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

Author Recorded Sunday September 10th, 2017

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

I met Judah through friends at a BBQ in the park this summer. He was raised Jewish, but never believed in God. He studied philosophy and creative writing and is a devoted father of twins. I enjoyed getting to know him a little better. • Support the CVS Podcast: • Be a guest on a livestream:

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hi my name is eagle and you're listening to Catholic versus other so tell us a little bit about yourself if you would what you believe and how he came to believe it I am from a very mixed background religiously economically socially in many ways so I've never really identified with one group I never believed in God since I can remember so if you had to say what I believe in I guess it's it's more my individuality can you talk a little bit about your childhood and what you were exposed to in terms of religion okay so both my parents are Jewish both my parents kept kosher I haven't my parents were divorced since I was a baby so they also had very different backgrounds my mom is Eastern European she grew up in Montreal my dad is from India but he's Jewish it's a very small community so my mom is Ashkenazi my dad's Sephardic I went to different synagogues so like with I didn't go to synagogue with my mom so much but I went to Hebrew school at an Ashkenazi synagogue and then with my dad I went first to a very non Orthodox but almost an Orthodox synagogue and then we went we switched went to a reconstructionist synagogue when I was about 12 the men and women sit together it's very progressive there's a lot of philosophical discussions in synagogue it's always questioning itself to a certain extent it's very open yes it's the best word to describe it so that was very interesting what would you say is the point and purpose of Judaism general Wow I don't know to obliterate your mind Judaism is still an enigma to me and I've been not deep into it but I'm in red I spent all that time in synagogue I was listening to what they're saying I was reading the the Bible over and over and over again because that done they else to do in those four out three four hours every week and I'd listen to discussions you know people we'd have people over the house sometimes I never believed in the religious aspect of it but I always liked the literary aspect I'm a writer so it really grabbed me the kind of the stories and I I'm still kind of I think there's a lot value in all religions in the myths and the rituals and the way of understanding the world through stories through because it's the easiest way it's not you know if you give somebody a huge tomes of theology they're not going to most people aren't gonna be able to get through that but if you give them a story they can relate to into their normal daily life it's like an analogy so I always like those I like the community aspect of it so I really I felt the warmth if you want to call it that singing together and but I didn't believe any of it which is quite strange have you ever experienced a dark and lonely period in your life where you reached out to this alleged God no and I've definitely had some very very dark it's in my life and that's when I kind of realized that I didn't believe okay because I felt like if I ever would have believed that would be the moment to believe what did you do instead where did you seek solace for comfort or I didn't I mean I really just I tried not to skit stuck in a set of beliefs I had one period where I was reading a lot of Krishnamurti and he had some I just remember I don't remember a whole lot of pretty good thing but I remember one thing that stuck with me was this constant in or evolution idea he had always constantly questioning what you believed which i think is just good for anybody and if you do have strong beliefs that you'll be able to build on those and strengthen them so I kind of went through a period of existentialism if you want to go I read a lot of existentialist which got very dark I'm I know I've read them the right period in my life is it but it gave me actually a lot of confidence I always asked about freewill and morality because it's absolutely dependent on the notion of the supernatural things don't just happen without a sufficient reason there's a sufficient cause for everything that happens and to assume the opposite and say that everything is well ordered in this material universe and there's nothing beyond the material universe is to say that we don't have freedom and if we don't have freedom then we don't have morality so I don't know if you've played with these ideas or if you're if you're familiar you've studied philosophy you have any long time ago okay I've done courses in freewill versus determinism this is kind of why I stopped studying thought I was really going crazy didn't how does a thing who cares and I understand what you're we put the morality in there but the same time it's if you have a camera and you're zooming out from things the farther away you go the less things have a system so if I look at the entire universe maybe things aren't causal because humans have a yearning for some kind of causality and meaning okay and I think that that could be dangerous as well because that's how that's how we do make systems and not all systems are bad but I think if you think of things as absolutely meaningless this is against essential single tenant - there really isn't any meaning now where do you get morality from that that's obviously that's a difficult jump where there's almost a contradiction in things so you can say I'm meaningless in the universe because I'm a speck but I'm very meaningful to the people around me if I want to believe it in that way so if I do harm to somebody else I can see what that I'm doing harm I don't have to make a logical conclusion about it I mean most people can feel it they can see it it can sense it and that's where you come away from the the mind the logic do you believe in free will I don't even bother thinking about it it seems like you have a very pragmatic point of view don't worry about the big picture just do what is natural and what is obvious and what is wholesome and healthy and just do what works I mean this is allegedly what Buddha said just try it and if it works and go with it what's interesting