atheism wrong so I don't know necessarily where you want to go from there if anything jumps to your mind or yeah I mean the first thing I would mention is humility I mean just knowing what you are who you are and who and what God is that pretty much would solve all of your problems and it's not purely an intellectual challenge it's primarily a challenge of the will as I always emphasize on my podcast so you need to face reality and that can be shocking it can be humiliating but it's a necessary step to understand that you are nothing and that God is everything and that much of what you think is wholesome and normal behavior is actually hurting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and when we look at his passion and death you will see that you know things that you think are cute in your personality are actually damnable sins your vanity your pride and your selfishness generally so it sounds very heavy but once you're able to acknowledge it it's the only place that we can have true freedom is in reality and that's the definition of so yeah I do talk a lot about goodwill versus ill-will and st. Augusta Dan famously said there are two cities characterized by two loves love of self unto contempt of God that's the ill-will and then the goodwill is love of God unto contempt of self so that's where I would like to start with you okay how do I respond to that the the scrupulous and overanalyzing and obsessive-compulsive inner Catholic in me very much resonates with the idea that even the perceivably benign transgressions are catastrophic to my salvation but I don't see who to whom I'm transgressing or upon whom so I think maybe we should start in the other area I really like what you said when you said that you can only have true freedom in reality and actually right before I I called you up here I was speaking on the intro this podcast describing how nihilism is void of a foundation there's nowhere to put my feet there is no order amongst the chaos there is no direction good and evil are social constructs there's no way to navigate the world and the absurdism sort of wreaks havoc on my mental state as a person and that's you know where where the this film was really come from it's therapy this film is therapy for me yeah and there's the attraction you feel the attraction to having a solid foundation a solid belief system something real that you can grab ahold of is that what you're hinting at absolutely yeah not even hinting that's exactly what I'm I'm striving for and I don't have it now I should say I I do believe that what I believe is true I just don't like it but I also know that you don't know you're right unless you try and prove yourself wrong so you know that's the thrust of this film and then I also know that I'm a very arrogant and biased person with motives of my own and dishonesty of my own and so that's where this effort to extirpate them comes from in your own journey what were some of the those personal hurdles that you had to overcome in order to accept God well I I had to go deeper and deeper into sin and selfishness and atheism frankly I had to go deeper and deeper and deeper into it following the truth as I saw it and living out the logical implications of my absurd Atheist worldview I had to dedicate myself more and more and more the danger for everyone Catholic atheist and everyone in between is mediocrity so we need to dedicate ourselves to our world you commit take the leaps of faith that are required because of the axiomatic assumptions that we're making be honest and say that look this is my assumption I might be wrong but I can't pretend that I don't believe it so I have to be authentic and true to myself so I have to take the risk and it's a love story so just like with any romantic love story you have to take a risk you have to be vulnerable and you have to put yourself in danger and this is the turning point for every human being when you make yourself vulnerable and when you step into the dark then God has a chance to speak to you and to touch you and that's what happened to me it's an existential crisis basically that you have to be willing to enter into and we've talked about this in your interview and you did a good job of articulating it so I know that you know what I'm talking about and we we have shared many many common experiences in terms of the absurdity of life and being and nothingness and so on and so forth so you're not far you're you're really not far okay well that's the first encouraging word yeah so one thing that I'm wary of is the desire to relieve suffering I'm worried that that my taint my pursuit of truth you know because I don't care whether or not I like the belief system if it's a comfortable piece of clothing to wear I care if it's true and I think you know that's admirable on the surface until you start bumping into those belief systems that are both true and shitty whether or not they are true for example you weren't lying to yourself and you weren't believing it because it was comfortable so does believing in God bring you peace and comfort and happiness yes great that's makes it all the more appealing to me yeah for sure for sure but I didn't know that I was looking for God I was just following the truth just like apparently what you're doing so I was also willing to follow the truth wherever it led and it led me to a very dark and uncomfortable place and I wasn't secretly hoping that God would reach out to me I wasn't secretly hoping that I would psychologically trick myself into believing God I wasn't thinking about that I was just following the truth in love with the truth and following my ridiculous axiomatic assumptions to their logical conclusions and charting of that territory and the fact that was bleak and horrible and horrifying just made it easier when God did touch me so it's easy for you on the other side of this equation to look and be cynical and say well David had a psychological reaction to pain and he