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

Author Recorded Friday October 21st, 2016

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

Ben is a good friend. He and I met in 1993 at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario. We were both studying Physics. He's always fun to talk with, and he puts up with my absurd thought-experiments better than most. A very sweet guy.


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

Author Recorded September 24th, 2016

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hi this is Ben and you're listening to Catholic versus other tell us a little bit about who you are what you believe in why you believe it my name is Ben I believe in love justice in relationship as a child did you have any faith did you have any religion growing up yeah we went to the local Unitarian Church do you consider yourself a unitary yeah Unitarian Universalist can you tell the audience what this religion is in case they don't know our it sure it grew out of Christianity it basically dropped all the doctrines and rituals and symbols from the Christianity and felt that the core that was left was love justice in relationship the principles are bit longer than that but we recently just shortened it to those three words you're kind of trendy right now so you were raised you you I guess that's not the short form for unitary yes yeah the youth program is the young religious Unitarian Universalists why are you you so did you go to youth groups as a child stuff like yeah we went on Sunday mornings and it was nice there people treated you good so I liked it my values were pretty much instilled at me my parents have really clear values around social justice I've just diffused into me without really trying do Unitarian Universalists believe in God an omniscient omnipotent creator that created everything out of nothing some do and some don't so there's like a Unitarian Universalist christian fellowship these are a Jewish fellowship and a Muslim fellowship is well all the monotheists should have their own fellowship there's definitely a you you pagans group and I think there's like you you Buddhists I don't know if there's one for everything out there there probably is is there a you you atheist group through the 1900s as we kind of really distanced ourselves from Christianity for the most part the humanist voice was very active within the Unitarians so an atheist would is felt like right at home in most unitarian congregations that I'm earlier with and lately I don't know the last 20 years or so there's been a lot more wanting to experience spirituality and so the humanists often feel left out of that and so that atheist voice is saying way we want to feel at home here too is there anyone that your church would not accept we ask everyone do you want to build up a world of love and justice and community well if you want to destroy everything you'll probably say no to that question if you're honest yeah I once went to visit a church and I think was a UCC Church someone literally grabbed a hold of me and said if someone walks through the door of the church and don't let them go so no like most churches we're not trying to push people out or make them prove that they believe our beliefs but if someone believed in destruction rather than creation I think that would be very noticeable and they would stand out and all this has ever happened but has there been an infiltration or some kind of sabotage from within like what's happening in the Catholic Church whether people pretending to be Catholic but they want to destroy the Catholic Church has that ever happened to you no we're not important enough what are your numbers worldwide I might be totally off but maybe a quarter million there's like five thousand in Canada and percentage wise there's way more in the state so think it out it's about a quarter million so it's not worth infiltrating us is it a predominately North American religion in North America unitarians and universal emerged 55 years ago so in Britain there is no merger but there's not a lot of unitarians left since Britain colonized Kenya there's some Unitarian churches in Kenya and we've done a lot of outreach there so that I believe there might even actually be Unitarian Universalist congregation Xin Kenyatta unitarians grew out of Poland and Transylvania as well because Poland in Transylvania are both kind of in between major powers they had to learn how to get along with people with different religious beliefs so tolerant attitudes were needed there and so unitarians had some freedom there for a while besides that there's smatterings here and there around the world but it's basically a North American thing he spoke about tolerance so what is religious tolerance for you how do you characterize it I believe that you can find value in a lot of different religions so it's good to have diversity it's good to tolerate diversity and accept it just so that there can be learning from each other so we can get stale in some ways but our neighboring synagogue or temple because we want to accept their diversity we can learn from what they're doing get out of our own stillness my understanding of religious tolerance is very similar to the Catholic catechism no I would say it's akin to the world of science and laughs where if you disagree with someone about math or science you have to love that person to respect that person and just gently correct them you're intolerant towards error but you're tolerant towards the person who's airing this is the attitude that a good scientist or mathematician has to have and it's the attitude the Church teaches we need to have in religious interactions we need to hate the lies that you're promoting in your false religion but we need to love you the person because you're a good by nature you were created by God so it sounds to me like your church says there is no truth and there are no lies and everyone can contribute to the story this grand narrative that we're building together or something like that yeah you correctly if I'm gonna lie yes stop talking before you dig a deeper hole but love me as a friend the way we word it in our principles as we believe in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning so you're free to figure things out for yourself but you're also responsible for doing it so if you just show up at a meeting and say I believe that vacuum cleaners are God then that we're not just going to say believe whatever you're not we're going to say are you responsibly coming to that conclusion so there's an accountability informally