Catholic vs. Other - 2018-10-27 - Matthew Marchant

Author Recorded Saturday October 27th, 2018

There are 41 episodes in the Versus:Other series.

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Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-21 - Tino

Recorded September 10th, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-10 - Judah

Recorded September 2nd, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-02 - William

Recorded October 21st, 2016

Catholic vs. Other - 2016-10-21 - Ben

I met Matthew through his brother Stephen, with whom I used to work. Matthew follows a non-denominational spiritual path guided by music, meditation and tai chi. He believes in the importance developing presence and inner peace for fulfilling ones purpose in life.-


Catholic vs. Other - 2018-10-27 - Matthew Marchant

Author Recorded September 24th, 2016

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hi my name is Matthew Marcin and you are listening to Catholic verses other so if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and how you came to believe what you believe absolutely I grew up in southern Ontario my mother is french-canadian my father is an Anglophone from Montreal and my parents decided to move back home to Montreal in the mid 90s and I've been living here ever since I did my my University here in Montreal Eddie cut pretty technic I did graduate studies there as well I went on to work in engineering ended up as a teacher at Dawson College teacher of mathematics and now I find myself working as an independent consultant in business management systems that I'm more than just what I do for work I have multiple interests outside of work one being spirituality I think that's why I accepted this invitation to have a conversation it's a subject I I enjoy thinking about reading about speaking about I'm also very interested in music and that's something that I invest fair amount of time in not to mention Tai Chi which is something that that I've gotten in to let go of for whatever reason and recently got back into and something that kind of supports I guess a spiritual dimension my life before we unpack some of that can you just talk about your childhood and maybe the influence that your parents had on your worldview in terms of philosophy religion spirituality and all that sort of thing if you would please so my dad as you know has a very strong faith and spirituality and it's something that he introduced to us when we were growing up and we would every Sunday go to church when I was growing up and I have memories of going to Anglican churches but mainly to Catholic churches as you know my dad made the decision to convert to Catholicism to be able to follow the same religion that that my mother is in my father also was someone who was quite musical and I have vivid memories of driving into Toronto from Oakville and going to see the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with my dad and and sometimes I would even bring a friend along and those were great great memories can you just touch briefly on the rituals around the home was there prayer before meals at night before bed did your mother teach you certain prayers fixed prayers do you remember laying awake at night wondering what is this God that everyone's talking about did you believe at any point and then lose your faith just talk a little bit about that encounter please yeah I think I think those are pretty distant memories there were prayers before meals there continues to be prayers before meals with the Marchant family and those prayers are often given by my father every once in a while I'll be asked to recite a prayer of some sort which I'm happy to do in terms of prayers before bed and in this kind of thing yeah we were we were encouraged to do so because I remember doing so when I was a kid but spending a lot of time thinking about the existence of God I guess I was never that type of person to get into the that kind of introspection I guess but those elements were definitely there when I when I was growing up it's part of my my youth for sure was there a time where you explicitly labeled yourself an atheist or an agnostic you know when I was in c├ęgep and we were doing philosophy courses theory of knowledge is kind of stuff people would write essays about atheism versus belief and trying to find arguments for the ISM and I think I just wrote about different stuff really I never got into that I never got into labeling myself as an atheist or strictly a believer the New Age spirituality will talk about the force of the universe and this kind of stuff and for me it's like a life force that that's there that exists and I certainly believe in that but I don't I don't want to attach it to a specific term or a specific person or something name me three principles that guide your thoughts words and deeds everyday what comes to mind ISM is honesty I think it's close to just being honorable about things too like you sense hey there's something important here I got to do you got to do it so I think that's something really important the other one is responsibility and reliability too I like those three a lot by the way I think it's so important to have these conversations and to have experiences like this but also experiences working with others and relationships because essentially there are so many things that we we can't see about ourselves but that others see so clearly what are some of the principles that come to mind for your father for example could username one or two or three principles that you think he values maybe they're the same three maybe they're different three but can you just off the top of your head tell me what you think he's really there for us like he's really strong about family he's giving back a lot to the community does