Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-08-18 - Matthew Murdock vs. Brenda von Ahsen

Author Recorded Sunday August 18th, 2019

There are 1 episodes in the Verus:Atheist series.


Matthew reached out to have a friendly conversation with Brenda, who agreed. This is that conversation.


Catholic vs. Atheist - 2019-08-18 - Matthew Murdock vs. Brenda von Ahsen

Author Recorded August 18th, 2019

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These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
my name is matthew my name is brenda and this is catholic versus atheist [Music] well hello brenda howdy hi um i have heard i i listened to your debate with with little gregory uh yes sure you remember and i i just i really loved it i loved what you had to say i thought you were very reasonable and uh and that was just a great debate i loved it um and there was just a few things that i heard um that i wanted to to talk to you about i didn't write them down or anything but i thought maybe there was just some some misunderstandings about christianity that might i might be able to share with you that might help you i will not help you but just to explain how how i see things or what happened in my life uh why i believe in christianity and maybe you can question that because i'm kind of skeptical myself i almost lost my faith completely uh not too long ago until i met david here on this podcast and how i found dave was i was just looking for atheist uh for aaron raw's debates because i started listening to a lot of him and he was making sense to me because i was just about to just go off the cliff and be like okay i don't believe anymore then i found david he had a debate with aaron rn or whatever and uh i loved what david had to say so much i reached out to dave and he kind of pulled me off that ledge and introduced me back into catholicism which i'm i'm investigating as well as like eastern orthodoxy i'm looking into both but i've been practicing catholicism i was a protestant for about 10 years but um i still am skeptical and i and i'm open to hearing you had some good challenges to the faith and stuff as well that i thought were valid and i just wanted to talk to you about some stuff and see what you had to say and hear why hear what your story is i don't know if you already said it on the show with dave or whatever but to get some background on you and why you don't believe in christianity maybe we could just have a back and forth about that okay that sounds fun okay to begin with i um the reason that it was very difficult for me to talk with gregory because he is a 12 year old child right and i i certain i simply didn't want to get um into a position where it seemed like i was in any way uh bullying him right and so i i was not um it was more exploratory and tried to keep it more on an even keel and more level than um then perhaps i might with an adult where i might challenge them more directly and be be more aggressive um so that was a very that was a very um some people seem to think that i lost that debate but um number one debates aren't about winning or losing they're about exchanging ideas and and exploring reasons why people believe what they do and and i don't think and also i don't think the debates are are pugilistic right you know so that's my feeling about that as far as me i i'm a 62 year old male to female trans woman i i i am quite poor and i leave uh lee live here in minnesota in the glorious state of minnesota all right which which i i enjoy quite a bit um and and i like uh debating online with people i and i try to follow debates uh i i watch um modern day debates is is one with it which has had some recent ones there have been other debate channels but they have sort of come and gone or had come up come across difficult times i debate with flat earthers but i've done that much less so because they they're extremely infuriating very difficult to talk to somebody who is deeply entrenched and refuses to make even the most common sense inferences from basic elementary not even elementary school science they can't even understand but uh so i've been kind of getting more into the uh the uh sort of the more less heavier heavy hitter theistic creationist type debating when i can i love it and like i said i really enjoyed what you said with gregory and i thought you were extremely respectful with him so yeah and did you try to go on like the matt slick program a long time ago when they were told jerks to you yes yes that was you yes yes yes yes i was listening to that years ago because i was a total matt slick like follower you know back then but now i i can't really stand the guy you know but anyways and it was only they were totally rude to you and you have these awesome arguments and they wouldn't engage with you well they just hung up on you or something because yeah you know because they wouldn't call you brenda or something stupid like that i was like come on um messlik is i i don't know what he is um anymore his arguments seem to resemble um um calvinistic he's a prairie positionalist but he says he's not yes yeah so i i don't understand i i don't understand where he's coming from uh on that on that count um and i was new to a lot of things back then too but yeah i was listening and that's when i very first heard you when i heard you on with greg i'm like that's that you know that person i'm like oh that's not i've also encountered i've also encountered an individual by the name of goes but online by the name of darth dawkins not familiar oh i think i see him on twitter he is a um he is another one who who makes use of presuppositionalist arguments but he is not actually a calvinist but he has toes a very hard-line fundamentalist um form of christianity he would say that i think matt slick would say the same thing both of them believe that the catholicism is not christian right right that it is up to the literally of the devil yeah which is a pretty extreme view although to be honest here in the united states i don't know people who are not in the states don't don't aren't aware of this but in certain parts of the states which are heavily evangelical they they kind of hold to those um they have an anti-catholic bias to them yeah i think what they would call the eupappas they would call a catholic a papist and um they would possibly believe that uh the pope is it is a is satanic in nature it's a very bizarre kind of world view that i don't understand the roots to it there's and i was i was steeped in that okay because i was i started out just uh like a kind of a charismatic christian guy you know the guys are kind of wild and they think they're speaking tongue healings and that stuff and i kind of grew out of that and then i uh i went to the more conservative puritan calvinist presuppositional guys i mean i i used to to worship those guys pretty much read all their stuff and i used to be a presuppositionalist and all of that type of stuff but i've i've kind of abandoned it as i've grown in my understanding of things so one so one modality of uh counter apologetics that i kind of like there's a certain person by the name of doug who has a a youtube channel called pine creek who does sort of a modified street epistemology approach which is basically don't be a dick admit most of your opponents points but then you go for the one thing that you go for you make them challenge um their own beliefs rather than trying to argue with things so yeah along with doug along with aunt uh makabasco i think that's his name he has a