people really don't come to our congregations unless they believe our principles people who come believe in the free and responsible search for truth and meaning would I be welcomed their preaching Jesus Christ and I Roman Catholic Church and the dog was at the church if you were preaching at them they'd probably be like that's not very persuasive and we don't need you to come back but there's plenty of examples of Catholics and rabbis and they walk into a bar and then that it's common to have people from other faiths come into our congregations the people who come typically want to connect with the people there and so talk in a way that they expects the people will hear what they're saying where I grew up the congregation had a lot of people with baggage from the church they grew up in which was often Catholic Church bout my generation January doesn't have that baggage and so there's now a lot more openness to Christianity the Universalist aspect and the Unitarian aspect maybe you should describe to the audience those two aspects what those technical words mean in terms of the relationship to the Christian root so someone say that we just have those names for historical reasons and we don't actually believe in what those words used to mean unitarian the name was originally an insult people who did not believe in the trinity they believed in the unity of God's the Unitarian one person in the Godhead like the Muslims Hendrix exactly yeah Universalist meant universal salvation everybody will end up in heaven it's funny one of the famous Fathers of the Church origin was a universalist and that's why he's not Saint origin but brilliant brilliant man yeah some people love tracing our history back and pointing out unitarian and Universalist beliefs in the early church and then the Bible one of our early Universalist leaders hosea ballou Hosea's father i believe was a minister and so he came home and saw Hosea sitting out on a comfy chair outside he says son what book you reading and Jose said a universalist book father and his father came over the chair and took the book in his hand and looked at it and it was the Bible I think every Protestant denomination could tell that story with their own twist yeah well it's just like every religion can tell the story of the parting of an ocean or a virgin birth to the extent that those stories in line with the truth that true so that's sort of the little background of the Universalist Unitarian thing but you said today no one's really even bothered with those definitions because they have a Christian implication those of us who grew up in a you your church it's just like IBM we don't care what it stands for you know KFC I don't care if it was fried ello up it would be great to change the name to something that had better branding I mean if someone tells me my beliefs nidus I think we should send our lives on love justice and community they get it right away but if I start by saying Unitarian Universalist now let me tell you what that means it's too late I've lost them so some people say let's change our name and then other people say I like my name don't want to change my name so i think secular humanist is appropriate for you as an individual you secular humanist would you admit that you're an atheist or do you worship the same God that I do I don't worship the same guy the video so you are an atheist you're ready to admit that according to that definition according to your definition are you an atheist I don't use the word because it just gets in the way of communicating I'll take that as a yes this is a touchy topic for you you know um but I I feel like if I'm trying to show you a picture and I'm saying if you look at the picture from this angle you can see the picture and then you're insisting on looking at it from another angle like it's a kind of like you're saying what your beliefs look like from the side and I'm like well you can't see from the side and then you say oh so you're an atheist and I'm like let me show you my beliefs from a different perspective and then that will be helpful so let's move past this very insignificant thing okay by dealing with it honestly and then when will past it atheism means that you're not a theist yeah that part's it's not part obvious so what is a theist a theist is someone who believes in the personal God that created everything out of nothing the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob the god of the Jews the Christmas and the Muslims the god of monotheism so if you believe in that God you are a theist I don't see why that particular definition of God should get to own the word God what other kind of God is there Hall Tillich and dynamics of faith describes your God is whatever you Center your life on whatever you turn to in the moments of greatest joy or the greatest need cheghad that thing that we turn to is eternal omniscient omnipotent and did it create the universe out of nothing if it did then it's my God if it didn't yeah oh my god yeah did it no Nelson I thought my god yeah so Paul is lying about my god you know he's talking about the meaning of the word God trim oh ok i thought you said when he talked about my god ok when he uses the word God he just means whatever you choose to be good yeah he also uses it to mean creator sometimes which do you think is more exciting and more mind-boggling cocaine the God that creates everything out of nothing or the warm and fuzzy feeling that I turn to when I want to create my own God in my own image if you turn towards a warm fuzzy feeling you're going to be disappointed and then you're going to realize that's not the unworthy yeah and then you're going to look elsewhere my church teaches that god is love so when you value love when you see the value or the worth the worth ship of love you are worshipping my god what do you know it or not you taught me this you taught me that everyone's proto Catholic yeah I'm proto Catholic if I end up being Catholic yeah my it's it's simple I believe in love and I believe in justice and I believe in community and if those three things turn out to be one thing I'll be a trinitarian instead of having three separate values that brings me to an interesting point as a thought experiment imagine some sort of space space of ideas or space of values we can represent it on a 2d plane like a piece of paper and we put a little letter B for Ben and then somewhere over here doesn't matter where we'll just put love with a letter L will represent it like that that's like our space our space of values ok yeah so we can have the be turning and rotating in 98 