Catholic vs. Other - 2018-11-28 - Philo Theism

Author Recorded Wednesday November 28th, 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 Philo Theism when he commented on my Atheist Experience episode (Catholic vs. Atheist - 2017-05-28 - Matt Dillahunty.) He is a bright young man and he has recently discovered the depth and wisdom of the ancients of western philosophy. I really enjoyed our chat. • Support the CVS Podcast: • Be a guest on a livestream:

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hello this is follow theism and you were listening to Catholic verses other so tell us if you would a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and how you came to believe it my parents are from Iraq but I was born in Jordan 2001 and we moved to Canada in 2002 I was raised in the Assyrian Church of the east you know my parents are from the Middle East so most of their debates like who who they argue against has been you know Muslims so that's how I have knowledge of Christianity did you ever pray to God as a young person mmm not really you know I church or something but never on your own no really no you were never afraid in bed at night just wondering about this or that and start to reach out to God I mean that that just started happening yeah okay so more recently you've started groping with existential angst and these sorts of things yeah yeah yeah how old are you 17 okay what is the philosophical journey that you're on right at this moment what lies ahead of you and what lies immediately behind you what changes have taken place recently and what changes do you foresee in the near future for you in terms of your worldview and your philosophy well for one I've started to appreciate the ancients more than I did before I guess that's one things that changed and I see them as you know kind of misunderstood and I think their ideas still stand for the most part you know Aristotle obviously Philo you know that's kind of where I am right now we'll only touch briefly obviously an outline of some of these ideas but before we do that I just want you to address your moniker this name that you've taken well Philo he lived around the time of Jesus and he kinda has this idea that you know the laws of thought you know the universals non-contradiction excluded middle yeah yeah to him those were rooted in God the logos and that's where John got his ideas from at least that's what I've been told so that's kind of what I mean that's why I'm an agnostic because I wouldn't say atheism works with a world through use you know you whistles or at least not materialism or naturalism um at the same time I'm not sure if you know the god of classical theism exists either so that's why you know I I'd same Philo theanine that's kind of how he was he that's as far as he went with God really he did not worship the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob well I guess he did but he never really tried to prove it he never gave arguments for it in his work at least not I haven't seen it I only started no reading about him pretty recently hmm yeah okay did he build on Socrates Plato and Aristotle I'm sure yeah probably Plato more than the other two and are you familiar with Platina sand Neoplatonism yeah I am yeah I like Platanias - I mean Platanias also builds on played a lot like neo platonic philosophy has been kind of taken by scholastic philosophers and that kind of philosophy also kind of makes me lean towards classical theism because you know the whole composition problem things are composed and something with parts is contingent on its parts you know have you encountered or read st. Anselm of the 11th century I haven't read his actual work I know his ontological arguments my own conversion to God was due in large part to the ontological argument mm-hmm just because I chewed on it like a Zen koan for eight years before I became a monotheists it did help yeah well I mean I think Aquinas is critique of Anselm is sound that's kind of why I'm back and forth on it yeah I don't say that an Psalms argument is airtight but it's still worthwhile to chew on it even though it may not be airtight logically yeah right you're familiar with Zeno right and among the atria yes yeah there's a lot to be gained by chewing on genuine contradiction and paradox and apparent contradiction and just sort of grappling with that I think mm-hmm I've heard of David Bentley Hart know he has a book called the experience of God and that's kind of what put me where I am right now it takes you into the whole idea of being you know and how all things that are composite our contingent by Nature you know I kind of just thought contingent as you know it can exist or it cannot exist basically that was the only idea of contingent I had but apparently it goes into ontology and all that kind of slope the way it happened for me is that I was an atheist I was actually a solipsistic arts all obsessed and that's about as atheist as you can get and there's that horseshoe effect where if you become atheist enough you actually become God that's what happened to me I was I was the creator and sustainer of everything and it's not that wild and unusual of a situation I know Buddhists there's no difference in my mind between a Buddhist and a solipsist the Buddhist is just confused about the one mind they don't think that they are that one mind but I identified with the god of Buddhism when I was a Hertz all obsessed there's only one mind it's my mind obviously and the way that I was cured of the Salk's ism ironically was through reading Rene Descartes who says I think therefore I am and he talks about how to escape from solipsistic and so I found myself taking that leap of faith because I had Descartes there holding my hand and helping me yeah my view of God has changed too I mean I never thought of God as the subsistent act of existence I mean I never thought of it like that can you just characterize for me your understanding of the differences between deism and theism in particular monotheism well I don't think I am a deist I mean ideas you know you kind of believe God is not intervening the idea of God I have is someone who gives existence to everything so it's constantly interacting just you know by his nature but I mean if I were to say I'm a deist it'd be as in I believe in