channel called street epistemology peter bogosian i don't care quite so much for um but uh and then there are some other people sort of in those circles which are less of the um what i would call the uh the old school atheists like dawkins um and uh sam harris i'm peter hit and hitchens hitchens was a great polemicist he was not a great philosopher sam harris i i don't have a great deal of respect for i i think he he got things correct as far as there not being a god but after that he kind of has not made any any important points since then um and and richard dawkins is a great biologist but he was not also a great philosopher um they kind of got things started but they didn't really go anywhere much with it yeah and that's sort of where i'm at yeah so so i'm not really in favor of the um the the quote-unquote new atheists i i'm infected but i like the um the street epistemology approach where you are actually an atheist but it's not like religion is the root of all evil i'm not sure i agree with that i think that religion can be helpful to people i mean i'm quite certain that islam has helped many people out of their alcoholism and drug abuse right yeah so people can believe religious belief can be beneficial to people yeah but is it true as a whole another whole another that would be the other that would be the question sure yeah well when it makes truth claims you have to evaluate those truth claims and in my opinion um when religion makes claims about the the natural world it quite often gets them wrong yeah i know what you mean there um but maybe i could share with you my testimony as far as why i believe that christianity is true but you kind of just touched on it so i have a feeling where you're gonna go but um uh and it is kind of subjective and i'm not gonna come because i i hear all the the classic i'm a debate junkie as well and all the classical apologetic arguments i think are are are fun to listen to and they're fun for believers but i hear you guys uh atheists that is like you uh refute a lot of the points and and rather well i think that you could come up with a reputation for just about anything so i don't really think that they they work and i kind of get tired of hearing the same old ones so mine i'm just uh going to say something that yeah it's kind of subjective and i guess sort of anecdotal i know in my life i've seen tangible testable changes that came through the christian church and prayer and things like that and i'm sure you could explain it in other ways as well sure would you would you be interested in that maybe you can just and you can and feel free to you know if you want to let me have well if you want to if you want to just go uh and and and to make make your case and go ahead okay okay yeah so um i was uh um i don't know i want to make it short i had an interview with dave so my whole story's like a couple segments long so i don't want to bore everyone with that again but i was a hardcore uh drug abusive drug abuser meth addict um a liar thief i'd say even murderer because i was uh complicit in abortion and stuff like that my own kids out of convenience wanted to encourage women to have abortions because i didn't want to have children with them and things like that just and that was my nature um and this is kind of an argument that i came up with i ran it by david and he didn't think it would probably go very well but i'm gonna give it a shot anybody see what you have to say um and i'm not a nero scientist or anything like that but just in my all the counseling that i've had to go through being a drug drug addict and everything i've been told that when you do drugs and certain behavior patterns you actually are um wiring your brain to function in a certain way in a in a hard way like when you use drugs you uh form um patterns and connections in your brain that function a certain way and certain synapses work a certain way and uh so it causes you to be addicted to drugs and have cravings for things and stuff like that so i was a die-hard drug addict for probably almost 20 years and not only that in my life of doing drugs i went against what my morals were i was raised in a catholic home so i was taught that lying is wrong and stealing is wrong and all that stuff but i rebelled against all that to the point of when i had no conscience at all toward the end of the throes of my drug addiction so lying stealing and all of that type of stuff and just utter selfishness were just second nature to me i didn't really feel bad about them or anything and the type of drug addict that i was as an intravenous user and they say that the success rate for sobriety for someone that was using drugs the way that i was doing it you have like a less than one percent chance of anyone having more than one year of solid recovery and uh like i said it was second nature to me i loved i didn't like the consequences of it but i love getting high i love doing all these things more than life itself and uh and then one night i was prayed over by uh some some christian guys in the middle of nowhere in some town and uh they told me that jesus was gonna deliver me that night and i didn't believe him i was like yeah right i got a big bag of dopes and it's me at home i'm gonna go home and use it just like yesterday and repeat until i die and i'm just doomed you know to this existence and uh anyways i one of the guys gave me his number so if you need to call me call me and drug addicts always get those invitations but never use them but i i went home and something came over me and i couldn't i couldn't do the drugs that i had sitting there on the table and i called this old man and he came and prayed with me and from that night on and this was about seven or eight years ago um i was from that night i was no longer addicted to drugs of of any sort and uh no cravings no nothing and also along with that and this is before i could you know uh really was indoctrinated in this and that or a theological system i had gone to church and tried it before but it was just in and out never had the changing effect but after that night these guys prayed over me and something changed and my life has been 100 different ever since then so i'd have to attribute that to the power of prayer and christian prayer because it was christian guys and i did um i was seeking truth in other religions as well and just found emptiness nothing ever nothing ever changed i was i was always the same me inside so what would you say about that do you think there that that might i know that's not proof of christian god and not proof of christianity but would you at least say that that's at least evidence ever of the of christianity and true i would say it's evidence that religious belief can help people i'm glad that you got yourself i'm glad that you got yourself out of um addiction which is horrible and i'm glad that you've got yourself healthy and all those things and it might very well be the case that you should stay a believer but right i don't think it has much to say about the truth um because i think you know somebody who is a muslim or a hindu could make much of the same argument i'm sure that they have i'm sure that there are people in islamic countries or in muslim-dominated countries whether that's the that's the main religion who have had the same experience where they have been saved from a life of drug addiction or any other kind of addiction by belief in the majority uh uh religion that that is uh in their society so i think that religious belief can help people but i don't