direction so you would probably say that you want to be oriented towards love and to move if possible towards love ya now the question that I have for you this theoretical thought experiment is as you're moving towards love is it necessarily the case in your world view that you are also moving towards justice and community and all the perfections or is it possible in principle that as you move towards love you're moving away from this other value over here I want to aim in the same direction to all of them and end up at the same point it is reality allow you to do that yes reality allows me to that that's a very very very Catholic answer I believe you you should believe me and you should be excited yeah no I mean this interests me and the more I read by different theologians the more they I believe that they basically believe what I believe and that one day you'll realize that yeah don't showing the party ah what am I missing by being a Catholic and not being in your church do you call it a church but already called religion d call it a faith to call it a philosophy worldview lifestyle what is it I often use the word church like your found Sunday morning I don't say I'm going to the congregation I say I'm going to church even though it doesn't actually convey what i mean is the wrong word technically yeah but if there's so much wrapped up in it that's helpful people kind of get the experience I'm gonna have is it a word that conveys warmth and and a whole bunch of good stuff anyway for me it does but it's also easy to imagine fire and brimstone preachers when I think of the word church so it doesn't necessarily convey what i mean but it can hold the many aspects of what i mean does the word god so have a warm fuzzy connotations Vidya I was a hospital chaplain the summer and there was a time where with one patient we were having a conversation about God and I was being really careful to make sure that everything I said was true using my definition of God and I didn't really let on to her that I had a different definition of God than her she was Christian I think she imagined I was a Christian and then two minutes later I'm in a different room and I'd say hi my name is van I'm from spiritual care and he says I'm an atheist and I said me too let's talk yeah it just felt weird in one room identifying as a theist and then the next room identifying as an atheist even though with different definitions of God it's fine to identify as a theist I believe in this definition or an atheist I don't believe in that definition but if someone was overhearing me from the hallway they might have not understood that and so now I prefer just to not use those words so I don't mislead anybody so you there is a definition of Thea's on the ear comfortable subscribing to yeah let me guess love justice I didn't say conduction never works I just don't rely on it completely yeah so I usually ask my guests what happens to them when they die or what they think happens to the one who dies we'll ask you same thing I think I'm done no more conscious awareness but life and consciousness are such a mystery to me like if corks come from mind that's incredible and if mind comes from quarks that's incredible so one day once we know the truth it might just seem like oh that's not incredible oh it's clear now so for my limited view I'm amazed do you think that the truth is less amazing than ignorance no because you just said as we approach truth that sense of wonder will necessarily oh i guess i'm at the sense of mystery like once we know i'll still be in awe of it but I mean it's like learning a magic trick once you know you're like oh you just stick the rabbit in the Hat when not looking it's still a cool trick but it's not as magical yeah once the magics out of it you'll stop paying attention to where did the rabbit come from and you'll still appreciate the beauty of I hope you realize that love is a different category from rabbits and hats it really is I've never used that analogy before I haven't thought it's right because God is a mystery do you like that would you like God as much if you could see behind the curtain do you depend on the ring a mystery for you to be interested in God if I can comprehend God then eventually I will write but if I can never comprehend him and it's just a mystery after mystery after mystery and gift after gift after gift and discovery after discovery after discovery then it's not ever going to be boring right I'm not putting like excitement versus boredom as the main criterion but it's just one quick and dirty way to convey to someone that doesn't worship my god why that's essential and the reason why a person even a human person is infinitely valuable and infinitely interesting is because they have supernatural mind they have supernatural free will supernatural reason and the love that you participate in with your fellow man is God Almighty it is the ultimate mystery human being can never be boring that's not to say that in our fallen state we can't become bored because we're blindness and because of our limited intellects but our boredom is a flaw it's a lack of love it's a lack of knowledge its lack of justice to if we ever fully know God that'll be better then we cannot being a mystery we can't fully know that it is better to fully no god but we are not in a position to tap that luxury only the three persons of the Trinity fully know God and their community and you can deduce that much what I believe is not one hundred percent pure rational deduction what I believe is ninety-nine point nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine nine percent the church told me so excited to believe it because of God revealed himself in the public revelation did you deduce or induce that you would blindly believe with the church so I deduced Almighty and took a leap of faith to Christianity and I'm using induction to check my Leap my faith in God the Father is not faith it's a rational deduction so if I belong to a false religion I'm not that worried about it i still have God the Father so the baby and the bath water in my mind I'm never gonna lose the baby I just might think that that little piece of bath water is the baby's leg but it's not his legs just bathwater right and in that case I just switched religions let me use an analogy for you that would put it in perspective my faith in Christianity even my dad right I have some of those mannerisms I have some of his looks I'm willing to admit that in principle it's possible that he's not my biological father I'd be very surprised but it is possible I might be his brother's son