embraced comfort in the self delusion but that's not what happens and there's no way for me to convince you of that and once you have the same experience your atheist buddies will look at you the way that you're looking at me right now and so it's it is I mean God does have a sense of humor and he's enjoying all the drama but once you're on my side you and I will have a connection that transcends words and will have an understanding of these mysteries and you'll have a family you know right now you don't have a family you have blackness and just emptiness and absurdity and you can enjoy that too but it's much better on my side the grass without a doubt appears greener yeah that's for damn sure yeah yeah yeah I mean I still have problems I'm still selfish vain and proud individuals so I'm still suffering the consequences of that it's not like I'm a saint so you'll have plenty of time if you enjoy being a sinner you'll have plenty of time to enjoy being a sinner even once you do get touched by God but one of my great fears as I realized that God is real and that religion is something that I have to participate in it wasn't optional I had to participate in public worship of God this was just again I was just grabbed by this reality and part of my fear was that I am going to lose myself I'm gonna lose my personality I'm gonna lose my identity and this is a really tangible paranoia that gripped me but as it turns out that's sort of a misinformation campaign it's a bunch of lies that are propagated by Satan and his minions to keep you where you are and once you start to trust God and have a relationship with God you realize that and especially once you read the lives of the Saints you realize that these people are unique individuals with a lot of personality a lot of character and even a lot of character flaws you know you can read the battle between Saint Jerome and Saint Agustin for example they were harsh words exchanged and you can see these were real people and they have their character they have their personality they've got their likes and dislikes and but God loves them anyway as they are and they're they're also unique and special and and so are you you know so you don't need to be afraid about losing yourself and the analogy I always like to use is romantic love when I met my wife I was more myself around her than I had ever been around any other woman and there are other things like he talked about peace I had never been able to relax a woman you know even if I've been intimate with her I was never able to sleep and to really be at peace in bed when we weren't doing hanky-panky so when I met my future wife one of the first things I noticed and she noticed it too is that we were able to sleep like we were just sitting on my veranda perfectly innocent but there was that comfort level that peace that we had and were able to be ourselves more authentically not less and this is what true love does it shows you who you are and it makes you want to give yourself to the other and to be a better person for your beloved and it's the same thing with religion so there really is nothing to fear that is so beautiful and attractive to me I'm uh I'm probably not playing the game that the atheist community wants me to play where the religious person is the dumb person and we know we are the smart ones and it makes me wonder you know in the in the Atheist community have they not experienced or do they not have the capacity to hunger for those things that you just outlined because if you really do understand what you just described that is what we should be pursuing in this life as experiences like that is that foundational romantic love that ordered universe this antidote to chaos and I have never felt that in atheism there has always been this part of me that felt anemic and dead and sad but that always butts up against the part of my brain that says tough it's true you know so I'm not playing the role of the of the good atheist right now I should be caught I didn't stall - you just uh interesting gonna get tears of them no but listen there are many many people I'm sure you know some who are jaded about the opposite sex this is a reality and these same people are seeking to fill that void you know whether it be through pornography or through one-night stands or through just using people of the opposite sex but they still are jaded they still tell themselves intellectually well yeah the their body is nice and the pleasure was nice but that's as far as it goes the reality is just an ugly Darwinian reality and these drives and these impulses I have and those ridiculous images of the perfect family that we see in some corny Christian movies or whatever it is or Hallmark cards that's just a lie and the reality is ugly and I embrace the reality and yes I have the hunger but it's just a Darwinian mechanism and it's evolved in me and yeah I can satisfy myself with hookers or pornography or whatever it is and yeah there's some pleasure in that but the ultimate reality is very grim and ugly and life is meaningless you know there are people that are that jaded and those people if you watch them and you watch them fall in love for the first time and to be vulnerable for whatever reason these people find themselves transformed and then they flourish and the hatred falls away and the anger falls away and that jaded attitude falls away and they're at peace you know you can see that you can watch the story of these these people who are very jaded blossom into into human beings because really that's that is our human nature is to to be fully alive and to be fully alive we need to give of ourselves and we need to we need to love authentically so you know you can see examples all around you just you just need to take a look and you can see both sides of that coin it's the same thing with religious life you can see people who are bitter atheists who transformed into fulfilled religious people and the other way around