see how that has any relation to whether or not the central claims or central tenets are true it's simply a um a belief system and and and as far you know i i just don't see the connection so uh okay i wouldn't tend to think that it was um evidence of truth um i can give an example of experiences are are tricky things so my my little brother i i'm the oldest of four and um what i i have a younger brother sister and the and the baby my youngest brother he he claims he told me that when we lived on our on our plot we lived on a on a plot of land um in rural part of uh the country that he saw a ufo and it wasn't just like a light in the sky it was it was uh pretty detailed at least to him he said it moved slowly over our our land and he said he saw it pretty clo pretty clearly um do i believe that's when he saw that i have no idea what do i know what it was that he saw i have no idea that i can't come to conclusions based on someone's singular experience so um i agree i agree and i understand that but you see but for for me in my life i do know because i know what i was one day and i know what it was the second day and it's been a lasting thing over seven years a transformation i'm still i'm still a joke i'm still a piece of crap i'm not a perfect guy or anything but i'm saying all those besetting things which are would you would you agree that that those certain uh behaviors like of just being a liar liars are liars i've known many people who have quit doing drugs and got clean but they're still liars they still uh steal they're still themselves or they've traded for some other type of addiction or um because there's like you said a religious belief is one thing and that's good because what is a religious belief it's like a club that you join like i'm going to go be a mormon and mormons you you're not allowed to drink tea you're not allowed to drink coffee you're not allowed to do this so you kind of have to force yourself shoehorn yourself by white knuckling it into these certain type of behaviors until they become a habit maybe you know but can you really change your own heart can you really change the the fundamental your personality you know what i mean like it's one thing to to say okay i joined this club and it changed my life and i see that because i see that in what i would call you know other religions kind of like a dead religion dead religious practice or like so it's just like joining a club i joined the gun club so now i go and buy guns and you have to you have to do certain things to you have to wear a certain jacket to get in so i go buy the jacket and all the stuff but me i'm still the same guy inside of that jacket i still have the same you know what i mean i'm just taking things on externally and putting them on myself and i see how like like islam a lot of people who because i studied these stories myself and a lot of people in islam to get in you have to you have to swear that you're going to be a certain way but there's no heart change and there's no guarantee of heart change but in christianity one of the things is uh one of the promises god says in ezekiel 36 25-27 he says i will put my spirit within you and i will give you a new heart and and that's what i experienced this was a new heart it wasn't that i i mustered up the strength of myself pull myself up from my own bootstraps started saying okay well what do christians do okay well christians don't cuss don't you don't smoke and don't hang out with girls who do you know that's the old saying that's not and then and you can do that for a while your true nature is going to come out eventually but for me my my nature down to my the core of my personality and if you're an atheist and you believe personality is as hard wired in a way right due to chemical uh reactions in your brain over time in habits you actually hardwire your brain to react a certain way and that's your personality that's why if you get hit on the head too hard your personality will change because it screws up that the circuitry of your brain that happens over time so how would you explain a physical phenomenon like that of a personality change which if the brain is just hardwired you're kind of hard determined to be a certain way because of diet genetics all of these things and then prayer of this certain kind kind of had an uh an effect on a physical thing which is my brain makeup which seems to have been altered and it was and it's not like what you're what i think you're thinking of is i joined an organization and i'm conforming myself to it i didn't know what to expect it it's it's something happened to me and everyone in my life who's known me my whole life knows there was like some kind of drastic change and it was and i'm telling you you don't have to believe me but i just want you to know that i'm being honest here like i didn't try to do this i wasn't um that's not something i could take credit for or say that i mustered up or that i i got myself better or i changed because i was totally incapable of changing i i was i mean it's even from a scientific uh standpoint like the the psychiatrists and people who i've seen and they diagnosed me with all sorts of mental disorders and all of these things and it's just gone um would you do you see what i'm saying it's it's it's something a little bit different than i joined a religious club and then started conforming myself to it um just fill that one out a little you know i mean i know i don't expect you to say okay well you say so but um but i'm being honest with you and that's really what seems to be the case of what happened with me and i know it's subjective i know all that but what would you interact with that a little bit um yeah to begin with uh i don't believe humans are hardwired i i don't know i don't know what that means the brain has a great deal of plasticity right so we can learn things and we can change our behavior so i think that i think that we live in a causally determined world but part of the causally determined world is that we have a brain which is has a great deal of plasticity and ability to adapt and to change itself and to rewire itself um that's literally what you're doing when you form new memories um as far as changing in in general behavior well in my own experience i've had the same thing i i came out as transgender i went through a period of extreme distress nearly committed suicide uh was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward came out as transgender and and massively shifted my my personality and and every everything connected with it uh i don't know if that was determined or not i think that that was um whether i can't answer that question but what i can say is is that it's not inconceivable to me that that people can have large changes in their personality um when they are as a consequence of a great deal of stress or trauma or depression um anxiety things like that um you see a lot of conversions that and and changes in belief structures with with people generally when they're younger quite often you know um a a nice young woman is involved if it's a man or a man with a woman i mean a lot of a lot of men one uh surprise surprise meet a nice young let's say a christian girl or a catholic girl or a a buddhist girl and they're motivated they they got that motivation oh yeah i'm a buddhist now oh yeah i'm a catholic now oh yeah yep you know they're thinking there's powerful thinking they're thinking with the other the other uh i i wouldn't put it so much that way is that there's a powerful there's a