Catholic vs. Other - 2018-12-27 - Eric Steinhart

Author Recorded Thursday December 27th, 2018

There are 41 episodes in the Versus:Other series.

Recorded September 21st, 2017

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

Eric Steinhart is a philosopher of religion specializing in new and emerging religions. Eric comes from a long line of evangelical congregationalist preachers. He no longer identifies as Christian, but does not see much value in the label atheist either. It was a fun chat.

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hello this is Eric Steinhardt and you're listening to Catholic versus other tell the listeners a little bit about yourself if you would please who you are what you believe and how you came to believe what you believe well I was raised in rural Pennsylvania a long time ago in a pretty fundamentalist Protestant kind of household and most of my male relatives were and are Protestant ministers and so that was a pretty intensely biblical kind of household in a kind of a pretty literalist way not entirely sure that my father or mother really believed a lot of it but nevertheless my father was very involved in church things I think my mother at first maybe thought well this is a social thing you do but still we we we studied the Bible a lot my grandfather was a real old-fashioned Hellfire and brimstone preacher and then maybe it would be surprising to you I mean I got a master's degree in philosophy at Boston College Catholic school and interacted with a lot of the Jesuits really enjoyed that just just they were fantastic people and one great education and great to be exposed to a very very different form of Christianity you know my grandfather was was pretty anti-catholic in a way that you know back in would say the 1930s you know it existed in a hardcore Protestant circles but I you know I found I found the Catholic view of things to be very very different very intriguing and just while talking with the Jesuits then iĆ­ve gone off in all kinds of complicated different sorts of directions before we get into sort of the the journey as such I want to start with that starting point where you realize that you're sentient so I want your earliest memories that have a religious overtone if you can just talk about one or two of the highlights oh sure no I mean I was involved with religious activity from a very very young age I mean it's perhaps hard to imagine what the Steinhardt family was like back in the early 60s I mean we were raised to be ministers I gave my first sermon to a full church of hundreds of people probably about five years old business and so even though you know my father was not an ordained minister he was a lay pastor and went and spoke frequently at all kinds of churches for a long time this is just what you did so I took religion very seriously but I think that perhaps my early awareness of it was kind of a very complex awareness as this is what you do your profession this might be what you do right and that was a different way perhaps of looking at it than someone who comes to it from a sort of solitary point of view and says oh gee I mean I'm in church what am i doing I mean my experience of being in church was being up up at the pulpit now even if I wasn't it was my grandfather or father or some other family member up there or I would have to come up and give a little speech or interpret a Bible verse you know and this was just what you did that's what we did in church do you remember the name of the denomination or was it sort of oh yeah yeah what was it evangelical Congregational okay okay no strings attached to a remote hierarchy right that's the Congregationalist idea right and then the evangelical Congregationalists of this particular brand or Pennsylvanians who came over from Germany you know Pennsylvania Dutch migrations not Dutch it's Deutsch so we were Pennsylvania Deutsch and came over with the knot with a farmers but with the steel Millers and coal miners right so my grandfather ministered to the steel Millers and coal miners in Northeast Pennsylvania that's how that all started so when did you start to falter in your faith or did you ever have a real faith where you had a relationship with Jesus Christ or with God the Father or with the Holy Spirit and if you did have a relationship at one point when did it start to falter was it maybe puberty with sexual desires and all that or how did it happen yeah that's a really interesting question I I've worried a little bit about the the language of faltering or something like that I mean I mean so some people want to draw a kind of very sharp well policed boundary between say atheism and theism and I just don't see it that way when did you stop calling yourself Christian or have you not stopped calling yourself Christian are you Christian or if not when did you stop calling yourself Christian yeah I would not call myself a Christian today I don't know that I ever stopped I mean I mean obviously I must have stopped sometime right that's just logic it's not that important to me when did it start being not that important to you I think it just got less and less and less important so I was certainly raised in a context where what you believe is of utmost importance you know even though what we believed went along with lots of weird doing weird stuff and so I I started to think more that what I believe isn't that important but did you live a wild life at any point with women and lion and rock and roll not really you're giving us philosophers a bad name I wish I could say I was you know yeah wild but I mean my wildness is not very impressive you know no I'm happily married with a well satan's gonna get you you know and drag you into this stuff and it's like man I don't have those interests can you talk just an overview about your sort of career info yeah sure so I mean I actually started out as