just judge for yourself which way do you want to go you know I think the question that I'm going to ask you now is probably going to become a staple throughout this next year and the question is what is the difference between you and I specifically with regards to believing in a god what is it about you or me that is different that has placed us on either side of the aisle with us just a willingness to say yes and the opportunity I had probably had millions of opportunities to say yes and at a certain point in a certain time I was able by the grace of God to say yes and by the grace of God I was able to nurture that small spark of faith into a small flame and now I'm protecting that small flame of faith and hoping that it will become a raging fire that would consume the whole world you know so that's the difference you are on a different path and you've already experienced faith but like myself I had to fall away and so it seems with you you have to follow and you have to explore and discover for yourself the authenticity of your own journey back to God and so I'm sure you're being given opportunities all day every day to say yes to God when the time is right and when the space is right and the atmosphere is right and all the puzzle pieces are there in place it will click you'll say yes and then you'll fall in love not only with God but with the grace of God and the faith that you've been given and you'll guard it and protect it and nurture it and try to build it and grow it and share it like I'm doing in my small way and you can look to the Saints for a true example a good example of how to run with it and how to build on it so there is no difference really between us it's just our stories unfolded organically and authentically and differently we are unique we do have free will and we can't pretend that this is all scripted it's not scripted we really are free can we ever understand that freedom no we can't even an alternate II we can't understand free will that's why a theists reject free will because they say it is not rational to believe in free will not on the surface anyway so I applaud all those atheists who are hard determinist because that's really the most rational position to have if you don't have God but once you take the leap of faith into free will and into God everything changes and then it's not so much a chess match as it is a love story in poetry and dance so we're not different I don't think we're different I don't ever remember being asked by God or given an opportunity to say yes every day what am I missing well I'll ask for God I can say Nick you know that you're nothing you know that you did not create yourself so why are you resisting me why don't you just give in why don't you just thank me for your life and thank me for everything that's good in your life because I am the source of everything that's good in your life so I'm speaking now as God I'm not claiming to be a divine channel of God but this is the truth of God and I'm just presenting it to you to put you on the spot because this is what God is saying to youth not only through me now in this theatrical and playful way but through the very mountains and streams and the trees and the sunshine and the birds chirping and everything that's good about life the blood flowing through your veins every heartbeat every breath you're being asked God is asking you Nick why don't you love me why don't you return my love why don't you thank me why don't you appreciate everything you have so I think you are being asked you just need to tune in to that to be sensitive then this is the way of the poet to tune into that and to be aware and to listen I I don't know what to do with that well the alternative is to say well David I'm self-existent and I have nothing to worry about that's the only rational alternative and that's the alternative that I went with a so Saul exists as my atheist and went darker and darker and deeper and deeper I entered into solipsism which was to say that I am I am self existent I have nothing to worry about if I'm worried it's only for my own entertainment if I seem to be scared of my own shadow it's only for my own entertainment that's where a theism took me now if you're more on a nihilistic path then you're just drowning in a sea of blackness and questions we have never entered into that space but I can imagine it's not very pleasant but you know the more rational position I think is to say well if God is not God then I am God I am self existent and I have absolutely nothing to worry about Sofer do you talk about this proof before that got you out of solipsism which is if God is not God than I am God and I am NOT God therefore God is God can you unpack that a little bit yeah I just want to clarify that's not what took me out of solipsism what took me out of solipsism was just reading Rene Descartes I saw that there's a leap of faith which is very small and which is not necessarily being presented as a rational argument it wasn't a proof it was just an example of someone who did believe in God showing me how quickly and easily I could make the leap of faith and how painless it is and then I started looking at the medieval proofs for the existence of God and then I started thinking about solipsism and rational ways to prove using solipsism that if God is not God than I am God because if I'm wrong when I say that I'm not God then I'm God and God cannot be wrong and so on and so forth so I just wanted to emphasize that the rational component comes afterwards it's an afterthought once you're in the privileged position of being a monotheistic an think these things through a lot more clearly but in the moment it's more of an existential leap onto the comfort of monotheism as you mentioned actually in my interview of you on my podcast you suspected that probably it was based on comfort rather than on pure reason and you're absolutely right because it's an existential trip and then it was just but