power there's a powerful incentive um and also simply when people are younger particularly um they go through quite a lot they're in a period of forming their personality and stuff and so there there can be large shifts and somebody's like yourself even when you're older um i think that if you've had a life of a drug abuse that has is not working out for you that is destructive to your lifestyle and that you perceive as being harmful to yourself and you perceive uh that that there is um a very bad consequence to your behavior that's another motivation it introduces a lot of stress a lot of anxiety i i can sympathize with that i had a i had was in a marriage and had a lot of distress and i had a lot of distress and anxiety depression um suicidal ideation which eventually culminated in my coming out and and um reorganizing my life seeking professional help um as perhaps you have that these these things are what explain why people have great shifts in personality um changes in in in their lives and restructure their lives it is these are these are the things that i think explain it uh and as far as uh the you know you became part of the majority religion um most likely well i guess people can have those same experiences and join a minority belief system right but so that that places expectations and it isn't like just a club religion isn't a club it's an entire world view there's a great deal that comes along with it um quite a number of expectations and things like that so right i don't know i don't know enough i don't know i have not studied or or made any kind of serious reading on conversion experiences of non-christian belief systems i am just guessing that they would very much likely be the same as any uh as as christian uh uh conversion stories would be from from a debilitating lifestyle i i would think so i would imagine that there are japanese people who have addictive lifestyles who then finally accept whatever their what is it shintoism or buddhism or whatever system whatever their parents kind of raised them to think of yeah i get that it's like it's like you know so i that would be my ex but my understanding of this is that that's the pattern that i would expect to see um and so i i don't know in your case it it might very well be best for you to remain a christian um you're hearing that from an atheist um i i i'm stealing i'm stealing this from doug at pine creek totally ripping him off um yeah i've heard him say it a number of times that there are some christians that i think should stay christians yeah it keeps us out of your backyard they're stealing your hubcaps no no no no because it's because it's because it's better for us i i have i have a moral ethic of that that i think of i i i should do my best to reduce the amount of harm in the world and and so that's what i believe in i love it and as as i would think i think that that that's the uh that's a good godly truth in you that you want that and i think that that's good like my brother uh my friend david would say it's like all truth is catholic truth that we believe and that is truth to reduce harm and do all these things that i think that's great that you wouldn't just want want me to abandon it because it would be bad for me but well i i don't think that i don't think that my moral beliefs are truth they just happen to be the moral beliefs that um i have evolved to ascribe to okay um so no you're so you don't believe in that like an absolute there's an absolute you know uh goodness and an absolute evil or anything like that yeah i don't i would like to eliminate the word absolute from the english language okay because i i i it's just i don't know what it is supposed to even mean um animals have moral beliefs and i think they have moral beliefs because when you are a um an animal that is part of a a social animal you have to you have to um be a member of that society and there are there are things that facilitate that and the things that don't facilitate that so so sharing and taking care of other members of your uh group are are good things because they're they're good not because in the of themselves they're good because they they are good for for you and for your for your uh for you as a say chimpanzee or a an elephant elephants apparently have have morals things like this and i think i think that you're right there and and but i mean my explanation would be different because i believe of course that um you see this in nature everywhere uh well not everywhere but you see it in nature everywhere because and well from my world view god created the the elephants too yeah and they also reflect his glory and they reflect him but there's also a brutality too of all other stuff sharks sharks don't have sharks don't have very much of a moral system items not much not much not much of fun and that and that's because they're not a social animal they're a solitary predator and they have no they have no reason to uh consider the needs wants or or the consider other sharks i mean they don't have have to do that because they they can survive just fine on their own in the ocean without any other sharks to help them but a chimpanzee who is alone in in the jungle is dead a single a single champion chimpanzee is dead a single shark in the ocean is not dead he can function just fine but chimpanzees and us and other primates we are a primate animal we we are a social animal and we can't survive on our own we can't um right so so we have to help others and helping and and by helping others we help ourselves yeah um i had a friend you might agree with the statement that i work with and he was like explaining the people who are in the medical field and stuff that we think oh they just have a huge heart and he said no just as a byproduct of them helping themselves they are giving providing a service to you but really because it benefits themselves because they're at a high paying job and it pays for their food for their family they don't necessarily have to care about you but it's in their interest to to provide you a service but it's really a self-serving thing would you agree with that in most cases it kind of fits with what you're saying yeah what i'm saying is yes by being a member of a community and being a member of a species that needs it others in order to survive you are helping yourself when you help others yes right and what do you think that there's a correlation with uh the intelligence like uh the difference of intelligence between uh whales dolphins and sharks sharks are more savage and brutal because they're they're lower on the intelligence scale and uh the other ones are i don't know i don't know i don't know if it's intelligence i don't know um these uh uh honeybees um will self sacrifice themselves and when when a honeybee stings you that that bee is dead oh yeah and they do so and they're not very they're not the brightest animals in the world but they do that because it's in the interest of that bee to defend the hive because all of the other bees are her sisters all right self-sacrifice even the bees that's kind of cool well well yeah so i would just have to say that you know i i see what you're saying and it is reasonable and i get what you're saying but i just know it's just a subjective thing i know in my you know uh i was i was seeking to change myself and could not and in the bible it talks about can a leopard change with spots you know and we're like like you said you had a transformation when you when you uh when you when you change and you say you had a like a total