though in having that pragmatic point of view is I also know that I have a foundation of morality from religions so I think I people know West forget that that we are based on judeo-christian the tenants but I'm sure there's some countries where certain things we would take for granted as being a normal thing that people should do ethically more moralistically they don't care about them because it's not in their code of living and that's fine cultural relativism is one of those things along with moral relativism that I think are very dangerous but things like communism I don't know if you have a leg to stand on philosophically to fight against these dangerous worldviews well again I don't necessarily look at the starting point of a view I look at what what is it done so in that respect I would agree with you like what happens in Soviet Union is horrendous and people walking around nowadays calling themselves Marxists and with communist sickos I'm like I'm kind of shocked it's almost like people walking on Swiss nica's it's the same because you can start someone in kirkegaard had a great great cope with that he said don't build a castle if you're gonna live in a revisionist history is is a dangerous thing so yeah I killed millions of people I think that the the relativism it's a it's a tricky question because again can you have a system of morality and ethics without some sort of basis to it I would hazard the guess to say that you don't believe in an objective and eternal truth or an objective and eternal morality is that correct I can't because I don't know what is morality me it's like I don't know I'm watching a house of cards right now it's just a political throw but the white house and and what's interesting is and I think they do hit on it really well is how ideas can switch and turn okay and how different kinds of people can manipulate even accidentally and turn things around and something that's sort of going right is going left or up or down right away and I find that fascinating I think that's if you study history the same thing has gone on one little event can totally change the flow of a movement so how do you want to ride that wave well I think it's dangerous I am that's why a lot of the time I stay out of moments but I try and stay focal as possible try and talk to as many people as possible because at the end of the day I think that people are influenced by other people one on one I think you're not just speaking but your feeling and your sharing and I was a social worker at one point I think there's a part of social work called feminist social work but what was interesting is that when you're talking with a client with someone here to help you share your own stuff which in traditional social work you didn't do oh okay so let's say you go to a psychiatrist they're not gonna start talking about their own projects relating to but I started doing it I thought was very interesting it's a bit wishy-washy got to be careful obviously there's lines and borders not to cross but the exchange was very powerful and I think this is the same thing with conversation is that if you talk to somebody one-on-one or in a small group you're gonna affect change even affect each other everybody teaching each other and will be helping each other this is a good point to introduce friendship and love can you talk a little bit about that what is a friend I mean if your closest friend we also call somebody maybe you see once on all a friend who you might be closer to in some weird ways you know you might see friends every week since you are a kid so you have a history of friendship but you don't necessarily connect with them as much anymore you might meet someone new sort of cringe with them more like when you're travelling right I never really have goals I kind of just go with stuff learn from it and preserve it also from the outside who would be an example of a not including your slide my medic my children my children are close friends and so I'm not including family my dad can be interesting when I was a kid he said you'll know your real friends when you're having problems and you need people but I don't know if that's even true because I have really close friends who are not that reliable but I feel very close to them with them but I would never go to them if I'm in trouble well it's weird you know whereas I have other friends I'm nicely close well they're just the kind of people will help open you mean help so I don't know all these kind of I'm always questioning what these friendships meet and it seemed to be a very cautious approach to labeling anything origins - nothing I'm claiming to understand anything yeah absolutely um so let's talk about you mother does your mother love you and do you love your mother Wow I have my I would say yes and I'd say I love my children deeply and maybe they're the first people I've actually deeply loved as possible because your parents they love you deeply your parents love you deepen and you understand that when you have kids you know I have friends who are evolutionary biologists types which I like as well but they would say yeah but that's just you're an animal and you're there to procreate and it can be very cynical but if there's some truth to it as well it's like why are babies cute so you don't kill her physically if I when they're waking you up belt and I have twin it so like it was hell if the first year you know we didn't sleep for a year if there's not that love I can see a parent going absolutely nuts you know but you don't buy completely into the Darwinian world here I think it's dangerous yeah to a certain extent to do that because then you can become very cynical and like no I'm taught the love thing I think there is definitely some kind of feeling that people have let's say we live in a calf gasp universe and you're a or Julie should appreciate this you're on trial and the charges that you don't love your kids okay so you're on the stand and now you're being viciously attacked okay all the evidence is being brought against something you don't love your children yeah yeah what kinds of proofs are arguments could you bring to say that you love your children well I think that you would die for them yeah we'll be there the first easily die I mean look again wait I should have to add to rephrase it I hope that I'm I don't know I thought if I would it's a terrible thing to say maybe I