a computer scientist I have a bachelor's in computer science worked as a computer scientist for nine years I've got patents I've got all kinds of stuff like that I was always interested in philosophy and that the philosophical interest came out of the religious background because you know my grandfather and father were very interested in Christian philosophy pretty high level discussion when I was a kid so I graduated I was always interested in philosophy just gradually got more and more into it and sort of it they tail into my computer days just thought well I'm gonna just do this and we'll see where it goes so I've been you know philosophy professor for nearly 25 years and I've started out exploring computer e things and then got more and it must be genetic I mean I just drifted more and more to thinking about religious issues you know so okay I'm not a preacher but I'm a new philosophy of religion and it's just there's gotta be some DNA in here that's making that happen so I am interested in religion philosophically I think we are in a time of enormous religious change and that's what's interesting to me now I did recently interview Graham Oppie are you kindred spirits or easer shared interest I think he thinks that there's a really sharp contrast between theism and atheism so if you're not a classical theists you're just an atheist and yes sure logically in a sense of the that's kind of true but I don't think it captures the richness the religious diversity today of ancient and modern pagans you know their gods are finite they're in the natural world they don't have creator gods Zeus doesn't create the universe Zeus has a mom and dad he has a body they have blood Athena hits Aries on the head with a rock you know in the stoic concept of the logos right or Neoplatonic conception of the one these are not Abrahamic you know monotheistic gods they're different things so there's a slogan from Michael York the contemporary pagan theologian he says well pagans believed in gods but not God and he so wants to make it clear that there's a pagan conception of divinities that isn't monotheistic it's not theistic at all so I don't see that there's a dichotomy between theism and atheism like I think a lot of contemporary philosophers of religion try to say well you know these are your two options you either have let's say the Christian or Islamic god or no gods or you can't be religious right and that seems false a friend of mine a Greek friend of mine I used to work with he got excited about the resurgence of the Olympian Pantheon coming back into favor as a sort of neo-pagan religion there were people that are taking up the twelve gods right I don't find it that interesting just because I think that we need an uncaused first cause unnecessary being I'm more with Anselm my journey was through Plato agustin and Psalm and then Descartes that was my journey to monotheism so it's diametrically opposed to your sort of Aristotelian approach I think to religion is that fair to say no don't ever call me but you you talked about right Helenus most the reconstruction of ancient Greek paganism there's lots of reconstructions of these pagan isms and I mean what you said about wanting there to be an uncaused first caught with cause well you you could be a Wiccan you know the theology comes from neoplatonism there's the one the great first cause and you know it sort of divides into a god and goddess but that's kind of just ancient stoic stuff Zeus and Hera but again these are ways of being religious or responding to religious urges or let's just say the call of divinity that aren't atheistic well they're not really theistic either because you mentioned Anselm which which I think was good because the the pagans aren't going to recognize that right like there's a first cause sure and that started everything off and the Big Bang or the cause of the universe or evolution or whatever but there's no there's no maximally perfect being you know but that doesn't mean that there aren't gods and goddesses and I felt Sophocles I don't say you know like personally I believe in this or that but we're gonna say is philosophically that immediately shows that there's a third way right sorry the atheists well in one sense they are all right they don't believe in God a capital G maximally perfect being of Anselm but in another sense they're not because they believe in gods and goddesses you know Hinduism is a strange slippery religion I don't know that much about it but there's a dance between polytheism and monotheism and elusive flexibility that they have I think that you would find very attractive Iife ID Hinduism interesting I guess was never part of my kind of you know lived experience you know culture or as one thing that I find find very interesting is Mormonism you know and I'm not a Mormon you know by any means but I'm here in America and there's lots of Mormons and I've met them they've you know invited me to speak to some of their conferences I mean they'll tell you that they're Christians probably most other Christians disagree but they're look at their theology I mean God was a man just like me and you right and had a mom and dad and has kids and you're gonna be a god too and you're gonna get your own universe and you're gonna populate it with your babies that's fascinating to me that certainly isn't anything like Anselmi in monotheism it's a polytheism it's clearly polytheistic you know my maybe it's false but it's not false because it's proposing some weird set of alien categories right God was a man who had like me I mean Joe Smith says it you know man of flesh and bone and there's not really anything like that corresponds to let's say a monotheistic view of the supernatural right God lives on a planet it's called Kolob you know what do you think of Scientology I tend to think that Scientology is not a religion now now that's you