I feel a little bit blasphemous when I talk about doubting my Catholicism but it's on that level of doubting that my biological father's my biological father I would be very surprised but I'm open to the possibility so I don't think it's an irrational belief that my biological father's my father I think it's a rational use of induction because that's all app so this blog I was telling you about I think you'd like it a lot and agree with them a lot about it but the point about doing a leap of faith i think is where you two would disagree if you go on list of my injuries with atheists i always talk about the leap of faith that they take always because everyone takes a leap of faith even that quantum physicists guy takes a leap of faith the leap of faith that you take is into reality that the other exists that the chair you're sitting in is real that that your fingers are real that's a leap of faith the only thing that I know from my perspective is that I exist from your perspective the only thing that you know with certainty is that you exist because in denying it you're asserting it therefore you exist this is running to cart this is what brought me to go out the father in the first place so the Buddhists deny the real world the Buddhists denied the other the Buddhists say there's only God there's only that one mind and everything is a dream or an illusion Maya a lot of the Eastern philosophies teach that there's only God so there's no heaven and L there's only heaven this so-called morality of the Buddha is just part of that illusion there is no lasting negative consequence at all but certainly the atheists that I made believe in the real world no you don't think like this again this blogger I've been talking about in the community that is a part of yet they don't for example they don't believe in the real world they believe in the Schroedinger equation really the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum tanakh didn't know the decoherence interpretation the way this guy put it was something like I don't know if this is real but I still want to understand this is so you've seen the truman show right yeah the analogy I would make then would be Truman saying well I don't care if it's just a show or if any of this is real I just want to explore and see how things fit talking there these guys do want to know what's real like what they want to know if it's real or not they do want to know what is real yeah and that's the thing I was trying to explain before even if you have like a ninety-nine percent belief that something is true further evidence can get you closer to a hundred percent but it can never get you to under present time yes so they don't believe as a lot of data supporting the view that this Israel therefore it's real like they never get two hundred percent that's the difference between our world views what I'm saying is that that guy who's talking about the accumulation of evidence that the real world exists he's missing the point entirely all of that data it's just part of the show that's just on the show you to agree on that there's no amount of data that will ever justify scientifically believing in the real world you'd ever you to agree on that we're not approaching a hundred percent certainty whatever get more data it's a limit that approaches a hundred route doesn't get there what we move towards under we're making progress is the needle moving the needle is moving on not in my understanding you've maxed out the needle no it's always at zero we have to either take a leap of faith or we can just choose not to decide but to say I'm going to look at the evidence is to fall into the trap of naive realism yeah any data that I can experience cannot distinguish one theory from the uncountably infinite other possible theories I look at it as a binary thing never mind all the infinite wacky weird sci-fi scenarios am I the source of my own existence or not that is the fundamental question that is the religious question right there and to collect data is completely absurd this is not a data-driven decision this is a leap of faith am I the source of my own existence and my self existent and my eternal a my god or not I don't believe that I created myself and I don't know anyone who believes that it's not like you didn't exist and then you created yourself that's impossible either your essence includes existence or doesn't are you contingent there's another way of looking at it or you can I an intention I don't know anyone who thinks or not I'm contingent if you know you're contingent then you necessarily acknowledge your Creator right outside of you and above you that should just be automatic I mean we're living in a fallen world now so our intellects are dimmed and we need grace to convert to God but in my experience of conversion it was that realization that I'm contingent of them not self existent because yeah there's some mechanism where the energy of the universe came from and if we want to call that God that's fun and you wouldn't necessarily intuitively put love and justice and community in there no you wouldn't so on that piece of paper where I had the bee and I had the L and have a G you can move towards El without necessarily moving towards you what was G God there has to be some mechanism that made energy begin to exist but love is a concept exists inside of time so I don't think it needed to be created the concept of love is more than a concept but love i agree with you love is uncreated god is love right so that's my perspective as a Catholic I love that helps you fill in some gaps in Europe will be or if it aligns with your love you love is and create the concept to me love is the most real thing the chair I'm sitting on is less real than love if it supports me it supports me because of love it's only love that's supporting me the chair is secondary so the fabric of space-time would collapse into nothing instantly without love that's the Catholic world v yeah I don't believe them it sounds like you should tell you that I think everyone should want that worldview because God is love you can't Trump that worldview can you the truth Trump's warm fuzzy goddess of God is truth you can't Trump that worldview you can with truth God is with I worship truth the charity supporting me is only supporting me because of truth and justice and beauty and unity and community it's a Trinity right God's opinion bodies community it's true that the chair is supporting it but love is just a concept and justice is just a concept we can embody love and justice let me ask you something do you think that it's