rest by the syllogisms post yeah the sort of slogan of the Middle Ages in Christendom is faith seeking understanding right it's not understanding seeking faith which is why I think that you have faith already and you're just sort of building up the nerve or the courage to submit to your beloved I think you do love God I think you know that God exists I think you're just nervous about getting into bed with him sort of speak there's a bit of nervousness there and trepidation and rightfully so yeah performance anxiety I guess luckily or the woman in this analogy so my advice to you is to just be cute and flutter your eyes and just be coy that's amazing so I want to circle back a couple of minutes ago because it got my heart rate up yeah I have to be I have to be honest that's that's the purpose of this whole thing is you know you were demonstrating what God is saying to me at this time and I started to get nervous so maybe you could reiterate is there something right now that I could say or do that would flick the switch I don't know I don't know it um I was very very very desperate when I caved in when I said uncle so I don't know how desperate you are in your heart of hearts I think it's going to come in the darkness of a long night tossing and turning and being unable to sleep and I was in bed when I converted and I was beside my wife and she had no idea what I was going through existentially and yeah I think it's that night when you're alone I don't think it's when you're broadcasting a podcast that you have these moments really honestly I'm just I'm not being facetious I really do think that it is a very intimate conversation where you make space for God and then he speaks and then you you listen to him so I think it's gonna come maybe poun reflection maybe with minor tragedy in your life something that just Sobers you up and one of the images that I really like to use is the Titanic there were many people that were drunk and eating and in the first-class lounge they were having a great time and no matter how many people warned them no matter how serious the warnings were from the stewards of the captain they just went on many of them went on with their revelry and their enjoyment of life and so I think there's something to be said for the distracting component of pleasure and of the social component I mean if there were just one person alone in the quiet of their cabin and the captain steward came to warn them I think that there would be a different sort of atmosphere for that message to come Krauss but when you're in that lounge and the music is playing on and the people on the dance floor around you swirling around rhythmically and laughing and joking it's really really hard to take the message seriously so this is one of the sort of common features of religious life is silence solitude a hatred of conversation a hatred of the world generally a hatred of all the distractions and all the pleasures of the world and Jesus himself talked about this he talked about in the day of Noah how people were distracted by the marriages by the festivities by the trading and the selling and the the hustle and bustle of a beautiful beautiful active life among all these goods everything is good the sunshine is good the money that they're making is good a beautiful woman that you're marrying is good everything is good but they're just missing that silence just missing that quiet and Noah was able to get the message and he was able to at least attempt to warn those who were enjoying life but only eight people made it onto the ark so it's a very sobering idea this idea that we need to be alone we need to cherish silence and we need to take seriously these questions because otherwise you're going to get sucked into the fun and the pleasure in the business the busyness of life it's going on all around you it's very dangerous so I may have dodged a bullet there I don't have to confess my undying love to God on this rock that on Episode one would be a very short series there yeah yeah God loves an ark just as much as you okay that is so good to hear because I'm really trying to make this an interesting film to watch yeah I just a reflect on the the desperation aspect yeah um I'm pretty close I'm making this film out of a place of desperation I don't know that I could move forward in my life productively peacefully with any sort of health mentally if I don't make this film first and answer these questions I just sort of see everything unraveling and that's where this film is really coming from at this time the silence aspect I think is interesting this was one of the things that I wanted to do in this film was to do like an extended fast from food and kind of go off into the into the wilderness and just be quiet and I think that in general just lowering the basal volume of distraction might be helpful but something my sister has told me before which rings very true she's a therapist she said your mind is like a bad neighborhood don't go walking alone at night and I strongly resonate with that as well so trying to strike the balance between silence and it's drowning out the screaming that's going on in my own head is something that I have yet to figure out mm-hmm for sure yeah I agree wholeheartedly and just read us a quote recently by a saint I don't remember the quote I don't remember the saint but it had something to do with sanctity and busyness if you're not busy you can't be a saint so there's something about activity you need to be active you need to be goal-oriented you need to be directed and I think there's some famous saying about devil loves idle hands or an idle mind or something like that so yeah we definitely need to be cautious but what I was talking about was more of the passive silence those long nights where you should be sleeping but you're just kept awake by the turmoil of the your struggle on this journey and so that is not something that you're seeking it's something that's unavoidably