Catholic vs. Atheist - 2017-11-04 - Linda Ross

Author Recorded Saturday November 4th, 2017

There are 47 episodes in the Versus:Atheist series.

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Recorded September 11th, 2016

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This is my sister, Linda, whom I love very much. She was adopted into our family when my parents lost my sister Faith at birth due to Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. It was fun getting to know Linda a little better because we have never talked about religion before.To be my guest, email me at : CVS.Podcast@gmail.com


Catholic vs. Atheist - 2017-11-04 - Linda Ross

Author Recorded July 30th, 2016

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hi I'm Linda and you're listening to Catholic versus atheist so tell the listeners a little bit about yourself if you would please who you are what you believe and how he came to believe it I'm Linda Ross I'm David's sister I never really focused on believing or not believing anything I just grew up in a family where we went to church and it just seemed like another thing I had to do and it was peripheral and it never penetrated me much so I'm not sure that I ever intentionally believed or didn't believe anything it was just a chore did you have an idea about God or Jesus did you go to Sunday School like I did yeah I went with you dude okay yeah we all went in the same car together okay and what did you what sort of impression did you get like I'm one of my early impressions was I really loved John the Baptist but did you have any early impressions no honestly it just seemed like another thing that we had to do it was like going to school or you know the chores we had it was another one of our activities on a schedule so we would go and I enjoyed seeing the other kids there but none of the sermons none of the information none of the readings ever really made their way into me so there I couldn't tell you what I remember I remember passing around the plate and thinking I wish that money would come my way like seriously and I remember dad counting the money remember he had that job where he would count up all the offerings or whatever the technical term is for the money I remember when we got released sometimes to go into the classrooms and I liked seeing the friends and the social part of that I always felt bad because I never did the homework they always gave us homework and I never did it and then sometimes we'd go to McDonald's after so it was more the process pieces and I remember I honestly don't remember any of the content so a very very different view I think than what you have what was the impression of Reverend Barry Wiseman you know I thought he was a nice guy it was obvious that he had impact on mom and dad and they really liked him so I think by default I really liked him he officiated my ceremony to Sammy's dad yeah I was at that wedding yeah yeah I'm glad you remember that one this is the princess Street United Church in Kingston Ontario right right is that pretty much where we went until we moved from Kingston out to the country is that where we always want yes and then when we moved out to joyce ville I've forgotten the name was it Sand Hill Presbyterian Church I think tiny little Church but you know some of our friends from school went there and if you recall there's that ceremony where you kind of come into adulthood and so they move you through the church from one phase like you've kind of exhausted all of their classroom teachings and now you're deemed old enough to sit with the congregation and go into the regular Sunday sermons and there was me and you and John's God there were only the three of us that were the the appropriate age to do that and you were hilarious that poor guy I don't even remember that guy's name but you were challenging him every step of the way I don't remember that was he a skinny guy like a very mild-mannered pushover Oh pushover is the right word yes he was and so you just ran that show and John and I would just sit back and laugh this poor guy do you remember his name I I don't I could picture his frail thin body though yes I know right he's a little weak voice when he was singing well in everything he did he had a little weak voice he was a nice guy though right oh absolutely nice guy and he would be giving us sort of these lectures if you will and you would say stop that doesn't make sense this isn't right let's talk about science your facts are all baloney you know in your usual way and the poor guy didn't know how to respond I mean that's what I remember most of that how old would we have been that like somewhere between grade 9 and 12 okay yeah we would have opinions about stuff and we be somewhat maybe rebellious at that age well don't try to rope me and John into interesting so getting back to you and your sort of childhood faith or lack thereof can you honestly say today that you have never worshipped the God that I worship well how do you define worship where you love him and you acknowledge that he's your Creator and everything good comes from him I have never acknowledged that Oh interesting have you ever been in dangerous situations where maybe you reached out to God even though you didn't believe technically where you just said well it can't hurt no I never did I mean I've been on planes that people have been like screaming because they think it's going down because you know you just get into very turbulent weather and I'm very pragmatic so I would just be thinking through okay these might be my final moments to think about how I'm gonna get out of this situation what do I need to do there was no time to think about hey God come save me and what did you do on the planet so honestly I just thought okay basically where I'm sitting right now what's the closest exit where's my stuff I don't need that who do I need to get around if that exits barred for some reason what's my next out I mean I very much was okay I'm gonna survive this but what do I need to do to survive it I know you've told me some bone-chilling stories about rock climbing could you just sort of paint a picture of one of the most frightening moments so there was one time I was in Red Rocks which is outside of Las Vegas and Nevada and you know at that time my life I was doing climbs that were you know eight hundred thousand foot climbs 10 pitch climbs and whatnot