reasonable to say that there was no human life in the universe you've all billion years ago yeah was there love in the universe I believe there was not know was there life I believe you know and you also believe there was no God my point is that when there's that sort of cold uninhabited universe I see God there with his love and his justice in his beauty in his community and you don't have that when that cold lifeless universe is cold and lifeless it really is cold and lifeless it's just it's got a lot of potential and where does that potential go 20 trillion years in a few sure when the heat death has arrived as it exhausted itself I believe in a heat to through this universe so there's a little window of life which is really insignificant terms of absolute percentage time from here I guess the next question is morality if you're annihilated when you die how can there be a reckoning of the accounts and a balance achieved in the big picture because you know that by all appearances here on earth bad guys get away with stuff apparently and good people can suffer in a way that seems imbalance right now you could just have a vague faith that there's a balance achieved or you could say life sucks and then you die literally yeah I think often life is not fair I think lacking love can help you realize the importance of love it can be a cold and broken hallelujah so life for you is like a desert there are few aces owaisi's always high and you do what you can to get that precious water and some people don't make it and if you can you appreciate it and you're thankful if you do put the no guarantees and it's just that struggle to get to the water in the desert yeah and we're we're trying to create a world where some bigger Oasis you want to irrigate the desert yeah but we believe in original sin that man was created perfect in in a perfect paradise he chose to go against God's will and the results we see all around us today war agreed suffering disease confusion it's hard to imagine someone arguing against that because it would mean one of two things either they deny the perfection that we were obviously meant to enjoy it just intuitively we know we thirst for water in there's water we hunger for food and there's food and we want health and justice and love and community and an eternal life right there has to be an object for that desire it just seems odd that anyone would deny sin when the evidence is all around us how do you feel about this basic Christian teaching of original sin I think disease existed for a human being stood like it's ridiculous to say that human beings existed with their disease and it's it's ridiculous to say that we will have eternal life with perfect health and happiness timeless happiness heaven is ridiculous to you it could be possible I don't think that death is necessary when we look at why we die there are very specific mechanisms for it and we're gradually stopping more nor of those mechanisms we may eventually never die you don't see problems with that legend size of a heat death of the universe I believe there's a mechanism that created energy that energy wasn't in limbo ever I don't think so if we can figure out the energy issue it's just one thing we got trillions of years to figure it out it's a sustainability project yeah they like just superconductors exist where there's zero energy lost if we can get some sort of resonance of our minds and some happy state where no energy is lost there will never be a heat death is it common in your religion to have a sort of a utopian thought experiment like that or is it just you this is just me you know reading some science fiction and playing around with it myself what we know it's possible now is amazing compared to what people thought 100 years ago and so there will be more things that become possible down the road that I can't imagine what about this idea of sync as I mentioned the fall from grace the first time of being with feelings aight another being with feelings that's really sad I think it's worth noting that that that event happened and if we want to call that the fall that's fine with me or the for the first time some being got angry or made a bad decision or I chose jealousy and not love or the first being that chose injustice it's worth giving a name to that event and the fall that's nice poetic name for it but I don't think there was one file I think there's a lot of the mechanisms that were selfish and before those mechanisms existed the first RNA molecules or whatever they are floating around in the ocean I wouldn't refer to that as a state of grace neither would I there is one couple one human couple from which all humans descend the humans and the Nazis lime they're not DNA they're not able where did though they're humans and where do you believe those two humans will they have merited if they had parents they were not human parents and that part of church doesn't matter well everything matters everything matters the orientation of each grain of sand on beach beach matters but to get to heaven d we don't need to know everything to get to have a way to love God we need to serve every we need to we're not obliged as Catholics to believe the literal storybook story but we are obliged to believe that there is one human pair that is the first human couple and that we all descend from that couple we have to believe that all the other cultural parts of the story we don't have to believe of course there are dogmatic truths in that story like for example the serpent is Satan we have to believe that Satan is real we don't have to believe that he took the form of a serpent though maybe he did maybe didn't it matters but we don't need to know that reality in order to get to heaven but it seems to me that sin is very very obvious and very important it's the best explanation for the data or what do you mean bison choosing a lesser good over a higher good so when Satan tells the rapist to rape a woman it urges him to have you ever been raped I don't know that's a topic for another conversation someone who has been raped would never use this as an example why because while they listen to us they'll have flashbacks of being raped is there any horrible thing I can talk about we can talk about eating ice cream on your hungry and everyone will understand that we know I need a horrible crime give me a horrible crime that's politically correct killing someone that's not traumatising to the victims of murder I think it's much rarer than rape and it's something that can happen to men as often as to another rape is real it's a horrible thing but i'll talk about