know my opinion thinking about religious an educated opinion but and I guess under the First Amendment in the u.s. it's treated as a religion and so there's one clearly legalistic sense in which it is how did your grandfather see the Jews how did you see the Jews and how do you see the Jews today very positively you know my grandfather lived through World War two and was very opposed to any kind of anti-semitism as was my father I know this explicitly because of things they did you know I can also say that despite some of my grandfather's theology the kind of religion even though it was very much our religion was also very very tolerant you know this is I grew up in the in the 60s and very Protestant area there was a Catholic Church and there were fights that would break out you know in school or things like you know Catholics were a very small minority and we actually went my father took us to this Catholic Church in Elizabethtown Pennsylvania for I think a month or so just he was at that time a high school principal in a community leader and said look Catholic Mass the Catholic Church on Sundays to demonstrate that they were welcome in the community and that certainly made a big impression on me in terms of religious tolerance can you talk a little bit about Islam what's your impression what do you like what don't you like about Islam growing up I had never heard of it right I mean I certainly there were there were Catholics there were some Jewish people in our area and so I knew I knew about those religions never heard about Islam till much later in life right now where I teach we have a large number of Muslim students I've learned so much about Islam from them it's not a monolithic religion or everyone's you know lined up with marching orders or something it's it's it's rich it's culturally rich there are wide differences of opinion and wide you know all the richness of human life is there so I love it I've enjoyed interacting with my Muslim students and learning about about Islam it's it's been it's dispelled a lot of I think you know people say negative things about Islam and there's negative things about any religion and again for me this has been about the expansion of religious awareness I've come to appreciate that young Muslims have this this very rich religious tradition and religious life too I hate politics left versus right that whole dichotomy what is your impression of that why is it such a popular hobby politically right now the United States seems to be going through you know what sometimes called the demographic shift both racially religiously if you just start to actually look at the data what's commonly called white Christian America by sociologists right it's dying out and this is a massive change this is probably the largest demographic change in the United States ever I don't know what the US will look like in 50 years I don't think I'll be here to see it but it ain't gonna it already doesn't look like the u.s. that I grew up in 50 years ago they're like different countries and I think there are a lot of older people in particular and some it's certainly young people to younger people to who are shocked and dismayed by that I'm not I welcome it let there be more change let there be more diversity more more racial diversity more religious diversity I think it's great yeah you're a New Yorker I'm a New Yorker I mean I love all the people I love seeing all the people and I love going to see the Mormons and hear what they do and talk to my Muslim students and hear what they do and have you been to Montreal I have been to Montreal it's similar in that love of diversity yeah they're similar the this whole region I teach philosophy of religion and I have generally students probably from at least seven or eight different religious and irreligious backgrounds in that class you know yeah I like the diversity - um do you have any favorites in the history of Western philosophy that you can just sort of talk about can you give me a little overview of if you thought that journey of friendship with these kindred spirits over thousands of years of the history of Western philosophy one of the first moments fell softly for me that I found somebody that I really had that kind of hero worship of was would have been Nietzsche or I started reading in college and so Nietzsche was a big opener for me right and Nietzsche sort of took me back to the ancient Greeks and so you know I also around that time started really reading plutinos and so the Neoplatonic philosophers have been really influential on me Platonists and yam Blucas to name sort of - so those are my biggest sorts of influences I mean and then of course you got intermediate folks like live nuts if I had to you know pick the kinds of thinkers that I'm really influenced by it is ya Platina slime nets in Nietzsche were you impressed by san agustin I did not like st. Augustine he you see he reminded me too much of the kind of fundamentalism that I was coming out of or as Aquinas I really liked Aquinas you know I liked Aquinas a good buy they're like well you know here's the guy and he's looking at all the options and and of course they're at different times you know Augustine really is kind of trying to defend a nascent Christianity so he's a little more aggressive and I really like to answer I really like and some - I think anthem is Anselm has a really sharp mind yeah you know like or as all I have to say it I think an Psalms a better philosopher than Augustine I mean obviously as a philosopher because he read plutinos my ancestor oh yeah it's just a row - I think yeah Cicero was influenced by the Stokes is that true or not yes Cicero was greatly influenced by the Stoics I mean he's more of a writer I would say than a philosopher he is he's summarizing a lot of views his little book on the nature of the Gods is a really good summary of pagan