and there was one where for whatever reason I was just psychologically taken over and felt like I couldn't go on like it was a tough climb for sure but okay I can't go forward but I've got 600 feet below me I certainly can't go backwards I can't communicate with my belayer because he's so far ahead of me and I just kind of had this meltdown 700 feet up on a rock face but say kind of approach if you will or response to getting out of that scenario was okay Linda what are you going to do to get out of this situation so I mean there's a theme there right that's always been my go-to is okay have your moment of freaked out but now rein it back in you're responsible for you so there's this perception that I have that I'm responsible for me I'm not reaching out to a third party whether it's God or anyone else to assist me and for me to succumb to their desire to keep me or let me go it's like no I have to be responsible for me which is an interesting theme now that you extract it from me yeah so this might be a good time to introduce the fact that you're adopted does that play psychologically in your survival pragmatism oh I'm sure it absolutely does I mean you I think just heard it in those two examples I just gave the plane and rock climbing it's like no you've got no one to rely on but you you need to address this on your own you know you're adopted and it's nice that you have these wonderful people around you and these parents to care for you and feed you and raise you but at the end of the day you ultimately are responsible for yourself but mom was amazing you know mom would always say to me hey you don't know maybe you're the daughter of the Queen they don't know who your real parents are you could be better than any of us and you know don't let that bother you this being adopted or any of it so I can honestly say that being adopted I never had any issue with that I always felt loved and part of that family and it was my family I never had any concerns or issue with it even to this day so many people will say to me have you tried to find your biological parents no why it would be interesting but I have no that I'm not invested in them that's not who raised me that's not who took care of me I have no bad memories we all have experiences but I think my childhood was a happy great childhood yeah there was some bumps in there I don't focus on the bumps so have you had a lot of experience meeting and connecting with adopted children no cuz it's not the focus of my life hey are you adopted then how about you be my friend one very impactful experience for me with another adopted person was to see what it felt like for the mother the biological mother who had to give up a child so I was in a session well a workshop it was healing family trauma or something along those lines and so they create a scenario and you'd kind of relive it so like okay this will be the mom this will be this this would be whatever and then those people come into the circle and they're just given a little tiny bit like okay so tell me what you're feeling and what's happening and they play out your story and you get to view it as an adult it's hard to describe unless you participate but it was so incredibly powerful and the reason I bring it up is one of the girls was adopted also one of the participants and so she knew that I was so when we were playing out her story she called me into the circle to play her mom and it was like nothing I've ever experienced because I go into the circle and I'm thinking of whatever like sure I'll play along but one of the other participants was the woman as a baby and so when I was deemed to play the mother role and I walked into the circle the baby the girl who was playing the baby immediately turned away from me didn't want to have anything to do with me and so the facilitator said to me okay Linda as the mom what are you feeling and I'm I can't even tell you like the feeling was so strong within me and I was like I feel very cold towards my child this is my child but she doesn't want to be with me and the girl whose story I was playing out said that's exactly how she operated with me blah blah blah it was like wow this is my child I gave birth to this child and she's rejecting me she doesn't even want to look at me her laughter and playfulness has gone away it was it was crazy so talk me through if you would please a little bit about how your worldview has evolved and changed you're a different person today than you were at age 7 or 15 or 25 so how old are you today I'm almost 50 ok so you may be due for some more changes in terms of you will be soon what have you encountered how did you respond to it and what are the sort of ups and downs until today I'm sure you've gone through a lot just touch briefly on some of the highlights I think we've already uncovered this theme about this is a challenging point let's pull in my own resources and work through it so if I think from my young life through all up through high school whatever la-dee-da life is grand I love being social I've got a ton of friends there's some surface nough stew that there's some cruelty in that but whatever life goes on I've got a smile then I wanted to go to university and dad didn't really think I was cut out for university right he thought your best path forward is to go the college route and be technical not theoretical theoretical isn't for you and I was kind of like no I'll prove you wrong so I took a year off saved up my own money so that I could pay to go to university because he wasn't going to support that to me that was impactful but the takeaway was more about human nature as opposed to hey this is a challenging moment I'm going to become Buddhist right so again oh I'm going to take this into my own hands and go where I want to go but then you and I went on a very impact full journey for me which was I just decided I'm gonna go to Europe for what six months and bought a plane ticket and it was just gonna be me and then I think I started getting nervous so I convinced you to come with me and I think I was 19 so you would have been like what 17 which is crazy now that I think about it as an adult but that was an amazing life changing adventure number one you drove me crazy so we went our separate ways pretty quickly but I I had to rely on myself to interact in this world that was so far from home that I couldn't just run home I learned hey I can