murder if you want i think i had a good example but i'll go with murder and say that's just yet when you use the example of abortion with someone you worked with in they ran away crying they probably had to make the decision to abort a baby and they didn't want to do they have a choice yeah they had a choice yeah and they chose to kill babe yeah yeah you should go cry I told you earlier i wish i could cry more for my sins she had that grace yeah anyway if satan prompts someone to murder the next victim as he grabs the axe to chop off the head of his victim the axe is good the power that he wields the axe with is good the pleasure he gets as he orgasms from sexual pleasure of killing his victims that's good right everything is good about it it's all good Satan's giving God's gifts to the killer the problem is that it's a lower good he should choose a higher good instead of killing his victim he should be kind to the victim and love his victim so that's what sin is sin is choosing a lesser good over a higher good in every situation we're always choosing goods that's why we choose them I mean we wouldn't choose them if they were evil there is no evil thing to choose there's only an evil way of choosing so I keep thinking of different blog posts by the same guy eleazer you kowski he was writing about evolution evolution gives us a lot of habits or instincts or biological drives or pleasures that are genetically successful but like we don't have sex because it'll help our genes propagate we have sex because we want to there's a remote cause of proximate cause yeah so maybe hunters needed that feeling to be willing to kill their food maybe to be able to defend your territory you needed to be willing to get angry to kill the neighboring tribe but in other scenarios you needed to be able to get along with the neighboring tribe so in some scenarios murder was helpful for selfish reasons yeah and I believe that our job is to overcome those selfish drives that maybe they were useful before but aren't useful now or maybe they were useful for selfish reasons and we don't want to be selfish is each individual his own God his own ultimate moral authority it's really clear in my mind that love is better than hate I would say if the voice of God is the voice of conscience in you you would attribute it to some Darwinian mechanism yeah how our brain works was some Darwinian mechanism but I think that's called the genetic fallacy throwing out a belief because of where the belief came from I think we can judge the belief on its own merits and say okay I believe that love is better than hate doesn't matter that that belief came from evolution I've got the belief let me reason about the belief as much as I'm able okay I've got a conscience and let me reason about if I can trust my conscience or not that's the best I can do but ultimately you have the last word the buck stops with you know I can never know what ultimate good is but I can do the best discernment that I can with the tools I've got while being aware that any short coming is on my end if I don't know ultimate truth that's not a weakness of ultimate truth that's a weakness of my ability to perceive but when you consult with professionals experts authorities you are sitting in your throne and they're coming to you and presenting you with data and you're gathering the data and making a decision you are not submitting to anyone authority no I'm not the authority I'm the person with limited view trying to discern as best I can I don't think that my current belief is the truth I have some sense of how likely it might be true some sense of how limited my view is but no I'm submitting to reality I series an objective morality yeah Wow very few atheists believe in objective have you always lived in objective morality yeah he's at the unitarian universalist thing it depends how you worded but yeah we believe in justice it's one of our principles we don't say we believe that everyone can believe whatever they want about justice okay we hit the streets and say we want justice and we want to strive for the objecting to figure it out and there are debates about should we as the Unitarian Association write a letter fighting against the Iraq war well now we need to get together and do our best to figure out what justice looks like in this context it's a huge undertaking striving for justice without God so I'd like to change the subject a little bit and talk about my worldview Catholicism do you have any questions or comments or yep tell me more about the leap of faith going from deduction to leap it all happened very quickly there's more to the story than just deduction God exists and then induction pick a religion there's actually an essential mystical supernatural component that informs all that middle ground between the deductive conclusion that God exists and then the inductive conclusion that Catholicism is the one true religion I was infused with knowledge knowledge about God I knew that God was the personal God of Judaism Christianity and Islam I just knew that is there a natural explanation for that I don't know because I've been doing a lot of studying anyway about philosophy and religion so maybe there was a natural component but my religion teaches me that there's a supernatural grace that comes with conversion and you are given knowledge and subjectively it felt like I just knew stuff so this probably bewildering and not very satisfying to a non-christian to hear this but this term is telling you subjectively what experienced so I came to the conclusion deductively that God exists and then I felt compelled to worship the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob that God I have to worship Him it's not enough to just sit at home and know that he loves me and he created me I have to publicly worship Him it's an impulse it may be a delusion but if it's a delusion it's a real delusion you know I mean like it might just be like a drug trip but that's the trip I was on so there's that x factor in between God and religion the leap of faith was a very casual leap of faith it's like I have to worship my god I know which God it is I have to worship him publicly so really I only have three main options Judaism Christianity or Islam and honestly and I've said this before in my interviews I was leaning towards Islam why because I hated Christianity as an atheist but I just said uh I'll just be Christian you know just done let's just get started with this and we'll see what happens I don't know if I secretly hoped it wasn't true and that I would discover that Islam was true and then I