a lot of volunteer work so yeah I mean he's he's just he's just a strong strong believer in Jesus and Jesus being like an important life force and thing to live by that's clear and something that came up very clearly in your interview with him mm-hmm what keywords and values and principles come to mind for your mother my mom's like uncondition all acceptance and love of her children she's someone that loves to have a good time okay so my father and I we're all like we got to work and take care of the house and be responsible all this my mom's like more light and and she likes to have a good time she likes to have fun so she has that nice lightness that I could probably learn from you mentioned the word spirituality you mentioned that really in the interview I'm gonna play a little game with you here to expose some of the deeper spiritual longings that you have it's kind of like the genie with the three wishes but instead of a genie it's got almighty so what kinds of things would you ask for there's moments where I'm like really really in touch with myself and this beauty that exists I really wish to have those experiences more and more and connecting with others on this level whether it be through music or meditation or Tai Chi just continuing along those lines if God is what he claims to be or what people claim that he claims to be and he's omnipotent and you can tap into that and get everything that you want forever it seems like it would be a pretty exciting thing to start learning about so let's say you had a relative that he didn't know existed but he came to Canada to visit and he's like staying in the apartment across the street from where you live he's super rich and he wants to share his wealth with you as wealth of knowledge as wealth of experience and his wealth in terms of material wealth money and everything else so would you walk across the street to meet this rich relative I think that's very beautiful that's very metaphorical crossing street but there's there's a leap of faith and and a letting go to go there and am I willing to do it I'm definitely willing to do it you do have an idea about but how did how'd it go about it I have some ideas so I'm definitely looking for that I think everyone is what are some of the about your father's faith that you could ask me he could be more comfortable asking me than you would a family member is there anything that comes to mind for you I think a challenge that's come to mind recently is if we take a religious institution like the Catholic faith I mean how do we live with the institution while remaining connected with the faith we've seen how it works and often how it does not work and doesn't make sense how do you deal with that and what are your perhaps your thoughts on that a little bit the analogy I like to use is marriage and that's the analogy that's used in the old and New Testaments in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation it's all throughout we are the Bride of Christ so the analogy I like to use is like when I fell in love with the woman a real concrete individual woman on planet earth she smells she's stupid she's ugly but there's the other side of the coin she smells beautiful she looks beautiful she's smart is this a contradiction or is it just a paradox a paradox being an apparent contradiction but there is no contradiction you are beautiful and ugly I am beautiful and ugly you are stupid and smart I am stupid and smart it's not a genuine contradiction it's the complexity of the situation with a human being so it's the same thing with the church the church is beautiful the church is ugly the church is smart the church is dumb the church is holy and the church is unholy now we need to make the distinction between the holy parts which can stand before God and the unholy parts which cannot stand before God so there's a cleansing obviously that he's going to have to take place with the sanctification process that takes place even here on earth but for those who die in the state of grace but aren't completely pure there is a purification in purgatory where they get rid of all the unholy and all the ugly parts and all the stupid parts and then they're ready to stand before God in heaven so this is a very very simple image that we can have because we know what relationships are you know it's not only about making distinctions although that's important it's also about seeing how we already accommodate complexity we already accommodate paradox even if you're an atheist even if you're agnostic you already accommodate the paradoxes of complex life and in relationships and then human beings even within yourself even if you were raised on an island and you'd never met another human being and you're just surrounded by plants and animals you would still have to face the paradox and the complexity of being a human being and having a relationship with yourself so there's no excuse to point to the church and say oh the institution is like this and God is supposed to be like that well yeah we'll look in the mirror you're like this but you're supposed to be like that it's the same thing so yeah that's how I would answer in very general terms about the institutional side versus the faith but there's another expression which comes to mind which I think you might find amusing which is that religion is the crutch that we fall on when we lock faith so there's this sort of idea that there's a religiosity that we can fall into we can we can go to the ritual we can go to Mass we can participate externally just like the Pharisees did in the time of Jesus we can participate externally but if you don't have faith then it's just an empty vessel it's just it may be clean and white on the outside but inside it's rotten and Hollow so built into that is sort of diagnostic about