theology in Rome at his time my book one is about the Epicureans book - is the Stoics and then book three is ancient atheism the arguments against the gods and I mean if you have to look at this stuff historically I mean Anselm's argument is the only non pagan argument in Christianity you know I mean the playtest said the cosmological and design arguments the Stoics had the design arguments the degrees of perfection arguments and all those arguments were and and also the you know the Epicureans had the argument from evil but you'll see almost all those arguments in cicero's on the nature of the gods mm-hmm he's it a fun book to read it is a fun book to read it's a dialogue and I don't know if you've read Hugh's dialogues on natural religion he's basically takes the Ciceronian structure and he himself read that on the nature of the gods it's fun book to read yeah you should read it cool not long either if you had to say that you had a special interest within the philosophy of religion what would that be generally speaking a focus or an expertise yeah my special interest in the philosophy of religion is new and emerging religions contemporary contemporary yeah Wow how many of you are there worldwide that are doing that as far as I know me religion right now particularly I would guess analytic philosophy of religion the field has a his in a lot of turmoil with a lot of people saying that it has to become more diverse and so I'm trying to help it along in that way so in sociology or anthropology there's a lot more diversity in the study of religion so I hope analytic philosophy religion will get more diverse but I know people who work in there are philosophers who work in Buddhism and they write for Buddhist journals and they just do Buddhist things for instance but in sort of traditional philosophy of religion there's not much diversity at this point I think it's starting it's starting I talk to younger younger thinkers who are open to doing more diverse things so yeah are you looking for unity in diversity are you looking for diversity for diversity's sake I think I'm looking for diversity I don't know if it's for diversity sake but is unity a goal for you nah I mean everything everything came from the one okay man okay being from the war okay yeah you want the rainbow yeah I don't quite want the rainbow though I mean because I don't think that it I mean yeah look you know one things let you see with with with let's just pick contemporary paganism and I'm I study that a lot you see an explosion of pent-up energy right there all these new forms of art and music and ritual and sexily from practice it's chaos what'd you say I said sex you missed the key ingredient sex yeah I don't know if there's that much you know that's always to be like oh yeah dance naked in the woods like no I've gone to pagan circles and they're fun you dance around but I do think it's wild like you say and that's just because everybody's running out of the the gates and I think that's gonna calm down and a lot of stuff that doesn't make much sense is gonna get weeded out what would you say have you have you ever had the experience where a young person or a middle-aged person came to you and said I've got a philosophical problem a religious problem and I need to talk to someone please help me please listen to me and please give me some advice has that happened if it has happened give me an example please and if it has not happened what would you say hypothetically to support someone's journey with this sort of existential angst or religious problem or philosophical problem what could you say I think that that sort of thing you know somebody coming to me and saying they had a religious or philosophical problem or issue they wanted to talk about certainly has happened to me especially since I'm a philosophy professor but mostly in the past because now at least in the in the context that I'm in I think that people are so eclectic and so you at least around you know around New York City New Jersey people have learned to kind of work out the different ways of solving these problems for themselves 20-some years ago plus years ago when I first started teaching where I am now William Paterson University in New Jersey you know the students were work uniformly Catholics Italian or Irish Catholic background North Jersey but their parents had probably stopped going to church maybe they went to Catholic school but it was it's like maybe they didn't want to be Catholic anymore but they didn't know what they wanted to be and they and they had a lot of existential oxlike you say I would say in the 20 plus years I've been there that situations changed dramatically whatever background they came from they grew up with Muslim friends they grew up with atheist friends they grew up with Wiccans they seemed completely at ease in traveling this this religious space what is the role of tension because harkening back to Aristotle Aristotle said something about the tension in a musical instrument the beauty of the the violin or the guitar is that tension in the cord and it gives it life and it gives it musicality that idea of tension and beauty it seems to be missing from a sort of anything-goes everything's accepted everything's diverse everyone's seen everything and the tension seems to be dissolving and I'm wondering if there's going to be a beautiful music emerging from this these slack chords yeah sure I think that's a reasonable kind of concern some perhaps what you're getting at is there doesn't really seem to be much depth of commitment on the other hand that just might I mean like it or not that might be the future right I mean it might be that people assemble a kind of religious identity from lots of different places lots of different pieces there's a writer that I really love a lot Gloria Anzaldua and she's a Hispanic American mexican-american but you