God but I'm not a theist I mean I'm not religious okay I'm not sure if I understand are you a monotheistic to sing religion yeah yeah you could say that okay okay I'm not a mano I'm not sure where I am right now like I'm agnostic why would you resist saying that you are a monotheistic narak monotheists because from my perspective this is the place to be right monotheism is the to be so what are the obstacles for you intellectually it's the response I mean that I hear from you know atheist philosophers to these classical arguments like you know have you heard of JH Sobel no he's an atheist philosopher from Canada and he has a book called logic and theism where he goes through most of the proofs of the existence of God and you know Kalam ontological arguments you know in Aquinas his arguments and that's the kind of one I focus I don't really care about the other ones I was kind of just focused on Aquinas and then there's other atheist philosophers like Graham Oppie William row that have replies to these so you know the coin is the second way he talks about sustaining causes or efficient causes so when I read someone like compost in a British tome is philosopher he has a debate with Bertrand Russell which was kind of famous it was on PSR he kinda gave the example of a sustaining cause where it was like we are sustained by oxygen and so that would be an example of an order of sustaining causes for Aquinas like we are sustained by oxygen or you know the Sun see if I'm understanding sustaining causes right there's actually nothing that sustains our present existence at this very moment right now so it seems like anything you can think of doesn't sustain our existence in this very moment if you were to get rid of oxygen you wouldn't die right away yeah are you familiar with Peter Kreeft Peter goofier have you looked at his presentation of the proofs for the existence of God yeah I've seen some of them he addresses Peter Kreeft addresses this dual nature of Aquinas is second way where you've got the chain hanging on a hook that's one way of looking at it chronologically but then you've also got that fabric that you're talking about where it's a hierarchical logical interconnection among the causes yeah he acknowledges that there are those two aspects of the argument I've always just liked the chronological one I've never really looked at the fabric one mainly because my little brain can't process that level of complexity you know it's just easier to look at a chain hanging on a hook and saying there must be a first cause which is an in and of itself uncaused so okay I'll just go with that why can't it be material why can't the first cause be material because that material cause that you on deposit as the first cause you want to say that it is composed of parts and that it's subject to change right yeah God is pure actuality there's no potential in God I mean if God is pure actuality and he's completely simple his nature is necessary so since he's necessaries nature's necessary and he's necessarily self diffusive I just don't see any room here for free will I don't know if you read the little quotes I sent you from Thomas Aquinas in reply to your questions but basically what he's saying is that he made us free he's not twisting our arm to be free he's making us free he's letting us partake of his freedom to a certain extent now do we have unlimited freedom no of course not only God does but we partake of his freedom so when he makes us free he's not frustrated in his design he wanted to make us free and he made us free yeah but but how is he free I mean that's that's my problem the key exists necessarily as he is and he can't change so he's kind of it just seems like he's stuck I think this is what they call first world problems yeah this is this is a whole modal logic argument I mean against divine simplicity if he is necessary and you know the same in all possible worlds you can't change you can't do anything there's a hierarchy of truths in every science and there's a hierarchy of truth in theology and the goodness of God is simplicity his sovereignty all these attributes they are the foundation upon which we build an understanding of creation we don't go the other way around and say well if he must be good therefore he's not free no we know first and foremost that he is absolutely free that's always the first principle so when people make a really juvenile argument based on some obscure quote in the Old Testament and say therefore God is a sadist you know you really haven't understood who and what God is and it's not like the Jews misunderstood of course they strayed but they didn't misunderstand they knew fundamentally who and what God was and so did a lot of the ancient philosophers right one one problem I have is own I'm very influenced by culture and I look at you know modern philosophers and they're all atheists so like if I were to accept see ISM or Christianity or any of that you know I mean I'd look and say well how do I have it right but then you know the philosophers these people who are called the smart ones they don't know it the problem is not intellectual it's not that they don't have the intellectual capacity to understand some of these arguments that these Saints and philosophers have made over the ages it's not that they don't have the intellectual capacity it's that they don't have the goodwill that's required and the reason they don't have the goodwill that's required is that they're in love with their sin they're in they're in love with a short term benefit they're in love with the short term immediate pleasures whether it be some sexual sin or whether it be food or some other pleasures that they know they can drive pleasure from immediately whereas self-sacrifice suffering in the cross and these sort of things aren't necessarily as appealing but if you look at the history of humanity save the past four thousand years or whatever the monotheists far outnumber the atheists I don't really personally care where the numbers lie in terms of what's everyone doing I don't really care about that then we can go the flood only eight people were saved right mm-hmm with Noah and the flood now if we think about the miracles and some of the wacky and weird stories in for example the Old Testament where do you stand in terms of your