personality change like the core of you yeah that's what i was saying really that's interesting to me i would say it was i became more of my real self yeah that's really interesting to think about that's great um in your language i would say that i became as god intended me to right and uh if i were to adopt that language and then how how did do you mind if i ask you about it uh can we talk about is it open sure okay how did that how did that whole thing come about when you because were you living as like a heterosexual man i was married i was married i was a married man i was trying to wow i was trying to it's not unusual it's not in fact it's typical at all because people deny them i mean i had feelings since when i was like five years old i had i had all those feelings but you depress you suppress and deny them and because it's not accepted and um you try to live according a life according to how the majority culture tells you you should yeah and so you know people you know you get married quite a number of people who are in the lgbt community you know lesbians homosexuals trans people bi people do in fact get married because they they think that either this is what you're supposed to do or that maybe they think that well this will help me in in suppressing these feelings that i have that i can't accept and i think it's been good for society that um the gay community broadly understood under enjoys greater acceptance today because that reduces the amount of um of confusion and distress that a lot of people suffer when they try to be something that they are not exactly somebody who is gay is is is is not a perversion it's just who they are as a person um somebody who is trans is is not degenerate or anything it's just who you are as a person you were nature right it's your nature would you say that yes so so okay and and forgive me uh not to interrupt just to tie into what what i was trying to say about nature so you would say as you were you're living as this heterosexual man and playing a part playing a role trying to conform just like someone who joins a religious uh community who really inside in their core their nature they're not this person that they're trying to be but they're they want to be a part of the club so like you wanted to be a part of the club known as society so i got to get married i got to have 2.5 kids i got to do all this but inside you have a nature that's screaming a different way and eventually you can't because do you feel like you could have made that go away yourself that nature that that you're a woman no if you could could you will that could you will that away i could not will it okay i couldn't will it away right okay so just like me and like eventually your true nature came out you had to come out it was going to blow up it was like a like like something that was going to pop it pretty much did yeah yeah okay so and you couldn't have wheeled that away no matter what you do you could have went to therapy you could have tried to become a christian you could have tried to do anything nothing would have taken that that was who you are in your heart who you were the heart of you brenda that's who you were yeah for me for me and see okay so just imagine this brenda okay someone and you know this right and that's you that's who you are that's that's who you are at the core of you and then say i said a prayer for you in the name of jesus christ and i said god's gonna god's going to take that away from you and completely uh make you into a new creature and then and you and you doubted it you said would you doubt it if i told you that i said i'm gonna i'm gonna straighten you out or whatever you know i don't want to be offensive you know what i mean like if i said that you would you would probably say yeah yeah freaking right bro you know like oh okay so sure so i'm just gonna say that's my nature was sexually immoral and i did and and and i don't i don't judge you for any what ever anything like that because guess what i i did i did it all okay i'll just say there as far as what what we'd say sexual immorality and all that i was that was my nature i i wasn't yeah whatever that was not sexually immoral um oh no i know but for me for me and my standard i i i i'm making a joke so okay i'm not sexually i'm not sexually immoral you have to have sex to be sexually immoral oh come on yeah okay yeah i'm about to be in the same boat and i'm very asking but anyways yeah so uh just so wouldn't you say that if i i came i put my hand on your head i prayed for you and then overnight the next morning you were awake and that nature is a hundred percent gone and changed how would you account for that because that's just as radical as my conversion was to christianity my nature was uh you know like i thought it was a good guy and everything of course i wouldn't want to hurt people and all this stuff but really i didn't care i mean my nature was i was a liar a compulsive liar i was a thief i was a drug addict i was um just full on selfish i think i i think i was a sociopath basically um seriously i mean uh and i i was you know i know by diagnosed borderline personality and and all of these type of things but i had i associate sociopathic uh tendencies for sure all right without that you shouldn't self you shouldn't self diagnose your no i i was i was i was diagnosed borderline personality burden uh yeah that's pretty common diagnosed uh bipolar disorder yeah and all this stuff that's not uncommon right and and was i really do i don't even believe in those things i'm just saying um but what what i study about uh sociopathy and all that stuff now it's like i'm like oh my gosh i was yeah i love those tendencies but i'm just saying like that's what i'm trying to do you probably weren't it because i hope not if you were if you were a sociopath you still are one well that's the thing oh that's if that's making an assumption that that's on the assumption that there's no supernatural and that what happened to me was just my own mind playing a trick on itself and changing myself because i'm telling you right now that same um inner nature that you had as brenda as i am i'm a woman not a man that same nature that you said yourself you couldn't will away you couldn't wish it away you couldn't talk yourself out of it if if that overnight changed by uh prayer and just let's say that you went to counselors let's say you went to the buddhists let's say you went to the mormons you went to all these places and then you wind up in some backwoods place with some hicks that you think are full of crap which i did and then they say some prayer and you don't even believe it yourself and then all of a sudden the next day you wake up and your your nature that nature that we're talking about that you couldn't suppress is gone and completely different and then it's not a fluke because it's lasted let's say almost nearly a decade would that be more convincing to you well i don't think that being a liar is anybody's in anybody's nature oh i i would disagree i i think that once you because don't you think that when you form habits that forms your personality and who you are and i perfected like i enjoyed lying it's just a second nature yeah it's second nature right it's and for a habit a die hard habit to just go away along with all of those other habitual things which which i think the human nature you know from the from a catholic christian perspective that that we have a sinful nature that draws us to to lie to sin to go against to go against god and that's why we