foisted upon you by this inner tension of your journey so there is a little bit of a difference there yeah okay now that I understand the distinction a little bit better now but trying to stay as close on topic as I can here with sort of character flaws that might preclude me from partaking in truth and objective reality one of the first things he said was humility actually that was like the very first thing that you said on this podcast was humility yeah and so a really great way to quit smoking is to go around to everybody that you know who respects you ever and tell him that day hey guys I just stopped smoking cold turkey every single person go tell him because then you've just created an ego that's if anyone sees you with a cigarette in your hand all of a sudden you've transgressed against this and I think you know for the last however many years I've kind of gone around telling everyone like hey I'm an atheist you know I'm a contrarian I'm I'm smaller than you are you know and and now I'm in this position where I can feel that internal battle saying don't let go because I don't know I'm whatever it's called when you're humiliated when you're embarrassed in that way there's something deeper than that that I feel raging against this effort and trying to poison it yeah it's your identity it's who you are it's who people think you are and yeah there will be a lot of resistance from people that think they know who and what you are right yeah and so I think maybe another purpose of this podcast is going to be to just tell everyone I mean I'm trying to disprove atheism that is my goal and just keep saying it over and over again until that piece of me that big piece of me starts to relinquish control and say it's okay you can take the and I don't think I'm going to get any for it I think there's gonna be sort of maybe some implicit I told you so's from mother which might honestly be the biggest form of trepidation that I have which is just that by walking away from the church I walked away from my connection with my mom and I think by returning to the church or to God in general I don't know that I could bear the I told you so and it's probably unfair of me to assume that that's what it would be I think that she would just rejoice and be the happiest mom alive if I'm being honest about it but there's a part of me that's just waiting for everyone to say you know I told you so it for some reason that's the most terrifying and unbearable thing for me which I guess just tells you how conceited I am yeah well I mean yeah I admire your your courage to swim upstream like this it definitely is not easy but on the other hand this is what people admire most is the individual someone with character and in a way Society admires the rebel that will stand up you know be the only one to stand up and say well this is what I believe and we don't need to agree with that person but we will usually admire that person you know if they conduct themselves in a way that it's dignified will admire them and we can be inspired by them so I think you're gonna gather a lot of admiration and that's not the primary reason that you should be doing this but it is one of the side benefits of being authentic is that people recognize it even if it's begrudgingly even if they weren't able to say it to your face for the first little while because it was just hard for them to be humble you know so if you want to think of yourself as sort of setting an example for those around you who suffer from the same conceit in the same pride in the same selfishness in the same tendency to be people pleasers or whatever you want to call it we're all prone to that I'm just listening now to a lecture about a young Irish actress who through the course of events ended up becoming religious becoming a nun and she carried with her all of her vanity all of her pride and all of her attention seeking into the monastery for the first couple of years and it took it took many many months and a few years for her to change and to transform but those around her some were naysayers and said that it's never going to work and of said in spite of these worldly ways I see a potential and I see growth and so I'm gonna nurture and support this young girl as she transforms and she did transform you know so I think it's the same thing with you you can listen to the naysayers or you can listen to those who love and support you and in the quiet times of your life you'll be able to make that distinction which camp really loves me more not based on what they say but just based on that intuition that you have deep down in your heart which one loves me more is it my mother or is it that friend that I've always admired so much but which they themselves are suffering from the thing the very things in my own character that I want to distance myself from me just yeah and it's not to place your mother above that person they're both infinite in their dignity but you you know in your heart of hurts which one wants what's best for you and which one is the better example to follow and you of course your mother has her own flaws in her own her own weaknesses but we're all a mixed bag but when it comes down to that sort of basic distinction I think you're able to see which way you want to go yeah I think you're right I think another aspect of this that I bristle at is and it could just be projection but hitch pitch used the phrase privileged knowledge and I think that's kind of why I I get mad at religious people or cult members in general people who have that sort of elitism even though they might be in the minority or sort of often the weeds with some particular belief system I do feel like I get that like oh you'll come around and for some reason that just I can't describe how much that frustrates me like they've been given the pamphlet and I just like didn't show up that day didn't get the pamphlet yeah and yeah yeah no you're right you're right to recoil at that that's