know was born almost literally on the Texas Mexican border and she talks about this kind of place that she calls Nippon law which is a place where everything's just mixed up everything is everything else and she says that's where we're at and we live we live in multiplicity I don't know I mean it's you brought up Aristotle there and it's interesting because if you think about like let's say ancient Rome and her greek pagans right they had no problem with oh here are a whole bunch of other gods or you know there are I mean in the Roman Empire certainly made contact with Hinduism and Buddhism and there were Egyptian gods and the Greek gods and and it's not even clear like how many Zeus's there are you know there are different legends and stories they conflict and people didn't seem I confess that I am puzzled by how they thought of of their gods and goddesses right it's certainly not like we think of them even in neo-pagan terms what is at the heart of the religious instinct why do we have religion what is religion what's the definition of religion essentially and fundamentally what is it for you religion yeah it is astonishing it's one of the astonishing things about even philosophy of religion there's no definition of religion there's no accepted definition of religion you would think the philosophy of religion given those philosophy would want to have start with a definition of what it's studying no one has a clue and some people are nihilists about that they've maybe I should say deflation Nastase a look religion was a category made up by Christian missionaries in the you know the 17th 18th centuries you know there was you know if you ask the Greeks what is your religion they would have been puzzled you know and people make a good case for this that you know if you go to Japan or China or even India and say religion well they don't have words for that you know an indigent japanese word for religion is introduced after christian missionaries keep pestering them about what is their religion and so some people really insist that it's just it's not not just a Western concept but it's a modern Western concept because nobody can figure out what it is yeah and I think we are we are these creatures who are kind of lost in a forest here right where people do all kinds of things as Buddhism or religion is stoicism a religion now there are all these new Stoics running around right I'm happy with little concepts like I think you know I annoy my stoic friends by saying stoicism there's a kind of neo-paganism you know and no it's not we don't worship the goddess I'm like yeah well most pagans don't either so you know but you guys are reviving an ancient pagan tradition you're doing old pagan stuff and so there you are who comes to mind as an example of a religious person who would you go out on a limb and say is a religious person I mean look that's easy to say within you know an Abrahamic context right I mean you're gonna say oh well Abraham Louis yeah Abraham Moses you know all those guys Jesus Muhammad right back in the good old days yeah this is back in the good old days but through those those traditions you know hey Joseph Smith you know my grandfather these are all religious people you know was Nietzsche a religious person I think he was a deeply religious person though he was an atheist he's or whatever like yeah so what I mean you know he's got he's also the son of a preacher got deeply religious concerns has all these wild experiences and in many ways he's he's trying to revive old ancient Greek kinds of pagan ideals stoicism was huge oh absolutely you know I mean before he started writing philosophy right he was a classics scholar right he was a follow just he studied you know ancient languages so who are your enemies would you say in the domain of ideas in the realm of philosophy and this sort of thing and religion yeah there are people who are frustrating to me they're frustrating but they're not enemies I look I get frustrated by both sides of the current religious debates right I get frustrated by the atheists who say like well you know science is everything and we know it all and I like you know look I believe in science yeah sure but I also know that science is a mess I know what the nightmare scenario in physics is and if you're gonna tell me that you can use crystals to channel you know quantum dolphin teleportation you know then you know that's a lunatic right I know I don't want to hear about the whoo new agey stuff but I don't want you know I wouldn't say there are enemies either I'm like okay this is what you guys are doing is weird and it's interesting and and so the the also there's there's a certain there are certain there fewer and fewer but they're still there some some of the evangelical philosophers of religion they can be they can be a little tough to deal with but I think I don't to be all things to all people but I do want to try to look what they're doing that that you know in terms of religion or spirituality that there's a deepening right I mean I deal with atheists who's to tell me like I shouldn't use the word spiritual don't use the word spiritual and I'm like you know what man you just as you know that is just as bad as the the fundamentalism I grew up with yeah certainly there are I mean there are racist Pagan groups I don't want to have anything to do with them I don't I don't tolerate that in the least and and there are you know certainly white supremacists among Christian groups in the United States I don't tolerate that in the least you know and really religion can be bad you know it's not always good I'm interested in the ways that we can try to use it whatever it is to good ends you know that's also not like I don't have my own sorts of preferences religiously but I have fascinated if somebody's trying something new and interesting and you know I want to take a step back