were in need of a savior namely jesus and that's why he came and it says i and jesus said i came to call the sinners not the righteous and he was hanging out with prostitutes and tax collectors people who were greedy and people who stole and that's the people who he's hanging out with and that was me i was those guys you know so it just makes sense all of those facts line up all of those things just seem like good evidence for christianity and i and i've looked into other religions since and i just i don't see what you're saying i see people i don't see prostitution as a nature it's something that people do because they need the for various reasons um right i'd say that somebody being bipolar or transgender or gay or lesbian or straight that is part of somebody's nature i don't think that can change there's some things i think can change and some cannot so okay change you could probably um what what you're saying is that your belief that you could pray over me and change and that my uh my life would change and i would become cisgendered again um i no i don't think that can happen okay and and i'm just and i was just making comparison i'm not saying i'm not going to try that although i'll you know you're free you're free to pray as much as you wish i don't it's not going to bother me at all okay but i'm just saying i was just making kind of hypothetical because i believe that my nature i think that that feeling in you of who of your identity that nature is the same as the same thing that i was dealing with that that that was my nature just as strong as um your nature was because i mean for years trying to change and trying to do all this stuff and i'm just saying if that happened would you be would that help to convince you that maybe there's something to this or maybe a supernatural thing had occurred because like you said certain things you can't really change you can't wish away your homosexual you can't wish with things and i think that my i think that my uh the way that i was was just as ingrained and just as um a part of me to the to the core that um simply just you know saying oh this is a negative thing and and just having like some kind of i don't know how you call like kind of a delusion really like an epiphany but it was just my mind playing tricks on itself i don't think that that adequately would explain that i mean would i think that being a thief or a liar is something that you can change i i don't think that being bipolar or um or gay or lesbian or transgender are things that you can change so and i think that the reason that um i experienced um distress and anxiety was because i was denying my nature not because i was uh affirming it i understand right so when you were you were you were a drug addict when you were a drug addict and as you say a thief and a liar among others among other things that's not part of you that's not part of your nature that's what you did i don't know in order to maintain that's what you did in order to procure drugs and when you when you stopped um identifying as a drug abuser then you had no longer any need to do those things but but keep in mind and i understand what you're saying in your i totally get all you're saying but i'm saying for me it was extreme case thief like kleptomania pathological lying my whole life okay like the the guy that would just tell tall tales for no gain and for no purpose when i was a kid before drugs you know i was a liar then okay thief then i was this was my nature and i was diagnosed with these uh with a few different personality disorders which also have had had no there's no uh there's been no relapse in any of those type of thoughts behaviors uh any of those things you know i used to but but i also know you can outgrow these things i understand that but i'm just i wasn't just like the white liar guy i was i was a straight-up liar like it was it was second nature and that would be a bigger trick for someone just to give up like they give up smoking or something you know which i understand like you can't do that but an extreme case as i'm trying to say i know not like all that unique or anything but i mean i was uh all of those characteristics i would say that was true to my nature to who i was from the very beginning and the drugs made it didn't help me at all that's for sure but uh you know well if you say so i mean that's i know you just have to take my word but i understand there's no reason for you to take my word but i am being honest with you you know well i don't doubt that it's just that i mean that's good for you and and if and if you find um peace in being um a part of a religious community that's perhaps that's what you what you should do it doesn't matter to me what matters to me is when people um step out of that community and want to run my life based on their beliefs okay that i have a problem with but would you open that other than that you're free to pursue your own life as you wish it doesn't matter right and i understand that but i i just think that's that's like a real strong proof to me but would you say that it's wrong would it be wrong for me to to come into your life and uh start snooping around and try to detain you or tell you how to run and live your life or yeah that's wrong i would not like that right but you just wouldn't like it or would it be wrong though do you think that'd be wrong of me to do i think that's what being wrong means is that okay approved of okay so then you believe is it wrong in all circumstances for people to oppress other people in that way i don't know it might there might be some cases where it would be okay to do that okay can you think of any not particularly offhand no so i think cause i'm just getting back to you i think there's cases where it's it's uh moral to lie yeah yeah yeah like if you're hiding someone and someone's coming i'm gonna kill them where are they and you say that and i've got anne frank in the cupboards uh i agree so i would like i agree i would lie to the nuts to the ss people that come to the door asking if i'm harboring jews so i would like yeah right and uh david the host of the podcast has talked about that too even catholic church i mean there are allowances for things like that we're not stupid but for for me to be a malicious liar in order just to manipulate you do you think that that's wrong that's something that ought not be done i would say i would say as my general my general moral principle is that i should reduce the amount of of harm that is in the world and try to increase the amount of i guess you could say well-being or things like that in the world and and i think that um we shouldn't ought not to um interfere in other people's lives unless there's there's a higher moral principle that demands that we do otherwise such as um sheltering and frank from from the ss right but where do you think that you get that ought from what's the standard is it just your own personal standard i think it's an evolved trade of social animals i think that if if uh a troop of baboons increase their intelligence to the level of human beings they would have much the same moral beliefs that we do because these moral types of moral beliefs are just necessary as being part of a social animal they're an evolved trait so then what i said earlier about the intelligence being a key factor then you kind of would agree with that then because if if the chimps if the temps were more intelligent they might catch up with us just like you know we you know what i mean that's the point i was trying to make i