comfort level with the miraculous and all that sort of stuff I've heard miracle stories from my parents you know about experiences they've had like I have a hard time denying those because it's you know I'll ask and then I'll ask someone else and I'll hear the exact same story for example but again it to me it's just that I feel like it will be or it can be disproven at some point let's play a little fantasy game where we fast forward 20 years picture yourself 20 years from now accepting on faith things that now you think that you must remain agnostic about how does that strike you if I were to accept at least the existence of God in the soul I'd be fine with anything else yeah not anything else would you know you know what I mean within reason yeah yeah within reason so did you read much st. Agustin or st. Augustine as I call no I was I was i've been recommended Agustin many times but you know a lot of people he's my favorite yeah yeah for that there's one thing that maybe I could add about necessity arianism if necessity rien ism is the case then there is no love there is no freedom there is no morality there is no merit things just happen do you agree with her if missus Arianism is the case I wouldn't have a problem saying they're looser I guess yeah when I was a hard determinist I said they were just illusions so what is sam harris is position Deano uh I mean his yeah that all of those things are looser I mean freewill is illusory he's not great he's not he's not good at all I used to think he was the smartest man on earth Matt Dillahunty to all of them all the you know the big atheist they look like our business after reading like actual philosophy I've heard of a Daniel Bennett I've heard of I've never read him yeah he's he's like the worst I mean he thinks consciousness is an illusion qualia you know color all these things are all illusions I feel like that's the way it's going though the entire materialist you know movement that's where it's going in it seems to be dying out there's a new movement called the new materialist movement just because of these problems that they're having are pro-life go through life okay you're not sure I'm not sure on anything in the world oh okay this is your agnosticism right yeah if you were certain that the god of monotheism is the first cause and that morality is objective and humans have free will you would be pro-life yeah yeah definitely yeah is that a fair assessment or no well I mean if what it was just a monotheists and I mean not religious then no if I became religious then maybe I would be yeah I would okay because I was a generic monotheistic before I became Catholic but as a generic monotheists I was pro-life and the arguments that I hear from the pro-choice side seem very weak and they're obviously weak because they're obviously based on self-deception and a rationalization which is stemming from a very obvious short-term gain which is a selfish desire to avoid the change in lifestyle that comes with bringing a child into the world right so it's very very very obvious that these people are intellectually capable of opening a biology 101 textbook and saying yes that humans Icode is a new human everyone knows that yeah I'm not sure this thing I'm not sure if it's so obvious I mean most scientists I guess biologists would say it's not a human right wouldn't they I mean it's not a human being no every scientist agrees it's a human being but there's this fantasy that superimposed on top of that they say yes it's a human being but it's not a person personhood comes with the first heartbeat personhood comes when he sticks his head or the woman so they admit it's a human being because they can't deny the heart science but they say it's not a person so this human being is not a person right just like back in the day when black people were not considered persons they were human beings but they were not persons it's the same thing it's not a question of the intellect it's not science right these people claim to love science but they want to superimpose a lie on top of the science and say yeah it's a human being mister is not a person yet the person it becomes a person when it can feel pain or when as first heartbeat or when it sticks its head or the womb or whatever oh I guess I mean personhood is not even a scientific question I guess then yeah it's just a made-up thing it's just a made-up thing to do to justify killing this human being yeah in principle are you opposed to suicide oh yeah of course they own that's good but you haven't got a rational basis for that it's just a gut thing I guess yeah a good thing okay so you do respect your gut and these instincts or whatever they want to call them even though you don't have a rational argument to back up everything that you feel or wait when it's when it's like someone's life on the line yeah okay so let's say that someone is sick they're suffering a lot from a disease which isn't going to kill them it's just gonna make them suffer for the rest of their lives and they said to you listen I think I'm gonna kill myself because I can't stand the pain tell me honestly do you think that my pain will end when I die yes or no I mean technically yeah I mean pain it would it wouldn't you die okay so your advice to him is go ahead and do it because that'll make the panel well well no I mean I mean you're asking if pain would end when you die I mean that the answer is yes I mean it would and what he wants his objective is to make the pain stop and you're confirming that a way that you think is guaranteed to work is from Tacoma self right it is technically speaking it is it is a way I mean so he says to you I'm in a lot of pain I want the pain to stop will the pain stop when I kill myself you say yes but don't do it yeah I mean that's the right answer I don't know how else I mean well my answer is no other pain will just be beginning for you if you kill yourself this what you call pain is like a walk in the park compared to what you have in store for you and hell yeah see I'm not sure if he'll exist I'm you know what how do I care you're not in a position to tell them what I'm in a position to tell them yeah I have a much more effective deterrent to suicide than you do your deterrent is yeah everything you want can be accomplished by suicide but