would be a coward I have no idea but I hope and I have I felt it to a strong degree that like if a tiger jumped out of the bushes in the plateau I would fight the tiger just because I love my child I think I've done quite a bit for Matt so I'm not like we've gone for anything horrible horrible yeah I mean I think hopefully most parents who are involved with their children will probably say the same thing other than that I don't know what a proof is that you love your children I think that's the best proof I mean that's what Jesus said he said good love hath no greater proof and to give your life so yeah it seems that you're pretty convinced that love is real you're just not sure if there's a cynical Darwinian explanation or not I just I don't believe it cuz I don't want to have that worldview because if you started believing that stuff then you can become a dangerous person I mean that's the way I look at it it's good to know it though yes that's how you're doing both things at the same time it's very important to see where things come from yeah that's part of truth and understanding of the world but it's also important that you leave a space for the unknown and like the supernatural like you're saying people who are a hardcore atheists I don't have time because it's how do you know like really and also I find them quite unpleasant to be around because they've taken the logic to the other extreme which I don't think is helpful to anybody you know because if you take it that way then why should I help someone who's not related to me right if I would truly believe in an evolution I would actually want them to die probably because it would leave more food for me have you read the New Testament no you're not familiar with the parables of Jesus no like I actually had a question for you because there's a whole thing that Jesus died for your sins yeah but then he gets reincarnated right No resurrect a resurrected which means what it's a different thing the basic idea is that he laid down his life and he picked it up again did he know he was gonna get resurrected he know everything yet you know everything he has got almighty who took on human flesh he's fully human and fully divine those are his two natures there's a human nature and divine nature but he's one person he's the divine person He is God incarnate so he knows everything okay so the sacrifice was the pain the sacrifice is in his humanity because in his divinity he's perfectly happy all the time he's godlike that he went in what happened after that gladden read the Newton he ascended into heaven after his death in the resurrection he stayed around and talked to people and people saw him and touched him but then he ascended into heaven in his body and heaven is not like some place up in the cloud but even Jesus when he was on earth when he prayed to God the Father raised his arms in his eyes to the sky okay so there's a reason why he didn't look down to the ground when he was praying to God the Father it's because we live in a universe that is physical but it's also spiritual and there are connections between a physical light and the supernatural light of the intellect or the supernatural light of God when we have light or we have darkness in a material form here it means something spiritually and there's a connection and there's a sort of poetry to everything there's a there's meaning to everything so it can't be comprehended all we know for sure is that it's not on the map if it's a higher place right it's a higher place yeah and he's going to come down why what's the purpose of the second coming yeah no idea like it's the end of the drama for all of the generations and all of the people that have been born and that will be born into this pilgrimage between the Garden of Eden and eternal heaven each human individual is working out his salvation and making that fundamental choice for God or against God what was the witness the point is to return I was loving to be with God and to be happier to be happy that's the point right we have the freedom to refuse to give God the love that he deserves and that implies consequences which are negative but he knows what's gonna happen he knows everything isn't that we supposed to be generous no we have food free well if he knows everything's gonna happen the same way that you know what's gonna happen even though you're not the cause of what happens for example you can see if you can watch from a distance some disaster about to unfold and you're just like the reason that you're gasping and pulling at your hair is because you know what's gonna happen you're not the cause of that though you're witnessing it but you're not the cause of it but I don't know it's gonna happen for sure if God knows for sure something's gonna happen but if you knew for sure like there's some things that you do know for sure that are gonna happen I mean when I when I was young I remember all these stories that when reading the Bible in the Old Testament most of them were just about God testing the faith of people Abraham taking Isaac to kill him like I mean that's kirkegaard has a whole book about that fear and trembling which is really in that soul leap of faith but it's always like God not testing but kind of just it's not like God just saying do this listen and do it it's almost like are you in the city are you actually believing everything which I think we do that in everyday life how old are your children they're nine do you remember when they were learning to walk do you remember the gestures that you would use to encourage them and to catch them if they fall can you imagine God being in that parent role and you're the baby and you're trying to walk and you're stumbling you're falling and everything he's doing everything he's out of love to guide you and to strengthen your steps because you're gonna learn how to walk yeah exactly you know if not love to just say well my baby's not gonna walk because it hurts his little legs you know that's not love yeah at that point we as finite creatures we need a certain sort of training and it's like training wheels on a bicycle you know there are many many examples of that in the Bible where it's like people just don't seem to get it but God patiently is there with them with the training wheels and yeah I mean I would think whether you believe in God or not I mean I read a lot of Joseph Campbell stuff I don't believe in