think sure and there's a teaching in the catholic church or there's some david's way better at me than all that stuff but there's this guy that talked about a hierarchy of intelligence of goodness and all of these things where you can see from the lowest lowest level of creatures you see a little bit of honor and dignity in these things in these creatures but as you see this hierarchy going up a chain of from the lower creatures to the higher ones you you see this this thing increasing till you get the humans and they're like the pinnacle of it on earth because we're the most intelligent therefore our morals are are uh uh they're they're better or they're higher you know then you go up to australia i'm not sure about that i think humans uh could benefit themselves from from imitating animals a bit more oh well tell me how how so that sounds interesting well um this sort of sort of like an ironic statement that i have i think when somebody tells me that so-and-so is acting like an animal uh my retort is uh that i wish she would it probably would be an improvement um and um so it's most more of a joke right i don't think that i think that there's a certain level of cognitive ability above which the ability to recognize that your interests and the interests of others coincide becomes apparent i don't think um for instance you know like i said um you know that that does depend on on intelligence right so i think that that's what we we we think of as morality is simply that our interests coincide and and uh um complement each other right yeah i love it i guess this is really fun are you having a good time talking about this i'm really having a great time this is okay yeah yeah this is good but um this is better than a lot of conversations i have yeah but still it seems like it seems like inside of you you do have because you want to get away from absolutes and um absolute good and evil because are right and wrong pretty much uh but it seems like you do in yourself i can already hear how you're saying you know the difference between good and bad and that there is a there is there is an objective kind of thing out there a very basic one to where well i don't know that there's such a thing as a of um i'm not a moral realist i kind i am a moral objectivist but i think it's objective in the sense that um it's objective because it's it's a socially constructed thing that is not dependent upon me right so the an example that i would make is that money or currency is a construction of any society and um there's nothing but it's it's not real in the sense that there's nothing about a piece of paper that has um united states one dollar bill printed on it it that isn't what makes it worth anything the fact that what makes it worth anything is the fact that everybody values everybody uses it as as a medium of exchange and i think that's the same for morality morality is objective not because it's part of a feature of the universe the universe doesn't care about morality but humans do and the fact that we hold these values it was is what makes them objective for us it isn't up to me to decide um it is it is a part of our society in our culture about what is moral and right right in the same way that the value of a dollar isn't objective in the world or isn't real in the physical world it's it's what a dollar has its value because people are willing to use it and morality has its value because people will use it um as as sort of um as part of the society so so that's my concept of morality and so i'm a moral objectivist in the sense that morals are objective because it's not up to me what counts as theft and line it's up to my society my society declares what it is because that's how everybody um everybody has come to an agreement that that's what just like everybody has agreed that this piece of paper with uh one dollar bill printed on it is going to represent um money right but that kind of gets you into a into and i'm sorry for bringing this up i'm sure you've heard it a million times but so uh the subjective idea of it and um of consensus so uh you're living in nazi germany and it's a consensus that we're going to plunder and murder the jews and everyone around in that area those nazis were acting in good conscience because they are going along with what their society deems moral which is to take the goods and the wealth of their neighboring people and of the jews because that enriched the german people because that's all hitler was trying to do was to leave a stronger germany which he was doing germany was the strongest it ever was when he started plundering murdering killing all of these other people and you can't really say that he was acting wrong because you know what's up for the society yeah i don't think that you would agree with that i don't think that you i know that you wouldn't you wouldn't say oh yeah sure because you know that that's that's not true there is i think there's yeah the rest of the world and of course yeah the rest of the world disagreed with him and look what happened right but the rest of the world's guilty we got our country is guilty of doing the same type of things atrocities other people yeah we got the whole world the whole world got together and they put him down right right but every but oh you know but all of those countries also were guilty of their own type of bloodshed like that too america sure he did some pretty bad stuff you know everybody did and genocides and stuff like that and in the but in those cultures at the time if you happen to live there there's nothing wrong with it you're you're doing what uh you know and that's what i'm saying like we're social animals and that's good for our little tribe but if it's better for my tribe to come over to your tribe's land and rape pillage and plunder because now my kids will have more resources because i'm going to take your stuff uh which is the way that chimpanzees act there's guerrilla warfare there's all that type of stuff they do that same type of stuff they go to war with each other i know it's crazy i watched the documentary i couldn't believe that that guerrilla warfare you know it's what it is they did yeah so yeah you say there's nothing wrong with that just like when the chimp they rape the chimps rape too and they they cannibalize each other they they eat each other's faces off like the other ones that come into their their little territory i mean you can't say it's wrong when the chimp does it but if i did that to my neighbor across the street i'm sure you would you'd find that repulsive you could say it was wrong you'd condemn that a chimp but that kind of a chimp doesn't have the cognitive ability to understand the broader concepts that that we believe in we and and in fact hitler did though hitler was a man and he was doing the same type of thing and men over men over and over again have done that type of mentality like yeah i want i want what you have i'll grab a rock and i'll smash your head and i'll take your stuff so what we would say that's wrong and i think that we have that that intuitive knowledge of right and wrong because we were made in the image of god of course you've heard that so um so that's where i think that they're well i've heard you've heard the morality argument and all and i didn't want to get into all those well i i think this type of arguments but i think it's pertinent you know i think that we as humans have learned from our experiences uh human history in the past was uh very violent very blood soaked history is um littered with