do whatever I want I just have to be confident in myself and my abilities and I'm a friendly person I'm outgoing people are innately good they want to help out like you have to rely on yourself absolutely but you're not in this alone because we're all human and we want to connect and so hey guess what I'm lost I need help will you help me yes they always would say yes they want to help I mean you've got to have some dose of street smarts in there too which by the way is why I left you because you didn't have that figured out yet still go anyway so very eye-opening I'm a million miles away from home I realized that just the human will to help and be good and connect with other humans is all you need to travel anywhere in the world doesn't matter what language you speak and it led me on to do amazing things right I mean of course I was exposed to different cultures and different religions and different ways of thought but my takeaway was more about human miss than anything to do with religion or culture or thought but did it never occur to you to ask some basic questions like Who am I how did I get here where am I going and what happens after death No I'm living in the present I mean seriously like what do I care about what happens to me after death what am I gonna do differently to prepare for that that'll be another journey that I'm on right now I'm living here what about morality do you have any thoughts on morality like why do you do the right thing and not the wrong thing the selfish thing well I think that comes back to this appreciation of humaneness right so would I want someone being a dick to me no it doesn't feel good feels really bad actually so then if I have that awareness why would I be a dick to them what would prevent you from making everyone feel wonderful and making yourself feel wonderful but at the same time manipulating every situation to your advantage in a sort of insincere way but one that bears a lot of fruit in terms of pleasure in terms of money but that's false fruit I mean that that's at what you just described isn't even a possibility in my belief the true warmth and value of giving to another isn't because of what you're gonna get back it's because you know that you've helped them in some way and that that's what you're seeking from others like I don't really know how to explain it because I think what I'm hearing you say is that you've got this agenda you're doing it but it's not authentic it's not real it's not genuine well you really like the benefits that you reap and I don't think you can deny that there are people that prefer lust to love or that prefer money to sincere friendship there are people that fall into that trap what I consider a trap but there are people that go to their graves apparently happy apparently the pillar of the society and apparently world's greatest boss world's greatest dad and so on and so forth and god only knows if in their heart of hearts they're truly satisfied it seems like you're saying that really it's not as satisfying as altruism and love any sorts of intangibles is that what you're saying yeah no I I'm saying that yes but I'm saying there's so much build-up on the superficial view that the world has of you right like so all these people you're talking about where they want lust over love well guess what if they ever really had love if they ever really experienced that there's no going back because the two are not even comparable so they're chasing something and they're getting to a certain point but because of fear or because of some personal insecurity or limitation they don't allow themselves to go to that next level or maybe they're not capable I shouldn't say they don't allow themselves if they'd ever gotten to that next level they would see the hollowness in what they were previously chasing and there is no going back once you've tasted the real fruit I get very excited thinking about first things and philosophy and religion but you don't get excited about that you get excited about the pragmatic day-to-day affairs of making your life smooth there's some philosophy behind that so I get excited about learning about the psychology of others what can I learn today that's going to make my life the hose around me that I care about love better tomorrow yeah yeah you're talking about how to manage people and what it brings to mind is sort of Anthony Robbins and these sorts of self-help gurus do you have experience with that whole world I don't know that it's always about self-help some people help some people don't but like Tony Robbins or any of those guys I mean I've never listened to any of Tony Robbins I know who he is but I'm more think about like John Gottman right who's done a ton of research for years and years around married couples now we all know I've had my struggles with figuring out the marriage thing but it's more about well here's how humans behave and there are different types of humans and they all behave differently but here are some themes that we're seeing so something to be aware of right or a car totally or you know even the Dali Lama like it's about the need for connection and Brene brown when she's doing all our talking about shame and the philosophies that excite me are those types of things not the there's a higher being than you and they will guide you like I just don't buy it what would you say about the fact that behind a lot of people like Eckhart Tolle is an eastern philosophy of monism that says we are all one and that we are God would you just ignore that as peripheral to your pragmatic human thriving project would you be uncomfortable with the Eastern religious roots of these gurus that you admire no I wouldn't be uncomfortable with any of it it would be a gateway into maybe exploring that but I'm still exploring level one maybe I haven't gotten to level two yet maybe that's what happens when I'm 50 but it seems to me that you have a leaning towards this sort of Eastern montezuma sort or sure yeah for sure and a lot of people do a lot of seekers that would consider themselves spiritual but not religious is that something that you've said of yourself definitely more spiritual than religious for sure but you know why here's why because quite sadly the majority of Christians aren't truly Christian they are just using that mask to obtain what they want and make it seem palatable you know you think back to all the various massacres