just pride and that's vanity that you're recoiling at and you're right it's its ugliness it's sin so you need to make that distinction between the baby in the bath water and between God who is perfect and humans who are imperfect that's why I made pains to mention that your mother is not perfect because you might be tempted to think that she is perfect in some ways just as her child not because she's religious but just as her child right so we need to be humble not only about ourselves but we need to be humble about every human that ever lived with the exception of course of our Lord and our lady but all of our ladies graces came not by her merits but through the merits of Jesus Christ who is God so there is that abyss that cannot be traversed that that great gulf between God and not God and so that keeps you humble that keeps you humble not only with respect to your own frailty but with respect to the frailty of everyone else that you'll ever meet in human form so it's very important I think to keep that in mind too yeah the the phrase that I like is gods bleed gods with a lowercase G and an S and that is that anyone that you ever worship they bleeped they have scars and it's usually a very traumatic thing when you figure that out for the first time one one last question for you sure do you think that this question is simple which Western look at the question of the existence of God yeah I think it is simple yeah I think it's very simple it's too simple that's the challenge of it the analogy I like to use is the fish in water he's swimming around in the water he's breathing the water he's looking through the water he's composed at least 70% of water himself and what's all this talk of water he wants to go on a quest to find the water and it's just too simple it's too obvious it's Harding in plain sight it's the same thing with God so that's my perspective I hope that's the answer you wanted but that's that's my answer it's a very valid answer obviously I'm the fish looking around saying what the hell is water but it's perfectly valid and it's just a data point it's I think that's another question I'm going to be asking people in the dish - what's different about you and I it is you know is this a simple question because you can walk into a library and go to the philosophy and religion section and just be overwhelmed and if you start alphabetically and you just pick up a book open it up read it you'll be convinced of one thing only to be D convinced by the next book and so on and so forth until you get to the end and then the librarian pushes up a cart of all the books that had already been checked out and adds those to the shelf and it's just it's overwhelming and so part of me wonders do I have to have a hundred lifetimes to figure this out or you know in your analogy do I just need to kind of have that realization that oh hey I'm swimming in it do you have anything else you want to add or expound on yeah we just say that I'm praying for you I love you I respect you and I'm not worried about you so I think I may have mentioned to you last time that you're outnumbered because you're one person but and I'm one person so it seems like David versus Nick but real in reality your guardian angel and my guardian angel are also both Catholics so it's three against one you know in this little dialogue that we're having and it gives me a lot of confidence that I don't need to lay awake at night worrying about you and your salvation and it's the same thing with those around you there's so many people that love you and that I want what's best for you and the fact that you have enemies you really do have enemies that want you to suffer for all eternity in hell that fact and that reality is scary but it can only really hurt you if you deny the reality of Hell and deny the reality of Satan and from what you've told me in previous talks I know that you fear hell I know that you know that if hell is real you will make a beeline to God and you will seek salvation ultimately because no one is going to enjoy hell and those Rock and Roll stars who sing about the party in Hell there lying there deceived and deep down you know they're wrong and you've had a glimpse of hell and I'm just hoping you'll get a glimpse of heaven because I don't spend a lot of time worrying about Hell but I do remind myself daily that it is real and that I can go there even though I'm a believer I can still be selfish and I can still end up in hell so I just wanted as a final thought you wanted to mention to you that the battle is already won we know the outcome Jesus Christ won the battle on the cross and it's not difficult to put yourself in the winning camp once you realize that ultimate reality is these two cities the City of God and the city of man and the choice is clear but you just need to have your eyes opened to the reality and then you'll make that very clear and firm stance and you'll you'll pledge your allegiance to Jesus Christ and then you'll be you'll be back home you know and you'll feel at home too so I just want to reassure you with that imagery I can't express enough how much I longed for that and how much it means to hear somebody say I'm not worried about you because I feel I you know I'm into constant terror so that's great to know that that you're not and I reciprocate that that love and appreciation they despite our absolute bipolar disagreements on everything the fact that we can come together and you know have this conversation is very meaningful to me so I'm really grateful for that David thank you thank you yeah it's nice it's I'm really glad you reached out to me and like I said I'm thinking about you and praying for you and I see a happy outcome at the end of all this I'm curious to see in one year if you talk to me again how you will have changed so it's it's very exciting and I'm proud of you and now all you gotta do is all you got to do is do is

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