everything he's saying but I think it's a good kind of understanding cuz he studied world mythologies like he went through all the mythologies pretty much deeply for his whole life and he was trying to find things that were common within all or at least very common most and also why so rituals like why do you do this what's the point of this I mean even in the Bible there's the stories have points to them they're not just that's what a sermon is it's not just like oh here's a story it's like this is why we have this story so you can learn about life look you're saying about learning to walk so I think you know I mean Islam right now it's said it's still like a teenager that's where I look at Islam right now so Christianity used to be like that let's say you know what the Crusades or things like that was going through this kind of teenaged angst and I think Islam right now is hitting that because it's big enough it's hitting other religions too and it's kind of like yeah it's trying to figure itself up so I find Judaism is very straining religion number one it doesn't try and spread itself very weird and the evolutionary biologists will have a lot of problems with that I was like why would you try and keep your religion small it defeats the purpose of having a group right it's very weird Thomas no I'm not especially once you if you almost get wiped out you think you'd start spraying it religion around a little more so I mean that's a mystery yeah I haven't said I'd like to study that more the whole kind of relationship between these these Western religions you know do you favor monotheism over some of the other worldviews or not I haven't studied enough really I mean I live in Korea for a year as an example in Korea was interesting cuz career was traditionally Buddhist I guess and then Christianity came along and now it's about half the Christian I would say but it's a new Christianity but I found it very interesting there's just a different vibe and different kind of like no one ever talked about religion there are reserved people know not about other things okay like they talk politics they talk about a lot of stuff they look at my grocery cart when I went to the supermarket like they talk they or nosy kind of you know but religion wasn't something you really kind of and not for a polite reason it just kind of parley religion just it is what it is okay which I found very interesting and they have actually there's a lot of I know in China to this is this kind of pulled towards Judaism now not that they're trying to convert but they're kind of getting obsessed about Judaism for some reason which I find very interesting maybe also because they have this kind of mysterious not real like I don't haven't studied Buddhism or Taoism undies but I've read a couple of books and they're kind of just really ephemeral kind of they're strange to me they're you know it's a different kind of culture I guess I didn't grow up in it so what if there were an opportunity that arose this is a big temptation now it's not likely to happen so don't worry but imagine that an opportunity presented itself where you could get something good whether it's pleasure or money or something good and it's illegal it's gonna harm somebody right but you don't know them you don't you basically there's a perfect storm of circumstances where you will never get caught you know you will never get you know that you'll never have to see the suffering that you caused and you know that you're just gonna be a lot happier for the rest of your life would you do it and if not why not it's a tough question it's like the black box right that was the oh that story we hit the button and you get like all the money in the world and like but someone dies somewhere else oh yeah but I think we do that every day everybody in the world could have enough tea if you look at that one we were close from China of people who are working you know on 90 hours a week and getting nothing and starving maybe we use gasoline which is messing everything up I mean there's all these kinds of things were born into it not to say that if we stopped it and we change necessarily but we have to be aware that we're doing that so I mean I always think of war as as a very interesting because Wars bring out the worst of the best and in standing armies the first signs are combat when you actually first come into a combat you have to kill other people something like 95% bush deliberately sure over the heads of the enemy oh because it's just not human to kill and you're trained to kill but I think it's the same with everything I think that you know the news shows us a lot of bad things happening but if you actually observe around you any country you're in no matter how bad things are the vast majority people are not doing bad things I'm not I'm a little bad things I'm talking about like horrible things right yeah and I think mostly if someone falls on the street someone's gonna help them depending where you live obviously but I think it's important to remember we don't see a lot in media you know unless your grave circumstance so I always think of these extreme you know what if my kids were starving yes I'm in a war zone and probably steal I might even kill to protect my children if he see his children starving and in pain that's a really strong impulse and a lot of morality does go out the way there's that movie the road and no fuel is money it's with it's based on a novel by Cormac Karthi and the movie was it was shocking to me because it's kind of like the end of the world going on something you don't know what minima tell you what's happening and then it's a father and his son the mother has enough and she basically kills herself she doesn't want to deal with what's happening and then he has his son and they're heading south because it's too cool and then you see all the horrible thing the cannibals and starts and all these horrible kanna but there's also certain good people and you just see it's exactly what I'm talking about it's kind of like you don't know are you good anymore if you're doing that are you still is it better just to die and let your children die you know like if you're gonna kill somebody else yeah and eat them or whatever like but that's like we don't ever have to hopefully worry about these things because our standard of living is very high we don't have Wars going on I think it is valuable