why there's a sexual scandal in the church it's because a lot of people saw the priesthood like a career path or maybe a way to mask their homosexuality or maybe a way to mask even their pedophilia I don't think that's a very common disorder but that's one possibility that there's a certain infiltration of people that don't necessarily have the calling they don't necessarily believe what they're supposed to believe they don't necessarily have faith they only have religion they only have the awkward participation so if we don't feel that religion or fill that institution with faith there are really really dramatic and horrible consequences to be paid for for generations and we see that I think we see that so what I'm getting is that in spite of the Vista tutte's you remain attached to the church inand does it feed your faith did you see it as an important aspect of your faith oh yeah the church and Christ are one so the church will wobble or topple when Christ wobbles or when Christ topples but Christ cannot wobble he cannot topple so the Pope for example he is protected from teaching error concerning faith and morals he has that infallibility that protects him and I have ultimate faith in that that is sort of the linchpin of my faith is the Pope who although Satan wants to sift him like wheat Jesus protected him this is you can read about this in the New Testament so there is a certain level of protection that the Pope has that the other bishops don't have so this puts the Pope in a very privileged position although he's free to sin but he's still protected from teaching arrogance or any faith in morals so I put a lot of emphasis on the Pope and the papacy and all the bishops that are faithful that teach in union with the Pope there's that sort of backbone and that sort of skeleton of the real true beautiful good institutional hierarchical church and then there's all kinds of flesh being torn away from it just like on Jesus Christ when he was being scourge dat the pillar or when his flesh was being ripped off and you know it's the same sort of thing that's happening to him now in the church his body's being torn apart and when you see that ragged purple flesh hanging off of the body of Christ the church and you see bishops and priests that have betrayed Jesus Christ this is the the ragged wounds and all of the scandal reinforces my faith in the church all of the scandal reinforces the true teachings of the church I have lots of people on social media who are mocking and ridiculing the church and pedophilia making jokes about altar boys being raped by priests and this sort of thing and I don't know if they really think it's funny or if they're joke is meant to be a barb for me but I always just ask what the Church teaches about rape what the Church teaches about pedophilia what the Church teaches about child abuse what the Church teaches about abuse or evil of any kind and they grow silent pretty quickly because either they know what the Church teaches and it's clear or they're completely ignorant about what the Church teaches and they're not interested in knowing so everything strengthens my faith in the church but what what would it take do you think for you to shift your emphasis where you start emphasizing God and the church and these sorts of questions in terms of investigating what would it take to sort of shift your own physician that way when when you mentioned God you know I think it's close to what I believe in what I'm in touch with to begin with I really think the the biggest obstacle is ourselves we have habits that we need to learn to get rid of right we're fearful we take things personally we're lazy all this stuff just pulls us away and we have to just take them one at one at a time and just get rid of them how old are you now 41 do you consider yourself a middle-aged man gosh well my grandfather lived to be 94 96 think it was 96 so I'm not quite middle-aged yet I got seven more years we'll have a conversation in seven years I hope so fully before that touch base from time to time how are you at are you middle age yet I am I'm getting there but I want it I want to place you on your deathbed now you're a hundred years old okay you've got maybe a couple hours maybe a couple of days left you know that okay so what are your regrets and what are your hopes and what is your act of faith that you make in that moment and what sort of leap of faith are you ready to make at this stage when your hundred years old on your deathbed that you're not willing to make now as a 41 year olds Ryu's I think the best thing we can do is just be here right be here and in the moment so I maybe you're sensing some what some of my influences like I'm yeah I'm influenced by Eckhart Tolle power of now New Age or yeah I'm totally into that stuff in my worldview as you know the best-case scenario is the highest place in heaven and the worst-case scenario is the lowest place in hell and these are eternal conditions that are drastically different so there are a lot of worldviews that are not monotheistic that don't subscribe to this difference between the best-case scenario in the worst-case scenario I just talked a little bit about that if you would please I have no idea what happens after I die and and no one really does no one knows what what happens after you die you can you know it's all it's all belief you can believe in something and you don't know and you can't so the best case scenario for a person I really believe is that person becomes fully who they are and who they are meant to be and where I think I really believe that we're all here for a reason and best-case scenario is is you're fulfilling the purpose that has been given to you do you believe in morality yeah I philosopher that I like her Jeff puts it like this the only morality is