don't do it why I don't know that's not very convincing my approach is much more convincing you will go to hell yeah yeah I mean you're right now hey do you have rationalistic leanings yeah yeah I would say a lot I mean contingency doesn't exist you know necessary anism although that's kind of Spinoza and thought yeah I was a big fan of Spinoza for years yeah what do you think of Hegel what was it absolute idealism yeah I like the Acton potency analysis have changed better than died like I told you I read a lot of Marx yeah it felt like it was the most practical kind of philosophy I can see it and like in the real world everything he was talking about you know poor and rich and I kind of you know I actually have the Communist Manifesto at home would you agree that atheism is a central part of that worldview of Marxism yeah I mean there's different kinds of Marxism and you know there's different kinds of communism that aren't Marxist like there's Liberation Theology have you heard of that yeah it's condemned by the church it is here yeah but I mean I guess you don't have to be an atheist to be communist you do you have to beneath used to be a Marxist yeah what about Nietzsche did you get into him I haven't read him yet I mean I said though oh yeah yeah yeah I just hope it doesn't like pervert your mind no no I mean I'm I have I already know about him he doesn't have any you know real arguments against classical theism so to me it won't matter you know if I I'm not really moved by any you know that kind of stuff yeah so did you get into post-modernism at all no not it not at all okay yeah it's a quagmire I wonder about existentialism going backwards in time a little bit now Texas tential ISM what did you read did you like anything I haven't even explored that no yeah you're definitely more of the Anglo school rather than the continental school right no I mean I wouldn't say that anymore like I think the ancients are smarter than everyone else combined yeah like I was talking to it you know to a Catholic friend you know and I was I was mentioning the best atheist philosopher you know sobel oppe you know that's a trend I noticed you know it seems to be the Anglos who are but anyways you know stalking him and I mentioned how great they are and he starts saying you know he read them too and he's like you know any moderately educated Jesuit would destroy them yeah what do you think about the Catholic Church and Pope Francis can you give me sort of an overview of what impression you have and I know it's delicate but if you could talk about the recent sex scandals and the states in Australia in different places just a rough impression like the good the bad the ugly with Pope Francis and the church today I mean it's suffering with you know modernism it's kind of insult rated yeah I don't I don't really focus on what's happening in the church like nothing that's happening in the Catholic Church it would change my opinion on it like it's it's all about you know if their teachings are true you know yeah I'm not sure would say but now that's the perfect answer that's the most Catholic answer you could give I want to talk about before we wrap up this idea of following the truth wherever it leads it's a very ancient idea in terms of those ancient philosophers when we think about Socrates and how he was disturbing everyone and annoying everyone just with honest and sincere questions and maybe some of his questions weren't so honest and weren't so sincere but they were probing for a reason he was trying to unsettle people he was trying to get them to think and it's the same thing with Jesus if you think about the way he disturbed people the way he upset people and even after Jesus had ascended into heaven the Apostles went around to Athens and different places where there were philosophers and they disturbed them but there's a danger of being complacent in this world and getting too attached to those shadows on the wall of the cave to the point where you're gonna kill anyone that taps you on the shoulder and says hey there's a nice sunny day outside do you want to leave the cave so on the one hand we're confident that we know ourselves on the other hand we're very annoyed and aggravated when someone points out a blind spot there are a lot of defense mechanisms and speaking of psychology what did you think of Jordan Peterson when he was all the rage the past couple of years uh well I have his book actually twelve rules to life yeah I think he's definitely helped a lot of people a lot of you I just think he again I don't I when people talk about something if they're not talking about philosophy of religion or metaphysics or something I care about then anything else they say just doesn't really matter some others don't focus on it but like I've heard him talk about religion and stuff his ideas on religion are very flawed yeah so I mean I think he's good at psychology but as far as when he talks about religion and stuff he's just I don't think he knows what he's talking about mm-hmm so I don't know if you know but at the end of my interviews I always ask my guests to give a little positive message of hope what might you be able to say to someone that might be listening right now I'm not even sure I'm not eager to do or do just what's a positive message that you we've just take a stab at it if it's no good I'll cut it out I'm not I'm not even sure what to say really yeah I just yeah I don't know how to approach this at all again yeah the floor is yours you can end with a little a little thought for the listener no pressure yeah I don't even know no one has ever refused to do this everyone always comes up with something and the way that it usually goes I'll just pass the floor over to you and you can just talk a little bit about what you're excited about for your own future moving forward could you death sure I mean I guess so how I mean how long do you want me to go blah thirty Seconds sure I mean I guess so you can start now and then 30 seconds I'll stop recording go we'll hold or do I say say whatever you want I never in the show myself so you just have to end the show so just to wrap things up hit it take it away brother this is the hardest part like everyone does it I have everyone does it I mean I guess I don't know what thanks for having me on thanks