and what over time that have been in the name of bringing God's love to the world like hello so I think Christianity has gotten a very bad name because so many people exploit it just use the label for their true unhealthy agenda do you have a clear distinct image of each of these religious groups the Jews the Muslims the Buddhists and no because it's not worth my brainpower to think about it have you followed the new atheist movement it may be waning a bit now but it was it flared up quite a bit with Christopher Hitchens and all that gang were you aware of that did you follow that at all no I mean you'reyou're totally trying to get me to be this person who's like involved or thoughtful of the world of religion and I'm just not like it just honestly it's of no value to me zero interest yeah I am struggling just to grab on to something here but III think we did find something with the sort of New Age gurus with their Eastern philosophies what's their secret agenda they're not explicitly admitting that they have a very well-defined pantheistic worldview they obfuscate that with a lot of pragmatic talk but if you dig and you look under the surface its pantheism but does it matter well it matters to me so they are trying to invite you to the dinner table by showing you the desserts or whatever right they're trying to encourage you to come and listen and if that's what it takes to get people to be kind and respectful and whatever to another great they can inch their way in I don't think there's any secret hidden agenda like you know like I don't think it's ill intended yeah I think most people have good intentions yeah and I would even suggest that some of them may not even be aware they're just sharing here's what worked for me I strongly believe in it maybe it'll work for you too I believe in a god that's all good and it's infinitely lovable he's allowing us to go down all kinds of blind alleys whether it's a false philosophy a false religion or a false love he's allowing us to do that but the ultimate reason why he's allowing us to do that is so that we can learn the only God satisfies so when I look at Oprah Winfrey or Deepak Chopra or at carte Thole or any of these people I see them luring people away from the one true God you know it's kind of like if you're about to get married and an attractive person of the opposite sex walks by just imagine your fiance looking at you intently how you respond to that beautiful creature that's walking by my whole life is like that with God he's watching me to see what catches my eye whereas my heart who do I really love what do I really love and although people have the best of intentions in the new age or in these Eastern religions I think ultimately it's a distraction from our one true love so you're basically on the chairman's oh you're Truman you you this is all powerful something something is watching every move you make and trying to lure you here and lure you there but it's all because in hopes they'll eventually find the right path and the right path is this God path well that's great to believe that but if you're believing that for me or for any other person like oh that's nice Linda that you believe that and you want to go down that distraction route but my way is actually the right way my way is the true path that eventually you'll come to realize I mean I think that that would turn a lot of people off and maybe that's why to some degree Christianity has a bad reputation because you're kind of saying I'm more intelligent than you or I'm beyond you in some way because you're still dabbling in the distractions I've been enlightened no no I I I'm just as susceptible as you are if not more so to going down the wrong path it's not about your susceptibility we're all susceptible to multiple things I'm saying you've now taken all of that learning and susceptibility and saying I'm still human and I will be tempted but at least I know where the final true good path is all these other people that don't believe in God don't have the awareness of that final true good path well have you ever seen a movie or something where the daughter asks the mother how will I know when I'm in love and the mother just says well you'll just know there is a turning point that you come to in your life where you just know you've fallen in love for the first time and it's not infatuation you can make the distinction between infatuation and true love because you've experienced both now so sometime between being that little girl on your mother's lap and then being the mother with your own little girl on your lap somewhere in between there you made that growth and you experience love and then you find yourself giving the same wise counsel to your daughter so this is sort of the human project and I'm not saying that I'm a saint or that I love God as I should far from it but when you've experienced the love of God you just know and if you've ever fallen in love with a human being I think you know there's a sort of drive to express that and you want to tell people and you want to talk about your beloved and this sort of thing yeah it can be annoying to those that are around but to characterize it as just being pushy and looking down your nose at people because they don't have what you have far from it you're in love and you just want everyone to be in love in that way but at the end of my interviews I always ask my guests to just give a quick thought a sort of positive thought something to end the show on so just to wrap up the interview if you would please what would you say to anyone that's out there listening that oh my god you know something something positive and hopeful and okay you speak from the heart if you would conversation and exploring and challenging our own thoughts and beliefs and things that have just become routine in our day-to-day is always beneficial I think through this conversation it's been a little bit enlightening to me to hear as I've been asked the questions there's definitely the theme of relying on myself and not maybe letting others in whether that be a god or some third party or some spiritual being where does that come from and is it helping me or is it hindering me so a takeaway if you like a worldview if you think it's you've got some questions I see and I'll tell all you got to do is ask all you got to do is you got to do is

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