what you do connects you to your aim what you feel is like truly what's important for you on this planet like your aim which is like very sacred you know it's not like to attain a lot of money no it's something very very very sacred very spiritual that you have fine for yourself and his morality is what brings you closer to your aim that's morally good what pulls you away from it is morally bad let's imagine two extreme cases one person was moral and so fulfilled themselves during this life and the other one always failed either through ill-will or through a weakness or whatever the case may be okay so these are two extreme cases sober chief would smile on one and say that's an example of someone to follow their example and he would frown on the other and say this is an example of what not to do okay now you claim that we cannot know if there's an afterlife and what that afterlife is but we do know that if their outcome is identical they're both dead and they're both annihilated or they're both dead they're both in heaven or they're both dead they're both in hell if their outcome is identical whatever that outcome is good bad or indifferent then it doesn't matter there's no value to British morality but if the person that was the good example has a good outcome in the afterlife compared to the outcome for the bad example then that morality has wait so although you say that we cannot know what happens in the afterlife we can know in principle that there are two scenarios either morality is real and meaningful because there are different outcomes or it's not meaningful it has no value and morality is just a little dance that we do here it's a social construct with absolutely no consequence which do you think is the case I I don't think morality is attached to the outcome I don't think it's attached to that so in that scenario I painted where the saint and the sinner have the same outcome you don't see that as undermining the morality of Gurdjieff I don't think the outcome of our lives in terms of eternal life or not undermines morality and in any way Gurdjieff talks about the possibility of attaining it turned a life and for him it's like you've attained like the highest possible level of development for a person you've developed a permanent it's an eternal soul he mentions how oh it's possible and it's something that that needs to take place during this lifetime and then it's indestructible and hence why people following that movement would work very hard on on themselves to develop this indestructible inner self or soul mm-hmm so let's say you're about to die and I can grant you whatever you want after your death what would you want me to grant you after your death a peaceful nothingness or a fulfilling party with deceased family members or to start all over again and go back in your mother's womb and start again and repeat over and over again like anything you want what do you want to do after you die I'm God I can give it to you so what do you want this is there's an interesting question and I don't have an answer right now because I haven't reflected on this but basically I'm more interested in like a okay God what do you want from me what do you want me to give back do you know what the first commandment is the primary responsibility we have the primary thing we have to fulfill to be fulfilled human beings is to know God and to love him and to serve I mean it's just you know are we talking about the same thing really you know what is this god thing you know I don't think it's a person do you think that you are a person what is the source of your personhood is it your mother and father and what is the source of their personhood is it their parents and grandparents and so on and so forth back to the beginning what is the source of personhood is it a bunch of molecules it randomly came together or is there a person who is unconditional and independent and autonomous and sovereign and infinite in every perfection I mean there is absolutely no way of justifying your personhood without looking at that yeah I agree on the the possibility of there being an omnipresent they are guiding us we need to have an experience of this it's it's not something really worth talking about we need to find the religious experience yeah do you have a definition for sin and if so do you consider yourself a sinner well I come back to my my ideas on doing things that that pull us away from our aim or what we think is most important for us am I sometimes a sinner in in this respect I mean of course you know I can't claim to always be 100% touch with with myself and as a matter of fact I think it's very difficult to maintain that even for a few moments but so yeah I mean I think we all are I mean anyone any honest person will probably agree to that so at the end of my interviews I always just asked my guests to give a little closing thought something positive something uplifting for the listener and there are all kinds of people with all kinds of different worldviews and a lot of them are sad and depressed and lonely and isolated and just alienated from their fellow man so just to wrap things up what could you say to anyone that might be out there listening now I really think there is hope I really believe this this is something that exists in the world for for everyone sometimes it's it feels like it might be far away but I really think that it's it's something that that's there and that we can connect with you've got I mean you simply have to have to get out there and find people that you connect with and do so in a creative way I mean if it's not music perhaps it's painting for you or it's meditation or Taichi or it's just going hiking I mean just get out there with other people and connect and you'll

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