to think about it in terms of knowing yourself knowing that you're a monster yes I think that's a real certainly I mean I would never say that I wouldn't do these things under any circumstances anybody can do anything that's I've always believed that that's one tenant that I stick to alright and I'm sure there are exceptions but I think if you push someone's button enough in the right direction they're very capable of doing almost anything and I mean it's scary but nowadays I get scared of it because there's a lot of I don't call it tribalism but the identity politics is out of control now and people are like intention themselves in these groups they're screaming at each others no dialogue and it's dangerous because this is what you sort of having escalations and like I'm on this side and you're on that side and I hate you and your monster you're not in this punch the Nazi in the face stuff like that's appalling to me I mean those guys want to go out with tiki torches as long as they're not touching anybody I know I think it's horrible what they're doing but where is a line drawn I mean the vast majority of people on religions forget even religions politics and stuff like that and generally are born into it so like you know it's interesting with you cuz you came to it but if kind of nowhere yeah with that I almost trust more in some ways because like I mean if you were born and then right away you were shipped off somewhere else you never grew up with your parents the chances are you wouldn't have the same role worldview or religious or anything as your parents like it's just it's unlikely there's a tournament called propinquity I think it was called okay in psychology whoever is in proximity to you and so you're gonna get close to it so I mean most like you know a lot of marriages occur through the workplace or through the church is it like it's cuz your neighbor it's because you just see them a lot more yeah it's like being stuck on a desert island you fall in love because you just there's nobody else here next to each other the whole time right yeah it's just a human thing so I think that if you're always in shut off in a group then you're never gonna have exposure to anything else but if you're always in Montreal is a great place because you always had exposure if you want to to all kinds of people you know socio-economic cultural or religious and that's why I think growing up here I had that ability to kind of from day one in kindergarten I had different people around me so when I go to a country like Korea I live in Korea and it's very homogeneous it's very weird but as long as that that open mind then there shouldn't be a problem people are very similar so this podcast exposes me to people with different worldviews there are two sort of mutually exclusive projects one is humanity and the other is absolute and eternal unchanging ultimate reality we can't both be right where there's genuine contradiction on doctrine why can't we both be right well I said genuine contradiction yeah but that's again that was my point before with the logic and the semantics and language and there's so much infighting in every religion about theology about doctrine about I've spent I'm sure in Catholicism it's the same thing if there's that much fighting even within the religion why is it impossible that another religion is just as right as your religion as humans were all striving towards similar goal no it's exactly I mean it's all it's a really overwhelming thing to be it's hard to be human it's not easy like people kind of I think a lot people just kind of float through life kind of numb because it's easier when you start really thinking about nothingness and existence it can really drive you mad because even the idea that you're a speck in the universe is crazy they think about it so I mean of course the religions are gonna try and you know pop up to kind of give some meaning to your life and that's acceptable I don't see anything wrong with that you can rage against the church but the church also is the foundations of social charity welfare in Muslim countries there's no safety net like you need food you have to put a mosque like they're the only people who actually help you so that's why I'm very suspicious people are like our religion is terrible well no and you can't say that because if you study history you know it's not true I had a couple years were actually felt like I was in this abyss it was really dumb like I literally felt like I was in a floating in this dark kind of it wasn't a necessary depression was just like it turned into a depression because to be in that abyss without any meaning without any kind of things to grapple onto is scary and that's what what being alive is to a certain extent you have to kind of hold on to something so I think that as long as the religion is not taking you away from your journey to figure things out then it's fine so just to wrap up the show what would you say it anyone that's out there listening I would say that whether you believe in a religion or not it's very important to remember to trust your eyes ears and heart as well I'm not just philosophically thinking about things but that there's a lot of good in the world that that the world is more good than evil the good part is easier to go to if you know how to do it and there's always a way out there's so many different ways to live a life if the way you're living isn't working there's so many different ways to try there's not one right way you just have to find the way that works for you that can give you some happiness and comfort and that if your religion or your non religion is not working and you've tried everything you can to make it work it's okay to kind of switch switch games halfway through and try something new and I just from a personal experience I found the thing that helped me the most was actually helping other people it's when I started doing volunteer work and it kind of saved me in a weird way and I always recommend it to everybody that when you're at your lowest and darkest if you help somebody else it's like a weird medicine because you don't feel so alone anymore you don't feel so nothingness you start feeling connections to people a way to save yourself and everybody else is to build those connections with other people because that's the only thing that we really have control over at the end of the day end of the day