would just gradually work my way into that culture but it really wasn't in the forefront of my mind what was in the forefront of my mind was worshiping God and then as I learned about Christianity I just was pleasantly surprised I hey this is very reasonable very reasonable and the weird stuff is weird but it doesn't contradict my reason and it doesn't offend my reason not any more than the very fact that I exist I mean that you could say is offensive to reason right I'll me in particular but how much did you figure out just from deductive reasoning only God so it's not simple you could write it in like five lines I'm not God therefore goddess guys no it's not it's that simple yeah now when you ask me how much of it was deduction on my side very little how much deduction does the church do it's mostly deduction because there's the data of Revelation right there's the sacred deposit of faith the Bible and tradition like oral stuff that was passed on from Jesus the Apostles right that data is the starting point logically for reasoning which will allow us to discover the dogmas of the church if you look at the history of the heresies or if you look at the history of the council's you'll see the church struggling using deduction based on the data so if God exists and if he's a Trinity and if the second person incarnated and founded the Catholic Church and if the Bible is inspired in and errant if we can assume all of that there are many many many many many many many conclusions that we can draw if we examine a heresy using deduction we can come to an absurd conclusion which rules that heresy out when the church wasn't sure it applied deductive reasoning and said well that can't be the case because it ends up in a contradiction so a lot of what i believe is based on deduction is just that I haven't done the intellectual work but the church is done it for me I just accept it and it's fascinating to read about it because you see how it plays out but I can't take credit for that I I thought through the god thing but even at I can't take too much credit forks I was reading philosophy right so I think the whole thing was a gift so the church has got so much goodness and truth in it that's has survived being run by mere mortals somehow we need to in our minds reconcile this mystical body of Jesus Christ was God Almighty incarnate and that is a perfect society we need to reconcile those dogmatic facts which we cannot doubt as Catholics with the bad popes with the pedophile priests with me I'm Catholic I'm a sinner and I don't represent Christ perfectly I'm commanded to strive to be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect but i'm not a living breathing st. that's converting everyone just by walking into the room and there are examples of holy men that can inspire conversion just by their proximity so i'm certainly not in that category personally I never struggled with the bad popes I never struggled with corruption none of that was a real barrier to my entrance into the Catholic Church because I always looked at the doctrine which is a church teach and even though I couldn't understand doctrines like that for example the Trinity I don't have a reason to reject it either if the church taught kill your enemies instead of love your enemies or something like that you know that would give you pause right so for me it gives me pause the doctrine of the Trinity that was decided upon the Council of Nicaea was pushed through by Constantine for political reasons the thing that saves me from getting embroiled in politics is that obviously it's a holy spirit that's protecting the Pope and the bishops that teaching union with the Pope the Holy Spirit protects them from teaching error concerning faith and morals but all the theater surrounding that is not protected in all the rationalizations all the political pressures that may or may not have been there that's not infallible it's not protected so that reminds me of like like I believe that my brain can tell that love is better than hate and I know my brain evolved using some Darwinian mechanisms that's not a reason to dismiss my belief that love is better than hate similar asks in similar so I someone says I am telling the truth how do you discern if that statement is true if the church says the church is infallible about these things why do I trust the Trish yeah and not every other religion that says we have the truth yeah there are two approaches to this the top down approach is that God Almighty the God I believe in the god I worship I know with absolute one hundred percent certainty that he is all good all loving all knowing he's perfect she's infallible if religion is about connecting with god and god is infallible than I would expect infallibility in religion intuitively then there's the bottom-up approach where I am on earth surrounded by humans and there's war and there's crime and there's sinners but they're also Saints in my study of Western philosophy I dread for example st. Augustine he's one of the saints that really opened my heart to Christianity for the first time and Saint Anselm who's another great thinker Thomas Aquinas just the love that flowed from not only the writings put their actions what they did on this planet and the heroic virtue that's what a saint is someone who has heroic virtue so that bottom-up approach to infallibility is a very natural human sort of community relationship where you say something about these guys who worship my god and the way they behave in way that they're willing to die in a way that they live in wives there's something about that it attracts me and the saints talk about the infallibility right yeah my first impression with Augustine he actually says in his book that he was the best liar in the room hahaha I don't trust him you don't trust him yet because of that yes if you really reasonable yeah thank you I think if you met him it would help determine just with one meeting without even speaking him I think you'd be like oh I was wrong about him or yeah I was right about him i think i agree meeting him would answer that question and i have no doubt obviously i had no doubt which way it would go all right if you're pure apart and innocent and seeking truth i think you would see that he's a saint i believe that if the best liar in the Roman Empire wants to fool me he can yeah but I have a Catholic doctrine a dogma that tells me infallibly that he is a saint he's in heaven so if st. Augustine is not a saint then Christianity is a false religion period but of course is not easy for the enemies of Christianity to furnish me with