rivers of blood all right so oh yeah i think and we are currently actually living in one of the most peaceful times in human history so i think we have learned hopefully who the hell knows from from our past mistakes i think that's possible um i would like to believe that we will learn from our past mistakes maybe not um but that would be a fault of ours and i i don't see any any hand of any kind of divine inspiration in morality in humans i see humans as being very flawed and oh yeah and um very making a great many mistakes eventually learning from them hopefully right over the long run right that's that's what my hope is you know currently though if i had to if i had a magic wand and could live at any time in human history this would be the time to live because it's the one that you're least likely to be killed or to die of hunger or to just die of disease or or any of those things are um and to live the longest and healthiest and happiest in your human history yeah over here anyways for the most part yeah yeah for the most part on average yeah and even in in poor parts of the world um things are better i think possibly maybe not yeah yeah the stats from africa's are africa's pretty bad like 20 000 a day children dying of starvation but i get what you're saying it's probably better than it was before we have the ability we have the ability to do that we just simply lack the will yeah it's corruption yeah yeah we have enough we have enough money we have enough resources to feed all of those people but it's uh government corruption and human and that's what gets me back to why do you think that is that's why as i think the christian worldview about about the sinful nature of of people who could that we rebelled and this is us just because there's something wrong with it it's it's gross intuitively we know that it's wrong but yet we do it we can't get out of it we get these these cycles into me and my little life you know i i knew right wrong i guess you know i chose wrong and there's no way for us to get out of it and that's why another reason i think that the gospel is so attractive especially i guess if someone like me has blown it so hard but there's a way that you can be changed and it promises and that's what one of the things of christianity it's not like joining a club a lot of people have made it back but it promises a heart change and if that heart change doesn't happen and you have to just white knuckle conform yourself to it like what you're saying like how you felt like you had to white knuckle conform yourself to society then then that would be evidence it's a false a false system and that's what i just wanted to throw that out there you're trying to say that um religion is somehow going to lead to a less violent world i see no evidence for that no true yeah not religion i'm saying if if christianity is true and it's not just one religion among other religions and we all actually followed okay might because my my teacher is jesus christ okay and he said love your enemy as you love yourself if everyone in the world christians and everyone obeyed that just one law would there be any war would there be any hunger there would that would be gone yeah well if if we love our neighbors if the world debate if the world obeyed uh the laws of confucius um there's a number of laws and confucius right do not do unto others what you would not have done unto you that's comes from confucius was confucius before jesus or after before i think long before i think i'm not sure i'd have to look that one up they didn't have any they didn't have any contact i don't think no i think that there's a lot of religious slogans that would be good if a lot if a majority of people followed them i'm sure that their islamic moral teachings that would be beneficial if people follow them or hindu or kill all the opposition and then we'd have peace that's kind of how they believe that's not what they believe well there there are certain sirs that do say things like that they've been mistranslated and people have a vested interest in misrepresenting uh i understand that and i don't want to play that game i know that they're they're peaceful lovely uh muslims that follow that and they're peaceful and lovely people i'm not trying to go there but there's one billion there's one billion muslims in the world there it's a very small number from a very small region of the world where americans are dropping bombs on their children yeah surprisingly surprise surprise they sent a group of people over here to fly planes into buildings because we have invaded their countries dropped bombs on their land over there over the oil over over that oil of ours that they happen to be sitting on top of right i mean yeah and i agree with you i agree with you there but hey one thing the differentiator you got to know go over even to the the mainstream places a person like yourself would be uh you would have to hide yeah you would be killed southern united states would be the same thing too well they're not practicing that's not that that form of christianity can be uh and the new covenant is not it's not a thing sounds like a new truth no true scotsman no no no yeah if we if we're uh we're not giving any uh in the new testament we're new testament believers we're not giving any warrant to do any harm or any violence to anybody for anything um and by the way even by the way um transgenderism is actually accepted in islam and some of the muellers have have given fatwas saying so really yes well i'm because yes you can look into it i'm sure that there's nuances to it but they don't because they don't feel that way about gay men but they but as far as no they don't know it doesn't extend to all the glbt just the tea yeah but you know in your i mean you've got you've got to know that uh that you probably wouldn't want homosexual people treated that way either all right oh i don't okay yes you wouldn't be like oh it's not my camp i think okay yeah i i i think that like i i say i in your case it's probably okay that you remain a christian but on whole all things being equal i think it's better to um to be an atheist such as myself and to believe in the the what what science teaches us about the world rather than what three thousand year old um sheep herders tell us about the world shots fired okay yes well uh thank you very much anyways it's been very nice talking to you thank you for agreeing to speak with me i think you've i mean i think you're very reasonable and of course i want you to convert and be a catholic person like me because i think that would be the best thing for you out of love for you um but you know i get that you oh you're not there i'd rather be a mormon i think i'd rather be a mormon because uh under mormonism when you when you die you get your own planet yeah can you offer me a planet well i i think that um what christianity offers that you just have this relationship with god that it's not even explained very much of what it's going to be like but it'll be there there would be nothing that could possibly outweigh to be the greatest good you could possibly imagine and you would just be that just hit hitting you in the face like oh anyway that's what i want for you thank you very much i i enjoyed our little talk um so thank you for the uh invitation and we'll do it again sometime yes please do okay thank you [Music] if you like your world view if you think it's swell if you've got some questions ask all me got to do is [Music]

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