philosophically so one of the things that bothers me is let's call it New Age religion or spirituality it bothers me because I can't I don't understand it all right and I have a instinctive reflex to say something they're negative that's just you know it's it's insane it's it's crazy it's it's all these negative words but I keep being taken back to the simple fact that it's so widely practiced around the world Pew Research Foundation just came out with a survey where they were saying like look you know even in heart of Christendom in USA New Age beliefs of one kind or another are widespread when they actually drill deeper into the data and they say well I'm a Christian and would you believe in reincarnation of course I do you know or do you believe there's a spiritual energy in all things absolutely you know God is energy you know like can you charge crystals with psychic power absol of course you can and so I'm baffled so that a it de-stresses me that I feel like I'm looking at something emerging that I don't understand what it is and it's everywhere it's everywhere oh yeah I was deep in the New Age before my conversion it's a form of Gnosticism where the Spirit is good the body is bad of course not every adherent of New Age knows that there's a Gnostic background to it but the basic idea is that you are God you are creative you're the creative Supreme Being you can create your own reality it's it's called the new thought movement where the spirit that's in us is the ultimate reality and although you don't see New Age people acknowledging the fact that theoretically the body is evil there is at the root of the New Age this idea the Spirit is the supreme reality and it's I guess it's a form of idealism essentially that you mentioned new thought right and I've read Caddy's book Emily caddy I can't remember the title so I'm a little God with a failing memory and arthritis point so you might have portrayed one it would be nice to be able to pin new-age down it eclectic just like Gnosticism very eclectic yeah it's a monster with a thousand heads yeah its name is legion its name is legion yeah sure it seems to be growing with such this is the kind of thing I wish philosophers would think about you know well I wish that philosophers would like look at what's happening around them clusters of religion other than other disciplines of philosophy they do you know philosophy of science you look at what's going on in science yeah I don't know how you have the courage to deal with contemporary issues you know in any sort of social dynamic it's really really tough does that overwhelm you at all no it doesn't overwhelm me I mean it's just look I find it fascinating I go to a cousin's house and they're you know they're they're good Christians but they've got you know the the DAO of everyday living on the on the I can't find a Bible but the DAO of everyday you know living is their exact title some of these you know Taoist you know New Age Taoism books and they've got little feathers hanging here and there and crystals I'm like what's going on you know that's just something's going on here and I don't understand what it is I don't I'm just happy I mean it could be overwhelming it could be like oh there's this yeah it's name is legion there's this thing growing maybe it's not good but I just try I try to look at the individual people and see what are they how do they think of what they're doing right can you try to convey to me what your perspective is talking to me right now are there theses that are being tested in your mind as you talk to me you're gathering data or is this just a conversation between two people or what is it what is it like for you it's a conversation between two people this is what I like I got to hear you I got to listen to what you're saying I have to try to make sense of it and I of course lots of things go go on in my mind I think well Catholicism is extremely diverse theologically you know Peter Forrest is a really I mean he's a committed he'll tell you he's as much of a committed Catholic as you are and his theological views he's a philosopher but he's got a he's got a way out theology you know he thinks there is this primordial will primordial you know and it evolved into this plurality of divine beings that became loving and and then I talked to them I'm like yeah Peter I believe in all this crazy stuff man listen to like I'm unique and I you know I got this brilliant perspective never before anybody you know and he'll be like he says Eric you're just a Catholic with a weird theory of angels you know like lay it out and explain it to me how that's true and I'm like wow that's G never thought of it that way so I like to talk with you with him with my Mormon friends my wicking friends I do fascinating what there's my father so it wasn't also biologists right maybe that's it yeah maybe it's like look at all look at this ecosystem people so that's the format at the end of my interviews I always ask my guest to give the closing thought and it's just a positive message from your own perspective from your own experience so just to end the show what might you say to anyone that's out there listening now I'd like to say to everybody that I think right now is a very religiously interesting time to be alive one of the most interesting times in the last several thousand years and I would like people to explore their religious and spiritual sides to think about how they can certainly how they can seek the good through their religiosity or spirituality it's not as simple as any kind of us versus them whoever the US is and that they are it's not that simple I don't have a simplifying message life is complex life is messy we got to work it out for ourselves so I would encourage everybody to have hope and to certainly to have a faith in the future of faith that good will prevail it does prevail and that's why