the evidence I need I have to come to that conclusion right but yeah so I trust the Saints but this may be part and parcel with the graces of conversion right you were talking about the angle of your worldview and how you have to look at it from a certain angle so it could just be that when I talk to people about the sort of thing and I use the phrase creative mechanism my experiences that's the phrase that everyone can talk about like if I say is there a god it's usually not a informative conversation but if I just say I wonder what the creative mechanism of the universe is basically everybody is like yeah I wonder about that too I don't know honestly what does love have to do with it why do I attribute love to God yeah an effect cannot be greater than its cause and effect cannot be more powerful and it's cause and i love i love therefore God loves I'm personal therefore God is personal I'm reasonable therefore God is reasonable you've got funky hair there for God's guy whatever really function what whatever it's better to be then to not be God has that attribute so whatever perfection it's better to have than to not have God has that perfection so funky hair doesn't fall into that category that it's better to have it and not to have it you could say well a circle is perfect so it's got a circle no because it's not better to be a circle then if not be a circle but it is better to love than to not love right you intuitively know that the absence of luv is either indifference or hatred there's nothing appealing about those it's got it you got to go with love every time so i think my intuition is on the money when i attribute all of these things to God because I recognize them in creation this is the natural philosophy side of theology where we reasoned it out that God is love and that God is good and that God is just and then there's the supernatural gift of Revelation which confirms that but I think we have access with natural reason just by looking at the world and the good things that are in the world for example the world is well ordered that's why we have science and when I speak to atheists about science they're all very excited about it but they're not making that connection you can't do science in chaos unique cosmos and they're reluctant to admit the implications of that you seem like you're open to cosmos versus chaos and I believe in cosmos hey so if I haven't convinced you of this I don't think yet but if an effect cannot be greater than its cause then if there's a creator of the universe that creator must be beautiful no and orderly and Weiss and you know I can make pancakes but I'm not the great pancake and God's not a great man he really made man right in His image and likeness but he is free he is freedom and when we're made in His image where made free and rational so he is reason and he is truth and he is freedom but God is pure actuality there is no potential in God and again I think there's a natural philosophical argument that will also lead for example the ancient Greek philosophers to this conclusion and they knew the U is perfectly simple that he's not composed of parts that he is pure actuality there's no potential so if someone asks you I don't believe in God you say well I don't think it is any potential but on a related note that's why we refer to God as male even though he's has no sex or gender a spirituality and our receptivity in our potential that makes us feminine relative to God look I think that the potential for something can create that something potentialities replaced by actuality as an actual eyes miss right as that a corn grows into the great and mighty oak its potential is diminishing right necessarily so I wouldn't want to be confused about those two things the effect is not greater than the cause biological necessity and yet things do have potential the tiny acorn can grow into a mighty oak that's not a violation of the principal law so there could be a tendency to get confused about that and to think that you've proven that and effect is greater than its cause but that's not the case so sounds like we both agree that the potential for something has the potential for something and we're just phrasing it differently around like greater than let's forget about a courtesan oak trees and go to the infinite power that's required to go from nothing to something which is what my god made happen when he created the universe out of nothing your soul was also created out of nothing my god but we'll just talk about the universe the physical universe all the matter and energy was created by God I would have not God has no potentially spirituality he made that infinite creation or nothing infinite in the sense of jumping from zero to non zero so to compare God with an acorn or with anything else in creation is to miss the point entirely we need to focus on that essential piece of information from nothing to something we have to deal with it everyone has to be able to even the Atheist has to deal with that or he can say that we live in a universe that will always hear that has no beginning but that's untenable too because he has to admit that we're approaching ajita and there's a finite amount of time that will accomplish that so if we say there's definite time behind us the heat death would necessarily have already arrived so we have a beginning of time we have to acknowledge eyes so every one should be at the very least a deist which just means acknowledging the first cause right acknowledging that something came out of nothing yeah and then to talk about the infinite power that's required for that and then suddenly be like oh so that's what everyone's talking about God Almighty I get it okay so where do I worship this guy would I sign up I'm not going to be Muslim Catholic or Jew let's get the show started I have lots of questions but get me to the church on time so what would you say to listeners particularly people that maybe haven't thought about these religious or faith issues or these philosophical questions what would you say to them I would say try centering your life on love see how it works for you a lot of people find that the more love you give the more you love you get back I recommend trying that if you get a lot of satisfaction from being selfish I recommend trying to be generous just try it I think it'll be worth it try centering your life on love justice and community and let me know how it goes you like it we'll do it some questions hello all you gotta do is all you got to hello all you gotta do is all you got to do is

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